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Microsoft Scraps Windows 7 Beta 1 Download Cap

Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 7, though in an unreleased beta stage, has been grabbing a lot of attention lately. After the beta went online last week, Microsoft's servers seem to have been bombarded with hits. At least this seems to have worked in building up hype around Windows 7. In the latest move, Microsoft scrapped the official limit it set to give away "only" 2.5 million keys to be able to install and use the OS.

Microsoft will give away as many copies of the OS as it can, till the 24th of January. Till the 24th, people will have access to the download as well as procurement of the legal Windows 7 Beta 1 key.

Windows 7 Beta Public Release Gets Delayed Due to Heavy Traffic

Just under an hour after the public release of the Windows 7 beta was expected to launch, there has been an update on the Windows 7 Blog, as to why the beta has not been made available yet:
Due to very heavy traffic we're seeing as a result of interest in the Windows 7 Beta, we are adding some additional infrastructure support to the Microsoft.com properties before we post the public beta. We want to ensure customers have the best possible experience when downloading the beta, and I'll be posting here again soon once the beta goes live. Stay tuned! We are excited that you are excited!
So far as we know, the beta was scheduled to be released to the public at 12pm PST (Pacific Standard Time) on the official Windows 7 website. For now though, we wait.

Windows 7 Beta Suffers from MP3 Corruption Bug Before it Even Reaches the Public

The first official public beta of Windows 7 launches today (Build 7000), but already there is a serious bug which can corrupt your mp3 files. Although it will not render them unplayable, it has the potential to cut off the first 2 or 3 seconds of the mp3 recording. According to a poster on the Neowin.net forums:
The problem only happens when you edit metadata on a certain class of MP3 file (a file with a header larger than 16KB). When the new metadata is written, it corrupts the beginning of the file. This can happen either when you edit the metadata from inside WMP or Explorer, or it can happen if you have WMP set to automatically fill in missing metadata using the online service and add the MP3 to your library. This problem is only present in the recently leaked build (7000)
This same problem has been noted on Microsofts MSDN and TechNet websites when you click to download the beta:
To protect your MP3 files
1. Before you install this Beta release, back up all MP3 files that might be accessed by the computer, including those on removable media or network shares.
2. Install the Beta release of Windows 7; download and install the Update to Windows 7 Beta (KB961367) located on this page.
Although there is no official support page for KB961367 yet, Microsoft have the updates ready for download.

You can download the 32-bit (x86) version here and the 64-bit (x64) version here.

Forceware 185.20 Beta Leaked

In the wake of the new year, NVIDIA's GeForce Forceware drivers have surfaced. While being in a beta stage the 185.20 Forceware provide support for NVIDIA's upcoming products namely the GeForce GTX 295 and GeForce GTX 285. It also introduces ambient occlusion as a standard feature-set to enhance lighting effects, and reflections impacting on the realism. All other GPUs GeForce 6 Series onward are supported as usual. The driver is dated for 12-26-2008. The package includes PhysX system software version 8.11.18. Drivers for both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP can be downloaded from the links below. Be cautioned the drivers are unsigned beta versions, the use of which isn't covered by any warranty.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA Forceware 185.20 beta for Windows XP (32bit) | Windows Vista (32bit) | Windows XP (64bit) | Windows Vista (64bit)

Sony PlayStation Home Open Beta Starts Tomorrow

PlayStation.BLOG reminds today that PlayStation Home will enter into open beta, and will be available to everyone tomorrow. PlayStation Home is a 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences. Within PlayStation Home, users can create and customize their own unique avatars and explore virtual community in real time where they can communicate freely through text or voice chat. PlayStation Home users will not only be able to enjoy variety of entertainment content such as mini-games, videos and special events along with their friends, but will also be able to create their own community by starting clubs with other PlayStation Home users who share the same interests. Even purchasing customizable furniture and designer clothes will be possible with PlayStation Home. That's only a fraction of the features that will be available initially, not to mention that this is not a final version and there're still many updates to come. PlayStation Home, available as a free download starting December 11th, will launch directly from the PlayStation Home icon on the PlayStation Network column of XMB (XrossMediaBar) on PS3. After that date, SCE will vigorously promote the service and work with its partners to introduce new services. If you want to know more, hit the source link.

Windows Vista and Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta Now Available for Public Download

Right on time, Microsoft today released the public beta of Service Pack 2 for both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. Both Service Packs are available now here in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Initially the Service Packs are downloadable in five different languages: English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Service Pack 1 for both operating systems is necessary in order to obtain the second Service Pack. Find more information here.

Microsoft Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Vista SP2 Beta Available to Everyone Tomorrow

Tomorrow Microsoft will launch both Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta for everyone, Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management Mike Nash announced. Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta are major updates to Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 respectively. They provide customer with all the fixes found untill the moment of their release and in addition SP2 will contain changes focused on addressing reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. For more information, please read the release notes for both service packs. Starting today, MSDN and TechNet subscribers will have access to the beta service packs. Beginning Thursday, Dececember 4, the beta will be available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP). To find more information about the CPP program, please click here. Mike Nash also added that Microsoft is tracking to ship the final version of Windows Vista SP2 in the first half of 2009.

Microsoft Delivers Pre-Beta of Windows 7 to Developers and Previews Web Applications

Today at its Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008), Microsoft Corp. rallied software developers by sharing the first full public demo of Windows 7. Windows 7 extends developers' investments in Windows Vista and encourages the creation of new applications and services for the Windows platform. The company also delivered a pre-beta build of Windows 7 to PDC attendees and announced plans to release a full Windows 7 beta early next year.

Microsoft also demonstrated, for the first time, its new Web applications for Office, which are lightweight versions of Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that are used from within standard Web browsers. The company showed how anyone can use all of the Web, phone, and PC versions of Office to edit the same rich document, switching among them seamlessly with lossless file compatibility.

NVIDIA Releases OpenGL 3.0 Supportive Beta Linux Driver

Following the release of OpenGL 3.0 compliant drivers for Windows back in August, NVIDIA has released drivers for Linux/Free BSD, that provide support for the said graphics API. OpenGL functionality is something driver provider manage. Each compliant display driver carries with it, an ICD (installable client driver) for OpenGL.

The driver, 177.61.02 supports OpenGL 3.0, and OpenGL Shader Language (GL-SL) 1.30, with a broad range of compatible hardware already out by NVIDIA. All GeForce 8 Series or newer, Quadro FX 370/360M or newer graphics accelerators are supported. The release supports x86 and x86-64 variants of most Linux and Free-BSD derived operating systems. The driver can be downloaded from NVIDIA's FTP directory here. Please note, that the driver is in a beta stage as of now.

Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Beta Next Week

Windows Vista Team Blog posted today some good information on the next service pack, second in row, for Windows Vista.
We are committed to continually improving Windows, and we've been getting some questions about the timing of the next service pack for Windows Vista. Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2. As a part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29. The final release date for Windows Vista SP2 will be based on quality. So we'll track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date for the release.
Windows Vista SP2 Beta will contain previously released fixes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues.

NVIDIA Releases 180.42 Beta Drivers, Enables SLI on Intel X58

The latest NVIDIA beta driver release 180.42, that was reported in the previous article, has just been uploaded on NVIDIA's home page. As promised this version works with GeForce 200-series, 9-series, and 8800-series desktop GPUs and also enables NVIDIA SLI technology on SLI-certified Intel X58-based motherboards with the following GPUs: GeForce GTX 280, GeForce GTX 260, GeForce 9800 GX2, GeForce 9800 GTX+, and GeForce 9800 GTX. This release is compatible with all major Microsoft Windows operating systems, that includes both Windows XP 32/64-bit and Windows Vista 32/64-bit. Hit the link below.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce Release 180.42 Beta

SLI Performance Previewed on X58 with GTX260 216SP and Forceware 180.32

Expreview has got its hands on the NVIDIA Forceware Beta Driver 180.32 and used it to setup and enable SLI with two Galaxy GTX260-216, on an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard. The cards scored a 3DMark Vantage score of P21623, compared against a single card score of P10920 gives an approximate 98% increase. Currently it is only possible to enable SLI officially on NVIDIA based chipsets, only AMD's equivalent Crossfire system works on Intel chipsets. It is evident that the 180 series of Forceware drivers from NVIDIA (dubbed Big Bang II) not only brings multi-monitor SLI support, but also paves the way to enabling SLI on the Intel X58 Chipset. In another article, Expreview have also mentioned that the beta driver 180.42, will be officially released from NVIDIA later on today, with the final version set for November 17th this year, coinciding with the launch of Intel's Core i7 and X58.

Unveiling Windows 7 to the World: Keynote, Sessions and Pre-Beta Bits

Microsoft Corp. confirmed today that it will unveil Windows 7, the next major version of Windows, at PDC and provide developers and attendees with a pre-beta build of the operating system. During the Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC), Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, will keynote some of the Windows 7 features -including the kernel, networking, hardware and devices, and user-interface. Also, at this year's PDC, keynote attendees will be among the first to receive a pre-beta build copy of Windows 7. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to attend 21 different sessions that drill down into the details of developing for Windows 7. "Keynote attendees will be among the first to receive the pre-beta build of Windows 7," the company said.

Windows Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Released

The latest beta of Microsoft's next web browser has been released today. This time it is a public beta, unlike Beta 1, which was aimed at developers, this version has many of its new features enabled. Some of these include, tab groups, accelerators and compatibility view, which enables Internet Explorer 8 to better display web pages designed for older browers.

You can find out more information and download the beta here.

NVIDIA Release Beta PhysX Driver For Public

NVIDIA Releases Beta PhysX Driver For Public

NVIDIA releases the beta driver 177.39 for PhysX support on some GeForce GPU's. They have also said that a new stable driver, the WHQL 177.44 sans PhysX support would be released later today.

Depending on your Windows setup, you can download the driver from these locations: (please note, it is a beta driver, refer to the "Products Supported" tab for a list of supported products)

32-bit Windows Vista | 64-bit Windows Vista
32-bit Windows XP | 64-bit Windows XP

Call of Duty 4 Beta Ends September 30th

The lucky few who got to play the Call of Duty 4 beta, which promises to be the greatest thing to hit Xbox Live since Halo 2, will have to stop playing the game by September 30th. Fortunately for the true Call of Duty 4 aficionados, Infinity Ward is raising the level cap and unlocking additional content on September 28th. Thanks to the results of the Beta, Infinity Ward now has a full list of things they wish to add/remove from Call of Duty 4. The most serious changes include "adding a sensitivity slider, cracking down on map exploits, and improving matchmaking optimization to reduce lag". Infinity Ward gives a tantalizing hint as to when they will release the final version of the game: "Are We Gold Yet?"

World in Conflict Open Beta Signups

World in Conflict is an RTS game that is set in 1988, where economic troubles, similar to the ones that occurred in real-life, cripple the Soviet Union to the extent where it must risk nuclear Armageddon to stay in power.
Massive Entertainment, Sierra and Intel invite you to join the open beta and find out what you are made of. Registration begins on 1 July and will be open until the end of the open beta phase. The open beta will begin on 11 July and will last until 31 July.

Signup here.

NVIDIA ForceWare 160.03 Beta Pops Up

Apparently NVIDIA has pulled out new ForceWare BETA driver version 160.03 right after the major official drivers update last Thursday. The new 160.03 will work with Microsoft's Windows XP, 2000 and XP Media Center and supports the GeForce 6, 7 and 8 series. The driver's release date is 27/04/07. Download the new ForceWare 160.03 from here and remember that this is a BETA version. Use at your own risk.

Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa Closed Beta Starts Today

You might know of Richard Garriott from his superb Ultima game series in the 1980s and 1990s and from the good old days of Origin Systems, his own publishing company. In 1992 he sold Origin Systems to Electronic Arts and coproduced some more Ultima's with them, but towards the end of the century it didn't went well with Lord British, he turned his back towards the game industry and left the company he once created. In the year 2000 he came back when founding Destination Games and later teamed up with the game publisher NCsoft to develop MMORPGs.
NCsoft today announced the start of the closed beta testing of Tabula Rasa, Garriot's actual PC game project. In Tabula Rasa you will take part in an epic, intergalactic science-fiction story on alien worlds with fast-paced action and role-playing aspects combined. The player enters the game as a rebel soldier faced with a huge war between his comrades and a xenophobic alien race.

Halo 3 Beta will only last three weeks; Bungie Explains why

Those of you who have waited for a video game to come out know how awesome a beta is. Unfortunately for Halo fans everywhere, the Halo 3 beta is only going to last three weeks. Obviously, most people with invites are wondering why it's going to be so short, especially after putting so much effort into getting a Beta invite. Bungie has this official answer to that question.
...obviously the number one reason is that the longer we're spending resources taking care of the Beta, the less time we're applying what we've learned from it to the final game. And statistically, three weeks is going to seem like a pretty long time when you look at the hours you log on the game.
In short? Enjoy it while it lasts.

“Halo 3” Multiplayer Beta Hits Xbox LIVE Worldwide on May 16

REDMOND, Wash. - April 10, 2007 - Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios today confirmed the multiplayer beta of "Halo 3" will debut to audiences worldwide via Xbox LIVE on May 16 at 5 a.m. PDT and run through June 6 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Coming exclusively to the Xbox 360 console this fall, "Halo 3" is the highly anticipated third chapter in the groundbreaking "Halo" trilogy from legendary developers Bungie. "Halo 3" lets gamers experience Master Chief's greatest battle as he launches an epic mission to stop the Covenant, destroy the impending Flood threat and ultimately save mankind.

Age Of Conan Beta Signups now open

Piracy does have its good sides as well. Funcom, the makers of the two famous 'The Longest Journey' games, recently announced to stop producing traditional offline PC games because of too many illegal copies. Instead they are concentrating on their online game portfolio that will get another finished entry among Anarchy Online soon: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures.
If you want to be one of the first in the World of Hyborian then I suggest you to apply for the soon to be started Beta Test of Age of Conan over here. The "the most brutal Massively Multiplayer Online game ever created" is scheduled for the end of October 2007 and will run on Windows XP/Vista PCs and the Xbox 360. If you want to get more information about the game and the world where it takes place I recommend to take a look at the corresponding Wikipedia entry found here.
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