During my many years of Taekwondo training (no, really) I've seen a fair share of faux-martial artists come and go. Not all of them were masters of the ol' chop-socky, but that doesn't mean they weren't good company. One of those long-since retired combatants was big into games, so naturally, we hit it off. In between feasting on one another's punches and kicks, we talked about all of the latest releases -- mostly on the PC. But, in one major way, we were different: I purchased; he pirated.
Of course, he had a reason. PC games can sometimes be buggy and unreliable -- even going so far as to not run on certain PCs. He raked in torrents as "extended demos," and presumably purchased the games he liked. Even so, I'm not sure if I agreed with his methods. After all, isn't that what regular demos are for? Plus, I never really got the impression that he actually followed through with step two of his little plan.
So, question of the day: Do you pirate games?If so, what's your justification? Do you even call it "pirating"? Don't worry, I'm merely asking as a discussion question -- not to judge anyone.
Today's Roundup contains a few possible methods of diverting cash back into the pockets of those who create games, though I'd wager none of the wannabe saviors really have a concrete idea of how they're going to end the Yarr-ing menace once and for all. On one had, Microsoft sees downloads usurping retail's throne in the near future, which could create an iTunes-like situation for the gaming industry. On the other hand, Turner has decided to toss GameTap to the curb like a box of unwanted kittens (an $18 million box of kittens), so obviously not all is well in the realm of downloadable games. Read about all of that and more after the break.
MAPP provides advance notification to third-party security providers of vulnerabilities that are being addressed by Microsoft security updates, such as the ones rolled out each month on "Patch Tuesday." MAPP is designed to help stop exploits that are launched between the announcement of upcoming patches and the availability of patches. MAPP starts in October, according to eWeek.
Security providers can learn more about MAPP by downloading the fact sheet (MS Word 97-2003 format). For additional insight from a former military and government security specialist who now works for Microsoft, see Steve Adegbite's blog entry about MAPP.
The Microsoft Exploitability Index will provide ratings of how likely each vulnerability is to being successfully exploited. The index will rate each vulnerability at one of three levels:
Consistent exploit code likely
Inconsistent exploit code likely
Functioning exploit code unlikely
Microsoft's fact sheet suggests (MS Word 97-2003 format) that vulnerabilities with the "Consistent" rating should be treated as the most serious threats, followed by the others. To get more insight into the need for this index, see Microsoftie Mike Reavey's blog entry (Reavey is part of the Microsoft Security Response Center). The index will be included with each new security bulletin, also starting in October.
For your chance to sound off about Microsoft's newest security initiatives, see us after the jump.
Symantec has issued yet another warning related to a vulnerability in MS Access that was acknowledged by Microsoft last month. Symantec has warned that Internet Explorer 6 is more vulnerable to this threat than subsequent versions. It had earlier unearthed an update to the diabolical Neosploit kit that has made it easier for even neophyte hackers to exploit the chink in the MS Access armor.
There is still no news of a patch to fix the Snapshot Viewer ActiveX control that comes bundled with MS Access. This ActiveX control is being exploited by cyber interlopers to wrest control of computers. Symantec has advised users to set three kill bits for the Snapshot Viewer ActiveX control to prevent it from being activated.
Yesterday, I briefly heaped praise on the "new" Electronic Arts for its recent push towards creativity and employee practices that are actually legal. However, I know that many people chuck verbal darts at EA's target simply because they don't like big, "soulless" corporations. After all, each of us is the punchy underdog in our own lives, so rooting for the little guy only seems natural -- especially when the Man seems to be breathing down his neck.
But, as I'm sure you've all noticed, we're kind of running out of little guys to root for. "Consolidation" is one of those mean words we're not supposed to like, but in an industry that's expanding rapidly -- one where development costs regularly zip past $10 million -- consolidation is natural.
So, are you ready for our little hobby to become more like the big, bad movie industry, or are you of the opinion that we don't need "E" and "A" to spell BioWare?
This edition of the Roundup is gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back." Large independent devs are dropping like flies, and stalwart supporters are turning to the dark side. No Ewoks, though, so the Roundup isn't jumping the shark just yet. Jumping past the break, however, is highly encouraged.
64-bit operating systems are certainly nothing new and when they first launched they weren’t even highly anticipated. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition only created a small amount of excitement and that died a quick death when the complaints about driver issues, Windows Explorer bugs in 64-bit mode, and 16-bit programs being unsupported started to roll in.
It was just too green to be of any real use to me, despite my 64-bit processor. I love to tinker with my PC, but I also want it to be stable and work well with lots of peripherals.
With the release of Service Pack 1 for Vista I decided to give it another try with my workstation and was pleasantly surprised, both by Vista (not the evil, vile monster it was at launch) and 64-bit computing. It seems that others are beginning to share that feeling.
Make the jump to see how many more Vista 64-bit OSs are hitting Windows Update
Are you one of the forlorn Internet Explorer 7 users swept up in the wave of FireFox 3 mania? Do you long to make it cool to use Internet Exploder, umm make that Explorer, again? Do you want to help Microsoft do better with IE8?
Well, rise up and heed the call; Uncle Bill wants you! You can send an email over to IESO@microsoft.com and tell them about yourself and why you’d be a great beta tester. Maybe you’ll make it in and be part of the IE8 Technical Beta program for the second part of beta on Microsoft Connect.
Microsoft, which is more often on the receiving side of patent infringement claims, now finds itself on the other side of the legal fence and is taking Primax Electronics to task.
Microsoft is upset over several patents on two different technologies used in computer mice. The first is U2, which allows a mouse to connect to both USB and PS/2 ports and then auto detects the port that is being used. The other, TiltWheel, adds additional cursor movement abilities via mouse tipping (not related to cow tipping).
CNet quotes Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez as saying that they filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission against Primax Electronics only after "repeated attempts to engage in meaningful license terms over the past two years."
Microsoft is known to have an open policy with licensing its intellectual property. They license for years at a time and have more than 20 companies that are part of its hardware technology licensing program.
Microsoft does not sound like it is landing in the realm of Patent Troll here; they actually make the products and have other companies licensing the patents. What do you think? Is Microsoft being a Patent Troll or is it just guarding its intellectual property? Sound off below!
If Apple has a giant target on its back, it's Dell that keeps taking aim. Earlier this week Dell launched its Studio Hybrid desktop, a hip looking miniature sized PC that will do battle with Apple's Mac Mini, and now the company wants to wage a war in the portable music player market too.
According to the Wall Street Journal, several Dell officials have indicated the OEM has been testing a digital music player for the past several months and that it could see the light of day by September, the same time millions of kids will be seen lugging their iPods back to school as dozens of those less fortunate look on in envy with their Zunes. But it's not exactly unchartered territory for Dell, who half a decade ago launched its Dell DJ line, a now defunct music player that never even had a chance to take on the iPod. Now Dell will get that chance.
Dell's new music player will purportedly feature a small navigation screen with basic button scrolls, and will sport a WiFi connection for linking up with online music services. Most surprisingly, the new player is said to be priced at less than $100.
Does Dell have a shot at slicing into Apple's market share with a budget MP3 player, or will it ultimately join the DJ in the gadget graveyard?
What are you playing right now? FPS? RTS? Peggle? Who developed it? Do you even care?
I imagine you do; as a presumably-hardcore gamer, you've likely cultivated a few brand alliances here and there. But what happens when we change the question up a little? Do you think your favorite developer cares about you?
No, I don't mean on an individual, person-to-person basis. What I'm asking is: do you think those oh-so-dreamy devs slave over games for their fans, or for themselves? Yes, yes, gaming is a business, and there's certainly money involved. But at the end of the day, do you think the aforementioned designers look at themselves in the mirror and nod in satisfaction because they created a game for you, or because they calmed the cries of their wild inner artist? Sound off in the comments section. Let's start a discussion that doesn't involve sarcasm and commas (though both are certainly allowed)!
Anyway, today's Roundup shines the spotlight on developers of both breeds, though some trumpet their allegiance louder than others. If you'd like to find out who's who, what's what, and which of them might soon end up in the pit of Microsoft's belly, read on.
The results of Microsoft's Project Mojave, in which Microsoft demoed Windows Vista under a code name for 120 Vista skeptics in the San Francisco area, are now avaiable online, the Windows Vista blog reported today, and also explained some test details:
The focus group took place over three days in San Francisco and was conducted earlier this month.
All participants were either Mac, Linux, or users of versions of Windows that came before Windows Vista.
Respondents were chosen from the focus group organizer's database, called at random, but then selected based on having a low perception of Vista (<5 rating on a scale of 1-10).
The participants were given a demo by a trained retail salesperson - geared towards the experiences they seemed most interested in following a series of interviews. While the retail salesperson drove the demo, it was geared by the interests and direction of the participant.
We did not use some geeked out or custom built PC. We used an HP Pavilion DV2500. It had 2GB of RAM and was running an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU T7500 @ 2.20GHz. The OS was a 32 bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate.
Of the 120 respondents* polled, on a scale of 1:10 where 10 was the highest rating, the average pre-rating for Windows Vista was 4.4. After they saw the demo, respondents rated Mojave an average of 8.5.
*84% of respondents use Windows XP; 22% use MacOS; 14% use versions of Windows before XP; 1% use Linux.
To see the interviews for yourself, head over to the Mojave Experiment website.
To learn more about the history of hidden-camera marketing campaigns, and to find out who might have suggested it first, see us after the jump.