AMD Release New Crimson Edition Drivers & Control Centre

AMD have released a rather large change to it’s graphics drivers, and the Catalyst suite, replacing them with the new Radeon Crimson Edition software. This also includes AMD’s yearly major drive update, replacing the previous major update “Catalyst Omega” which added several new features.

So what’s new in Crimson Edition?

Well – quite a lot actually, the crimson edition software and drivers have taken into account community bug reports, fixing the top 10 bugs reported by the community. The stability is greatly increased over the Omega series of drivers, with greater testing done on various hardware, both manually in a real world situation, and by stress testing via automated programs.

So that covers stability, but there are many new performance and efficiency options, with game specific optimisations built in, directx 12 optimisation, power saving optimisation and frame rate improvements.

The software application itself also incorporates a shader cache for improved game loading, with less stuttering. custom resolution support, and additional features for OpenCL 2.0.

The UI has an all new look, faster startup times (Remember the slow loading of the older Catalyst Control Panel?!)

The optimisation options for gaming do produce some decent results, with SW: Battlefront loading almost 35% faster with AMD’s Shader Cache enabled.

We observed performance improvements across the board with various games we tested, the improvements aren’t going to change your life, or how you play, but they are certainly noticeable.

The new look is sleek, mondern, and places AMD well to increase quality across the brand.

Our conclusion: Update – the changes are worth the time required to complete the updates.

AMD affected by Windows 10 Update

Microsoft are in the process of rolling out the first major update release for Windows 10, and it is having some unexpected effects.

The update began rolling out last week, and we have since had many reports that the update is removing programs from user’s systsmes without any prior warning, and without permission.

Whilst the update itself is supposed to boost performance, improve Xbox compatibility, and enhance Microsoft’s Cortana, it appears to be removing third party hardware management programs – users have been reporting that CPU-Z and Speccy have been removed from their systems without any sort of notification, but more worryingly, AMD’s Catalyst Center has also been removed.

AMD’s Catalyst Center is the main control panel for AMD Radeon graphics cards used in many PC and laptop systems across the globe, and are a popular choice with gamers.

Users in the Windows 10 Subreddit over at Reddit have been taking to their keyboards to express their unhappiness at Microsoft’s latest actions.

Whilst most users seem happy that potentially incompatible programs would be disabled, almost all posters seemed to agree that removing programs without warning was not acceptable.

Microsoft have made it known from day one that Windows 10 updates would not be optional for home users, and that potentially dangerous software would be removed, and with this being the first major update to Windows 10, is this a sign of things to come?

Whilst we don’t have a problem with dangerous programs being removed, we have to question the motives behind it, and what exactly constitutes a dangerous program, because we’re fairly certain that AMD’s Catalyst Control Panel isn’t dangerous.

Whether Microsoft intend to continue down this path, or at least notify users of any potential conflicts with programs prior to removing them is yet to be seen, but with their intention to roll out Windows 10 to all Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems which have updates enabled in the next 12 months, the market share of Windows 10, and the number of affected users will certainly be larger.

Have you been affected by the recent Windows 10 update? What programs were removed for you? Let us know in the comments.

Digital Marketing – Taking The Internet By Storm

One of the most influential and emerging technology related strategies to burst onto the scene, and be in use all major online businesses, is SEO .

So what do we know about SEO?

It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and there are some incredible web applications developed for use in this industry, three of which we’ll cover in this article.

Majestic.com & Moz.com

These platform are built with the sole purpose of emulation. Emulation of what exactly? Google’s famous PR, or Page Rank, scoring system which is the measurement of a website’s authority and trust in the eyes of Google itself.

So up until a few years ago, anyone could check the PR score for any website as Google published the API for the database to be queried, and it really did emphasise how respected Google viewed the site itself.

This metric has since been rescinded from public consumption and is used only internally at Google itself.

Due to this, third party platforms such as Majestic.com, Moz.com & Ahrefs.com have developed their own metrics to measure the authority and trust of a website, trying to emulate as closely as possible Google’s PR framework.

With Moz.com’s Open Site Explorer – you can check many Moz based metrics but primarily there are two that marketers the world over look at. Domain Authority (DA) & Page Authority (PA).

These metrics take valuable information from the Moz.com database and assign a score to a web property based on various factors, including but not limited to, backlinks and social signals.

Majestic.com’s primary Metrics are Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF). Both these metrics compile a score focused on various components in their database such as topical relevance and referring domains.

Inside the world of Digital Marketing and SEO in general, those two platforms are routinely used by experts focused on building relationships with influencers in the niche specific industry they are currently working on as it gives them the flexibility to build a network of high value individuals and influencers for content syndication purposes.

Majestic.com’s Trust Flow and Moz.com’s Domain Authority are the two most used metrics in the SEO industry today and this is unlikely to change.

Both of these applications have free accounts, intermediate accounts and professional accounts for all their user’s needs and when in that game – are absolutely crucial.

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The Big Thing This Christmas

Balance Board, Smart Scooter, Hover Board, Smart Wheel, Swegway, whatever you want to call them, the Swegway Smart Scooter is this year’s must-have Christmas Present.

Surprisingly, many of the large chain stores have chosen not to stock these, whether this is going to be the case come December, we can’t be sure, but we’ve managed to get hold of one, and we can certainly see what the hype is all about.

Riding the hoverboard (We tested Swegway Ireland’s carbon black smart wheel) was fairly easy, although it takes a few minutes to get used to the feeling from the self balancing mechanism, we were sure we were going to fall off initially, but that seemed to be due to lack of confidence. Once we got used to riding around our office, we soon figured out little tricks to keep speed around corners, and squeeze through small spaces.

Now, the reason we feel these are such a big deal and are going to be hard to get hold of, is because of the age range they suit – we’re fully grown adults and can happily scoot around on these great little gadgets, but we wanted to know if adults are the only market, so I took one home with me at the end of the day and let my siblings have ago.

My younger sister (13) loved it, and we all know how fussy teenagers can be, she spent a good half hour playing around on it, even the neighbours had a go, they run a paving firm so there was a good four or five lads testing it out before the inevitable happened – no, she didn’t fall off, the battery went flat! I hadn’t charged it since our earlier office escapade, so we popped it on charge for a few hours and then I gave my younger brother a go – he’s 9, and it’s a judgement call on your behalf whether or not you would buy one for your child at this age – I would say it depends on how sensible they are, you can build up a little bit of speed (around 15km/h) so falling off was a worry, however he got on just fine.

So this Christmas I can certainly imagine these being under a lot of Christmas trees, whether they’ll be for the adults in the family or the children, that’s up to you, but hours and hours of fun can be had by all ages, young or old, boy or girl, one size fits all.

These smart scooters come in a range of colours, the Swegway guys in Dublin which provided ours sell them in Black, Red, Blue, White, Green and Gold – so there’s something to suit everyone.

We’d recommend getting yours as soon as possible so you aren’t disappointed, as we can imagine stock will go fast!

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Android Dominating the TV Market?

Android has been going from strength to strength as an operating system, powering smartphones, netbooks and tablet PCs, but did you know, it is now also powering our TVs?

The latest TV technology has seen many of the big suppliers move to Android as the TVs base software, meaning you can run Android apps such as those you run on your smartphone, on your TV.

That may not sound like much, until you think of applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Kodi or XBMC which opens up a whole new world of TV viewing. Whether you like to watch TV boxsets, or catch up on your favourite soap operas, or like to watch sporting events, Android will really change the way you use your TV, and do away with the need for costly TV subscriptions.

That’s all very well for those of you who have the latest and greatest TV set, but what about those of you who have an older TV set which doesn’t run on Android, or perhaps isn’t even a Smart TV?

Well there’s good news – Almost any TV set is capable of using a Smart TV Box, Kodi TV boxes, also known as Smart TV Boxes or Android TV boxes plug into your TV via HDMI or AV cable, and run the Android operating system – think of it as an Android mini PC, and your TV as the monitor – these turn your TV set into a Smart TV for a relatively small cost and will allow you to do everything the latest Android Smart TVs do, without purchasing a new TV.

So you’ve got a new Android TV, or bought yourself a shiny new Android TV Box, what can you use it for?

Well now that your TV (or smart TV box) is running Android, you can think of it almost like a giant tablet PC – you can install games or other apps from Google’s Play app, apps like Kodi and XBMC which allow you to install hundreds of different addons to let you watch different types of content, Netflix, so you can watch your favourite shows back to back – everybody loves a good Netflix and chill session!

We have a game controller for our Smart TV Box which allows us to run emulator software to play all of our favourite games from yesteryear (Although it’s important to note, we own the games we play, and the console they belong to, it simply saves us digging them out from under the stairs!)

So – With Androids evolution into the TV market, your TV is will now be a full featured streaming media device, a games console, and a PC all in one!

Oxford Dictionary’s Word Of The Year Is A… Well, It’s NOT A Word!

Over the past few years we’ve seen many of the latest words make it as the “word of the year”, with “Selfie” making it in 2013, and last year we had “Vape” – Not a problem, they were with the times, and we can see how they became the word of the year, but this year we have the good old crying with laughter emoji (remember when we called them emoticons?!) which we’re sure gets plenty of use, but lets be honest.. It’s just not a WORD!

We can sort of see where they are coming from – 2015 has been a big year in the world of emojis, with racially diverse emojis being added to many popular platforms and apps, iOS to name one.

Give it a try – a long press on the thumbs up in Whatsapp will give you a selection of skin tones to choose from, and it’s not only the thumbs up emoji – give some of the others a try too.

So what exactly is the word of the year?

Oxford dictionary have stated that their word of the year “is a word or expression that we can see has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Every year, candidates for Word of the Year are debated and one is eventually chosen that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”

So what other words have been used a lot in 2015 that could have taken the Word Of The Year spot? The actual Oxford Dictionary shortlist included;

  • Refugee – with the current syrian crisis and the increasing number of refugee news, we feel this would be a good contender
  • On Fleek – Lets ignore the fact that this is in fact 2 words (the winner isn’t a word, after all) – this one is a pet hate of ours, I’d shortlist this for a “Worst word of the year” list!
  • Ad Blocker – again this is multiple words, and is certainly something which has increased in popularity over the past few years
  • Dark Web – Again, something that is much discussed, but not necessarily something Oxford Dictionary would want to draw attention to.

Other contenders included “lumbersexual”, “brexist” and “sharing economy”

So there we have it folks, 2015’s Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year is not a word at all, it is the crying with laughter face emoji! What do you think next years WOTY will be? Let us know in the comments!