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.
Never ones to shy away from an uphill battle, Microsoft has recently been taking new steps to combat software piracy in China. They’ve launched a program, euphemistically called “Windows Genuine Advantage,” which blacks out users' screens if it discovers that they’re running pirated Microsoft software.
In China, a country where a large majority of computers are running pirated software, this move has, predictably, caused quite an uproar.
The China Daily quoted Dong Zhengwei, a lawyer, as saying “[Microsoft is] the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority … I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but … They should target producers and sellers of fake software, not users.”
The quote references the fact that in China, a lot of the software sold commercially is actually pirated, meaning that users might be at risk of a blackout without even knowing it.
Is Microsoft just protecting their IP, or have they gone too far? Let us know after the jump.
Out with the old and in with the new. That's what Intel's doing with its Xeon server line of processors, as the chip maker announced in a product change notification (PCN) to customers that it plans to phase out 31 different retail boxed dual- and quad-core Xeons built around the Core architecture on a 65nm manufacturing process as it transitions to 45nm.
Specifically, six Woodcrest dual-core Xeons (5120, 5150, LV5148, 5110, 5130, 5140, 5160) and nine Cloverton quad-core Xeons (E5310, E5320, L5320, E5335, L5335, E5345, X5365, X5355) are getting the axe, in addition to variations in each lineup to bring the total up to 31, TGDaily reports.
Once supply of the boxed versions run out, customers will no longer be able to order the 65nm chips though tray units will still be made available, albeit with a shorter warranty through the reseller and without a bundled heatsink/fan.
These days it seems like “nanotube” is sort of a magic word. Scientists will say something crazy like “We’re building an elevator to space” and everyone else asks “How you gonna do that, scientists?” and they just say “carbon nanotubes,” and we’re like “oh, cool.” So go ahead and guess how scientists have created a kind of paper that’s 500 times as strong as steel and only weighs a tenth as much.
That’s right, it’s nanotubes. The paper, called “buckypaper,” is flexible in single sheets, and can be layered to form rigid plates. It’s being rapidly developed for commercial production, for use in everything from armor to laptops to fuel cells.
Ben Wang, one of the professors leading the charge to commercialize buckypaper, explains that the strength of the paper comes from nanotubes’ enormous surface area, saying “If you take a gram of nanotubes, just one gram, and if you unfold every tube into a graphite sheet, you can cover about two-thirds of a football field.”
What do you all think? How might we use this super-strong paper in the future? Hit the jump and let us know.
Netflix continues to lay the groundwork for subscribers to stream movies and television shows to their TV sets with yet another partnership announcement. This time around, it's Samsung who the online rental service is cozying up to, as owners of Samsung's BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players now have the ability to instantly stream content from Netflix's catalog.
As you might recall, a similar announcement was made with LG last summer. In addition to the $99 Roku set-top player and upcoming fall dashboard update to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, Netflix subscribers have a bevy of options to choose from in streaming content to the living room.
"Samsung presents a new value proposition for Blu-ray players by posititioning it as a portal to a world of engaging digital content, be it Blu-ray discs, movies from Netflix, or other online content," said Reid Sullivan, VP of Marketing, Audio/Video & Imaging at Samsung.
Both Blu-ray players sell for about $400, and Netflix points out that existing owners can upgrade their device at no cost by flashing the firmware. Once upgraded, BD-P2500 and BD-2550 will have access to Netflix's growing library of 12,000 movies and TV episodes.
While the merits of DirectX 10.1 support is still being debated, AMD continues to champion the instruction set in its latest generation of videocards, including the new HD 4830. Best of all, the new graphics card carries an MSRP of less than $150.
There was a time when no self respecting gamer would ever dream of owning a sub-$150 GPU, but today's generation of gamers needn't be so discerning. Built using a 55nm manufacturing process with 956 million transistors, the HD 4830 comes equipped with a respectable 640 stream processors, 32 texture units, and 16 ROPs. And unlike some other budget-priced videocards in recent years, the memory bus checks in at 256-bit rather than 128-bit, making it a solid contender for mid-range gaming duties, at least on paper.
The HD 4830 is being positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT. AMD claims its new videocard "delivers better performance" than the aforementioned competition in several titles, a notion supported by a cursory glance at benchmarks across the web.
If thin is in, then Samsung moves to the front of the class. The company just put its prototype 40-inch LCD on the runway at the Korea Electronics Show in Seoul last week, a scintillating model which measures just 7.9mm thick. That's enough to earn 1/10th of a millimeter worth of bragging rights over Phillips, who showed off what was previously considered the thinnest LCD at 8.0mm at the IFA exhibition in Berlin this past August.
So how did the two companies fit all those electronics into an ultra-thin frame? The answer is they didn't. Instead, each company's respective prototypes moved the tuner and much of the electronic inner-workings into an external box located near the screen. Whether this approach ultimately leads to a consumer product remains to be seen, as neither company has talked about making their LCD commercially available.
Comcast is in the news again, but this time it has nothing to do with throttling connections or those ever-unpopular bandwidth limits. Instead, the ISP has announced it is rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 'wideband' internet service, giving (er, selling) subscribers up to 50Mbps downstream and 10Mpbs upstream.
At those speeds, Comcast puts itself nearly on par with Verizon's FiOS service, who's top-tier package offers the same downstream but twice the upstream at 20Mbps. But a key difference lies in compatibility. DOCSIS 3.0 means that cable operators don't have to install new lines and instead can use existing infrastructure.
The Extreme 50 service, as Comcast is calling it, will run $140 per month for residential subscribers and $190 per month for businesses. According to Comcast, Extreme 50 customers will be able to download a high-definition movie in about 16 minutes. Initial availability is limited to subscribers in parts of New England, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, with a planned expansion to more than 10 million homes and business by the end of the year.
Would you be willing to pay $140 per month for 50Mpbs/10Mbps? Hit the jump and let us know.
As new netbooks continue to march into the market, it's typically the hardware that garners most of the attention. Some models sport solid-state drives (SSDs), while others keep it old school with a traditional hard drive. But all of them share two key characteristics - reduced screen real estate and gimped performance - that have opened up a market for specialized software.
Enter ThinkFree, who this week launched its ThinkFree Netbook Edition, a software solution encompassing an assortment of productivity applications designed for netbooks. Unlike standard office suites, ThinkFree claims its new software has been optimized for small screens and limited hardware resources inherent in Intel Atom chipset-based netbooks.
"Netbook users are demanding applications that are built to not only meet, but make the most of the unique characteristics of this new device category, (and) Netbook OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can now offer their customers just that by pre-installing a customized, device-tailored version of ThinkFree Netbook Edition," Su Jin Kim, ThinkFree's CEO, said in a statement.
ThinkFree Mobile: Netbook Edition is available now with support for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. And from now until October 31st, the company will give away a copy to anyone willing to fill out a short survey.