If you’re reading this right now, it means that 2008 just settled into its final resting place inscribed across its own grave stone, and that you’re reading this right now. I think we both have reason to celebrate. How to celebrate, though? Well, that’s your call. If you want to know which game – of the thousands released this year – is quantifiably GAME OF THE YEAR, then go here, here, or here (then everywhere else) and have a few repair hammers standing by for your reading glasses. However, if your 2008 -- like mine -- was defined by a number of exemplary moments in your favorite games, then why not get your gears turning with my favorite gaming moments of 2008? Enjoy!
Left 4 Dead’s Opening Cinematic – Sure, L4D is a meticulously sown-together Frankenstein monster of moments that both bring players together and blow them apart, but snuffing out Smokers and playing whipping boy while my buddies tangoed with Tanks wasn’t what impressed me most about the game. Instead, it was L4D’s subtle, yet utterly potent opening cinematic that really snuck its hand into my cranium-shaped cookie jar. As pointed out by the always fantastic Offworld blog:
“It wasn't until I actually started playing Left 4 Dead about a week ago that it all clicked for me. I popped the disc into my 360, decided to watch the opening cinematic again, and found myself just as unimpressed as I had been the first time. But when I actually started to play the game, I discovered that I somehow already knew how to play the game. I knew what abilities the zombies I had. I knew what strategies were effective. I knew that a pipe bomb was good for getting the horde away from your group; I knew that when I heard crying, I should shut off my flashlight; I knew that I had to help up fallen team mates, and that I wasn't surprised that I could should my guns when disabled.”
“Without once having booted up the game, I knew how to play it. “
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, such as removing images of breastfeeding babies deemed obscene on Facebook. Enforcing the no-breast policy led to the creation of a Facebook group called "Hey Facebook breastfeeding is not obscene," which gained steam last weekend after protesters organized a virtual "nurse-in" (11,000 members changed their profile pictures to photos showing themselves breastfeeding) and organized a protest in front of Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters.
The real-world protest, organized by Stephanie Muir, an Ottawa woman and mother of five, drew a few dozen women out of the group's 87,000 members, who broke out in song and breasted their children while pacing outside the site's headquarters. The protest didn't attract a large crowd, but the group hopes its message will spread and encourage Facebook to change its policy.
Facebook contends it has no problem with breastfeeding, but does take issue with fully exposed breasts when a user complains.
"Photos containing a fully exposed breast (as defined by showing the nipple or areola) do violate those terms (on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material) and may be removed," Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said in a statement. "The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain."
Is Facebook in the wrong? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
Watching Viacom and Time Warner go at each other is like watching a divorced couple trying to push each others' buttons. But instead of alimony or child support, Viacom wants Time Warner to cough up more cash for its 20 channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Comedy Central. If Time Warner doesn't agree, Viacom could pull all of its channels, and to drive the point home, the media conglomerate has taken out full page ads in Times and other publications showing Dora the Explorer crying because children won't be able to watch her show. Well played.
But if you think that's hitting below belt, Time Warner plans to fire back with what amounts to a slap in the face.
"We will be telling our customers exactly where they can go to see these programs online," said Alexander Dudley, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. "We'll also be telling them how they can hook up their PCs to a television set."
Yes, this is the same Time Warner who has been testing out metered bandwidth in certain markets earlier in the year, and has been charging an overage fee for $1/GB in those test markets after a two month grace period. Now the cable company will be encouraging its subscribers to use more bandwidth by setting up HTPCs and logging into sites like Hulu.
At least, that's the plan for the time being. Something tells us we haven't heard the last of this dispute. But if Viacom and Time Warner do actually break up, just remember, it's not your fault.
Jimmy Wales, founder of the popular human encyclopedia site Wikipedia, has posted an open letter soliciting donations to keep the number 9 website (according to Alexa) afloat. The plea follows weeks of fund raising efforts, which prior to the letter managed to raise $3.5 million. Days later, that number now stands at over $5.8 million.
"Your donation helps us in several ways. Most importantly, you will help us cover the increasing cost of managing global traffic to one of the most popular websites on the Internet," Wales wrote in his letter. "Funds also help us improve the software that runs Wikipedia -- making it easier to search, easier to read, and easier to write for. We are committed to growing the free knowledge movement world-wide, by recruiting new volunteers, and building strategic partnerships with institutions of culture and learning."
Wales says that annual expenses are less than $6 million. Because Wikipedia is largely volunteer-based, the site's paid staff sits at just 23, which is 23 more than it had in its first couple years of operation. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Wikipedia's business model changes, as the site doesn't collect any advertising revenue. While the fundraiser appears to have raised enough to keep the site live for another year, it remains to be seen if readers will again be willing to open up their wallets on an annual basis.
Will donations be enough to keep Wikipedia going? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
Remember when computer cases were little more than unsightly beige boxes hidden underneath a computer desk? Case design has visually evolved over the years perhaps more than any other PC component, with some paint jobs costing several thousand dollars. Throw in a custom mod and high end components, and watch that price tag quickly sky rocket, such as Eazo's $45,500 X70 desktop rig it unveiled earlier this year.
Eazo, the company making a name for itself by "combining Eastern philosophy and Western technology into personal computing perfection," is back at it again, this time with a luxurious looking wooden PC. The Z70 comes constructed with a combination of rosewood and aluminum magnesium alloy, topped off with a Chinese lacquer paint job. Inside sits a water-cooled Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 processor.
No word on pricing or availability, and given the cost of Eazo's previous rigs, that's probably a good thing.
It looks like MITM attacks aren’t the only things ripping off SSL certificates these days, it looks like Sony’s PS3 is capable of the act as well!
In a recent study conducted with more than 200 PlayStation 3 consoles, researchers were able to create a secure sockets layer certificate for absolutely any web page. The forged certificates were made through a proof-of-concept attack. This particular attack runs by generating millions of possible certificates, and once a pair that contains a special collision in the MD5 hash is found, a legitimate website certificate is requested from one of the authorities that relies on only MD5 to generate signatures. These certificates have been accepted by every major browser.
“This break is major,” stated Karsten Nohl, cryptography expert and researcher at the University of Virginia. “It definitely is the most wide-scale attack, because anything short of patching all browsers in the world to not accept the certificates, there's nothing you can do to prevent it.”
Still, there’s no stated fix for the issue today. Let’s just hope that since the researchers possess the information on how the attack is conducted, they’ll be able to make one soon.
When the people won’t come to the politics, you’ve got to bring the politics to the people. At least, this is the idea that the Israeli Consulate in New York took with a “Citizen’s Press Conference” yesterday.
David Saranga, Consul of Media and Public Affairs took questions regarding the situation in Israel and Gaza from Twitter users yesterday from 1-3pm, all directly from their Twitter page. You can check out all the action here.
All in all, this is a pretty cool step. From how active the page was it’s easy to see that the consulate had plenty of questions to answer, and that good amounts of people were eager to get involved.
So you thought you were safe inside your precious little calendar, eh? Well think again!
It looks like hackers have found a way to break into your Gmail account, all by preying on your Google Calendar. The attack comes in the form of a simple calendar email notification telling you that your account will be deleted unless you submit your Google username, password and date of birth. Generally, the emails come from a “customerserviceXXXX@gmal.com” (where the X’s represent a random number) address, so be sure and keep your eyes out.
Luckily, the fix for this is entirely on your end. Just be sure and watch whom you’re getting your email from. Major companies generally won’t ask you for your information and anyone that does so, has deplorable intentions.
Think Intel's Atom processor is only good for use in nettops and netbooks? So does Intel, who currently restricts the use of its low power processors to netbooks with up to 10.2-inch panels. But HP sees a bigger future for the Atom processor and is reportedly in discussions with Intel about using the chip maker's Atom CPU in mini-note PC models.
Asus and Acer lead the pack in netbook shipments and combined the two companies claim nearly 70 percent of the market, according to DisplaySearch. HP sits at a distant third with its Mini 1000 netbook, which managed to grab just 5.8 percent of the market in 2008. HP hopes to be a bigger player in the little notebook market by adding to its netbook line in 2009, including an 11.6-inch model in Q2 2009 and a 13.3-inch model in June 2009, DigiTimes says.
Negotiations between Intel and HP could reach a conclusion by the end of next month.
Remember the scene in War of the Worlds where everyone's electronics inexplicably just stop working? It turned out to be an alien invasion intent on harvesting the human race that was causing all the ruckus. We're fairly confident there aren't any buried alien war machines in real life, so why then are hundreds of users suddenly complaining about failed Zune players?
According to Gizmodo, the failures are permeating all across the country starting at about midnight last night. Owners claiming to be affected by the as-yet unexplained glitch are reporting that their Zune players freeze while loading and become completely unresponsive, turning their music player into little more than a high tech paperweight.
With the New Year only a day away, users have begun referring to the failures as the Y2K9 bug. However, any relation to the calendar year would likely be coincidental given that the players started giving up the ghost a day before the new year rings in.
Seemingly ruling out the possibility of a widespread hoax, Microsoft has released a statement regarding the failures:
"We are aware that customers with the Zune 30GB are experiencing issues with their Zune device. We are actively working now to isolate the issue and develop a solution to address it. We will keep customers informed on next steps via the support page on zune.net (zune.net/support)."
Hit the jump and let us know if you've experienced the same issue.