Tag Archives: driving

How to Master the Four Seasons in Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox Wire

In Forza Horizon 4, Seasons change everything where players must master driving in dry, wet, muddy, snowy and icy conditions. A first for the racing genre and rarely seen in any open-world game, dynamic seasons create a world that is constantly evolving each week and with more than 450 cars, novices and veterans alike can explore the beautiful open world of Britain filled with unique and challenging driving experiences.

While Forza Horizon 4’s deep upgrade system can optimize any car for any season, it’s always best to think about the right car choice for each weather condition, whether you need to adjust your suspension and how you need to change your driving style depending on the terrain. Luckily, we have some tips and tricks on how best to tackle each season and what to expect, sourced by Turn 10 Studios’ Design Director Jon Knoles.

Summer

Hovercraft GIF

 Under a high, mid-day summer sun, conditions are perfect for putting the pedal to the metal on Britain’s fastest motorways or ripping along the golden sands of the northern coast past the brooding Bamburgh Castle. You may encounter the occasional summer rain, but most of the time you’ll find dry weather.

If you take a shortcut through fields, you’ll easily plow through tall grasses and flowers. Don’t worry about wood and wire fences, small trees, or stacked drystone walls. Whatever you’re driving, if you’re going fast enough they’ll break without breaking your car. Smaller, lighter cars will slow down considerably more than larger, heavier vehicles when you plow through these obstacles.

Spring to Summer GIF

When Horizon summer arrives, as with all seasons, keep an eye out for seasonal gameplay events, challenges, and rewards, which expire at the end of the season. You may find summer events often take advantage of the perfect driving conditions to feature faster cars on faster, paved roads.

Autumn

Summer to Fall GIF

 Whether you call it autumn or fall, it’s perhaps the most beautiful and most colorful season to explore the tree-lined, winding roads of Britain’s Lake Country in the world’s greatest road cars, or to tackle the 4×4 Adventure Park’s muddy playground for off-roaders.

It’s after harvest, so fields that were full of tall grasses in summer are now plowed and full of soft or muddy earth that will slow you down a bit, and are peppered with new obstacles in the form of big and heavy bales of hay, which will definitely slow you down if you hit them. It will rain in autumn more than in summer and roads do become a bit slicker in the wet, so you’ll be wanting to plan a little earlier for hard turns.

Summer to Fall GIF

When autumn arrives, keep an eye out for a seasonal barn find car—each season reveals a classic to discover and restore, but you’ll want to find it before the season changes again.

Winter

Fall to Winter

With the low sun shimmering through bare trees across a frosty landscape, you might be worried that you’ll be sliding all over the place. Don’t worry, all tires are good for all seasons, and will be enough to keep you on the roads if you remember to brake—and turn—for curves. If you want more grip on the snow and ice, you can equip your car with studded winter tires in the upgrade shop, and any car that was already equipped with off-road or rally tires will automatically switch to studded tires.

The weather may range from clear to light flurries, or the occasional blizzard. Higher elevations in the north will have more deep snow than lowland areas in the south. Coastal beaches are still sandy, and motorways, the city streets of historic Edinburgh, and other major roads are cleared of ice and snow. In winter, you can reach previously inaccessible areas to search for bonus boards to smash or barn find cars, such as on an island in the middle of a deep lake. And when you’re on the frozen lake, it doesn’t matter what you’re driving or what kind of tires you have, you will slide around a lot, which itself is a lot of fun.

Fall to Winter GIF

Keep an eye out for snowmen, too. Smashing them is fun, and it will net you combo skill points. Seasonal events are sure to test your mettle on the slippery ice, but rest assured there are still clear roads to conquer.

Spring

Winter to Spring GIF

After a cold winter, the British landscape bursts to life once again in vibrant color, and one thing you can be sure of is a lot more rain, but you’ll also get a lot of sun. Or as they say in much of Britain in the spring, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes.”

Of all the seasons, spring is probably the one with the most varied conditions throughout. Previously dry or shallow riverbeds become deep, rushing streams, which may bring low-slung supercars and lightweight cars to a crawl, but don’t pose much of a challenge for off-road vehicles such as SUVs, trophy trucks, and buggies. If you happen to climb to a mountain peak in the north, you’ll still find pockets of snow to play around in.

Spring to Summer GIF

As with autumn, spring events may bring a more rally-heavy theme with mixed-surface races to suit the varied conditions. Whether it’s in a sturdy new Subaru WRX Sti, or a classic Group B rally monster from the 80s, you’ll be sure to discover some trail-blazing events in cars built to tackle all the tarmac, gravel, and mud that you’ll get plenty of in spring.

Forza Horizon 4 launches on October 2, 2018 on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Game Pass, and is now available for pre-order in the Microsoft Store. Stay tuned to Xbox Wire and ForzaMotorsport.net for future updates.

Microsoft Imagine Cup 2018: Europe’s challengers for the $100,000 prize

From environmental sustainability, protecting human rights, empowering the disabled and disadvantaged, driving up literacy rates and much more, technological innovation has the power to make our world a better place.

That’s where initiatives like Microsoft’s Imagine Cup come in – helping to encourage the brightest and best students to develop world-changing technology projects by unlocking their creativity.

Founded in 2003, it’s now the world’s biggest student technology competition, with tens of thousands of students participating from around the world each year.

This year, the global final will take place in Seattle on 25 July, with the first prize of $100,000, mentorship opportunities and Azure credits all to play for.

The winners will be awarded $100,000, a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a $120,000 Azure Grant and a trip to next year’s Build developer conference.

The Europeans are coming
Europe has long been a hotbed of computing talent. From “father of AI”, Alan Turing, to World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Nikola Tesla, the Lumière brothers and more, leading figures from the region have contributed to some of history’s most thrilling technology innovations. Now it’s time for the next generation to step out of the shadows.

So, who’s competing from Europe? Let’s take a look at the 14 teams travelling to Seattle and the projects they’ll be hoping to wow the judges with.

Team TBC (Belarus)
This project uses a neural network to determine psychogeometric characteristics of a person from photographs, which allows more effective communication according to their individual characteristics, with a focus on business and sales settings. The use-case is to help companies hire the right students by sophisticated data-driven algorithms based on psychology, face/gestures-recognition and company culture assessment. The algorithms can also be used to help out the service industry to better communicate with customers based on psycho-type and emotion detection in real time.

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Theatrall (France)
Theatrall aims to make theaters accessible for everyone through simple software available on smartglasses, smartphones or tablets, which will display the production subtitles in the language chosen by the user. The goal is to make theatre experiences accessible for everyone, such as people with hearing impairments, non-native language speakers, or simply for those wishing for subtitles.

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Soul Sailor (Germany)
Soul Sailor is a platform that provides psychological care for refugees and asylum seekers, including a chatbot to help individuals process their experiences while seeking refuge. Soul Sailor supports refugees dealing with mental illnesses such as PTSD or depression by providing psychological care and eliminating factors out of their surroundings which contribute to their issues. The platform is powered by an AI and data-driven digital companion called Mayu, who interacts with the user via speech and helps them express their experiences and worries. In addition, the system also allows fled relatives who have been separated to communicate with a novel event-based network solution.

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NASC (Germany)
NASC is a web app that allows you to search for news articles on the web, attempts to evaluate sentiments in those articles and then visualizes the results. The goal is to encourage people interested in politics and other important topics and events to go beyond the first search result and to look at multiple articles that express different views about the same topic. To achieve this, NASC offers three different result views. The Map view helps portray geographical differences in the attitude towards a given issue. The Timeline view visualizes the development of the sentiment towards an issue over time, and the List view provides a familiar user interface similar to regular search engines and shows more details at first glance than the other, more specialized views.

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Pavo (Germany)
Pavo Vision makes digital content accessible to visually impaired users, by utilizing advanced AI, Cloud Computing and the power of the community. Visual content in websites, documents, and other digital assets gets analyzed and equipped with a description of the visual for visually impaired users by the Pavo Vision System. Mistakes in the analysis can be reported by the Pavo community to train the system, making the models smarter over time. The Pavo Vision system is currently available as a browser plugin, with future support for Microsoft Teams planned.

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StudySmarter (Germany)
StudySmarter is an intelligent learning platform, designed to help students achieve their educational goals and graduate from university. The platform digitizes the entire learning process, making it more efficient, structured and engaging. Machine learning algorithms accompany the student through the entire learning experience by automating or creating learning materials such as summaries, mind maps or flashcards with just a few clicks. In addition, the student is automatically connected with fellow students.StudySmarter not only saves time learning, but also boosts motivation.

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iCry2Talk (Greece)
iCry2Talk proposes a low-cost and non-invasive intelligent interface between infants and parents. Baby’s cries are translated in real-time, being associated with specific physiological and psychological states. Results are depicted in text, image and voice messages. iCry2Talk believes that the efficient combination and analysis of different sources of information through advanced signal processing techniques and deep learning algorithms can provide meaningful and reliable feedback to parents.

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Innobie (Hungary)
Innobie is a smartphone app to help students understand the curriculum they are reading in textbooks. The app projects a virtual augmented 3D image over 2D illustrations in books, and can help elementary students learn biology, chemistry, geography, history, and more. By allowing users to explore virtual objects from all angles, they can gain a deeper understanding for more complex subjects than a mere 2D image would be able to provide.

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DeafKIT (Moldova)
DeafKIT is an automatic solution for sign-language translation based on neural networks. Translations are provided with video capturing to make communication easier and more effective, with up to 100% accuracy. The solution aims to be used on trading centres, social networks and more.

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Wavy (Poland)
Wavy is an underwater locator for scuba divers which allows divers to track each other via a small device, which can prove to be vital during emergency situations. In addition to its safety benefits, the Diving Logbook feature tracks the route, depth and temperature of each dive. Diving bases can also measure the most popular routes to help recommend them to customers.

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VisionX (Romania)
XVision is a system designed to automatically detect anomalies and diseases encountered anywhere in the human body with radiologist-level accuracy, just by analyzing common medical X-ray images with the help of the latest Azure AI technologies such as Machine Learning. The system will provide a crucial solution for people in areas of the world that lack access to radiology diagnostics while also acting as an assistant tool for the medical experts examining radiographs.

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Coffee Break (Russia)
Coffee Break utilises spectrometry in an innovative way by labeling tradeable goods. this amazing tool in the business for labeling of tradable goods. The solution can be used in a variety of ways, such as counterfeit detection, by comparing goods to the known qualities of their genuine counterparts. The tool can also be used to track expensive items such as wine.

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InterviewBot (UK)
InterviewBot is a web-based application tailored to aid students with video or physical interviews when applying for jobs by providing real-time feedback on interview-style questions. Companies can also use this tool to assess their candidates’ performance, while a written transcript allowing employers to dissect interviews in detail. It uses facial analysis and speech recognition to offer real-time feedback on facial expressions during practice interviews, informing users whether their style is positive, neutral, or negative.

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Black Light (UK)
Black Light’s project, Firepoint, is a First-Person mixed reality simulator, built around helping firefighters explain and display what their daily work environment is like without putting anyone at risk. The simulator allows users to see through the eyes of a firefighter as they make their way through a multi-story training ground with a variety of different encounters to tackle. The goal is to use this tool to help firefighters in community outreach, recruitment, and training.

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Explosion in unstructured data storage drives modernization

Digital transformation is the key IT trend driving enterprise data center modernization. Businesses today rapidly deploy web-scale applications, file sharing services, online content repositories, sensors for internet of things implementations and big data analytics. While these digital advancements facilitate new insights, streamline processes and enable better collaboration, they also increase unstructured data at an alarming rate.

Managing unstructured data and its massive growth can quickly strain legacy file storage systems that are poorly suited for managing vast amounts of this data. Taneja Group recently investigated the most common of these file storage limitations in a recent survey. The study found the top challenges IT faces with traditional file storage are lack of flexibility, poor storage utilization, inability to scale to petabyte levels and failure to support distributed data. These obstacles often lead to high storage costs, complex storage management and limited flexibility in unstructured data storage.

So how are companies addressing the unstructured data management challenge? As with all things IT, it’s essential to have the right architecture. For unstructured data storage, this means a highly scalable, resilient, flexible, economical and accessible secondary storage environment.

Let’s take a closer look at modern unstructured data storage requirements and examine why distributed file systems and a scale-out object storage design, or scale-out storage, are becoming a key part of modern secondary storage management.

Scalability and resiliency

Given the huge amounts of unstructured data, it’s undeniable that scalability is the most critical aspect of modern secondary storage.

Given the huge amounts of unstructured data, scalability is undeniably the most critical aspect of modern secondary storage. This is where scale-out storage shines. It’s ideal for managing huge amounts of unstructured data because it easily scales to hundreds of petabytes simply by adding storage nodes. This inherent advantage over scale-up file storage appliances that become bottlenecked by single or dual controllers has prompted several data protection vendors to offer scale-out secondary storage platforms. Notable vendors with scale-out secondary storage offerings are Cohesity, Rubik and — most recently — Commvault.

Attaining storage resiliency is another important requirement of modern secondary storage. Two key factors are required to achieve storage resiliency. The first is high fault tolerance. Scale-out storage is ideal in this area because it uses space-efficient erasure coding and flexible replication policies to tolerate site, multiple node and disk failures.

Rapid data recovery is the second key factor for storage resiliency. For near-instantaneous recovery times, IT managers should look for secondary storage products that provision clones from backup snapshots to recover applications in minutes or even seconds. Secondary storage products should allow administrators to run recovered applications directly on secondary storage until data is copied back to primary storage and be able to orchestrate the recovery of multi-tier applications.

Flexibility and cost

To handle multiple, unstructured data storage use cases, modern secondary storage must also be flexible. Central to flexibility is multiprotocol support. Scale-out storage should support both file and object protocols, such as NFS for Linux, SMB or CIFS for Windows and Amazon Simple Storage Service for web-scale applications. True system flexibility also requires modularity, or composable architecture, which enables multidimensional scalability and I/O flexibility. Admins must be able to quickly vary computing, network and storage resources to accommodate IOPS-, throughput- and capacity-intensive workloads.

Good economics is another requirement for modern secondary storage. Scale-out storage reduces hardware costs by enabling software-defined storage that uses standard, off-the-shelf servers. It’s also simple to maintain. Administrators can easily upgrade or replace computing nodes without having to migrate data among systems, reducing administration time and operating costs. Scale-out secondary storage also provides the option to store data in cost-effective public cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Moreover, scale-out storage reduces administration time by eliminating storage silos and the rigid, hierarchical structure used in file storage appliances. It instead places all data in a flat address space or single storage pool. Scale-out secondary storage also provides built-in metadata file search capabilities that help users quickly locate the data they need.

Some vendors, such as Cohesity, offer full-text search that facilitates compliance activities by letting companies quickly find files containing sensitive data, such as passwords and Social Security numbers. Add to this support for geographically distributed environments, and it’s easy to see why scale-out storage is essential for cost-effectively managing large-scale storage environments.

Data management

The final important ingredient of modern secondary storage environments is providing easy access to services required to manage secondary data. As the amount of unstructured data grows, IT can make things easier for storage administrators and improve organizational agility by giving application owners self-service tools that automate the full data lifecycle. This means providing a portal or marketplace and predefined service-level agreement templates that establish the proper data storage parameters. These parameters include recovery points, retention periods and workload placement based on a company’s standard data policies. Secondary storage should also integrate with database management tools, such as Oracle Recovery Manager.

Clearly, distributed file systems and scale-out object storage architectures are a key part of modern secondary storage offerings. There is an evolution of secondary product portfolios to address the immense unstructured data storage needs of modern organizations in the digital era. So stay tuned, as I expect nearly all major data protection vendors will introduce scale-out secondary storage products over the next 12 to 18 months.