Tomlia Services > 2018 > July

Massive Nvidia gaming laptop deals mark the start of Back to School season

Nvidia has partnered with several laptop makers and retailers to deliver to you some of the most affordable gaming laptops ever issued. The deals come at the perfect time: Back to School season, giving you at least a month of solid PC gaming before the boring stuff begins again.While there are several major discounts going on between now and July 31 in the US, there are few especially notable ones that we’ve highlighted below, with easy links to where to buy. Just don’t expect to see mega-powerful gaming laptops at huge discounts – it’s the ones that already start low where you’ll find the most attractive deals.

Remember, all of these deals and the countless others on the various retailer websites expire on July 31. Also, if you’re holding out for an even better deal, we’re told that Best Buy will sell the Acer Nitro 5 gaming laptop for just $599 – or possibly even less – starting July 27. Even if you’re looking to get a head start on your holiday shopping for that one special gamer in your life, you might not find price cuts this deep come even Black Friday 2018.
These are the best laptops the world over

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Civilization VI is the latest big game to remove controversial advert analytics software

The latest patch for Civilization VI has stripped out the game’s Red Shell software, a controversial product that tracks the ads which the user has viewed outside of the game.Red Shell has previously been branded as ‘spyware’ in some quarters, and it works by taking a fingerprint of the user’s PC when they view an advert, and when they subsequently install a game carrying the software, it similarly takes a fingerprint, trying to match those up.In other words, it’s hoovering up this data to try and determine whether players have been persuaded to make their game purchase by viewing an advert, in order to determine a marketing campaign’s success (or lack of it).The spotlight was shone on the system last month, and since then, a number of games carrying Red Shell have had it removed, including the Total War franchise, Conan Exiles, and The Elder Scrolls Online, among others. Civilization VI is the latest big-name title to ditch the software.Part of the controversial nature, and accusations of the software being spyware, revolve around users being unaware of this monitoring going on, and failing to be given a choice as to whether it occurs.
Shelling out
For its part, the makers of Red Shell insist that a minimum amount of data is required to perform their ‘marketing attribution’ (tracking) – specifically the device’s “operating system, installed browsers, screen resolution, available fonts, IP address, timezone, and system language” – and that data is encrypted and stored with an in-game user ID (which is anonymized; i.e. it carries no personal or identifying details).The company has a full FAQ explaining its activities to gamers, which you can view here.However, it’s not surprising that the software has provoked the reaction we’ve seen, and the fact that game publishers are swiftly dropping Red Shell tells its own story.As Rock Paper Shotgun, which spotted this development, points out, you can opt out of Red Shell tracking on the developer’s website here.Meanwhile, the more positive news for the latest Civilization VI patch is that it enables cross-platform multiplayer for PC and Mac.
These are the best strategy games for PC and Mac

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Business is booming for Microsoft, and even Bing is doing well

Microsoft has announced its fourth quarter earnings, and the numbers look good. Really good. According to Microsoft, it earned a net income of $8.9 billion and a revenue of $30.1 billion for the quarter, which ended on June 30. This brings the total revenues for the fiscal year to a mightily-impressive $110.4 billion.These results are up 17% year-over-year, and many people will see this as a vindication of CEO Satya Nadella’s renewed focus on hardware and cloud services.In a press release accompanying the news, Nadella said: “We had an incredible year, surpassing $100 billion in revenue as a result of our teams’ relentless focus on customer success and the trust customers are placing in Microsoft […] Our early investments in the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are paying off, and we will continue to expand our reach in large and growing markets with differentiated innovation.”
Results breakdown
Microsoft’s More Personal Computing business continues to be the main driver for revenues, earning $10.8 billion and up 17% year-over-year. This included Windows OEM revenue, which increased by 7%, and OEM pro revenue growing by 14%. This is the money Microsoft makes from PC and laptop builders selling devices with Windows installed.Microsoft Office also had a good year with Office 365 commercial revenue growing by 38%. The revenue brought in by Surface products was up 25%, and gaming had a healthy 39% increase.Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes, which includes Office, Dynamics and LinkedIn, had a revenue increase of 13%.Even Bing, Microsoft’s search engine that most people consider a bit of a flop when compared to Google, did well, growing 17% year on year in the fourth financial quarter of 2018.As more people used Bing, the search revenue (excluding traffic acquisition costs) also grew, so it looks like things are moving in the right direction.These results will surely make Microsoft happy, and it’s now an $800 billion company. It’s still a fair bit behind its competitors Apple, Amazon and Google, but things seem to be looking up for Microsoft after some rough years.
Microsoft unveils new features for Bing in bid to make you switch from Google
Via Thurrot.com

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Cisco reveals $100m investment in UK AI

Cisco has announced a major investment into the UK’s AI scene.The networking giant has revealed a $100m (£77m) commitment that includes a new partnership with University College London (UCL) aimed at creating one of the world’s largest AI research centres.The facility will house between 200 and 250 masters students and researchers looking to take on some of the biggest AI industry challenges, as well as continue Cisco’s 30-year relationship with UCL.“It’s wonderful to renew our partnership with Cisco and work together to upskill the UK in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said UCL provost Professor Michael Arthur. “I’m particularly looking forward to opening the new AI Centre in the coming months to position us as a sector leader in computer science.”
Cisco UK AI investment
AI is forecast to add an estimated £630bn to the UK economy by 2035, and the launch has the support of the Prime Minister, who after meeting Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, called the announcement, “welcome news””Developments like this will help with our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution,” she added.The launch forms part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration for the UK, as it looks to support the growing digitalisation across the nation.Alongside the new UCL facility, Cisco is also launching a digital inclusion program for the elderly, and supporting green energy and transport projects.“Technology is permeating everything we do, not only opening up new markets, but creating more opportunities for individuals, businesses, and countries,” said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco.”Cisco is committed to driving innovation in the UK and to our continued partnership with the UK government through our Country Digital Acceleration programme. We believe that the UK’s expertise in AI and its commitment to making sure future innovators have the right digital skills will help ensure the nation’s citizens are well-positioned to capture the opportunity ahead.”
What is AI? Everything you need to know here

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