The Glorious Winamp Media Player Gets Reborn In 2019

best desktop media player of the late 1990s and early 2000s (there will be no arguing on this point) is preparing to rise up and once again whip some llama ass. That’s right, load up those mp3s you downloaded from Kazaa and Limewire, fire up that virtual 10-band graphic equalizer and Gold Stack component skin and come along while I explain what the owners of Winamp have planned for us in 2019.

Yep, Winamp will keep whipping it in 2019Winamp / Radionomy

Belgian company Radionomy bought the aging bones of Winamp from AOL in 2014, just as AOL was preparing to permanently retire the iconic media player. But there hasn’t been a new version of Winamp since version 5.666 was released in 2013. That is, until version 5.8 leaked last month.

That got the rumor mill talking, and this week Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian finally spilled the beans, telling TechCrunch that not only is Winamp 6 coming in 2019, but the company is reinventing it as an “all-in-one” media player without overlooking its legacy. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built,” Saboundjian says in his interview with TechCrunch.

Saboundjian is light on details, but very clear on one point: the new Winamp will be platform-agnostic, and will exist primarily as a mobile app that aggregates any digestible form of audio. He also tells TechCrunch that the company has indeed been busy improving and reviving Winamp, and the upcoming 5.8 release (though leaked, it hasn’t been officially distributed) is proof of that.

Saboundjian believes that media players have become extremely fragmented in the mobile space, and I’m inclined to agree with him. I’ve been using PocketCasts for years since I can add any existing podcast to it. Spotify is my default streaming player, but I dislike how it handles my personal music collection, so I use Google Music for my own library of tunes.

From classic to abstract, classic Winamp offered an insane level of customizationWinamp

And obviously none of the aforementioned apps can be personalized to ridiculously satisfying levels like Winamp can. I remember sitting for hours in front of my PC with visualizers that enhanced how I listened to my music and somehow made it more engaging. There were (and still are, of course) an endless supply of skins to transform the media player in ways that kept it fresh and appealed to an insanely wide variety of tastes.

Speaking of users, this fact may come as a shock: there are still roughly one hundred million monthly Winamp users according to TechCrunch, the majority of which are outside the U.S. Consider that as recently as July 2018, Spotify had a reported total userbase of 180 million globally. There may already be an abundance of media players to choose from on your Android or iPhone, but that sizable an audience could ensure instant success when the reinvented Winamp launches on mobile.

Radionomy, I have but 4 humble requests when you bring Winamp back into the spotlight:

  1. Skins, skins and more skins that sync between the mobile and desktop apps.
  2. Podcast subscriptions that sync between the mobile and desktop apps.
  3. Linux desktop support — perhaps a Snap?
  4. I want to hear “Winamp! It really whips the llama’s ass” when I launch the software. This is non-negotiable.

Hopefully we’ll know more about the new Winamp as we inch closer to 2019. In the meantime, I think a reinstall of Winamp is in order. It’s been a minute since I’ve used that magnificent software.


 

” readability=”67.713320191495″>

The best desktop media player of the late 1990s and early 2000s (there will be no arguing on this point) is preparing to rise up and once again whip some llama ass. That’s right, load up those mp3s you downloaded from Kazaa and Limewire, fire up that virtual 10-band graphic equalizer and Gold Stack component skin and come along while I explain what the owners of Winamp have planned for us in 2019.

Yep, Winamp will keep whipping it in 2019Winamp / Radionomy

Belgian company Radionomy bought the aging bones of Winamp from AOL in 2014, just as AOL was preparing to permanently retire the iconic media player. But there hasn’t been a new version of Winamp since version 5.666 was released in 2013. That is, until version 5.8 leaked last month.

That got the rumor mill talking, and this week Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian finally spilled the beans, telling TechCrunch that not only is Winamp 6 coming in 2019, but the company is reinventing it as an “all-in-one” media player without overlooking its legacy. “You can listen to the MP3s you may have at home, but also to the cloud, to podcasts, to streaming radio stations, to a playlist you perhaps have built,” Saboundjian says in his interview with TechCrunch.

Saboundjian is light on details, but very clear on one point: the new Winamp will be platform-agnostic, and will exist primarily as a mobile app that aggregates any digestible form of audio. He also tells TechCrunch that the company has indeed been busy improving and reviving Winamp, and the upcoming 5.8 release (though leaked, it hasn’t been officially distributed) is proof of that.

Saboundjian believes that media players have become extremely fragmented in the mobile space, and I’m inclined to agree with him. I’ve been using PocketCasts for years since I can add any existing podcast to it. Spotify is my default streaming player, but I dislike how it handles my personal music collection, so I use Google Music for my own library of tunes.

From classic to abstract, classic Winamp offered an insane level of customizationWinamp

And obviously none of the aforementioned apps can be personalized to ridiculously satisfying levels like Winamp can. I remember sitting for hours in front of my PC with visualizers that enhanced how I listened to my music and somehow made it more engaging. There were (and still are, of course) an endless supply of skins to transform the media player in ways that kept it fresh and appealed to an insanely wide variety of tastes.

Speaking of users, this fact may come as a shock: there are still roughly one hundred million monthly Winamp users according to TechCrunch, the majority of which are outside the U.S. Consider that as recently as July 2018, Spotify had a reported total userbase of 180 million globally. There may already be an abundance of media players to choose from on your Android or iPhone, but that sizable an audience could ensure instant success when the reinvented Winamp launches on mobile.

Radionomy, I have but 4 humble requests when you bring Winamp back into the spotlight:

  1. Skins, skins and more skins that sync between the mobile and desktop apps.
  2. Podcast subscriptions that sync between the mobile and desktop apps.
  3. Linux desktop support — perhaps a Snap?
  4. I want to hear “Winamp! It really whips the llama’s ass” when I launch the software. This is non-negotiable.

Hopefully we’ll know more about the new Winamp as we inch closer to 2019. In the meantime, I think a reinstall of Winamp is in order. It’s been a minute since I’ve used that magnificent software.


 

Read More

Fortnite Update 6.10 Patch Notes: Quadcrasher Added, Port-a-Fortress Disabled, And More

Fortnite Update 6.10 Patch Notes: Quadcrasher Added, Port-a-Fortress Disabled, And More

Epic Games has released the patch notes for Fornite’s 6.10 update, which is rolling out on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android now. The major new addition to the Battle Royale mode is the Quadcrasher, a two-seater vehicle that has a boost function. This vehicle is perfect for smashing through structures, so will no doubt become key to securing those Victory Royales. The update also adds a new “Events” tab, where players will find in-game tournaments.

The patch also makes a variety of tweaks to the way the game performs and plays. For those on a PlayStation 4 Pro, Fortnite will now display at 1440p instead of 1080p when plugged into a 4K TV. In the weapons and items department, Port-a-Fortress has been disabled while Epic figures out an issue with it. Guided Missile, meanwhile, no longer fires the wrong direction, which is nice, and players will no longer permanently attach to a Supply Drop when grappling to it.

For those that want to see what’s new with Save The World, check out the patch notes. The full Battle Royale changes can be found below, along with a video showing off the Quadcrasher.

Limited Time Mode: Disco Domination

What’s New?

  • Reduced all bandage spawns by 50%.
  • Removed all Common weapons.
  • increased the variability of where you can spawn by 30% along your sides storm circle.
  • Brought in the side dance floors closer to the Storm edge.
  • Reduced max respawn distance by 20%.

Weapons + Items

  • The Port-a-Fortress has been disabled as we work to resolve some issues related to this item.
    • Drop rate for Port-a-Fort increased from 3.05% to 4.89% while Port-a-Fortress is disabled.
      • The goal is to keep the drop rate of Port-a-Fort the same as if both items were enabled to help with the completion of Challenges.

Bug Fixes

  • Guided Missile no longer fires the wrong direction
  • Players will no longer permanently attach to a Supply Drop when grappling to it.
  • Attempting to fire while reloading the Double Barrel Shotgun will no longer interrupt the animation.
  • Weapon equip animations no longer skip when simultaneously attempting to sprint and target.

Gameplay

  • Quadcrasher
    • Seats two players.
    • You build boost just by driving. Unleash that speed with the hotkey once you’ve filled your boost meter.
    • Smash through buildings while boosting.
    • Boost off ramps or cliffs to catch sick air.
    • Launch players into the air by smashing into them.
  • You can now view and change Edit Controls separately from Combat and Build Controls in the controller menu.
  • PS4 controller lighting will match player marker color.
  • You can now set building mode sensitivity for controllers in the options menu. It is a multiplier on the default controller sensitivity and allows up to a 2x increase.
  • Controller sensitivity slider in the options menu now allows for more than 10 values.
  • Added an option to Builder Pro that allows for building as soon as you switch to the piece, instead of selecting first and then placing. This allows for faster building without a preview.
  • Added an option that allows for edit hold timing to be adjusted.
  • Opening the Emote Picker with a controller will happen when the button is released, while holding the button will replay the emote that was last played.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed inconsistencies with the damage trap not triggering properly.
  • Allow slight movement when using a consumable with Sprint by Default enabled. This will help match how it works without Sprint by Default enabled
  • Fixed problem with character orientation getting stuck after falling off the island in a vehicle.

Events

  • Tournaments can be found inside of the new ‘Events’ tab available in game. This tab will host a variety of online competitions which are open to everyone. Jump in and explore!
    • Each tournament has a series of scheduled dates and times that the competition will be run. A carousel of all upcoming competitions and times will be available for browsing, so you can plan and practice.
    • Every scheduled session is a completely clean slate with all players starting on an equal footing at the beginning of play.
    • Compete over the course of several hours to earn points by eliminating multiple opponents or surviving against the competition.
    • Players are matched against opponents with similar scores during the session.
    • Score enough points during any scheduled event session and you’ll earn a golden pin for that tournament!

Performance

  • Weapon replication optimization for dedicated server to reduce load during rapid weapon switching.
  • We’ve made CPU performance optimizations on Switch across all threads. This results in a smoother gameplay experience and fewer hitches.
  • Improve multi-threading during heavy physics simulation.

Audio

  • Celebrate with style. The music selected in your Locker will now play after getting a Victory Royale!
  • Remove the Doppler effect from the audio when players are gliding.
  • Added an in-air loop to Grenade Launcher projectiles so you can spatialize where they’re coming from.
  • Improved Grenade Launcher bouncing audio.
  • Reduced volume of medium-range Grenade explosion sound.

Bug Fixes

  • Cube ambient sounds no longer randomly play in the middle of matches.
  • Sequential explosion sounds no longer interrupt each other.
  • Added missing audio to the Compact SMG and SMG medium/distant fire sounds.
  • Audio ‘pops’ no longer occur when emote music loops.
  • Re-added the audio cue that plays before a new wave of Supply Drops start appearing.

UI

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed some touch issues for the controller mapping screen on Switch.
  • Fixed a bug where the player’s banner in the top bar would not update when changing the banner in the locker.
  • Made the reticle hidden when skydiving.
  • Fixed issues with the display of the on-screen map and inventory inputs.
  • Fixed issues with touch functionality on the map for the Nintendo Switch
  • Resource buttons no longer cancel auto-run.

Art + Animation

Bug Fixes

  • Cosmetic items that change in some way over the course of a match are now marked as “Reactive” in-game (e.g., a harvesting tool that changes as you get eliminations).
  • Fixed visual display issues with cosmetic music items..
  • Animation pops no longer occur while in the air after using the Chiller trap.

Replay System

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue causing the first replay not be selected in the replay browser.
  • Fixed the nameplate distance slider not working.
  • Fixed an issue where firing guided missiles would start with the camera facing the wrong way in replays.

MOBILE

  • Major performance improvement for devices running Android 7 or earlier.
  • Memory improvements on iOS devices.
  • The first weapon you pick up will now auto-equip itself on mobile.
  • Touch control input now has smoothing enabled.
  • Tapping selected buttons on the build quickbar will once again build the selected build piece.
  • All elements in the Mobile HUD should now be placeable/movable in the HUD Layout Tool.
  • Updated visuals for independent Quickbar slots in the HUD Layout Tool.

Bug Fixes

  • Drag and dropping on the Quickbar will no longer select the thing you drag. Players can now adjust their inventory without interrupting other actions.
  • Fixing a bug causing some touch input to fall through the settings screen to gameplay.
  • Fixing edit button visibility issues when crouching on Mobile.

Read More

Sony’s $450 HX99 camera packs 30X zoom into an ultra-compact

Sony’s $450 HX99 camera packs 30X zoom into an ultra-compact

It’s the “world’s smallest” camera of its kind, if you believe Sony, although the company jumped through some hoops to reach that claim (it’s comparing against other fixed-lens cameras with viewfinders and 700mm-plus zoom lenses).

It still appears to be a solid camera if you can cut through the hype. The 18.2-megapixel shooter can capture 4K video without having to rely on pixel binning tricks, and it combines fast autofocus (as quick as 0.09 seconds) with the Eye AF technology borrowed from the Alpha line. The HX99 won’t be a low light champion with a maximum ISO 6,400 sensitivity, but you can shoot in RAW if you’re exacting about your images.

Sony ships the new Cyber-shot in early November for $450. That’s a lot to stomach for a camera that promises neither interchangeable lenses nor exceptional image quality, but the versatility is the key. At least on a spec sheet, this is a camera that could handle most any photo opportunity on a vacation without consuming much space in your bag.

Read More

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review: More Than A Color

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review: More Than A Color

Microsoft is in a bit of a unique place in the PC space compared to other manufacturers. Other than Apple, Microsoft is the only company that controls both the hardware and software sides, and when the Surface lineup launched way back in 2012, Microsoft’s goal was to showcase the advantages of their platform with a premium hardware lineup. On October 2nd 2018, the company unveiled their sixth iteration of what is now a staple in the PC space, the Surface Pro 6.

On the outside, it would be easy to write this refresh off as a spec bump, but there are tangible improvements throughout the Surface Pro which make this a worthwhile successor to the 2017 Surface Pro. The company hasn’t completely reinvented Surface Pro since the Surface Pro 3 launched in 2014, with the move to the new thin and light form factor, showcasing the 3:2 aspect ratio display. Surface Pro 4 stretched the display from 12-inches to 12.3-inches in the same size device, and moved from Haswell to Skylake, and Surface Pro 2017 made some more small tweaks, and with the move to Kaby Lake finally solved the power management issues that plagued the Skylake generation of Surface devices.

Arguably the biggest change that people will see with the Surface Pro 6 is that it’s available in a new color: black. Surface hasn’t been offered in black since the days of the Surface Pro 2, and the new color will live alongside the existing platinum color we’ve come to know throughout Microsoft’s PC lineup. But, inside the device are new components which help move the Surface Pro to a new level. The most noticeable is that Microsoft has moved to the quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh chips, and as we’ve seen throughout the rest of the PC industry, Kaby Lake Refresh brings a significant performance boost.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6
  Model Tested: Core i5-8250U 8GB 256GB $1199
Processor Intel Core i5-8250U
4C/8T, 1.6-3.4GHz, 6MB L3, 14nm, 15w

Intel Core i7-8650U
4C/8T, 1.9-4.2GHz, 8MB L3, 14nm, 15w

Memory 8 GB or 16 GB Dual-Channel LPDDR3
Graphics Intel Core i5-8250U
Intel UHD Graphics 620 (24 EUs, 300-1100 MHz)
Intel Core i7-8650U
Intel UHD Graphics 620 (24 EUs, 300-1150 MHz)
Display 12.3″ 2736×1824 3:2 PixelSense
LG Display, Touch and Pen support
100% sRGB color + enhanced color, individually calibrated panels
Storage 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB PCIe 3.0 x2
Networking 802.11ac, 2×2:2, 866Mpbs Max, 2.4 and 5GHz
Bluetooth 4.1
Marvell AVASTAR
Audio 1.6 W Stereo Speakers (front facing)
Dolby Audio Premium
Battery 45 Wh, 44 W AC Adapter with USB charging port
Right Side USB 3.0 Type-A
Mini DisplayPort 1.2
MicroSDXC Card Reader
Surface Connect Port (charging and docking)
Left Side Headset Jack
  Power Button
Volume Rocker
  Keyboard Connector
Dimensions 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm (11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches)
Weight Core i5: 770 grams (1.70 lbs)
Core i5/i7: 784 grams (1.73 lbs)
Cameras Rear: 8.0 MP auto-focus
Front: 5.0 MP auto-focus and Windows Hello support
Dual microphones
Extras Surface Pen and Dial (sold separately)
Surface Dock – 2 x mDP 1.2, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x Gigabit (sold separately)
TPM 2.0
Pricing 128 GB Core i5 8GB RAM: $899
256 GB Intel Core i5 with 8GB of RAM: $1199
256 GB Intel Core i7 with 8GB of RAM: $1499
512 GB Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM: $1899
1 TB Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM: $2299

One decision that we’ve seen questioned since the launch event was disappointment in the lack of an Iris GPU option in the Surface Pro with this generation. The 2017 model we reviewed was outfitted with the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640, which doubles the execution units compared to the standard UHD Graphics 620, as well as adds 64 MB of eDRAM. The Iris option is no more though, but even if Microsoft had wanted to continue offering it, Intel no longer sells any 15-Watt CPUs in their current lineup with the Iris option. You’d have to move up to a 28-Watt model at the moment to be offered access.

The rest of the Surface Pro, on a technical specification sheet, is pretty much identical to the outgoing model. The 12.3-inch display is the same 2736 x 1824 resolution, you can get SSD capacities up to 1 TB, and RAM is offered with up to 16 GB as the maximum due to the limitations of LPDDR3 capacities. Also along for the ride is the same Marvell AVASTAR wireless that has been used exclusively in all Surface devices for too long.

The one missing feature that everyone would have likely expected to see with this launch was a USB-C port, since Microsoft finally includes it in place of the mini DisplayPort in the Surface Book 2, as well as on the Surface Go, but in a confusing move, the Surface team has kept the mini DisplayPort connector on Surface Pro rather than move to USB-C which could also double as DisplayPort when needed.

Microsoft has also cut the prices quite significantly, but the very bottom end model with the Core m3 and lowest price is no more. The good news is that the base configuration drops the 4 GB of RAM though, meaning a 128 GB Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM is now the base at $899. Last year the MSRP of the 128 GB Core i5 was $999 and it only came with 4 GB of RAM. At the very top, the savings are even larger, with the 1 TB Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM a full $400 less than the launch price of last year’s Surface Pro.

Read More

Huawei Mate 20 launch: Livestream, start time, what to expect

Huawei Mate 20 launch: Livestream, start time, what to expect

Huawei will take the wrapper off its latest super phones, the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, at its launch event in London on Tuesday 16 October. 

The livestream is embedded above and will kick off at 2:00 p.m. local time, which is 6:00 a.m. PT/9:00 a.m ET. (Find out what time that is where you are.)

Although we don’t officially know everything Huawei will unveil, we do know it’ll be the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. The Mate series is Huawei’s answer to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Google Pixel 3 XL — a larger phone, packed with top tech. 

As it’s done with the previous Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, it’s expected that the two phones will share similar specs and designs, but the Pro will likely have the edge when it comes to amounts of RAM, storage and almost certainly price, thereby earning its “Pro” moniker. 

In terms of design, the phones are expected to be large — with some rumours pointing to a whopping 6.9-inch screen on the Pro model — but with an edge-to-edge design, complete with notch at the top. 

With the camera, industry leakster Evan Blass posted images of the phone on Twitter, sporting a square camera unit on the back containing three separate camera lenses and a flash, as well as Leica branding. That’s not particularly surprising, given the Huawei P20 Pro already has three cameras. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Mate’s cameras operate in the same way as the P20 Pro. 

Rumours also point to an in-screen fingerprint scanner, as well as two-way wireless charging, letting you hold a wireless charging device against the Mate 20 to take the Mate’s charge. Hopefully it also comes with a huge battery so you won’t mind giving away your power. 

Huawei has already announced its latest top-end processor, the Kirin 980, so it’s a safe bet to assume it’ll be inside the Mate 20 Pro, at least, if not in the standard Mate 20 as well. 

Read More