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Play

Power play | Computerworld

It’s the late 1980s and this pilot fish is getting his first lessons in PCs and PC architecture. In fact, the first desktop computer that his company buys is quite interesting.

Not unusually for the time, it runs on a pair of floppy drives, but it’s upgradable: You can add a hard disk later.

The employee using this PC spends about a year filling dozens of floppies with his programs and data before getting the OK from his boss to purchase a hard disk. Capacity: 10MG. Cost: nearly $1,000.

When the disk arrives, fish and friends open the PC’s case and follow the upgrade instructions to install it. The first step is to remove a perforated metal box that takes up the space where the disk will go. It’s about the size of five or six decks of playing cards, has lots of holes for air circulation — and is plugged into the PC’s power supply.
Inside the box is a large, heavy power resistor with gold-colored fins. Its purpose is to use as much power as a hard disk would draw, apparently to keep the PC’s underdesigned power supply from getting unbalanced by too small a load when no hard disk is present.

All these years later, fish is still amazed: “Every unit sold of this particular model of PC contained one of these heavy, expensive, power-wasting monstrosities just to save the effort of designing a better power supply, and its selling price had to cover it.”
But he’s happy to report that the hardware vendor in question got drummed out of the market years ago.

Power up your device to send Sharky your true tales of IT life  at [email protected]. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Why play is good for business

If you’re having no fun at work, that’s a problem. And if your workplace culture is no fun then you’re probably already finding it hard to recruit and keep the best staff.

Workplace iPod culture

October 2001: Apple introduced the iPod, a product which quickly became iconic, boosted Mac market share, transformed the music industry and begat the iPad and iPhone.

January 2007: That’s when Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. He made one of his rare errors when he introduced it, describing it as just three things in one “An iPod, a phone and an internet communicator”. History shows that iPhones are much more than three tools in one.

Both products represented the big tech changes ushered in across the first ten years of the century, when user interfaces and usability became tech, and tech became deeply embedded in daily life.

Sure, we all had Macs (well, most had PCs), and later we all had iPods (and then iPhones) as well.

However, as the internet moved from the box in the corner into the device in our pocket, and as the things we could do with those devices expanded, people became culturally connected with mobile.

This extended deep into the workplace, where Apple’s smartphone revolution forced the introduction of device agnostic ‘Bring Your Own Device’ culture.

One thing leads to another, of course, and today (as I often point out) Apple is in the enterprise, and employees demand choice when it comes to the tech they must use.

Putting employees at the center

History also shows that the emergence of smartphones at our cultural center has transformed – and continues to transform – how we do business.

This has led to better business software, better business processes and what is often called an ‘iOS-ificaiton’ of working life.

That’s important, of course.

After all, when did we begin believing that in the tools we used had to be complicated and the way we did tasks had to be dull, just because we were at work?

Millennials won’t subscribe to those old models.

They demand tools they use to be as good to use as those they have at home, and they demand that the business applications they interact with are at least as frictionless as the ones they use at home.

It’s not just me saying this, I’ve pointed to umpteen reports making this claim.

Going where your customers are

Of course, business isn’t just about making sure you deliver the tools your employees want and will use – it’s also about ensuring you are where your customers are.

In smartphone terms, that means being an app, or in an app, or supported inside an app.

You don’t have to look very far at all for evidence of this, from IKEA’s innovative AR apps to the proliferation of businesses adopting Apple Business Chat, enterprises recognize that some of their customers are (like their employees) spending at least some of their existence on Apple’s devices.

It is possible that the most successful customer relationships are forged on Apple devices, given the higher engagement levels Apple users have with those devices. If you can make them part of your experience there, you have a direct line.

What about BIG business?

The world of enterprise culture isn’t entirely defined by the tech customers use or employees endure, it’s also about the vibrant market in enterprise business systems.

We know IBM is deeply engaged in supporting Macs, both internally and for its external clients.  IBM CIO Fletcher Previn has shared his observation that Apple users are “happier and more productive”, citing statistics to support this claim. (It is interesting IBM recently also selected easy-to-use Slack for internal use, rather than choosing Microsoft Teams).

SAP is another of the big names in business services which makes extensive use of Apple technology internally (internal Mac adoption has doubled across the last 15-months). The company this week released Privileges 1.5.0. This is a product from the [email protected] team that gives users Admin control of their Mac while also securing the overall enterprise environment.

There are many examples of big firms moving over to Apple’s solutions.

What they all have in common is an understanding that the world of enterprise IT has changed, that work doesn’t need to be tedious or frustrating in order to have intrinsic value.

Indeed, a business built on the principle that if you are paying people to do something it must be difficult to do (and I’ve heard some employers who still believe that) doesn’t tend to last especially long in today’s agile, user-centric, people-focused enterprise environment.

Play is good

You see, in these environments play is good.  

Productivity is about unleashing personal potential and the rewards aren’t just in the paycheck, but also in the journey and the opportunities for personal development. (Maslow got this right).

It’s not all just about a wholesale replacement of existing business processes with new ones based around Macs, iPads and iPhones, of course, it’s about understanding which technologies will most effectively deliver the best results.

I’m an Apple man, and while I do believe that company’s products are the right choice more often than not, it’s also true to say that every business has its own unique technology needs – and that the emergence of the iPhone-driven mobile culture means that much of the time meeting such needs really comes down to developing an app for them. But even that isn’t always appropriate.

However, if you’re having no fun at work then it’s time to take a look at how your work works, because jobs that are emotionally cumbersome tend to deliver limited results.

And in an age defined by higher productivity, making work fun can be good for business, if only because it empowers the creative process.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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How to Play Local Multiplayer Games Online on Steam

Are you looking for more ways to play games online with friends? Then you need to check out Steam’s Remote Play Together feature, which allows Steam users to game online.

However, before jumping in, Remote Play Together has some nuances you need to know about. So, in this article, we’ll explain how to play local multiplayer games online on Steam.

What Are Local Multiplayer Games?

Before diving into the specifics of Remote Play Together, let’s tackle the basics. Playing local multiplayer games is not the same as playing on LAN (Local Area Network).

LAN refers to playing games using multiple copies across multiple machines connected by LAN. Local multiplayer, on the other hand, just requires a single machine with a single copy of a game. Local multiplayer games also typically make use of multiple controllers to play together on the host game.

In short, local multiplayer gaming refers to couch gaming. The term came from playing together with your friends within your own home (and likely on your couch).

For example, a group of four people playing on a home console with different controllers counts as local multiplayer gaming. A group of people on multiple computers playing together via a local network does not count as local multiplayer.

What Is Steam’s Remote Play Together?

Steam’s Remote Play Together lets you play local multiplayer games online. You’ll still have one host device and one copy of a game, but you won’t have to be in the same room.

If you’ve ever had issues getting your friends to play together, this feature wants to help you out. Only the game host will need to have the game purchased and installed before inviting others to play. Your game nights instantly become more streamlined by removing all of the legwork from everyone else.

Your Steam Friends now have the option to join you online for local multiplayer, shared/split-screen, and local co-op games. Four players (or more in optimal settings according to Valve) can join your game instantaneously. Once they have joined, there’s the option for them to use their own controllers or to share your keyboard and mouse.

Preemptively Addressing Feature Concerns

For anyone with privacy concerns, only the game screen will be visible to those that joined. You don’t have to worry about anyone accessing your desktop or other windows.

The host can also decide how much access they want to allow. If you’re ever unsure, there’s the option to disable mouse, keyboard, or controller support.

An example of Remote Play's ability to control your friend's interactions

If you’re playing across different devices, the feature supports PC, macOS, and Linux crossplay. Remote Play Together seeks to make group gaming as flexible as possible while also protecting the host from anything invasive.

How to Update Your Steam Client to Beta Status

Remote Play Together is currently in beta, so, in order to access Remote Play Together, you need to update the Steam client to access the beta client. Once you have Steam open, go to Steam > Settings > Account > Beta Participation > Change. Once at the Beta Participation – Steam menu, choose “Steam Beta Update” from the drop-down menu. You can then select “OK” to close the window.

An image showing how to update your Steam client for Remote Play access

Afterwards, you’ll see an alert telling you that Steam needs to restart for the change to take effect. You’ll then need to download a small update. After updating, your Steam client will restart as the new beta client.

How to Use Remote Play Together

An example of how to invite a friend to play with you via Remote Play

Now, you’ll be able to try Remote Play Together using the following steps:

  1. Launch a Steam game from the list of supported titles.
  2. Once in-game, press Shift and Tab to bring up the Steam Overlay.
  3. When it’s visible, hover the friend you want to play with and click the arrow next to their name.
  4. Select “Remote Play Together”.
  5. At this point, you may receive an error, and you might have to install additional drivers to make it work. Follow the on-screen prompts from Steam to do so.
  6. Make sure your friend has accepted your invite. You’ll receive an on-screen notice once your friend has accepted.
  7. Repeat the process to invite any remaining friends (if applicable).
  8. Once all desired players have joined, press Shift and Tab to view the Remote Play settings. You can enable or disable the shared input of the mouse, keyboard, or controller here. You can also adjust the joined player’s volume.
  9. Play together.

As Remote Play Together is in beta, you may experience some connection issues or latency depending on the host’s internet connection. Valve will be working to improve the stability of network and hardware support across different devices. If you experience any issues with chat, consider looking into Valve’s Steam Chat app for mobile


Valve Launches a Steam Chat App for Mobile




Valve Launches a Steam Chat App for Mobile

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.

Games to Try With Remote Play Together

Steam offers over 4,000 supported titles to experiment with from the get-go. Amongst these, a number of popular titles stand out as games you should try.

Left 4 Dead 2

When suggesting a title for Remote Play Together, one of Valve’s classic cooperative campaign titles easily comes to mind. If you have some friends that haven’t yet tried the iconic title, consider introducing them to it.

Risk of Rain

Risk of Rain offers another solid entry that can support you and up to three other friends. As an easier graphical entry point, the title can also take some of the load off the host’s internet connection.

Cuphead

While famously noted as difficult, Cuphead’s local co-op can make the game’s difficulty more manageable. If you need some help or just want to bring a friend in, consider giving it a shot.

Enter the Gungeon

If you’re looking for another dungeon crawler to share a screen with, look no farther. Enter the Gungeon’s local co-op experience works incredibly fluidly.

The Lasting Appeal of Remote Play Together

Regardless of which title you pick, Remote Play Together provides a ton of new opportunities. With the ability to allow online multiplayer for games that previously never had it, Steam is giving a massive upgrade to both past and present titles.

If you want another way Steam can rekindle old games, here’s how to turn your Steam Link into a retro gaming station


Turn Your Steam Link Into a Retro Gaming Station With RetroArch




Turn Your Steam Link Into a Retro Gaming Station With RetroArch

Want to get some more use out of your Steam Link? Here’s how to start playing all kinds of retro games on it.
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How to Update Google Play Services on Android

Want to learn how to update Google Play services? If Play Services doesn’t update, you probably can’t use many of your favorite apps. This means your phone is near useless, so you’ll want to run a Google Play services update as soon as possible.

Let’s look at what Google Play services is, how to update it properly, and why you can’t update it sometimes.

What Is Google Play Services?

First, here’s a quick explanation of what Google Play services actually is.

Google Play services is a program that allows apps to interface with Google’s software, like Gmail, Google Search, and the Google Play Store. Without Google Play services running, you cannot use any of Google’s first-party apps.

Those who can’t update it can still use alternative Android app markets


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, like Amazon’s App Store, F-Droid, and others. If your phone won’t update to the latest version of Google Play, you can oftentimes get the apps you need through a process known as sideloading.

But before you give up on installing Google Play services, here’s how to get it running on most Android tablets, TV boxes, and smartphones (with a few exceptions).

How to Update Google Play Services

Most of the time, Google Play services should update on its own without issue. You’ll only need to look into a Google Play services app update if something get stuck.

Here’s how to install the latest version of Google Play services on your device manually.

1. Check Your Internet Connection

A flaky internet connection is the number one cause for Play Services not updating. Make sure you’re connected to a stable Wi-Fi network when you try to update.

If you’re still having problems, restart your device to clear up any temporary issues. Failing that, you should reboot your router.

2. Wipe Google Services Cache

Wiping Google Play services’ temporary file storage location, or cache, is the best way to resolve update issues. To do this, perform the following steps (which may vary slightly depending on your version of Android and device).

First, go to Settings > Apps & notifications. Next, tap See all X apps (the screenshot below shows All 95 apps).

From the list, find and tap on Google Play services. Then choose Storage & cache from the list of options on its app page. Finally, hit Clear cache on the resulting menu.

Once you’ve done this, restart your device. If it doesn’t help, repeat the above steps but select Clear storage instead.

3. Force an Update of Play Services

After restarting, you should try to force an update of Play Services. You shouldn’t need to do this in most cases, but it’s worth a try if you continue to experience issues.

To do this, visit the Google Play services entry in Settings as mentioned above. Expand the Advanced section and tap App details to open its page on the Play Store. If you’re on your phone, you can open the Google Play services Play Store page to jump right to it. The green button will show Deactivate if you’re up-to-date and Update if you can install a new version.

You also can do this by visiting Play Store in a web browser and signing in with your Google account. Open the above link to the Google Play services page on Google Play, and check for an update there.

Google Play Services in the web browser

For Advanced Users: Install Google Play Services Beta

The above should work in most situations. But if you’re desperate, installing a beta version (an experimental update that hasn’t been fully tested) of Google Play services may force an update.

We don’t recommend this option except as a last resort. At best, it might make your device functional again. But if this method works, it will not update you to the latest version of Google Play services. It will instead update to an experimental version of the software—which may break many of your apps.

The process is simple, and is best done on a desktop or laptop where you’re logged into the primary Google account associated with your device. First, navigate to the Google Play Services Public Beta Program page. On that page, follow the link under the Subscribe using the opt-in URL header and you’ll see the below. Click Become a tester to join.

become a google play tester

Once you’ve signed up, Google will push beta versions of Play services to your device automatically. You can try to force them by following step three of the above process.

If you change your mind, you can leave the program at any time. Visit the Google Play services beta opt-out page to drop out. However, this may require that you uninstall Play Services before it functions normally again.

When You Can’t Update Google Play Services

If you fall into one of these categories, your phone probably won’t be able to update Google Play services using the method outlined above.

Android 4.0 and Below Can’t Update Google Play Services

As of 2018, Google no longer supports Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or below. That means if you own an Android device running one of those version, you can’t install or update Google Play services. These users can either install a custom ROM


How to Install a Custom ROM on Your Android Device




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or try sideloading Google Play Store alternative as mentioned earlier.

Unregistered Phones Can’t Update Any of Google’s Software

If you purchased your device in India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, or elsewhere in East or Southeast Asia, there is a chance it came with an unlicensed (or “uncertified”) version of Google Play services. Google recently blocked access to the Play Store for many of these users.

However, the company also left the door open to registration. However, the registration process requires jumping through a few hoops. Jump down to the Device Registration section below for info on how to do this.

Heavily Modified Android Devices

If you’ve installed a custom version of Android or modified its system directory through rooting, there are too many variables to consider when something goes wrong. The instructions provider here won’t be of much help.

Device Registration: Fix “Device Is Not Registered With Google” Error

Google Framework Services ID input window

In order to use Google’s software, such as Google Play, Gmail, and Google Calendar, device manufacturers must obtain Google’s permission. Some manufacturers don’t bother with this, and instead install uncertified copies of Google’s software on their smartphones. Google began cracking down on this practice on devices some time ago.

Unlicensed versions of Android can still update Google Play services. However, you will need to first register your device with Google. The process is easy; it requires visiting Google’s Uncertified Device Registration page.

Once you’re here, you’ll need to acquire your device’s Framework Android ID. The easiest way to do this is using the Device ID app. Due to your issue, you probably don’t have access to Google Play. Thus, you’ll need to download the APK manually and sideload it to install


How to Manually Install or Sideload Apps on Android




How to Manually Install or Sideload Apps on Android

Want to sideload apps on your Android phone? Installing APKs manually on Android opens up a whole new world of apps, and it’s easy to do.
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.

After you’ve retrieved it from the app, input the Google Services Framework Android ID into the Uncertified Device Registration page. The process is not immediate; it may take several hours. Once registered with Google, you then should be able to manually install Google Framework Services, which will allow you to continue using (and updating) Google Play services.

Downloading the Google Play Services APK

Hopefully this helped you update Play Services without much hassle. If you need more info than just getting Google Play services to update, we have another guide that might help you.

Check out our detailed instructions for fixing Google Play issues


5 Simple Fixes for Common Google Play Store Problems




5 Simple Fixes for Common Google Play Store Problems

Is the Google Play Store not loading or is it not downloading apps? You can reinstall the Store or try these other fixes.
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. It also includes tips on legitimate websites that host the android installation files for Google Play services (as well as other essential Play Store software infrastructure). However, we don’t recommend manual installation in all cases. This comes with risks, such as getting a malware infection or destroying your device. Additionally, a manual install can take hours of your time. Sometimes upgrading your device is the only cost-effective option.



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Steam’s New Design and Remote Play Together Feature Are Now Available for All – Review Geek

Steam has released an update that includes a new game library interface and a new feature that lets you play offline co-op games online. Both changes have existed in beta builds of Steam but are now available for everyone.

For all of the features that Valve has added to Steam over the last 16 years, the platform is sometimes criticized for having an outdated interface compared to the dashboards you’ll find on consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Today’s update works toward addressing that criticism with a modernized interface for the Steam client’s Library tab.

The Library tab still lists all your Steam games on the left, but the main panel on the right side is now full of tiled cover art from your games, which are organized into categories such as the titles you’ve played recently and what your friends have been playing lately. The games listed here include recommendations for what your friends are really into that you don’t already own.

Along with making it a little easier to discover new games, the Library tab features a “What’s New” section where you’ll find a news feed for games that you play and for Steam itself (there’s a notice about this interface update). This section is displayed right up top and should make it easy for players to see updates about their games as they go to play them through the Steam Library.

And although the Library tab still lists all your Steam games on the left, there are new options to organize the titles into separate “Collections” such as “Best Indie Games.” Right-click on the game in your library and go to Add to > New Collection where you can enter a new collection. This screen also lets you create dynamic collections that add filters to the mix.

Today’s update also brings the new Remote Play Together feature from Steam’s beta builds to the mainstream client for all. Remote Play Together lets you host multiplayer sessions for games that would otherwise be limited to local sessions where you and your friend are sitting on the same couch together. The feature works by streaming video of the host’s game to other players and sending control inputs from the other players to the host.

Both the updated Library interface and Remote Play Together should be available in an update for your Steam client.

Source: Steam





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