Software piracy typically gets all the attention, but hardware piracy is fast becoming a plague in the industry too. To prevent unscrupulous hacks from making counterfeit microchips from stolen blueprints and then selling them for pennies on the dollar, computer engineers at the University of Michigan and Rice University have developed a lock and key for chips. EPIC (Ending Piracy of Integrated Circuits) uses established cryptography methods, giving each chip a few extra switches that act like a combination lock. Manufacturers would need to contact the patent owner via phone or internet connection to activate the part. Read more here.
Blu-ray Player Pricing
If you're hoping to score a sub-$200 Blu-ray player now that HD-DVD's pulled out of the race, get cozy because you might have to wait a year. Or more. Gizmodo quoted Sony CEO Stan Glasgow as saying "I don't think $200 is going to happen this year. Next year $200 could happen." Instead, expect the cost of entry to hit $299 sometime in 2008, with third-party manufactured players unlikely any time soon.
HD-DVD Player Trade-In
Feeling burned about HD-DVD's untimely demise after you went out and picked up a player? Circuit City may have the salve you've been hoping for. The No. 2 electronics retailer is extending the return period on HD-DVD hardware from 30 days to 90 days for store credit. This could be the excuse you've been waiting for to snag a Playstation 3 console...
Google Relaxed Over Android
Speaking Wednesday at the O'Reilly ETech conference, Google developer Dan Morrill shrugged off concerns about carriers building Android distributions that are incompatible with one another, and he isn't losing any sleep at night over security problems either. Morrill did acknowledge the increased risk of attack to Android-powered phones, but said the risk will be small, and ultimately outweighed by Android's advantages. Read more here.
Pentagon Attack Reassessed
After hackers attacked the Pentagon late last June, Gates eased concerns by saying there was "no anticipated adverse impact on ongoing operations." It appears the early prognosis may have been wrong. GovernmentExecutive.com quoted Dennis Clem, a top Defense Department of technology official, as saying "The breach continues to pose a threat," noting that the hackers stole "an amazing amount" of information. Clem didn't comment if the source of attack was ever identified or what specific information was stolen as a result of the fast spreading email worm.
Crysis Patch 1.2
Crytek's second patch for the hit game Crysis became available yesterday, affording several improvements in mod support, multiplayer, weapons balance, AI, and much more. A handful of tweaks include:
Added mod loader to main menu
Increased damage of most player-fired weapons and decreased damage of most AI-fired weapons
Added auto team balance
Team killed players no longer drop their weapon
Improved vehicle handling under braking and boosting
Download the 360MB patch and catch the full changelog of changes here.
Playmobil Security Check Point on Amazon
We're not sure which amuses us most - the toy itself, the customer reviews, or the list of items that customers of the Playmobil Security Check Point also purchased.
Have a Phun Weekend
No plans for the weekend? You can still have fun, with Phun! This nifty program brings back memories of The Incredible Machine, only there are no levels to clear, and you create obstacles and gadgets on the fly. View a video of this tantalizing time waster in action here.