We at Maximum PC remember a time, long ago, when having a dual-monitor setup was enough to establish some pretty serious nerd cred. These days, however, everyone and their grandma are playing World of Warcraft and checking their email at the same time on their two screens. So what’s a guy got to do to stand out from the pack? Here’s one idea: run two computers in tandem.
Synergy is a free, open source program that allows you two control two or more computers with a single keyboard and mouse. The linked computers behave as though they were simply different monitors in a traditional multi-monitor, single-computer setup. That is to say, if you drag the mouse off the left side of the right monitor, it appears on the left monitor, directing all keystrokes to that box. More impressively, Synergy synchronizes the two computers’ clipboards and even their screensavers.
Linus Tovalds the proverbial godfather of Linux announced the official release of a new kernel on Friday bringing it up to version 2.6.27. The new version adds both ath9k wireless drivers from Atheros, and a new gspca driver which will drastically increase the number of webcams supported by the OS out of box. Some of the changes such as “function tracing framework” and “memory-mapped IO’s” are mostly for developers, but this isn’t all that was included. The performance improvements to the Ext4 file system are rumored to be substantial and a new file system called UBIFS was implemented for flash storage devices. Perhaps the most significant change however from 2.6.26 (only 3 months ago) was in the scalability of the OS. Support for up to 4096 processors now works out of box and I for one would like to try out the system they were testing this feature with. A full log of the changes has been released and you can read either the translated or developer editions for more information. Oh and did we mention that Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) received some pretty impressive looking new wallpapers?
Quality may not always happily skip hand-in-hand with sales (See: Psychonauts, and then go buy it, please), but when it does, we wear unnaturally large smiles, ecstatic that there's justice in this cold, depressing world. You can imagine, then, that our pearly whites are on the verge of breaking free from our unhinged jaws thanks to Mythic's announcement that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has lured 750,000 players into its overtly war-packed world.
"Thanks to our players, the war between the Realms continues to escalate at an incredible pace," said Mythic co-founder and general manager Mark Jacobs.
And he's not just spouting nonsense from his PR-approved book of hyperbole either; Warhammer's 750k sprint has topped those of both World of Warcraft and Age of Conan, who reached similar numbers within three months and two months, respectively.
But don't start ordering Waaaagh Kool-Aid as a refreshment for WoW's funeral just yet. It should be noted that boxed copies of Warhammer Online came with a free one month voucher, cancelling out the game's subscription fee for a limited time. With the game's money vacuum soon to be fully operational, will players stick around for another month?
We sure hope so. Warhammer seems genuinely different from other MMOs, and it'd be a shame to see it sink. Also, gaming just wouldn't be fun anymore if we couldn't constantly tell our friends "It's 'hammer time," before darting off for a play session.
StarCraft 2 will likely be so great, many players will want to buy it twice. Unfortunately, however, after today's BlizzCon announcement, they'll be doing Blizzard (and themselves) a huge disservice by only making two StarCraft treks. Simply put, they'll be missing 1/3 of the spacefaring RTS' universe-spanning plot, because Blizzard has announced that StarCraft 2's campaign will clear the launch pad on three separate occasions.
Predictably, each release will focus on one of StarCraft's trifecta of races. Terrans: Wings of Liberty will be first out the gate, presumably with the national sport that is the game's multiplayer mode. Zerg: Heart of the Swarm and Protoss: Legacy of the Void, then, will be pseudo-expansion packs.
Don't get the wrong idea, though. Blizzard executive VP of game design Rob Pardo explained that the Zerg and Protoss titles will "be like expansion packs," but that they'll bombard players with content. "We want them to feel like standalone products," he said.
In order to accomplish this, each campaign will break off from the rest of the pack with its own feature set. The Zerg's flesh-crawling installment will include RPG elements, while the Protoss are going the diplomatic route. Terrans, on the other hand, seem to be getting the short end of the stick with only a Protoss mini-campaign to their name, but we'll see.
Pardo also noted that Blizzard sliced and diced StarCraft 2's campaign not for fat stacks of cash (WoW would get jealous, after all), but in order to avoid delaying the game or cutting corners on quality.
As for how long in between installments we'll be hanging from cliffs, Blizzard wouldn't say. However, knowing Blizzard, we're guessing the games will be less of a Zerg-rush and more of a Zerg-Half-Life 2 Episode Three.
Certain legislations like the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have made e-mail archival very important for business enterprises. Furthermore, the whole business of e-mail retention is theoretically poised to benefit from the current financial crisis.
Google has announced that business users of its “Google Message Discovery” will now have the option of retaining their emails for up to 10 years for $45 per person per year – probably having sensed the boom. Hitherto, it only offered e-mail archival, retention for up to one year and charged $25 per user per year. The service is compatible with Microsoft’s Exchange and IBM’s Lotus Domino email systems.
“Beginning November 18th players across North America and Europe will journey with the dwarves deep into Middle-earth to reclaim the ancient kingdom of Khazad-dûm from the minions of Saruman,” said Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer of The Lord of the Rings Online.
And no, this isn't a loquacious announcement that LOTRO has slipped to November 18th, 2009 -- but that'd make far more sense than what Turbine is actually doing.
For the uninitiated (aka, those who don't read article titles), WoW: Wrath of the Lich King -- possibly the most-anticipated MMO expansion ever and one of the few 2008 PC releases that can challenge Spore to a bout of sales-fisticuffs and match the game blow-for-blow -- is crashing down the gates (and probably its own servers) on November 13th. Add to that the fact that LOTRO is basically WoW plus little big-footed people and minus about 9 million players, and you have a painstakingly composed financial suicide note ready to go.
Find out why Turbine chose to face the Lich King's wrath head-on after the break.
Browsing the Digg homepage, you’re bound to see a lot of links about videogames, open source, and Barack Obama. For all you readers of the Max PC blog, that might seem like a good thing, but according to founder Kevin Rose, it’s time for that to change. In “The Future of News,” a talk at the Future of Web Apps conference, Rose said that Digg needs to shed its status as a geek bastion and do more for the average web-surfer.
In the talk Rose outlined several of the strategies that Digg will employ to expand its userbase. One thing the site needs to do, he said, is get more users participating. Presently, even though more than 30 million people use the site a month, only 3 million have registered accounts, meaning that the vast majority of people who read Digg aren’t affecting which links make the homepage.
Digg needs to provide an experience that’s relevant to each individual user, Rose stressed. Along these lines, the site intends to allow users to filter out links about subjects they don’t care about, and is developing ways to automatically sort users into groups based on their interests. Also, the site is looking to weight users’ Diggs by their history as an accurate (or inaccurate) predictor of popular links.
Will Digg lose its geek following as it tries to go mainstream? Let us know what you think.
It’s hard not to like Google Earth. It’s free, it’s fun, and now it’s about to get sharper than ever. The GeoEye-1, a commercial imaging satellite sponsored by Google and considered to be the world’s most accurate snapped its first photo on Wednesday, Wired reports.
The satellite takes photos at a maximum resolution of 41 centimeters, high enough—in other words—to spot your dog from space. Unfortunately for Google, the government places restrictions on the max resolution of commercial satellites, meaning that Google will only be allowed to use images with a resolution of 50 centimeters or worse.
And speaking of the government, although Google is the primary corporate sponsor of the GeoEye, the satellite’s number one customer is the US government’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Eager to avoid an unflattering label, Mark Brender, VP of communications and marketing at GeoEye, says “This is the opposite of a spy satellite. Spies don’t put info on the internet and sell imagery.”
So now Google’s armed with its own not-a-spy satellite. Are you concerned about your privacy, or just psyched for a higher-res Google Earth? Let us know after the break.
Can we all agree that User Account Control (UAC) sucks? Good. Now if only we can get Microsoft on the same page. That shouldn't be too hard considering at this point it's no secret that UAC was designed to annoy, and if Ben Fathi, president of Microsoft's core OS development is to be believed, we're all finally in agreement.
"We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated," Fathi wrote on his blog. "You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing. We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience."
Fathi goes on to explain that in Windows 7, users logged in as an administrator will be able to determine the range of notifications received. Fathi also says the dialog UI will be more telling, perhaps leading to less of a knee-jerk reaction to automatically click 'Allow' every time the dialog pops up.
Fathi sounds optimistic that the revamped UAC system will be far less hated than it is now, but the question isn't whether or not it will be less hated, but will we still hate it?
We don't always agree with sister site MacLife.com's outlook (we recently had to slap the site silly when it went on the offensive towards PC users), but this is one time we find ourselves on the same side of the fence. Is anyone expecting great things out of Flash for the iPhone?
MacLife says no and points out several reasons why iPhone owners may rue getting what they wish for. Chief among the fears is a lack of usability in which the desktop experience for Flash heavy sites might become a convoluted mess when ported to the iPhone. Other concerns include irritating ads (you know they're coming), more frequent crashes back to the home screen, and a tug of war over standards.