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Folding at Home now the fastest "computer" in the world, but also join our team
by Christopher White
It's obvious that there's nothing good about the coronavirus itself. However one positive has been the outpouring of support for the Folding@Home project that's looking for a cure to diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, and COVID-19. Last week we asked our readers to join the project (and the Neowin team, 55186), and you responded. We now have over 200 new folders on the team and in the last week, have jumped up 90 spots to rank 661 overall.
Neowin readers aren't the only ones responding to this crisis. As noted on Tom's Hardware, the F@H project has more compute power than not just the fastest supercomputer in the world, but the top seven supercomputers in the world, combined. Since the coronavirus outbreak, the project has seen a 1,200% increase in the number of folders, with over 400,000 people joining. The total number of CPU/GPU cores being used by the project is 27,433,824.
A work unit crunching away at the Coronavirus problem We'd love if you joined the Neowin team. Simply install the client, type in a username, enter team number 55186, and you'll be folding with us in no time! If you're not seeing many work units assigned to you right now, keep in mind that due to the outpouring of support, the scientists need to provide more data for our computers to crunch so it's possible your PC will idle for a bit until they get this worked out. Just leave the application running, and when work comes in, you'll be folding in no time!
We also have a dedicated forum thread discussing the project right here.
Join the Folding at Home Neowin team to fight the novel Coronavirus
by Christopher White
The Folding at Home project has been around for two decades and is still going strong. For the uninitiated, the project conducts disease research by carving out units of work that can be shipped to an individual's computer so that those machines can conduct protein folding simulations. When your computer is done crunching the numbers, it sends the results back to the Folding at Home servers and requests another unit of work.
The group has recently started assisting scientists in finding a cure for the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. What this means is that your spare CPU cycles can be donated to the project to help find a cure to the pandemic that's impacting everyone's lives around the world. The project is aiming to recruit a million volunteers.
Helping out is easy: Simply download the program from their website, type in what name you want to use and optionally what team you want to join, and let it go. You can configure how much machine power you want to donate, and you can even click on the Configure button to setup how many CPU cores you want to provide. As a warning, if you let it consume your entire machine, it will definitely peg the CPU at 100% and generate quite a bit of heat. My workstation is powered by the Ryzen 3900x, and after initially giving the tool access to all 24 cores, I noticed the CPU temperature was extremely hot, so I limited it to only 12 of the cores, which is still plenty. The tool can also use your PC's GPU for even more processing, and that's currently the method used for the COVID-19 tests. You can search any of the projects to find out who is using the research and what it's for on the Folding at Home website.
Neowin has had our own team since 2007, so when doing the install, it'd be great if you used our team number: 55186. The front-end servers are getting hammered recently with thousands of people rushing to sign up and help fight the disease, so you'll often receive a "Bad Gateway" error when checking, but when things are working, you can check the status directly on the Folding at Home page by typing your name or team number into the search box.
By Steven P.
We're still looking to expand our reporting team - JOIN US
by Steven Parker
Trying to keep our readers informed and updated on the constant stream of announcements, leaks, rumors, and insights that pour in from around the world is a non-stop job, including at weekends! With millions of readers worldwide, we know just how important it is to help them stay up to speed with the relentless pace of change and developments in technology.
That’s why we’re continuing to expand our team of news reporters. We’re looking for eager, enthusiastic people to join us part-time (or full time, see below in the Apply section), preferably from native English speaking countries such as the UK, the United States, Canada, and Australia, but we'll consider those in other parts of the world too.
We are specifically looking to bolster our UK/EU/Asia Pacific hours of news coverage.
We would love to hear from applicants with experience in covering technology news, but previous experience isn’t strictly necessary to apply. Enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a desire to constantly improve and grow professionally – applicants with these traits are just as important to us as those with years of reporting experience.
Many of our reporters over the years have had no previous experience, but that hasn’t stopped them from doing a great job; some very well-known faces in the tech journalism community made their names at Neowin with little or no experience at first. We offered them a strong foundation upon which to build their careers.
Of course, even without reporting experience, we demand that applicants have plenty of knowledge about technology. Our coverage includes Microsoft, Apple, Google, Linux, gaming, software, devices, accessories, and so much more, along with analysis and insights into what’s happening in the tech industry.
We require that applicants be proficient in English, and although it is a preference, it doesn’t mean English has to be your first language. We will accept applications from anyone aged 18 or over, from anywhere in the world that accepts PayPal and Payoneer as a method of receiving payment, and we warmly invite people from all backgrounds to apply.
Neowin has a zero-discrimination hiring policy; whatever your ethnicity, gender identity, or sexuality, and whether you prefer Linux over Windows, or Xbox over PlayStation, what matters most to us is your passion for technology, your drive to do the job and constantly improve, and your ability to impartially report and discuss what’s happening in the tech world.
Be active: We require no less than four articles a week, but the more, the better. We pay our writers per original article based on unique hits. This probably won't replace your full-time job, but it is a great way to earn some extra cash while gaining valuable experience in reporting with one of the most established brands in tech news. Be original: We expect all articles to be originally written, we have strict guidelines for approvals. We understand no-one is perfect, but we try to maintain high standards in order for a post to be approved on the main page. Be awesome: You need to be able to bite your tongue when negative criticism occurs. It happens from time to time, but remember you will represent Neowin on and off the site. Be there: Although not mandatory, living near a convention/tech hotspot such as London, Las Vegas, Seattle, New York, or Tokyo is a plus. Although we are looking to bolster timely coverage on all things Microsoft, we don't assign or require people to write only on specific areas or even at fixed times of the day unlike some other news sites, so our reporters can write on a variety of different topics whenever they want!
What you'll get from us
All articles that are published on Neowin start at $5, and that payment rises with the number of unique hits it gathers. Just one article can earn $100 if it reaches a threshold of unique hits, for this it would have to go viral, and articles do achieve this at Neowin often. The fact of the matter is, our payments are based on merit and the hits the articles achieve, so you are rewarded when you do well, but you'll get less for poor performing items.
You can find out more about our requirements, and how to apply, on this page.
We look forward to hearing from you, and if you’ve got what it takes, we hope to be able to welcome you to the Neowin team soon :-)
These are the most popular news and software posts of the last decade on Neowin
by Florin Bodnarescu
We've seen what you thought was most interesting to read in 2019, as well as the most commented, and even top reviews of the year. So what exactly am I doing with this post, you say. Well, the 2010s, as weird as that sounds to say, are in fact ending, so why not have a peek at what the top posts were for software releases and news stories for each of these 10 years?
There's not much left of 2019, so let's get cracking before all the "this took a decade to read" observations start coming in.
2010 was quite a while ago, so long in fact that the article you thought was most interesting that year contained an infographic about the number of servers each company had.
Intel supposedly had over 100,000, followed by Microsoft, Amazon, and eBay with about half that. Google however, was above all them with an estimated server farm in excess of 1,000,000. At the time, that was speculated to be around 2% of the servers in the world.
February of 2010 brought with it the release of Mozilla's Firefox 3.7a1, which was more or less the exact same thing as 4.0. The former was dropped from the company's roadmap, with the focus being squarely on the UI overhaul that would be tested over the five alphas, 12 betas, and two release candidates of the browser.
Though the UI overhaul was most noticeable, the browser also brought improvements to window management, performance, and overall stability.
In 2011, if you really wanted to check out someone's photos, but you weren't friends with them, there was an app for that. Or rather not an app, an exploit, which relied on some URL tampering and made creeping around trivial.
Of course, this was hot on the heels of Facebook adding support for HTTPS, which made your creeping more secure. That's got to count for something.
The year's most viewed piece of software was Stardock's - see here for Neowin's relationship with Stardock - WindowFX 4.01. For those not familiar, this allows you to add various effects to your windows - hence the name -, including the ability to tweak animations, window management features, and more.
This release in particular added a friction slider and made it easier to distinguish between active and inactive (or background) windows.
As you are well aware, in 2012 the world ended. Or rather, not the world, but the Mayan calendar, in all its circular and thus cyclical glory. Because of this, guides were rather useful for people to prepare for the end of times, and really what would be more useful than a guide on what all the memory and storage in a smartphone is all about.
You didn't want to get your RAMs and your ROMs mixed up, nor did you want to succumb to death by SD card lettering, and thus, you made it the most popular news item on the site that year.
Mirroring what was happening on the news side, the software section was also host to a guide, which again, was quite the popular choice among folks at the time.
It wasn't about memory but PDFs, and how one could go about editing, converting and if possible, even creating such files. Though it contains a mere three choices, it was more than enough as a starting point, with folks also suggesting alternatives in the comments.
Six years ago, Microsoft thought that folks on pre-Windows 8 versions of its OS really could make use of a tool that mounted ISO files, much like Alcohol 120% or Daemon Tools. To that end, it decided to release such a tool, dubbed Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel.
Though it was useful, and an actual official release from Microsoft, the company was quick to point out that it won't be supporting it and that users should install it at their own risk. If you like living life on the edge (no, not the browser), you can still download this software today.
If the built-in Windows Media Player didn't really float your boat, there was always the option for third-party software from VLC to RealPlayer - yes, it's still around today. For those who liked the name but not the functionality or look, there was an option too.
Media Player Classic-BE is an open-source and newer variant that combines elements from Media Player Classic and Media Player Classic Home Cinema. The BE stands for Black Edition, which is the colour of the UI. Adding dark mode before it was cool, so to speak.
On the off chance that being creepy in 2011 wasn't really enough, 2014 gave folks the ability to look at somewhere in excess of 70,000 IP cameras on this pretty unassuming website.
Insecam, according to its admin, was set up to demonstrate the problem with leaving your default password and username untouched. According to a statement at the time, only going this route "can prove the scale of the problem."
Java, a word that for some brings up images of the eponymous Indonesian island, and for others visions of getting as far from an IDE as possible.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, this took the top spot at the time in terms of most-accessed software releases. Though released at the beginning of the year, its popularity might've been somewhat increased by Microsoft's $2.5 billion acquisition of Mojang.
Back in September of 2015, a mere two months after the RTM of Windows 10, it came out that Google was apparently circumventing adblockers and that this resulted in users being forced to watch full-length YouTube ads without the option to skip them.
Rob Wu, developer of the Chromium project later clarified that this was unintentional and that it resulted from fixing a previous security issue. The workaround there was to either whitelist YouTube or uninstall the YouTube "app" in Chrome.
Sitting at the top of the software release pile of 2015 was DmitriRender 126.96.36.199, a DirectShow filter which allowed you to watch movies with interpolation, which was being done in real time.
Just because it was only 2015, it didn't mean you'd have to suffer through low framerates and other such unpleasant movie-related aspects. Best of all, it was free.
By far and away the biggest news of the year, at least in terms of popularity, was the unveiling of the fact that the voice for Star Trek's Library Computer Access and Retrieval System (LCARS) - namely Majel Barrett, wife of Gene Roddenberry - would be preserved. Roddenberry for those unaware, was the creator of the original Star Trek TV series, as well as its The Next Generation spin-off.
Barrett's voice was preserved in phonetic recordings, which, according to the Roddenberry Twitter account, could be "used for things such as Siri."
Perhaps expected perhaps not, the most sought-after software release of 2016 was in fact a proxy solution for bypassing censorship and presumably geo-blocked content.
The particularly interesting thing about UltraSurf was that it required not installation and came pre-configured with settings for IE. Using it with Firefox and Chrome was possible, though manual configuration was necessary.
2017 was when porn really got out of hand, especially on mobile. Specifically, this was to do with fake PornHub apps, and the spread of them via APKs. Since Google doesn't allow this type of content in its Play Store, folks were forced to look around for a solution.
Some of the solutions though weren't brilliant and as ESET found at the time, these fake apps would not only lock users out of the app itself, but would also request ransom money to unlock access to the device. One of the more popular scams at the time was the "police ransomware", which demanded $100 for your device's freedom. At least it wasn't asking for Bitcoin.
Like the year prior, UltraSurf was at the top of the software pile of news in terms of sheer number of views.
Also like the year prior, it still allowed you to use it to circumvent censorship and came pre-configured for Internet Explorer. Much like its predecessor, manual configuration was required for Chrome and Firefox use.
Last year (or maybe two years ago by the time you're reading this), the most popular news story involved a set of cumulative updates of all things.
Builds 15063.1112 for Windows 10 version 1703 (Creators Update), and 14393.2273 for Windows 10 version 1607 (Anniversary Update) were the subject of this post-Patch Tuesday set of updates, with fixes for BitLocker issues and VM configuration being addressed. A reliability issue with the creation of shielded VMs was in there as well.
That's indeed accurate. In 2018, the most popular post in the software section did involve version 67.0.3396.99 of the Chrome offline installer.
Why this one in particular and not some other variant is still a bit of a mystery, especially since the offline installers do not include an automatic update feature.
This one is a bit of a spoiler if you haven't already seen the most viewed posts of 2019 article, but nevertheless, it's better to have everything in one place. We are, after all, covering the entire decade, not just parts of it.
Sitting at number one in terms of popularity was the guide to everything Windows 10 1909, which detailed the improvements to the way notifications are handled, as well as some miscellaneous, quality of life improvements.
Much like in 2018, the reason behind why version 74.0.3729.108 of Chrome's offline installer in particular became this popular is not quite clear.
It may well be that someone is collecting all these installers and, like any good collector, it's of course required that you catch them all. Or maybe that was Pokémon.
And that folks really is the end of it. Not just of the compilation posts for the year, but indeed the end of the year itself and of the decade. A very big thank you for all the comments, suggestions, views, and contributions over the last 10 years, and here's to 10 even greater ones.
Happy New Year, and welcome to the 2020s!
These are the 10 most sought-after reviews on Neowin in 2019
by Florin Bodnarescu
We took a look at the most viewed, then the most commented posts of the year, so how about we highlight some of the reviews that were posted on the site too?
As you well know, there are features such as editorials and reviews in addition to news items, so here are 10 of the ones you were really interested in during 2019. Not to worry, the most popular op-ed is here too, but let's look at reviews first:
Dell's XPS 15 opens up our top 10 with the latest iteration, featuring a carbon fiber palm rest, its chiclet-style backlit MagLev keys, and a beautiful OLED display.
It got a very respectable 9 out of 10, so not all was perfect. The score is due to its quirks like the inclusion of a barrel charger, some connectivity issues, and the lack of an IR camera.
Next up is the Lenovo ThinkPad P72, the company's latest mobile workstation packing an Nvidia Quadro P5200, a 17.3'' UHD display, and 16GB of DDR4-2667 RAM. Of course, that all comes at a price, but then again, that's to be expected.
It got an 8.5 out of 10, with the high points being its performance, keyboard, and inclusion of Windows Hello support. What wasn't so great was the battery life, landing at about two hours despite its 99Wh battery. Needless to say, it is quite thick and heavy, and there's also no RTX support as of yet, so keep that in mind.
Coming in at number 8 is HP's Spectre x360 13 inch variant, which does have quite a unique angular design and was reviewed in its rather pretty copper-looking colour.
Like the ThinkPad P72 above, it got an 8.5 out of 10, with the positives being the design - that much was obvious -, the display, and the inclusion of privacy switch, which disconnects the camera internally. On the other end of the spectrum, the not so great parts are the lack of a physical volume rocker - present on previous HP convertibles -, as well as the absence of Windows Precision drivers for the trackpad.
The ones above are followed by the Google Pixel 3a XL, a fantastic entry in Google's hardware lineup. Released earlier this year along with its non-XL counterpart, it follows the launch of the Pixel 3 phones in November of 2018.
It gets a nearly perfect 9.5 out of 10 because of its great value, quality screen, and great camera, though it falls a bit short, which is due in big part to the absence of wireless charging. This was a feature included on the Pixel 3 and 3XL, meaning folks could take advantage of the Pixel Stand and the addition of Google Home features to the device.
Slotting in at number 6 is the Lenovo Yoga A940, an all-in-one PC that according to our own Rich Woods, put Microsoft's Surface Studio to shame.
The second device on the list to get a near-perfect 9.5 score, the Yoga A940 is very well priced, has a full desktop CPU inside, as well as support for things like Dolby Atmos. What's not ideal is the included keyboard and mouse combo, the webcam, and the unfortunately loud fan. Then again, this is a desktop CPU we're talking about, the six-core Core i7-8700.
Also in the top 10 is the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch, which Rich Woods believes to be the best Wear OS watch of them all.
It gets a very good 9 out of 10 for its performance, AMOLED display, and overall great design. With that said, the somewhat inconsistent battery life, as well as the quirks of Wear OS do drag the score down for what's an otherwise great wearable.
Fans of backups and media streaming off their own home server will be thrilled to see the Synology DS1019+ on this list, in no small part due to its fantastic feature set.
Getting a 9.5 out of 10 from our very own Christopher White, this NAS solution has great performance, is easy to set up, and has plenty of expansion opportunities due to its five dedicated drive bays. Please keep in mind that the chassis is entirely plastic, and that there are no springs on the drive sleds, which is reflected in the overall score.
Coming in at number 3 is the Lenovo Legion Y540, from the company's gaming-oriented notebook lineup.
Equipped with a 1660Ti, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, it does quite well in the performance department, also receiving praise for its keyboard and overall design. What ultimately gave it the 8.5 out of 10 score was the not so great battery life, the fact that it's quite thick and heavy, and the very unfortunate placement of the webcam at the bottom of the display.
Making its second appearance on this list is Fossil, with its Sport smartwatch. As the name implies, this one is a bit more fun looking, as well as a bit less expensive.
It's very light, weighing in at just 25g, and it packs the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, which means it has support for an ambient display. With that said, the rather sluggish performance gets is a 9 out of 10, the same as the more expensive and serious Gen 5 above.
Surprise of all surprises, the one review you all thought was the most interesting was for the Huawei Band 3e. Advertising a rather great 14 days of battery life and a weight of 17g, this one is more on the entry-level of fitness tracking, as you won't be blown away by its 0.5-inch screen.
The Huawei Health solution contributed to the 8.5 out of 10 score, as did the form factor itself and the great value for money - $29.99 at the time the review was published. The notification delivery did however leave something to be desired, as the device itself doesn't show you what app it's coming from or what the notification is. The only thing you'll know is that you have a notification from something.
Unsurprisingly, the top op-ed of the year is the one highlighting that Microsoft did in fact make some good changes to the way Windows Updates were handled.
Gone was the strange seeker approach of 2018 and a more sensible implementation took its place. For one, 1903 spent a month in the Release Preview ring for testing, rather than no time like 1809, which was quite broken upon its first release.
In addition, 1903 introduced a "download and install" button that's specific to the feature updates themselves. If you wanted to check and see if there were any cumulative updates you could - by clicking "Check for updates" - without the need to worry that Windows would also install its feature update alongside.
Is this all? Perhaps, though you never know what else is right around the corner. In the meantime, sound off below in regards to what you thought about this list.
Have a great New Year, everyone!