Configuring your next BMW isn't as easy as touching a table yet, but in the near future, it probably will be. BMW has released a video of its prototype BMW Product Navigator (aka BMW Konfigurator), which is powered by Microsoft Surface and designed by Vectorform, which created the interactive 2008 election map used by MSNBC.
As with the 2008 MSNBC project, Vectorform's BMW Product Navigator uses Microsoft Surface to manipulate video that is then shown on an HDTV. With the BMW Product Navigator, you place chips representing product options on the Microsoft Surface tabletop computer, and the changes you make affect the BMW shown on the video screen. And, just so you can make sure you're buying the Bimmer you want, Product Navigator can email you your custom configuration, print it, or copy it to a USB flash memory drive.
What do you think about the idea of gesturing your way to the car of your dreams? Is this the best way to use Microsoft Surface? For your chance to answer these and other burning questions, join us after the jump.
Joining Peter Molyneux, Good Old Games, and Stardock in a swelling anti-DRM chorus, Valve president Gabe Newell has voiced his concerns about DRM's diabolical rule. The big G-man's opinion? Most DRM (ahem) is "just dumb."
"As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't)," Newell said in an email to a fan named Paul Reisinger (who promptly posted the response on his Live Journal page).
"We really, really discourage other developers and publishers from using the broken DRM offerings, and in general there is a groundswell to abandon those approaches," he added.
Of course, this is a huge about-face for Valve, whose Steam platform once coated games in a jawbreaker-esque, nigh-impenetrable DRM shell. Luckily, Newell and co. had the sense to mash that particular padlock with a crowbar, rendering its DRM far more tolerable.
Nice preaching on Newell's part, though. Choir, do you have anything to add?
In recent times, there have been quite a few reports about some enterprises having professed their liking for Windows XP. The consumers and enterprises that have vowed to abstain from Windows Vista, or plan on running old software owned by them, are scampering for used XP-toting PCs.
There is no dearth of Windows XP PCs as millions of users are supplanting their old PCs with newer ones that run Vista; a Gartner study pegged the number of discarded XP PCs in 2007 at 197 million.
Kaplan advises consumers to be slightly more cautious while purchasing secondhand PCs online as they are very likely to come loaded with a pirated version of XP.
The talk of Vista and XP is known to have elicited some passionate responses from Maximum PC readers in the comments section before and so you are expected to be ready with your astute views on this occasion as well.
The Malaysian website Tech ARP, which previously figured out the release schedule for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3, has looked into its crystal ball again and predicts Vista SP2 will be released to manufacturing in April 2009. First, though, a release candidate (RC) will be released in February.
So, what will be the big attractions in Vista SP2?
Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Native Blu-Ray recording
Windows Connect Now support for easier Wi-Fi connections
UTC timestamp support in the exFAT file system to enable correct file synchronization across timezones
Keep in mind that Vista SP2 will only install on systems running Vista SP1.
Some users wonder if Vista SP2 is coming too quickly after the release of Vista SP1. To find out how the release schedule for Vista SP2 compares to other service pack releases for past Windows versions, and for your chance to comment, join us after the break.
While the battle between Windows and Linux wages on, a similar struggle is set to take place in the cloud. Instant-on computing has been gaining ground, helped in large part by Asus pushing a custom version of SplashTop on select motherboards and Eee PCs, and now Good OS steps into the browser-based OS fray.
If the name looks familiar, it's because the company's gOS Linux debuted in Wal-Mart's ill-fated $199 Everex gPC. But this time around, Good OS is focusing entirely on the cloud with an instant-on derivative appropriately called Cloud. The company showed off its browser-based OS running on Gigabyte touch-screen netbooks at the Netbook World Summit in Paris today.
"We are excited to preview the Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook with Cloud and Windows together," said a Good OS spokesperson. "With Cloud, Gigabyte Netbooks will power on to the Internet in seconds, while still supporting killer applications together with Windows XP."
Instead of loading a typical desktop, Cloud runs entirely in a browser that looks nearly identical to Google's Chrome. At the bottom of the browser, an integrated dock gives quick access to several apps and Web 2.0 portals. But like SplashTop, Cloud isn't meant to replace the main OS, and instead run alongside it.
Good OS plans to make more details available at CES in January, 2009.
Talk to any Mac-inite and he'll tell you how secure his Mac is compared to your Windows-based PC. And admittedly, he's right. But is it because Mac OS X is inherently more secure than Windows, or do virus writers simply not give a damn when there are so many Windows users to target? Justin Long doesn't say, and instead insinuates that Mac users needn't worry about malware - see for yourself.
In what might be an ironic twist, Apple's ad campaign has helped Macs increase its market share and potentially draw attention to the platform as a viable target. For the first time ever, Apple is telling its users to install antivirus software.
"Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult," Apple posted on its support site.
But don't take that to mean that Apple suddenly thinks its operating system is wrought with security holes. As Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee points out, malware is targeting data and not a specific OS. Vulnerabilities in Flash and the Safari web browser, for example, have given rise to non-OS attacks.
Reaction to Apple's recommendation? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Perhaps DRAM makers and Microsoft's top brass should join each other at the local watering hole and lament the state of the industry, as the two share a somewhat similar woe. The memory market is the worst it has been in 15 years, and likewise, Windows market share has dropped to a 15-year low, according to market research firm Net Applications. But the similarities end there.
While Windows market share is as low as it has been since Windows 3.11, Microsoft still dominates the landscape by claiming just under 90 percent. The problem for Microsoft, if it can be called that, is a steady decline since Net Applications started providing market share data in October 2004. At the time, Microsoft's market share was at 96.4 percent, then 95.5 percent in November 2005, 94.2 percent in November 206, and 92.4 percent in November 2007.
Hardly a landslide, but with open-source alternatives such as Firefox and Linux gaining ground in the browser and operating system arenas, Microsoft might want to take a cue from what the competition is doing right rather than running 'told you so' ad campaigns like Mojave to convince skeptical users that it's been right all along.
If you can't beat them, be them, apparently. Browser-based MMORPG Aurora Blade is now clutching for driftwood at the center of a whirlpool of controversy after allegedly stealing art assets from MMOs like World of Warcraft, Ragnarok Online, Maple Story, and LaTale. IGG (the game's Western publisher) posted a statement/threat concerning the mess:
"Note: We would like to explain that SkyUnion(IGG) is not responsible for the developing of the game, that is any character, artwork and graphic is developed by another company and this game is HOSTED by IGG."
"Any thread or post [on the Aurora Blade forums] containing information about other games that including screenshots, game info or any other information will be deleted, as its against the forum rules. We will also take actions against members that will repeat breaking the forum rules.Therefore we have to ban members according to the severity. This may lead to a permanent ban from the forum."
See? Nothing to hide.
Also, we totally didn't nab the above comparison pic from Shacknews, and we're never thanking them. Seriously, though. If you tell anyone about that pic, we'll cut you.
Black Mesa, a Source engine recreation of the original Half-Life, has sported an unwavering "in development" status for the past four years. After a while, we just started lumping it in with Duke Nukem Forever, Alan Wake, and the apocalypse as signs that God does exist -- but that He's one hell of a procrastinator. After checking out the latest Black Mesa trailer, though, we're belting out a different tune. Or at least, we're trying. The cascading tidal waves of drool blasting out of our mouths -- fire-hose style -- make it kind of difficult.
Fortunately, the mod will apparently scale the walls of development hell within our feeble lifetimes. According to a post on the official site for the unofficial remake, "the days this mod stays in development are truly numbered. Hang tight, because at long last, it is coming."
Electronic Arts couldn't have predicted the unprecedented backlash from outraged gamers following Spore's release, or at least not the extent that they would take the anti-DRM crusade. Protests ran the gamut from blasting the title with thousands of negative user reviews on Amazon to not just making the game available on warez sites, but actively encouraging consumers to pirate the title. If you thought it might be awhile before SecuROM saddled another high profile release, think again.
Despite all the recent raucous, Rockstar has decided to implement the DRM scheme on GTA IV for the PC. But before you cry foul and grab the pitchforks and torches, Rockstar says its version will be much more user friendly than the one found on EA's Spore.
Hit the jump to see what makes GTA IV's DRM different than Spore's.