Back in July when Google first launched its own version of Second Life called Lively, Maximum PC blogger Chris Moody wondered about its long-term success and whether it would ultimately prove a pop hit or a flop. Just shy of six months later and we already have our answer.
"It has been a tough decision, but we want to ensure that we prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads, and apps business," Google said on a blog post.
In other words, Google has decided to end its Lively experiment and will shut the service down at the end of the year. Those who worked on the project will be reassigned within the company, presumably on projects that won't share Lively's untimely demise.
So what exactly went wrong? Part of the problem can be attributed to what ArsTechnica describes as "an overall lack of polish." Spending some hands on time with the service, the news outlet noted frustratingly clunkly and erratic controls, poor camera movement, and actions such as hugs and choke holds missing their target. Or could it be that interest in virtual social worlds like Second Life and Lively are starting to wane?
Have a theory? Hit the jump and post your thoughts on Lively's demise.
Internet Explorer may be slowly losing ground to Firefox, but it’s still by far the number one browser in the world with over 71% of the market. Why you ask? Simple, it comes bundled with every new PC and is the most widely known and supported web platform in the world.Google knows if it is to gain market share they are more likely to steal from IE users who simply use whatever browser ships with their new PC. To this end The Times Online has revealed details on what they call “Google’s plan to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user”.
According to Google’s Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai Chrome will come out of beta sometime in January at which point they would pursue distribution deals with various OEM’s. This would see Chrome ship as the default browser on some new machines, and in theory drive up its popularity. Paichai also added that the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome will be available by the first half of next year as well. Currently only Windows users have been able to participate in the open beta. Past anti-trust rulings against Microsoft would make blocking Google’s plans rather difficult, and according to Paichai “We will throw our weight behind it. We’ve been conservative because it’s still in beta, but once we get it out of beta we will work hard at getting the word out, promoting to users, and marketing will be a part of that.”
So will pre-installing Chrome help Google gain market share? Click the jump and let us know what you think.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be forced to take the stand to defend his involvement in the “Vista Capable” marketing initiative which sparked a class action lawsuit back in February. The court has been selectively taking testimony from key Microsoft executives based on the contents of the 158 page bundle of internal emails that Judge Martha Peachman ordered unsealed. Specifically the court seems interested to learn of Ballmer’s involvement in giving Intel a pass on its underpowered integrated graphics hardware which turned out to be barely capable of booting Vista Basic. In one specific chain senior vice president Will Poole emailed Ballmer following a conversation with Intel CEO Paul Otellini stating:
“Steve, following up on the call you took from Paul today, we have changed our program so that Intel's current integrated parts qualify for 'Vista Capable' branding ... This change completely resolves their problem. “
In response Ballmer wrote:
“I thought they had other issues Certainly paul described other (non graphics) issues is this really resolved check back with her thanks”.
In the eyes of Judge Peachman this is sufficient acknowledgement of the issues to justify the need for a deposition. Ballmer has 30 days to schedule his three hour appearance, but he has yet to set a date. A Microsoft spokesman has responded to the press by stating, "We will of course comply with the court's order. Mr. Ballmer's knowledge about the Windows Vista Capable program comes from the executives he empowered to run the program and make decisions, and two of those executives already testified in this case." Many other spectacularly controversial quotes have come from the internal emails, including a VP of product management Microsoft employee who claims to have been “burnt” by the program. But Officially Microsoft defends the initiative and claims many of the emails and memos released have been taken out of context.
What are your opinions on the trial? Hit the jump and let us know.
Seven of Hollywood’s most powerful studios which include Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros and Disney are working together to sue an Australian ISP and set a very scary precedent. iiNet, Australia’s third largest internet service provider has been largely credited with rolling out true broadband speeds to residents. Current connection speeds range anywhere from 1.5 to a not so shabby 24 Mbit/s. With all this speed however comes abuse, and allegedly a handful of its users have turned to torrents to saturate these beefy connections with copyright protected video. According to the movie studios represented by AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) iiNet is “failing to take reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and conditions, to prevent known unauthorized use of copies of the companies films and TV programs”.
Adrianne Pecotic, Executive Director of AFACT claims that they were forced to take action against iiNet seeing as they weren’t pursuing the issue aggressively enough. The studios are demanding that iiNet disconnect known infringers, an action the ISP has so far refused to do. According to an iiNet spokesman, “Our view is pretty straightforward. We don’t condone or support piracy in any form, and people who choose to pirate content should face the force of the law. This is an industry issue, and we’ve been talking with the IIA, and we’ll work with them in terms of handling it.”
iiNet’s CEO Michael Malone strongly disputes AFACT’s claims saying they have merely refused to disconnect users on the basis of an outside allegation. “We can’t go and kick the customer off on the basis of an allegation from someone else’.” The lawsuit was filed in Australia’s Federal Court on November 20th with the first hearings to being within 30 days. A finding in favor of the AFACT will only further empower the studios and might spark future lawsuits abroad.
So has Hollywood crossed the line? Hit the jump and sound off.
"Last November we launched what we hoped would be a ground breaking sci-fi MMO. In many ways, we think we've achieved that goal. Tabula Rasa has some unique features that make it fun and very different from every other MMO out there. Unfortunately, the fact is that the game hasn't performed as expected. The development team has worked hard to improve the game since launch, but the game never achieved the player population we hoped for."
"So it is with regret that we must announce that Tabula Rasa will end live service on February 28, 2009."
On the bright side, Tabula Rasa's subscription fee is bowing out before the game's final act, making the MMO free to play beginning January 10. But wait, the goodie bag runs deeper. Active players as of 10 A.M. PST Friday morning will also leave the funeral with:
3 free months of City of Heroes including digital client
3 free months of Lineage II including digital client
Aion beta access (coming soon)
Aion pre-order access (available in 2009)
1 free month of Aion including digital client (available in 2009)
Best of luck to employees affected by Tabula Rasa's untimely end. Job market be damned, you all have the talent to land firmly on your feet.
New versions of Windows have featured new versions of DirectX, the 3D audio and graphics family of APIs, and it now appears that Windows 7 will be no exception. According to PC Games Hardware, Microsoft's Ben Basaric, Product Marketing Manager Windows, says that Redmond will be bundling DirectX 11 with Windows 7, after all. Earlier this week, PCGH had reported that the pairing of DirectX 11 and Windows 7 was "unlikely."
So, what's new in DirectX 11? As we reported this summer, DX 11 will include compute shader technology, enabling the GPU to perform operations other than 3D graphics; better multi-core resource handling; more efficient utilization of the processing pipeline; hardware tesselation support for more detailed 3D models.
For you chance to sound off about your plans to buy DirectX 11-compliant hardware, and how long you'll have to wait for it, join us after the jump.
When can you expect to buy DirectX 11-compliant GPUs? AMD says its first DirectX 11 parts will be available in late 2009 - right about the time Windows 7 is expected to arrive. New operating system and new graphics hardware? Hopefully, that's a recipe for more realistic 3D graphics than ever before. If Microsoft and OEMs continue to work as closely as the Engineering Windows 7 blog suggests, that's much more likely than a repeat of the poorly handled integration of hardware and Windows Vista at rollout.
How about you? Are you going to wait for DirectX 11 before you buy a new graphics card, or are NVIDIA and ATI's current products tempting you to make the jump now? Hit Comment and tell us what your heart (and your wallet) are telling you.
That’s right Valve faithful, just this week Gordon Freeman celebrated his valiant service at the Black Mesa Research Facility for the 10th time. That’s a whole decade of butt that Mr. Freeman has been kicking, and he’s opened up the door for tons of other great games.
It was the release of Half-Life that really put Valve on the map, and the video gamer’s world is a better place because of it. Games like Counter-Strike, Day of Defeat, Team Fotress (2!), Natural Selection and Left 4 Dead have all come out thanks to Half-Life's humble beginnings. If it weren’t for the release of Half-Life 2 and the extremely flexible and stable Source engine, much of the landscape that we all love to shoot up from the first person wouldn’t be here today.
So give your best wishes to all the fine folks at Valve that have kept a strong decade of gaming alive. Without them, without Steam, without Gordon, we wouldn’t be spending so many countless hours (well, counted on our Steam profile pages) blowing out zombie brains and cursing those clever Spies.
“Personal” and “supercomputer” aren’t words that would usually appear side by side, unless you’re a mastermind at Nvidia. With the announcement of their latest machine, the Tesla Personal Supercomputer, they’re looking to bring what was normally thought of as gigantic, to the small time.
The Tesla only costs 1/100th of what a normal supercomputer cluster would cost, and only takes up a small fraction of the space. Thanks to heterogeneous computing, the process of CPUs acting in tandem with GPUs, it all fits right into a desktop form factor.
It’s reported that the Tesla is based off of Nvidia’s CUDA architecture, making it possible for the system to be programmed in the C language. 960 cores can be working side by side inside the system, and it’s claimed that these systems are already in use at MIT, Cambridge and other environments.
How much will your own personal supercomputer run you? An admittedly reasonable 10 large. Hey, 960 cores is a bargain at that rate.
Just this week Asus announced their brand new Eee Top desktop computer, which is meant to directly complete with Apple’s juggernaut, the iMac.
The Eee Top is a fancy take on desktop computing, that features a 15.6-inch touch screen, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB DDR RAM, a 160GB 5,400RPM hard drive (boo!), a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and built-in WiFi. The price point is set at about $580 USD, but sadly the machine is only available in Taiwan. The rest of us will have to wait!
Though, the wait will be worthwhile, because if 15.6 inches sounds like it’ll be to small for you, Asus has a 20 and 22-inch version slated for release in June.
As it turns out, teens might have a legitimate beef with parental controls limiting the time they spend online, as doing so could hurt their development. Or at least that's the pitch teenagers will soon be making to their parents while they quote findings from a new study released this week by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting.
The study, which observed teens for 5,000 hours over the course of three years, comes as part of a $50 million initiative to find out what effects digital media might be having on teenagers, specifically how they learn and socialize.
"When adults look at teens today, they think what they are doing is different and seem to be wasting a lot of time online hanging out with their friends or playing video games, and these are activities that can seem quite foreign," said Mizuko Ito, the report's lead author and a researcher at the University of California Irvine. "But when we look closely at what kids are doing, it's not much different than what their parents did. They are hanging out with their friends, finding romantic partners, and trying to identify their status and identity."
It took a 58-page report to note a generation gap in how parents and teens view online activities, with the parents viewing their teen's online time as a distraction, whereas teens are finding value with the time they spend online. The report also noted that while teens are honing their social skills, they're also not taking full advantage of what the internet has to offer.
Do you agree with the study's suggestion that, for the most part, teens' time spent online has a positive effect? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.