Remember the mock Retail Experience Center Microsoft was showcasing last month? The Redmond software company posted a video and several photos of what looked like a genuine Microsoft store front, but it didn't really exist. Now Microsoft is saying that not only will the concept soon become a reality, but it has hired someone (David Porter) as corporate VP of Retail Stores to help roll out the Microsoft-branded stores.
"There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers," Porter said. "I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success."
So now that we know these stores are going to exist, when can we expect them? Answering that question will be Porter's first order of business, in addition to pinning down planned locations and other specifics, Microsoft said.
Porter will begin working for the software empire on February 16, 2009.
The PC Gaming Alliance talks a big game, but can it own the court, get the girl, and save PC gaming? Well, no, but only because 2009’s ostensibly pivotal Game Developers Conference hasn’t gone down yet. Duh.
“At our launch we stated clearly that we were attempting to stabilize the consumer experience with PC gaming by advocating a starting point that is a playable experience. We are still hammering away at this and expect to provide an update at the Game Developers Conference this year,” PCGA president Randy Stude told Big Download.
In addition, the PCGA’s anti-piracy-movement-that-may-actually-on-occasion-buy-drinks-for-piracy will also do something at GDC. Maybe a dance number. We don’t even know.
“The anti piracy sub-committee has adopted a charter and will provide updates at a future date. I don't want to steal their thunder. The membership of the PCGA is growing based on this effort and we expect to announce the charter at the Game Developers Conference,” said Stude.
GDC’s taking place from March 23-27, if you wanted to know. It’ll probably alter the course of history forever, so don’t blink.
Looks like Blizzard’s shadowy new MMO is kicking it into high gear. Today, World of Warcraft lead designer Jeffery Kaplan finally typed /gquit of his own accord (and didn’t end up naked in the middle of Orgrimmar) – leaving behind World of Warcraft in favor of Blizzard’s “unannounced MMO.”
“I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I’ve switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it’s success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who’ve shared this amazing experience with us so far,” Kaplan said.
Does this mean that WoW is taking an exceedingly slow drive over to the retirement home, though? Kaplan said no, but in a far less succinct manner.
“I still plan to be very involved with the future course of World of Warcraft, but will leave the day to day operations of World of Warcraft to my partners in crime, Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack.”
Unfortunately, if Blizzard’s “one frontline release per year” strategy holds up, we probably won’t actually play this game – or maybe even hear anything about it – until at least 2011, assuming StarCraft II hits in 2009 and Diablo III in 2010.
In other words, don’t cancel your WoW subscriptions just yet, folks.
Online beguilers are leaving no stone unturned in propagating malware. They have shown remarkable pliancy in adapting themselves to the ever-evolving cyber landscape. They have realized that the best places to ply their diabolical trade are the ones with massive traffic. As nothing rivals social websites in popularity, such cyber haunts have endeared themselves to malware authors.
Although the machine’s return to action was scheduled for November 2008, the restart was pushed to July 2009. Now CERN has further delayed the re-launch. Around $24 million dollars have already been spent in repairing the gargantuan machine. You can expect more apocalyptic predictions during the time leading to its relaunch.
Spreading word using the social web can be as simple as lighting a skyrocket’s posterior for a social-web veteran. Charity Water, a nonprofit focused on providing clean drinking water to people in developing countries, has devised a brilliant fundraising campaign using Twitter.
Today, more than 200 cities worldwide are going to witness Twestivals, which are basically volunteer-organized fundraisers. As is obvious from the epithet itself, Twestivals have been conceived to tap the viral potential of Twitter. Every Twestival “will bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for Charity: Water.” The concept is expected to catch on with other nonprofits as well.
Those of you who can’t attend the event can catch the action live or pre-recorded on the internet. Also, there are several other ways you can donate to help secure clean drinking water - a basic necessity of life - for few of the 1.1 billion humans who reckon it’s a luxury.
So you’re the type of person that’s in a different country each week of the month, eh? Tired of telling people where you are each time you email them? Well, it looks like Gmail has your back with their latest feature – a signature that automatically lists where you sent your email from.
The signature detects your location by using your public IP address, so it is noted that it won’t always be accurate. “For example, if you’re at Heathrow airport, IP detection may put you in Germany,” writes Marco Bonchi on the Gmail blog.
If there are certain people that you don’t want knowing your location, you can take the location signature out of specific emails at any time.
Facebook Inc. came to the conclusion that they weren’t worth nearly the $15 billion that they implied in 2007 when Microsoft made a gigantic investment in them. In fact, it’s now become clear that Facebook is worth $3.7 billion – a far cry from the original number.
In 2007 lawyers argued that Facebook’s privately held stock was valued for $39.50 per share, allowing Microsoft to buy a 1.6 percent stake for $240 million. It has now become clear that Facebook’s stock is valued at only $8.88, giving Microsoft to be upset about.
It’s expected that Facebook will pony up for a settlement soon.
According to Nvidia’s General Manager of MCP business, Drew Henry, the first Ion-based PC will be a nettop that will sell for around $299.
The Ion platform, which has passed Microsoft Windows Vista WHQL certification, will be able to support high-definition multimedia graphics processing.
Mr. Henry did mention that Nvidia was considering a possible partnership with VIA Technologies to create a low-cost PC platform, but other than that there’s no word yet availability. It’s expected that the nettop will be shipping June of this year.
Earlier this week Lite-On announced a new line of internal DVD writers it says will be the fastest on the market with a 24X rated write speed. The new drives will come in three different versions, with all three sporting Lite-On's SmartErase data erasing feature. Lite-On's fastest model, the iHAS624, will be the only one to come with the company's LabelTag feature, which allows users to create label tags on the data side of the disc.
"PLDS is proud to manufacture the fastest 24X writers in the market, especially with included technologies such as LabelTag," said Christine Hsing, Marketing Manager at PLDS. "LabelTag provides a cost-effective and flexible method for professional disc labeling, a great solution for today’s busy professional, and people on-the-go."
Lite-On says that users can still add data after using its LabelTag technology, which works on any standard recordable media. Two of the drives -- the iHAP424 and iHAS624 -- will also support LightScribe.
The iHAS324 with SmartErase will be available in March, the iHAP424 with SmarErase and Lightscribe by the end of March, and the iHAS624 with SmartEarase, LightScribe, and LabelTag by mid-May. No word yet on pricing.