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Windows 10 update rolls out in SA April 11

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Microsoft today announced that the third major update for Windows 10 – Windows 10 Creators – will be available for download in South Africa from April 11.

Today, more than 400 million devices are running Windows 10. New innovations in the Windows 10 Creators Update will empower users with more tools to express the full range of their imagination, in whatever form it takes.  These new features include 3D, mixed reality, enhanced apps, improved security, and 4K gaming.

Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft, said “Creativity has led the inspiration of our world’s greatest inventors, architects, educators, entrepreneurs, and students, delivering advancements that move our world forward. Whether you sculpt in 3D or code, design new worlds or buildings, compose symphonies of music or science, or create ideas or possibilities – we want to empower the creator in each of us. We want Windows to be the place you love to create and play, with the tools to help you make your mark on the world.”

3D for everyone

With the Creators Update, millions of Windows 10 users can now print, create and share in 3D, as well as get up close and personal with mixed reality.

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The new Paint 3D app makes it simple to create 3D objects from scratch, easily changing colors, stamping textures, or turning a 2D picture into a 3D work of art.

In addition, the Remix3D.com community has also been busy connecting creators since October 2016, helping them find new ideas and providing instant access to a growing library of 3D objects to customize, edit, and share.

From 3D to mixed reality, the Windows 10 Creators Update will enable immersive experiences that blur the lines between physical and virtual worlds. Brands including HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, and Acer will ship the first VR headsets capable of mixed reality with the Windows 10 Creators Update.  These headsets will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom, allowing for easy set up and free movement without the need for external markers or sensors in the wall. These devices will light up with new, immersive Windows Mixed Reality apps and experiences, which developers are creating on the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits.

With these new 3D and VR capabilities, millions of Windows users around the world will be able to seamlessly create and consume 3D content like never before.

A faster, more secure way to browse

Since the launch of Microsoft Edge in Windows 10, users have spent more than 63 billion minutes on the browser.  In the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft Edge gets better at helping them do both with a completely new suite of tab management features, new extensions, as well as both a new bookstore and reading experience.

According the NSS Labs 2016 Web Browser Security Comparative Reports, Microsoft Edge blocks 9% more phishing sites and 13% more malware than Chrome, helping to protect user identity and information. In addition, since the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft Edge is up to 24% – 43% more efficient than the competition for general purpose browsing, and lasts up to 23% – 69% longer when streaming videos.

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The Creators Update will also bring more extensions to Microsoft Edge, letting users easily add new functionality to what their browser can do. We are excited to offer new extensions with this update such as Ebates, Intel TrueKey, Read & Write, Ghostery, RoboForm, among others. It is also the only browser that can play Netflix content in 4K Ultra HD resolution, bringing the crispest, sharpest entertainment for Windows 10 users.

Comprehensive security for everything you do

Windows 10 is the most secure version of Windows ever, and the Creators Update continues to broaden and deepen its security features.

The new Windows Defender Security Center, for example, combines security and health options in one place so that it is easier for people to see and control Windows 10 device security and health options.

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For enterprise customers, the Creators Update will continue to bring new tools and capabilities that help simplify IT – making it easier to better deploy, manage and support Windows 10 devices – and to help stomp security threats.

The best experience in 4K gaming and in-game broadcasting

Gaming is one of the most popular activities on Windows 10 today, comprising over 32.5 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 since launch.

The Windows 10 Creators Update makes it super easy for anyone to broadcast their gameplay on Windows 10 and Xbox One via the built-in Beam broadcasting technology. With Beam’s sub-second latency, new experiences are possible such as the ability for viewers to influence the gameplay or interact with the stream while it’s taking place.

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Also built into the Windows 10 Creators Update is Game Mode, a new platform feature that dedicates more graphics and processor resources to your PC games. It works with almost any game, and provides on average more sustainable framerates for gamers.

The Creators Update will also enable user-generated tournaments through Arena on Xbox Live, so gamers can define the rules of competition, invite friends and track tournament progress seamlessly across devices.

The Creators Update will be rolled out in a measured and deliberate manner; users can download and install it via Windows Update as soon as it is available.

* For more information and details on the Windows 10 Creators Update’s most exciting must-have features, please visit: http://www.windows.com.

 

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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