If you've logged into YouTube today, you may have noticed that the embedded video player looks wider. That's because it is. In a blog post, YouTube announced it has widened the width of the page to 960 pixels in response to customer feedback, but that might only be part of the story.
According to reports, YouTube is looking to offer feature films by as early as next month and has already convinced one major Hollywood movie studio to jump on board. By upgrading its video player to support widescreen content, YouTube puts itself in a better position to pitch its service to even more content producers and better compete with other video sites like Hulu. Hulu, despite trailing YouTube by a wide margin in the number of viewers, is on track to catch up to YouTube in advertising revenue next year.
In the meantime, for those that prefer to watch crappy amateur videos in the 4:3 aspect ratio, YouTube ensures they will play just fine in the new player.
Good move for YouTube? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Intel and their memory-producing partner, Micron, have recently started mass-producing the first of their 34nm NAND flash memory. The smaller chips allow the two companies behind them to make single chip layers with 4GB of storage. This paves the way for two layer stacks that can hold as many as 64GB.
This new and improved flash memory is currently being aimed at portable electronics such as cell phones or MP3 players. What’s even better, is the possibility of a substantial increase in size of solid-state drives! And it shouldn’t be too far off, either. Thanks to their speedy manufacturing they’re currently looking to implement the first wave of chips in early 2009.
It’s expected that one of the first companies to take advantage of the tiny chips is Apple, who has been stuck at a 32GB storage ceiling on the popular iPhone and iPod touch.
If you're new to the DIY scene, you might not even recognize the name Plextor, a company who carved out a following by offering best-in-class optical drives. But as prices for CD/DVD burners have hit rock bottom in recent years, the high end optical maker has, for the most part, slinked into the shadows. Now the company is making a comeback.
"Plextor continues to strengthen its position in the optical storage market with the addition of these new drives to its already robust line of products," said Bob Gronski, vice president of sales and marketing for Plextor. “Now more than ever, people are going out less and taking advantage of home entertainment more, so it’s a perfect time for us to introduce such an extensive line of products."
Plextor gets back into the optical game with several new drives covering a variety of connection options, including USB, SATA, and even PATA. Models include the PX-610U 8X Slim External USB Super Multi Drive, PX-B310SA (6X internal SATA), PX-B310Q (6x external USB), PX-850SA (22x internal SATA), and PX-850A (22x internal PATA).
Minus the Mac version of the PX-610U, each of the new drives ships with Plextor's PlexUTILITIES, which gives end users the ability to control specific drive functions, view drive information, and includes a utility to destroy data on CD and DVD media.
As it's turning out, the fight against spam might not be so futile after all. Edward Davidson, who became known as the 'spam king' by sending out millions of falsely labeled emails, found himself behind bars in April, and then more recently, the FTC shut down one of the largest organized spam rings in the world in HerbalKing. And less than two weeks ago, the FTC scored another major win by shutting down a web host thought to be responsible for 75 percent of the world's spam. Now it's Facebook who's getting in on the fight.
Ruling on a case filed by Facebook against Adam Guerbuez and Atlantis Blue Capital on August 14, 2008, Federal Judge Jeremy Fogel has awarded Facebook over $873 million in damages. Atlantis Blue Capital found itself under legal fire for allegedly accessing Facebook's servers, setting up phishing websites to acquire Facebook logins and email addresses, and sending out millions of emails to the social networking site's members.
"It's unlikely that Geurbez and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can)," Max Kely, Facebook's director of security, wrote in a blog post. "But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users."
The sentence, which is likely to knock Atlantis Blue Capital out of business, also forbids Geurbuez to access, retain, or use Facebook data in any way, nor is he allowed to create or maintain a Facebook profile.
While websites continue to look for ways to increase online ad revenue, analysts are cautioning that advertisers are starting to cut back their budgets. According to a research note by analyst Jeff Lindsay of Sandford C. Bernstein & Co., the advertising industry is only expected to grow 11 percent in the U.S. in 2009 and 9 percent worldwide, down from a previous estimate of 13 percent. But even 11 percent seems overly optimistic to Jim Friedland of Cowen & Co., who downgraded his previous forecast of 13 percent to only 3 percent.
While Friedland's outlook is particularly bleak, he notes a decline in online display advertising, a trend which he sees continuing as ad budgets are tightened. Yahoo has already witnessed the decline first hand and last month reported a 64 percent drop in net income for the third quarter, which Jerry Yang mostly attributed to a weakening online ad market.
One entity that looks poised to weather the storm is Google, a major player in paid-search ads, which Friedland predicts will grow in the low double digits.
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones, giving G1 handset users looking for change from Android's built-in WebKit browser a third party alternative to play with. Opera Mini, which is the first web browser alternative on Android, sports a number of enhancements, including what Opera claims is up to a 30 percent performance boost.
"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."
Opera Mini also boasts greater multilingual support with more than 90 language versions, personalization through skins, Opera Link support for notes, and support for mobile video on a wider range of phones.
After Relic-owner THQ purchased the Homeworld license from Vivendi, speculation about the next entry in the spacefaring RTS series naturally ran rampant. Now, however, even though the hypothetical game's presumed developers are finally using the words "home" and "world" without at least three sentences of dividing text, Relic's magic eight ball still says "Please ask again later."
"We're really happy the IP has made its way home, and yeah, we're definitely looking at it. We'll see what happens in the future," current Dawn of War II lead designer Jonny Ebbert told Eurogamer.
But beyond that, Relic's stalwart team of stoics only swatted away further questions.
"As it always has - behind closed doors. Blacked off. Homeworld 3, obviously, I'm not at liberty to tell you anything about. So, good try!" replied Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor designer Chris Degnan after a quick "How's Homeworld 3 looking?" -- likely even more enraged than he was after the fifth time Eurogamer tried that little trick.
General manager Tarrnie Williams also noted that Relic has "three or four" titles sizzling on the grill. Or at least, we think he did.
"It depends how you count; whether you use the old math or the new math," he said. He refused to explain the difference.
So, Homeworld 3 might fit in with Dawn of War II, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, and Company of Heroes Online (an Asian market-focused title), but Williams just insulted our math and we're pissed we can't really know.
Numerical nonsense aside, what's your take? Are you chomping at the bit for another Homeworld? What improvements would you like to see to the Homeworld formula?
Sounds like gaming is one quarter-donated-to-a-street-Santa away from snorkeling through your dumpster, right? Unsurprisingly, no.
As it turns out, initial reports concerning the EEDAR findings in question got their words in a jumble. See, the 96% statistic came from this little number:
"Only 4% of games that make it to market actually make a profit, he says. About 60% of a game's budget is spent reworking or redesigning a game. Armed with all this data, companies can make those tough calls early in the development process."
According to a press release from EEDAR, that statistic should've read: "Only 4% of games that enter production will return a significant profit." However, 80% of games that enter production never make it to market, which kind of throws off the curve for the rest of the class.
Of the games that actually make it to market, then, a far less pukey 20% turn a profit. And while that doesn't exactly conjure up images of mansions and double-decker Ferraris, it's enough to keep the industry alive and (mostly) thriving.
There’s been some loose talk of Microsoft looking to release Service Pack 2 for Vista just as soon as they can. They’ve been reportedly rushing it so that there will be more incentive for people to buy Vista, instead of just waiting for Windows 7.
According to some inside sources, a release candidate for SP2 will be available in February 2009, with the final version scheduled for release to manufacturing in April 2009. When a version is labeled as RTM it’s not always available for download, but it has been put out in disc form, including OEMs.
Following suit with pervious service packs, it’s expected that Microsoft will release Vista’s SP2 in language waves. The previous service packs give us reason to believe that the English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish versions will be the first available, with Chinese, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese available not long after.
Ask three people what "Windows Live" is - and you might get more than three answers: "It's a social network" (Windows Live Spaces); "a photo organizing service" (Windows Live Photo Gallery); "an email client" (Windows Live Hotmail)...but no matter how many answers you get, you probably won't hear "a major search provider". Yes, despite Microsoft's lavishing of money, time, attention, and even offering cash back for searches, Windows Live Search is not a major contender in the search space currently dominated by Google and Yahoo.
Would a name change help? TechCrunch claims that a rebranding of Live Search as Kumo (Japanese for "cloud" or "spider") may be on tap for early 2009.
Will breaking Live Search away from the rest of the diverse Windows Live family with a new name help it prosper, or are you looking for better features? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.