Halo 2 headed to PC; Vista required

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Master Chief and fellow Space Marines say, “Hasta la Vista”; Microsoft Game Studios to develop Halo 2 for PC and its next-gen operating system.

If PC users are having trouble deciding whether to move over to Windows Vista, Microsoft’s next-generation operating system, when it is released later this year, the fact that the fate of the Earth depends on it may tip the scales. Microsoft Game Studios today announced that it is developing Halo 2 for the PC.

The game will be only for Vista, and is being developed in partnership with the franchise’s original developer, Bungie Studios. The PC version will include Halo 2, the bonus maps that came in the Multiplayer Map Pack, and the ability to “build, create, and customize their own multiplayer levels.” No release date or other details have been announced.

Source: gamespot

Google sued for selling Check ‘n Go keyword

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The company behind US cash-advance firm Check ‘n Go has sued Google for selling its trademarks as keywords in search advertising, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Such sales do not breach Google’s own policy for the US and Canada.

Google allows trademark holders to request that their trademarks do not appear in the headings or text of sponsored links. But the search engine will sell trademarks as keywords to rivals of the trademark holder. This was justified by a previous court ruling on the grounds that it does not cause confusion among users.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Check ‘n Go’s suit is based on Google’s sale of particular keywords, rather than the text of the ads triggered by those keywords. The Cincinnati District Court has been asked to grant an injunction to prevent the search giant from selling ads related to the trademark. The suit also seeks damages.

In response, Google spokesman Jon Murchinson, told the Enquirer: “Our policy is lawful, and we’re willing to address it in court if need be.”

Source: The Register

Nintendo Unveils Features for DS Handheld

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nintendo Co. announced new wireless features for its DS portable video game player Thursday, including a free service that will let consumers beam game demos and other content directly to the device.

Beginning in late March, the company plans to deploy electronic kiosks at thousands of U.S. retailers including Best Buy Co. Inc. and GameStop Corp.

Owners of the dual-screen DS who go near the kiosks will automatically receive a notice on their devices offering game demos, movie trailers and other content for temporary download. The information will be erased from the DS once it’s turned off.

Source: AP

MP3 Inventor Develops Tool to Fight Piracy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Fraunhofer Institute has developed prototype technology to help curb the sharp rise in online music piracy, which, ironically, has been enabled through another invention of the renowned German research group: MP3 audio compression.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute have successfully tested a software system, based on the group’s own digital watermarking technology, for tracking pirated audio files in peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, says Michael Kip, a spokesperson for the institute.

Kip referred to the Fraunhofer approach as an alternative to DRM (digital rights management) systems, which he says require special players and are prone to hacking.

While watermarking technology isn’t new per se, this is the first time it has been used in a system to automatically track pirating in P-to-P networks, according to Kip.

The system lets content providers, such as music studios, embed a watermark in their downloadable MP3 files. Watermark technology makes slight changes to data in both sound and image files. For instance, the change could be a higher volume intensity in a tiny part of a song or a brighter color in a minuscule part of a picture. Even the best trained human eyes and ears, according to Kip, can’t detect the change.

The digital media watermark used in the Fraunhofer system also contains a “hash value,” which creates a link between the content provider and registered purchaser. “The hash value is like a fingerprint; it contains unique information about the user,” Kip says. “The software that we’ve developed can automatically search for fingerprints.”

Source: PCWorld

RIM Unveils Plan To Keep BlackBerrys Alive

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Research In Motion on Thursday unveiled a plan that it says will let its addictive BlackBerry e-mail device work even if it loses a patent dispute, and said the workaround will prevent a shutdown of service in the United States.

In an announcement made as the clock ticked to a Feb. 24 court hearing on patent holding company NTP Inc.’s request for an injunction to halt U.S. BlackBerry service, RIM also said it was still willing to negotiate a deal.

The Canadian technology company, whose black, blue or silver device is dubbed “CrackBerry” by many users, said it is has taken a “pragmatic and reasonable” stance in mediation.

But it called NTP’s offer to license disputed technology “untenable” and offering only “illusory protection.”

“RIM’s workaround provides a contingency for our customers and partners and a counterbalance to NTP’s threats,” said RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie.

“This will hopefully lead to more reasonable negotiations, since NTP risks losing all future royalties if the workaround is implemented.”

RIM said it has filed applications for a patent for its workaround, part of a software update called BlackBerry Multi-Mode Edition.

The company said it will soon begin shipping handsets with the software update in a dormant mode. It will make the update available at www.blackberry.com/workaround at a later, but as yet unspecified, date.

RIM said the changes would require software updates, but the new system will deliver the same functions and performance.

Source: informationweek

Apple gears up to launch ‘true video iPod’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Think Secret can confirm recent rumblings that Apple is nearing completion of a completely revamped video iPod that will shed the ubiquitous mechanical click wheel for a touch screen and will sport a 3.5-inch diagonal display.

This video iPod, which has been in development and on the table since before Apple released the 5G iPod last year with video playback, will feature a display that will occupy the entire front face of the device. Sources who have seen the device report that it features a digital click wheel, one that overlays the touch-sensitive display and appears when a finger touches it and disappears when the finger is removed.

Source: thinksecret

Yahoo testing new home page

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo confirmed late Wednesday night that it is testing a new home page. A screenshot can be seen on Flickr.

The screenshot shows a simpler Web search area at top with links to content areas running down the left side and featured news shown prominently up high.

Yahoo accused in jailing of 2nd China Internet user

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Inc. provided evidence to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of an Internet writer, lawyers and activists said on Thursday, the second such case involving the U.S. Internet giant.

The latest storm over Western Internet companies in China comes just weeks after Web search giant Google Inc. came under fire for saying it would block politically sensitive terms on its new China site, bowing to conditions set by Beijing.

Writer and veteran activist Liu Xiaobo said Yahoo had co-operated with Chinese police in a case that led to the 2003 arrest of Li Zhi, who was charged with subverting state power and sentenced to eight years in prison after trying to join the dissident China Democracy Party.

Source: Reuters

Apple Confirms Reports Of Video Problems With MacTel

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Computer on Wednesday confirmed reports of video-display problems in the new iMacs that are based on Intel processors.

A Mac enthusiast site had reported that in playing video on Apple’s Front Row media browser, some iMacs showed random horizontal lines, ghosting, video tearing and other problems.

“Apple is aware of this issue and is looking into it,” the company said in an email. “If a customer has any technical issues, they should contact AppleCare.” AppleCare is the company’s support unit.

Source: TechWeb

‘Resident Evil 4′ video game of the year

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Ziff Davis Media Game Group tonight presented the third annual 1UP Awards during a special ceremony in San Francisco, California. The 1UP Awards, hosted at the epicenter of the $10 billion videogame industry, honored videogame publishers and developers who have made a powerful impact on American culture and the entertainment industry.

The editors of the Game Group’s market-leading magazines and websites celebrated the best videogames of 2005 by presenting the 1UP Awards to the industry’s top developers and executives from prominent videogame companies including Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and many others.

The 1UP Awards are named for Ziff Davis Media Game Group’s online destination for gaming enthusiasts, 1UP.com. The Game Group’s print and online editors, widely recognized as the foremost authorities in the industry, collaborated to select nominees in 13 genres. The awards were then open to voting by the 20-million-plus readers of the Game Group’s publications: Computer Gaming World, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, and the 1UP Network.

“Our editors had no problem choosing the top contenders, but we believe it’s up to the gamers to choose the absolute best in each category,” said Sam Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of 1UP.com. “We had faith in their votes, and they delivered — they’ve chosen the titles that gamers themselves most enjoy playing. We’re proud to see that the 1UP Awards reflect the voice of the gaming community.”

The gaming community voted for the following winners:

Google offers new search feature

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. is offering a new tool that will automatically transfer information from one personal computer to another, but anyone wanting that convenience must authorize the Internet search leader to store the material for up to 30 days.

That compromise, sought as part of a free software upgrade to be released Thursday, might be more difficult to swallow now that the Bush administration is demanding to know what kind of information people have been trying to find through Google’s search engine.

The ability to search a computer remotely is included in Google’s latest upgrade to its software that scours hard drives for documents, e-mails, instant messages and an assortment of other information.

To enable the computer-to-computer search function, a user specifies what information should be indexed and then agrees to allow Google to transfer the material to its own storage system. Google plans to encrypt all data transferred from users’ hard drives and restrict access to just a handful of its employees. The company says it won’t peruse any of the transferred information.

Source: AP

Jail time for phone record scammers?

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Anyone who “fraudulently” acquires and resells records of calls made by a telephone subscriber could face fines of up to $500,000 and prison sentences of up to 20 years, under a bill proposed Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Five Republicans and four Democrats from the House Judiciary Committee introduced the measure, which they dubbed the “Law Enforcement and Phone Privacy Protection Act of 2006,” on the same day that a Senate subcommittee convened a hearing on the topic.

It’s not entirely clear that the LEPPA measure is necessary. The Federal Trade Commission has for decades enjoyed the power to stop “deceptive” business practices, a term that also encompasses fraudulent behavior. In addition, state attorneys general have the ability to file civil and criminal suits to halt illicit business practices.

Source: News.com

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