TOM-Skype, the Chinese chapter of Skype, has been caught filtering and archiving text messages. The Chinese VoIP service provider has eight dedicated servers for storing messages that contain certain politically contentious keywords, according to a report published by The Information War Monitor, a Canadian organization that monitors internet censorship.
Tom-Skype, a joint venture between eBay and China’s TOM Online, also stores the usernames of all those people that exchange messages containing such sensitive keywords. Also, the service provider actively censors any politically sensitive keywords - some as harmless as “milk powder” - in messages. TOM-Skype doesn’t restrict itself to Chinese users but freely records messages and usernames of other Skype users from across the world as well (only those users that exchange "obnoxious" messages with Chinese users). To top it all, all the private data is available publicly as it is hosted on unencrypted web servers.
At first glance, Bankaholic.com appears to be an ordinary blog that betrays not even the slightest hint of its true worth. The Wordpress-based blog has been just bought by Bankrate, a financial information and service website, for an unbelievable amount of $15 million. Its solitary employee John Wu is going to stay aboard for a while.
Although the blog is not insanely popular, it ranks well on search engines for several high-paying keywords. This acquisition will ensure that there is no dearth of get-rich-from-blogging literature that is strewn across the internet.
A collective sigh of relief was let out Thursday, as a panel of federal judges who determine royalty rates for recordings ruled to renew the current royalty rate until 2012. The ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board, a panel of three judges appointed by the Librarian of Congress, applied directly to mechanical royalties (which as we mentioned before, are the fees paid directly to songwriters and publishers of music, not the performers).
The currently royalty rate of 9.1 cents was lobbied to receive a 66 percent increase by music publishers, concerned about losing income as music sales decline. Labels and retailers pushed to judges to adopt a new model that would determine royalty payments as a percentage of wholesale revenue, however neither of these suggestions made the ruling.
One document in the hearing, submitted by an Apple executive, had threatened that a significant inflation in royalty rates could potentially force them to shut down the massively popular iTunes music store, which has sold over 5 billion songs to date. While Apple sees substantial sales, they operate with very thin margins.
There are still some in the music industry that have claimed that new rulings such as these might not be enough to satisfy the insatiable rise of illegal file sharing. “Whether these developments will be sufficient to return the music industry to health is not clear,” said Jonathan Feinstien, a music lawyer at the Krasilovsky & Gross firm in New York.
Crysis Warhead, despite releasing less than a year after Crysis, has received a few more oodles of critical acclaim than its predecessor. And, as a nice bonus, it also run admirably on rigs that aren't chock-full of wallet-devouring tech and don't display disturbing signs of sentience. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Crytek has decided to jab a toothpick through the multiplayer half of its latest opus and pass out some free samples.
Starting October 6th, a few quick clicks at www.mycrysis.com will provide you with an activation code for the weekend's festivities. Once signed-up, you'll have full access to Crysis Wars from 11:00 AM PDT on October 10th to 11:59 PM PDT on October 12th. To be clear, this isn't just a demo. It's the entire, 21-map multiplayer portion of the game.
“We have been extremely pleased with the reception we have received from gamers and press for Crysis Warhead,” said Cevat Yerli, CEO and President of Crytek. “Crysis Wars is definitely a big reason for this success and something we are dedicated to, not only as a part of future Crysis titles, but in terms of releasing new modes and continued support for our growing community.”
Great idea on Crytek's part. So, those of you who pirate games for "demo purposes," will temporary full access to a game put an end to your swashbuckling ways?
Asus has to be feeling on top of the world, assuming sources at the company aren't blowing hot air. As DigiTimes reports it, those sources are claiming that Asus feasts on the lion's share of P45-based motherboard sales, with the company accounting for a whopping 80 percent of worldwide shipments.
Third quarter motherboard shipments are estimated at 6.12 million units, representing a growth rate of 20 percent and surpassing the company's original estimation of 15 percent. The numbers bode well for what's to come, as demand for Intel's X58 chipset based boards is also expected to run high.
Hate the blissful feeling that accompanies plucking a brand new game from the patch on launch day? Think digital distribution is just too convenient? Well then, you'll be one of the backward-thinking few who actually appreciate Ubisoft's Far Cry 2 pre-order deal. Simply stroll over to your nearest participating game store, place a few dollars in the cash register, and unlock "hours" worth of crucial gameplay! Have a looksie at what's on the other side of the hoops you'll soon be jumping through:
The Georgian: The Georgian informant has gone into hiding at the Fuel Depot in UFLL territory, find him and discover what your predecessor learned from him about the Jackal’s location.
The Bolivian: The Bolivian informant is on the run, trying to escape the country by stealing a plane from a small airfield in APR territory. Try to get to him before your predecessor does.
Special Delivery: Your employers have more information for you about your predecessor – learn the location of his new dead drop and raid it to find information about his secret meetings.
Le Francais: A French smuggler and arms dealer who may have been providing arms to the Jackal has been tipped off, and your predecessor is trying to stop him from crossing the border. Find out what Frenchman’s price is.
For those of you who don't pre-order, or who plan to (legally) download the title, we don't really know what to tell you. So far, the "bonus" seems to be limited to retail channels, but we'll contact Ubisoft for more info.
In the meantime, however, don't worry too much. We already pre-ordered the game months ago.
With a design so simple it falls under the “I-can’t-believe-no-one-else-thought-of-this-before” category, Sangho Jin of Yanko Design’s hanging hard drive concept is looking to clear up desk clutter, one tiny footprint at a time.
The hanging hard drive, which would mount to your laptop’s screen, provides a nice way to add additional storage to your machine without using valuable desk space. Granted, this simple shift in external HDD placement wouldn’t change any lives, there are definitely plenty of laptop users out there worried about aesthetics (looking at you, Mac users), and to them this will be a welcome change.
“Portable hard drives are not really THAT portable if you have to tote around another peripheral but maybe you should have bought a laptop with a bigger hard drive! OOO Zing! No I didn’t! Yes, yes I did just go there,” writes Yanko Design’s Long Tran on the concept’s page, “Kidding aside, the Hang it On hard drive encloser lets you hang you 2.5” companion off the back of your lappie’s LCD screen. Sure, now your MacBook Air looks like it has a tumor growing off it’s svelt lines but at least you’ll get more than a measily 80GB.”
SSD’s are hot, but how do you mount your new 2.5-inch solid state drive in a 3.5-inch bay without it looking ghettolicious?
The answer: Use a VelociRaptor’s extruded aluminum shell with Intel’s wicked fast SSD. The result is one a combination even better than peanut butter and chocolate if we may so say our selves.
Does it make sense to do this with a live VelociRaptor? Probably not, but we just happened to have a dead unit and rather than toss it in the garbage, we shucked out the dead drive by removing the four Torqx screws and mounted the Intel X25-M in its place. You can actually do this with a live VelociRaptor but you’ll immediately void the warranty on the drive. Does an SSD need all that aluminum to keep it cool? The answer is no, but it sure looks cool, right?
Western Digital's making a plea to those who are concerned about the environment yet still need oodles of hard drive space. The company's new 1TB Caviar Green drive delivers on both fronts. WD stuffs three 333GB platters in its new drive along with a beefy 32MB of cache, the most currently available on any consumer desktop drive. The company says the platter density and large cache help reduce the power draw by up to 20 percent while increasing performance by 10 percent.
But it's the performance that will have power users feeling the wrong kind of green. The new Caviar checks in with a poky 5400RPM spindle speed, trading off raw performance for noise management and power savings. Price becomes another trade off with WD setting the MSRP to $219, a good chunk higher than what many other 1TB drives are commanding on Newegg. Whether or not the new Green Caviar falls more in line with the competition on the street remains to be seen.
If there's one thing Nintendo's DS taught us, it's that there's some nifty uses for dual-screen electronics. The potential lies far beyond just gaming, and Microsoft Research's Ken Kinckley sees this perhaps more than anyone. Hinckley unveiled a prototype project he's been working on called Codex, which is essentially two OQO Model 02's fused together. The end result is a multi-tablet configuration designed to be more than a glorified eBook reader.
"The Codex has two screens, it's designed to be used that way, and you won't find any half-apologetic demos that try to mash them back together into one big screen," Hinckley writes in his blog. "Instead, it's all about the intelligent partitioning of tasks and interface elements across the screens."
As is essential for any would-be tablet, be it a single or dual screen version, Hinckley's concoction switches between portrait and landscape mode depending on the device's orientation. The screens can also be arched backwards in what he calls a battleship posture, or pop one of the screens right out of its binding.
Underneath the hood, the OQO Model 02 runs either Vista or XP with a 1.6GHz CPU, comes with WiFi and bluetooth, and uses either a 120GB hard drive or 64GB SSD. In other words, there's plenty of potential here for a kick-ass gadget.
Whether or not this ever makes it out of prototype form remains to be seen, and as such no information on pricing or availability has been made. Though as Hinckley points out, "the crass answer is you can have one now if you are willing to spend some dollars, build yourself a custom binder, and write a little bit of code."