Are you absolutely, er, perishing to play Left 4 Dead? Well, Valve has your back. Simply plunk down $5 on the undead murder simulator and you'll unlock a free demo on November 6 -- five days before everyone else.
"This pre-order promotion applies to all Steam PC pre-orders and all Xbox 360 and PC pre-orders from participating retailers in North America," read the press release. GameStop is the only confirmed retailer at the moment.
The demo will serve up both single player and co-op modes for 1-4 players. Since the demo's spewing a bubbling concoction of content, there is, of course, a catch: the demo -- like a zombie Undead American with a live grenade jammed down its throat -- will only be active for a finite amount of time.
"The demo concludes on November 18, when Left 4 Dead will be made available at retail outlets across North America and worldwide via Steam," notes the press release.
All told, though, we're pretty excited about this. Oh sure, we could give Valve a stern talking to for falling into the retail trap of giving preferential treatment to pre-orderers, but it's Left 4 Dead, guys. No matter how sordid the method of delivery, if we snag some hands-on time, we'll be too disgustingly over-joyed to care.
According to an announcement from Blizzard, World of Warcraft got bigger. We didn't see this coming or type up this article five months ago or anything! So, commence with the throaty gasps and whatnot. We'll be out not knowing about Star Wars: The Old Republic and, uh, not working here yet. Peace.
"It's been very rewarding to see gamers around the world continue to show such strong support for World of Warcraft," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "We remain fully committed to responding to that enthusiasm with a high-quality, constantly evolving game experience."
Jump past the break to see what qualifies you as a subscriber from Blizzard's look-at-all-the-ants perspective. Just, you know, if you're curious.
Yesterday we got a first look at some of Windows 7’s new features, care of a pre-beta sneak peek. Today, based on the privacy statement released with that same pre-beta, istartedsomething.com has puzzled out a new batch of upcoming Windows features.
• BitLocker Drive Encryption – encrypts your data, preventing an offline software attacks if your computer is stolen. • Driver Protection – Prevents the OS from starting drivers with known stability problems. • Dynamic Update – Allows the OS to automatically download the latest updates during installation. • Gadgets – Programs that run on the desktop, likely similar to the likes of Rainlender • Games Folder – Adds a right-click option for certain game icons which allows you automatically search for and download updates for the game. • Homegroup – “Allows you to easily link Windows 7 computers on your home network so that you can share pictures, music, videos, documents and devices. It also makes them ready to stream media to devices on your home network such as a media extender.”
So what do you think of the new features? Tell us after the jump.
Google has been a major boon to researchers, with their efforts to scan and index just about everything, but they haven’t exactly endeared themselves to copyright holders, a state of affairs which had cumulated in a lawsuit against the search giant by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. Today, Google announced that they’ve reached an agreement that will allow them to continue their book digitization project with the cooperation of the authors and publishers.
The agreement states that Google will pay a hefty $125 million, mostly to establish a Book Rights Registry. The registry will allow copyright holders to identify themselves and receive royalties.
Under the agreement, users of Google Book Search will be able to view up to 20% of any indexed book for free, a big increase from the “snippets” available before. Users can also view a book in its entirety by paying a fee, which goes to the copyright holder through the Book Rights Registry.
Also, local libraries will be able to offer free access to the entire texts of all of Google’s 7 million (and growing) scanned books.
Right now the settlement will only affect users in the U.S., though Google says they’re attempting to reach similar agreements abroad.
Do you use Google Book Search? How will these changes affect you? Let us know after the jump.
The online Office apps will be called “Office Web Applications,” and will be available in ad-supported and subscription-based flavors over Office Live. It looks like the apps will work with IE, Firefox, and Safari. Support for Google’s browser has yet to be confirmed.
It’s shaping up to be a big couple of days for cloud computing. We can expect to hear a lot more from Microsoft during the rest of the PDC about what this technology’s going to look like in the future.
What are you the most excited about? Hit the jump and let us know.
The decision to go with a 64-bit version of Vista over its 32-bit counterpart remains a dubious one, but not so as far as netbook vendors are concerned. Most new laptops are now shipping with a 64-bit OS. Take Best Buy's newest shipment of HP laptops, for example, who shows 11 models listed as "new arrivals." All but three come with Vista 64-bit, with the remaining models sporting Windows Vista Business downgraded to XP Pro, also in 64-bit form.
Falling memory prices could be one reason for the sudden push into 64-bit territory. Of the 9 laptops outfitted with Vista, all of them come spec'd with 4GB of RAM. But is a 64-bit OS truly necessary to take advantage of 4GB or more?
"The 64-bit versions of Windows can utilize more memory than 32-bit versions of Windows," Microsofts writes in its FAQ. "This helps minimize the time spent swapping processes in and out of memory by storing more of those processes in Random access memory (RAM) rather than on the hard disk. This, in turn, can increase overall program performance."
Running 4GB of RAM on a 32-bit OS isn't a complete waste, but because most systems will only show around 3.25GB as being installed, it's easy to see why notebook vendors would opt for a 64-bit OS to avoid customer confusion. Throw into the mix that hardware and peripheral support in Vista 64-bit is very good and it becomes a low risk option.
Hit the jump and tell us what flavor of Vista you'd prefer to have on your notebook: 32-bit or 64-bit?
We can't help but feel for Fallout 3. When it's not having drugs pilfered right from under its nose, it's getting booted out of India. But, as the most oppressed and censored game since Barbie Murder Adventures (later toned down to the more family friendly Manhunt 2), it'd be anticlimactic if Fallout 3's launch week trotted in unhampered. Good thing, then, that Bethesda seems to have made one vocal Washington D.C. resident a little hot under the collar with a series of controversial promotional materials.
However, today's Fallout 3 ad removal is a tad perplexing, as it simply asks websites to cast all official Fallout 3 trailers into their Recycle Bins -- with no explicitly stated relation to the D.C. fiasco. Says the email from Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines:
In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Our guess? Precautionary action -- brushing Fallout 3's "threatening" imagery under the rug to avoid more controversy. Great job on defending Bethesda's interests, though, (ESRB parent organization) ESA! So, who will the ESA tangle with next in its daring and valiant mission to "protect [game companies'] legal rights and legislative interests"? A quardiplegic kitten that licks people when its angry? An ally?
Cloud computing is going to be the focal point at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference (PDC), according to eWeek. The company will share its “services aspirations” and there is every possibility it might shed light on its so-called “Cloud OS”. But Windows 7 is expected to assume more importance than anything else at PDC.
Though cloud computing and Windows 7 are most certainly going to attract all the attention at PDC, the company is expected to shed more light on its Oslo modeling platform and Visual Studio 2010 as well. "There will be lots of talk of interoperability and how developers not on the platform can work with Microsoft technology," said Tim O'Brien, senior director of platform strategy at Microsoft.
New regulations have made it compulsory for businesses to retain all wireless communications including IMs and text messages. Among the various legislations mandating the archival of wireless communications the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) are most prominent. Also, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) made the archiving of IMs and Texts compulsory through one of its edicts issued in December, 2007.
Among the reasons, Joe mentions the conspicuous lack of Vista sessions at the Professional Developer conference, and the recent lack of advertisements for the OS. He also talks about how reticent Microsoft has been recently regarding Vista license sales numbers and weak client income figures as indicative of diminishing Vista performance.
The post also references the growing popularity of Vista-deficient netbooks as a factor in Microsoft’s desire to give Vista a “quick death.”
Wilcox concludes that “Vista deserved better market reception than it got,” but that a number of small(ish) flaws, like its glacial startup times, have given it a bad image that it simply hasn’t been able to shake.
The article makes a pretty compelling case for Vista being headed for an early death. Check it out and let us know whether you agree after the jump.