Following in the footsteps of Napster, KaZaA has shed its shady past as an illicit download P2P vehicle and is making a legit comeback. The relaunched site is now a full fledged music service offering unlimited streams and downloads for $19.98 per month.
Under the new business model, subscribers can consume as many tracks as they want from both major and independent artists, so long as you're a U.S. resident with a Windows-based PC. Also similar to Napster, a subscription is good for up to three authorized PCs, however a major downside is the lack of portable media player support.
A review of the service is already up over at Arstechnia, who seemed generally underwhelmed with KaZaA's new identity
"The service tries to differentiate itself by allowing users to pay for the subscription either with a credit card or attached to their monthly cell phone bills, but this level of choice is comparable to being able to use either cash or credit card at the gas pump in terms of excitement," notes Arstechnica.
KaZaA offers a free 7 day trial if you want to see for yourself how the service compares. You can check it out here.
No offense, publishers, but you can kind of be a pain to work with sometimes. So says Valve’s Gabe Newell, and we agree with him. Fortunately, good ol’ Gabe also has a solution to the developer-solution problem, and is very handsome.
“One of the areas that I am super interested in right now is how we can do financing from the community. So right now, what typically happens is you have this budget - it needs to be huge, it has to be $10m - $30m, and it has to be all available at the beginning of the project. There’s a huge amount of risk associated with those dollars and decisions have to be incredibly conservative,” he said.
“What I think would be much better would be if the community could finance the games. In other words, ‘Hey, I really like this idea you have. I’ll be an early investor in that and, as a result, at a later point I may make a return on that product, but I’ll also get a copy of that game.’”
Thus, he concluded, gamers would sacrifice their piggy banks only to game ideas they really like. Ideas lacking in the money magnetism department, then, would weed themselves out and never make it to market.
So, would you drop a few of your hard-earned dollars into an unproven concept? Honestly, we’re not sure how we feel about it. For instance, we doubt we’d have thrown cash at “A plumber who eats mushrooms, grows taller, and turns turtles into shoe-shaped putty,” and look how that turned out. With great power comes great responsibility, and we’re not sure if gamers are ready for that.
Silverstone is well-known for releasing a few solid chassis every year, usually rehashes of its Temjin full-tower line. But this year has already brought two excellent cases that mark departures from the tried-and-true: the full-tower Raven RV01 (reviewed in our March full-tower roundup) and the mid-tower Fortress FT01.
The Fortress FT01 is a solidly constructed aluminum unibody case that just screams attention-to-detail. Mid-tower cases often lack the amenities of their full-size cousins (compare Silverstone’s own Kublai line with its mighty full-tower Temjin series), but the Fortress handily escapes that trap.
After the chunky, plastic, stealth-bomber-like trappings of the RV01—which we dug, don’t get us wrong—it’s nice to see Silverstone back to the classy brushed-metal look it’s known for. The Fortress’s side panels and front bezels are black brushed aluminum, while the rest of the machine has a dusty matte-black finish, with a bit of wicked-looking mesh covering the intake fans.
Empire: Total War and Stormrise are two radically different games with a common core. Developed by Creative Assembly, they give us a rare opportunity to see the stark contrast between what PC and console strategy games can and cannot do.
Empire is a refinement of a revered brand, featuring new elements set within a familiar context. Despite the bugs, it’s still a deep, detailed, and beautiful strategy game with a different texture from any other Total War game.
Stormrise severs the 3D tactical element from the Total War series and reconfigures it as a third-person real-time strategy game. The ground-level FPS/RTS hybrid is not the huge innovation trumpeted by Sega. Pandemic’s Battlezone II: Combat Commander attempted a similar RTS/FPS mélange 10 years ago, with pretty solid results. But memories are short and hype is powerful in the game world, allowing Stormrise to position itself as “The First Truly 3D RTS Game.”
The schism between DDR3 and DDR2 spot prices is widening. According to market research firm inSpectrum, although memory module and graphics card vendors made a lot of inquiries for DDR3 during the last week (July 13-17), transaction volumes remained low due to limited stocks. The market’s bullishness helped the price of DDR3 to continue its upward trends while price of DDR2 continued to fall with cussed consistency, with the price of 1GB effectively tested (eTT) chips even dropping below $1.
The best times to beset the phone user with audio ads, according to the application, are when the call is on hold, when the call is suspended, and when it is being dialed. Furthermore, the ads will be targeted at a certain demographic. Delivering precisely targeted ads would undoubtedly require that the system be fed information about phone users. It is still too early to say what exactly Google has on its mind.
We've been outspoken as anyone when it comes to draconian DRM measures, but we never thought we'd see the day when the RIAA declares DRM is dead. And now that it has, we're a little bit worried - could this be a sign of the apocalypse?
Consider that just two years ago, RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes." Consumers, of course, held a decidedly different opinion and the growing demand for DRM-free music has led to numerous music services and labels offering music without digital restrictions. Nevertheless, the RIAA predicted a comeback for DRM last year, but is now singing a different tune.
"DRM is dead, isn't it?," said Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA, when asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article.
Lamy's comment was in reference to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online services offering unrestricted music. And while the rest of us have known this for awhile, this is the first time that the RIAA has said on record that DRM is dead. Let's hope it stays that way.
Following the success of its high performance X25-M solid state drive, Intel is getting back into the SSD game, this time with higher capacity models that will reportedly offer a much better bang-for-buck.
According to German news site Golum.de, Intel's upcoming Postville family of SSDs will top out at 320GB, with both 80GB and 160GB capacities also planned. These will be MLC-based drives built around a 34nm manufacturing process. By comparison, the X25-M is an SLC-based drive.
Even so, the new series should be decent performers if Golum's information is accurate. The site says the Postville family will serve up read speeds over 200MB/s, putting them in line with the rash of high performance SSDs recently being offered by competitors. The new series might also use a new controller.
No official word on price or release date, but Golum did say both the 80GB and 160GB Postville drives will cost less than the X25-M (80GB).
Windows 7's display configuration settings have gone through some of the biggest transformations from previous editions, including Windows Vista. And, the changes are more than skin-deep. With improved support for portrait displays, better ways to detect and manage multiple monitors, easy projector connections, and better theme controls, Windows 7 makes it easier than ever before to make the visual components of Windows work the way you want them to. Join us after the jump for all the details.
The PC market isn't the only sector to note its first decline since the dot-com bust. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), consumer electronics in general is on pace to record its first annual drop in revenue since 2001, the same year the PC market also recorded its last decline prior to 2009.
Revenues are expected to be about $165 billion by the end of the year, down about 7.7 percent from 2008. However, it's not because consumers have reduced their spending. Instead, the CEA blames the lower revenue on lower product prices. In fact, CE spending as a percentage of all durable goods is as high as it has been in 50 years, TGDaily reports.
That might come as little consolation to CE manufacturers unable to cash in on consumer spending, but Blu-ray could turn that around. Despite falling prices of Blu-ray players, the CEA predicts unit shipments to reach nearly six million, a whopping 112 percent jump. That would push Blu-ray revenue over the $1 billion mark, a 48 percent increase over 2008.