macOS Monterey is out now without SharePlay

Apple has at long last released the latest major version of its Mac operating system, macOS Monterey. While it's perhaps a more modest update than in previous years, there are some significant changes in some areas of the OS.

The redesigned Safari might be the most obvious transformation for many users. Apple initially planned to remove the tabs bar before it thankfully saw sense and decided to leave it as is in a later developer preview. The bar will match the color of the web page you're viewing, and there are some new features, such as Tab Groups.

Apple has overhauled FaceTime in macOS Monterey too. It works a little more like other conference calling software, in that you can start a call and then invite other people. This includes folks using Android or Windows devices through the new FaceTime web app. In addition, M1 Macs will support spatial audio for FaceTime and other features through AirPods and AirPods Max.

Elsewhere, macOS Monterey adds the Focus Modes seen in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Quick Notes, Shortcuts and a new-look Maps app. Live Text, Apple's answer to Google Lens, is another new tool at macOS users' disposal.

SharePlay, the feature that lets people sync streaming videos and music with friends, isn't available just yet on macOS, but Apple rolled it out on iPhone today as part of iOS 15.1. You'll also need to wait a little longer for Universal Control, which brings Mac and iPad together. You can move your cursor from one to the other and drag files between devices. SharePlay and Universal Control will arrive on macOS later this fall.

Xbox consoles can now access NVIDIA GeForce Now via Microsoft Edge

Although Xbox owners are waiting for Microsoft to switch on its own cloud gaming service on consoles, they have other ways to stream games. An update in September brought the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser to Xbox One and Series X/S consoles, allowing players to access Google Stadia. Starting today, they can fire up PC games via NVIDIA's GeForce Now as well.

GeForce Now is now available in beta on Edge, as The Verge notes, creating a pathway for Xbox users to play hundreds of games they might otherwise miss out on. GeForce Now is free for one-hour sessions though the resolution is limited to 1080p. NVIDIA just unveiled a new, more expensive plan that promises "desktop-class latency" and gameplay streaming in 1440p at up to 120 fps on PC and Mac and in 4K HDR at 60 fps on NVIDIA Shield TV.

Microsoft said it will bring Xbox Game Pass Ultimate's cloud gaming feature to consoles this holiday season. Even so, thanks to GeForce Now, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S players now have a gateway to some major PC exclusives, such as League of Legends and Dota 2, without the need for a gaming rig.

Microsoft says SolarWinds hackers may have breached 14 more companies

Microsoft has shared more details about a recent cyberattack campaign orchestrated by the Russian state-sponsored group blamed for last year's devastating SolarWinds hack. The company's cybersecurity experts warned that Nobelium is once again trying to access government and corporate networks around the world, despite President Joe Biden sanctioning Russia over previous cyberattacks.

According to Microsoft, the group is using the same strategy it employed in the successful SolarWinds attack — targeting companies whose products form core parts of global IT systems. In this campaign, Microsoft says, Nobelium has focused on a different aspect of the IT supply chain, namely resellers and service suppliers that provide cloud services and other tech.

The company says it has informed more than 140 providers and resellers that the group has targeted them. It believes Nobelium breached up to 14 of these companies' networks. However, Microsoft says it detected the campaign in its early stages in May, which should help mitigate the fallout.

Microsoft notes these hack attempts are part of a huge series of attacks conducted by Nobelium over the last few months. Between July 1st and October 19th, it told 609 of its customers that Nobelium had attempted to hack them on 22,868 occasions, with fewer than 10 successes. In the three years prior to July 1st, Microsoft told its customers about 20,500 attacks from all nation-state actors — not just Nobelium.

"This latest activity shares the hallmarks of Nobelium’s compromise-one-to-compromise-many approach and use of a diverse and dynamic toolkit that includes sophisticated malware, password sprays, supply chain attacks, token theft, API abuse [and] spear phishing," Microsoft's security intelligence division wrote in a tweet. Nobelium has also been known as Cozy Bear and APT29.

In 2020, hackers created a backdoor in a SolarWinds product called Orion, which was used by around 30,000 customers in the public and private sector. Nobelium is said to have carried out further hacks on the systems of nine US agencies and around 100 companies. Other hackers piggybacked onto the backdoor to facilitate their own attacks. The US sanctioned six Russian companies and 32 individuals and entities in April over alleged misconduct connected to the SolarWinds attack and attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

"This recent activity is another indicator that Russia is trying to gain long-term, systematic access to a variety of points in the technology supply chain and establish a mechanism for surveilling — now or in the future — targets of interest to the Russian government," Tom Burt, Microsoft's corporate vice president of customer security and trust, wrote in a blog post.

Amazon details custom Alexa programs for hospitals and retirement communities

Amazon has announced two new programs for Alexa centered around healthcare and retirement homes. Through Alexa Smart Properties, hospitals and senior living communities can run their own custom version of the voice assistant.

Retirement homes might tap into Alexa to help residents keep in contact with family and friends, stay in touch with staff, take part in activities and remain engaged with other members of the community. Staff members can use Alexa to broadcast announcements and, of course, the voice assistant can still be used for things like controlling connected devices and smart TVs.

Amazon's aim with the healthcare program is to, among other things, let staff members check in with patients without having to enter their rooms. In turn, patients can ask nurses questions, and they'll be able to respond to brief queries without having to leave their station. In addition, they can ask Alexa to play music or a podcast. As with the senior living program, care providers could use Alexa for announcements. This program builds on a 2019 pilot project at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

A version of Alexa for healthcare providers is something that Amazon has had in the works for some time. A report in 2017 suggested the company was developing hardware and software for healthcare projects, and those rumors intensified the following year. In 2019, Amazon rolled out the first HIPAA-compliant Alexa skills, which let providers help people manage prescriptions and provide blood glucose readings and tips to people with diabetes. It also has pushed into the telehealth sphere over the last couple of years.

Amazon isn't the only major tech company with an interest in the healthcare field. Microsoft invested $40 million into an AI for Health program and it announced plans earlier this year to buy speech tech company Nuance for $19.7 billion to boost its AI, cloud and healthcare ambitions.

Google, meanwhile, has worked closely with some healthcare providers. It announced plans to open an office in Rochester, Minnesota this year. The Mayo Clinic is headquartered there and the two sides plan to collaborate further.

CD Projekt buys the indie studio behind ‘The Flame in the Flood’

Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt publisher CD Projekt has expanded its portfolio after picking up indie developer The Molasses Flood. The Boston-based studio is behind survival game The Flame in the Flood and action village-building title Drake Hollow.

Formed in 2014 by Bioshock, Halo and Guitar Hero veterans, The Molasses Flood caught CD Projekt's attention because it makes "games with heart," president and co-CEO Adam Kiciński said in a statement. “The Molasses Flood share our passion for video game development, they’re experienced, quality-oriented, and have great technological insight. I’m convinced they will bring a lot of talent and determination to the group.”

The Molasses Flood will operate independently from CD Projekt Red's other teams. The studio's next game is an "ambitious project" based on an existing CD Projekt franchise, which could very well mean another Cyberpunk or Witcher game. In any case, more details will be announced later.

This week, CDPR delayed the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 to 2022. The studio previously planned to release the updates by the end of this year.

CD Projekt buys the indie studio behind ‘The Flame in the Flood’

Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt publisher CD Projekt has expanded its portfolio after picking up indie developer The Molasses Flood. The Boston-based studio is behind survival game The Flame in the Flood and action village-building title Drake Hollow.

Formed in 2014 by Bioshock, Halo and Guitar Hero veterans, The Molasses Flood caught CD Projekt's attention because it makes "games with heart," president and co-CEO Adam Kiciński said in a statement. “The Molasses Flood share our passion for video game development, they’re experienced, quality-oriented, and have great technological insight. I’m convinced they will bring a lot of talent and determination to the group.”

The Molasses Flood will operate independently from CD Projekt Red's other teams. The studio's next game is an "ambitious project" based on an existing CD Projekt franchise, which could very well mean another Cyberpunk or Witcher game. In any case, more details will be announced later.

This week, CDPR delayed the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 to 2022. The studio previously planned to release the updates by the end of this year.

Apple TV+ renews ‘Mythic Quest’ for seasons three and four

Fans of Mythic Quest have much more of the show to look forward to. Apple TV+ has renewed the series for seasons three and four. The second season of the workplace sitcom aired this spring, and season three will arrive in 2022.

Co-creator Rob McElhenney (who plays Ian Grimm in the show) made the announcement with the help of a couple of familiar faces: Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-winning face of fellow Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso, and Anthony Hopkins, who received an Emmy nomination for narrating Mythic Quest's standalone "Everlight" episode. The series picked up another Emmy nomination this year for its sound editing.

Mythic Quest, which is from some of the folks behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, focuses on the developers of a hugely successful fictional MMORPG. Ubisoft co-produces Mythic Quest, so there's certainly a degree of authenticity to the show and how a game studio might actually operate.

Apple TV+ renews ‘Mythic Quest’ for seasons three and four

Fans of Mythic Quest have much more of the show to look forward to. Apple TV+ has renewed the series for seasons three and four. The second season of the workplace sitcom aired this spring, and season three will arrive in 2022.

Co-creator Rob McElhenney (who plays Ian Grimm in the show) made the announcement with the help of a couple of familiar faces: Jason Sudeikis, the Emmy-winning face of fellow Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso, and Anthony Hopkins, who received an Emmy nomination for narrating Mythic Quest's standalone "Everlight" episode. The series picked up another Emmy nomination this year for its sound editing.

Mythic Quest, which is from some of the folks behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, focuses on the developers of a hugely successful fictional MMORPG. Ubisoft co-produces Mythic Quest, so there's certainly a degree of authenticity to the show and how a game studio might actually operate.

Twitter adds one-click Revue newsletter signup buttons to tweets

Twitter is rolling out a way for people to sign up to Revue newsletters directly from tweets. When someone shares their Revue newsletter, the tweet will include a subscribe button. If someone clicks a link to a specific newsletter issue, they'll see an option to subscribe when they return to their Twitter feed. The feature is live on the web now, and it's coming to iOS and Android soon.

In addition, if your Twitter account is linked to an email address, you can sign up to receive newsletter updates with a single click. You won't need to confirm your subscription through your email inbox.

The update should make it easier for people to convert Twitter followers into newsletter subscribers. It's a big advantage for Revue over the likes of Substack and other newsletter services, since writers on those platforms have to guide potential subscribers through a slightly longer signup process.

Twitter recently added Revue newsletter signup buttons to profiles on the web, iOS and Android. The company bought Revue in January as the newsletter ecosystem continued to pick up steam.

Twitter adds one-click Revue newsletter signup buttons to tweets

Twitter is rolling out a way for people to sign up to Revue newsletters directly from tweets. When someone shares their Revue newsletter, the tweet will include a subscribe button. If someone clicks a link to a specific newsletter issue, they'll see an option to subscribe when they return to their Twitter feed. The feature is live on the web now, and it's coming to iOS and Android soon.

In addition, if your Twitter account is linked to an email address, you can sign up to receive newsletter updates with a single click. You won't need to confirm your subscription through your email inbox.

The update should make it easier for people to convert Twitter followers into newsletter subscribers. It's a big advantage for Revue over the likes of Substack and other newsletter services, since writers on those platforms have to guide potential subscribers through a slightly longer signup process.

Twitter recently added Revue newsletter signup buttons to profiles on the web, iOS and Android. The company bought Revue in January as the newsletter ecosystem continued to pick up steam.