A giant world of post-apocalyptic intrigue – bombed and obliterated to perfection by Fallout lead designer Chris Taylor, no less – seems like an excellent setting for an MMO, no? So it’s with a heavy heart that we bring you word of said MMO’s potential cancellation, courtesy of the dream-destroyers over at Bethesda – who may or may not be within their rights to drop the axe.
See, back when Bethesda first nabbed the Fallout property from Interplay’s hobbling, not-quite-dead-yet form, Interplay retained the right to develop a Fallout MMO – but only under the condition that it somehow amass $30 million and enter full scale development within two years. That agreement was made two years ago. Unfortunately, Bethesda’s calendars seem to be in working order.
“Interplay recently received notice that Bethesda Softworks, LLC (‘Bethesda’) intends to terminate the trademark license agreement between Bethesda and Interplay which was entered into April 4, 2007 for the development of FALLOUT MMOG. Despite the fact that no formal action is currently pending, Bethesda claims that Interplay is in breach of the trademark license agreement for failure to commence full scale development of same by April 4, 2009 and to secure certain funding for the MMOG,” reads an Interplay performance report.
“Interplay adamantly disputes these claims. Although the potential damages are currently unknown, if Bethesda ultimately prevails and cancels the trademark license agreement, Interplay would lose its license back of the ‘Fallout’ MMOG and any damages resulting therefrom are unknown at this time.”
According to a recent SEC filing, Interplay entered 2009 with little more than tumbleweeds in its bank account, so things aren’t exactly looking good. Then again, the potentially penniless publisher recently entered into a partnership with Masthead Studios, so at least something’s brewing over there.
Here’s hoping – and really, this is about the only time we’ll ever come to our deity of choice with this particular wish – this terrifying vision of the nuclear apocalypse eventually sees the disheartening, gray light of day.
While there is a large group of people that are enjoying the perks of Digg’s new DiggBar, there’s also an overwhelmingly vocal majority that are not fans of the new URL shortening, webpage-framing addition to the popular social bookmarking site.
Over the course of next week, Digg will be turning off the bar for all of the site’s unregistered users, who will be sent directly to the website they desire, sans the shortened link. And, for those that are registered, there will be a new option that allows users to turn the bar on and off.
Though, as loud as people are about their DiggBar hate, there’s no denying numbers. In fact, according to Digg’s Vice President of Engineering, John Quinn, “roughly 45 percent of all Digging activity is now happening on the DiggBar.” So, for all intents and purposes, it would seem like the bar is doing a pretty swell job at allowing users to see just what they’re digging before they make the decision to click.
According to a recent study by eMarkerter, we males spend more time on the Internet, and respond to ads more positively than our female, web-surfing counterparts.
According to the study, there are currently 95.9 million men browsing the net, compared to 103.2 million women. And, while men are a (slight) minority compared to women, they’re still targeted by advertisers in a big way. They spend more time on social networking sites, reading/writing blogs (hey!) and listening to podcasts (did I mention that we here at Maximum PC just recorded our 100th?) than women do.
Gents, just know that we, by default, happen to be more susceptible to online advertising. But, if you follow this rule of thumb, tweeted from the guitar shredding hands of John Mayer himself, you should be fine: “If you're on a website that says out loud ‘congratulations, you've won!’, you can be pretty sure you're up to no good.”
Oh, Time Warner. When you’re not imposing some ridiculous bandwidth caps on your customers, you’re fighting for them in the war against net neutrality! And, while the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it’s nice to know that Time Warner Cable might actually have some.
“Now is not the time, nor is this the appropriate proceeding, to engage in a debate about the need for net neutrality obligations,” two Time Warner lawyers said to the FCC earlier this week. “Debates in this proceeding about new net neutrality regulations would only divert attention from these important goals, delaying the distribution of funds while generating considerable contention when the Commission should instead be fostering a spirit of collaboration.”
According to the two lawyers, the money should strictly go towards broadband deployment. This, in turn, would give them more customers (for them to impose miniscule bandwidth caps upon), and, according to their logic help pump some more of that much needed money into the ailing economy.
How low can you go in the netbook arena? If you're a Taiwan-based company called Aware Electronics, you can apparently go as low as $150 for a netbook, but it doesn't stop there. The A-View, as it's being called, will also sport a detachable 7-inch screen.
The pint-sized, detachable PC is currently being shown at the 2009 Electronics and Components China Sourcing Fair in Hong Kong. Not a whole lot of information has been made available regarding the A-View's hardware, though we do know it comes with up to 512MB of memory, 8GB flash storage, and choice of Windows XP or Linux. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess how Aware Electronics intends to push this out to the masses for just $150, or even if it intends to. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Aware is focusing on emerging markets.
It's all fun and games until the prank backfires, spreads like wildfire thanks to the advent of social media, and ends with felony charges and a PR mess to clean up. Or at least that's how it went down for Kristy Hammonds and Michael Setzer, a pair of Domino's Pizza employees who filmed a prank in the restaurant's kitchen and posted it online.
The pranksters will be hard pressed to find any sympathy for the fallout, as their antics included filming an employee "putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, and violating other health-code standards while a fellow employee provided narration," according to a report by The New York Times.
In just a matter of days, the video received over a million views on YouTube and was spreading nearly as fast via Twitter. After being identified, Hammonds and Setzer, who maintain that they never actually delivered the sandwiches, have been charged with delivering prohibited foods.
"We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea," said a Domino's spokesman, Tim McIntyre. "Even people who've been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino's, and that's not fair."
McIntyre also said the company is also preparing a civil lawsuit.
Perhaps further underscoring the benefit of owning an ultra-small, lightweight netbook, a woman was killed recently by a laptop computer that was lying flat on the backseat of her car before it smashed into her head following a fender bender.
Police say Heather Storey, who was hit by a tow truck, would have walked away from the scene unscathed had the laptop not been in the backseat. Or in a laptop bag. Or secured properly. Or in the front seat.
Our condolences go out to Storey's family and friends, and our warning goes out to you: Secure those gadgets before hitting the road.
Anyone interested in Dell's 8.9-inch Vostro A90 netbook had to hop on a plane (or make other travel arrangements) and cruise over to Japan, but that's no longer the case. The A90 is now being offered in the States, and for a fraction (one-third) of the price.
On the hardware front, the lightweight 2.36-pound netbook sports a pretty basic spec sheet, including Intel's Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), up to 1GB od DDR2-533 RAM, an 8GB or 16GB SSD, integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, WiFi, 0.3MP webcam, and Windows XP.
The Vostro A90 is available now starting at $350, with the slightly higher end configuration running $425. Tack on another $5 for the patriotic Rolling Stones sticker via Stickerville.com.
In what sounds like a simple formula for success, Dell plans to combine one good thing with another good thing for what it hopes will turn out to be a great thing. Or to be less vague, Dell, who offers both SSDs and encrypted drives, will start adding encrypted SSDs to its notebook lineup sometime this summer.
Samsung will manufacture the drives, which will come in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities to start. The self-encrypting drives will automatically encrypt data as it is being saved, "an industry first" for SSDs, according to Samsung and Wave Systems.
"Benefits of hardware encryption over today's software-only encryption approaches include faster performance, better security, and an 'always on' feature," Samsung and Wave Systems said in a statement. "Because encryption keys and access credentials are generated and stored within the drive hardware, they never leave its confines and are never held in the operating system or software."
No word yet on exactly when Dell will implement the new SSDs or at what price points.
Rumor has it you can hear chants of 'Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!' emanating from HP's corporate headquarters in Palo Alto, California. That's because the former No. 2 OEM has dethroned Dell for the No. 1 spot for most PC shipments in both the U.S. and worldwide markets, according to Q1 data released by IDC. And it did so largely on the strength of netbook sales.
"Tight credit and economic concerns have certainly taken a toll on PC shipments in the last couple quarters, but the move to portables, fueled by mininotebooks and falling prices, has mitigated the impact," said Loren Loverde, an analyst with IDC.
Including netbooks and everything else, HP managed to ship 4.1 million units in the U.S., which was enough to edge out Dell, who shipped 3.9 million. Acer was a distant third with 1.5 million, followed by Apple with 1.1 million and Toshiba with just under 1 million.
On the global stage, HP put a bit more distance between itself and Dell, shipping 13 million units compared to Dell's 8.7 million. Acer, meanwhile, closed the gap by shipping 7.3 million.