In a game that’s all about an ongoing fictional war, you’d think that calling an update “war” might be a tad redundant. But since there really isn’t a better word for technologically advanced armed combat on a massive scale, Valve’s sticking with the tried and true “W” word. So, what’s War good for? Well, for the Soldier and Demoman, three new weapons are on the way. There’s a bit of a catch, though: The well-documented Demoman-Soldier bromance saga must come screeching to a very bloody halt.
See, along with the eternal currency known as “bragging rights,” a fourth weapon is up for grabs. To the winner goes the spoils, however, so the foes-turned-friends-turned-foes-again are duking it out for the final mystery weapon. Whoever tallies the most kills by the end of the week bags the big prize. And if you were wondering, right now, team Soldier is winning by a very slight margin, so go turn that tide, Demomen!
But if you’d rather create than destroy, there’s something in this update for you too. Using a brand new crafting system, you’ll be able to turn all of your useless duplicate items into whatever your mind can imagine. If all that your mind imagines is guns and hats.
The update goes live on Thursday, and you can preload the necessary files right now. Happy hunting!
Microsoft continues to plug away at Wave 4 updates of Windows Live. And the blogosphere continues to gnaw gristle about what changes these updates might include. Fresh meat has been tossed into the mix by Neowin, which claims to have received screenshots of an updated Messenger showing tabs and social streaming in the interface.
Social streaming is the more interesting of the two new features. Parsing Neowin, it appears that realtime updates of friends' Facebook entires, tweets, and blog posts, if enabled, will be displayed on the left side of the Messenger window. The streaming will be managed through Windows Live.
Tabs are a bit more mundane, but are a feature Messenger users have been asking for, and Microsoft promising. Tabs permit the hosting of several conversations in the same window, making it easier for users to manage.
Neowin notes nothing yet is written in stone, but that these screenshots do offer some useful insight into the direction that Messenger might take in its 2010 incarnation.
The Official Google Blog trumpets:“Streaming keeps information fresh.” Users of Google Finance will be able to watch as stories on finance develop “minute by minute, throughout the day. News will be available either on the Google Finance homepage or a page dedicated to market news. News will be streamed from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., eastern Standard Time.
Google justifies itself: “Financial information doesn't exist in a vacuum. News can stimulate trades, and trades of one stock can have broad market effects. Figuring how to organize all of that information and make it useful is crucial — and that's what we're working on.”
And, says the Google Blog, “there is still a long way to go, so stay tuned for more updates.” Will the joy that is Google never end?
It took quite a while for Microsoft to be fully convinced that its mobile OS is long due for an overhaul. Last month, although it did not quite deliver an overhaul, it took a small step toward bringing its mobile offering up to speed with the competition. It launched the Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store on October 6th, the very day it released Windows Mobile 6.5.
But the enhancement that should interest WinMo users the most is the ability to “browse and buy applications from the PC.” All applications bought from the Windows Marketplace for Mobile site will be delivered wirelessly to the user’s Windows phone. Microsoft will make the store accessible to Windows Mobile 6.0 and 6.1 customers later this month.
Bing for Mobile has received a nifty little upgrade from Microsoft. The Bing for Mobile site has been touch-optimized, so it now takes advantage of the touch-screen functionality of many smartphones. The upgrade builds on Windows Mobile 6.5, which makes touch-screen ability part of this smartphone operating system.
Right now it appears that Bing for Mobile, which can be accessed at m.bing.com, will work on a limited number of devices. Justin Jed at the bing community blog reports touch-screen ability is available on the iPhone, T-Mobile G1, VErizon Imagio, Samsung Omnia and the Apple iPhone. It also works with the Zune HD and the iPod Touch. Jed is promising support for new devices “over the next couple months.”
The updates, which include some runtime libraries to handle new technology, include improvements to: Windows ribbon and animation manager library; Windows graphics, imaging, and XPS library; Windows automation API; and Windows portable devices platform.
Clearly there is nothing that hackers won’t go after in the attempt to monkey about with your computer’s innards. Any opening, no matter how insignificant, needs to be closed before it can be exploited. With this in mind Mozilla today released an update to Firefox, upping its version to 3.5.4, that patches 16 weaknesses, eleven of which are critical.
If you’re still hanging out in Firefox 3 you’ve also got a security patch waiting for you. Version 3.0.15 was released, addressing nine problems, four of which Mozilla tagged as critical.
AutoRun was originally intended to help automatically start programs stored on optical media. However, once USB drives became popular, AutoRun also became a popular way to launch programs from hard disks and thumb drives by working with Windows' built-in AutoPlay functionality. Unfortunately, AutoRun's ability to provide instant launching for programs has also been widely exploited by malware such as the notorious Conficker/Downadup worm and others. Microsoft changed how AutoRun works in Windows 7 RC, but until now, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003 have been wide open to USB-based AutoRun attacks. To find out how Redmond's reining in AutoRun, join us after the jump.
Is it really time for a new Team Fortress 2 update already? Yessiree, this new update’s as real as that last question was entirely rhetorical. But wait, Team Fortress 2 update, something’s different. Did you get a haircut? Buy a new outfit? Manifest yourself in the physical world so that you might be able to get a haircut or buy a new outfit? Nope! You’re just not serving as a vehicle for crummy class-related stuff anymore. You’re your own man!
Instead, this TF2 update seems to have given form the nod over function. Translation: New hats – and plenty of them. Day one of the update touts 18 new hats, including a Viking helmet and a fireman’s hat, among others.
A new community map rounds out the revelation du jour. Called Arena Offblast, the map’s a “fast-paced, high-altitude community map set in a top secret missile silo wedged into the top of a hollowed-out mountain.” You know, one of those stupidly dangerous places that only people with guns in their hands and chips on their shoulders seem to congregate around.
The teaser site also plays host to a number of hidden pages that – if you’re willing to dig them up – will give you a bit of dirt on the rest of the update’s content. If you’d rather not sully your hands with such menial labor, however, Shacknews found the bonus pages and put them on display.
So, any guesses as to what’s in the pipeline for the rest of the update? Personally, we’re hoping for the ability to don multiple hats at once. If our head’s going to be one giant target, we’ll at least make it a headache for our opponents to hit the part that actually kills us.
Yesterday Google released a brand new beta for their Chrome web browser, this time in the interest of ironing out kinks with some new features that they’ve added. Among the new features are an updated “New Tab,” the Omnibox, and the ability to beautify your browser by using colors, patterns and images.
The New Tab feature is being slightly tweaked by allowing you to move around your most visited sites by simply clicking and dragging, letting you show off just how not into Twitter you really are. You can even pin thumbnails to specific spots. The Omnibox (read: the address bar) is getting a facelift, and giving you Google search results and related history items whenever you type anything in.
Most notably though, the color changing feature will allow you to alter exactly how Chrome looks. Should you want to be reminded of fresh cut grass each time you browse the net, you may do so. Or if you want to have cute kittens gazing at you while you read the day’s news, you can do that as well, we’re not here to judge.
You can check out the beta here, but there’s no word as to when these updates will make their way to the official release.