If you're still sporting an older version of Google Desktop, you might consider upgrading. The search giant has just released version 5.8 of it's Google Desktop software for Windows with a handful of improvements it hopes will make it worthy of a second look for anyone who previously dismissed it.
The biggest change with version 5.8 concerns speed, with the company's blog indicating that the new version is "based entirely on performance." Google claims it found a way to cut memory usage during startup by about 50 percent, and that shutdown has been improved five-fold. But more than just an octane injection, Google Desktop 5.8 also sports a few new features, such as improved Outlook integration and support for Flash in gadgets.
Sadly, 64-bit XP and Vista users need not apply. For the 32-bit crowd, download your copy here and hit the jump to let us know what you think.
The report that cites unnamed sources – no surprises – further claims that Microsoft has supplied some of its most intimate customers and partners with alpha builds of the OS designated M1 and M2 (M stands for milestone); M3 is in the works per the sources. A beta release by the end of this year will almost ensure the release of Windows 7 in late 2009 or early 2010; therefore, this delay won’t have a huge impact on Windows 7 release plans.
There are more Call of Duty: Modern Warfare players than there are readers for most major websites, so obviously -- through use of top-level mathematics -- this announcement has 23 out of every 11 of you in a glee-induced coma. No, wait.
Anyway, at today's Activision Blizzard Analyst Day event, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith officially handed off the COD baton to its original owner. The move is in line with Activision's "leapfrog" strategy for the franchise, which sees Treyarch and Infinity Ward alternate COD releases each year.
Beyond that, however, few details were announced. In all likelihood, the game will probably hurdle itself forward in time from COD: World at War's WWII setting, back to the present, but that's merely speculation.
But what do you want out of COD 6? Another trip into modern-day Unspecifiedistan? An MMO? Something entirely new?
Google’s chief of mobile platforms Andy Rubin seems to believe the cliché ‘first impression is the last impression’. He told Reuters that the success of the Android platform would depend on the reception of its first phone. He believes that there is very little margin for failure as far as the first Android phone goes - first impression. The first Android phone will be T-Mobile’s HTC Dream, and is rumored to be scheduled for release later this month.
World of Warcraft is pretty popular. So much so, in fact, that Blizzard could probably slap its painfully recognizable logo on an empty box and still have The Sims spewing furious, unintelligible curses over their relinquished seat at the top of the sales charts. But Blizzard would never do that to you. Instead, the mighty blue giant is cramming Warcraft-branded boxes with Wrath -- an ethereal substance that, admittedly, is still a fairly hard sell.
Don't worry, though; for those of you who feel deserving of an actual reward for you unbridled -- and somewhat perplexing -- devotion, Blizzard is also releasing a Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition. Within its confines, you'll find the following:
The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a 208-page book featuring never-before-seen images from the game.
An exclusive in-game pet: Frosty, the baby frost wyrm.
A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, the Wrath of the Lich King intro cinematic with director’s commentary, and more.
The official soundtrack CD, containing 21 epic tracks from the game, along with exclusive bonus tracks.
A mouse pad featuring a map of the newly opened continent of Northrend.
Two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game March of the Legion™ starter decks, along with two exclusive cards available only in the Collector’s Edition.
This "expansion," as Blizzard is calling it, hits shelves on November 13. Frankly, though, we just can't understand the appeal. Oh well.
It's too early to tell how effective (or ineffective) Microsoft's new commercials will be in currying favor among those leaning towards buying a Mac or on the fence as to which direction to take, but at least one OEM might not be willing to wait and find out. According to an article in BusinessWeek, those every ready 'anonymous sources' claim Hewlett-Packard is looking into offering a Windows alternative.
"Sources say employees in HP's PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system," the article states.
Naturally, the new OS will most likely take root in Linux, albeit a customized version that wouldn't be so intimidating to mainstream users. The idea, according to the sources, is to make HP less dependent on Windows and snag some the customers that become mesmerized under Justin Long's spell.
Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group, didn't outright deny report, but he came close when he said "Is HP funding a huge R&D team to go off and create an operating systems? (That) makes no sense."
And so the Napster saga continues (or, depending on your perspective, it comes to an end). The former peer-to-peer pioneer gone legit music service managed to avoid being gobbled up by an ice cream store owner, but the temptation to sell ultimately proved too strong for investors eager to cash in rather than continue to face stiff competition.
According to The Wall Street Journal, electronics retailer Best Buy has agreed to buy Napster for $121 million, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books. The acquisition values the digital music service at $2.65 per share, or almost double the closing price on Friday, which sat at $1.36.
"Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and otehr digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy president and COO Brian Dunn.
Napster's chief executive Chris Gorog is expected to remain in his post, along with the company's other senior executives. Best Buy also said it currently has no plans to relocate the music service's Los Angeles headquarters.
Was this a good move for Best Buy? Hit the jump and let us know your thoughts.
The current sea of web browsers is awash in promises, but what makes Firefox better then Internet Explorer? And is Google’s Chrome really any faster or better at rendering web pages then Safari? Neowin.net was looking to answer this very question when it authored an excellent roundup of browser rendering engines. The report helps to break down which browsers and applications make use of each of the four most prominent technologies: Trident (Microsoft), Gecko (Mozilla), Webkit (Apple/Google), and Presto(Opera). While both Trident and Presto are both closed source projects, Gecko and Webkit remain open source and are likely to be the basis of any future browsers entering the market. It is an excellent reference for users looking to switch browsers and is a reminder that we should pay attention more to the underlying engine being used then the name of the browser itself. Market share of the various engines is a very telling indicator of general compatibility on the web. It will also help you the next time a Mac head goes on rant over how much better Safari is than Chrome. You now have the tools you need to put him in his place.
A few days ago, we reported a novel attack on Will Wright's critically acclaimed title, Spore. The game, which comes inextricably chained to a monolithic slab of DRM, provoked a sea of gamers to crash headfirst into Amazon.com's user review section. Soon, the tides receded, taking with them all but a single star from Spore's user rating. Certainly, this demonstration of gamerly ire was more meaningful than a simple Internet petition, but those brave souls have yet to receive custom apology letters from EA with realistic-looking, printed-on signatures and tear blats, so a rousing success their movement was not.
Now, Forbes sends word that indignant gamers have peeled back their kid gloves to reveal cruel hooks. Where protest failed, they hope that theft will succeed.
"By downloading this torrent, you are doing the right thing," wrote one user going by the name of "deathkitten" on the popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. "You are letting [Electronic Arts] know that people won't stand for their ridiculously draconian 'DRM' viruses."
"You have the power to make this the most pirated game ever, to give corporate bastards a virtual punch in the face," deathkitten added.
In addition, the most-downloaded Spore tracker brings with it "step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the copy protections, along with a set of numerical keys for breaking the software's encryption."
And it's not just embittered hyperbole. Chief Executive Eric Garland of Big Champagne, a peer-to-peer research firm, notes that deathkitten's tactics may very well be working. "The numbers are extraordinary," Garland said. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title."
But the question remains: Is this the right course of action?
The ubiquitous Zip file compression format has been a staple of PC users since it first made its debut as PKZIP in the early 90s. Back then, the size limitations of floppy disk media and the painfully low-bandwidth dial-up connections made file compression a complete necessity. The Zip format today, while still popular, has largely been eclipsed by RAR compression, which has offered slightly better compression at the cost of archiving speed. That’s why we were so surprised to hear that WinZip 12, which launched yesterday, boasted an unbelievable 25% compression ratio for JPEG images – without sacrificing image quality. Ever the skeptics, we put the new software to the test, and grilled WinZip’s VP of Development about how this new algorithm works.
Any bets as to whether WinZip's claims are justified?