With CES kicking off later this week, expect a deluge of nifty product and technology announcements, not all of which will ever see the light of day. One that likely will, however, is a joint collaboration between Intel and Adobe to extend the Flash platform over to your living TV using Intel's Media Processor CE 3100.
"The Intel® Media Processor CE 3100 is a highly integrated solution that provides a powerful, yet flexible technology foundation that will bring to life the high-definition capabilities of Adobe Flash," said William O. Leszinske Jr., general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group. "Our effort with Adobe is poised to accelerate a rich, yet relevant Internet experience on the TV that will provide consumers with access to a growing number of Flash based applications that will ultimately be enjoyed across a number of screens seamlessly, from the laptop to a MID and now the TV."
Intel said it plans to ship the first CE3100 devices with support for an optimized implementation of Adobe Flash Lite by the middle of 2009 at the very latest. Should that happen, it would be a boon to streaming content providers like Hulu and could help bring online streaming videos on living room TVs into the mainstream.
Copy protection and DRM in general is a difficult subject to write about objectively. If you take a step back and look at the desire to protect ones intellectual property, DRM sounds like a good idea. But as a legitimate consumer of many types of media, it can be somewhat frustrating to know that pirates get to enjoy their plunder on any device, while my DVD remains locked to its plastic prison. Ways around this exist, but they are often somewhat involved, and if you’re trying to keep things legitimate, it’s difficult to know exactly when you’ve broken the law. CD and DVD copy protection has been cracked for some time now, and many easy to use utilities exist to do so. For legitimate consumers, this represents a grey area of the law many seem willing to cross.
The rise of HD media gave birth to even more insidious DRM solutions for protecting video. HDCP compliant displays and BD+ are just two of the terms that haunt HD enthusiasts, particularly those with home theatre PC’s. Blu-Ray’s copy protection has been heavily criticized, and both software and hardware players often require constant updates to play the newest releases. Those in search of a better solution have almost universally embraced AnyDVD HD from Slysoft. Using a specialized Windows driver it allows decryption of most forms of media (even HD) on the fly, circumventing copy protection and region restrictions. A few days ago Slysoft issued us a press release proudly proclaiming once again that Blu-Ray’s BD+ has been fully cracked in version 126.96.36.199. Currently Slysoft offers free lifetime updates to customers, but will make the transition to a subscription model on January 11th 2009. A trial version is available from their website, and just might put an end to your media related DRM woes.
Has Blu-Ray’s extensive DRM requirements slowed your adoption of HD?
If you’re reading this right now, it means that 2008 just settled into its final resting place inscribed across its own grave stone, and that you’re reading this right now. I think we both have reason to celebrate. How to celebrate, though? Well, that’s your call. If you want to know which game – of the thousands released this year – is quantifiably GAME OF THE YEAR, then go here, here, or here (then everywhere else) and have a few repair hammers standing by for your reading glasses. However, if your 2008 -- like mine -- was defined by a number of exemplary moments in your favorite games, then why not get your gears turning with my favorite gaming moments of 2008? Enjoy!
Left 4 Dead’s Opening Cinematic – Sure, L4D is a meticulously sown-together Frankenstein monster of moments that both bring players together and blow them apart, but snuffing out Smokers and playing whipping boy while my buddies tangoed with Tanks wasn’t what impressed me most about the game. Instead, it was L4D’s subtle, yet utterly potent opening cinematic that really snuck its hand into my cranium-shaped cookie jar. As pointed out by the always fantastic Offworld blog:
“It wasn't until I actually started playing Left 4 Dead about a week ago that it all clicked for me. I popped the disc into my 360, decided to watch the opening cinematic again, and found myself just as unimpressed as I had been the first time. But when I actually started to play the game, I discovered that I somehow already knew how to play the game. I knew what abilities the zombies I had. I knew what strategies were effective. I knew that a pipe bomb was good for getting the horde away from your group; I knew that when I heard crying, I should shut off my flashlight; I knew that I had to help up fallen team mates, and that I wasn't surprised that I could should my guns when disabled.”
“Without once having booted up the game, I knew how to play it. “
We're taking a look at Web page creation tools in this week's freeware/open-source roundup. And let's face it, the task sounds daunting: making a Web page, that is. Finding the programs is the easy part. There are a ton of authoring tools out on the Interwebs, but therein lies the problem. You don't want to have to burrow through 30 different applications to find the one that matches your experience level. And if you're completely new to HTML/CSS, you're going to want the most bare-bones, easy-to-use application you can find for making your first big online "Hello World!"
We've scoured through a number of programs to find the best applications for helping you make that picture-perfect Web page. From HTML creation, to file uploading, to validating, our choices represent a batch of must-have programs. Depending on your experience level, you might not need all five before you have your own variant of Maximumpc.com up and running. But everyone should be able to find something they need in our treasure trove of Web tools.
Many TVs with the new Intel Media Processor CE 3100, a SoC specifically designed for consumer electronics, will be showcased during the upcoming CES 2009. Intel had unveiled its new SoCs triggered at consumer electronics during the Intel Developer Forum earlier this year.
Yahoo doesn’t want the technology to be restricted to high-end TVs alone. Yahoo’s Patrick Berry, VP of its Connected TV Initiative, told Cnet that he expects internet-enabled consumer electronics devices to become commonplace by 2010.
As previous attempts at providing a rich internet experience through TV sets failed due to unpalatable intricacy of those ill-fated technologies, the two companies have tried to make the Widgets Channel as simple as possible.
The reports of the vulnerability first surfaced after researcher Laurent Gaffie detailed the alleged threat and furnished the proof-of-concept code to make his case. Gaffie’s decision to go public with his findings without informing Microsoft hasn’t gone down well with the company.
After investigating the claims Microsoft acknowledged, in a blog post, that the proof-of-concept code does force WMP to crash but it can not be used for remote code execution.
For those of you using RivaTuner to overclock your Nvidia or ATI videocard, a new version has just been made available. RivaTuner v2.22 includes "a huge number of new stuff to keep you busy," as well as a fully redesigned interface.
The new version squashes a handful of bugs, including a bug in LM63.dll plugin, which caused empty graphs with no data to be displayed in hardware monitoring. Multifunction PCI devices are no longer detected as mutli-GPU devices, and version 2.22 also addresses the pipeline count detection code for Nvidia G98-based GPUs, according to the release notes.
On the feature side, RivaTuner 2.22 brings to the table improved customization features, including the ability for bundling partners to customize the product and system tray icons. Other goodies include simplified beginner oriented profile settings, a better help system, the addition of an on-screen display preview window, improved handling of user profiles, and more.
Read the full list of changes here, and then download RivaTuner 2.22 here.
As 2008 winds to a close, we're taking a look back at some of the year's highlights in the open-source world. And what a year it's been! Google phones and the android operating system finally saw the light. The semi-popular MMO Myst decided to go entirely open source, the genre's first "conversion." And Microsoft--yes, Microsoft--decided to embrace open-source development with one hand while chastising it with the other.
We're rounding up all of the year's top stories from every source we can get our hands on. Click the link and let's get started with 2008's top open-source news!
It is common knowledge that smartphones are fast emerging as a dainty prey for malware proliferators. But a recent press release by IT security firm ESET, which spelled out some of the potential threats in 2009, might have iPhone and Android users worried in particular.
ESET warned in the press release that it expects both the iPhone and Android to become more vulnerable to malware. The company also expects both the smartphone platforms to fall prey to mobile browser exploits that might target their WebKit-based browsers.
The security firm has prognosticated an increase in fake antivirus extortion in 2009. “Some of the major antivirus companies have seen their websites spoofed over the last couple of months,” according to David Harley, Director of Malware Intelligence at ESET. The real threat lies in the fact that internet charlatans are leaving no stone turned in their bid to appear as credible as possible.
What’s better than seeing the world? Seeing the world during its post-life crisis – at least, according to Valve. And so, during a recent pow-wow with Kotaku, Valve writer Chet Faliszek confirmed that a smattering of new L4D scenarios are currently making sure their crumbling shacks and snaking paths are undead-accessible, as is the long-awaited L4D SDK.
However, as of now, details are sadly few in number. Apparently, Valve wants to “deliver more content you can play at this point,” meaning that the SDK probably won’t arrive with the initial batch of DLC.
On the bright side, the zombpocalypse preparation tool’s first tune-up will add versus mode support to the Dead Air and Death Toll campaigns, allowing you to feast upon your friends’ flesh at all of the game’s fine locales.
The Kotaku-Valve chat was recorded on December 15, so Faliszek’s claim that "We should be announcing that before Christmas, what the DLC is,” was obviously derailed.
"The holidays aren't actually so much delaying it as the press guys--[marketing VP] Doug [Lombardi]'s been taking some time. We'll have an announcement shortly, I don't know exactly when,” he continued. We’re guessing that bit’s still valid.
As is Valve’s wont, the DLC probably won’t cost any money – though arms and legs haven’t been ruled out just yet.
We’ll make sure to let you know when Lombardi and co. finally raise the curtain on Left 4.1 Dead. Pencil us in for “soonish.”