Microsoft’s much delayed SQL Server 2008 is available now. Despite the delay in SQL Server’s launch, MS is patting its back for having released the new version of its popular database product within two to three years of the SQL Server 2005 launch. Apart from the free version, there are a variety of paid ones for both PCs and Windows Mobile devices.
SQL Server 2008 is expected to further strengthen Microsoft’s promising database business. In fact, it made immediate impact on Microsoft’s VP Ted Kummert, who has dyed his hair orange due to the product’s release. Kummert had vowed to dye his air orange if the developers were able to meet the latest launch deadline.
Be warned, a cabal of Russian cyber criminals is on the loose and actively pillaging vast expanses of the internet. The gang slyly assumes the administrative responsibilities of large corporate and government networks and then quickly plants malicious tools on thousands of computers in that network. Security analysts reckon this to be the most well coordinated, systematic use of administrative tools for malicious purposes.
The group’s activities came to light when Joe Stewarts of Atlanta-based computer security firm SecureWorks found that a central program belonging to the Russian bandits was running at a Wisconsin-based Internet hosting facility. He estimated that 100,000 computers had been compromised. He promptly notified a federal law enforcement agency that proceeded to boot of the central program. But the gang, unfazed, quickly relocated the tool to a network in Ukraine.
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected:
Those Microsoft’s internal studios and development partners that license Havok Physics will also get Havok Animation. If this agreement provides easy access to Havok’s innovative products to Microsoft’s game developers, it also guarantees a loyal consumer base to Havok, which will allow it to push its new and lesser known products – other than Physics - far more easily.
I find television show depictions of people playing games absolutely ridiculous. Actors, directed by people with no grasp of how gaming actually works, lean and rock like they're atop a mechanical bull. Those of us who actually game can vouch for how utterly false such depictions are. But while some of us may sit hunched over in our cushy chairs, mouths agape, displaying only the basest signs of life, a good many of us do express emotion while we play. Thing is, when the actor asks, "What's my motivation?" The director should fire back with a single word: "Pissed."
Without a doubt, most of us play games for fun, but when I'm winding languidly through Uncannily-Accurate-Sniper-Alley for the tenth time, you'd have to be Stephen Colbert to turn my frown upside-down. We're all human, so when things don't go our way, we get frustrated. We shout, we curse, we frighten small children. However, gaming is unique as a medium in that, unlike television, film, or music, it manages to evoke such fiery emotions. Good or bad, you have to admit that's kind of cool.
So, when you play games, do you let your emotions take control? Have you ever embedded a controller into your wall? A mouse? Have any stories you'd like to share?
Today's Roundup isn't intended to make you angry -- or even a little hot under the collar -- so take a load off and give it a read. Inside, you'll find an EA cash-grabbing scheme that's a tad different from the norm, Ubisoft taking piracy by the horns, hope for Crackdown 2, and much, much* more. Jump past the break and let the catharsis begin.
Google has rolled out a new analytical tool called Google Insights for Search. It allows AdWords publishers to perform a more in-depth analysis of search trends. Once a search term is entered, it spills out vital information related to that particular information.
This information ranges from the regional interest in a search term to related search terms that are gaining in popularity. Additionally, users can narrow down the scope of their analysis to suit their needs – and for greater precision - by specifying a specific time, country and/or category.
Google Insights for Search doesn’t seem to be all that difficult a tool to use. AdWords publishers would quickly want to make acquaintance with it in a bid to make the most of their future search ads campaigns.
The Linux community looks to get a big boost of support, as IBM announced at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo it San Francisco that plans to work alongside several different Linux vendors to help offer middleware through a bevy of distributors. That's bad news for Microsoft, as IBM's new initiative will potentially give previously reluctant companies the confidence to make the switch.
"Linux has always been about choice," IBM inux Director Inna Kuznetsova said during a press conference. "We're providing a well-recognized alternative for the desktop."
Far from being a new flame, IBM has supported Linux and the open source movement for over a decade, and with distros like Ubuntu and SUSE becoming more user friendly, IBM sees the timing as ripe for a major push. The company has set a goal for 2009 to ship its software bundle to select Linux partners and PC makers, though it did not announce which specific PC partners would be involved.
Brett Favre going to the Jets has given New Yorkers plenty to chatter about, and according to AOL's fourth annual email survey, many of them might be doing it through email. Either that or they're working really, really hard. The survey shows that 62 percent of people check their work email accounts on weekends, and of all the respondents who took the survey, 55 percent of New Yorkers said they are addicted to email communication. By comparison, the national average sits at 46 percent.
"As technology continues to advance, we begin to rely upon it more and more," email productivity expert Marsha Egan said in a statement. "The constant connectivity offered by email and PDA products has people logging on so frequently that they don't have time to do anything else."
Lest anyone dispute that the internet is serious business and email addiction is a real problem, New Yorkers are being offered help to cut the digital chain. Egan, CEO of EganEmailSolutions.com and author of the eBook 12 Steps to Curing Your E-Mail E-ddiction (clever!) has offered to let New Yorkers and residents from other high addiction rate cities join her 12-step program this month for half off.
During my many years of Taekwondo training (no, really) I've seen a fair share of faux-martial artists come and go. Not all of them were masters of the ol' chop-socky, but that doesn't mean they weren't good company. One of those long-since retired combatants was big into games, so naturally, we hit it off. In between feasting on one another's punches and kicks, we talked about all of the latest releases -- mostly on the PC. But, in one major way, we were different: I purchased; he pirated.
Of course, he had a reason. PC games can sometimes be buggy and unreliable -- even going so far as to not run on certain PCs. He raked in torrents as "extended demos," and presumably purchased the games he liked. Even so, I'm not sure if I agreed with his methods. After all, isn't that what regular demos are for? Plus, I never really got the impression that he actually followed through with step two of his little plan.
So, question of the day: Do you pirate games?If so, what's your justification? Do you even call it "pirating"? Don't worry, I'm merely asking as a discussion question -- not to judge anyone.
Today's Roundup contains a few possible methods of diverting cash back into the pockets of those who create games, though I'd wager none of the wannabe saviors really have a concrete idea of how they're going to end the Yarr-ing menace once and for all. On one had, Microsoft sees downloads usurping retail's throne in the near future, which could create an iTunes-like situation for the gaming industry. On the other hand, Turner has decided to toss GameTap to the curb like a box of unwanted kittens (an $18 million box of kittens), so obviously not all is well in the realm of downloadable games. Read about all of that and more after the break.
Mozilla has issued an open invitation to all people with a vibrant imagination, regardless of their calling, to posit ideas that could determine the future of Firefox and the web. It is especially interested in bringing aboard designers that haven’t worked on open source projects hitherto. Mozilla Labs’ website is asking for people to turn in their ideas that can be “a sentence, paragraph, or even bullet-points kick-start the process.” If Mozilla sights real potential in the idea it will turn them into reality. The website also flaunts a number of exciting browser concept videos. If you have any fascinating ideas, feel free to deposit them in the comments section.