It's the last Roundup before E3, and I must say that gaming news didn't really slow down as much as I'd expected this week. This, of course, calls E3's relevance into question, and whether or not the show will blow our minds or simply flaunt how awesome Starcraft II will be for the umpteen-jillionth time. I'm hoping developers are keeping a few secrets pressed tightly to their chests in anticipation of next week, but those same hopes aren't too high.
As for today's batch of news, we have a bevy of Acti-Blizzard details -- including which developers are taking a few blows as a result of their new daddy -- some sad news for Warhammer Online fans, and some even sadder news for-- oh wait, it's Hellgate.
Amazon’s proprietary wireless reading device Kindle has been rather successful. It remained out of stock for months after being launched in November, 2007, despite being criticized heavily for its lack of WiFi, ugly design and limited PDF support. Now it is fast emerging as a popular electronic book reader, if a Time magazine report is to be believed.
A source inside Amazon told Time that Kindle accounts for 12% of sales of the roughly 130k titles that are both available physically and as Kindle downloads. Kindle’s share has doubled from May, when Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos had claimed it to be 6%. It is good to hear that digital distribution threatens to change the landscape of the books publishing industry as well. However, Kindle is far from perfect and its design and features need nothing less than an overhaul.
Unless a playable demo manages to leak onto the web like the trailer for the upcoming Max Payne movie did, Far Cry fans won't be catching a sneak hands-on peak of the hotly anticipated sequel, Far Cry 2. Slated for release sometime before Christmas, Ubisoft's first person shooter isn't being developed by the same team that conceived the original game, and will sport a new game engine. Because of the changes, gamers are holding their collective breaths on whether or not the follow-up can maintain the same appeal that made the first game such a surprise hit, but it looks like that won't be known until it ships.
Far Cry 2's creative director Clint Hocking explained the decision not to release a demo saying there's no way to offer a teaser without giving up a significant amount of game play. "I don't know too many people who are willing to give away a 12-hour game or free," Hocking said.
The last time Sony slashed PS3’s price, it immediately translated into much improved sales. However, Sony isn’t too keen on cutting prices at this time, according to its CFO Nobuyuki Oneda. This denial comes amidst rumors that suggest the Xbox 360 Pro console – one with the 20gigs drive – will soon receive a $50 price cut.
Even though the PS3 has climbed back to a position of moderate strength after the abyss it plunged into almost immediately after launch, it still is making huge losses. But Oneda told a forum in Singapore that he expects the gaming division to churn profits this fiscal year. Sony can do a world of good to PS3’s prospects by expanding the console’s small games library than lowering prices.
Pretty soon you might be able to build a complete PC with nothing but OCZ-branded components and peripherals. Adding to the list of power supplies, RAM, USB thumb drives, videocards, coolers, and mice is OCZ's new Elixir keyboard. The keyboard kicks off OCZ's Alchemy line of gaming products, whch the company says "is designed to offer gamers quality gaming solutions that deliver both exceptional performance and value." Products in the Alchemy line will evidently target budget-minded gamers, and could potentially give Razer a run its money.
Getting back to the Elixer, the new keyboard claims a combination of ergonomic and sturdy design. Features include 10 blue macro keys with 3 user-programmable profiles, mode selection (standard PC or customized gaming mode), a pop-up menu shortcut, and eight multimedia keys. Rounding out the feature-set are membrane tactile keys with all rubber-coating and a USB port. The Elixer will carry an MSRP of $29.99, putting it in a good position to compete other similarly spec'd gaming keyboards at much higher price points.
It all sounds good in theory, but can OCZ pull off releasing quality gaming peripherals at budget prices?
In the future, tech analysts might look back at the Nintendo DS as being responsible for kicking off the touch-screen revolution. Since the DS's debut, we've seen Apple's iPhone take the mobile phone market by storm, Microsoft push its Surface technology, caught glimpses of touch functionality expected to ship with Windows 7, and now it appears dual-touchscreen notebooks may be on the horizon too.
OLPC talked about using dual-touchscreens it its next generation XO-2 laptop. At half the size of the original, former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen says the XO-2 will employ dual indoor-and-sunlight displays capable of providing "a right and left page in vertical format, a hinged laptop in horizontal format, and flat, two-screen continuous surface for use in tablet mode."
But OLPC isn't the only one working on a dual-touchscreen notebook. Hit the jump to see learn what V12 Designs has in store for 2010.
Investor's Business Dailysays "Hackers always are on the lookout for the most vulnerable spot on your personal computers. These days, that weakest link might be your flash thumb drive." They're easy to exploit by malware and easy to lose. How do you cope with the security risks and potential data loss of the humble thumbdrive? Are you encrypting your thumbdrives?
For a closer look at thumbdrive security, and a chance to give us your tips, see us after the jump.
A man of ordinary sanity doesn’t need sophisticated e-mail filters for egregiously unconvincing messages from someone lodged in a war torn African country, informing the recipient of how the sender miraculously found him, of all Homo sapiens, and a deal worth millions awaits him. But, unfortunately enough, perfectly sane people do fall prey to such messages, and don’t fare too well against the slightly more plausible fake eBay and Paypal e-mails either.
eBay and its cognate company Paypal have tied-up with internet behemoth Google to immunize Gmail users from phishing attacks. Fraudulent e-mails, claiming to be from eBay or Paypal, would be purged by using DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). However, Paypal admits that the technology still needs some polishing. DomainKeys has been used for a while now and, in fact, most Yahoo Mail users might recall e-mails from some major domains including Paypal having a stamp of approval from Yahoo Domain Keys: Yahoo Domain Keys has verified that this message was sent by XYZ.com. All said, this is a good move.
Tip: If you want to be absolutely sure about your precious Paypal and eBay accounts, don’t ever click through to these websites from links embedded in emails, no matter how credible they might appear to your untrained eye. Also change your password as often as you can, preferably, as often as once a month.
What would be a better way to celebrate the release of The Dark Knight than with your own version of the Batmobile? Impress your comic-book fanboy friends when you roll up to the movie theaters in your new Batmobile Tumbler and watch the ladies swarm to your ride.
Okay, so this may not be the life size Tumbler you were expecting to show off to your crew, but Kevin Core’s 1/6-scale Batmobile Tumbler featured in our January 2008 issue is the next best thing. After winning Rig of the Month with his inventive creation, Kevin is finally putting his rig up for sale. This 28” x 17” x 11” mini-PC features seven hard drive LED lights, 10 LED headlines, and some other nifty features. It's not a particularly powerful rig, but we can't help but admire the effort. If you're interested in owning a piece of Mod-of-the-Month history, grab your wallet, start your web browser, and head over to the auction page now!