Opera Software today has made available for download the third beta version of its Opera 10 browser software. Performance and stability were prioritized for the latest release, Opera says.
"For us, it is a resounding success when more than one million people use your beta and are excited enough to give us so much actionable feedback," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. "This third beta comes after a lot of careful improvements. We have never released such a solid piece of technology that not only runs seamlessly, but is so nice to look at as well. I am proud of this release, and I hope that the Web-using world will benefit from a browser that is truly ready to do some heavy lifting."
New features also find their way into Opera 10 Beta 3. These include tab tweaks such as more options for tab placement and the ability to view visual thumbnail tabs on the right or left side of the screen, a "more efficient" UI, support for up to 38 languages, crash prevention through an integrated crash logger, and refinements to Opera Turbo.
URL shortening services are all well and good, but what happens when one of them goes down? If that happens, you're looking at a lot of dead links, whether they appear in forum posts or magazine articles. That appeared to be the case with tr.im, who recently went offline but is back up and running.
"We have restored tr.im and re-opened its website," tr.im wrote in a blog. "We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the popular response, and the countless public and private appeals I have received to keep tr.im alive."
The blog post went on to complain that bit.ly "has a monopoly position" in the URL shortening business that it cannot compete with, not unless "Twitter offers choice." Nevertheless, tr.im vowed to keep operating indefinitely while the service considers its financial options for the future.
Facebook earlier this week rolled out a new feature called "Facebook Lite" to more users than it originally intended. The beta service was primarily intended to take place in India, as it was designed to be used in parts of the world where broadband speeds aren't readily available.
"We are currently testing a simplified alternative to Facebook.com that loads a specific set of features quickly and efficiently," Facebook said in a statement. "Similar to the Facebook experience you get on your mobile phones, Facebook 'Lite' is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept Friend requests, write on people's Walls, and look at photos and status updates."
At least one user who got an early peek said the new service "looks like a simplified version of Twitter with comments enabled." But that doesn't appear to be the intention, as once testing is complete in India, the social networking site will then target Russia and China.
Internet users living in China won't be forced to install the controversial Green Dam Internet filtering software after all, said China's industry minister Li Yizhong. The software will, however, still be installed on computers at schools and in Internet cafes, said Li.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Li contends the software was always intended to be optional. But previous plans required the Internet filtering software be installed on all computers sold in China. That plan was delayed indefinitely in June following strong opposition from China's estimated 300 million Internet users. There were also reports of security holes that could potentially allow hackers to gain remote access to PCs with the software installed.
The Green Dam software also drew criticism after it was discovered that more than just pornography was being blocked. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that Green Dam restricted access to webpages containing words related to Falun Gong, a semi-religious movement that has been branded a cult by the Chinese government, PC World reports.
We’ve all seen those perfectly wired high-dollar rigs with cables completely hidden beneath the motherboard tray and have wanted that for our home-brewed PCs. Unfortunately, unless you’re prepared to buy or make cables that are precisely the correct length for the components in your system, a Voodoo-quality wiring job is nigh-impossible to achieve. However, with some zip ties and a little patience, you can get close.
Before you start, you’ll need something to restrain the cables. Some enthusiast PC cases come with a package of ties, but they’re also frequently available in the cable-tie area of your hardware store or in Radio Shack. We prefer small plastic zip ties, which you can buy at most hardware stores in quantities of 100 for around $5; Velcro straps will also work, and twist ties are even acceptable in a pinch. You’ll also need wire snips (to trim the ends of the zip ties), and some adhesive cable wranglers are also handy for attaching the bundled cables to the case. We also use flex tubing and shrink tubing to bundle up smaller cables. You can find the tubing at most electronics stores, or online at Frozencpu.com.
As always, feel free to do as much or as little with your PC wiring as you’d like. This is a project that can take from 10 minutes (if you want to do it quick and dirty) to several hours (if you want every little wire in perfect position).
The money keeps rolling in for Boxee, a browser-based streaming media service who managed to attract $4 million last November. In its second round of funding, Boxee has secured another $6 million in financing from Boston-based General Catalyst.
"General Catalyst brings more than just money to the table," Boxee wrote on its blog. "We wanted a partner to help us as we strengthen our relationship with big media and cable companies. As we learned (the hard way), it is a complicated world."
One of those complications came earlier in the year when Boxee was forced to drop support for Hulu streaming after content providers cried foul and demanded that the service be turned off. Boxee hopes its latest funding and resulting contacts will help the service avoid these types of conflicts moving forward.
Boxee also listed out a handful of goals, which include bringing the service out of Beta, adding more content, attracting more developers, and bringing Boxee into devices.
The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), a non-profit consortium created to promote the awesomeness of gaming on a PC, stands eight members stronger today. These new members include BFG Technologies, Bigfoot Networks, Flextronics, GameStop, GameTap, Gas Powered Games, Howie's Game Shack, and InstantAction.
"We welcome these new members to the PCGA, a rapidly growing organization where companies of all types can come together to expand and improve the PC gaming ecosystem," said Randy Stude, PCGA president and Intel director, Gaming Program Office.
The new additions will help fill a void created when Activision-Blizzard and "a few others" left the consortium last April because "they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time," the PCGA told Kotaku.
Other members include AMD, Intel, Capcom, Dell, Epic Games, Microsoft, Sony DADC, SMU, Digital River, EMG, Gas Powered Games, Razer, and WildTangent.
AMD today adds to its Phenom processor line with a new flagship part, the Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition. The new chip updates the company's Dragon platform, which combines a Phenom II CPU with an ATI Radeon 4870/4890 graphics card and 790GX-based motherboard.
We're told the silicon in the X4 965 BE is unchanged from the X4 955 BE, so you're essentially looking at a clockspeed bump with a slightly higher TDP. Specifically, the 45nm chip comes clocked at 3.4GHz and contains 6MB of L3 cache, and 8MB of total cache (2MB total L2 per processor). And because it's a 'Black Edition' part, the new CPU is unlocked.
AMD also tells us that its own internal testing has shown the X4 965 BE to be a better overclocker than the previous 955, which isn't always the case when releasing a faster-clocked processor built on the same architecture. We currently have one of these chips in our Lab, so look for our own performance impression in the very near future.
Best of all for the AMD faithful, AMD has set an MSRP of $245 for the 965, the same official MSRP the 955 previously held..
Pick your battles? What does that even mean? Raven Software certainly doesn’t seem to know, as it’s challenged EA’s Madden football franchise to a popularity contest. And let’s be honest here: While Wolf may be a big dog among hardcore gamers, Madden traditionally ranks as one of the top five best-selling games each and every year. If Wolfenstein does manage to pull off an upset, though, the spoils of war will be great, and – even better – Raven plans on spreading the wealth.
See, Raven Software designer Manveer Heir claims that, if Wolfenstein outsells Madden 10 in August and you’re following him on Twitter, he’ll personally pay you back the money you spent on his game. Will Wolfenstein actually score an underdog victory? Almost certainly not – but Manveer’s bold proclamation is easily one of the most interesting “marketing” techniques we’ve ever seen.
And hey, if you were struggling to decide which of the two August releases would pocket your hard-earned money, just look at it this way: If you help Wolfenstein outsell Madden, you can then use your newly refunded cash to nab Madden. So get to it, people! At the cost of one overly daring man’s livelihood, we can get two games for the price of one! Everybody (except Mr. Heir) wins!
Every MMO-maker wishes their game could cast its net as wide as WoW, but these days, most are content to eek out a modest living in the shadow of Blizzard’s behemoth. Over at NCSoft, though, things are… well, they’re just like that. But, if WoW’s coming in at the head of the pack, NCSoft’s hoping its upcoming fantasy MMO Aion can at least be the neck.
"I believe the performance of Aion in the US and European markets will be very successful. ... We are guessing that Aion will be -- could be -- the second [most] successful MMO in the US market next to World of Warcraft,” NCSoft CFO Jaeho Lee said during a recent conference call.
When Aion and the recently deceased Tabula Rasa were mentioned in the same sentence together, however, Lee wasn’t so kind.
"Ok, um, it's very unfortunate to hear the name of Tabula Rasa at this conference call," he said. "And we all want to forget and erase that memory from our performance. We did a very poor job with Tabula Rasa, and we disappointed our retailers in US markets and also European markets.”
So, for those who’ve tried Aion, do you think it has a shot at taking off on our side of the pond? Or do you think NCSoft should drop its expectations down a notch or two?