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550 results for net
Has the PC sports market has declined? in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have lured sports gamersaway from a PC market already moving towards a download model and underthreat from piracy, forcing developers to prioritise other formats.
That's the view of Peter Moore, boss of EA Sports, who outlined his views on Peter Moore's Official Blog this week.
Next-generation consoles "with their high definition graphicsand 5.1 sound capabilities have attracted millions of consumers toeschew the 'lean in' PC sports gaming experience for the 'lean back'full room console experience," Moore wrote.
"Businesses have to make hard trade offs for where toinvest for the best return, thus creating capital to make even moregames," he explained. "I know this concept touches a nerve with some ofyou, but our industry is founded on publishers that have driven forfinancially-successful games and then re-invested the proceeds indevelopment of even more content for gamers to enjoy.
"It's a simple financial premise, and an obligation forpublically-traded companies who answer to their shareholders. We arenot making games in garages or bedrooms any more."
But Moore reserved his harshest criticism for the people who steal games off the Internet. "Piracy is an issue," he wrote.
"Sorry, I know many of you disagree with me on this, but thenumbers don't lie. Companies spend millions developing content, anddeserve to see a return on investment for their risk. The employeesdeveloping the game design, writing code and creating art deserve toget paid for their work. Period."
Moore's comments are particularly interesting as they come just days after Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime told Eurogamer.netthat suggestions the PC games market is in decline are "just completelydead wrong". "PC is the gaming platform with the largest installed basearound the world. It's also the platform with the best margins,"Morhaime had said.
Morhaime was reacting somewhat to similarsentiments from Valve boss Gabe Newell, whose company flew journaliststo Seattle in May from around the world to evangelise the PC as aplatform.
"We think the number of connected PC gamers we areselling our products to dwarf the current generation of consoles puttogether," Newell had told the press on that occasion. "There aretremendous opportunities in figuring out how to reach out to thosecustomers."

For his part, Moore added that EA Sports is stillexploring options on the PC. "In order to make fundamental shifts in anecosystem, you sometimes have to hit the reset button. That's what wehave done this year at EA Sports as regards some of our franchises onthe PC," he wrote.
"That does not mean that we aren't coming backnext year with new, innovative, maybe even less-expensive ways to playall of our franchises on the PC, but for right now we are assessing allof the options open to us to shift the current paradigm for our gameson this platform," he wrote.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:52 am
'Why I Still Use Windows 95' - (and IE4...) ? in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Why I Still Use Windows 95
Theoperating system I currently use on my primary computer is Windows 95OSR2. Furthermore, not only do I use Windows 95 extensively, but Iprefer it to Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, and Vista.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:50 am
2010: the 5TB 3.5in HDD cometh in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Hitachi has pledged to release a 5TB 3.5in hard drive within twoyears, and it claims two of the drives will boast enough capacity tostore everything in your brain.
According to a report by Nikkei Net, Hitachi Global StorageTechnologies will use Current-Perpendicular-to-Plane GiantMagnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) magnetc read heads to achieve the aim.This, the firm claims, will allow its drives to store 1TB of data inevery square inch of the recording surface.
Hitachi’s announcement is a step on from a claim it made back inOctober 2007 that 4TB of storage could become a reality by 2011.
It’s worth noting though that Hitachi’s not the first storagecompany to promise super-capacity HDDs. Back in August 2007, rival Fujitsu announcedthat 2.5in disks were its proposed ‘patterned medium’ for such compactstorage. It too plans to have commercial models available by 2010.

Fujitsu's approach uses anodised aluminium to create a pattern of"nanoholes", each holding a portion of magnetic material used to storea single bit of data. The aluminium-oxide surrounding these so-called'nanoholes' helps magnetically insulate each bit from all the others,preventing one from affecting another, which might lead to datacorruption.
Nonetheless, Dr Yoshihiro Shiroishi from Hitachi has claimed thattwo of its 5TB will together “provide the same storage capacity as thehuman brain”.
So, if your memory’s not great, then just buy a couple of 5TB drivesfrom Hitachi and download all your thoughts and memories onto them,before wiping the slate clean and staring afresh with another 10TB ofbrain capacity.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:48 am
Exposed Windows Minesweeper actually cheats in Microsoft / Windows
I wrote a very simple program to read Minesweeper's memory anddisplay a grid showing where the bombs are. I used OllyDbg fordisassembly and reversing and CheatEngine for quickly finding knownvalues in memory.
During this process, I found out that Minesweeper CHEATS, onlyspawns about half the bombs, and moves bombs mid-game. (Sometimes towhere you are clicking, sometimes it will move a bomb that you clickon.) Regardless, I consider this project a success.
During this process, I found that Minesweeper will sometimes assist youand move bombs away from where you are clicking on. Originally, Ithought that Minesweeper was only "spawning" about half of the bombs,but as it turns out I misunderstood the way minefield was representedin memory and all bombs are generated at the beginning of the game and not first click or any later clicks.
My error was in thinking that minefield was stored in a 2-dimensional array (ie: minefield[x][y] = FLAGS) where max(x) (and max(y)) are the size of the grid (ie: 9x9 on Beginner) but as xumiiz on Reddit pointed out:

His program is buggy. It's not reading the grid incorrectly - it's a constant width of 32 bytes, but a window from thetop left is taken for the actual size of the playing field.
So, first bugfix to his source:
  for(DWORD grid_loc = 0; grid_loc < grid_height * grid_width; grid_loc++) {
should be:
  for(DWORD grid_loc = 0; grid_loc < grid_height * 32; grid_loc += ((grid_loc%32)==(grid_width-1))?(32-grid_width+1):1) {
    if((grid_loc % grid_width) == (grid_width - 1))
should be changed to:
    if((grid_loc % 32) == (grid_width - 1))
With these fixes, it reads all the bombs properly.

And also this comment from Anonymous:

Sorry but your program is reading the grid incorrectly.Minesweeper uses a grid with a fixed width of 32 bytes and the playingfield is takena s a window of that grid from the top left. e.g.beginner mode uses bytes 0 to 8 and skips bytes 9 to 31 per every 32byte row.* Fixing the program to read based on that patten shows thatMinesweeper only moves the mine if it happens to be the first squareyou click on. Apart from that, all mines are randomly placed at thestart of the game.
(* Actually it would use bytes 0 to 10, where bytes 0 and 10 are0x10 which is to indicate the border of the mine field, and bytes 1 to9 are the actual squares. but that's not really relevant to theanalysis if you're just &ing with 0x80 to find bombs.)

The source of this program is available here: (This is the original and still requires an update, my code will be fixed soon.)
Sample program output:
Minehack - Reverse Engineering and Coding by Sub <;
Fairly simple program to display already-placed bombs in minesweeper.
PID: 2836
Height: 9
Width: 9
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
And now, probably the most important comment block of my entire program (I have updated this information here to be current, but the source file still needs updated):
/* Did you know?
* Minesweeper stores its minefield in an array char-sized (1 byte) multi-dimensional array. Each byte
* in memory corresponds to a specific location on the grid. It appears to use
* simple bit masks. (This section needs updating, but the information below is current.)
* 0x10 "Border" - Appears to mark the beginning of a row, which means my offset is off by +1
* 0x40 Button has been pressed already
* 0x80 Bomb is in place. These can move mid-game if clicked on
* Bit-wise OR with:
* 0x00 The square is exposed
* 0x0X X is 1-8 -- # on square (number of mines neighboring this square)
* 0x0D Square is marked with question mark
* 0x0E Square is marked with flag
* 0x0F Blank squares are all 0x0F
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:05 am
5 Sites To Play Old Computer Games Once Again in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
I don’t know about you but I’m not much into fancy-pants 3D firstperson shooters. I can’t be bothered to build a massive gaming rig,blow $500 on a video card, and figure out what custom weights give me the best mouse response.
I’ve got a WII, and I love it, and one of the big reasons I do is for the emulation. Sadly however, I can’t bring my WII to work or to the coffee shop down the street - but I can bring my laptop, jump on their WiFi and fire up these four awesome sites for a quick old school gaming fix!
VirtualApple (Apple II and Apple IIGS)

I don’t know about you but every now and then I get a craving tohunt square rabbits, hire unfit workers, make them walk too far andthen lose three days because I’ve got scurvy. Virtual Apple alwayssatisfies my Oregon Trail fix; but don’t other classics like JohnElway’s Quarterback, Crystal Castles, and Max Headroom (don’t lie, youremember Max Headroom). (Commodore 64)

My family’s first computer was the UPS-brown Commodore 64, so thisone really takes me back. I even remember “modding” the case to thenewer, more angular style when it came out. Yikes. Thrill to suchCommodore favorites as Zork, Wizard’s Lair and Pakacuda. The site hasall the titles categorized by genre and features screenshots - furtherunderscoring the real graphical prowess of the C64! (Nintendo Entertainment System)

vNes has a huge catalog of NES cartridge titles available for play on their site via a Java-based emulator- 765 of them to be exact. I’ve noticed a few problems with slowness ona few titles, but all in all it’s an excellent place to play old gamesonline and satisfy your urge to jam on Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, orone of my favorites: Ivan Stewart’s Super Off Road. (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Another big catalog of NES titles, but you’re able to register whichgives you the ability to save states in the games you’re playing. Youcan even open other people’s states - meaning that when your buddy getsstuck trying to battle through the ninjas, you can swoop in, rescue thePresident, and prove just how bad a dude you really are.
GetBack.Com Arcade
Unlike the rest of the sites I listed, GetBack isn’t strictly agaming site. It’s kind of a “throwback culture” site. The upside isthat they do have several games in their arcade that you can play, likeIntellivision Backgammon and River Raid.
What about you? Where do you go to satisfy your vintage gaming urges? Let us know!
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:48 am
Stringer: Videogames are Sony's 'top priority' in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Sir Howard Stringer, chairman of Sony Corporation, has told thecompany's annual shareholder meeting that he believes the "toppriority" should be restoring the videogames and television departmentsto profitability.
Precisely when that might happen is unclear, as although the company previously predicted that the PlayStation division will post its first annual profitnext year, following cost reductions in the manufacture of thePlayStation 3, the electronics division is set to see earnings tumbleon poor LCD sales while the stonger yen hits exports, according to Bloomberg.
The company predicted net income to fall by 22 per cent to JPY 290billion (USD 2.69 billion), while it expects to sell 10 millionPlayStation 3 consoles, and 9 million PlayStation 2 consoles.
Additionally the company has stated that it has no plans to buy back shares, according to Reuters, despite enjoying a strong cash or equivalents position of around USD 10 billion.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:40 am
Obama vs McCain from a Gamers Perspective - Guide inc. VIDEO in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney has made computer games part of the thrust of his campaign,with references to the media genre in an ad campaign. In the promotional slot,he implicates them in "oceans of filth" in which America's youth areswimming. You can only imagine what he'll do if he gets into the WhiteHouse.
According to a Common Sense Media survey,which posted questions about interactive and other entertainment to theleading candidates, he intends to, "get serious against those retailersthat sell adult video games that are filled with violence and that wego after those retailers," and "to restore values so children areprotected from a societal cesspool of filth, pornography, violence, sexand perversion." Surprisingly similar to his Democratic opposite,Hillary Clinton.
John McCain
Second-time Presidential runner McCain has a team that thinks seriously about technology. In response to a CNet survey,"McCain" (aka his policy-writers) tackles net neutrality, governmentsubsidies for high-speed internet access, internet data privacy andcopyright issues. Unfortunately, there was only an oblique reference togames.
GamePolitics suggeststhat the anti-game slant of Independent candidate Joseph Liebermann mayhelp his friend McCain, whose inability to connect with the ReligiousRight in the US could be bolstered by their association.
McCain didn't respond to the CSM report, and so his intentions remain a mystery, for now.
Mike Huckabee
The evangelical Iowa caucus winner has been completely silent on thesubject of computer games, although, like McCain, he "expressedinterest" in participating in the CSM survey.
At the moment, games aren't an important policy issue, but I predictpolitical eyeballs will turn towards interactive entertainment whencontroversy temperatures rise in the summer months. If the potentialcandidates are silent now, they'll have to take a stand one way or theother. My guess is that all will play conservative, and with varyingseverity, call for federal government regulation of games in the US.
Meanwhile, in this country, we are anxiously awaiting the release of the Byron Report later this year, which should establish a useful baseline about the effects of violent videogaming on consumers.
Not sated by this roundup? Catch the dirt on the Democratic candidates in yesterday's post, or go to Gamepolitics for coverage. They have a special category, Game Decision 2008.

Debate over World of Warcraft - an interesting take.

We don't actively support
Take a look at one of the comments below...
did anyone notice the voices sound like george bush and that guy whos running for president? XD really well done..                                   

LOL funny work                                   

There are a surprising number of British media eyeballs on the earlystages of the US elections. Reports suggest that people are coming outin droves to participate in caucuses, primaries and polls, particularlypopulations who've neglected politics before. And this includes a wholeraft a newly-eligible voters, many of whom happen to be computer gamers.
While it's still too early to suggest who'll be sworn in come 2009,there's still a whole lot of side-taking happening throughout the gamesblogosphere. Gamepolitics, the most obvious platform, is having a fieldday publishing satirical casual games, posts about candidate Obama'slikeness to Tiger Woods (seriously), and rumours about potentialsenatorial anti-games candidates.
This is undoubtedly a technologically-saturated election. All of thecandidates have MySpace pages (demonstrating the lightening speed withwhich politics adopts new media; where are their Twitter updates forgoodness sake?), and with the next few gaming months certain to be hotwith the release of the latest episode in a certain controvesry-ridingfranchise, we can expect to see gaming and techno-morality in a fewpolitical broadcasts.
So where do the front-runners sit with regards to computer games?This handy primer gives the dirt on their past actions and theircurrent attitudes. Today, the Democrats. Tomorrow, the Republicans.
Hillary Clinton
New Hampshire Democrat primary winner Hillary (whatever happened to the Rodham?) Clinton has never been a fanof computer games. Two years ago, Sen. Clinton introduced the FamilyEntertainment Protection Act (FEPA) in the wake of the Hot Coffeeincident, to regulate and counteract the effects of violent andsexually-explicit content in digital media. Had it passed, it wouldhave mandated:

On-site store managers would be subject to a fine of $1,000 or 100hours of community service for the first offense and $5,000 or 500hours of community service for each subsequent offense.
The bill would also require an annual, independent analysis ofgame ratings and require the FTC to conduct an investigation todetermine whether hidden sexual content like what was in Grand TheftAuto: San Andreas is a pervasive problem and to take appropriateaction...
Finally, the bill would authorize the FTC to conduct an annual,random audit of retailers to monitor enforcement and report thefindings to Congress.

more information from gamepolitics
More recently, in response to a Common Sense Media poll of the attitudes of the candidates to video game entertainment, Clinton argued,

"When I am President, I will work to protect children from inappropriate video game content"

Barack Obama
The Iowa caucus winner has suggested on several occasions that gamersare slackers. "It's time to turn off your Game Boys," he said at anAustin, Texas event last February. He's also returned a donation made by the Electronic Software Association's Doug Lowenstein and has repeatedly argued that working harder means playing fewer games.
In the CSM poll, Obama promoted industry self-regulation:

I would call upon the video game industry to give parents betterinformation about programs and video games by improving the voluntaryrating system we currently have. Broadcasters and video game producersshould take it upon themselves to improve this system to include easierto find and easier to understand descriptions of exactly what kind ofcontent is included. But if the industry fails to act, then myadministration would.

Indeed, in the same response, he does hint at federal regulation,and promotes funding research into the "impact of video games onchildren's cognitive development."
John Edwards
Edwards was the likable second to Hillary's first before Obama camealong, but his standings in the recent primary and caucus suggest thathe may take a back seat in November. However, he too could become aComeback Kid, so it's worth taking a look at what might happen to gamesif he gets the keys to the White House.
Edwards notably launched his campaign inside virtual world Second Life, and like many high-profile areas in this cyber-space, it was subsequently vandalised. Otherwise, he's been quiet on the digital entertainment front, with little action in either direction.
So it's unsurprising that when the question was posed, point blank,in the CSM poll, he (and his policy-writers) played a cautious,hands-off game; he applauds the work of the internal ratings boards,but suggests that there's much more to do to keep inappropriate contentaway from kids:

If the industry does not continue to make progress in keeping videogames with intense violence and adult content away from children, wewill need to consider further steps to ensure that parents' decisionsabout their children's exposure to these games are not being underminedby retailers, advertisers and manufacturers.

Of the three Democrats, only Clinton appears to have made this apolitical issue, and has thought seriously about the implications ofinteractive media. She's the only one ready to take action, one way orthe other. While Obama has despaired at games in the past, both he andEdwards are less explicit about any actions they would take if theywere to take up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue next year.
Tomorrow, we cover the Republican candidates, but in the meantime,more information on where the candidates stand is available at gamepolitics, in their category Game Decision 2008.
Disclaimer for articles or content containing "":
iVirtua Media Group (UK) does not recommend nor endorse the third party service "" or any of its associates. For more information contact our Public Relations team via William Tildesley in our Social Media Department - or
Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:54 pm
Age of Conan: iVirtua Review, Analysis and Videos in Gaming
Based on the books rather than the Schwarzenegger films, Age of Conanis a violent, massively multiplayer online game (MMO). Think World ofWarcraft with sharper swords and bigger breasts. The game leads yougently into the action and even allows you to learn the ropes in asingle-player environment before braving the multiplayer wilds. Andexperienced players get to build, or conquer, opponents' castles andkeeps. But the real innovation is the combat which, unlike most MMOs,involves reflexes and timing. The game looks mightily pretty; prepareto gawp at a sunset or distant mountain. But this graphical opulencecomes at a price, with loading screens a far-too-common annoyance.Worse, these breaks in play make the world feel less like a coherentwhole, lessening the feeling of immersion that games like WoW and Lordof the Rings Online engender so effectively. But assuming you have apowerful PC - which is essential for this game - Age of Conan is worthvisiting.

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures is a fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by the Norwegian computer, video game developer company Funcom for PC and the Xbox 360. The game launched at 9 p.m. (GMT) on May 17, 2008in a limited way, being available to those who had pre-ordered the gameand registered for early access. The full release of the game for NorthAmerica was May 20, 2008 and for Europe May 23, 2008 for the PC version.The Xbox 360 version is scheduled to be released a year after the PC release.

After a long build up, including an eight-week delay to apply the finalpolish, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (AoC) has been launched.

is it finally a game that takes on WoW?

iVirtua Full coverage
Guild Wars hits 2 million sales worldwide

DreamWorld Engine
The DreamWorld graphics engine was developed by Funcom circa 2000. Other computer games powered by DreamWorld technology include Anarchy Online and its various expansion packs. When Funcom began developing Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures,the company reviewed its existing technology base and decided to focuson the further evolution of their proprietary DreamWorld engine asopposed to licensing a third-party engine like many online RPGcompanies do. As such, Funcom began to retool their engine with theoverall design, pipeline and implementation process was taken intoaccount. In light of these changes, the DreamWorld engine has beenrebuilt for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures with new features, special effects and optimizations.[30]

"Real Combat"
"Real Combat" is being touted by Funcom as a revolutionary approachto combat in online RPGs where the player is in direct control of thecharacter's weapon strikes in real time. This multi-point melee andranged combat system is purportedly easy-to-learn and is one of theprime attractions of the title. Allegedly, the "Real Combat" systemwill take the ritualized combat experience previously found in onlineRPGs in a new direction. For this system, Funcom has also added aspectssuch as formation combat, mounted combat, siege combat and hive combat.[31]

Cheetah is a shader-oriented proprietary render engine re-written from scratch by Funcom featuring a phong per pixel lighting system. This engine allows for improved graphics and ambience. This is coupled with a trapezoidal shadow system, an in-house system developed by Funcom that allows all objects to cast shadows onto everything.[32]

Perlin noise-based cloud generating system
Perlin noise-based cloud generating system is a five-layered procedural system that enables multiple layers of dynamic clouds; thus, visually-realistic cloud behavior.[33]

SpeedTree is a programming package produced by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. (IDV) that aims to produce high-quality virtual foliage in real time, suitable especially for video gamesbut also aimed to a lesser extent at some other kinds of simulations.It has so far been licensed to a substantial number of video gamedevelopers, including developers of the Unreal engine series. SpeedTree is currently being used in several games, including (but not limited to) the MMO action game World War II Online and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.[34]

DirectX 10
"Funcom is proud to be one of the few developers who is tapping intothis technology, and we look forward to showing you even more of DirectX 10. Some of the improvements visible in the videos and the screenshots are improved parallax mapping, better lighting and more advanced shadows technology."[35]The game did not include support for DirectX 10 at the time of launch.DirectX 10 features are now slated to be premiered at the GamesConvention in Leipzig in August 2008.
Pre-Launch acclaim
During the past several years, Funcom has twice previewed Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly known as E3,and the product has received various critic awards for thesedemonstrations. The following information is a partial listing of thoseawards.
E3 2005

  1. GameSpot Editors' Choice Winner
  2. Runner-Up Best of E3
  3. GamersInfo.Net Editors' Choice
  4. Gamezone Best of E3 Award

E3 2006

  1. GameSpot Editors' Choice Winner
  2. Best of E3 Winner
  3. GameSpy: MMO Game of Show
  4. Yahoo! Games Best MMOG

E3 2007

  1. Best of E3 Winner
  2. GameTrailers Best RPG Nominee
  3. WarCry MMO of the Show Nominee
  4. GC 2007: Best online game


  1. Most anticipated game of 2007

Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:22 pm
Microsoft to send high-speed net traffic over whitespace in Microsoft / Windows
Microsoft has a plan for sending high-speed net traffic over America's television whitespaces. And it's sure the country will eat some serious foreign dust ifthis plan gets snuffed.

"Across the nation, there are vast swathes of unoccupied TVspectrum, and we - along with other tech companies - are asking thatthis spectrum be used for a what is essentially WiFi on steroids,"Microsoft senior director of public policy Marc Berejka said yesterdayduring a panel discussion at Santa Clara University.
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"If we fail on white spaces, what does that mean for the country'sreputation in the world as innovators? We have the potential to beleaders on spectrum policy, but if we don't push white spaces through,it will happen somewhere else. Some country will take the lead, andentrepreneurs will innovate over there."

But as Berejka admits, not everyone agrees with him. This whitespace idea is opposed by the nation's TV broadcasters, the wirelessmicrophone industry, and hospitals who like to monitor people walking through their hallways. Not to mention the other panelists at yesterday's Media Access Project Innovation 08 gathering.

Analyst Coleman Bazelon, economist Gregory Rose,
Media Access Project's Harold Feld, CTIA's Carolyn Brandon,
Columbia Telecommunications' Joanne Hovis, Microsoft's Marc Berejka
Microsoft wants to turn America's white spaces - portions of the TV band that aren'tused for broadcasting - into unlicensed spectrum. That means anyonecould buy devices off-the-shelf and grab some wireless bandwidth - aswe now do with WiFi. The difference is that this spectrum offers muchbetter propagation properties. Those net-centric wireless signals couldtravel over much longer distances - and at higher speeds.

One of Berejka's fellow panelists, industry analyst Coleman Bazelon,isn't opposed to using the white spaces for net access. But he doesn'tlike the unlicensed idea. "I agree that [the white space spectrum] is avaluable resource that's up for grabs," said Bazelon, a principal withthe Battle Group. "But if we don't license it and put it into the handsof companies that will invest in infrastructure to develop, it's goingto be wasted."

Of course, if it is licensed and auctioned off to the highestbidder, it will likely fall into the hands of the wireless old guard.Think AT&T and Verizon. After all, that was the inevitable resultof the epic 700-MHz auction. Officially, Microsoft has nothing but good thingsto say about the old guard, but in this case, it wants truly openairwaves. Redmond has even gone so far as to partner with Google on itswhite spaces project. Yes, Google.

At yesterday's panel, the old guard was represented by the CTIAwireless association. And naturally, the association said it wouldprefer that the white spaces be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

"We don't think white spaces should be given away for free," saidCarolyn Brandon, the CTIA's vice president of policy. "Some of ourmembers have suggested that the white spaces be auctioned off forbackhaul. Some have suggested that's not an important enough use, butwe say 'Let the market decide what the best use is.'"
So Microsoft tells the truth. If its white space plan bites thedust, so does at least a certain amount of American innovation. That'sright: We're siding with Redmond on this one.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:12 am
PC vs Console: Does no GTA IV on the PC mean consoles win? in Gaming
With news about PC version of GTA IV still unconfirmed, it's no surprise the old pc vs console has reappeared.
Everytime the 'PC vs console' question comes up, the pattern is the same: aconsole manufacturer releases its latest and greatest system, whichblows everyone away with its graphics and apparent power. The PC, asthe most powerful system on the block, looks weakened.
Butthere's a catch: consoles don't offer any scope for upgrades. Theyquickly start lagging behind what PC developers can do – to say nothingof the fact that, as console games are coded on PCs before going acrossto their destination, we have a certain amount of home advantage. Newgraphics cards and processors – most recently, dual/quad core – quickly make the PC the most appealing platform for developers who really want to stretch their technical muscles.
Willthe cycle repeat this time? Certainly. However, the threat this time isslightly more complicated, and publishers that fail to adapt are likelyto be left behind.
The end of the console exclusive
Commercialgames, particularly so-called triple-A games such as GTA IV, cost aphenomenal amount of money to create. The only way to recoup thatamount is to sell games – and most simply don’t. It’s a publisher’s bigsuccesses that really pay the bills, with many well-known developerssurviving project-by-project.
What this means is that the eraof the 'console exclusive' is effectively over. A handful of gamesaside (typically those owned by a console’s manufacturer, as happenedwith Halo on the Xbox), publishers can’t afford to exclude either Xbox360 or PlayStation 3 users – or, more specifically, their wallets.
Othermajor games, including GTA, are being targeted at both platforms, withthe only exclusivity coming in the exact details, such as Microsoftpaying a phenomenal $50million for dibs on its downloadable content.
Thisleads to a situation where, while the manufacturers and fans alike arequick to trumpet the technical benefits of their platform, in practiceit doesn’t mean much. The less powerful machine sets the level,preventing the game from being all that it could be if it wasspecifically written to make use of the hardware available to it. Onthe PC, a mix of hardware and scalability options offer much moreflexibility. You can’t play Crysis at its best on a £500 PC… but youcan play Crysis.
The PC dilemma
This begsthe obvious question: if cross-platform is such an important part ofthe industry, why are PCs left out of releases such as GTA IV?
Stand out:one major reason is simply that the PC doesn’t currently have the‘cool’ value of the consoles, or the more limited games selection thatgives almost any major release a better share of the limelight.
Technicalities:then there's the complete pain in the neck of every system beingdifferent, and the users (in general) being largely technicallyilliterate. For every person who’s built a machine from individualcomponents, there’s another 10 users that haven’t ever botheredupgrading their graphics drivers and will happily blame any resultingproblems on the developer.
Piracy: hasn’t helpedeither, but not just in the way you might think. In addition towhatever direct loss of income there might be, we’ve seen several gamesthat have been slammed on online forums for being buggy, broken andunfinished, only for it to come to light that the complainants wereusing dodgy code. In the case of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, the piratecopy was leaked to the net a couple of months before release.
Ona smaller scale, Iron Lore entertainment faced an uphill struggle toexplain that the sudden drops to the desktop were a result ofanti-piracy measures rather than a programming error.
The ironyis that all of this protection is really only aimed at so-called ‘0-day’ releases – games leaked to the pirate market before they actuallyappear in the shops.
This is typically seen as a PC-only issueby the market, but that’s not true. People were downloading and playingGTA IV the week before hundreds of people queued up for a midnightlaunch. The catch is that on a console, you have to get physicalmodifications done to your system before it can be used to play pirategames, which is a big technological jump from just running a file – andbrings the risk of losing online access.
The future now
Whilewaiting for the cycle to turn back to PCs, two major genres are soakingup much of the cash – casual games and MMOs. The most successful PCgames of all time aren’t the likes of Doom or Command and Conquer, butThe Sims (plus its sequel and million expansion packs) and World ofWarcraft (11 million players and counting).
The Sims offeredsomething both new and immediately appealing; World of Warcraft tookthe geekiest genre on the planet and made it mainstream through carefuldesign and the goodwill built up over a decade of its creator Blizzardmaking nothing but amazing games.
It’s this kind of expansionthat the PC is in a position to do right now – to spread the joy ofgames to a whole new audience. And when the technology turns, they’llstill be there.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:31 am
Who's the YouTube of porn? Youporn comes out top... in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Trusty ComScore (SCOR) doesn't release metrics for adult sites, sowe ran five big sites through Compete instead. Results: YouPorn(biggest audience) and RedTube (fastest growing) have jumped ahead ofthe competition.

  • Last month, YouPorn attracted 3.2 million U.S. unique visitors, up 1300% year-over-year.
  • RedTube, meanwhile, scored 2.6 million uniques, up 7600% year-over-year.
  • XTube grew much slower and dropped to third place, but stillmore-than-doubled its unique visitors year-over-year to 1.4 million inApril.
  • Megarotic grew April uniques more than 500% year-over-year to 850,000.
  • PornoTube, which led all five sites a year ago, came in fifth with 758,000 uniques, down 2% year-over-year.

So no clear, dominant winner yet. While we hunt for more metrics,we'd love to hear your take. Are any of these sites better than theothers? Are we missing any biggies in the field? Ideas on who's makingthe most money from these sites? Any interesting observations?

Email anonymous tips:
Posted by Jay Taylor Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:48 am
Facebook, Apple and Amazon word association: FUNNY YET TRUE! in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs shows a brand's logo and simply asks you to type the first wordthat pops into your head, these are collated and the top 25 words are generated.

Facebook: friends, social, college, annoying, people, facebook, fun, boring,kids, lame, community, social networking, myspace, waste of time, addictive,social network, network, networking, stupid, young, useless, crap, internet,stalker and, um, shit

Amazon gets a better ride with words like books, book, everything, shopping,convenient, easy, buy, cheap, awesome, fast, online, smile, great, shop, amazon,useful, internet, good, online shopping, shipping, amazing, store, reliable,cool, and huge.

Apple gets the words Jobs, smug, git, crap, toy, fruit, pastel, expensive,polo-neck, irritating, stupid, evil, iphone, ipod, sickening, genocide, herpes,Coldplay, hippy, con-trick, waste, bubonic plague, and overpriced. Actually wemade some of those up.

And Google's:
search, google, internet, search engine, awesome, god, evil, smart, useful, everything, cool, find, fun, fast, good, big brother, information, everywhere, simple, great, innovative, ubiquitous, helpful, amazing, love

The experiment, via a site called,is anything but scientific. But it is simple: The site shows a brand'slogo and simply asks you to type the first word that pops into yourhead.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:46 am
Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 and Silverlight beta 2 in Software
Bill Gates has announced the next betas of Internet Explorer 8 andSilverlight 2 while outlining plans from Microsoft on development,services. He also took the opportunity in his valedictory keynote atTechEd in Orlando, Florida today to unveil a Steve Ballmer 'bot.
The second beta of Microsoft Silverlight cross-browser media playerand development platform will be released by the end of this week undera Go Live license. A Go Live license lets developers use pre-releasecode in real-world applications, but without the safety net ofMicrosoft support. The second beta had been promised for the secondhalf of 2008, so it's... early!
document.write('\x3Cscript src=";cta='+cta+';ctb='+ctb+';ctc='+ctc+';sc='+sc+';cid='+cid+';'+RegExCats+GetVCs()+'pid='+RegId+RegDT+';'+RegKW+'maid='+maid+';test='+test+';pf='+RegPF+';dcove=d;sz=336x280;tile=3;ord=' + rand + '?" type="text/javascript">\x3C\/script>'); <ahref=";dcove=d;sz=336x280;tile=3;ord=00kKItRk6jgAAHQdt@sAAAE7?"target="_blank"><imgsrc=";dcove=d;sz=336x280;tile=3;ord=00kKItRk6jgAAHQdt@sAAAE7?"width="336" height="280" border="0" alt="" />
The second beta for IE8 is released in August in 20 languages, sohitting the summer launch, that Microsoft had previously promised.

To promote Microsoft's work on robotics Gates demoed aWindows-powered robot with a monitor showing the Steve Ballmer's face.On cue, the Robot Steve waved his arms up and down and began shouting "Developers! Developers! Developers!", after throwing an egg across the stage.

Billg ponders Microsoft under Robot Steve
Gates today hosted his last TechEd before stepping down from day-to-day activities next month after 38 years with Microsoft.

It was a stoic affair, during which Gate's sole concession toemotion came when he credited Microsoft's success to its relationshipwith developers. Gates said next-month's transition to the newtechnology leadership at Microsoft was going very well.

Microsoft has tried the patience of developers many times. There wasthe transition from Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic.NET. Then theill-advised decision to stop serious work on IE, and fold it back intoWindows. That was reversed once Firefox began nibbling away at IE'smarket share.

Gates noted his company had "a renewed effort to invest in Internet Explorer".

"We are hard at work on a new version of that: IE 8 - a very creative name we came up with," he said.

He also talked up Microsoft's plans for Oslo,which will feature a new modeling language, repository, storagemechanism and way to manipulate models. A Community Technology Preview(CTP) is due this fall. The next edition of Visual Studio, meanwhile,will support the Object Management Group's Unified Modeling Language (UML).

After years of industry talk on models and re-use, neither has quitefulfilled their potential. According to Gates, Oslo will get thingsright, and take the "richness" of distributed, online services andbring them together into "one rich framework".

According to Gates, Oslo will enable ambitious forms of development.This will coincide with the rollout of more services from Microsoft,similar to SQL Server Data Services and BizTalk Server Services. Gates promised Microsoft would run these on millions of servers in its data centers, up from just hundreds of thousands today.

He said Microsoft's SharePoint Server would become the firstMicrosoft product to use enterprise search from its Fast Search andTransfer acquisition. The delayed SQL Server will be next. "Think of it as SQL Server, but it's really Fast," he said.
For all the talk of data services, there was still no date on thenext edition of SQL Server. Demonstrating SQL Server 2008, DaveCampbell, from Microsoft's data storage platform division said SQLServer 2008 would be available in the "next month or two"
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:31 am
Nvidia GT200 sucessor out: GT200b: Nvidia face tough summer in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Nvidia's CPU mouthed off about Intel, the firmfollowed it up with the stunning NV5800 'Dustbuster'. This time, he mouthed off,and the successor to the GT200 had already taped out. NV is in deep trouble onceagain.
You heard that right, the successor for the GT200 chip has already taped out,and it too will be nothing special. GT200b, it is nothing more than a 55nm shrink ofthe GT200. Don't expect miracles, but do expect the name to change.
There are several problems with the GT200, most of which are near fatal. Thefirst is thediesize, 576mm^2, bigger than most Itanics. One might trust Intel to make achip that big with decent yields, especially if it is basically an island oflogic in the middle of a sea of cache. Nvidia using a foundry process doesn'thave a chance of pulling this off.
Word has come out of Satan Clara that the yields are laughable. No, make thatabysmal, they are 40 per cent. To add insult to injury, that 40 per centincludes both the 280 and the 260 yield salvage parts. With about 100 diecandidates per wafer, that means 40 good dice per wafer. Doing the maths, a TSMC300mm 65nm wafer runs about $5000, so that means each good die costs $125 beforepackaging, testing and the like. If they can get away with sub-$150 costs perGPU, we will be impressed.
So, these parts cost about $150, and the boards will sell for $449 and $649for the 260 and 280 respectively, so there is enough play room there to makemoney, right? Actually, most likely yes. There are costs though, but not enoughto kill profit for any one touching these.
The biggest cost is memory. The 512b memory width means that they will haveto use at least 16 chips. This ends up making the board very complex when youhave to route all those high speed signals, and that means more layers, morecost, and more defect fallout with the added steps. You also have to solder oneight more memory chips which costs yet more.
To add insult to injury, the TDPs of the 260 and 280 are 182W and 236Wrespectively. This means big copper heatsinks, possibly heatpipes, and high-endfans. Those parts cost a lot of money to buy, assemble and ship. Not fatal, butnot a good situation either. It also precludes a dual GPU board without losing alot of speed.
Basically, these boards are going to cost a lot of money to make, not just tobuy. The $449 price is justified by the cost. The last round of GX2 boardscostOEMs about $425, meaning that NV charges OEMs about 70 per cent of retailfor high-end parts. After packaging, shipping and add-ins, there is almostnothing left for the OEMs, quite possible explaining why one of their biggestone is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, kept alive because NV won't calltheir debt while still shiping to them. Watch for this to melt down once NVloses the high end.
So, you end up with an expensive chip on an expensive board that makes few ifany people money. Fair enough, bleeding-edge parts mean bleeding-edge prices.The problem is that ATI is going to make a chip that competes with GT200, andlines up with it point for point. NV wins big Z Fill, ATI crushes them onShader Flops. What this translates to in the real world is still up in the air,but it looks like the 770 and the 260 will be about equal for most things.
The GT200 is about six months late, blew out their die size estimates andmissed clock targets by a lot. ATI didn't. This means that buying a GT260 boardwill cost about 50 per cent more than an R770 for equivalent performance. TheGT280 will be about 25 per cent faster but cost more than twice as much. A monthor so after the 770 comes the 700, basically two 770s on a slab. This will crushthe GT280 in just about every conceivable benchmark and likely cost less. Why?Because.
So, what is a company to do when it promised the financial world that ATIwas lost, and GT200 would raise their margins by 100 basis points or so? Surelythey knew what was coming a few weeks ago during their financial call, right? Imean, if word was leaking days later, the hierarchy surely was aware at thetime, right?
The answer to that is to tape out the GT200b yesterday. It has taped out, andit is a little more than 400mm^2 on a TSMC 55nm process. Given that TSMC tendsto price things so that on an equivalent area basis, the new process ismarginally cheaper than the old, don't look for much cost saving there. Anydecrease in defectivity due to smaller area is almost assuredly going to bebalanced out by the learning curve on the new process. Being overly generous, itis still hard to see how the GT200b will cost less than $100 per chip. Don'tlook for much cost savings there.
The new shrink will be a much better chip though, mainly because they mightfix the crippling clock rate problems of the older part. This is most likely nota speed path problem but a heat/power issue. If you get a better perf/wattnumber through better process tech, you can either keep performance the sameand lower net power use, or keep power use the same and raise performance.
Given NV's woeful 933GFLOPS number, you can guess which way they are going togo. This means no saving on heatsinks, no savings on components, and a slightlycheaper die. For consumers, it will likely mean a $50 cheaper board, but nofinal prices have come my way yet. It will also mean a cheaper and faster boardin a few months.
The GT200b will be out in late summer or early fall, instantly obsoleting theGT200. Anyone buying the 65nm version will end up with a lemon, a slow, hot andexpensive lemon. Kind of like the 5800. It would suck for NV if word of this gotout. Ooops, sorry.
What are they going to do? Emails seen by the INQ indicate they are going toplay the usual PR games to take advantage of sites that don't bother checking upon the 'facts' fed to them. They plan to release the GT200 in absurdly limitedquantities, and only four AIBs are going to initially get parts.
There is also serious talk of announcing a price drop to put them head tohead with the R770 and giving that number to reviewers. When the boards comeout, the reviews are already posted with the lower numbers, and no reviewerever updates their pricing or points out that the price performance ratio wasjust blown out of the water. There is also internal debate about giving a fewetailers a real price cut for a short time to 'back up' the 'MSRP'.
We would hope the reviewers are able to look at the numbers they were givenon editors' day, $449 and $649, and take any $100+ last minute price drop withthe appropriate chunk of NaCl. Just given the component cost, there is no way NVcan hit the same price point as the 770 boards. "We lose money on each one, butwe make it up in volume" is not a good long term strategy, nor is it a way toimprove margins by 100 basis points.
In the end, NV is facing atoughsummer in the GPU business. They are effectively out of the Montevinamarket, and they are going to lose the high end in a spectacular way. Nvidia hasno effective countermeasure to the R770, the GT200 was quite simply botched, andnow they are going to pay for it. When all you have is a hammer,everythinglooks like a 5800.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:09 am
Sunderland: highest percentage of homes with broadband in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
The data is published in Ofcom’s annual communications market report, whichshows figures for each city for the first time, as well as by region.
The results paint a picture of changes in how people use new technologies, inturn reflecting social patterns.
Sunderland has been building itself up as an IT hub, starting in the 1990swith the city’s telematics strategy, which ran until 2003. It set thefoundations for transforming Sunderland’s traditional industries ofshipbuilding and coalmining to technology-based companies, many of which arebased at the Rainton Bridge business park.
The city council’s digital challenge programme, launched last year, aims toget more people in the city online. All libraries offer internet access andthe council has opened so-called community “electronic village halls”, whichalso let people log on to the net.
The Ofcom report also reveals that for the first time, the proportion of homesin rural areas with broadband — 59 per cent — has outstripped that in urbanareas, which is 57 per cent.
Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: “The report highlights a closing ofthe geographic digital divide in the UK.”
There are now 14.25 million homes with broadband in the UK, out of a total of25 million households.
Of those who do not have broadband, only 1 per cent now say is it is becausethey cannot access it. The main reasons are now because people do not wantit or they cannot afford it.
Ofcom said one of the factors boosting broadband uptake in the countryside isonline shopping. Three quarters of rural internet users making onlinetransactions, compared with 69 per cent for the UK as a whole.
Dr Victoria Nash, policy and research officer at the Oxford InternetInstitute, said: “Income, age and level of education might well be a causefor the discrepancy. High levels of unemployment could also have an impactin towns such as Glasgow. Diminished local services in rural areas mightmean the online environment becomes more important.”
She said reasons for higher uptake in rural areas could also be due to morepeople working from home, driven by an increasingly green culture and therising price of petrol.
The English spend more time on the internet than anyone else in the UK, with77 per cent of their time online spent sending emails and instant messagesand visiting chatrooms. The Welsh watch more satellite television than therest of the UK with 79 per cent taking a satellite service compared with anaverage 65 per cent across the UK.
Ofcom found that take-up of digital television has reached 85 per cent ofhomes, up 10 per cent since 2006.
Meanwhile, Ofcom said yesterday that it would deregulate almost 70 per cent ofthe wholesale broadband market because there was sufficient competition inthese areas.
Posted by Editorial Team Sat May 24, 2008 6:17 pm
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