Anyone that plays World of Wacraft will know all about the woes of bots. They provide players with unfair advantages, and the ability to level their character when they’re not even at their computer. Blizzard has been aware of this as well, having recently won a lawsuit against the bot program MMOGlider’s creator, MDY Industries.
For those that don’t know, MMOGlider is a third party application that runs the many repetitive tasks involved in World of Warcraft. Whether it’s leveling your character up from 1 to 70 or grinding for leatherworking materials, the application can do it for you. And the best part about it? You don’t even have to be at your computer, you simply run a script that sends your character in a pre-determined route.
Blizzard’s lawsuit is based on MMOGlider’s automation of said repetitive tasks. Using this application to complete these tasks breaks the terms of service that players agree to when they play World of Warcraft. The software is said to have sold 100,000 copies for $25 a piece.
While admittedly $6 million is no small number (unless you’re Blizzard), the amount could have been higher if MDY hadn’t won some of the prior arguments about the claimed damages in court. But there’s still a possibility for more, should Blizzard decided to appeal the judgment in favor of going for their original claim, which was double or triple that number.
The remainder of the case is set to go to court in January 2009, where the last of the issues in the legal conflict are likely to be settled.
Barcelona might have been a sullen nightmare for AMD but it seems to have moved on. It has now pinned its hopes on Shanghai, a quad-core processor for the server market, which happens to be its first processor to be synthesized on a 45-nanometer process.
The company has begun shipping Shanghai to its OEM partners. Shanghai will be launched ahead of time, before the end of this year, unlike Barcelona that was plagued by delays.
Battery life isn't just the bane of desktop replacements, but even moderately spec'd notebooks aren't immune from woefully short runs before requiring a recharge. And while HP has laid claim to breaking the 24-hour battery barrier, by and large we're simply not at the point of seeing extraordinary long battery life as a way of mobile life.
That doesn't mean headway isn't being made, and Toshiba thinks it can give traditional Li-Ion batteries a run for its money. Toshiba's calling its prototype the Super Charge Ion Battery (SCiB), which is being designed for notebooks. And by Super Charge, Toshiba says SCiB is capable of recharging up to 90 percent in just 10 minutes or less.
Still not impressed? Not only does SCiB hold the potential for wicked fast recharge times, but its said to both last longer and endure more charging cycles when compared to today's lithium-ion batteries. And it's not even close. Whereas lithium-ion batteries can be expected to last 500 charging cycles on average, Toshiba says its SCiB technology will last anywhere between 5000 to 6000 recharges.
Corsair's popular Flash Voyager USB line reaches new heights in storage capacity today as the company announced a 64GB capacity model. According to Corsair, that's large enough to store a library of DVD-length movies and tens of thousands of high-resolution images.
"Corsair is always developing new and exciting flash products, and the 64GB USB Flash Voyager is no exception," said John Beekley, VP of Applications at Corsair. "With more storage space than most laptops, we can offer a full suite of features - whether it be backing up data, building a portable media library, or simply transporting huge amounts of data."
And if you're wondering if you can slap an OS on the new Flash Voyager, the answer is yes, you can. The large density drive is bootable, making it a potentially attractive solution for ITs and hobbyists alike.
The 64GB drive is available now with an MSRP of $250 (streets for much less), which buys the drive, preloaded security software and drivers, a bundled lanyward, USB extension cable, and a 10-year guarantee.
By our own admission, MacBooks aren't half bad. In Maximum PC'sApple's Notebooks Take On the PC Competition, Apple's MacBook walked away as best-in-class in the professional segment, much to the dismay of the PC faithful. But that doesn't mean we're willing to squeeze our wallet dry to own one.
On average, you can expect to pay twice as much on an Apple PC versus a Vista computer. And people are doing just that. Windows PCs still dominate the lion's share of the market at 80 percent, but Apple continues to cling to a respectable 20 percent slice of the pie. Making its piece even more savory, Apple's making over 35 percent of the revenue share. Think about that. Despite claiming one-fifth of the market, Apple's cashing in on over a third of the revenue.
These numbers come courtesy of the latest NPD sales information, but some feel that Apple has done as well as it ever will at the current price point. Joe Wilcox from eWeek writes, "What's next? I predict that Apple's grab for dollars has gone about as far as it can, without price cuts. Apple's higher prices buck industry trends."
That may be the case, but can trendy hipsters be expected to buck the trend of overpaying?
Newsflash: The internet can be pretty damned groovy. So much so that Australian men are finding happiness from being online, whether it means fragging with buddies or getting neck-deep in social networking sites. But is the internet gender specific?
According to the "Happiness Index" study, which surveyed over 8,500 Aussies ranging in age from 18 on up to 64, more than half of the male respondents find happiness by surfing the web, whereas only 39 percent of women respondents felt the same way, instead preferring family time.
"This index gives insight into the way we tick, with the results being useful to Australian businesses who want to better communicate with their customers," said Karen Phillips, managing director of The Leading Edge, who conducted the survey.
So what else did the survey reveal? How about that more men (48 percent) than women (40 percent) find happiness between the sheets, or that more women than men prefer reading a book and eating comfort food.
Dell last week said it planned to make a major push in outfitting all of its notebooks with LED backlighting by the end of 2011, which not only represents a step towards being green, but will have customers saving green to the tune of $20 million based on a 220 million kilowatt-hour reduction. That's good news for all involved, and it gets even better if other OEMs jump on board, and it appears they are.
Citing "market watchers," DigiTimes reports that LED backlighting will make headway anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the notebook market in 2009. Overall penetration for 2008 has been much less at 10 percent, but Dell and other big name notebook vendors have put an increased emphasis on LED-backlight models resulting in a strong 15 percent penetration in the fourth quarter. Momentum is expected to carry over to next year and beyond.
Don't bother telling Lenovo that the global economy is slowing down and now might not be the best time to go on a spending spree. The OEM knows the situation, and maybe a weak economy is exactly the reason China's largest PC maker is now looking to expand by acquiring other companies.
"Although we remain cautious, it is time for us to take on another challenge," said Won Wai Ming, Lenovo's CFO. "We've seen valuations go down in this market, which presents us with opportunities to grow either by acquisition or partnership."
Lenovo, the fourth largest PC maker on the planet, appears to be targeting the consumer section of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. According to earlier media reports, Siemens is looking to sell its stake in the joint venture, which in turn would have Fujitsu shopping around its end-customer business (Fujitsu's reportedly only interested in its commercial customers business). Should this all come to fruition, Lenovo, who's built up net cash reserves of $1.8 billion, would be in a position to pounce.
That is unless Acer again brings its wet blanket to the Lenovo party.
When an MMO begins to feel its bones a creakin', and decides it's time to curl up and die from natural causes (read: WoW), one of the first phenomena an outside observer will witness is the server merge. Generally a result of sudden population deflations from formerly-packed games, when servers collide, the game in question has probably seen better days. Age of Conan, sadly, is one such game.
"I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America," announced AoC director Craig Morrison. "It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future."
But AoC's troubles don't end there. Funcom, the loincloth-tacular MMO's publisher, may soon be dressing like its scantily clad (but undeniably manly) hero. As of now, Funcom's stock is sitting at a two-year low -- trading for a mere $5.
So, moral of the story? Never, ever prefix your game's title with "Age of..."
Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?