Yeah – this is getting pretty ridiculous. Just when you thought Valve’s market-dominating Steam service couldn’t cut any more off its game prices without bleeding money, they go and prove everyone wrong.
This weekend, Valve’s offering the Orange Box – a complete steal even at its original price – for $9.99. For those who haven’t been keeping score, the Orange Box contains Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, Half-Life 2: The Lost Coast, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Really, the only things this virtual incarnation of said box lacks are, well, actual oranges and any sort of box. But hey, you’re saving the trees for cheap, and isn’t that basically the American Dream?
So, six amazing games. Ten bucks. Breathing lightly on piggy bank will yield you that kind of scratch. Seriously, if you haven’t played these games, what are you even waiting for? Afraid you might lose your job while utterly engrossed in your new purchases? Well, if Steam keeps topping itself like this, you probably won’t need much money to keep your gaming appetite sated anyway.
Sure, YouTube is already the home of such viral favorites as Chocolate Rain and the dramatic chipmunk, but let’s face it – it took you far too long to hear about these web gems. But, thanks to YouTube’s newest feature in progress, RealTime, waiting to hear about a video will be a thing of the past.
YouTube RealTime will allow users to see which of their friends are online, what video they’re watching, and even comments that they’ve left, all in a toolbar that will be visible no matter where you are on the site. So, if you log onto YouTube to watch something, but you’re just not sure what you’re in the mood for, check out what your pals are getting in to!
Currently RealTime is under an invite only embargo, but each person that receives an invite will get 25 of their own to pass out. So, if you’re lucky enough to get one, why not share the love with other Maximum PC commenters? Hook a brother up!
According to some reports Asus’ latest nettop, the EeeBox B208, should be arriving sometime in June for buyers over in the UK.
The EeeBox B208 will come with a dual-core Intel Atom 330 processor, ATI Radeon HD 4530 graphics, and HDMI-out (to help provide a full HD experience). As for connections, it’ll be able to hop on your WiFi using 802.11n, or gigabit Ethernet. And, impressively all this will be whisper quiet, making only 26dB of noise.
It’ll presumably all cost around $500. Not bad, considering how well this could handle the role of a media center.
Geeks have to be suckers for Bluetooth headsets. Don’t believe me? I have purchased no fewer than five Bluetooth headsets ranging from Plantronics, to Cardo and Motorola in the last two years.
Among the most disappointing was the Voyager 855. Although it fit my tiny ear canals well, the reliability of it was, well, everything you’ve come to expect of a Bluetooth headset. Sometimes it would connect with my admittedly mediocre Windows Mobile phone and sometimes it wouldn’t.
It didn’t help that the audio levels were just too low. At least the noise cancellation was top notch. Still, I had to chuck it for two Cardo units: The S-640 and the S-800. I had the highest hopes for the S-640 clip-on unit and carded ear piece. Unfortunately, incoming sound quality was dismal and the lack of noise cancellation made conversations in my beater with original struts impossible. Did I mention that it too was quite flakey with the Bluetooth connection. The S-800, however, was quite reliable. It locked onto my phone and worked fine. The volume was also almost painfully loud when set to max. The UI was good and the quick dial feature that let you access the first few slots in your speed dial was awesome.
I only use my headset in my car and turn it off when not in use. Initially I could get a week or two without having to recharge it. That turned into a week and now it seems like it needs to visit the charger every three days.
Trying to describe Microsoft's Windows Live family of web-enabled tools for Windows has been a bit like the parable of the blind men describing the elephant.
Is Windows Live a photo sharing service? A file sharing service? An email service? An IM service? With the news that Windows Live is adding connections next week to many other popular Web 2.0 social networks, it's easier now to say, as ArsTechnica puts it, that Microsoft wants to:
[T]urn Windows Live into the average netcitizen's main hub for his or her social life, or at the very least to turn Windows Live into a social network.
Microsoft's teaming up with lots of social-networking partners around the world. US-based companies becoming BFFs with Windows Live include MSN, Digg, Facebook, SmugMug, and MySpace (see the full list of 31 current and new partners here).
Pixel Qi has been talking up a new display technology as of late, one which promises to change the landscape in a big way. And soon. Next month is when Pixel Qi founder Mary Lou Jepsen says the company's 10-inch 3Qi display will start showing up, which will combine a low-power black and white mode, e-paper mode, and high-resolution color LCD mode into a single, affordable, sunlight-readable screen.
"The future of portables is all about the screen, Jepsen said. "Think of screen like a chip on the motherboard: it can massively lower power consumption and (increase) battery life and create a much better visual experience."
The focus on affordable isn't too surprising, considering Jepsen co-founded the One Laptop Per Child project, and is now focusing on making low-cost displays. It will be quite the feat if she and and her company can pull off an affordable miracle display, and she's already looking ahead to adding touch gestures as well.
We've known for some time that Nikon planned on releasing the D5000, a new entry-level DSLR, but it was only ten days ago that the company formerly introduced the newest model. Skip ahead and we now have a concrete release date, as Amazon lists the camera as shipping on Monday, April 27th.
Nikon's new DSLR comes with a 12.3-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor and articulating 2.7-inch vari-angle LCD display. Photographers can still view photos with the little LCD in its normal position, or it can be swung out to be rotated or tilted, opening the door to all kinds of contorted body positions when shooting images.
The D5000 also comes capable of recording HD movie clips in 720p. Recording video is somewhat new to DSLRs, starting with the D90 Nikon released back in August 2008. Other features include:
19 auto-exposure scene modes
One-button Live View
Continuous shooting up to 4fps
ISO sensitive from 200 to 3200
Built-in image sensor cleaning
In-camera Retouch image editing
Optional GPS geo-tagging
You can pre-order the D5000 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens now for $850 through Amazon.com.
What a difference a year makes, particularly for Ebay, who received considerable flack from its membership over a series of new policies introduced. At one point, users had become so incensed over the policy changes, which included increased listing fees and alterations to the feedback system, that sellers united for a week long boycott. By some estimates, auction listings dropped by 13 percent during the boycott.
But that's old news, and this week the auction site beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue, which analysts attribute to cost cuts and continued growth in both its Skype and Paypal ventures. Year-to-year Paypal revenue spiked 11 percent, with Skype doing even better and reporting a 21 percent increase. News of the better than expected earnings sent shares of Ebay up over 8 percent today.
Not all the numbers were as favorable, however, with Ebay posting a first-quarter net profit of $357 million, or 28 cents per share, down from $460 million, or 34 cents per share a year prior. Revenue was down 8 percent to $2.02 billion, but still above the $1.95 billion expected.
Google yesterday made available an updated version of its Chrome browser to prevent cross-scripting attacks, whereby visiting a malicious site with Internet Explorer could cause Google Chrome to fire up, open a bunch of tabs, and load harmful scripts.
"An error in handling URLs with a chromehtml: protocol could allow an attacker to run scripts of his choosing on any page or enumerate files on the local disk under certain conditions," Mark Larson, Google Chrome program manager, wrote in a blog post. "If a user has Google Chrome installed, visiting an attacker-controlled web page in Internet Explorer could have caused Google Chrome to launch, open multiple tabs, and load scrips that run after navigating to a URL of the attacker's choice."
The attack wouldn't work if Chrome was already running, Larson added. A new version of Chrome -- 22.214.171.124 -- is now available and will prevent the attack from working regardless. The update is supposed to be rolled out automatically, but in our case, we had to manually force the download. You can do so by clicking on the wrench icon in the upper right corner, select "About Google Chrome," and click on Update Now.
It's been a tough year for tech all around, a fact which will be underscored when Microsoft reports a year-over-year drop in quarterly revenue for the first time ever. Not even the end of the dot-com boom over a decade ago managed to stop Microsoft from posting an increase.
Current forecasts suggests Microsoft will post quarterly revenue of $14.15 billion for its fiscal third quarter, down from $14.45 billion in the same quarter a year prior. Earnings per share are estimated to be 39 cents, down from 47 cents. The lackluster numbers come just a week after Intel suggested the PC market had bottomed out.
Moving forward, Microsoft cautioned it doesn't expect sales to quickly return to where they were in recent years, and instead to expect slow growth. That could depend on whether or not the software giant is able to release Windows 7 this year or not. While new operating systems can only do so much to push PC sales, the hope (from computer makers) is that Windows 7 could help spur a holiday rush if released early.