These Halo condoms from 2004 were probably great for co-op play

Simpler, more cringy times in video game marketing.

Video game marketing has certainly come a long way. From the cringy edge of the 90s to overly masculine promos in the 00s, the difference in tone between then and now couldn’t be starker.

Marketers go to comedic lengths to get noticed, slapping a logo on anything and everything in a bid to get your eyeballs. Xbox’s marketing certainly did something unique to promote Halo 2 back in 2004, with these mint-condition (albeit, most likely perished) Halo condoms, emblazoned with “it’s good to play together.” It’s almost romantic. Kinda.

This ones Extremely Rare?.The Official @xbox #halo2 Promotional Condom as featured in a #343i video on YouTube. I only know of 1 other in collectors hands. This ones New in box ??#xbox #promo #halo #bungie #xboxplaymore #retrogaming pic.twitter.com/u8ASWiWvVS— ???? COLLECTOR ??????? (@GameboxUkv) August 30, 2021

As shared by collector GameBoxUKV on Twitter, these (thankfully un-used) Halo condoms are “extremely rare” according to the account and even have their own little box sleeve. The packet reads “coming soon,” which can be taken either way, I suppose.

All things considered, for many, Halo is perhaps not the most erotic thing in the world. If you whipped out these bad boys after a date I’m not confident they would enhance the mood. Maybe that is by design. If you found your amorous aspirations rejected owing to these particularly cringy contraceptives, chances are you’d have more time to play video games and pad those Xbox Live engagement numbers. I see exactly what you were going for there, Microsoft. Smart play.

Halo 2 launched all the way back in 2004, making me feel incredibly old. The sixth installment, Halo Infinite, will launch on December 9, 2021. And in all likelihood, will probably not have promotional contraceptives. But hey, crazier things have happened.

These Halo condoms from 2004 were probably great for co-op play

Halo: MCC Season 8 lets Spartans look like a Skyrim character

They’re really going all out, huh?

In a new blog post, the developers at 343 Industries showed off some of some of the new armor sets coming to Halo: MCC in Season 8 (officially dubbed “Mythic”), and they’re quite, uh…interesting.

The developers wanted to draw inspiration from ancient civilizations and mythology for Season 8: Mythic, and as such, almost every single armor set being added in Season 8 looks like it has no place being in a Halo game. Some of the armors include Norse mythology sets that look straight out of a Skyrim playthrough, Greek hoplite helmets complete with ornate red crests, and face-shaped helmets reminiscent of protection worn by Roman legionaries. There are also some very edgy skull helmets, including one particularly comical set that basically lets you cosplay as Taskmaster from Black Widow. Have a look at some of the armors below:

According to the developers, the armor sets will be available for Halo 3 customization only, although it was noted that each armor set’s helmet will also be usable in Halo: Reach. In terms of how to obtain these cosmetics, It’s likely that these armors will be unlocked by completing the Halo: MCC Season 8 Battle Pass (free to all players), as this is how players have had to unlock new items in the past. Players can progress through the Battle Pass by playing matches and completing challenges.

Overall, what do you think of the upcoming armor sets? Are you looking forward to trying them out when the Halo: MCC Season 8 flight begins next week? Let me know. Personally, I think most of these armor sets are completely outlandish and downright ridiculous. That’s arguably the point, sure, but I still dislike them. Thankfully, there’s a toggle that you can use in the MCC to visibly replace cosmetics like these with default Spartans.

If you don’t have the MCC, I highly recommend getting it as it combines all of the pre-Xbox One Halo games into one and upgrades them with modern features like UHD 4K support, 120 FPS support, adjustable FOV, and more for just $40. This makes it one of the best Xbox One shooters available, and a game that you definitely shouldn’t overlook. On PC, the game has been played by over 10 million people, making it one of the most popular sci-fi games on the platform right now.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox One)
$40 at Microsoft (PC)
$40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft
$60 at Amazon
$60 at Best Buy
$60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can’t wait for the full release.

Halo: MCC Season 8 lets Spartans look like a Skyrim character

WinZip is expanding its roster of Windows productivity apps in a big way

The WinZip productivity universe grows.

What you need to know

WinZip is expanding its brand.
It’ll still be a go-to option for compression, sharing, and encryption purposes.
A multitude of sibling WinZip apps are here to enhance productivity across different sectors.

File management was just the beginning. WinZip is expanding its reach to cover image management, PDF creation, and backing up data. The functionalities are multitudinous in the new era of WinZip 26 Pro.

In a big press release, WinZip broke down exactly what interested consumers should expect from the new features that expand upon “WinZip’s legendary file compression, file sharing and encryption.” Here are a few of the highlights: Streamlined file sharing processes, Personal Cloud NAS Drive support, and Windows Environmental Strings support. But features are the tip of the iceberg; WinZip has entirely new apps on the way as well for its WinZip Pro customers.

WinZip PDF Express: Create PDF files from any document and export a PDF to a Word or image file. Reorder, add or delete pages, or watermark pages from any PDF file, plus combine multiple file formats like Excel, JPG, Word and more into a single PDF. When the PDF is ready, use the power of the integrated WinZip Share Express to secure and share the file in one easy step to one or many locations. Take advantage of AES 256-bit encryption to protect sensitive data.
WinZip Image Manager: Manage, share and confidently secure photo files, all in one dedicated app. Easily convert formats, rotate, resize and crop one or multiple images. For increased security, users can remove camera information, EXIF data, including camera exposure, date/time the image was captured, as well as GPS coordinates.
WinZip Secure Backup: Benefit from simple, powerful backup routines and keep your important data secure. Save an encrypted copy of local or cloud data anywhere for an additional layer of security. This lightweight yet powerful engine, which includes file duplication detection, addresses the needs of consumers and businesses alike.

In short, if you like the core WinZip experience but feel it could use a bit more utility, your (un)spoken requests have been answered.

File management

WinZip 26 Pro

$49.95 at WinZip

Get zipping

Want all of WinZip’s new features, apps, and whatever else the company might be planning to throw into its already expansive bundle package? In that case, WinZip 26 Pro is the option for you.

WinZip is expanding its roster of Windows productivity apps in a big way

Enjoy LinkedIn Stories until they go away in September

By the end of September, Stories will be no more.

What you need to know

LinkedIn Stories was introduced in 2020.
It’s now being eliminated.
It will be gone by the end of September 2021.

LinkedIn seems to have realized it misread its audience with the introduction of the Stories feature last year, hence why it’s nixing the feature this September, a year after launch.

Liz Li, the senior director of product at LinkedIn, took to the professional social media site to write a blog discussing the end of Stories, essentially outlining why LinkedIn feels it failed while also asking for feedback on future endeavors. Here’s one passage from the post, wherein Li details what separates the LinkedIn crowd from the Snapchatters and Insta-fans of the world:

You wish videos could live on your profile, not disappear. In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile, and that ephemerality would reduce barriers that people feel about posting. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise.

The rest of the post is similar in nature. Whatever LinkedIn tries next, then, is unlikely to imitate other social media apps quite as closely, given that they cater to different audiences than the core following that keeps LinkedIn going.

As to what the “next” storytelling product or feature will be, that’s where feedback comes in. Li’s post emphasizes the need for LinkedIn members to make their voices heard, so if you want to get your two cents in, now’s the time. The post is already filled with comments suggesting everything from Stories overhauls to entirely new features ideas, so adding your favorite idea into the mix can’t hurt.

Enjoy LinkedIn Stories until they go away in September

AMD has a bunch of new Ryzen 5000 Mobile CPUs. Which one is best for you?

AMD Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors are available in plenty of laptops. Which one is right for you?

AMD unveiled its Ryzen 5000 Mobile processors (CPU) at CES 2021, complementing its Ryzen 5000 Desktop chips unveiled late 2020. Like the Ryzen 4000 Mobile CPUs before, Ryzen 5000 Mobile is split into H-series and U-series options. The former chips are meant for gaming and creator laptops, while the latter chips are meant for thin, light laptops with snappy performance and long battery life.

There are quite a few different CPUs in each series, and we’re expecting them to show up in the best Windows laptop options out there. Buying the right one for your needs can be difficult. We break things down here to ensure you’re getting the right hardware for the task at hand.

AMD Ryzen PRO 5000 Mobile CPUs, announced March 16, 2021, are included in the list. These chips go head-to-head with Intel’s Core vPro CPUs. Read on to see exactly why they’re an important part of AMD’s Mobile landscape.

AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series Mobile CPUs

Laptops with AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series CPUs are widely available, and we’ll focus on the more powerful hardware first. These CPUs are closer to AMD’s desktop hardware than the U-series options.

AMD splits its H-series Ryzen Mobile processors into three categories, much like Intel does with its Core line. Whereas there are Ryzen 3 chips in the lower-powered U-series line, H-series is meant for gaming and creating, so AMD starts with a Ryzen 5 and goes up to a Ryzen 9.

Ryzen 5 — 6 cores, 12 threads
Ryzen 7 — 8 cores, 16 threads
Ryzen 9 — 8 cores, 16 threads

AMD has built these CPUs with a 7nm process. They have a TDP starting at 35W with the Ryzen 5 5600HS and they go up to 45W+ with the Ryzen 9 5980HX. Let’s take a closer look at these CPUs that are only available in laptops.

AMD Ryzen 5 5000 H-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP

AMD Ryzen 5 5600HS
6
12
3.0GHz (4.2GHz)
19MB
7nm
35W

AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
6
12
3.3GHz (4.2GHz)
19MB
7nm
45W

There are two Ryzen 5 CPUs in this class: Ryzen 5 5600HS and Ryzen 5 5600H. Each has six cores and 12 threads, and a base clock speed of 4.2GHz. However, the “HS” version has a lower 35W TDP compared to a 45W TDP in the “H” version. Expect to see the 5600HS in gaming laptops that go for the thin and light look.

Bottom line: Ryzen 5 H-series CPUs are an excellent jumping-off point for gamers and creators who aren’t looking to push their systems to the absolute maximum. They cost less, and they should be a great choice for the average gamer or creator.

AMD Ryzen 7 5000 H-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP

AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS
8
16
2.8GHz (4.4GHz)
20MB
7nm
35W

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
8
16
3.2GHz (4.4GHz)
20MB
7nm
45W

Ryzen 7 5000 CPUs are where most people will settle. There are two options: the Ryzen 7 5800HS and the Ryzen 5800H — each with eight cores and 16 threads. Again, the “HS” version comes in at a lower 35W TDP, while the “H” version hits a higher 45W TDP.

These CPUs will handle just about any modern game, and they’ll put up a strong fight against intensive design and development software. The extra cores over the Ryzen 5 chips make them better for multitasking, and they likewise have a higher boost clock speed.

Bottom line: Ryzen 7 H-series CPUs should be the right choice for most people with a little bit more money to spend. They’re going to deliver high-end gaming and creating performance, and they cost less than Ryzen 9.

AMD Ryzen 9 5000 H-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
8
16
3.0GHz (4.6GHz)
20MB
7nm
35W

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
8
16
3.3GHz (4.6GHz)
20MB
7nm
45W+

AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS
8
16
3.0GHz (4.8GHz)
20MB
7nm
35W

AMD Ryzen 9 5980HX
8
16
3.3GHz (4.8GHz)
20MB
7nm
45W+

The Ryzen 9 5000 H-series lineup has the most entries at four total. The Ryzen 9 5900HS and the Ryzen 9 5900HX are the more standard CPUs, with 35W and 45W+ respectively. Yes, the “HX” version can draw more power as needed for better performance, and it should be reserved for larger laptops. The “HS” version is again reserved for thin and light notebooks.

There are also Ryzen 9 5980HS and Ryzen 9 5980HX CPUs, each with eight cores and 16 threads. These deliver a higher boost clock for improved performance, and they’re also pegged at the same 35W and 45W+ TDP.

Bottom line: Ryzen 9 CPUs are reserved for the most powerful laptops out there. The 5900HS and 5900HX should cost less than the 5980 counterparts, but all will deliver top-end performance for gamers and creators who want to push their system to the next level.

AMD Ryzen 5000 U-series Mobile CPUs

AMD splits its U-series Ryzen CPUs into three different categories, starting with the Ryzen 3 and moving up to the Ryzen 7. These entries mirror Intel’s Core series, and you can expect them to compare in terms of appropriate workload and performance. There are also PRO versions of the Ryzen U-series chips, which we cover in the next section.

Ryzen 3 — 4 cores, 8 threads
Ryzen 5 — 6 cores, 12 threads
Ryzen 7 — 8 cores, 16 threads

Whereas the Ryzen 5000 H-series CPUs are all based on the new Zen 3 architecture, not all Ryzen 5000 U-series CPUs are the same. The lone Ryzen 3 and one each of the new Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 CPUs are still using the Zen 2 architecture, as we’ll see below. These will still perform well, but they do have a smaller cache and overall less performance than their Zen 3 siblings.

AMD Ryzen 3 5000 U-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP
Architecture

AMD Ryzen 3 5300U
4
8
2.6GHz (3.8GHz)
6MB
7nm
15W
Zen 2

The Ryzen 3 5300U, based on the Zen 2 architecture, sits alone and should be reserved for low-impact work only. You should find it in budget laptops looking to keep cost down and performance modest.

Bottom line: The Ryzen 3 5300U is good for productivity work, like word processing, web browsing, and streaming. Heavy multitasking will cause problems.

AMD Ryzen 5 5000 U-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP
Architecture

AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
6
12
2.1GHz (4.0GHz)
8MB
7nm
15W
Zen 2

AMD Ryzen 5 5600U
6
12
2.3GHz (4.2GHz)
19MB
7nm
15W
Zen 3

Both Ryzen 5 chips have a 15W TDP with six cores and 12 threads, but only the 5600U uses the new Zen 3 architecture with a larger cache and better overall performance. Stick with the 5600U for the better buy in this regard.

Bottom line: The Ryzen 5 5000 U-series CPUs should be reserved for heavier work and even some light gaming. The six cores provide lots of power, yet they don’t cost as much as the Ryzen 7.

AMD Ryzen 7 5000 U-series CPUs

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP
Architecture

AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
8
16
1.8GHz (4.3GHz)
8MB
7nm
15W
Zen 2

AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
8
16
1.9GHz (4.4GHz)
20MB
7nm
15W
Zen 3

There are two U-series options here, with the Ryzen 7 5700U sticking with Zen 2 while the Ryzen 7 5800U moves up to the new Zen 3. These CPUs are cut out for heavy multitasking thanks to eight cores, and they’ll even handle a bit of gaming. Go with the Ryzen 7 5800U for best results thanks to the larger cache and better overall performance.

Bottom line: Those who are looking for a thin and light notebook with excellent performance should opt for the Ryzen 7. Extra cores and a higher boost clock mean more power compared to Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3, and they’re still set at a 15W TDP.

AMD Ryzen PRO 5000 Mobile CPUs

AMD has also announced Ryzen PRO 5000 Mobile CPUs for business-focused PCs. AMD focuses on unhindered productivity thanks to strong performance and long battery life, rigid security from multiple angles with AMD Shadow Stack, Secured Core PC, and FIPS 140-3 certification, and easy enterprise deployment and management with long-lasting durability.

These Ryzen PRO CPUs are technically included in the U-series lineup, and they compete with Intel Core vPro options. They’re all using the Zen 3 architecture, they’re all built on a 7nm node, and all have a 15W TDP. Following is a closer look at the specs of the three new Ryzen PRO 5000 CPUs.

CPU
Cores
Threads
Base/Boost Clock
Cache
Node
TDP
Architecture

AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 5450U
4
8
2.6GHz (4.0GHz)
10MB
7nm
15W
Zen 3

AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 5650U
6
12
2.3GHz (4.2GHz)
19MB
7nm
15W
Zen 3

AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U
8
16
1.9GHz (4.4GHz)
20MB
7nm
15W
Zen 3

AMD showed off numerous productivity benchmarks comparing the new Ryzen 7 PRO with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU with 28W TDP. In these tests, AMD pulls ahead or ties Intel’s CPU. We will have to test ourselves, but it’s clear AMD put a lot of effort into getting its PRO chips to another level of performance at the lower 15W TDP.

A similar performance tier exists here, with the Ryzen 3 PRO being an affordable CPU with modest performance, the Ryzen 5 PRO costing more and being the right choice for many people, and the Ryzen 7 PRO offering ultimate performance with enterprise features included.

Zen 3 architecture, which originally launched with desktop CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, has been refined for the mobile space. There is twice as much L3 cache as the Ryzen 4000 Mobile chips, and the L3 cache unification means it can be accessed by all cores.

With the work refining the 7nm process comes also extended battery life. We will again have to do our own testing, but AMD has provided some numbers based on MobileMark 2018’s battery rundown. The AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 3700U hit up to 7.2 hours while the Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U hit up to 16 hours. The Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U tops out at 17.5 hours.

Aside from performance and battery life, these new Ryzen chips bring AMD PRO technologies and assurances for easier business use. AMD lays out four major factors that will help compete with Intel vPro, including software stability planning, long-term availability, more intense quality control, and long-term validation.

Be sure to check out our collection of the best AMD Ryzen laptops for more great laptops using Team Red hardware. And if you’re interested in how AMD’s Ryzen desktop CPUs compare (including 5000G APUs), check out everything you need to know about AMD Ryzen 5000 processors.

AMD has a bunch of new Ryzen 5000 Mobile CPUs. Which one is best for you?

People can gamble for a chance to win Ryzen CPUs in Japan

People in Japan are paying for a chance to win a Ryzen Zen 2 CPU.

What you need to know

Vending machines in Japan give people a chance to win a Ryzen CPU.
It costs roughly $9 to enter, and people have a 1-in-30 chance to win a Ryzen Zen 2 chip.
None of AMD’s Ryzen Zen 3 chips appear to be available through the machines.

People desperate to get their hands on a new CPU have a unique option at retailers in Nagoya Japan. As spotted by a Twitter user called Nullpo (via Tom’s Hardware), some stores in Japan have vending machines that let people gamble for a chance to get a processor.

Despite how the machine looks, people can’t just select which item they want and receive it. Instead, it’s more like a lottery system. According to translated Twitter comments, people can purchase a ticket for 1,000 yen (around $9) and then have a chance to win different CPUs. The best CPU that seems to be available is a Zen 2 chip, which people have a 1-in-30 chance to win.

????????????Ryzen??????? pic.twitter.com/aklUzeS8VH— Nullpo(???) / Nanas (@Nullpo_x3100) August 27, 2021

The boxes in the machine are for some of the best CPUs, such as the Ryzen 5 5000 Zen 3 and Ryzen 5 3000 Zen 2, but you can’t actually win either of those processors. The boxes contain Zen and Zen 2 processors or Intel Athlon, Pentium, or Celeron chips. Hopefully that’s clearly stated, or people will be disappointed when they open up one of the boxes.

A video shows the machine in action. It begins with a person wearing a panda costume on their head but eventually shows someone trying to win a Ryzen CPU with the lottery vending machine.

Before you get concerned about CPUs dropping like candy bars, the design of the machine appears to gently carry them down to be collected.

People can gamble for a chance to win Ryzen CPUs in Japan

Motive Studios shares early Dead Space remake footage

A very early look at what to expect.

What you need to know

Motive Studios is working on a remake of the original Dead Space, a 2008 survival-horror game.
Motive shared some very early gameplay footage and renders from the remake in a stream.
The Dead Space remake is being developed for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and PS5.

Motive Studio shared some very early gameplay footage from the Dead Space remake in a stream on Tuesday. Creative director Roman Campos-Oriola and Senior Producer Phillippe Ducharme both stressed how early the footage was, while emphasizing the desire to communicate with fans and get the proper feedback. We’ve previously talked about being excited for the Dead Space remake, while acknowledging EA has a lot to prove and this stream gave a good early look at how the developers are treating the remake with care.

The horror aesthetic is being maintained, meaning this could end up being one of the best Xbox horror games available. The developers also showed a direct comparison with the original Dead Space, which you can see below:

The team also talked about improving combat in Dead Space. While dismemberment is a huge feature, there’s also a new “Peeling” system, that shows damage chipping away at limbs or portions of Necromorph bodies without the limb being fully severed, with the effect varying from weapon to weapon. You can see an early version of this peeling with the automatic Pulse Rifle below:

Flight mechanics, first introduced in Dead Space 2, are also coming to the remake, which you can see below:

Finally, the team shared that Gunner Wright, who voiced Isaac Clarke in Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3, is returning as the voice of Isaac Clarke, meaning this time around, Isaac has a voice during the events of the first game. The developers emphasized that Isaac will only talk when he is being talked to by other characters.

The Dead Space remake is currently in development for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PS5 and PC. No release date has been announced but it is rumored to be launching in 2022.

Developing…

Best of all worlds

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3 Month Subscription

$45 at Microsoft Store
$45 at Amazon
$45 at Best Buy

Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold in one

Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 200 games for one monthly fee. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also adds Xbox Live Gold to the package so you can play online with your friends. You also get access to EA Play.

Motive Studios shares early Dead Space remake footage

Black Panther's MCU suit is now available in Marvel's Avengers

You’ll have to level up your Black Panther another way if you didn’t do it already.

What you need to know

The latest patch for Marvel’s Avengers has been released on all platforms.
A number of fixes are included, such as ending the Black Panther leveling cheese and fixing the Nehanda’s gear piece.
Black Panther’s MCU suit is available from the marketplace as of this latest patch.
New multiplayer mission chains are available for daily and weekly rewards.

The latest patch for Marvel’s Avengers is here on all platforms and it’s not a particularly hefty download, though it does have a number of important components. I’ll start at the top: The Black Panther leveling cheese has been fixed as has his insanely high damage linked to the broken Nehanda’s chest piece. It’s hardly surprising, as anyone who’s already played the game will have been expecting it, but all is now as intended.

If you weren’t familiar, the first mission of the War for Wakanda expansion features Corrupted Vibranium shards which, when destroyed, give out rewards. It was quickly realized that you could easily cheese this by reloading the checkpoint and doing it over, and over, and over, and the gear was so good you could hit the 130 cap for drops in about an hour. Obviously, this isn’t how the game was intended to be played, so you’ll now only get drops on the first go. So if you were going to reset the campaign to get some leveling done, maybe try other methods using the Corrupted Vibranium instead.

In a recent developer stream a surprise was promised with the next patch, and it turns out that surprise is the MCU suit for Black Panther. What isn’t a surprise is that it’s an exotic outfit that’ll cost you 1400 credits in the marketplace like all the other MCU suits for the game’s heroes. Whether you’re wanting to drop the cash or not, it’s undeniable that it looks incredible.

There’s a lengthy postdetailing everything that’s fixed, and there’s plenty of little annoyances that should now be gone. As for newness, aside from the outfit to buy there are also now two new mission chains included with daily and weekly rewards. These focus on multiplayer and are a more interesting way to farm for resources.

New Multiplayer Mission Chains – We’re introducing 2 new mission chains that are focused on multiplayer. Rise and Shine is a Daily where you’ll need to complete a War Zone with at least one other player to get rewarded with Upgrade Modules, XP, and Fragments. Up for the Challenge is the weekly iteration of this with more objectives and will reward a Catalyst, Fragment Extractor, and Units.

For regular players, neither of these two new mission chains are going to require anything spectacular to complete, but they are a way to get extra resources every week, especially catalysts which are most useful if you need a little XP boost to help with some leveling. Especially since on September 2 the double XP event ends, as does the increased exotic rewards from the OLT and Mega Hive.

Marvel’s Avengers

$40 at Microsoft
$25 at Amazon

Now is the best time to give this game a chance

With next-gen upgrades and a ton of content to play, including the arrival of Black Panther and Wakanda soon, there has never been a better time to get into Marvel’s Avengers, which now might be one of the better Xbox games.

Black Panther's MCU suit is now available in Marvel's Avengers

Everything that rolled out to Microsoft Teams in August 2021

Another month is over, which means several features have rolled out to Microsoft Teams.

What you need to know

Microsoft released several new features for Teams in August 2021.
Presenters can now use a reporter mode which cuts out their background and places a presentation behind them.
Reading Progress rolled out to Teams for Education alongside other features.

Microsoft Teams is one of the company’s most actively developed apps. We cover many of its features as they roll out but at the end of each month Microsoft rounds up everything that’s new in a convenient post. Here’s the complete list of new features and capabilities in Teams from Microsoft.

Meetings & webinars

The new reporter mode is the standout feature for Teams meetings and webinars this month. The feature cuts the background out behind a presenter and places content next to them. As the name suggests, this setup looks like someone presenting news on TV.

Here’s everything that’s new for meetings and webinars:

Reporter and Side-by-Side options in Presenter Mode for desktop and window sharing
New assignment experience in separate window for Breakout Rooms
Live Captions and Live Transcript in additional spoken languages for Teams Meetings
Starting recording and live transcript simultaneously

Calling

Only one new feature rolled out related to calling for Teams. It lets Citrix Workspace users be admitted to a meeting with the Teams dial pad.

Devices

Quite a bit came out for Teams devices this month. Videos should look better now since the majority of Teams Rooms devices now support 1080p resolution for outgoing video.

Here’s every update related to Teams Rooms devices:

Microsoft Teams Rooms update on Android
New remote provisioning and sign-in experience
Support for sharing via HDMI ingest
Auto answer for Meet Now
1080p resolution for outgoing video
Teams panels
Tailor Teams panels experience with Teams Extensibility/Line of Business app support
Remote provisioning and sign in
Hide meeting names for sensitive spaces
Newly Certified Devices

Power Platform and custom development

The only feature that shipped related to power platform and custom development is Together Mode Extensibility. This lets developers create custom scenes for Together Mode.

Management

Teams also only gained a single feature related to management. Global admins can now delegate admin roles to specific members for the device management section of the Teams Admin Center.

Teams for Education

Teams for Education gained a handful of features. The biggest addition is the Reading Progress feature, which lets students practice reading. Educators can review the recorded practice of students within the Assignments section of Teams.

Here’s everything that rolled out for Teams for Education in August 2021:

Create, edit, and join Microsoft Teams meetings in Canvas
Communicate and collaborate with class teams from Blackboard
Reading Progress
Simplified navigation in class teams

Government

Some of these features, such as native Windows notifications, were available for other versions of Teams and are now rolling out to government customers. Other features, like the option to start live captions and a recording simultaneously, are rolling out to government customers at the same time as other versions of Teams.

Here is everything that shipped to US Government Community Cloud (GCC), US Government Community Cloud High (GCC-High), and United States Department of Defense (DoD) customers:

Reporter and Side-by-Side Presenter Mode in desktop or window sharing
Breakout Room Timer, Room Retention, and Participant
Live Captions and Live Transcript in additional spoken languages for Teams Meetings
Live Transcription with speaker attribution in Teams Meetings
Starting recording and live transcript simultaneously
Lower all raised hands
Include computer sound when sharing on Mac
Updating settings for attendees’ video
Dual-tone multi-frequency support for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Citrix Workspace-only)
Windows 10 Native Notifications in Teams
MacOS native notifications in Teams
Chat preview notification settings
Customize your organization’s apps store in Teams for government clouds
Role based access scoping on devices category
Device management capabilities

Everything that rolled out to Microsoft Teams in August 2021

Windows 11 launches October 5

Microsoft offered a broad “Holiday 2021” release date when it announced Windows 11 back in June. Of course, it didn’t specify precisely which holiday. Perhaps the company was aiming for World Teachers’ Day, a belated Sukkot or an extremely early Halloween. After strongly implying a late-October release a few months back (with some pointing to the 20th), the company this morning announced that the operating system is set to arrive October 5.
The date is, undoubtedly, on the early side of Microsoft’s release window. The first major release since 2015 will be available as a free upgrade to users with an eligible PC running Windows 10. October 5 will also see the availability of the first systems shipping with Windows 11 preloaded.
Image Credits: Microsoft
Frederic wrote up the first preview build when it became available through the Windows Insider Dev Channel. He noted at the time, “This is definitely more than just another bi-annual Windows 10 update with a few minor UI changes.”
Indeed, the company fittingly offers an 11-point blog post highlighting the major changes that will arrive in the October update. The first — and most immediately apparent — is one that has been around since that earliest preview build: The operating system’s design has been refreshed for a cleaner feel throughout.
That includes new Snap Layouts, Groups and Desktops designed to offer a more organized approach to multitasking. A number of the company’s online services have been more deeply integrated into the OS. Microsoft 365 is built into the Start menu, offering up access to recently viewed files, for more cross-platform integration. Teams, meanwhile, has been added to the taskbar (Microsoft really wants you to use Teams, folks). You’ll find Widgets there, as well, with quick access to information like news, weather, sports and stocks.

There are a range of accessibility updates. In a lengthy post from July, Microsoft highlights those updates, noting, “Accessible technology is a fundamental building block that can unlock opportunities in every part of society. A more accessible Windows experience has the power to help tackle the “disability divide” — to contribute to more education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities across the world.
The Microsoft Store got a design upgrade, as well, and the company has promised more access for independent developers to create new tools for the operating system. The new version of Windows continues to offer a focus on desktop gaming, with features like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage and Auto HDR.
Image Credits: Microsoft
There’s been some confusion around what, precisely, all of this means for unsupported machines of late — as well, as, frankly, which machines qualify as supported. It was reported earlier this week that those systems that don’t fall within Microsoft’s parameters won’t get Windows Update when the new operating system is installed manually. That’s obviously a massive bummer, given that the utility delivers security patches and other updates.
“The free upgrade to Windows 11 starts on October 5 and will be phased and measured with a focus on quality,” the company writes in this morning’s post. “Following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, we want to make sure we’re providing you with the best possible experience. That means new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.”
The company says it expects all qualified machines will be offered the upgrade by some point in mid-2022. For those systems that aren’t upgraded, Microsoft says it will continue supporting Windows 10 through October 14, 2025.

The first preview of Windows 11 is now available

Windows 11 launches October 5