Author Archives: CooLMinE

Xamarin is now included for free in Visual Studio

Starting April of 2016, Visual Studio now includes Xamarin for free. This is the case for every edition of Visual Studio, including Visual Studio Community Edition, which is free as well.

With Xamarin you can develop and publish native apps for iOS and Android using C# or F# from directly within Visual Studio with no limits on app size.

For developers that are using Mac, Xamarin Studio is now available as a benefit of your Visual Studio Professional or Enterprise subscription. Developers can use the newly-created Xamarin Studio Community Edition for free.

You can visit Xamarin’s store to download Xamarin for free. Keep in mind that, Xamarin, although free, is license restricted for bigger companies. If you want to use Xamarin you will need to comply to one of the following license terms:

  • Individual license – If you are an individual working on your own applications to sell or for any other purpose, you may use the software to develop and test those applications.
  • Organization licenses – If you are an organization, your users may use the software as follows:
    • Any number of your users may use the software to develop and test your applications released under Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved open source software licenses.
    • Any number of your users may use the software to develop and test extensions to Visual Studio.
    • Any number of your users may use the software to develop and test your applications as part of online or in person classroom training and education, or for performing academic research.
    • If none of the above apply, and you are also not an enterprise (defined below), then up to 5 of your individual users can use the software concurrently to develop and test your applications.
    • If you are an enterprise, your employees and contractors may not use the software to develop or test your applications, except for open source and education purposes as permitted above. An enterprise is any organization and its affiliates who collectively have either (a) more than 250 PCs or users or (b) more than one million US dollars (or the equivalent in other currencies) in annual revenues, and enterprise means those entities that control (via majority ownership), are controlled by, or are under common control with an organization.
  • Demo use – The uses permitted above include use of the software in demonstrating your applications.

Google’s Nik Collection photo editing software is now free

Nik Collection used to cost $149 until a few days ago. Google has announced that the bundle will now be available for free. If you already own Google’s Nik Collection and have made the purchase during the year 2016 you are in luck as Google announced that you will receive a full refund.

Google’s Nik Collection consists of seven desktop plug-ins, all of them which support both Photoshop and Lightroom. Nik Collection provides a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.

  • Analog Efex Pro – Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.
  • Color Efex Pro – A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.
  • Silver Efex Pro – Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.
  • Viveza – Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.
  • HDR Efex Pro – From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.
  • Sharpener Pro – Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.
  • Dfine – Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.

More information and download links regarding Google’s Nik Collection can be found in Google’s Nik Collection website.

Hardware Requirements

Windows

  • Windows Vista®, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 through CC 2015
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 through 13 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 through 6/CC

Mac

  • Mac® OS X 10.7.5 through 10.10
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 (CS5 for HDR Efex Pro 2) through CC 2015
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 through 13 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements)
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 through 6/CC
  • Apple® Aperture® 3.1 or later

Force HTTPS using IIS

Google announced in their blog that it will start favoring websites that use HTTPS. Google ranking and increased security for your users is two major reasons why you should consider getting an SSL certificate and moving your website to HTTPS.

If you are using IIS you can use the below snippet in your web.config in order to redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS.

For your convenience, in case you are not familiar how to use the snippet below, I have attached an image to illustrate how the rewrite rule will look using IIS’s interface, so if you are having trouble with the web.config, simply mirror the details in the image.

Please keep in mind that to use the snippet below you will need to have URL Rewrite module installed and enabled.

Force HTTPS using .htaccess

As mentioned in a previous article, Google announced in their blog that it will start favoring websites that use HTTPS. Google ranking and increased security for your users is two major reasons why you should consider getting an SSL certificate and moving your website to HTTPS.

If you are using an Apache web server you can use the snippet below in your .htaccess file in order to redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS.

Unreal Engine 4 is now free

Epic Games has announced on their blog that they decided to provide Unreal Engine 4 for free to all people, without any limitations of its features.

There is something you will need to keep in mind if you plan on using the Unreal Engine 4 for commercial reasons. In Epic Games’s blog post is clearly states that: “When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter.

Depending on your needs this might be a deal breaker.

The current latest version for Unreal Engine 4 is version 4.7. This version comes with various new features, such as:

  • Realistic Foliage Lighting
  • Foliage Rendering for Large Worlds
  • In-World Component Editing
  • Placeable Empty Actors
  • Blueprintable Components
  • Automatic Asset Importing
  • Blueprint Editor UI
  • HTML5 and WebGL Support (Windows Only)
  • OpenEXR: High Dynamic Range Textures
  • Android Development on Mac
  • Virtual Reality Support
  • Leap Motion Plugin *Beta*
  • Morph Target Exaggeration
  • Animation Editing System
  • Instant Bone Controller Preview
  • Creating Animations from Physics
  • Git Source Control Plugin (Beta!)
  • AI Perception System: Blueprint Scripting

and a lot more ! For a more detailed explanation of the features, visit https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/unreal-engine-47-released

Unreal Engine 4 Recommended System Specifications

  • Windows 7 64-bit or a Mac with Mac OS X 10.9.2 or later
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Quad-core Intel or AMD processor
  • DX11 compatible video card

Unreal Engine 4 will run on hardware below what is shown above but you might experience issues with the performance.

If you would like to download Unreal Engine 4 please visit unrealengine.com and click the link on the top right where it says “Get Unreal”. Registration is required.