World of Warcraft is pretty popular. So much so, in fact, that Blizzard could probably slap its painfully recognizable logo on an empty box and still have The Sims spewing furious, unintelligible curses over their relinquished seat at the top of the sales charts. But Blizzard would never do that to you. Instead, the mighty blue giant is cramming Warcraft-branded boxes with Wrath -- an ethereal substance that, admittedly, is still a fairly hard sell.
Don't worry, though; for those of you who feel deserving of an actual reward for you unbridled -- and somewhat perplexing -- devotion, Blizzard is also releasing a Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition. Within its confines, you'll find the following:
The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a 208-page book featuring never-before-seen images from the game.
An exclusive in-game pet: Frosty, the baby frost wyrm.
A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, the Wrath of the Lich King intro cinematic with director’s commentary, and more.
The official soundtrack CD, containing 21 epic tracks from the game, along with exclusive bonus tracks.
A mouse pad featuring a map of the newly opened continent of Northrend.
Two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game March of the Legion™ starter decks, along with two exclusive cards available only in the Collector’s Edition.
This "expansion," as Blizzard is calling it, hits shelves on November 13. Frankly, though, we just can't understand the appeal. Oh well.
It doesn't matter that you rarely, if ever, saw Scrappy-Doo get into a fight, because you always knew that given the chance, he'd be ready to throw down no matter who the opponent was. Apparently that same spunkiness doesn't translate into the tech industry. How many times did we hear about Microsoft promising a hostile takeover of Yahoo its demands weren't met? Skip ahead a few months and Microsoft is still Microsoft, while Yahoo is still Yahoo.
Now it's Electronic Arts who is backing down in its hostile takeover bid, who earlier this year took it unsolicited $2 billion bid public for rival game maker Take-Two Interactive, best known for the Grand Theft Auto series. EA tried unsuccessfully to buy Take-Two back in February for $26 per share, and after the offer was refused, EA tried its hand at strong-arming Take-Two with threats of a hostile bid, only to extend the deadline multiple times.
The hostile bid official ended in August, and now one month later, so too has EA's interest in the company. Perhaps Spore is doing better than the Amazon customer reviews would indicate?
Forget about dual, quad, or even eight-core processors, all of which would prove woefully inadequate next to the system being called Blue Waters. The 200,000 processor core supercomputer got the green light at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, finalizing a contract with IBM to build the what will be the world's first sustained petascale computational system.
For anyone not up on their flops, a petaflop is the equivalent to roughly 1 quadrillion calculations per second, presumably just enough to get a decent framerate out of Crysis. Coupled with the 200,000 processor cores will be more than a petabyte of memory and more than 10 petabytes of disk storage. And yes, that would hold a lot of porn, though Blue Waters will spend its time on scintillating real-world scientific and engineering applications.
Specifically, the National Science Foundations says that Blue Waters will wade into the study of complex processes like the interaction of the Sun's coronal mass ejections with the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere. Other examples include the formation and evolution of galaxies in the early universe, understanding the chains of reactions that occur with livings cells, the design of novel materials, and other decidedly nerd topics that have nothing to do with propelling Folding at Home team 11108 ahead of the competition.
With Microsoft's IE8 browser now in its second beta, and Google's Chrome shaking up the browser market with its initial public beta release, many analysts are now taking a closer look at how these browsers are similar - and different.
Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft Senior Program Manager posting at Hanselman.com, gives us a useful look in a recent posting about one similarity between IE8 and Google Chrome: "both browsers isolate tabs in different processes."
So, what does this mean to us users? Both browsers are capable of running many tabs at the same time, and, as Hanselman demonstrates, can restore a crashed browsing session with a single mouse click.
One difference between current releases of IE8 and Chrome: if a page crashes in IE8, the browser will try to reload it automatically before it gives up and asks you if you want to reload the page or browsing session.
Have you been loading up either of these browsers (or other current favorites) with lots of tabs? Which of the current browsers has error handling you like? Which ones still have problems? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.
It's too early to tell how effective (or ineffective) Microsoft's new commercials will be in currying favor among those leaning towards buying a Mac or on the fence as to which direction to take, but at least one OEM might not be willing to wait and find out. According to an article in BusinessWeek, those every ready 'anonymous sources' claim Hewlett-Packard is looking into offering a Windows alternative.
"Sources say employees in HP's PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system," the article states.
Naturally, the new OS will most likely take root in Linux, albeit a customized version that wouldn't be so intimidating to mainstream users. The idea, according to the sources, is to make HP less dependent on Windows and snag some the customers that become mesmerized under Justin Long's spell.
Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's Personal Systems Group, didn't outright deny report, but he came close when he said "Is HP funding a huge R&D team to go off and create an operating systems? (That) makes no sense."
And so the Napster saga continues (or, depending on your perspective, it comes to an end). The former peer-to-peer pioneer gone legit music service managed to avoid being gobbled up by an ice cream store owner, but the temptation to sell ultimately proved too strong for investors eager to cash in rather than continue to face stiff competition.
According to The Wall Street Journal, electronics retailer Best Buy has agreed to buy Napster for $121 million, which includes $67 million of cash and short-term investments on Napster's books. The acquisition values the digital music service at $2.65 per share, or almost double the closing price on Friday, which sat at $1.36.
"Best Buy intends to use Napster's capabilities and digital subscriber base to reach new customers with an enhanced experience for exploring and selecting music and otehr digital entertainment products over an increasing array of devices," said Best Buy president and COO Brian Dunn.
Napster's chief executive Chris Gorog is expected to remain in his post, along with the company's other senior executives. Best Buy also said it currently has no plans to relocate the music service's Los Angeles headquarters.
Was this a good move for Best Buy? Hit the jump and let us know your thoughts.
Forget about overpriced tickets to the big screen, you can get your fill of drama just by following the tech news. In what could pass as a Hollywood script, ex-Intel engineer Biswamohan Pani has been accused by the FBI of stealing trade secrets from Intel while working for AMD incognito.
According to an affidavit by FBI special agent Timothy Russell, the alleged storyline goes like this: Pani, playing the part of double-agent, informs Intel officials in May of his intention to resign so he can go work for a hedge fund and would utilize accrued vacation time until June 11, which would be his final official day. Here's where the plot twist comes in. There is no hedge fund, and Pani instead begins working for AMD on June 2. With time still left on the table at Intel, the suspected double-agent accesses and downloads 13 secret documents from an encrypted system.
Of course, movie scripts can never be so cut and dry, and so in this feature, Pani no longer works for AMD and denies any wrongdoing, even after a July 1 search of his home turns up eight Intel documents classified as confidential, secret, or the mother of them all, top secret.
Wondering how it ends? So are we. Stay tuned as this one plays out in real life.
We can hear it now: "Why yes, that is a projector in my pocket, but I'm still happy to see you." 3M has unveiled its MPro 110 mini projector, beating a bevy of companies to the punch who this year have announced plans to release a pico projector of their own.
Popsci.com got its hands on the 11.5 x 5 x 2.2 cm device, noting that images could be viewed up to about 11 inches across, even under bright lighting, but not without some noticeable fading. Others photos and some movie scenes were "downright indecipherable.
The pint-sized projector comes with a VGA input, which will come in handy for plugging in laptops, and a composite video jack for connecting to digital cameras, iPods, PSPs, and other handheld gagdets. A thumbwheel gives end users the ability to manually adjust focus.
In the short term, look for the MPro 110 to go on sale September 30 for $359. But looking longer down the line, 3M says it would like to eventually implement the technology into cellphones, perhaps as early as next year.
If you haven't heard, ATI's HD 4870 kicks some serious gaming ass. Nvidia's received the message loud and clear, so the company's gone back to the drawing board and now plans to release a revised version of its GTX 260 videocard. The tweaked GTX 260 pushes the number of stream shaders from 192 up to 216, expected to result in a 5-10 percent performance increase. To prevent confusion in the market place with existing GTX 260s, speculation suggests the new card may carry a 'Gold' moniker.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Nvidia has revised an existing SKU, with the company earlier this summer shrinking the 9800 GTX's core from 65nm to 55nm and boosting clockspeeds, which resulted in the 9800 GTX+. But this time around, DigiTimes reports graphics card makers are voicing concerns that the Gold release will leave them with an oversupply of original GTX 260 cards that no one wants. Whether those fears prove founded or not depends on how Nvidia plans to price the new release, which so far has not yet been announced.
The job of a whistleblower is a dangerous one, and Robert Delaware has paid the price for speaking out against Microsoft. The contracted game tester had worked closely with the Xbox line, and particularly Bungie Studios since early 2005. For those who haven’t been following the story, Delaware’s testimonial was the basis for an article that made headlines last week regarding Xbox 360 hardware failures at launch. In the VentureBeat article, Delaware detailed the known quality issues with the 360 and that management ignored multiple warnings in order to gain an advantage over the not yet released Playstation 3. Legally Microsoft was within its rights to fire Delaware for his unauthorized interview, but he remains defiant. Delaware claims to have been aware of the possible ramifications but was willing to take the risk. Upon termination Delaware was also warned by an HR representative that he faces possible lawsuits from both Microsoft and the company who contracted him out. The Interview conducted by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi remains unconfirmed by Microsoft and in response had only this to say: "This topic has already been covered extensively in the media. This new story repeats old information, and contains rumors and innuendo from anonymous sources, attempting to create a new sensational angle, and is highly irresponsible.”
Did Robert Delaware do the right thing? Or was he just looking for publicity?