As sunlight glinted off a grenade reaching the zenith of its soldier-bound arc, I could only wonder what my hapless opponent was thinking. See, the man was rooted -- as though entangled in nearby bushes -- to his position. There had to be a reason. Maybe he was a mathematician without peer; he'd done the calculations and no matter how fast he ran, he'd soon be engulfed by my ordinance's cantaloupe-colored splash. Or maybe his path in life had been bordered by four leaf clovers -- his luck so great, he was certain the grenade would be a dud. Maybe he just couldn't take life anymore. But then all of that ceased to matter.
As I continued my stroll through the brightly colored playground of destruction, I noticed that other soldiers were, all told, pretty okay with Havok-powered, life-halting flights.
Yeah, my enemies were walking vegetables. The only damage I accrued was a sinking sense of utter disappointment. Mercenaries 2, after its top-notch predecessor, labored development cycle, and catchy commercial jingle, was a big, fat letdown.
So, have you ever surfed a game's hype wave, only to reach a completely non-descript shore? What's your biggest gaming letdown? What game had you brimming with excitement, but only left you shuddering with rage? (And don't say Daikatana, because that's a cop-out.)
Today's Roundup is reporting live from outside a dark, ominous cloud that's recently enveloped one of the decade's biggest upcoming games. Additionally, you'll find stories about the MMO market's failings, a dev whose unmentionables you'll want to boot, and the Xbox 360's upper limits. All that and more after the break.
Microsoft is no stranger to digital distribution: its popular Xbox Live service was a first for game consoles. However, the company has no effective digital distribution channel to sell the myriad of third party apps for its Windows Mobile OS. But Microsoft seems to have finally taken a leaf out of Apple’s book with news of an application store for the Windows Mobile platform doing the rounds.
Two researchers, Alex Pilosov and Anton Kapela, have concocted a technique to exploit the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) – internet’s core routing protocol. They demonstrated their technique at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas. The threat emanates from the innate credulity of the routing protocol: the BGP apparently is designed to trust all nodes and can be exploited to redirect insane volumes of internet traffic to malevolent networks.
It can be used for spying at a truly unprecedented scale. No, we are not talking about stalking someone on Facebook but nation-state espionage. Millions of users can be exposed within moments of such an attack. A few solutions have already been propounded, but ISPs seem to be watching quietly from the sidelines.
Sony just announced a new LCD television so thin that it makes even sickly looking Hollywood stars appear chunky by comparison. The 40-inch LCD TV in Bravia's ZX1 series measures just 28mm thick, and that's at its fattest portion. The thinnest portion measures a scant 9.9mm.
In order to build a chassis so thin, the new display utilizes an edge LED backlight. White LEDs come arranged on four sides of a light guide plate, boasting a contrast ratio of 3,000:1. A wireless connection to bridges the separate display and tuner components. To go with the ultra-skinny television, the company developed a dedicated wall-mounting unit 19.5mm thick. When hung on the wall, the distance between the front surface of the TV and wall is less than 50mm.
The KDL-40ZX1 will launch in Japan in October for about ¥490,000 (roughly $4,507 USD).
Update: Chrome Beta is now available for download! Get it here
Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer dominate the browser market, and more than a handful of alternative browsers have been able to carve out a niche following. With all the competition already in place, is there room for another contender?
Google thinks so, and tomorrow will release its Google Chrome browser in beta form to more than 100 countries. The announcement comes earlier than expected thanks to a leaked comic book making the rounds on the web. In it, the characters discuss what Google Chrome purports to bring to the table.
"Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there," Google wrote on its blog. "We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build."
Google claims its new open-source Chrome browser will be clean and fast. To help with speed, Google says Chrome will keep each tab in an isolated "sandbox," with a separate process rendering each one. Not only should this help with performance, but if there's a bug in the code, you'll only lose one tab instead of crashing the entire browser. This also means that memory leaks can be identified and addressed by closing a single tab instead of exiting the browser.
These and all the other goodies outlined in Google's leaked cartoon all sound good on paper. Should Mozilla and Microsoft be worried?
From baseball's Mitchell Report to track star Marion Jones being stripped of her Olympic medals, the awareness of drug use in competitive sports is at an all-time high. So high, in fact, that even professional gaming can't stay ducked under the radar.
Casting aside for the moment whether or not gaming qualifies as a 'sport,' there's no debate to the amount of money being made in professional gaming. Major League Gaming gives up to $100,000 a tournament in prize money, and the other U.S. based major league, the newly minted Championship Gaming Series, has awarded as much as $500,000 in tournaments. The tally gets even higher when expanding to a global view.
And whether or not you count professional gaming as a sport, with that much money at stake, is anyone surprised that accusations of drug use have started to be thrown? According to GamePlayer, an Australian lead gaming site, some of the commonly abused substances include marijuana, amphetamines, Dexamphetamine and Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Caffeine, and FpsBrain.
In a followup to the story, GamePlayer pinged Alex Walker, the director of the Australian World Cyber Games Tournament, who readily acknowledged that players are abusing drugs in order to enhance their performance. Walker notes seeing "a number of players at national tournaments who came in "baked" purely so they could play better."
As professional gaming grows in popularity, drug use could potentially become an even bigger problem. But at the current profit margin, gaming leagues can ill afford to implement drug testing, and DailyTech notes that a strict drug enforcement policy that includes marijuana could be met with a backlash among gamers.
Thoughts on the subject? Hit the jump and let us know.
Has the time come to say goodbye to Abit? According to Hexus.net, the Taiwanese technology company and one-time enthusiast favorite will exit the motherboard market at the end of 2008.
"HEXUS.channel has confirmed this as fact from sources close to South East Asian distributors," the news and review site writes. "all of which will be notified by their Abit sales contacts from today onwards."
This isn't the first time Abit has been rumored to shut down or leave motherboards behind. Faced with bankruptcy, Abit was acquired by Taiwanese manufacturer Universal Scientific International (USI) back in May of 2006, and rumors this past year of Abit's demise swirled so strongly that the company issued a public denial.
Old school enthusiasts might recall Abit as one of the premier motherboard makers geared towards overclockers, a reputation which arguably took a hit when the company inked a deal to sell Fatal1ty branded products just months before the acquisition. For fans both old and new, Hexus reports Abill will honor RMAs and warranties for three years subsequently.
With Nehalem Core i7 nearing release, that means you can expect to find good deals on what's soon to be last generation hardware. But if you're looking to jump onto the Core 2 bandwagon on the cheap, you needn't wait for Core i7. Intel has updated its processor pricing list and added a new Celeron D model.
Taking its place as the second least expensive quad-core processor in Intel's lineup is the 45nm Q8200 priced at $224 (only the Q6600 costs less). Two and a quarter C-notes buys you four 2.33GHz cores running on a 1333MHz frontside-bus, but only 4MB of L2 cache.
For those content with two cores, the 45nm E5200 priced at $84 is now the least expensive Core 2 Duo processor in Intel's lineup. The E5200 comes clocked at 2.5GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 2MB L2 cache.
And finally, making its debut is the Celeron D 450. Priced at a low $53, the 65nm 450 runs at 2.2GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 512K of L2 cache.
Tom's Hardwarereports that AMD is set to launch the new ATI HD 4600 series of video cards on September 10. The HD 4600 is designed to compete with the GeForce 9500 series of video cards, and is expected to replace the ATI HD 3800 series.
HD 4670 versus HD 4650
The HD 4600 series, like the GT 9500 GT, provides best performance when used with GDDR3 memory, but will also be available with DDR3 and DDR2 memory. Cards based on the RV730XT GPU will be known as the HD 4670 (available in 1GB and 512MB RAM versions), while cards based on the slower RV730 Pro GPU will be known as the HD 4650 (available with 512MB of RAM).
Both GPUs will offer PCI Express 2.0 support, DirectX 10.1 support, physics and dynamic geometry acceleration, 24x CFAA technology, 128-bit memory bandwidth, HDCP support for full-quality HD playback, and CrossFire support. The HD 4670 has a power requirement of only 70 to 80 watts, while the HD 4650 requires only 50 to 55 watts, making them ideal for home theater systems.
Want to see more pictures of actual HD 4670 hardware? Join us after the jump for links.
Dell’s second quarter results fell short of expectations as its year-over-year earnings fell by 17%. Its second quarter earnings stood at $616 million as opposed to $746 million last year. But Dell’s CFO Brian Gladden doesn’t see the dip in profits as a cause for concern. He labeled the second quarter as a “great growth quarter” and imputed the fall in earnings to the money spent on driving growth in Europe. Although the company’s revenue in the second quarter was up by 11% compared to the preceding year, Wall Street pundits are unsatisfied by the results. Dell is focusing on strengthening its retail presence around the globe and expects to profit from it in the long-run. Are you bullish or bearish about Dell’s prospects? Have your say.