Software News en Wow: Blizzard Gives a Thumbs Up to World of StarCraft <!--paging_filter--><p>After World of StarCraft Youtube videos the world over <a href="article/home/world_starcraft_announced_not_blizzard">went dark</a> a couple days ago, fans immediately began to bury the ambitious mod under proclamations of “six feet under.” Turns out, however, that Blizzard's rooting for this little MMO that could just as much as you are. </p> <p> “We’re looking forward to seeing the continued development of this mod, and as part of our ongoing discussion, we’ve extended an offer to the developer to visit the Blizzard campus and meet with the StarCraft II development team,” said Blizzard in <a href="">a statement to GameFront</a>.</p> <p> So then, why'd everyone need to believe that it was the end of the World of StarCraft as we knew it?</p> <p> “With the name so closely resembling that of World of Warcraft, we wanted to discuss the title of the mod with the developer, and as part of our routine procedure, we contacted YouTube to request the video be removed while that discussion took place. We were also curious about the project and wanted to discuss with the developer what the mod entailed,” Blizzard continued. </p> <p> In other words, it was a misunderstanding as big as <a href="">Starbucks' new drink size</a> – and equally unnecessary. Oh well, though; Blizzard's words of encouragement are better late than never. Hopefully, after a quick name change (we suggest something innocuous and lawsuit-free – how about “War of the Stars”?), the mod will be back and better than ever. Of course, that's assuming <a href="">a certain job offer</a> doesn't put the WOS dream to bed before it can even begin to become a reality.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u46190/starcraft-2-1216.jpg" width="415" height="249" /></p> blizzard Gaming Gaming Software mods news Software Software News World of StarCraft world of warcraft Gaming News Fri, 21 Jan 2011 04:20:58 +0000 Nathan Grayson 16769 at New Boxee Box Firmware Adds Vudu Support, Where's Netflix? <!--paging_filter--><p>There's a new firmware revision available for Boxee Box owners that finally adds Vudu support, which Boxee has been promising since late 2010.</p> <p>"Vudu on the Boxee Box means: access to the largest selection of HD movies on-demand, new releases (same day as DVD), thousands of movies available for rental at $2 for 2 nights (in standard definition). We are psyched," Boxee's Avner Ronen <a href="">wrote in a blog post</a>.</p> <p>To celebrate the occasion, Vudu is offering every new user who signs up on the Boxee Box a $5.99 credit towards a first rental or purchase. If you own a Boxee Box, you should have received the update by now, but if not you can force the issue by heading to Settings &gt; System &gt; Update.</p> <p>The latest firmware release also adds a boatload of enhancements and bug fixes, but still no Netflix. Not to worry, Boxee says it's "still on track for a release later this month."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/boxee_vudu.jpg" width="405" height="269" /></p> <h5 style="text-align: left;">Image Credit: Engadget</h5> boxee boxee box firmware Home Theater maximum tech movies NetFlix Software Software News streaming tv shows vudu News Thu, 20 Jan 2011 16:26:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 16756 at Use Your BlackBerry to Pay for Your Starbucks Coffee <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/starbucks_blackberry.jpg" width="101" height="175" style="float: right;" />You can now use your <a href="">iPhone</a> or <a href="">BlackBerry</a> Tour, Curve, or Storm to order a Frappuccino at Starbucks, or anything else the outfit sells. All you need to do is download the Starbucks Card Mobile app.</p> <p>"Enter your card number and your device will display a barcode you can use as your Starbucks Card to make purchases," Starbucks explains. "It's fast. It's easy. And it's a revolution in mobile payment."</p> <p>Starbucks says the Mobile Pay feature is available at more than 7,500 store locations, including all Target Starbucks stores, in the U.S. You can check your local Starbucks by using the <a href="">Store Locator</a> and using the Mobile Payment filter.</p> <h5>Image Credit: Starbucks</h5> app BlackBerry coffee Hardware iphone maximum tech mobile smartphone Software Software News starbucks News Thu, 20 Jan 2011 13:07:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 16745 at The Latest on AMD's Upcoming Catalyst 11.a Hotfix <!--paging_filter--><p>AMD sent out a press release detailing its upcoming Catalyst Hotfix 11.a drivers, which the company promises will bring increased performance and "a slew of new features." As it pertains to the new Radeon HD 6900 and 6800 series of cards, some of the highlights include:</p> <ul> <li>3DMark Vantage: 7 percent improvement</li> <li>3DMark05: 3 percent improvement</li> <li>Call of Duty: Black Ops: 20 percent improvement at 4xMSAA, up to 35 percent at 8xMSAA</li> <li>Batman Arkham Aslyum: 4 percent improvement</li> <li>Metro 2033: 28 percent improvement at 4xMSAA</li> </ul> <p>AMD says the hotfix also provides some new tessellation controls with the goal of giving users full control over the tessellation levels used in applications.</p> <p>According to <a href="">HardOCP</a>, the new drivers will be publicly available on January 26th.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="" width="405" height="210" /></p> 11.a amd driver gpu graphics hotfix Software Software News videocard News Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:50:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 16720 at Nvidia's 3D Heavy GeForce 266.58 Drivers Now Available for Download <!--paging_filter--><p>Nvidia graphics card owners have the option of updating to the newly released GeForce 266.58 WHQL drivers, which add support for the newly released GTX 580 and 570 GPUs.</p> <p>The latest drivers bring quite a bit to the table, including up to double-digit performance gains in some games (up to 12 percent in <em>Battleforge</em> when running a pair of GTX 580 videocards, for example) and support for ambient occlusion in <em>Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty</em>.</p> <p>Nvidia administered a heavy dose of 3D medicine to the 266.58 drivers, adding support for a bunch of new 3D Vision projectors, all-in-one PCs, DLP HDTVs, and desktop LCD monitors.</p> <p>You can download the new drivers <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/racecar_driver_3d.jpg" width="405" height="297" /></p> 266.58 Drivers geforce gpu graphics nvidia Software Software News videocard whql News Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:31:06 +0000 Paul Lilly 16718 at World of StarCraft Announced... But Not by Blizzard <!--paging_filter--><p>A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away... wait, wrong “Star” series. Still though, it's a pretty fitting descriptor of the amount of time Blizzard fans have spent clamoring for a StarCraft MMO, but so far, no good. That, however, is where an old saying comes into play: If you build it, they will come. Here, though, it's more like “if you unknowingly give them the tools to build it, they'll get fed up with waiting and do it themselves.”</p> <p>Using StarCraft II's suitably beefy editor, an intrepid (and undeniably gutsy) modding team has taken it upon itself to make <a href="">World of StarCraft</a> from not-quite-scratch. Currently, the mod's still in its infancy, and there's always the chance that Blizzard's waiting in the wings with a nuclear-strike-sized lawsuit to snuff out the whole thing. Granted, the World of StarCraft team has at least presented some pretty strong evidence in its favor. </p> <p>“You created a tool that allowed us to do anything with your assets. You encouraged us to use your assets and were eager to see what we might come up with. You had to have seen this coming,” wrote Ryan Winzen in a <a href=";action=display&amp;thread=42">forum post</a> addressed to Blizzard.</p> <p>We'll get in touch with Blizzard to see if WoS (which – at the very least – is no threat to WoW in a battle of acronyms) is in for a long and fruitful life or an immediate death sentence. <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">In the meantime, why not check out World of StarCraft's first trailer?</span> <strong>Edit: </strong>Well, that didn't take long. We'll keep you updated on this one, but the prognosis isn't good.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <object width="415" height="336"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en_GB&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;version=3" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="415" height="336" src=";hl=en_GB&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;version=3" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p> blizzard Gaming Gaming Software news Software Software News StarCraft II World of StarCraft Home Gaming News Wed, 19 Jan 2011 04:57:13 +0000 Nathan Grayson 16712 at Angry Gamer Holds 'Runes of Magic' Hostage <!--paging_filter--><p>There's no such reality show called "When Gamers Attack," but if there was to be one, Frogster's <em>Runes of Magic</em> game would take center stage.</p> <p>Here's the deal. A user who goes by the nick "augustus87" is pretty pissed off with how the German outfit is running its game. Taking matters into his own hands, augustus87 hacked the game's database, posted the details of more than 2,000 accounts on the forum, and threatened to reveal names and passwords of 1,000 <em>Runes of Magic</em> players every day until his demands are met, GameSpy <a href="">reports</a>. Those demands?</p> <p>No more closing or deleting threads, better treatment of Frogster employees worldwide, more transparency with customers, secure game clients against cheating and modding, protect personal info, and "stop spying on your employees."</p> <p>"At Frogster we are constantly analyzing all IT and security-related systems with the goal of improving them continuously," Frogster's Axel Schmidt <a href="">told Edge Magazine</a>. "We have increased these efforts even more over the last week. Immediately after we noticed the attack, all systems were double-checked and secured by new firewalls, configured with new user permits and passwords and several other protection measures right away."</p> <p>According to Frogster, the disgruntled hacker got his hands on "outdated log-in data from 2007," so there isn't a whole to worry abuot. Nevertheless, Frogster deemed the attack a "serious criminal offense" and is working with German law enforcement.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/runes_of_magic.jpg" width="405" height="304" /></p> <h5 style="text-align: left;">Image Credit: Frogster</h5> frogster games hacker hacking runes of magic Security Software Software News Videogames Home News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 15:55:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 16705 at Google Shoots for 99.99 Percent App Reliability <!--paging_filter--><p>Google isn't messing around when it comes to uptime. In a recent blog post, the search titan vowed to make email as reliable as a phone's dial tone, which translates to getting Google Appls to 99.99 percent reliable.</p> <p>"Unlike most providers, we don't plan for our users to be down, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems," <a href="">Google said</a>. "For that reason, we're removing the [Google Apps] SLA (service level agreement) clause that allows for scheduled downtime. Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer's SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement.</p> <p>"We're also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included."</p> <p>These are lofty goals for Google, but are they unreasonable? According to Google, its Gmail service was available 99.984 percent of the time in 2010, both on the consumer and business side. That translates to 7 minutes of downtime per month, which is the accumulation of smalle delays, usually no more than a few seconds, Google says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/reliable.jpg" width="400" height="300" /></p> apps email Gmail Google Internet online Software Software News News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 14:26:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 16700 at Security Report Downplays Risk of Cyber Warfare <!--paging_filter--><p>The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a controversial <a href="">security report (PDF)</a> on Monday in which the organization said "it is unlikely that there will ever be a true cyberware." In the report, its authors Peter Sommer, Information Systems and Innovation Group, London School of Economics, and Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, called into question not only the real risks of cyber warfare, but even what they claim is exaggerated language when discussing such risks.</p> <p>"Analysis of cybersecurity issues has been weakened by the lack of agreement on terminology and the use of exaggerated language," the report states. "An 'attack' or an 'incident' can include anything from an easily-identified 'phishing' attempt to obtain password details, a readily detected virus, or a failed log-in to a highly sophisticated multi-stranded stealth onslaught. Rolling all these activities into a single statistic leads to grossly misleading conclusions."</p> <p>The report includes over 100 pages of rhetoric, but the bottom line is we have little to fear in terms of cybersecurity risks. After all, "it is unlikely that there will ever be a true cyberware" for a number of reasons. One of those is that many critical computer systems are protected against known exploits. But more importantly, the authors say, "there is no strategic reason why an aggressor would limit themselves to only one class of weaponry."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/binary_graphic.jpg" width="400" height="278" /></p> <h5 style="text-align: left;">Image Credit:</h5> cyber attack cyberwar online peter sommer Privacy Security Software Software News News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 13:52:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 16699 at Facebook Policy Change Lets Apps Ask for Your Phone Number, Address <!--paging_filter--><p>Heed this warning, privacy advocates: Facebook apps are now allowed to request access to your phone number and address, Facebook developer Jeff Bowen <a href="">announced</a>.</p> <p>"We are now making a user's address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object," Bowen said. "Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions. These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs."</p> <p>The announcement drew immediate criticism from users, who posted their concerns in the comments section below the announcement.</p> <p>"Before you even consider implementing this very intrusive feature, Facebook needs to stop the scammers from making rogue applications and scamming people," Facebook user Tony Mazan wrote.</p> <p>The general consensus seems to be that there are few, if any, reasons why a developer would truly need this information, making the risk far outweigh the reward.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/facebook_permission.jpg" width="405" height="229" /></p> <p>What are your thoughts on this policy change?</p> <h5 style="text-align: left;">Image Credit: Facebook</h5> apps facebook Internet online Privacy Social Networking Software Software News Home News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 13:33:21 +0000 Paul Lilly 16698 at Rumor: Microsoft to Unveil Official PC Kinect Drivers and SDK in “Coming Months” <!--paging_filter--><p>Remember when Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft would officially support Kinect on PC “<a href="article/news/microsoft_will_support_kinect_pc_%E2%80%9C_right_time%E2%80%9D">in the right time</a>”? Well, apparently he probably could've waited another couple seconds to add “right about... now.”</p> <p> <a href="">According to WinRumors</a>, Microsoft's currently connecting the dots on an SDK and official drivers for Kinect on PC. Barring any unforeseen stumbling blocks, both pieces of the puzzle will be available for normal folk who haven't hacked their Kinect to pieces “in the coming months.” </p> <p> More specifically, the drivers will be distributed as part of a beta program, and general Kinect support may soon appear in a Community Technical Preview of Microsoft's XNA development tools.</p> <p> In other words, the wait's nearly at an end. Soon, you'll have a tiny, slowly evolving robo-eye watching your every action in your office as well as your living room. And before you know it, there'll only be one thing those seemingly harmless little cameras voluntarily recognize: a blood-spattered white flag.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u46190/kinect_3.jpg" width="415" height="250" /></p> Gaming Gaming Hardware Gaming Software Hardware kinect microsoft news rumor Software Software News Gaming News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 09:32:56 +0000 Nathan Grayson 16692 at Angry Birds Loses App Store Throne to 14 Year-Old Kid <!--paging_filter--><p>Generally speaking, the Internet is a gaping black hole that sucks in intelligence, civility, and the like, and sloppily spits out raw, unfiltered stupidity. This, of course, provides the saner among us with ample opportunities to feel good about ourselves. And then something like this happens.</p> <p> For the past few weeks, a title by the name of Bubble Ball has been steadily ascending the free App charts, knocking off perpetual crown-holders like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja along the way. The game's a deceptively simple physics puzzler (which is hardly shocking if you know your App Store history), but here's the kicker: it was created almost entirely by a 14 year-old boy.</p> <p> "I was pretty astonished," Robert Nay, currently in eighth grade, <a href=";page=1">told ABC</a>. "When I released it, I didn't think it would do so well."</p> <p> Even though he occasionally served as his own personal naysayer, Nay cracked open Ansca Mobile's Corona SDK and – over the course of more than a month – wrote 4000 lines of code. His mother lent a helping hand with a few level designs, but Robert and his massive brain took care of everything else. </p> <p> Buy hey, at least you can still pump up your deflated ego elsewhere, right? Well, Nay's also an excellent student and plays piano, mandolin, and trumpet. May as well cross “one-man band” off the list as well, then.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u46190/bubbleball_2.jpg" width="415" height="250" /></p> angry birds app store Bubble Ball Gaming Gaming Software iphone iPod news Software Software News Gaming News Tue, 18 Jan 2011 08:45:57 +0000 Nathan Grayson 16691 at Kama Sutra PowerPoint Comes with an STD <!--paging_filter--><p>With Valentine's Day less than a month away, you may want to think about how you'll celebrate the occasion with your significant other. We're not jumping to conclusions on where your relationship is at, but if preparation includes brushing up your knowledge of the Kama Sutra, be sure to consider the source.</p> <p>According to security firm Sophos, a new Kama Sutra PowerPoint is making the rounds, one that promises to demonstrate different sexual positions. That promise is fulfilled, though you'll walk away with more than you bargained for, namely malware.</p> <p>"The malware comes as a file called <em>Real kamasutra.pps.exe</em> (the old double-extension tricks)," <a href="">Sophos warns</a>. "In other words, you may think you are directly opening a PowerPoint slideshow, but in fact you're running an executable program.</p> <p>"The PowerPoint slide deck (which ironically is itself 'clean' from the malware point of view) is then dropped onto your Windows PC as a decoy while malware silently installs onto your computer as AdobeUpdate.exe, alongside some other components (called jqa.exe and acrobat.exe)."</p> <p>This particularly nasty bit of malware is flexible in what it can do, from using your PC to send out spam to spying on your activities, installing revenue generating adware, and even steal your identity, Sophos says.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/kama_sutra_funny.jpg" width="405" height="249" /></p> kama sutra microsoft Powerpoint Security Software Software News sophos virus News Mon, 17 Jan 2011 16:36:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 16686 at Another Firefox 4 Beta Ready for Download <!--paging_filter--><p>Mozilla's getting close to unleashing a Release Candidate version of Firefox 4, but in the meantime, you can play around with the latest beta version, the browser maker <a href="">announced</a> in a blog post.</p> <p>"The latest Firefox 4 Beta is available to test the cool features and improvements in the next version of Firefox," Mozilla said. "As we continue to refine features and performance in Firefox 4 Beta, this release includes faster start-up time, bookmarking, and makes complex animations smoother."</p> <p>The beta also gives longtime Firefox users some time to get used to the new look, which now bears a strong resemblance to Google's Chrome browser. Underneath the hood, Firefox 4 boasts a boatload of changes and additions, including HTML5 support, multi-touch support, WebM and HD video, full hardware acceleration, and more.</p> <p><a href="">Firefox 4 Beta Download</a><br /><a href="">Features</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/firefox_4.jpg" width="405" height="309" /></p> beta browser firefox Firefox 4 online Software Software News News Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:32:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 16680 at Adobe Vows to Better Manage Flash Cookies <!--paging_filter--><p>Deleting your browser cookies is supposed to throw websites off your trail, but that isn't always the case. All a determined website has to do is drop a backup cookie into Adobe Flash's local storage, so unless you clean that out as well, they can still track you. These so-called 'zombie cookies' aren't something that only obscure websites use, but <a href="Adobe Vows to Better Manage Flash Cookies">according to</a>, several prominent sites -- Disney, ABC, ESPN, MTV, and many others -- have been using this approach, and have ended up in court as a result.</p> <p>So what, if anything, is Adobe doing to ensure a user's privacy isn't compromised?</p> <p>"Since local storage allows sites and apps to remember information, there are concerns about the use of local storage to store tracking information – or of greater concern, to restore tracking information to a browser cookie that a user has intentionally deleted," Adobe's Emmy Huang <a href="">wrote in a blog post</a>. "This use of local data storage has raised questions about privacy. So we’re continually working to make sure that users have better control over the local data stored by applications running in Flash Player.</p> <p>"Most recently, we’ve been collaborating with browser vendors to integrate LSO management with the browser UI. The first capability, one that we believe will have the greatest immediate impact, is to allow users to clear LSOs (and any local storage, such as that of HTML5 and other plugin technologies) from the browser settings interface—similar to how users can clear their browser cookies today."</p> <p>Adobe claims it's working with Mozilla and Google to define a new browser API for clearing local data, and that you'll see this feature show up soon on the Google Chrome dev channel. After that, you can expect this capability to come integrated in all major browsers.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/flash_cookie_monster.jpg" width="405" height="304" /></p> Adobe browser cookies flash Privacy Security Software Software News News Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:55:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 16678 at