Have the first shots in the long-brewing Digital Distribution vs. Retail Wars been fired? About two weeks ago, GameStop.com abruptly stopped taking pre-orders for THQ’s upcoming Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II, and scrubbed any mention of the game from its site. While no one has been able to get an official reason out of either GameStop or THQ, the speculation is that the conspicuous disappearance is connected to the use of Valve’s Steam service as copy protection—GameStop is probably peeved that in order to install DoW2, gamers will have to install Steam and be presented with an option for fabulous deals on PC games that doesn’t require hauling their asses down to the mall and digging through all the Barbie Horse Adventure games on GameStop’s depressing PC corner shelf.
Further investigation, though, may indicate that this is no coincidence.
Has the time really come that Microsoft is forced to include other browsers on their operating systems? Since the early 90’s Microsoft has only bundled Windows with Internet Explorer, but the European Union antitrust agency may force Microsoft to start including other browsers as well.
If Microsoft is forced to install other companies’ browsers, this could represent a new unexploited area for advertisers. It will force OEMs and Microsoft in general to give the end-user a choice of which browser they want on their computer. If this happens, Microsoft will no longer be able to tie certain programs into their browser. For example, Windows Live Messenger will no longer require Internet Explorer. Microsoft may also be required to pay additional fines to the European Union antitrust agency for not including additional browsers on Windows based systems and integrating the operating system with their browser.
Microsoft recently announced that they’d be merging their Office Live and Windows Live services into a single destination, all in the name of “simplifying the customer experience around our Live services.”
According to information from Microsoft, about a four million people have signed up for the Office Live program, which remains in beta since it was made public about ten months ago. According to Kirk Gregerson, they’re making this move in the wake of customer feedback.
One can’t help but wonder what this has to deal with the pending layoffs that Microsoft has to endure. With the recent loss of their Flight Sim studio, there’s no question that this merge will cause some layoffs.
Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.
In the past, the AMD Phenom II has been overclocked to an extremely impressive 5 GHz. And while this was extremely impressive, it would seem that AMD wouldn’t want to be outdone.
AMD’s own Pete Hardman and Sami Makinen were able to overclock an AMD Phenom II to a blazing 6.5GHz, at an operating temperature of –230 degrees Celsius using liquid nitrogen and liquid helium as their cooling agents.
Should you be interested in seeing the whole process play out, be sure and check out the video here (and, as is usual with videos of this nature, prepare your ears for some awful trance music).
Google's Android OS was supposed to pave the way for an iPhone killer, but instead of decimating the iPhone, Android-users are instead finding their contacts being wiped out. The culprit isn't Android itself, but an Android application called MemoryUp users claim is responsible for erasing their contacts, installing adware, and even freezing their phone.
"Doesn’t work at all erased my phone numbers and froze my phone," one user complained. "Do not download. Destroyed my memory card/system delete. Then my email was spammed. TMobile can’t stop you from downloading this! So don’t!," added another user.
The app, created by Peter Liu, claims to keep Android smartphones running faster and efficiently by monitoring system use and freeing up resources when needed. But some users contend the program is nothing more than a scam. Buyer beware.
If you thought that your 8 character WPA password was secure, think again. Thanks to the handy-dandy GPU, cracking weak WPA/WPA-2 PSK passwords has never been easier.
According the Elcomsoft, their Wireless Security Auditor can work completely off-line and find passwords by analyzing a dump of network communications, and display them in plain text.
What this means, is that if you’ve got a WPA protected network, you should probably bump your 8 character password up to at least 12 characters. According to David Hobson, “It's a wake-up call to IT managers, pure and simple. IT managers should now move to 12 and even 16 character keys as a matter of urgency. It's not very user-friendly, but the potential consequences of staying with eight character keys do not bear thinking about.”
A nifty new device by Option promises to turn 3G signals into a WiFi hotspot, while also serving as a central hub for connecting networked devices like an external hard drive via USB. Option says its device also supports printer sharing for anyone with access to the network.
"Option placed significant emphasis on product design during the development of the GlobeSurfer III: the device will not look out of place among the many stylish consumer electronic devices commonly found in the modern home," Option states in a pres release. "With its completely wireless configuration the GlobeSurfer III can be wall-mounted or sit on a desktop or shelf. This allows the router to be placed anywhere in the home, office or workshop to ensure optimum coverage and performance."
The new GlobeSurfer III uses the Qualcomm 7225 chipset and, according to Option, delivers HSUPA upload speeds of up to 5.76Mbps and download speeds up to 7.2Mbps.
Thanks to Vissumo, you may have one less thing to worry about the next time you find yourself surrounded by gunfire. The company has cooked up a touch screen technology it says can withstand a "high impact event," such as being repeatedly shot by 9mm rounds.
In Vissumo's humorous Test Video #99, an employee wields a Ruger 9mm pistol, shooting the touch screen three times (well, two and a half - the third shot grazes the lower edge). Afterwords, he walks up the the touch screen to demonstrate that it still works, something we're fairly certain wouldn't be possible with Apple's iPhone or any other consumer touch screen gadgets.
No word on what Vissumo plans to do with the technology or when it might show up in shipping devices, but it's probably safe to assume your next mobile phone won't withstand gunfire. You're far more likely to find this and similar technologies being used in military applications long before they show up on consumer devices.
Following a recent false entry in Wikipedia's pages claiming Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died after an inaugural luncheon last week, the social encyclopedia is considering clamping down on anonymous user edits, CNet says. Dubbed 'Flagged Revisions,' only registered, trusted users would be able to publish changes immediately. For everyone else, edits would wait in a queue until being approved by one of Wikipedia's trusted editors.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is in favor of the idea, saying on his public discussion page "This nonsense would have been 100 percent prevented by Flagged Revisions." And unlike the German version of Wikipedia, which has been using the system since last August, Wales contends that delays would typically be less than 1 week "because we will only be using it on a subset of articles, the boundaries of which can be adjusted over time to manage the backlog."
According to Wales, 60 percent of users who responded to a poll are in favor of the move. Are you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.