Wizards of the Coast upset a lot of geeks yesterday. From table-top dice throwers to the online retailers that sell their products, all who dabble in the funny world of Dungeons and Dragons depend on the game's tomes of information to run their fantasy worlds. Whether you're a twentieth-level enthusiast whose lined his (or her) bookshelves with Player's Handbooks, Dungeon Master's Guides, Monster Manuals, and legions upon printed legions of supplemental adventures... or you're just a fledgling geek with one 20-sided die to his name, the printed Dungeons and Dragon materials are your bread and butter.
Wizards of the Coast, arbiters of the D&D universe, has been trying to cross over into the digital realm by giving retailers the option to sell downloadable PDFs of core D&D material. But that's all past-tense now: WotC abruptly pulled the plug on the project yesterday, leaving those who originally purchased the cyber-materials with no available resource, save for going out and buying the tangible, printed books.
The reason? Piracy. Which makes about much sense as a Lich Paladin, given that anyone can freely download the requisite D&D materials straight off of WotC's Web site for free. Yes, WotC's d20 system -- the underlying mechanics behind the company's third-edition D&D product -- is completely open-source.
I have a Soyo A7V Dragon Plus motherboard, AMD Athlon XP 1800+, VisionTek ATI Radeon 1600 X1600XT Extreme Gamer Edition, Creative Extreme Gamer Fatality Pro, Adaptec Duo Connect, and Linksys Standard Ethernet Card.
A week ago, my 425W RaidMax power supply started shooting sparks and fried a capacitor. I swapped it out with a 300W Skyhawk PSU. Now my computer keeps locking up with a high-pitched squeal, and the only thing I can do is push the reset button or unplug my computer. Often it will lock up within five or 10 minutes after rebooting. It happens when I’m listening to music, playing games, or watching movies, both online and off. Sometimes it locks up after Windows starts. It doesn’t lock up with that squeal all the time, only most of the time. I believe it probably has something to do with my audio card, but then it just might be as simple as my power supply lacking sufficient power.
I’ve looked online and could only come up with answers for the audio card and nVidia-related hardware; my problem is conveniently named the “Squeal of Death.” Is there any way
I can fix this with my current hardware configuration? Or will I have to get new hardware? —Kavan Scott
Ah, the French. Sure, they may be the butt of many a joke, but its situations like these that remind us that they’re (usually) well deserved.
While the “Creation and Internet” bill (a bill that would allow ISPs to take actions against customers accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material) won preliminary approval in French Parliament last week, it would appear that too few members supporting the bill showed up to the hearing that ultimately saw it denied.
According to reports, the bill was expected to pass, but a low turnout caused the bill’s opposition, the French Socialist party, to defeat it by a vote of 21 to 15. And while President Nicolas Sarkozy’s own UMP party was able to propel him to the highest office in France, they were unable to turn down that third crêpe, and missed out on the hearing.
This isn’t the last we’ll hear of it though – the UMP party does intend to reintroduce an amended version within the month. Maybe this time they’ll show up?
Rob Spence, a Canadian filmmaker, was the victim of an accident in his childhood that damaged his right eye, and he was later given a prosthetic replacement. While for a long time he was content with the replacement, he recently decided to fit a camera inside the empty cavity, turning himself into a self-proclaimed “Eyeborg.”
Now, while he is currently working towards the goal of putting a camera in the socket, he has decided to divert for the time being and outfit himself with the stylish red LED that you see in the picture above. Apart from looking totally badass, it does give Spence a good foundation – after all, this is the first time he’s been able to fit an electronic device and a power source inside.
Reportedly, the camera will record anything that enters his field of vision, and will relay that image back to a computer, providing a very unique perspective (as far as video surveillance is concerned). It also provides a great angle when he decides to scare people walking down the street with his Terminator eye! That footage, I want to see.
Most users who have tried Windows 7 like it - a lot, but if you (or your company) are worried about what happens if old hardware or software you rely on won't play nice with the latest Windows version, stop worrying. According to Cnet's Ina Fried and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows 7 users will have the option to downgrade from 7 to either Windows Vista or even "the operating system that will not die," Windows XP.
Volume-licensing (aka "Software Assurance") customers have been able to do this for some time, but Microsoft has confirmed that downgrades from 7 to either Vista or XP will be available for at least a while after Windows 7 ships.
If you're on the fence about Windows 7, does the availability of downgrade rights make a difference? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!
If you spot a good deal on an LCD monitor, you may consider pouncing. Putting off that purchase could be rolling the dice at higher prices, according to data by iSuppli. The market research company notes that an increase in demand from China, driven by the impact of China's rural consumer stimulus program, has led to rising prices for LCD monitor panels. Also to blame are an increase of orders from brands and retailers, iSuppli says.
"These brand and retail orders mostly stem from demand for inventory replenishment because channels have kept their stockpiles at lower-than-normal levels since the end of 2008," iSupply noted. "With many panel prices for monitors having been drastically slashed to less than cash-cost levels, panel buyers in February started purchasing in droves in order to build a supply of cheap panels."
Increases thus far haven't been anything to warrant hitting the panic button. According to iSuppli, average pricing for most LCDs and small-sized TV panels increased anywhere from $2 to $3 in March compared to February. And while prices are expected to rise some more in the short-term, iSuppli warns that it's too early to say that a recovery is taking place in the LCD industry, as the influx of orders are not expected to be sustained.
The service hasn't even launched yet, but the unapologetically defiant torrent site The Pirate Bay has already received over 100,000 registrants for its new anonymity service, IPREDator. About 113,00 and counting are in queue for the IPREDator service, 80 percent of which are from Sweden, and comes as a slap in the face to Sweden's new IPRED anti-piracy law, for which the service was named after.
Expected to cost about $6 per month,the IPREDator service is a virtual private network (VPN) allowing users to connect to the internet anonymously by hiding their actual IP address and showing only a second IP addy provided by the VPN. Currently in beta stage and by invite only, The Pirate Bay says it will store no traffic data.
IP hiding sites and services have become increasingly popular in Sweden as of late, ever since country's new anti-file sharing measures went into effect.
Last month we reviewed our first 22x DVD burner, Samsung’s SH-S223; this month, Plextor presents us with a challenger in the form of the PX-850SA—a similarly spec’d drive that rises to the occasion in some respects, but falls short in others.
Like Samsung’s new burner, the PX-850SA boasts an industry-leading 22x speed rating for DVD+/-R media. It lacks, however, the Samsung’s over-speed feature, which helped that drive eke out a 4:46 (min:sec) Lab record when writing 4.38GB of data to a single-layer DVD+R disc. By comparison, the Plextor took 5:36, never breaching the 16x speed limit imposed by our Verbatim media.
The difference between the two drives’ performance with double-layer media was more expected. After all, Plextor’s PX-850SA is rated at just 8x when writing to DVD+/- DL, compared to the Samsung drive’s rating of 16x. In practical terms, this means Plextor’s drive took 16:33 to fill an 8GB disc versus the Samsung drive’s time of 13:13.
But the Plextor PX-850SA did have its triumphs. Read on for the rest of the review.
Citing un-named "sources in the channel," DigiTimes reports that second-tier motherboard maker Abit has decided to quit the consumer electronics branding business. Among the products affected are digital photo frames and digital speakers, neither of which have been prominent sellers in the U.S. market, if at all.
Still, the news comes as another reminder of Abit's fall from grace as a premier motherboard maker who once catered to overclockers. At one time on the level of the likes of Asus, questionable management decisions proved fatal for the Abit of old, who hit hard times financially and sold its brand name to Universal Scientific Industrial (USI) in 2006. Since then, the company has shifted its focus to becoming a second-tier mobo maker, with its latest Abit-brand motherboard being the Intel X48-based IX48 GT3.