The race is still on to see which will come out first - Vista's second Service Pack, or Windows 7 - but when it comes to beta releases, you needn't wait long. In a blog post, Microsoft said Vista's SP2 will begin beta testing this week.
"Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2," writes Mike Nash, corporate VP for Microsoft's Windows Product Management. "As part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29."
Nash goes on to say that SP2 will incorporate both previously released fixes and unreleased updates into a single serviceability model covering both Windows Vista (client) and Windows Server 2008 (server) versions. A big focus on SP2 will be on improving hardware support as well as "adding support for several emerging standards." Some of the changes include:
Adding Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Record data on Blu-ray media natively
Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) for easier WiFi configs
Well, kinda. Make no mistake, BioWare, EA, and LucasArts hope to four-legged race right past WoW's 11 million subscriber record, but even if WoW's legions commit to Blizzard's ludicrously popular MMO, marry the game, have adorable children, and then sell them to buy more WoW gold, the Old Republic team won't lose any sleep over the lost customers.
“Just look at the base of Star Wars fans, plus what BioWare can do," EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Videogaming247. "Trust me: we want to win. EA’s reputation is for wanting to win."
“This is going to be a powerful category and there’s lots of ways to compete in this category. [Blizzard] created a much larger opportunity for everybody else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.”
LucasArts online boss Tom Nichols elaborated, and also downplayed Blizzard's userbase as the be-all, end-all of the MMO market.
“When World of Warcraft came out, everybody thought, ‘No, the market is only this big, because that’s as big as EverQuest was.’ Blizzard showed that it could be much larger,” he said.
“Our goal is to show that by bringing storytelling to the genre that we can attract an even wider audience. Plus, we have the benefit of this huge brand, which has done very, very well for nearly 30 years.”
We think The Old Republic has a better chance of seizing WoW's spot on the winner's podium than any other MMO. How about you?
RAID 5 users anxiously awaiting the debut of 2 TB drives to help build massive storage array’s may want to think twice before taking the plunge. An in-depth look into the underlying problems with massive storage RAID5 configurations suggests that s a single drive as redundancy might not cut it anymore. SATA drives carry a specified unrecoverable read rate of 10^14. This might sound like a huge number, but it basically tells us that any array in excess of 11.37 TB will contain at least one unrecoverable read. In the case of a RAID 5 rebuild, this can be catastrophic.
Hit the jump to learn why RAID 6 won't help you, and to see what the future holds.
From the Maximum PC Archive - Odds are, you already have everything you need to turn that big TV in your living room into an movie and music jukebox that will put all your media at your fingertips and amaze your friends. Whether you ripped your entire CD and DVD collection, purchase DRM-free content online, or you acquire your media from less legitimate sources, we'll show you everything you need to know to stream your audio, video, and pictures to your Xbox 360, PS3, or any other UPNP-compatible streaming device!
With all the recent hubbub about DRM (seriously, we're getting tired of using that link), it was only a matter of time until some brave soul stepped forward to behead the "draconian" menace*. Fittingly, that someone is Stardock, whose handiwork birthed the Gamer's Bill of Rights.
"While Stardock doesn't put copy protection on its retail games, the fact is that most publishers are never going to agree to do that," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said of one sticky stipulation in the Bill.
"So the publishers are telling us, 'Put your money where your mouth is. Why don't you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?'"
"We're investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. ... We're actually developing a technology that would do that."
Although Wardell's plan still has all four limps planted safely in the cradle, he does have one concrete idea. "We want that license to be yours, not per machine. ... It's not your machine buying the game. It's you," he said, voicing his hope for unlimited downloads of a purchased game.
When asked if his solution could be defined as DRM, however, Wardell was hesitant to slap the newborn plan with gaming's three scarlet letters.
"The problem with 'DRM' is that it's so loosely defined. ... Stardock's products use activation, and I wouldn't say that it's DRM," he emphasized. "We're just verifying if you're real customer."
All told, though, we think Wardell is really onto something. Now, with time out of the way, it's just a matter of how many bricks we'll have to chuck through John Riccitiello's window until he actually listens.
AT&T this week launched the Samsung Epix, the first smartphone with a built-in optical mouse, which sits above a QWERTY keyboard. The integrated rodent gets paired with a 320x320 touchscreen measuring 2.5 inches on the i907 Epix, giving users an epic amount of control over navigation. Other specifications include:
3.6Mbps HSDPA connectivity
2 megapixel camera
Video Share support
No surprises on the software front, as at the heart of it all sits Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. Storage duties are handled by a microSD slot with support for up to 32GB. Samsung claims up to 7 hours of talk time on the 4.4-ounce device, and up to 14 days in standby time.
Amazon has agreed to acquire casual web gaming company Reflexive Entertainment. The move marks the internet behemoth’s foray into casual gaming. Reflexive was constituted in 1997 and is stationed in Orange County, California. Reflexive is working on a game development and distribution service called Reflexive Arcade.
The Reflexive Arcade service will be restricted to only PC, Mac and web-based games. The true motivation behind this particular acquisition is not yet known. The two companies haven’t made the details of the transaction public.
SRI International, a Silicon Valley startup, has armed three online military communities with its social network analytics technology called iLink. The technology will allow the disparate set of users of these online military communities to share information in a more efficient manner than previously imagined.
The social network analytics technology intelligently summons relevant information - content, discussions, and other network members – for users when they want it. "iLink learns to deliver the right answers to the right people at the right time," SRI International's David Gutelius explained. The military is currently dwelling upon the various ways it can utilize this technology.
We don't claim to be businessmen, but even we have to say LucasArts' rationale behind Star Wars Galaxies' continued existence seems a little off. When asked whether the troubled Star Wars MMO would step down gracefully or take a lightsaber to the gut, LucasArts senior online exec Tom Nichols replied:
“We’re still committed to Star Wars Galaxies. A couple of things: a demonstration of that commitment includes a recent trading card game that we launched in August. It’s doing very well for us and we have a new expansion pack being planned for that."
“I think the market will definitely support [both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies]."
He also noted that the two games feature different mechanics, which he believes will attract different audiences.
But if you've never played either game, what can Galaxies throw your way to entice you to its shriveled up side of the force?
“Shortly we’re going to release a new Hoth encounter that recreates that classic battle in the Empire Strikes Back, and that’s exciting content for our Galaxies community, so we’re definitely committed to the product.”
A Hoth level. Added to one of the few Star Wars games in history that didn't already have one.
Galaxies fans, feel free to tell us why we're wrong/why we should die in a fire.
With Opera’s market share hovering around 1%, you might think that the Scandinavian browser’s developers would be feeling a little down. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as DailyTech has posted a lengthy interview with Jon S. von Tetzchner, the founder of Opera Software, and in it the Norseman seems as enthusiastic as ever about Opera’s prospects.
When asked about what makes Opera competitive, he responds “speed,” clarifying that he doesn’t just mean the software’s speed, but also the speed with which the user is able to accomplish things using the browser. He refers specifically to Opera’s mouse gestures, password wand, and the “Quick find” history-searching function as helping users browse faster.
Of the competition, he says “We believe in giving users the tools they need. Outside of add-ons, Chrome, Firefox and IE all think the browser should get out of your way. We continually add and refine features to make browsing more productive, organized and efficient.”
He also discusses Opera’s strong showing in the mobile market, its relationship with Nintendo, and his thoughts on how Chrome is actually growing Opera’s market share.
If you’ve ever used or considered Opera, the interview is definitely worth a read, so check it out and let us know what you think.