Apple’s ingenious anti-hacking strategy for the iPhone launch – the phone must be activated in-store - resulted in long queues outside stores, as customers waited for their new iPhone 3G phones to be activated. But the iTunes and AT&T servers connived against the eager customers and crashed. However, the bedlam has subsided and now activations are going along at a canter.
No, this wasn’t a typo, GPU manufacturer Albatron Retrotechnology is actually releasing the Nvidia 8400, 8500, and 8600 for the PCI, not PCI-Express architecture. What kind of performance can we expect from these “phat” cards riding the skinny bus?
Click the jump to find out, and why even power users might want one.
Garage bands, practiced shower singers, local sensations, and other unsigned artists can now get paid through Last.fm's Artist Royalty Progam (ARP). Last.fm announced the service back in a January, and this week the service went live. More than 450,000 tracks have been uploaded to coincide with the launch, and independent artists who register and upload tunes can start accruing royalties any time their songs get played through the site's ad-supported streaming music feature or Web radio.
Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said "This is a bid day for independent artists. We're leveling the playing field by offering them the same opportunities as established bands to make money from their music. The young musician making music in a bedroom studio has the same chance as the latest major label signing to use Last.fm to build an audience and get rewarded. The Artist Royalty Program is another revolutionary step towards helping musicians take control of their music -- and, more importantly, make a living from it."
Click through the jump to find out who's urging indie labels to steer clear of the royalty program.
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?