The 2009 Webby awards have come and gone, and sadly, Maximum PC was mysteriously overlooked. We didn’t notice a category for “world’s most amazing technology website / magazine”, but that’s no excuse! For those of you who haven’t heard of them before today, the Webby’s are an international award honoring excellence on the Internet. They focus on everything from YouTube skits to innovative advertising, but one look at the list and you’ll wonder if they just snagged the first million URL’s from Google and ran with it.
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch is ending the great newspaper debate by going on record and letting everyone know, “having a free newspaper website is a flawed business model”.When Murdoch was questioned yesterday during a conference call with reporters and analysts about online subscriptions he replied simply “We’re absolutely looking at that. The current days of the internet will soon be over."Many would question the wisdom of this, but in his defense Murdoch points out The Wall Street Journal which has enjoyed massive growth in their online subscriptions division.
It anybody’s guess at this point whether or not this approach will work for mainstream news, but one thing is certain, the status quo can only end in bankruptcy. Many within the industry have described online news websites as “trading analog dollars for digital cents”. Dwindling advertising revenuehas been compounded by the global recession and many wonder how much longer newspapers will be able to hang on. Several have already bit the dust and with so many other great alternatives, one wonders what if anything will solve their financial woes.
Is it too late for Newspapers to charge for online subscriptions now? Or is there still time to wind back the clock?
Massively multiplayer online everythingamajig Second Life’s total player numbers may be debatable at best, but the dedication of said, er, eclectic legion sure isn’t. According to a study conducted by Nielsen Media Research, Second Life gets more average playtime per week than games like StarCraft, Warhammer Online, and even World of Warcraft!
Lest you cry foul of Nielsen’s study, however, know this: World of Warcraft players still far outnumber those of Second Life, racking up 46.710% of total PC gaming time, while Second Life picks up a silver medal with 3.206%. Second Life’s significantly smaller group of players, then, just loves its game of choice a bit more than players powering Blizzard’s piggybanks.
Even so, however, Second Life still far outstrips most every other MMO on the market -- in terms of average playtime and total percentage of the pie -- including Warhammer Online and Eve Online, both of which didn’t even make the top ten.
Just for clarification’s sake, the study was conducted among a sample of almost 200,000 people –- not just hardcore gamers. It was, apparently, a random sample.
The only thing that makes us question this study? That’d be Dark Horse of Might & Magic in third place. Um, really? Not to question the alchemy behind Nielsen’s algorithms, but do you know anyone who actually plays that game anymore -– on a regular basis, no less?
Hulu is currently one of the hottest video sites available on the web. It’s about to take over the number two spot amongst streaming video sites (behind only YouTube), and it just signed a deal with Disney that will give it even more content. Though, these great features are only available to those that live in the US, and they’re making damn sure it stays that way.
In the past, if you weren’t living in the US and you wanted access to Hulu’s massive library of footage, you had to use a proxy server workaround. For a while, this worked without a hitch, but Hulu wised up to the tricky practices and began doing geo-checks. Still, a few VPN creators like Hotspot Shield would work by making your IP address anonymous. Sadly, these days have ended.
Hulu’s techniques for detecting location has once again changed, and they’re blocking all anonymous proxies. If you’re one of those looking to use the video site through a VPN, you’ll be met with this message: “Based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.”
There are certain things that you expect to find when you buy a used hard drive, personal files, leftover pictures, and sometimes (just sometimes) top secret information. At least, that’s what some recent hard drives sold off of eBay contained.
100 hard drives recently bought on the online auction site contained building blueprints, test launch procedures for Lockheed Martin’s ground to air missile defense system, medical records (including x-ray images and patient photos), confidential letters, and even some confidential corporate information detailing a 50 billion currency exchange. Good. Lord.
Thankfully, those that got the drives weren’t any variety of bad guy, but rather some folks at British Telcom’s Security Research Centre. They purchased the drives for a security study with the University of Glamorgan in Wales, Edith Cowan University in Australia and Longwood University in the US. Needless to say, I’m sure they got more information than they bargained for.
So, let this be a reminder to you! If you do insist on selling a used hard drive, be absolutely sure that you wipe that sucker clean (or, format it, then drive a drill bit through it).
In the past, Microsoft has been against the use of open-source software, but it appears that trend is going to change with the introduction of their new search platform, Kumo.
Reportedly, the team in charge of Kumo (previously Powerset) “tries to use open-source software, if it is available.” And, on top of that, they’ve made it a point to avoid proprietary software. It would seem that Microsoft’s anti-open-source ways have been left in the dust (for the time being). While Microsoft is notably nervous about licensing their software using an open-source license, they are enthusiastic about consuming open-source software and integrating it into their proprietary products.
So, for the time being Microsoft has lowered their defenses when it comes to the possibility of open-source software. Though, given their track record, it isn’t likely that this trend will continue.
Both Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera browsers have come under a bit of fire by Thomas Duebendorfer of Google Switzerland and Stefan Frei of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The two recently published a research paper on "Why Silent Updates Boost Security," noting deficiencies in how both aforementioned browsers go about rolling out security updates.
According to the paper, just 53 percent of users surfing with a 3.x version of Safari have applied a new update within the past three weeks, and only 33 percent of users had updated to version 3.2.1 three weeks after it had been released. The paper noted that Opera will check for updates weekly, but installing them requires "serious user activity," as the update follows the same procedure as if the installing Opera for first time.
"Opera browser users apparently don't update frequently," the researchers wrote. "After three weeks of a new release, a disappointing maximum of 24 percent active daily users of Opera 9.x have the newest Opera browser installed. It's a pity that 76 percent of Opera 9.x users currently don't benefit from the security improvements and new features of new Opera versions with three weeks of its release."
The paper went on to say that engineering time would be better spent on increasing update effectiveness rather than working on new features.
"All in all, the poor update effectiveness of Apple Safari and Opera gives attackers plenty of time to use known exploits to attacker users of outdated browsers," the researchers concluded.
Samsung today announces three new LCD displays as part of its 70 Series family, the P2070, P3270, and P2370HD. The first two rock a 30mm (1.18-inch) slim form factor, while the HD model checks in a little thicker at 65.5mm (2.58 inches.).
"The 70 Series offers our customers a sophisticated-looking LCD monitor with the performance capability of our televisions," said J.H. Kim, President of Samsung Electronics America's Information Technology Division. "The 70 Series is the new standard as more people upgrade their monitors for additional uses, like watching television programs and playing video games."
Power users will be most interested in the P2370HD, which boasts full 1080p HD (1920x1080) and comes with a built-in HDTV tuner, integrated speakers with SRS TruSurround, and a remote control. Other specs include a 5ms GTG response time, 50,000:1 contrast ration, and HDMI and component inputs.
Summer's fast approaching, and that means (hopefully) more free time for gaming (who needs sunshine?). To help you do that, CyberPower today announces the LAN Party Commander, a new system built around the Core i7 platform and housed in Cooler Master's recently released Scout enclosure.
"CyberPower offers a true LAN party solution that combines gaming performance quality and style," CyberPower wrote in a press release. "This all-around LAN Party case embodies CM’s 'Storm Tactics' approach to extreme gaming systems that gives you Strength, Security, and Control."
We were half expecting CyberPower to throw an 'Army Strong' quote somewhere in the press release, but marketing eccentricities asides, the self-proclaimed "Perfect LAN Party Rig" seeks to get you gaming on the go with an Intel Core i7 920 processor, Gigabyte X58 motherboard, 6GB of DDR3-1333 tri-channel memory, AMD's ATI HD4870 videocard, 1TB hard drive, DVD burner, 680W power supply, and Windows Vista 64-bit. Several upgrades are available, each of which will add to the base configuration's $1,130 price tag.
For security duties, CyberPower says the Commander's StormGuard security solution will allow you to lock down peripherals from mischievous passerbys.
The Commander is available now starting at the aforementioned $1,130 price point, though you can knock 5 percent off with coupon code "Instant."
Probably the only one blindsided by the NPD Group's latest numbers is Sony, which according to a new report shows first-quarter Blu-ray player sales increasing by 72 percent to over 400,000 units. It's no coincidence that the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-ray player has gone down 34 percent from this same time last year, with the average player now selling for $261 instead of $393.
"The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format's market opportunity," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. "Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace."
Along with more players finding their way into the mainstream market, sales of Blu-ray movies are up significantly, too. U.S. residents bought about 9 million Blu-ray flicks in the first quarter, compared to 4.8 million during the same quarter last year.