Here’s the scoop: Battlefield Heroes, EA’s free-to-play, browser-based FPS, is just about ready for the big show, but needs your help in the make-up room. And get this! So does Relic’s massively anticipated RTS Dawn of War II. Who will you rescue? Now allow us to blow your mind: you can have both.
For Battlefield, you need only follow this link to the dank den of EA’s sleeping monster. Once there, simply create an EA account, fill out a sign-up form and wait. Doing these steps out of order is inadvisable.
Dawn of War II’s beta will officially brighten up PC gamers’ days on January 28th, but if you’d like early access (read: you could be playing it RIGHT NOW), you’ll need a copy of Dawn of War: Soulstorm. Luckily, Soulstorm just so happens to have been marked down to $7.50 on Steam. However, note that this sweet deal (75% off!) is temporary and will expire on January 28th.
Now go! Don’t worry about us; we only want your happiness!
“Huh?! Oh – hello there. Sorry if we seem a tad shaken; we’ve been playing the newly released F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin demo, and the default control scheme must’ve jammed our pretzeled fingers right into an alt-tab. Guess we should have seen that coming after the first F.E.A.R.’s somewhat cumbersome default controls, but then, we can’t lean around corners anymore, so forgive us for our lack of vision.
Now then, we’re just going to hop back into the game and—hey! Is that crying? Oh my, we think it’s a little girl. And she’s all alone, her tears softly landing atop the spilled jars of strawberry jam she was clearly trying to sell. Talk to you later, everyone; we’re off to become some little girl’s hero!”
Nvidia recently announced that they’ll be releasing a new “professional video editing accelerator bundle” based on their Quadro CX platform. The bundle consists of a Quadro CX video card and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and they claim that it will be able to encode H.264 video four times faster than a dual-core CPU.
Nvidia reports that rendering times for a one-hour movie requires 10 hours on a dual-core CPU, whereas with their Quadro CX it would only take two hours and 35 minutes.
So if you’re looking to get yourself into the video editing game with a powerful bundle like this one, be sure to act fast. The bundle will be going for $1,999 until March 31, 2009. After that, the bundle will jump up to $2,299.
Along with Sony, it looks like Microsoft is going to be heavily cutting jobs. The Redmond based software-maker is looking to cut nearly 5,000 jobs (or 5 percent of their workforce) over the next 18 months. Nearly 1,400 of these layoffs happened immediately.
“Economic activity and IT spend slowed beyond our expectations in the quarter, and we acted quickly to reduce our cost structure and mitigate its impact,” said Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell in a statement. “We are planning for economic uncertainty to continue through the remainder of the fiscal year, almost certainly leading to lower revenue and earnings for the second half, relative to the previous year. In this environment, we will focus on outperforming our competitors and addressing our cost structure.”
Reportedly, they’ll be delaying raises and lessening their vendor and contractor workforce as well. Microsoft projects that moves like these will cut its annual operating costs by $1.5 billion and reduce fiscal-year 2009 expenditures by $700 million.
This year Sony is reporting that they will post a $3 billion annual operating loss due to the deterioration of the global economy. Alongside that, they’re looking to restructure their company a bit, which will include massive layoffs and factory closings.
“The massive economic upheaval being experienced across the world is sparing no one in the consumer electronics world,” said Howard Stringer, the Sony chief executive. He claims that the main problem had been “a significant deterioration” in the company’s core electronics division. Business was notably down across every major line, including games, movies and financial services.
Sony’s stock has declined by nearly 65 percent over the past 12 months, and there doesn’t look to be an immediate fix in sight. One can hope that they’re able to weather the economic storm and get through this, though massive layoffs seem to be an inevitability at this point.
Earlier this month BFG announced it would become a boutique system builder, a bold move considering the market sector has seen the departure of big name boutiques like Alienware, Voodoo, and HyperSonic as standalone entities (now owned by Dell, HP, and OCZ respectively). Even bolder was the announcement of its $8,000 flagship Elite model in the new Phobos line, which comes standard with dual BFG GeForce GTX 295 videocards, Intel's Core i7 965 Extreme processor, 6GB of RAM, and other high end treats.
Now that www.bfgsystems.com has gone live and is taking orders, we have more information on the Performance and Advanced models, which start at $3,000 and $8,000 respectively. For three grand, the Performance configuration comes standard with a water-cooled Core i7 920 (2.66GHz) processor, 6GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, GeForce GTX 285 videocard, two 640GB WD hard drives, DVD burner, and a 1KW PSU. The Advanced configuration bumps the processor up to Intel's Core i7 940 (2.93GHz), adds a second GTX 285 videocard, trades the 640GB hard drives for a pair of 300GB Velociraptors instead, and forgoes onboard sound in favor of Creative's X-Fi Titanium.
All three configurations come with free in-home setup.
We've been following closely ever since some Seagate hard drive owners started complaining late last week that their hard drives were failing "at an alarming rate." Following a flood of complaints on Seagate's support forum and plenty of media coverage, Seagate responded with a firmware update that was supposed to solve the issue and prevent future lockups from occurring for owners who hadn't yet been affected. Turns out the new firmware wasn't quite ready for prime time, and Seagate had to pull the update after learning it was bricking users' hard drives. Oops!
The latest straight from Seagate is that the company has now released yet another firmware update that both will prevent future problems and undo the damage inflicted by installing the original firmware 'fix.'
Yahoo "Anti-Spam Czar" Mark Risher says the search company has begun taking several steps toward cutting back on the amount of spam Yahoo email account holders receive.
"Recently, Yahoo!’s anti-spam team has been using a 'supercomputer; consisting of thousands of individual PCs — part of our open source Hadoop project — to help detect spammer," Risher wrote on the Yahoo Mail blog. "We’re teamed up with several top universities on this research, looking for more ways to find and block the bad guys even faster, before they can do their damage."
Risher went on to say Yahoo has signed a deal with Abaca, a startup company who ambitiously promises "a minimum of 99 percent accuracy" when it comes to detecting spam. Yahoo has also begun using Return Path technology, which lets legitimate companies know when their emails have been marked as spam.
Every time Intel sets foot in the SSD market, something good seems to happen. The company's first foray resulted in one of the fastest SSDs yet available with its X-25M boasting read and write speeds of up to 250MB/s and 70MB/s respectively, and now the chip maker wants to boost capacities.
The amount of storage space most SSDs offer has typically been a weak point with the technology to this point, but according Bloomberg, Intel sent a document to its customers telling them to expect a 320GB SSD in the fourth quarter. The comparatively high capacity SSD will be one of eight new drives Intel plans to release, all of which will be built with 32nm chips.
No word yet on pricing or a specific release date, but if released today, the 320GB SSD would be the consumer market's largest capacity to date. However, Toshiba is also working on a high capacity SSD that will offer 512GB of storage and expects to ship the drive in Q2.
Earlier this month HP launched its Ubuntu'd Mini 1000 Mi, and even more recently, several 1100-series netbooks starting appearing on the company's website, but there weren't any details to speak of. While these new netbooks remain unannounced, HP has apparently been busy updating its product specifications page for the 1133CL, 1135NR, 1140NR, and 1141NR.
Despite the different model numbers, only the lack of Bluetooth on the 1133CL and 1141NR seem to be a differentiating factor. All four netbooks are listed as having an Intel Atom N270 (1.60GHz) processor, 1GB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, 10.1-inch display, 802.11b/g, HD audio, 2-in-1 media card reader, and an ExpressCard/54 slot.