Counter Strike 1.6 Rosso Costiera
Counter Strike 1.6 Rosso Costiera
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More noticeable improvements included the use of digital audio for sound effects, custom cockpits for each aircraft (previous versions had one cockpit that was slightly modified to fit various aircraft), and better graphics.
It took about a year for add-on developers to get to grips with the new engine, but when they did they were not only able to release scenery but also tools like Flightshop that made it feasible for users to design new objects.
In 1995, Flight Simulator 5.1 was introduced, adding the ability to handle scenery libraries including wide use of satellite imagery, faster performance and a barrage of weather effects: storms, 3D clouds and fog became true-to-life elements in the Flight Simulator world. This edition was also the first version that was released on CD-ROM and the last for DOS. This was released in June 1995.
In the fall of 1995, with the release of the Flightshop program, nearly any aircraft could be built. The French program “Airport” was also available for free which allowed users to build airports (FS5.1 only had 250 Worldwide) and other designers were doing custom aircraft cockpit panels. This all made for a huge amount of “freeware” to be released to be downloaded and added to the FS5.1 simulator.
It was all finally coming together in late 1995 and into 1996—a much improved flight simulator, more powerful computers that were becoming affordable, the Internet for uploading/downloading, programs which allowed users to share their “third party” aircraft and scenery with others, and forums such as CompuServe, Avsim, and Flightsim.com to act as libraries for the uploads and discussion
As Windows 95 was released, a new version (6.0) was developed for that platform. Although this was more or less just a port from the DOS version (FS5.1), it did feature a vastly improved frame-rate, better haze, and additional aircraft, including the Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft. It also featured more 3-D detailing, this could be noticed in many places such as Manhattan, Meigs etc.
Instead of using the version number in the title, Microsoft instead called it “Flight Simulator for Windows 95” to advertise the change in operating system. It is often abbreviated as “FS95” or “FSW95”.
This was the first version released after the purchase of BAO by Microsoft, and after having physically relocated development of the BAO development staff to Microsoft’s primary campus in Redmond, Washington. The BAO team was integrated with other non-BAO Microsoft staff, such as project management, testing, and artwork.
Additional scenery included major airports outside Europe and the US for the first time.
FS98 (6.1) is generally regarded as a “service release”, offering minor improvements, with a few notable exceptions: The simulator now also featured a helicopter (the Bell 206BIII JetRanger), as well as a generally improved interface for adding additional aircraft, sceneries, and sounds. Other new “out of the box” aircraft included a revised Cessna 182 with a photorealistic instrument panel and updated flight model. The primary rationale for updating the 182 was Cessna’s return to manufacturing that model in the late 1990s. The Learjet Model 45 business jet was also included, replacing the aging Learjet 35 from earlier versions. The Dynamic Scenery models were also vastly improved. One of the most noticeable improvements in this version was the ability to have independent panels and sounds for every aircraft.
A major expansion of the in-box scenery was also included in this release, including approximately 45 detailed cities (many located outside the United States, some of which had been included in separate scenery enhancement packs), as well as an increase in the modeled airports to over 3000 worldwide, compared with the approximately 300 in earlier versions. This major increase in scenery production was attributable partially to inclusion of the content from previous standalone scenery packs, as well as new contributions by MicroScene, a company in San Ramon, California who had developed several scenery expansions released by Microsoft.
This release also included support for the Microsoft Sidewinder Pro Force Feedback joystick, which allowed the player to receive some sensory input from simulated trim forces on the aircraft controls.
This was the first version to take advantage of 3D-graphic cards, through Microsoft’s DirectX technology. With such combination of hardware and software, FS98 not only achieved better performance, but also implemented better haze/visibility effects, “virtual cockpit” views, texture filtering, and sunrise/sunset effects.
FS2000 (7.0) was released as a major improvement over the previous versions, and was also offered in two versions; one version for “normal” users, and one “pro” version with additional aircraft. Although many users had high expectations when this version arrived, many were disappointed when they found out that the simulator demanded high-end hardware; the minimum requirements were only a Pentium 166 MHz computer, although 400–500 MHz computer was deemed necessary to have an even framerate. However, even on a high-end system, stuttering framerate was a problem, especially when performing sharp turns in graphically dense areas. Also, the visual damage effects introduced in FS5.0 were disabled, and continued to be unavailable in versions after FS2000. While the visual damage effects were still in the game, Microsoft disabled them from the game’s configuration files. Users can re-enable the damage effects through modifications. FS2000 also introduced computer controlled aircraft in some airports.
This version also introduced 3D elevation, making it possible to adjust the elevation for the scenery grids, thus making most of the previous scenery obsolete (as it didn’t support this feature). A GPS was also added, enabling an even more realistic operation of the simulator. FS2000 also upgraded its dynamic scenery, with more detailed models and AI that allowed aircraft to yield to other aircraft to avoid incursions while taxiing.
FS2000 included an improved weather system, which featured precipitation for the first time in the form of either snow or rain, as well as other new features such as the ability to download real-world weather.
New aircraft in FS2000 included the supersonic Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde (prominently featured on both editions’ box covers) and the Boeing 777, which had recently entered service at the time.
An often overlooked, but highly significant milestone in Flight Simulator 2000, was the addition of over 17,000 new airports, for a total exceeding 20,000 worldwide, as well as worldwide navigational aid coverage. This greatly expanded the utility of the product in simulating long international flights as well as instrument-based flight relying on radio navigation aids. Some of these airports, along with additional objects such as radio towers and other “hazard” structures, were built from publicly available U.S. government databases. Others, particularly the larger commercial airports with detailed apron and taxiway structures, were built from detailed information in Jeppesen’s proprietary database, one of the primary commercial suppliers of worldwide aviation navigation data.
In combination, these new data sources in Flight Simulator allowed the franchise to claim the inclusion of virtually every documented airport and navigational aid in the world, as well as allowing implementation of the new GPS feature. As was the case with FS98, scenery development using these new data sources in FS2000 was outsourced to MicroScene in San Ramon, working with the core development team at Microsoft.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 was the last of the Flight Simulator series to support the Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 operating systems.
In 2004, Microsoft commissioned research firms to do independent studies comparing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Windows Server 2003 to Linux; the firms concluded that companies found Windows easier to administrate than Linux, thus those using Windows would administrate faster resulting in lower costs for their company (i.e. lower TCO). This spurred a wave of related studies; a study by the Yankee Group concluded that upgrading from one version of Windows Server to another costs a fraction of the switching costs from Windows Server to Linux, although companies surveyed noted the increased security and reliability of Linux servers and concern about being locked into using Microsoft products. Another study, released by the Open Source Development Labs, claimed that the Microsoft studies were “simply outdated and one-sided” and their survey concluded that the TCO of Linux was lower due to Linux administrators managing more servers on average and other reasons.
As part of the “Get the Facts” campaign, Microsoft highlighted the .NET trading platform that it had developed in partnership with Accenture for the London Stock Exchange, claiming that it provided “five nines” reliability. After suffering extended downtime and unreliability the LSE announced in 2009 that it was planning to drop its Microsoft solution and switch to a Linux-based one in 2010.
In 2012, Microsoft hired a political pollster named Mark Penn, whom the New York Times called “famous for bulldozing” his political opponents as Executive Vice-President, Advertising and Strategy. Penn created a series of negative ads targeting one of Microsoft’s chief competitors, Google. The ads, called “Scroogled”, attempt to make the case that Google is “screwing” consumers with search results rigged to favor Google’s paid advertisers, that Gmail violates the privacy of its users to place ad results related to the content of their emails and shopping results which favor Google products. Tech publications like Tech Crunch have been highly critical of the ad campaign, while Google employees have embraced it.
n July 2014, Microsoft announced plans to lay off 18,000 employees. Microsoft employed 127,104 people as of June 5, 2014, making this about a 14 percent reduction of its workforce as the biggest Microsoft lay off ever. This included 12,500 professional and factory personnel. Previously, Microsoft has laid off 5,800 jobs in 2009 in line with US financial crisis. In September 2014, Microsoft laid off 2,100 people, including 747 people in the Seattle-Redmond area, where the company is headquartered. The firings came as a second wave of the layoffs that were previously announced. This brings the total number to over 15,000 out of the 18,000 expected cuts. In October 2014, Microsoft revealed that it was almost done with the elimination of 18,000 employees which was its largest ever layoff sweep. In July 2015, Microsoft announced another 7,800 job cuts in the next several months. In May 2016, Microsoft announced another 1,850 job cuts mostly in (Nokia) mobile phone division. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.
United States government
Main article: Criticism of Microsoft
Microsoft provides information about reported bugs in their software to intelligence agencies of the United States government, prior to the public release of the fix. A Microsoft spokesperson has stated that the corporation runs several programs that facilitate the sharing of such information with the U.S. government. Following media reports about PRISM, NSA’s massive electronic surveillance program, in May 2013, several technology companies were identified as participants, including Microsoft. According to leaks of said program, Microsoft joined the PRISM program in 2007. However, in June 2013, an official statement from Microsoft flatly denied their participation in the program:
We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data, we don’t participate in it.
During the first six months in 2013, Microsoft had received requests that affected between 15,000 and 15,999 accounts. In December 2013, the company made statement to further emphasis the fact that they take their customers’ privacy and data protection very seriously, even saying that “government snooping potentially now constitutes an “advanced persistent threat,” alongside sophisticated malware and cyber attacks”. The statement also marked the beginning of three-part program to enhance Microsoft’s encryption and transparency efforts. On July 1, 2014, as part of this program they opened the first (of many) Microsoft Transparency Center, that provides “participating governments with the ability to review source code for our key products, assure themselves of their software integrity, and confirm there are no “back doors.” Microsoft has also argued that the United States Congress should enact strong privacy regulations to protect consumer data. In 2016, the company sued the U.S., arguing that secrecy orders were preventing the company from disclosing warrants to customers in violation of the company’s and customers’ rights.
Technical reference for developers and articles for various Microsoft magazines such as Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ) are available through the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). MSDN also offers subscriptions for companies and individuals, and the more expensive subscriptions usually offer access to pre-release beta versions of Microsoft software. In April 2004 Microsoft launched a community site for developers and users, titled Channel 9, that provides a wiki and an Internet forum. Another community site that provides daily videocasts and other services, On10.net, launched on March 3, 2006. Free technical support is traditionally provided through online Usenet newsgroups, and CompuServe in the past, monitored by Microsoft employees; there can be several newsgroups for a single product. Helpful people can be elected by peers or Microsoft employees for Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) status, which entitles them to a sort of special social status and possibilities for awards and other benefits.
Noted for its internal lexicon, the expression “eating our own dog food” is used to describe the policy of using pre-release and beta versions of products inside Microsoft in an effort to test them in “real-world” situations. This is usually shortened to just “dog food” and is used as noun, verb, and adjective. Another bit of jargon, FYIFV or FYIV (“Fuck You, I’m [Fully] Vested”), is used by an employee to indicate they are financially independent and can avoid work anytime they wish. The company is also known for its hiring process, mimicked in other organizations and dubbed the “Microsoft interview”, which is notorious for off-the-wall questions such as “Why is a manhole cover round?”.
Microsoft is an outspoken opponent of the cap on H1B visas, which allow companies in the U.S. to employ certain foreign workers. Bill Gates claims the cap on H1B visas makes it difficult to hire employees for the company, stating “I’d certainly get rid of the H1B cap” in 2005. Critics of H1B visas argue that relaxing the limits would result in increased unemployment for U.S. citizens due to H1B workers working for lower salaries. The Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, a report of how progressive the organization deems company policies towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) employees, rated Microsoft as 87% from 2002 to 2004 and as 100% from 2005 to 2010 after they allowed gender expression.