The wait is over. Today, LucasArts and BioWare finally force unleashed the first details on their joint MMO production, and it sounds like the best thing that could possibly come from Star Wars and gaming's unholy union aside from a Jar-Jar killing sim where you blast Jar-Jars with a Jar-Jar launcher*.
The game will take place a few hundred years after KOTOR 2 caught fire and skidded off a cliff to an eventual -- and undeniably painful -- halt, and will cast you as a jedi, sith, or something else that you probably won't bother with. As with any BioWare title, MMOTOR will focus on story foremost, spicing up the MMO genre with BioWare's top-notch storytelling prowess.
And oh will there be story content. According to BioWare president Greg Zeschuk and CEO Ray Muzyka, the game isn't KOTOR 3, "it's KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. There's that much to it."
"It's a whole galaxy. It's a galaxy of Star Wars," they added.
In order to make such an ambitious story possible, The Old Republic will saddle you with single-player RPG-esque companion characters. You can change and manipulate them, and they can assist you throughout your adventures. As such, the game will "allow players to carve out their own epic stories," with your actions affecting the entire game world, as well as your characters' morality.
Even crazier, every class and faction configuration will have its own storyline. Lead writer on the project Daniel Ericson even claimed that his latest progeny could feasibly be played like a single-player RPG. There's that much story.
“If you’re a BioWare fan, you’re going to get everything you ever imagined from an extension of KOTOR,” he said.
We couldn't want this any more if it came with a ticket to beautiful women and infinite money island**. How about you?
*The alt fires are lightsabers and Hayden Christensen.
Flickr's rolled out a new home page design that's intended to make it easier to see what's happening with your Flickr account and on Flickr in general.
Here's what's new:
The Your Photostream section now shows your five most recent uploads
Your Photostream also has a toggle to show recent activity (such as comments from friends, your replies, and pictures selected as favorites). Don't want any more comments on a particular item? Click its Mute button.
Click More Recent Activity to see other activity and change activity settings.
The Your Contacts section now shows more photos.
The Your Groups section now shows the most recent photos from your groups.
Want to reduce page clutter? Click the double arrow icon next to a section title to close it, or click it again to open it.
There's now a new Explore module on the home page that displays the latest activities.
The latest entry at the Flickr Blog and the latest Flickr Tip occupy the right margin of the page, along with more ways to use your photos.
Haven't logged in for awhile? I think you'll like the changes. Join us after the jump and let us know if you agree - or not.
I feel like my eyes have just been opened for the very first time. This iTunes store junkie has finally seen the true light when it comes to buying music online, and it comes in the form of Lala.com.
When buying a song on iTunes I find myself searching around the very easy to navigate store, buying music at a reasonably priced 99 cents per song, and downloading a file with attached DRM. I’d always accepted it, it didn’t seem unaccommodating. Now that I’ve had a chance to check out the eminence that is Lala.com, I can’t ever see myself going back to iTunes again. Not to say that iTunes is bad, but Lala is just that good.
Why is Lala good? First of all, they sell MP3’s for 89 cents without any attached DRM (seriously!), or you can buy a streaming only version for just 10 cents (which will go towards the purchase of the full version). Albums themselves come at the price of $7.49, less than both iTunes and the legendary price-slashing Amazon.
Lala also allows you to listen to a song completely before you decide to buy it – and there’s plenty to listen to. Lala offers tunes from the four major record labels and 170,000 independents. New members are also allowed to pick up their first 50 streaming songs for free, no strings attached – no credit card, no nothing.
Say you’re like me, you’re packing a hefty amount of songs on your computer. You’ve purchased some from iTunes with that nasty DRM attached and MP3s that you’ve ripped straight of CDs. What do you do? You use Lala’s safe to use uploader! It scans the music on your computer’s hard drive, identifies the songs you’ve got and tosses them onto your library so that you can listen to them anywhere. Users accustomed with MP3.com’s MyMP3 service will already be familiar with this concept.
I could quite literally go on and on about how great this service really is, but if you use it for even just a little bit you’ll realize its potential on your own. Be sure to drive your browser over to Lala’s web site, and sign up straight away (and keep your eyes glued to your iPhone’s app store, they’ve got an app on the horizon). And remember, cash in those 50 free songs!
And now, a whole new way for your privacy to be invaded. Computer scientists at the EPFL in Switzerland have developed a way to eavesdrop on what you type by detecting the electromagnetic radiation emitted with every keystroke, Engadget reports.
The group developed four techniques for listening in on keystrokes, and tested them on 11 keyboards, produced from 2001 to 2008 and including USB, PS/2 and laptop keyboards. Every one of the devices was vulnerable to at least one of the methods. Some of the techniques are effective from as far away as 65 feet, and through walls.
Martin Vuagnoux, one of the scientists responsible, has posted twovideos demonstrating the vulnerability on Vimeo. The first of the two videos shows a meter-long wire being used as an antenna to detect the emissions of a keyboard several feet away. A program successfully decodes the message “trust no one” from these emissions. The second video shows an antenna that looks a bit like a pair of gigantic egg beaters eavesdropping on a keyboard from one room over.
The technique is pretty cool to see in motion (if a bit scary) so check out those videos and hit the jump to give us your thoughts.
Starting on October 19, 2008 Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 and Q6600 will be priced at $193 and $183, drops of 14 percent and 5 percent respectively. The only question you’ve got to ask yourself is whether or not you want a chip with two cores and a higher clock or four cores with a lower clock.
The price on the Intel E7300 has gone from an already low $133 to $113, wih the E2220 and the E2200’s following suit dropping to $74 and $64,
At this rate, you’ll be able to build a rig for almost nothing!
Maximum PC readers (and anyone with an internet connection) are undoubtedly familiar with Wikipedia, the free online community-based encyclopedia with topics ranging from modern art to the history of vomiting. But what you may not realize is that a for-profit spin-off exists that continues to try and strike gold on the coattails of Wikipedia. But instead of being a cash cow, founder Jimmy Wale's is scrambling to save what might be a sinking ship.
Citing an un-named tipster, ValleyWag.com reports the 43-person company has laid off 30 percent of its staff, or almost a third of its employees. Word on the web is that Wikia is suffering significant losses in cash, in part because of offices located in San Francisco, New York, and Poland. It also doesn't help that potential cash makers like Wikia Search have proved unpopular, and without another $14 million cash infusion from investors like Bessemer Venture Partners and Amazon.com, Wikia might not be long for the web.
In the most pointed paragraph of the letter, the MPAA’s Jeff Williams writes:
“Forgive us if we take offense when the EFF and other activist organizations that continually take the side of those who profit from widespread copyright infringement attack our industry as one that stifles innovation. It's a desperate throw-back to the Napster days of old when they pull out this tired and weathered playbook. It's not 2001 anymore.”
The letter also argues that Hollywood and the internet are no longer at odds, and that legal services like iTunes and Hulu represent ways in which the industry is embracing innovation.
What do you think? Is the MPAA right to say that “The days of Hollywood being from Mars and Silicon Valley being from Venus are simply over?” Hit the jump and let us know.
Last week’s Gmail outage, which lasted for about 28 hours, has once again highlighted a major shortcoming of cloud computing and web-based services. The incidence exemplifies cloud computing skeptics’ greatest concern that unheralded disruptions in cloud computing services might cost businesses’ and individuals dearly.
Some Gmail users – including paying Google Apps subscribers - couldn’t access their accounts between 16 and 17 October. Incensed users expressed their indignation across the internet, while Mark, a Google Apps adviser, provided regular updates on the status of the issue, as long as it lasted.
Earlier this year, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service remained unavailable for 8 hours. That particular episode had also spawned similar questions regarding cloud computing. Companies will have to come out with ways to keep outages to a negligible count.
If you’re a news junkie, chances are you use RSS feeds. According to a new study about the technology, that puts you decidedly in the minority, and it looks like that’s not going to change any time soon. The report found that only 11% of those surveyed used RSS feeds, and that that percentage is unlikely to see a large increase in the future, unless changes are made in how RSS is promoted.
The study found that of those people who don’t use RSS, 81% aren’t interested in using it in the future, seriously limiting the technology’s potential for growth. In the report, analysts explained the problem as follows:
“Unless marketers make a move to hook them—and to try to convert their apathetic counterparts—RSS will never be more than a niche technology.”
It’s not all bad news for RSS, though. The report mentions that feed usage has risen from 2% to 11% in the last three years, and that about half of marketers have added feeds to their websites.
Do you think RSS is doomed to be a tool only for the technological top tenth? Let us know after the jump.
Everyone knows that technology is an important part of the world that we live in (well, just about everyone), and that includes the Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama.
Should Obama be elected President of the United States (please, don’t let the comments turn into partisan bickering!), he lists in his plan for the country the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer. The CTO would primarily be responsible for getting broadband Internet access into more American homes (shockingly, only 23 out of every 100 homes have such access, putting us in 15th place among nations on that particular statistic). They’d also be responsible for advancing green tech, thanks to a $50 billion venture capital fund.
As mundane as the job might sound, there are some pretty big names being thrown around for the position. The likes of Vint Cerf (Google), Steve Ballmer (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Ed Felten (Princeton) are all potentials. But who cares what that one thinks, who would you want sitting in the biggest tech seat in America?