Life, it seems, is never fair for any developer. Just ask the gurus behind Valve's Steam service. For the past many years, Steam has existed as the dominant digital-download platform of choice for gamers worldwide. While a few improvements have been built into the actual application one uses to access the Steam service, the program in question has remained relatively unchanged in its design for a good chunk of its recent existence. Which, in itself, is a polite way to say that it's been ages since an actual upgrade brought a new look, feel, and functionality to the Steam client.
As I think of the many different "platforms" on the Internet, I'm reminded of just how closed-off the Steam application is for conventional tweaking. Some of this is mandatory--there's only so much Valve wants you to be able to access for fear of somehow disrupting Steam's security techniques and gaining access to the vault of unlocked, free-to-download titles. Take a moment to wipe the drool off your keyboard; I'll wait.
What's stopping Valve from incorporating other open architectures into its service, however? What about Web-wide login protocols? Authentication for third-party services that could offer spin-offs of Steam's built-in stats-tracking? Heck, what about some customized user interface support?
Some might say Steam is too big to be able to successfully navigate open-source and open frameworks. To that, I say hogwash: If Facebook can do it, so can Valve!
Here's a fun fact - since 2003, the IBM Software Group has made over 50 acquisitions, which so far works out to about 7 per year. The latest of those was announced on Tuesday when IBM said it had scooped up Intelliden Inc., a privately held firm specializing in intelligent network automation software.
"Networks have become a critical part of the overall IT fabric, and organizations are demanding tighter integration and management of the entire infrastructure including applications, storage, servers and networks," said Alan Black, president and CEO of Intelliden. "Intelliden provides leading open, scalable and comprehensive network automation solutions, and this acquisition opens a world of new opportunities for our customers, partners and employees."
According to IBM, some 60 percent of network outages are caused by manual configuration errors. The company hopes its latest acquisition will help its customers avoid becoming one of those statistics, as well as improve staff efficiency.
IBM plans to integrate Intelliden's technology into its Tivoli Software.
How many YouTube videos do you watch on a daily basis? Worse, how many YouTube videos do you send to your friends on a daily basis? If the answer is anywhere near "one or more," and I bet it is, then I've found the perfect Web app for you. Because one of the tough things about forwarding along a funny YouTube video is that you're forced to watch said person enjoy the experience at their leisure. You can't force them to click play, nor can you really appreciate their laughter and enjoyment as it happens in real-time: You don't know how far along they are in the video, after all.
To address this grave concern, some enterprising folk have come up with a Web App that's one part chat-room, two-parts edit bay. It's called Synchtube, and I bet you can guess exactly what it does by the name alone. Don't let that dissuade you from clicking the jump, however. I'll explore Synchtube's many (two) features and tell you exactly why this little Web app is the future of multi-person video viewing and hilarity preservation.
Are you ready to rock? Because you'll be doing a lot of head-banging and dancing around once you've transformed every computer in your living area into a collective speaker system. Perhaps the better question remains unasked: Why would you do this? Because you can. Because you want to. Because it reverses the issue of having to connect to or stream from a central music repository (like an iTunes database) and instead allows you to push tunes out of a single music hub to anywhere you want to them to go.
Also, you want to do this because the app that makes this cacophonous symphony possible--SpeakerShare--is super-easy to use and well worth the small time investment you'll make. For the full details on this virtual conductor, check out the rest of the article after the jump.
Were only every download as fun as Network Lights. Seriously. This week's download of the week isn't going to transform your computing experience, speed up your PC, or otherwise give you any additional details about your system's operations beyond that which you already have. Sort-of.
As I've mentioned in past posts, one of the critical omissions of the Windows 7 operating system is its brazen elimination of the useful network activity icon from the lower-right corner of your screen. This tiny bit of your Windows desktop, no larger than a little icon on your taskbar, provided you a wealth of information at a glance. Immediately, you could look at the icon and see if your network connection was sending or receiving information--a useful troubleshooting tool if, in fact, no light was blinking. Hovering your mouse over the icon would deliver a complete summary of all the bits and bytes of data you've sent or received since the last reset of your PC.
That's about it.
But still, useful features given that the exact same icon sits in the Windows 7 taskbar... without any of the blinking and without any of the summary features found on its predecessor. Although Network Lights doesn't do much to assist with the latter, its ability to transform your keyboard into a working version of the network activity icon is two parts fun, one part useful.
Oh, Windows 7. I enjoy a number of enhancements to the operating system over that of its lesser brother, Windows Vista. However, one of the chief omissions of this new OS has actually been one of the more useful staples of Windows for a long time. It's the good ol' network activity light, a little icon in your tray that would blink on and off to match whenever you sent or received network traffic. Not only was this tiny icon a quick troubleshooting device--no send light when loading an Internet-using application means trouble--but it was a useful way to tell how much bandwidth you've eaten up during your daily computing session, as you'd get your usage stats by simply hovering your mouse over said icon.
But alas, there is no way to resurrect said icon or functionality natively in Windows 7. Sure, you can bring back an icon of-sorts, but it ain't gonna blink. Sorry. It's just a simple little link to your Network and Sharing center. To truly reap the benefits of the old-school network activity light, you're going to have to look to a third-party developer. That, or click the jump, because I've found the perfect little utility that replicates this feature in Windows 7 error-free.
The two Kansas-area men -- Christopher Myers, 40, and Timothy Weatherly, 27 -- are facing a single count of conspiracy, 30 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, and a single count of trafficking counterfeit labels, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
Legal documents allege that Myers and Weatherly would buy counterfeit Cisco-branded hardware built in China and Hong Kong, slap counterfeit labels on it, and then packet it in counterfeit Cisco boxes. They would even include counterfeit Cisco manuals, according to the Attorney General's Office in Kansas.
The two men may have netted about $1 million from their alleged fraudulent activities. If convicted, they would each face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charges, and an additional 10 years and $2 million fine on each trafficking count., eWeek.com reports.
Alcohol has been blamed for some pretty outrageous things over the years, but this is the first time I’ve heard anyone blame it for copyright infringement. It’s a bizarre argument to make, but its likely one a UK based bar owner will be considering after being handed down an £8,000 fine, which works out to about $13,000 USD. Worse yet, the bar is likely not even responsible for the infringement since the offense occurred on the pubs open Wi-Fi hotspot, a fact that is sure to spur an interesting debate over responsibility.
According to Internet law professor Lillian Edwards of the Sheffield Law School, open Wi-Fi operators “should not be responsible in theory” for the actions of their users. The bar will likely be immune from the disconnection clause in the new Digital Economy Bill since it can be classified as a public communications service provider, but it will be interesting to see if this will also eventually get them out of the fine as well.
The debate over who is responsible for network security is an interesting one, and is sure to eventually cross borders as well. If laws end up making it too dangerous to operate open hotspots, what’s next? If a neighbor comes along and cracks your WEP key and downloads copyrighted material, do you fine the owner of the router for not having stronger security?
While Oracle's been busy trying to win the blessing of the European Union in its attempted takeover deal with Sun Microsystems, Sun has been focusing on upping its storage ante, The company on Tuesday announced upgrades to its Sun Storage 7000 family of disk arrays that purports to double both the performance and capacity from a maximum of 288TB to 576TB in a 4U space.
Sun said it outfitted its Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System with four six-core AMD Opteron processors, double the amount of DRAM cache as before (up to 512GB), and new 2TB capacity drives. The end result is significantly improved performance, the company claims.
"Sun server, storage, and networking contniue to fuel world record HPC performance and provide the building blocks for dozens of new Sun Constellation System deployments around the globe," said John Fowler, executive vice president, System Group, Sun. "Corporations and scientists alike are using Sun server and storage innovation to gain competitive advantage and tackle the world's most complex problems."
In addition to storage upgrades, Sun also announced a pair of InfiniBand switches, the Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 72 and Switch 36.
Motorola has put the word out that it wants to sell off its "Home and Network Mobility" unit. The unit, which makes equipment for cable and wireless companies, is Motorola's largest division, Businessweek.com reports.
According to the latest tech chatter, a deal worth $4.5 billion could be on the table. It's unknown exactly who the potential buyer(s) might be, but the most likely bet would include private-equity firms and makers of telecommunications equipment, like Samsung, the Wall Street Journal speculated.
Should Motorola find a buyer, it would be left with two other divisions: Mobile Devices, which makes cell phones, and Enterprise Mobility, with makes bar code scanners and other equipment for corporate use,