Categories
Computing

GeForce Now Works at Native Resolution on the MacBook Pro

You can finally use GeForce Now on a MacBook Pro at its native aspect ratio. When Nvidia announced the RTX 3080 tier for its GeForce Now cloud gaming service, the company said streams would run at the native resolution of 1600p. Now, that’s available as part of the latest GeForce Now update.

The M1 Max and M1 Pro MacBook Pros feature beefy GPUs, but they’re not tuned for gaming. The list of the best Mac games isn’t too large, either. That’s where GeForce Now comes in, allowing you to play any supported PC game on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or iOS device without worrying about performance or compatibility.

In the case of GeForce Now, MacBooks actually have a slight edge over PCs. The RTX 3080 tier tops out at 2,560 x 1,440 at 120 frames per second (fps) on PC. The MacBook Pro uses a 16:10 aspect ratio for a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, which the RTX 3080 tier can now fully take advantage of.

The RTX 3080 tier is the closest we’ve seen cloud gaming get to native gaming. It’s not perfect, as the “magic of PC gaming” is still washed in a layer of video compression, but it’s much closer than any other cloud gaming service has gotten. It’s the most expensive GeForce Now subscription Nvidia offers, offering 1440p on PC, 1600p on Macs, 120 fps streaming, and eight-hour session lengths.

There should be a big asterisk next to the frame rate. Although the RTX 3080 tier is capable of 120 fps streaming in most titles, Nvidia caps the frame rate on a number of popular games. Cyberpunk 2077, for example, is capped at 45 fps. Valheim, a game that’s not demanding whatsoever, is also capped at 50 fps.

The RTX 3080 tier runs $99.99 for six months, and Nvidia is currently offering it alongside a copy of Crysis Remastered. Below that is the Priority tier, which is $49.99 for six months. It tops out at 1080p at 60 fps with six-hour session lengths, and it also comes with a copy of Crysis Remastered. Nvidia offers a free tier, though free users are limited to hour-long sessions without RTX features.

In addition to native MacBook Pro resolution, the new GeForce Now update includes integration with Ubisoft Connect. Similar to the Epic Games Store, you can now save your sign-in info for your Ubisoft Connect account in the app. That will skip the log in process whenever you boot up a Ubisoft game.

As usual, Nvidia also announced several new games joining GeForce Now as part of its weekly GFN Thursday. Here are the new games for this week:

  • A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism (Steam, December 7)
  • White Shadows (Steam, December 7)
  • Monopoly Madness (Ubisoft Connect, December 9)
  • Anno 1404 History Edition (free on Ubisoft Connect, December 6 to 14)
  • Prison Architect (free on Epic Games Store, December 9 to 16)
  • Super Magbot (Steam)
  • Untitled Goose Game (Epic Games Store)

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

DDR6 is Four Times as Fast as DDR4 and Already in the Works

DDR5 has barely hit the shelves, but Samsung has confirmed it’s already working on the next generation of RAM.

According to ComputerBase, the South Korean technology giant delivered insight into several next-gen memory standards including DDR6, GDDR6+, GDDR7, and HBM3 at its 2021 tech day event.

Samsung said its development of the DDR6 standard has commenced and will be assisted by JEDEC, a semiconductor engineering organization comprised of over 300 members, including some of the world’s largest computer firms.

The report mentions that the completion of the standard could materialize in 2024, but it’s more likely that 6th-gen DDR memory arrives in either 2025 or 2026 considering that DDR5 has only just launched recently (and is already affected by supply issues).

In regard to the technical specifications of DDR6 memory, data transfer rates will be doubled compared to its predecessor. It’ll thus be able to perform with speeds of around 12,800Mbps on JEDEC modules — that’s four times as much as DDR4 — in addition to achieving 17,000 Mbps on overclocked modules.

As for the amount of memory channels per module, that will also be doubled for DDR6, with four 16-bit channels joined by 64 memory banks.

GDDR (graphics double data rate) is specifically compatible with graphics cards and is an integral part of GPUs. It’s not to be confused with DDR RAM, which covers system memory.

Elsewhere, Samsung plans to make the GDDR6+ standard available before the inevitable launch of GDDR7. It’ll reportedly hit speeds of up to 24Gbps, consequently allowing future 256-bit GPUs to feature up to 768GB/s bandwidth. Furthermore, GPUs with bit bus layouts of 320/352/384 are said to achieve over 1TB/s bandwidth.

Looking beyond the refinement of GDDR6, GDDR7 is expected to reach transfer speeds up to 32Gbps. Samsung is also said to be incorporating real-time error protection feature into the standard. As Wccftech notes, GDDR7 memory will be able to provide speeds of 1.5TB/s through a 384-bit bus interface and up to 2TB/s via a 512-bit system.

There’s currently no timeline for when the GDDR7 standard will be finalized, so consumers will have to settle with GDDR6+ in the meanwhile.

Another next-gen memory standard Samsung touched on was HBM3. The third generation of high-bandwidth memory will enter the mass production stage during the second quarter of 2022. The company mentioned speeds of 800Gbps for HBM3, which should power future CPUs and GPUs that will require such high memory performance levels. Samsung also stressed the tech’s suitability for artificial intelligence applications.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

How Prestige Works in Call of Duty: Vanguard

Working your way up the ranks in multiplayer is what makes every Call of Duty game so addicting. From the original Modern Warfare up until the newest entry, Call of Duty: Vanguard, we’ve loved seeing those ranks go up and eventually hit max level. But the developers of this juggernaut series knew that people would reach that top rank, whatever it might be, and still want more. That’s why they cleverly created a way to keep those who are always looking for the next dopamine hit of ranking up coming back for more: The prestige system.

The prestige system is core to the Call of Duty experience at this point. It has long been the ultimate mark of a player’s dedication to the game, and each game gives players a new reward for that commitment. The basic concept of how prestige works hasn’t changed too much from one entry to the next, but it had evolved quite a bit by the time we reached Call of Duty: Vanguard. If you’re interested in diving deep into the multiplayer of this game and want to know how prestige works and what you can get for achieving it, here’s a full breakdown.

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What is the prestige system?

The prestige system first came about with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In this game, once you hit the highest rank in the game, you were given the choice to prestige or not. If you did, you would be reset to level 1 all over again, losing all the unlocks you had so you could earn them all again. However, you were given a special emblem that showed you had reached the highest rank and chose to start again from scratch. Not only that, but if you hit max rank again, you could enter a second prestige with a different emblem. In fact, you could do it 10 times in that first game before you hit the limit.

Since that introduction, the prestige system has evolved to have different positives and negatives to hitting prestige. No matter what, though, it always works as a sort of an end game system for players who push themselves to go above and beyond the normal ranks.

How does prestige work in Call of Duty: Vanguard?

Earning prestige rank 3.

The prestige system has undergone many changes from its introduction up to Call of Duty: Vanguard, but it isn’t much different from how it was in the last game, Call of Duty: Black Ops — Cold War. What hasn’t changed since the beginning is that you will earn your first prestige rank once you finish ranking up from 1 to 55 and get all the weapons, attachments, and other unlocks that come with these levels. The negatives associated with hitting prestige — all your unlocks and progress being reset — haven’t been implemented in several titles now and are also not back for Call of Duty: Vanguard. Because there’s no downside, you will automatically begin the prestige system once you hit the necessary amount of XP instead of it being a choice to opt into or not.

Call of Duty: Vanguard combines your total Player level with XP you earn from both multiplayer and Zombies modes. There are 55 normal ranks to go through before hitting what they call Seasonal Levels as a replacement for Player levels. At this point, your rank will be Commander, but it will also set you at prestige rank 1. To raise your new prestige rank, you will need to level up your Season Level 50 times. For every 50 Season Levels you’re able to earn, you get one additional prestige rank, with the maximum rank being prestige rank 200.

What do you get for each prestige rank?

For right now, Call of Duty: Vanguard is technically in the preseason, so things will work a little differently until the first season officially starts. However, for this preseason, we know what rewards you can earn for hitting various prestige ranks.

If you hit prestige rank 1, you will get a sticker and battle pass tier skip. Hit rank 2, which requires you to hit Season Level 50, and you get another sticker, a weapon blueprint, and a second battle pass tier skip. Prestige 3 is the highest level you get a reward for in the preseason and is just another sticker and battle pass tier skip.

Until the first season officially starts, we won’t know what prestige rewards we will get, but odds are they will look something like these preseason rewards.

How do seasons impact prestige?

Promotional art of squad in Call of Duty: Vanguard.

The name Season Level may have tipped you off, but you can’t take your time and hit prestige rank 200 over months and months of casually playing. Every time a new season begins your Season Level will be reset, but not your prestige rank. What that means is if you hit say prestige rank 2 and are Season Level 66 when the new season starts, you’ll still be prestige rank 2, but your Season Level will drop back go 50. So, if the season is coming to an end and you’re in between prestige ranks, you’ll need to decide if you’re close enough to want to try and grind up to the next one before all that progress is lost, or accept that you will be starting over again.

Every season has a set number of prestige ranks that will be added. We start with just the three mentioned, but season 1 will have seven, and season 2 is said to have 11. Getting to the maximum prestige rank in any season will earn you a prestige master rank, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep earning Season Levels. Why would you want to? Well, once you’ve earned everything in the current season, every 50 Season Levels beyond that you earn will unlock anything from prior seasons you missed.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
AI

How computer vision works — and why it’s plagued by bias

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It’s no secret that AI is everywhere, yet it’s not always clear when we’re interacting with it, let alone which specific techniques are at play. But one subset is easy to recognize: If the experience is intelligent and involves photos or videos, or is visual in any way, computer vision is likely working behind the scenes.

Computer vision is a subfield of AI, specifically of machine learning. If AI allows machines to “think,” then computer vision is what allows them to “see.” More technically, it enables machines to recognize, make sense of, and respond to visual information like photos, videos, and other visual inputs.

Over the last few years, computer vision has become a major driver of AI. The technique is used widely in industries like manufacturing, ecommerce, agriculture, automotive, and medicine, to name a few. It powers everything from interactive Snapchat lenses to sports broadcasts, AR-powered shopping, medical analysis, and autonomous driving capabilities. And by 2022, the global market for the subfield is projected to reach $48.6 billion annually, up from just $6.6 billion in 2015.

The computer vision story follows that of AI overall. A slow rise full of technical hurdles. A big boom enabled by massive amounts of data. Rapid proliferation. And then growing concern over bias and how the technology is being used. To understand computer vision, it’s important to understand how it works, how it’s being used, and both the challenges it overcame and the ones it still faces today.

How computer vision works

Computer vision allows computers to accomplish a variety of tasks. There’s image segmentation (divides an image into parts and examines them individually) and pattern recognition (recognizes the repetition of visual stimuli between images). There’s also object classification (classifies objects found in an image), object tracking (finds and tracks moving objects in a video), and object detection (looks for and identifies specific objects in an image). Additionally, there’s facial recognition, an advanced form of object detection that can detect and identify human faces.

As mentioned, computer vision is a subset of machine learning, and it similarly uses neural networks to sort through massive amounts of data until it understands what it’s looking at. In fact, the example in our machine learning explainer about how deep learning could be used to separate photos of ice cream and pepperoni pizza is more specifically a computer vision use case. You provide the AI system with a lot of photos depicting both foods. The computer then puts the photos through several layers of processing — which make up the neural network — to distinguish the ice cream from the pepperoni pizza one step at a time. Earlier layers look at basic properties like lines or edges between light and dark parts of the images, while subsequent layers identify more complex features like shapes or even faces.

This works because computer vision systems function by interpreting an image (or video) as a series of pixels, which are each tagged with a color value. These tags serve as the inputs the system process as it moves the image through the neural network.

Rise of computer vision

Like machine learning overall, computer vision dates back to the 1950s. Without our current computing power and data access, the technique was originally very manual and prone to error. But it did still resemble computer vision as we know it today; the effectiveness of first processing according to basic properties like lines or edges, for example, was discovered in 1959. That same year also saw the invention of a technology that made it possible to transform images into grids of numbers , which incorporated the binary language machines could understand into images.

Throughout the next few decades, more technical breakthroughs helped pave the way for computer vision. First, there was the development of computer scanning technology, which for the first time enabled computers to digitize images. Then came the ability to turn two-dimensional images into three-dimensional forms. Object recognition technology that could recognize text arrived in 1974, and by 1982, computer vision really started to take shape. In that same year, one researcher further developed the processing hierarchy, just as another developed an early neural network.

By the early 2000s, object recognition specifically was garnering a lot of interest. But it was the release of ImageNet, a dataset containing millions of tagged images, in 2010 that helped propel computer vision’s rise. Suddenly, a vast amount of labeled, ready-to-go data was available for anyone who wanted it. ImageNet was used widely, and most of the computer vision systems that have been built today relied on it. But while computer vision systems were popular at this point, they were still turning up a lot of errors. That changed in 2012 when a model called AlexNet, which used ImageNet, significantly reduced the error rate for image recognition, ushering in today’s field of computer vision.

Computer vision’s bias and challenges

The availability of ImageNet was transformative for the growth and adoption of computer vision. It quite literally became the basis for the industry. But it also scarred the technology in ways that are having a real impact today.

The story of ImageNet reflects a popular saying in data science and AI: “garbage in, garbage out.” In jumping to take advantage of the dataset, researchers and data scientists didn’t pause to consider where the images came from, who chose them, who labeled them, why the were labeled as they were, what images or labels may have been omitted, and the effect all of this might have on how their technology would function, let alone the impact it would have on society and people’s lives. Years later, in 2019, a study on ImageNet revealed the prevalence of bias and problematic labels throughout the dataset.

“Many truly offensive and harmful categories hid in the depth of ImageNet’s Person categories. Some classifications were misogynist, racist, ageist, and ableist. … Insults, racist slurs, and oral judgements abound,” wrote AI researcher Kate Crawford in her book Atlas of AI. And even besides these explicitly obvious harms (some of which have been removed — ImageNet is reportedly working to address various sources of bias), curious choices in terms of categories, hierarchy, and labeling have been found throughout the dataset. It’s now widely criticized for privacy violations as well, as people whose photos were used in the dataset didn’t consent to being included or labeled.

Data and algorithmic bias is one of the core issues of AI overall, but it’s especially easy to see the impact in some computer vision applications. Facial recognition technology, for example, is known to misidentify Black people, but its use is surging in retail stores. It’s also already common in policing, which has prompted protests and regulations in several U.S. cities and states.

Regulations overall are an emerging challenge for computer vision (and AI in general). It’s clear more of it is coming (especially if more of the world follows in the European Union’s path), but it’s not yet known exactly what such regulations will look like, making it difficult for researchers and companies to navigate in this moment. “There’s no standardization and it’s uncertain. For these types of things, having clarification would be helpful,” said Haniyeh Mahmoudian, DataRobot’s global AI ethicist and a winner of VentureBeat’s Women in AI responsibility and ethics award.

Computer vision has some technical challenges as well. It’s limited by hardware, including cameras and sensors. Additionally, computer vision systems are very complex to scale. And like all types of AI, they require massive amounts of computing power (which is expensive) and data. And as the entire history of computer vision makes clear, good data that is representative, unbiased, and ethically collected is hard to come by — and incredibly tedious to tag.

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Categories
Game

How to Get Married in Skyrim: How Marriage Works and Who You Can Marry

As Bethesda’s most popular console title, with 30 million copies sold, Skyrim still attracts new players in 2021 while retaining old fans from 2011. Skyrim’s lure is limitlessness; players can do anything, even get married and adopt kids. Are you tired of sucking up dragon souls and slaying giants? Maybe it’s time to settle down in a cozy cottage in Eastmarch with the love of your life and some children to raise. This guide will focus on how to get married in Skyrim and all the blissful bells and whistles that it brings.

How does marriage work in Skyrim?

Getting married in Skyrim is pretty easy, especially for the Dragonborn. Hopefully, the children inherit their Dragonborn parent’s genes. You can marry more than 60 different NPCs across the land, each with a prerequisite that must be met. Once married, you and your partner will go into business together, opening up a small trade shop from wherever you call home. Don’t worry; your spouse will do all the work. All you have to do is ask for your share of 100 gold every 24 in-game hours. This gold accumulates, so if you’re away from Morndas to Turdas, you can still collect everything you missed. You can even sell extra junk to them.

To get married in Skyrim, you need to obtain the Amulet of Mara and speak with Maramal in Riften. Then, approach the NPC you wish to marry. You must complete their prerequisite quest before the dialogue option shows up. Propose to them and conduct the wedding ceremony. Choose one of your many estates to start your family and finally enjoy the perks of married life. So, how does the Dragonborn do all that? We wonder if deep-space marriage will be a thing in Starfield, Bethesda’s next big undertaking.

How to obtain Amulet of Mara

The Amulet of Mara is easy to come by, and there are several sprinkled throughout the game. There’s probably one sitting in your inventory right now. To kill two mudcrabs with one stone, head to Riften and speak with Maramal, a Redguard priest and member of the Cult of Mara. You can find him at the Bee and Barb (when you first arrive in Riften) or at the Temple of Mara. He’ll sell you an Amulet of Mara for 200 gold. Then, ask him about marriage.

Speaking with Maramal is a crucial step in the marriage process, so getting an Amulet from him is the easiest way to do it. Think of the Amulet like an engagement ring, only much less expensive.

Alternatively, players can find an Amulet of Mara in random chests and play areas. You’ll find one north of Dawnstar, on a beach inside the Lover’s Tent. The location is unmarked but hard to miss. It’s right behind the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, which leads us to believe these two “lovers” fell victim to the Brotherhood.

Finally, players can complete “The Book of Love” quest. Start this quest in the Temple of Mara by speaking to Dinya Balu.

How to propose

With the Amulet of Mara draped around the Dragonborn’s neck, you’re ready to drop to one knee and propose to the man or woman of your dreams. As long as you’ve completed their quest (listed below), you can ask them to marry you. Once they’ve accepted your proposal, it’s time to head back to Riften to plan the wedding.

How to conduct the wedding ceremony

Maramal from The Elder Scrolls Skyrim.

Speak with Maramal and make plans to conduct the wedding ceremony. However, Maramal doesn’t give a specific time for the wedding ceremony, and you can miss it. The easiest way not to miss your wedding is to stay in the Temple of Mara and wait for an hour at a time. Make sure “attend your wedding ceremony” is set as the active quest. Keep waiting for one-hour periods until the white quest marker appears over Maramal’s head. Then, approach the altar.

Maramal will conduct the ceremony, and you may even see some old friends from the past in attendance. On the off chance that you miss the wedding, you can approach your fiancé and Maramal and ask for a second chance. The wedding will then be held the next day. Waiting for one-hour periods in the Temple of Mara shouldn’t backfire for any reason.

Perks of married life

After the ceremony, your spouse will ask about where the two of you will live. You will have the option to choose any of the homes you currently own. You can also build yourself a home with the Hearthstone DLC. Your new spouse will meet you wherever you choose, and you’re free to move at any time. Don’t own a home? No worries, you can move in with your spouse.

Once per day, you can ask your spouse to make you a Home Cooked Meal, which will boost your Health, Stamina, and Magicka regeneration by 25% for 10 minutes. Sleeping in the same house as your spouse will give you a daily bonus called Lover’s Comfort, which boosts your skill learning speed by 15% for eight hours. This boost does not work if the Lover Stone is active.

Who can you marry in Skyrim?

Lydia from The Elder Scrolls Skyrim.

If all the above perks of married sound intriguing to you, it’s time to decide on a spouse. Here’s a full list of everyone you can marry in Skyrim, along with their location and prerequisites.

Female marriage options in Skyrim

  • Aela the Huntress: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ questline.
  • Aeri: Anga’s Mill, The Pale – Chop firewood with her.
  • Anween: Temple of Dibella, Markarth – Complete “The Heart of Dibella.”
  • Avrusa Sarethi: Sarethi Farm, The Rift – collect 20 Jazbay Grapes
  • Borgakh the Steel Heart: Mor Khazgur, Haafingar – Pay her dowry or convince her to leave her home.
  • Brelyna Maryon: College of Winterhold – Complete “Brelyna’s Practice.”
  • Camilla Valerius: Riverwood Trader, Riverwood – Complete “The Golden Claw.”
  • Dravynea the Stoneweaver: Kynesgrove, Eastmarch – Give her Frost Salts.
  • Ghorza gra-Bagol: Blacksmith Shed, Markarth – Find and give her with The Last Scabbard of Akrash (Book).
  • Gilfre: Mixwater Mill, Eastmarch – Chop firewood with her.
  • Hilund: Bujold’s Retreat or Thirsk Mead Hall – Complete “Retaking Thirsk” and then collect 50 Reikling Spears.
  • Iona: Honeyside, Riften – Become the Thane of The Rift.
  • Jenassa: The Drunken Huntsman, Whiterun: Hire her.
  • Jordis the Sword-Maiden: Proudspire Manor, Solitude – Become the Thane of Solitude.
  • Lydia: Whiterun – Become the Thane of Whiterun. (You must buy the Breezehome.)
  • Mjoll the Lioness: Riften – Retrieve her sword from Mzinchaleft.
  • Morwen: Skaal Village – Free the Skaal after you deliver her mother’s amulet to Runil in Falkreath.
  • Muiri: The Hag’s Cure, Markarth – Complete “Mourning Never Comes,” and kill both targets.
  • Njada Stonearm: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ story arc.
  • Orla: Temple of Dibella, Markarth – Complete “The Heart of Dibella.”
  • Rayya: Lakeview Manor, Falkrieth – Become the Thane of Falkreath then buy Lakeview Manor.
  • Ria: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete The Companions’ story arc.
  • Senna: Temple of Dibella, Markarth – Complete “The Heart of Dibella.”
  • Shahvee: Argonian Assemblage, Windhelm – Recover her lost Amulet of Zenithar and return it to her.
  • Sylgja: Shor’s Stone, The Rift – Return her Satchel to her father in Darkwater crossing.
  • Taarie: Solitude – Complete “Fit for a Jarl,” and invest in Radiant Raiment. (You must have Investment perk in the Speech tree.)
  • Temba Wide-Arm: Ivarstead, The Rift – Give her 10 Bear Pelts.
  • Uthgerd the Unbroken: The Bannered Mare, Whiterun – Beat her in a brawl.
  • Viola Giordano: Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm – Rat out Viola during Revyn Sadri’s favor.
  • Ysolda: Whiterun – Give her a Mammoth Tusk.

Male marriage options in Skyrim

  • Ainethach: Karthwasten, The Reach – Get the Silver-Blood Thugs to leave his mine.
  • Angrenor Once-Honored: Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm – Give him a gold piece.
  • Argis the Bulwark: Vlindrel Hall, Markarth – Become the Thane of Markarth.
  • Athis: Jorrvaskr Living Quarters, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ story arc.
  • Balimund: The Scorched Hammer, Riften – Give him 10 Fire Salts.
  • Belrand: The Winking Skeever, Solitude – Hire him.
  • Benor: Morthal – Beat him in a brawl.
  • Calder: Hjerim, Windhelm – Become the Thane of Eastmarch.
  • Cosnach: Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth – Beat him in a brawl.
  • Derkeethus: Darkwater Crossing, Eastmarch – Rescue him.
  • Farkas: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ story arc.
  • Filnjar: Shor’s Stone, The Rift – Complete the “Mine or Yours” quest.
  • Gat gro-Shargakh: Left Hand Mine or Kolskeggr Mine, The Reach – Complete the favor for Pavo Attius to liberate Kolskeggr Mine.
  • Ghorbash the Iron Hand: Burguk’s Longhouse, The Reach – Convince him to leave or pay his dowry.
  • Gregor: The White Hall, Dawnstar – Become the Thane of The Pale.
  • Marcurio: Bee and Barb, Riften – Hire him.
  • Halbarn Iron-Fur: Bujold’s Retreat or Thirsk Mead Hall – Complete “Retaking Thirsk” and “Halbarn’s Supplies.”
  • Moth gro-Bagol: Understone Keep, Markarth – Give him a Daedra Heart.
  • Octieve San: Winking Skeever, Solitude – Help the gamblers.
  • Omluag: Markarth Smelter, Markarth – Talk to Mulush gro-Shugurz in Markarth regarding the smelter workers.
  • Onmund: College of Winterhold – Recover his Amulet.
  • Pavo Attius: Left Hand Mine or Kolskeggr Mine, The Reach – Liberate Kolskeggr Mine.
  • Perth: Soljund’s Sinkhole, The Reach – Clear the Draugr out of Soljund’s Sinkhole.
  • Quintus Navale: The White Phial, Windhelm – Complete “Repairing the Phial.”
  • Revyn Sadri: Sadri’s Used Wares, Windhelm – Return the stolen ring to Viola Giordano.
  • Roggi Knot-Beard: Steamscorch Mine, Kynesgrove, Eastmarch – Find and return his Family Shield.
  • Romlyn Dreth: Black-Briar Meadery, Riften – Bring the Black-Briar Mead Keg to Ivarstead and give it to Wilhelm.
  • ScoutsMany-Marshes: Argonian Assemblage, Windhelm – Talk to Torbjorn Shatter-Shield about the Argonian dock workers.
  • Sondas Drenin: Goldenrock Mine, Darkwater Crossing, Eastmarch – Give his note to Quintus Navale.
  • Sorex Vinius: Winking Skeever, Solitude – Bring kegs of rum to Falk Firebeard at the Blue Palace.
  • Stenvar: Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm – Hire him.
  • Torvar: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ story arc.
  • Vilkas: Jorrvaskr, Whiterun – Complete the Companions’ story arc.
  • Vorstag: Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth – Hire him.
  • Wilhelm: Vilemyr Inn, Ivarstead, The Rift – Investigate and complete Shroud Hearth Barrow.

For more marriage fun, don’t forget to check out some of the best mods in Skyrim downloadable from the main screen.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

What Is Windows 365 Cloud PC? Here’s How It Works

You’re probably familiar with using Windows on a computer you own, but Microsoft recently announced a new way to enjoy Windows. In August, Microsoft started offering Windows as a cloud service via Microsoft Cloud and Microsoft 365. Think of it as streaming Windows like how you stream Netflix.

This is mainly designed for enterprise and business users, which is why the service is appropriately named Windows 365 Cloud PC. Interested? Here’s a look at everything you need to know about Windows 365 Cloud PC.

Price

Microsoft

Windows 365 Cloud PC is an add-on for Microsoft 365 plans. It’s not a consumer service and is only available for organizations of two sizes under Microsoft 365 Business plans. You can either choose Windows 365 Business or Windows 365 Enterprise. The first option is for organizations with 300 or fewer employees, and the second, for more than 300.

When it comes to price, Windows 365 for Business and Enterprise starts at $20 per user per month. That is for Cloud PC with a single-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Windows 365 Enterprise, meanwhile, starts at $20 per user per month. That includes a machine with a single-core CPU and 2GB of RAM. The price can go as high as $162 per month for an eight-core CPU with 32GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

Full pricing details are available on Microsoft’s website. Various plans cover various amounts of RAM and storage. All plans are fixed and renew each month on a subscription basis.

Features and performance

Windows 365 Cloud PC is mainly designed around the needs of temporary and seasonal workers and provides more ways to access Windows. The target audience for Windows 365 Cloud PC includes interns, contractors, and industrial designers.

Instead of depending on using company-owned PCs, these folks will be able to use the service to stream a full virtual online version of Windows from the cloud to any device they already own. Basically, it is a way to access Windows from a web browser and a way for companies to avoid having to purchase separate devices for seasonal or temporary workers.

The service is available on all different devices via the web, such as Macs, iPads, and Android. (Linux support is coming soon.) Once a company signs up a worker, Windows 365 Cloud PC can be accessed by going to windows365.microsoft.com.

PowerBi running on Windows 10 via Cloud PC.
Microsoft

That same access is available regardless of if the host devices are budget-level or high-end. All of the processing power happens via the internet. Users of Windows 365 Cloud PC can install business apps, Microsoft 36 apps, and any other Windows app as they see fit. There are no limits.

Microsoft even says that Cloud PC has an instant-on and instant-boot experience. This means that you can pick up right where you left off, regardless of the state of the cloud PC, and even if your internet connection drops out.

IT admins have full control over Windows 365 Cloud PCs in the same way as controlling regular PCs. Deployment and management happen via Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and all it takes to get started is to assign licenses and groups to users via the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Note that Windows 365 Cloud PC will also come with a Windows 11 option later this year. The operating system is still under beta testing and isn’t yet final.

Other services

Windows 365 Cloud PC is mainly for enterprise and business users. However, there are some similar services available for consumers to try out.

One of those services is Shadow Cloud Computing, which lets you stream a gaming PC from the cloud. It’s priced at $30 per month.

Another is Paperspace, which lets you stream a PC on a per-hour basis. Microsoft hasn’t yet mentioned if Cloud PC will come to consumers, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Dead Space remake and reboot reportedly in the works

Last week, we heard a rather interesting rumor regarding a long-dormant EA franchise: Dead Space. Reports claiming that EA was looking to revive the Dead Space franchise started circulating, and now today, we’re hearing even more about EA’s plans. This new report is coming just a few weeks out from EA Play Live, a reveal event where EA is expected to announce this new project.

For those who may need a refresher, last week we saw a report from Eurogamer which claimed that EA Motive was working on reviving one of the company’s established IPs. Speculation, at the time, was that this established IP was Dead Space, and that speculation was based on statements made by GamesBeat’s Jeff Grubb in the past. Today, we’re circling back around to where it all started, with Grubb himself revealing new details about this Dead Space revival.

For GamesBeat, Grubb writes that he can “confirm parts” of the reports published by both Eurogamer and Gematsu last week. Grubb’s report seems to suggest that not only will EA Motive bring back the Dead Space series with a remake of the original Dead Space game, but also that a new Dead Space game is in the works as well.

EA is apparently taking a page out of Capcom’s book here, following in the company’s footsteps after its successful Resident Evil 2 Remake. Grubb expects the remake to “use the original game as a strong foundation” but says that it will also likely have modern visuals along with gameplay mechanics that were found in Dead Space 2 and 3.

The Dead Space remake is apparently part of EA’s plan to supplement its live service business model with single-player games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. We will apparently learn more at EA Play Live on July 22nd, so we’ll let you know when more about this project is revealed.

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Game

Metroid Dread Has Been in the Works for 15 Years Now

Now that E3 2021 is officially over, it’s safe to say that Metroid Dread was the biggest shock of the show. Nintendo filled fans’ wildest dreams with the first original Metroid game in 19 years, which is a proper sequel to the Game Boy Advance title Metroid Fusion.

What some fans might not realize, though, is that Metroid Dread isn’t a brand-new title for Nintendo; it’s been in the works for 15 years.

During Nintendo’s Treehouse Live event following its Direct presentation, fans got a much deeper dive into the game with a gameplay demo and insight into its development history. Metroid Dread producer Yoshio Sakamoto explained that the original concept for the game was initially too ahead of its time to become a reality.

“Actually, the idea for Metroid Dread first came up about 15 years ago,” says Sakamoto during the video. “However, we gave up on the idea at the time, because we felt the technology back then just couldn’t properly bring the concept to life. We did have a chance to try again after that, but we felt like we still couldn’t create the game as originally imagined, so we ceased development at that point.”

That timeline tracks when looking back through news from the past decade. In 2005, IGN reported that Metroid Dread was featured on an internal list of software planned for the Nintendo DS. The game reportedly was shown behind the scenes at E3 2009 as a working prototype. However, that was really the last time anyone saw it.

The only other time we saw a reference to Metroid Dread was in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. A scannable piece of lore in the game reads, “Experiment status report update: Metroid project “Dread” is nearing the final stages of completion.” At the time, players were certain that it was a cheeky confirmation that the game was coming, but Retro Studios denied any connection. It even went as far as to change the text in the Japanese version to “The development of Dread-Class Turret is going well.”

According to Sakamoto, the project was only revived due to MercurySteam’s work on Metroid: Samus Returns, the Nintendo 3DS remake of Metroid 2. Sakamoto was impressed with the team’s work on the title and felt that their style was finally the right fit for Dread‘s ambitions.

“Technically, they’re very skilled. They also have great taste,” says Sakamoto. “But more than anything, they have an incredible understanding of Metroid games. I was confident that partnering with this wonderful team would finally allow us to bring Metroid Dread to life.”

Metroid Dread is coming to Nintendo Switch on October 8.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Xbox Cloud Gaming TV stick and smart TV apps officially in the works

The Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase is undoubtedly one of the biggest shows happening at E3 this year, but before that goes down on Sunday, Microsoft has given us an update on all things Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass was a major focus for Microsoft in the latter half of the previous generation and continues to be a big focus as we head deeper into the new generation. It seems that it’s about to come to a lot more devices and screens as well.

In a post to Xbox Wire today, Microsoft detailed some new initiatives for Xbox Game Pass that will help it become more ubiquitous. Microsoft started off with a rather big reveal, saying that it’s working with TV manufacturers around the world to “embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller.” So, it sounds like a Game Pass TV app is on the way, and it’ll tap into cloud gaming just like Android devices currently do.

In addition, Microsoft says that it’s building “its own streaming devices for cloud gaming,” with the goal being to let anyone play games through Game Pass regardless of what kind of TV or monitor they have and without the need for a console. Microsoft has hinted in the past that these devices could take the form of a streaming stick, so don’t be surprised if that’s among the lineup when Microsoft reveals its slate of cloud gaming hardware.

These efforts go further than working with TV manufacturers to develop a smart TV app and rolling out streaming devices, as Microsoft also says that it will be exploring different subscriptions for Xbox Game Pass so that players can “experience the most immersive and fun games across devices, geographies, and financial realities.”

Of course, for these plans to take off, Microsoft needs to roll out cloud gaming in more regions around the world, and it’s doing just that, announcing that cloud gaming will be available through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate later this year in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan. It sounds like we can expect some big things for Xbox Game Pass in the near future, so we’ll keep you updated as these plans start to come to fruition.

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Tech News

Apple AirTag update aims to settle stalking fear plus Android app in works

Apple plans to update AirTags to speed up warnings for people who may not know they’re being tracked, while an Android app is now in the works to bring improved alerts to non-iPhone users. Launched earlier this year, AirTags are Apple’s long-rumored entry into the personal tracker market, intended to help find keys, bags, and other items. However concerns were voiced about the potential privacy implications.

The coin-shaped trackers are designed to be hunted down via the Find My app on iPhone and other Apple devices. With the most recent iPhone models, that includes a directional arrow to point in the correct direction, taking advantage of Ultra Wideband radio. Meanwhile by anonymously checking in with their location via other Apple devices in the wild, the Find My network in general helps locate missing items beyond Bluetooth range.

While reviews – ours included – generally praised AirTags for their ease of use and convenience, worries about how the trackers could be used nefariously also spread. As launched, AirTags will play noises after potentially being used to track someone else for three days. That way, if someone slips the tracker into your bag or pocket, you’d get an audible tone to bring it to your attention.

Three days, though, struck many as too long, and now Apple is tweaking that. The company plans to make the AirTag “ring” at a random time between 8 and 24 hours, Apple told CNET.

Meanwhile, there’ll also be an Android app, which Apple says it plans to release later in the year. It’ll bring features that at present are iPhone-exclusive, like pop-up notifications that an unregistered AirTag is nearby. Without that, Android users have to wait until the AirTag makes a noise before they may spot it.

It’s unclear what other functionality the AirTag app for Android will have, and whether it’ll only be designed to flag a rogue tracker. Currently, there’s no way for Android users to pinpoint an AirTag as iPhone users can. However by tapping a found tracker against an NFC reader on a phone, a webpage showing contact details for the person it belongs to can be shown if the AirTag has been registered as lost.

Beyond that, the same security and privacy settings remain as before: the identifying codes for AirTags are rotated frequently, and even if your iPhone or other Apple device is used to help log an AirTag in the wild to the Find My network, you won’t know it’s happening. Similarly, those searching for their AirTag won’t see if it’s your device that was closest to it last, so that it could check in. Existing AirTags will begin getting the new software update from today, with the firmware being pushed out automatically when they’re in range of an iPhone.

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