Yesterday, we reported that, along with losing Activision Blizzard, the PC Gaming Alliance accepted a shifty-eyed new figure into its ranks: Sony DADC. Fortunately, however, the SecuROM parent company doesn’t plan on working any shady deals behind the curtain, according to PCGA president Randy Stude. In fact, like Arnold in Terminator 2, Sony DADC is switching sides to help PC gamers topple a much bigger baddy -- in this case, piracy.
Speaking with BigDownload, Stude explained that Sony DADC decided to join the PCGA in order to assist the organization’s piracy-perforating subcommittee. According to Stude, keeping its alleged enemy roughly as close as its friends will provide the PCGA with ideas for its PC game piracy report, which is coming sometime before the year’s out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the revolving door, Stude confirmed that PC manufacturer Acer left the building along with Activision Blizzard, for essentially the same monetarily minded reasons. Apparently, when it comes down to saving a few bucks or performing a philanthropic act – contrary to what Fable II and BioShock had us believing – the yellow brick road is the path of least resistance.
But hey, at least GameStop… exists. It recently joined the PCGA as a penny-pinching “Contributor,” which means that the notoriously PC-unfriendly game store is a member, but for less cash. Better than nothing, we guess.
Expect more PCGA-related announcements before this June’s E3 gaming expo.
Most enterprises have resolved to skip Windows Vista altogether. With Vista on its way out, Microsoft would be hoping for enterprises to upgrade to Windows 7 at the first given opportunity. However, Microsoft will have to wait as that is exactly what most enterprises plan on doing. A large majority of enterprises have decided against upgrading next year, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research.
Dimensional Research took the opinion of 1,100 IT professionals. More than 83 percent of those surveyed have no plans of upgrading next year. The ongoing recession and doubts over software compatibility are the main reasons why most businesses want to play the wait-and-watch game.
After Yahoo turned down Microsoft’s proposal to roll in the hay and have an offspring that could take on Google’s might in the online search market, it appeared the two would maintain a distance from each other. However, a luncheon meeting between Ballmer and Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock earlier this year again revived hopes of a deal.
The New York Times reports that the two companies have returned to the negotiation table, though for a slightly different purpose. A source close to the discussions told the NYT that the two companies are discussing an advertising deal. The source revealed that Microsoft could assume control of Yahoo’s search ads and leave Yahoo in control of display ads under one arrangement being deliberated. Steve Ballmer is also said to have met with Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz last week. There is no official word on the matter as yet.
Over Easter weekend, many Twitter fans were getting worms instead of finding Easter Eggs, as the developer of a rival microblogging site (StalkDaily), one 17-year-old Michael "Mikeyy" Mooney, was busy drawing Twitter users to his site through infected links and Twitter profiles. According to PCWorld and the Twitter status page, the infection has now been brought under control. But inquiring minds want to know, "what happened?" and "how can we stop a future attack?"
Doing a Google search for "Mikeyy" or "TwitterWorm" isn't the best way to find out, though, as the F-Secure security blog points out that fake news sites are being used to infect curious searchers with (unrelated) malware. To get the real scoop, join us after the jump.
Those folks over in Amsterdam are gonna write you a letter, gonna write you a book (anyone catch the song reference?), but before that they’re going to go ahead and augment your reality. And this time, they’re going to do it with a swiveling monitor instead of some hardcore brownies.
The staff over at the Allard Pierson Museum recently decided to recruit Fraunhofer IGD, a company that specializes in virtual and augmented reality to create their MovableScreen. The MovableScreen is a swiveling monitor (currently, they’re employing the services of an Apple iMac) that’s primary use is to pan through annotated pieces of art and reconstructed landscapes.
Currently the screen is being used to display a virtual reconstruction of Satricum and an annotated version of an 1855 photograph of Forum Romanum.
For more information you can check out the museum’s website here, and you can find a video of the MovableScreen in action here.
Just this week MSI announced their latest laptop, the GX403 featuring a ‘turbo button,’ which juices up your CPU, giving you the most gaming power possible.
The GX403 will come with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, Windows Vista Home, the Intel PM45 chipset, a 14.1-inch 1280x800 display, a maximum of 4GB DDR2, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 130M GPU. And, to help you out when you take this bad boy on the road, it’ll come with 802.11b/g/n wireless and the option of a six or nine-cell battery.
And, as for that fabled “turbo mode,” it’ll only work when you’ve got your laptop plugged in to a power source (sort of a no brainer), but there’s no solid information as to what exactly it does.
$11.8 million, to be exact! Microsoft’s shenanigans have gotten them into a legal squeeze with Bundeskartellamt, an independent federal authority assigned to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany.
According to a report filed by Bundeskartellamt, “The product in question was heavily advertised in the autumn of 2008 in stationary retail outlets. Amongst others, a nationwide active retailer advertised the product with financial support from Microsoft. Even before the launch of the advertising campaign in mid-October 2008, employees of Microsoft and the retailer in question had agreed on at least two occasions on the resale price of the software package 'Office Home & Student 2007’.”
Sadly, price fixing has become common amongst larger companies as a way for them to show off their financial prowess (most notably amongst memory companies, who have been known to set industry-wide price points).
According to Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans, “We will use this case as an opportunity to review our internal commercial processes and ensure that we are in full compliance with German law.”
If you haven't been impressed with Microsoft's latest browser -- or just haven't felt compelled to give IE8 a spin and kick its tires -- you're not alone. Despite a significant speed increase, better web compliance, and a handful of new features, IE8 hasn't been attracting the kind of response Microsoft had probably hoped for, at least not if market share data from Net Applications is any indication. At last count, IE8 made up for a little over 4 percent of the browser market share, taking away from IE7 at a conservative pace. The solution? Throw IE8 into the Automatic Update queue as a 'High Priority' update.
"Last week, we released IE8 via Automatic Update to users still running pre-release versions of IE8 (Beta 2 or Release Candidate 1). The goal was to make sure users who chose to install IE8 have the latest up-to-date version," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8."
Microsoft went on to say that the rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to include its entire userbase. IE8 will be labeled as an 'Important' update for those running Vista and Server 2008, and 'High Priority' for XP users. However, IE8 won't automatically install; users will still have to opt-in.
Oh my, what wondrous (and perverted and unscrupulous and devious and all kinds of other nasty adjectives) possibilities suddenly open up when your necktie doubles as a video recorder, complete with a remote control! Ready for the best part? This thing actually exists!
Credit goes to Thanko for the spy tie, which conceals a video camera with 4GB of storage space. On a full charge, Thanko says you can expect about four hours of on-time, or about one hour of shooting before having to recharge, which takes about two hours. Videos are recorded as AVI files with a 352 x 288 resolution and can be transferred to your PC via USB. Oh, and Thanko warns not to try and wash the tie, at least not while the camera is inside.
We don't know that this one will ever make it to the U.S. market, but you can pick one up in Japan for ¥12,800, or about $128USD.
Mmm. There really isn't a great way to start off a roundup of open-source and freeware games. We should just be able to say that: "Hey! Over here! Free games! Free, fun games for you to play! Come play them!" But that would be a dull and uninteresting way to start a feature article about free games. So with that out of the picture and all, maybe we can describe a game or two that you'll be seeing in this little roundup. A sneak preview, if you will.
First up, we have a great quasi-sequel to a zombie-killing classic. We say "quasi," because it's not really a sequel, just a graphical modification. But going from 2D to an orthogonal view adds such depth and joy to the game that we can't bear to keep it all to ourselves. Oh, and the zombie-killing. You kill a lot of undead creatures in this title. In fact, that's really your sole purpose: survival, killing, and more killing.
Second, we're taking a look at this crazy numbers-based puzzle game. It's a lot like Tetris, only instead of trying to make solid lines from falling shapes, you're tasked with matching groups of numbered blocks together. The more you use the fantastic powers of addition to combine your blocks into larger numbers, the crazier combinations you can create. If we weren't having so much fun playing this, we'd swear it was educational...
But that's enough teasing for now. Click the link and check out the five awesome, free games we're playing this week!