Microsoft and its Windows Live brand has tried everything, right down to paying users to pry market share from search juggernaut Google, but so far nothing has worked. Popular rumors have even began speculating that the Redmond based software giant may be attempting to rebrand its search service. If this turns out to be true however, will Kumo or Yahoo Live be the new brand surging out of the gate? According to The Times of London, Microsoft is in talks again with Yahoo to acquire its search business for an estimated $20 billion dollars. AOL CEO Johnathan Miller and former Fox Interactive President Ross Levinsohn are reportedly heading up the negotiations.
So far Microsoft has declined to comment on the article and certainly, there is no guarantee that even if talks are in progress, that any agreement could be reached. Presumably however, the fact that Yahoo stockholders are faced with a share price of $11.51, down from a 52 week high of $30.25 might have put them in a slightly more agreeable mood. And now that Google has backed off and Jerry Yang is stepping down as CEO, who knows what the future holds. Steve Ballmer in the past has described the prospect of a search partnership with Yahoo as “an interesting possibility” but again, it’s too early to speculate on the outcome.
Will Yahoo search really benefit Microsoft? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
SearchWiki is intended to give you the ability to fine-tune your search results and eliminate irrelevant or obsolete results. However, some critics are worried about how SearchWiki works. To find out what they're concerned about, join us after the jump.
On Wednesday of last week, Microsoft rolled out its long anticipated dashboard update for the Xbox 360 console. Among other things, the update incorporated support for Netflix subscribers with an Xbox Live Gold account to be able and stream the online rental service's catalog of downloadable movies and TV shows through the Xbox 360, some of which is in high definition. With consumers slow to warm to Blu-ray, the Netflix capability could potentially nudge undecided console owners in Microsoft's direction rather than opting for Sony's Playstation 3 + Blu-ray combo. But does Sony feel threatened?
Officially, the answer is 'no.' Following the dashboard update, Sony films pulled a disappearing act from Xbox's Netflix streaming service prompting all kinds of speculation and conspiracy theories. And all of it wrong, according to Sony.
"This issue is not specific to Xbox or any other individual platform," Sony said in an email statement. "Sony Pictures is currently in discussions with the relevant parties to resolve certain licensing matters related to the distribution of its motion pictures. Given the ongoing nature of these discussions, we don't think it is appropriate to comment further at this time."
Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey didn't wish to comment on any specific studio licensing deals either, saying only that titles "come in and out of licensing all the time." And that's where things currently reside in the standoff between Sony and Netflix. Some Sony films have reappeared on the streaming service, but neither Sony or Netflix are saying when the rest might return.
It’s that time of year again, Max PC readers. It’s time for stuffing ourselves, watching football, and—if "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" has taught us anything— it’s time to give thanks. As tech fans, we take a lot for granted, so we felt like taking a step back and examining all the things that are making a nerd’s life better right now.
Read on to check out our list of 17 things techies should be thankful for, then hit the comments and let us know what we missed.
Earlier in the week, reports of a supposed newly discovered Gmail vulnerability started making the rounds on the web. The proof of concept was first posted on GeekCondition.com and showed how a hacker, with a bit of effort and persistence, could potentially infiltrate a user's Gmail account, create a malicious filter to forward emails to the hijacker, and top it off by stealing any domains the victim may have registered. But is the proof of concept truly indicative of a security flaw in Gmail?
While it's true that there have been users affected by the scheme, Google ascertains the root cause has more to do with phishing than it does with Gmail.
"With help from affected users, we determined that the cause was a phishing scheme, a common method used by malicious actors to trick people into sharing their sensitive information," Google wrote in a blog post. "Attackers sent customized emails encouraging web domain owners to visit fraudulent websites such as 'google-hosts.com' that they set up purely to harvest usernames and passwords. These fake sites had no affiliation with Google, and the ones we've seen are now offline."
As is often the case when it comes to security issues, a combination of common sense and safe computing habits remains your best defense.
While drowning in an ocean of famished zombies attempting to grind your brains to make their bread, paying attention to the blips and bloops of tiny achievement indications is a tad difficult. Fortunately, according to Valve's newly released list of Left 4 Dead achievement statistics, you're not missing much.
Oh sure, Valve has loaded its game with wacky (and easily pun-able) methods of undead dead-making, but at this early stage of the game, only a small percentage of players have truly lived during their short spurts of undeath.
Especially noticeable, not a single player has managed to slay their way to the "Zombie Genocidest" achievement, which forces players to sacrifice 53,595 hapless zombies in order to appease its dark whims.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, 73.9% of players have laid claim to the "Drag and Drop" achievement -- wherein, you're simply required to chop through a Smoker's tongue before one of your buddies takes any damage.
So, which L4D achievements adorn your trophy case? Is your zombpocalypse training nearly complete, or are you only beginning to learn your ABZ's?
Just a few months ago, we could have summed up the browser wars in single word: BORING! That's not to say we haven't appreciated the new features that accompany each new release of Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but the results and the competitors always remained the same. It's become far too easy to predict how each new round will go - Firefox will add new features, get a little faster, and inch ever so closer in market share, while each new IE release will suck a little less than the last and continue to be the most widely used browser on the planet. At least in the chip wars, AMD and Intel have taken turns putting the smackdown on one another accompanied by the occasional trash talk.
It took a surprise release by an unlikely newcomer to finally get us excited about the future of browsers again. Google's Chrome seemingly came out of nowhere and has the potential to turn what has been a stale two-man scuffle into a three-way battle royal. Along with greater stability, Chrome's claim to fame is that it can render web pages faster than the competition, and indeed a recent benchmark comparison has pegged Chrome as the new speed king. But in order for anyone to truly take Chrome seriously, Google has to put extension support at the forefront of development, and it appears they're doing exactly that.
Hit the jump to see what Google is doing to add extensions to Chrome, and how it will differ from Firefox.
We typically recommend that those new to Linux get their feet wet with Ubuntu, but if you think you're ready to explore alternative distros, the Fedora developer community has announced the official release of Fedora 10. The release was originally planned to go live a few weeks ago but suffered a delay as Fedora developers verified its source code had not been compromised following a hacker attack back in August.
Like Ubuntu's recently released Intrepid Ibex (8.10), Fedora 10 is built on the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. The new kernel, which was released last month, offers better webcam support and the new Atheros ath9k wireless drivers, among other goodies. Firefox 3.0.4 also finds its way into Fedora 10's default installation.
ArsTechnica takes an in-depth tour of the distro's several new features, including the glitch-free PulseAudio (PA). In addition to support for controlling the volume of individual audio streams and movie streams between multiple devices, PA also sports some advanced capabilities, such as dynamic volume adjustment and network transparent stream redirection. But perhaps the biggest improvement to the rewritten PA is the significant reduction in the potential for dropped audio.
Other upgrades include a new version of the Network Manager utility, an overhauled RPM package, and a more tightly integrated PackageKit, which is a GUI-based package management frontend.
“The keyboard/mouse interface is definitely still the superior interface for a competitive first-person shooter experience, much better than an analog joypad,” he told PC Gamer.
But why stop with games? Clearly, the PC can do at least two other things.
"The browser environment is faster—navigating web pages on the console is a really tedious experience… And I do think there’s the whole idea of PCs being everywhere, and having a game that you can play just about anywhere. Anywhere there’s a PC, if you’ve got a few minutes you can download Quake Live content and jump in and play your game,” he said.
However, Carmack conceded that console development definitely has its perks -- for instance, acting as a hardy shelter in the hail of issues that is PC development.
"There are interesting technical things, looking across the spectrum of graphics cards, looking at the very latest stuff on there, but there are also times when I say, 'Wow, the 360 is a nicer place to develop games.' You bypass a lot of the issues there. Wouldn’t it be nice just to develop strictly for that platform?"
"The official editor for Fallout 3, called the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit), will be available for free download in December and will allow Games for Windows® users to create and add their own content to the game."
"The release of the G.E.C.K. provides the community with tools that will allow players to expand the game any way they wish. Users can create, modify, and edit any data for use with Fallout 3, from building landscapes, towns, and locations to writing dialogue, creating characters, weapons, creatures, and more."
Even (circle one) <better/worse/Y>, Bethesda's sprinkling a smattering of DLC on top of its latest massively single player RPG, giving players a chance to nab a spot in the vaunted Brotherhood of Steel, grind Commies' bones to make more ground, and save a cleverly titled portion of Pittsburgh from total annihilation. DLC descriptions are as follows:
Operation: Anchorage. Enter a military simulation and fight in one of the greatest battles of the Fallout universe – the liberation of Anchorage, Alaska from its Chinese Communist invaders. An action-packed battle scheduled for release in January.
The Pitt. Journey to the industrial raider town called The Pitt, located in the remains of Pittsburgh. Choose your side. Scheduled for release in February.
Broken Steel. Join the ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel and rid the Capital Wasteland of the Enclave remnants once and for all. Continues the adventure past the main quest. Scheduled for release in March.
Are you man enough to save Pittsburgh? Or are you a builder -- not a fighter? Well, please don't comment about it. You know how much we hate it when you do that.