Love exploring Fallout 3’s irradiated wasteland, but – all the while – can’t help thinking, “Man, I wish VATS and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. were clunkier acronyms”? Well then, GSC Game World’s unfortunately underrated STALKER series might just hit the sweet spot. Better start sharpening your scavenging, trespassing, adventuring, loner-ing, killing, exploring, and robbing skills, though, because STALKER: Call of Pripyat’s coming this fall. (And yes, that is the acronym’s actual meaning.)
New features of interest include:
Photorealistic exclusion Zone – Pripyat town, Yanov railway station, Jupiter factory, Kopachi village and more, recreated by their true-to-life prototypes.
New story, a number of unique characters.
Extended system of side quests.
New monsters: Chimera and Burer. New behaviour and abilities for all monsters.
New A-Life system, created using the players' best-liked elements of the first two games in series.
Emissions considerably influence the world of the Zone.
Sleep function added into the game.
New player's interface.
Ability to continue the game after completion in a freeplay mode.
The game is developed on X-Ray engine v.1.6
New “A-Life” system? “Sleep function”? We’re sure it’s some kind of unintentional translation error or something, but that sounds like GSC’s trying to get gamers to take a hint and go do something other than game every once in a while. To which we reply: We can stop any time we want to; we just don’t want to.
AutoRun and AutoPlay, Microsoft's "dangerous duo" for launching programs from CD/DVD and other removable media types, have become among malware authors' favorite infection vectors - and Microsoft has finally said, "enough already!"
A research study by Forefront Client Securitycited by the Engineering Windows 7 blog determined that infections that can be started with AutoRun amounted to 17.7% of detected infections in the second half of 2008.
Although AutoRun was originally designed strictly for optical media, it can be used for other types of media. For example, you can create an autorun.inf file that adds the program on the media to the AutoPlay menu Windows displays, and change the default icon to make the malware program mimic a legitimate program. Conficker used this method to spread, as illustrated here.
Starting in Windows 7 RC, Microsoft has changed how both AutoRun and AutoPlay work:
AutoPlay no longer supports AutoRun on non-optical removable media. An autorun.inf file on a USB or other type of non-optical removable media will be disregarded. Only AutoPlay options that pertain to the types of files on the media will be listed.
When AutoPlay displays programs present on the media, the dialog now states that those programs will be run from the media.
To learn more about these changes, and to find out what other Microsoft operating systems will eventually get similar protection, join us after the jump.
Marco Tempest, Illusionist and newly discovered augmented reality guru, has recently put together a video showcasing his latest act, Augmented Reality Magic 1.0.
Tempest’s implementation of augmented reality allows observers of his act to view the routine through his eyes, with the assistance of some computer animation (reportedly thanks to C++, OpenFrameworks, OpenCV, ARToolkitPlus, MacCam and “other open source goodies”). Throughout the trick he manages to bring forth a floating birthday cake, materialize a (shrunken down version of the) moon, and levitate cards in a most demonic fashion.
If you’d like to see it in action, be sure to check it out here.
Google has recently announced yet another addon to their web-based Gmail platform, which allows you to add roughly 1,200 more emoticons to the selector tool.
Among the new emoticons are national flags, road signs, more animals and various animations. With a total of 13 categories (a huge boost on the two that come with vanilla Gmail) there’s a strong possibility that people will be able to carry out conversations without typing a single word. :\
Sure, Friday is already a pretty great day of the week (some might argue, the best). But, thanks to Valve, it just got a bit better due to a 24-hour trial of Left 4 Dead! Looks like that whole “last day of the work week” nonsense is going to have to wait another week for its chance to shine.
If you haven’t given Left 4 Dead a try yet, there’s no better time to give it a chance. According to Steam, “Beginning Friday at 12:01 am GMT, the PC version of Left 4 Dead will be available for a free 24-hour trial via Steam. The free trial will include access to the recently released Survival Pack DLC, which introduces a new multiplayer game mode and two additional Versus campaigns. Those who wish to give L4D and the Survival Pack a try may now pre-load everything needed to play with no obligation to purchase.”
Sounds like a pretty sweet deal! If you decide to take Newell and company up on this offer, be sure to join the Maximum PC Steam Community group, and take full advantage of our servers. Don’t say we never gave you anything!
UPDATE: Well ladies and germs, it looks like the fantastic Left 4 Dead trial that Valve Software is offering for today just got extended! You can play everyone’s favorite zombie apocalypse simulator all the way until Saturday at 5 PM GMT. And, if over the course of this weekend you decide you like the game enough to buy it, you’ll get a whopping 40 percent off of the retail price. Not too bad!
Starting yesterday, MSDN and TechNet subscribers have been able to download the Release Candidate (RC) for Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming operating system. This latest version represents the final phases of development and is geared towards giving hardware and software partners a headstart in coding device drivers and services.
"Listening to our partners and customers has been fundamental to the development of Windows 7," said Bill Veghte, senior VP for the Windows business at Microsoft. "We heard them and worked hard to deliver the highest quality Release Candidate in the history of Windows. We have more partner support than we've ever had for an RC and are pleased to say that the Windows 7 RC has hit the quality and compatibility bar for enterprises to start putting it through its paces and testing in earnest."
That should come as good news to everyone who plans on upgrading once Windows 7 starts shipping. By contrast, Vista's release was the polar opposite to what Microsoft is claiming we can expect out of Windows 7. Driver issues, particularly with Nvidia hardware, plagued Vista's release, as did several performance hampering bugs.
If you're not an MSDN or TechNet subscriber, you still won't have to wait long to get your hands on the RC. Microsoft says it will make Windows 7 RC available to the general public on May 5, which is next Tuesday.
At long last, Hulu and Disney finally inked a deal giving Hulu permission to stream full-length episodes of such programs like "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," and more. Under terms of the new deal, Disney will join the video sharing site as a partner and according to un-named sources, take a 27 percent stake in the venture, DigitalDaily reports.
"From our landmark iTunes deal to our pioneering decision to stream ad supported shows on our ABC.com player, Disney has sought to meet the constantly evolving viewing habits of our consumers, and today’s Hulu announcement is the next important step in that ongoing journey," Disney CEO Bob Iger bloviated. "Disney and Hulu share a focus on delivering the highest-quality entertainment experience and we look forward to working with Hulu to build value for our consumers, our brands and our shareholders."
The deal should inject a ton of new content into Hulu, which according to a joint press release, will include full-length episodes of primetime programs, ABC Family series, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet shows, classic series from ABC's library (like "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", "Dancing with the Stars"), Disney Channel hits (like "Wizards of Waverly Place" and "Phineas and Ferb"), yet-to-be-determined library titles from The Walt Disney Studios, and short-form content.
We're not the least bit surprised that the lower-aged demographics would rather be immersed in a videogame than dive into a book, but who would have thought that more Kindles would end up in the hands of those who have been around for half a century or more?
You better believe it, says Stephen Peters, author of the Kindle Culture blog. Peters claims to have sifted through 1,387 responses in a 70-page Amazon.com forum thread discussing "Average Kindle Owners' Age," and the results are pretty surprising. According to Peters' data, the majority of Kindle owners are in their 50s (21.2 percent), with the next two largest demographics aged 40-49 (19.1 percent) and 60--69 (18.3 percent). The numbers drop off significantly after that, but still add up to 67 percent of all Kindle owners aged 40 and over.
There are obvious scientific flaws in relying on a forum thread alone to cultivate data, but it appears that at least when it comes to Amazon's Kindle, seniors are not shying away from technology, and in fact leading the charge. One reason for this, CNet points out, is that the Kindle is easier to handle than regular books for arthritis sufferers.
No matter what the reason, you might want consider the Kindle the next time your siblings put their heads together to come up with the perfect 50th birthday gift idea.
Ultra-thins are proving to be ultra-popular, or at least more popular than panel makers might have anticipated. As a result, Acer's new Timeline ultra-thin notebook product line will see a short delay due to a panel shortage, Acer chairman JT Wang said.
Not wasting any time, Wang also indicated the company has already found a new panel supplier, which it anticipates will solve the shortage problem. Delays will be limited to just three of the ten new models being released, but Acer says it won't have a significant affect on shipment volumes, as it only expects to fall behind schedule by about eight days.
The Timeline ultraportabe range includes 13.3, 14.1, and 15.6-inch models built around Intel's Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage (ULV) SU9400 processor or Core 2 Solo ULV SU3500 processor. Other specs include up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM, up to 320GB HDD, integrated Intel GMA4500MHD graphics, 8X DVD burner, and the typical assortment of ports and extras.
Sometimes the best way to get your point across is to wield a large kitchen knife and take out your frustration with repeated stabs to the object of your ire, so long as it's an inanimate object. Or at least that's how YouTube user Haurum approached the situation after becoming frustrated with a damaged hinge on his MacBook Air.
Let's just leave it at that and let the video do the rest.