The apparent state of <insert WoW class that’s constantly nerfed and obviously in need of buffing here> may have led you to believe that Blizzard’s exceedingly affluent staff doesn’t want to hear from you. Well, given the nature of the mega-publisher’s current contest, it’s pretty obvious that you were wrong. See, Blizzard only wants to hear from one of you.
The contest, which is open to aspiring word jockeys all around the world – from London to the Bay – invites Blizzard’s biggest fans to prove their mettle not with sticks or stones, but with words, the most powerful force in the entire universe. In order to qualify, your piece must be 3,000-10,000 words long and – as expected – set in one of Blizzard’s three fictional worlds.
Should your modern classic catch the eyes of Blizzard’s finest Lorecrafters (note: not a real job title), you’ll be flown out to Blizzard’s offices in Irvine, California where – and this is just a pet theory of ours – you’ll be surreptitiously assassinated by the same people who judged you worthy of setting foot on Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft’s holy birthing grounds.
Why? Simple. According to the contest rules, upon arriving at Blizzard’s pad, you’ll be given a replica Frostmourne sword (to defend yourself, obviously – you know, honor and all that) and a sumptuous meal (presumably a last meal, but also a possible attempt to weigh you down during the inevitable conflict). But wait – you’re probably wondering why Blizzard would go through all of this trouble to help you, a simple fan, meet the real Diablo? Well, after little to no research, we’ve surmised that – like a paranoid dictator – Blizzard’s current writing staff is afraid of competition, and would like to hold onto the swankest gig on earth for as long as possible.
So yeah, don’t enter the contest. We’ll, uh, just go ahead and take the fall for you. Without other entrants, we’re sure to “win” – if you could even call it that – and then we’ll put a pointy, meticulously sculpted end to all of this nonsense once and for all. Wish us luck.
We have been keeping our eyes on a disturbing new trend within the movie and music industry over how to deal with online copyright disputes, and the news continues to worry privacy advocates. The idea of booting people off the internet without any recourse sounded harsh when we first read about it, but when it was an ocean away in Australia it didn’t raise as many eyebrows. The approach defiantly received more mainstream attention however when the RIAA began proposing similar actions in the US, and now the world is watching to see what the French do with a new proposed law called “Création et Internet”.
If passed into law, the legislation would deal very harshly with any form of file sharing, be it video or audio. Alleged offenders will first receive an e-mailed warning, followed by a registered letter, and lastly with a 3-12 month suspension of internet service. The law will also prevent users from switching ISP’s to avoid punishment, and even public hotspots will contain filters. Additionally, home users will be required to lock down home networks, and will be legally responsible for its security.
In return the French will start receiving DVD’s in a more timely fashion, and music DRM will be drastically scaled back. John Kennedy, CEO of the Global Music Trade Group trumpeted this arrangement as a fair trade off, while Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder of a France based open internet alliance was less than impressed. “This is emblematic of how a government legislates with the same ignorance and archaism as the entertainment industries that promote the 'graduated response.' They are, like this law, doomed to fail."
Experts on both sides feel this bill has a good chance of passing into law, and if that happens, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to spread again.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure your Adobe reader has checked for, and downloaded the latest updates. Adobe has finally released a patch for the zero day scripting vulnerability in its PDF software. The patch for version 9 hit the net a bit earlier than expected, but not a moment too soon to combat this now critically exploited weakness which has been in the wild now since December 2008. The patches for Version 7 & 8 are still planned for March 18th and users of this version would be advised to either upgrade to 9.1 or consider Foxit Reader.
The news was posted by Adobe blogger David Lenoe. "Today, we posted the Adobe Reader 9.1 and Acrobat 9.1 update, which resolves the recent JBIG2 security issue (CVE-2009-0658), including the 'no-click' variant of the vulnerability." "We encourage all Adobe Reader users to download and install the free Adobe Reader 9.1."
For those that haven’t been following the details of the exploit, the vulnerability is a result of an array indexing error in the processing of JBIG2 streams. Hackers have found a way to corrupt arbitrary memory using the PDF format and take control of compromised systems. The lesson learned here if we didn’t know it already, don’t take candy, or PDF’s from strangers.
Mel Brooks may have coined the phrase “it’s good to be the king”, but that probably wasn’t what the president of Sony France was thinking when he was taken hostage by the angry employees at his soon to be closed Pontonx-sur-l'Adour tape manufacturing plant. Workers held Serge Foucher overnight before freeing him on Friday to take part in his meeting with head office officials to continue negotiating their severance package. “I am happy to be free and to see the light of day again” he told reporters as he climbed into a mini-bus with other union officials.
Sony press spokeswoman Delphine Viers said the situation was under control and the manager had been in contact with the local state security chief regularly throughout his captivity. "It's true that this might seem surprising abroad, but it's less surprising in France, where we're more used to this kind of situation," she said, adding that it was unlikely that the firm would make a criminal complaint.
The Pontonx-sur-l'Adour plant is slated to close April 17th, and has been producing video tapes for Sony since 1984. This isn’t the first time disgruntled workers have held bosses hostage in France, but I wouldn’t suggest trying it here. I’m not sure North American CEO’s would have the same level of patience.
All servers are not created equal. Some leave you feeling all warm-and-squishy after each match, while others insult humanity as a whole nearly as often as they insult your mother. Valve understands this and – with an eagerness to please its fans that’s borderline depressing (Just imagine: you’ll probably never be as devoted to anything as Valve is to you) – has braved the numerical gorilla pen that is mathematics in order to bring you a solution.
"After kicking around some proposals, we came up with a simple system built around the theory that player time on a server is a useful metric for how happy the player is with that server. It's game rules agnostic, and we can measure it on our steam backend entirely from steam client data, so servers can't interfere with it,” said Valve’s Robin Walker.
The finished product, then, operates on a point system -- sending well-behaved servers out for some time in the yard and booting rabble-rousers straight to the chair.
“In short, servers that have lots of players joining & leaving rapidly will score badly. Servers that consistently have players join and stay on for long periods of time will score well,” Walker explained.
“Our first step in improving this part of the player experience has been to delist all the really bad servers. The master server will simply stop giving these to you when you fire up the serverbrowser.”
“After that, we're going to keep improving our ability to measure this kind of problem.”
For those that are looking to help the folks at Mozilla test out the latest version of their popular Firefox browser, you’re in luck! At long last, Beta 3 of Firefox 3.1 is up for download, and you can get it here.
The new version is, as usual, a free download and is available for Windows and Linux. So, be sure to give this a test and let us (and Mozilla) know what you think!
It’s expected that the ARM processor will take over market dominance over Intel’s Atom in 2012.
Ever since Asus introduced the first Eee PCs in 2007, netbooks have become a mainstay of the mobile market and currently, Intel’s Atom is a driving force of virtually the entire industry. However, this is mostly due to there being little to no competition in this area.
Dr. Robert Castellano, an analyst with The Information Network, believes that ARM’s Cortex-A9 multicore processor will be the Atom’s primary challenger. He trusts that this will be thanks to a Linux-based netbook that could sell at a price that an Intel/Windows netbook wouldn’t match.
There are still others that disagree, such as IDC’s Mario Morales, who sees Intel on top for years to come. “You don’t want to burn Intel,” stated Morales. “If I am an AsusTek, I need to get processors for my other product lines from them.”
The Taipei Timesreports that the Taiwanese edition of Internet Explorer 8 will be released next Friday, March 20. The Times interviewed several Microsoft Taiwan personnel, including GM Davis Tsai and platform marketing manager Juno Su, for the story.
So, what does this mean for IE8 in other markets? It's unlikely Redmond would launch the newest version of its browser in only one market on March 20, but if you're still skeptical, take a look at Neowin.net's collection of About IE screen shots gathered from recent Windows 7 builds (7048 and 7057) - there's no mention of IE8 being a Release Candidate or beta as with the IE8 version included in the Windows 7 public beta. Neowin suggests that the most likely venue for the formal roll-out will be next week's Microsoft MixO9 Web Development and Design Conference in Las Vegas. Stay tuned to MaximumPC.com for the latest information.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on IE8.
Pretty soon you may be able to link multiple gadgets together to create a larger display. The idea is part of Intel's "Carry Small, Live Large" initiative, in which the company looks to take mobile computing to the next level.
In the case of "Multi-Client Display Linking," as Intel's calling it, the chip maker isn't saying a whole lot just yet. But the gist of the concept is that users could take the displayed output from both new and legacy applications and span it across multiple devices. To give a real-world example, Intel says "Imagine you and 3 friends placing your mobile devices together while on the road to review the video of the day's events."
How Intel plans to link various mobile devices together and which ones will be supported remains to be seen. But stay tuned, as we have no doubt that we'll be hearing more about this concept in the coming months.
It's been well documented how what you post on MySpace and other social networking sites can get you into trouble (just ask 16-year-old office worker Kimberly Swann who was fired over a Facebook entry calling her job boring), but for the first time (that we're aware of), the opposite is now true. At least that's the case for an ex-con who was caught taking a joyride on a stolen motorcycle.
Officer Vaughan Ettienne chased down the suspect, who also was allegedly carrying a loaded gun and a bag of ammunition. Under most circumstances, this would probably be an open-and-shut case, but the suspect claims Ettienne planted the gun on him to justify a beating that caused three broken ribs. Here's where it gets interesting.
Ettienne had set his MySpace status to "Devious" one day before the alleged beating, and changed his Facebook status to read "Vaughan is watching Training Day' to brush up on proper police procedure." But what really has Ettienne in hot water is posting a comment on a video of a police office punching a suspect that reads "If he wanted to tune him up some he shoulda delayed cuffing him...And if you WERE gonna hit a cuffed suspect at least get your moneys (sic) worth cause now he's gonna get disciplined for a (expletive deleted) love tap!"
Ettienne's social networking profiles and comments have been subpoenaed by the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn and will be used to help determined if he used police brutality on the suspect.