Mark Zuckerberg makes a major play in the mobile messaging arena
One thing is certain, Facebook isn't the least bit afraid to throw obscene amounts of cash at startups and services that have proven themselves in the public eye. It's a rather long list that includes Instagram ($1 billion), FriendFeed ($47.5 million), ConnectU ($31 million), and several others, though Facebook just announced its largest acquisition to date -- $19 billion for WhatsApp.
Talk about a (Bio)shock to the system -- Irrational Games, the studio responsible for the BioShock series, is officially closing up shop after close to two decades of game development. Co-founder Ken Levine delivered the sad news to the gaming community in a blog post today, saying he's at a point where he needs to refocus his energy on a smaller team with a more direct relationship with gamers.
The folks at Futuremark offer a ton of popular benchmarking applications for desktop PCs and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, though noticeably missing is any kind of server benchmark. Futuremark is attempting to tie up that loose end by announcing Servermark, a new and comprehensive benchmarking tool for x86-based servers running Linux. According to Futuremark, it will be especially suitable for testing virtual machines.
Redmond finally provides an update on Windows 8 sales
We haven't heard a whole lot from Microsoft in regards to Windows 8 sales, so it was a nice surprise when Redmond's Executive Vice President of Marketing spilled the beans on exactly how many license have been sold to date. According to comments Reller made at a Goldman Sachs technology conference, Microsoft has sold more than 200 million Windows 8 licenses since launching to the public in October 2012 (and to OEMs in August 2012).
Pay more than $15 to unlock a treasure trove of Sid Meier games
Looking for something to do this coming weekend? Have a look at the Humble Sid Meier Bundle. Many of you already have, as the collection of titles raked in $1.7 million during the first two days last week. What was already a good deal is even sweeter with the addition of two DLC packs for Civilization V and the 2004 reload of Sid Meier's Pirates. At present, it takes $15.01 to unlock the entire collection.
Notice to new Firefox users: You've been served (ads)
Mozilla has decided that the best course of action going forward is to fill all those blank squares in new tabs with sponsored content (ads, for the layman). The new initiative is called Directory Tiles and it's intended to "improve the first-time-with-Firefox experience," or at least that's the sales pitch from Darren Herman, Mozilla's Vice President of Content Services. It's his job to diversify revenue and sustain Mozilla's mission through innovation in content and personalization products, and this is one way he plans to do that.
A couple of last minute additions to Patch Tuesday address security holes in Windows XP
Today is the second Tuesday of the month, which means it's time to download a collection of security fixes from Microsoft. Otherwise known as Patch Tuesday, today's collection includes seven security bulletins, including two late additions that fill up patch remote code execution holes in Windows XP. These are some of the last updates Windows XP will ever receive, as Microsoft plans to stop supporting the legacy OS on April 8, 2014.
Support for Windows XP will end in less than two months, and if you know of family members or friends who are still running the legacy operating system, Microsoft has some tips. In a recent blog post, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc suggested ways you can help your loved ones rid themselves of Windows XP before support officially ends on April 8, 2014. One of those ways is to upgrade their PCs to Windows 8.1.
Attention Surface owners and anyone else rocking a touchscreen display with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, there's a version of Firefox you might be interested in. Mozilla today made its "Firefox for Windows 8 Touch" beta available to download, so you can tap and swipe your way through cyberspace the way you do on the Start screen. The browser has a new tile-based Firefox start screen with one-tap access to Top Sites, Bookmarks, and History.
Flappy Bird developer profits handsomely from your frustration
The current craze in mobile gaming isn't Candy Crush or anything else you've been invited to play a few dozen times on Facebook. It's Flappy Bird, a simple game that will drive you absolutely bonkers almost from the get-go. Those of you who have played it know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't downloaded it yet, well, just remember that everything's going to be all right. While you're cursing how something so simple can be so difficult yet maddeningly addicting, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen is laughing all the way to the bank as his game averages $50,000 in ad revenue per day.