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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Windows Media Player 12’s surprising new features

Though many previously bundled applets now will ship separately to Windows 7, Windows Media Player remains part of the core OS. Windows 7 will ship with Windows Media Player 12, which includes some surprising new features. The UI itself is brighter and lighter than WMP11. Some buttons and toolbar items have been moved around, but the experience should be pretty familiar to users of version 11. What does represent a big change is the removal of the Now Playing button, which in WMP11 switches to a view showing the current playlist This is because WMP12 completely separates library management from what's currently playing, with two distinct player modes; Now Playing view, and Library view. Library view contains all the library manipulation features that should be familiar from WMP11. Now Playing view contains the current playlist, visualizations, and... --

The New AOL.com Gets Social

Thursday AOL announced that social networks are front and center in the latest redesign of their homepage AOL.com.  The company announced it will start to gradually roll out the new homepage to users over the next few weeks (unless they choose to opt in earlier). A widget (or module, or whatever you want to call it) on the new AOL.com features a tabbed interface with updates from five different social-networking and messaging services: AOL's own AIM and Bebo, MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook. Called "My Networks," the tabs invite members to log into their social profiles and see a limited amount of information--feed and in-box updates from Facebook and MySpace, new Twitter messages, AIM status messages, etc.--as well as links to access the full versions of the apps. The Facebook credentials, for example, come from the social network's new Facebook Connect service,... --

HD Netflix streaming comes to Xbox 360 first

It's something you can't get on the Roku. Nor on LG's BD300. Nor on Samsung's P2500 / P2550 Blu-ray players. Nor through Netflix's own "Watch Instantly" portal. It's high-def Netflix streaming, and it's coming first to Microsoft's Xbox 360. Yes friends, when the all new dashboard hits on November 19th, with it will come HD Netflix streaming for (US-based, presumably) Xbox Live Gold members.... --

The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne Works Toward a More Personal Freakout

Twenty-five years ago, The Flaming Lips burst out of Oklahoma City with deafening noise and ambition to spare. Today, it is one of rock's most perplexing and productive bands in history. Front man Wayne Coyne (at right, with the broken cross) and multi-instrumentalist Michael Ivins (at left, in the shades) may not have foreseen the future when they first banged heads and guitars in Norman, especially after hooking up with drummer Steven Drozd in 1991. But it's hard to peer into the past and ignore how The Flaming Lips helped evolve music into the new millennium. Early indies like Oh My Gawd!!! and In a Priest-Driven Ambulance redefined noise and rock, while major-label releases like Hit to the Death in the Future Head, Transmissions From the Satellite Heart and Clouds... --

RAID 5 to stop working in 2009?

Increasing storage and probability of hard disk failure will crash into eachother in a year or so.  Apparently, RAID 6 isn't far behind.  Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we'll have 2 TB drives. With a 7-drive RAID 5 disk failure, you'll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an unrecoverable read error. So the read fails ... The message 'we can't read this RAID volume' travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected data is gone. Oh, you didn't back it up to tape? Bummer!... --

Watching Tonight’s Presidential Debate Online

For those who no longer have a television or whose schedules don't coincide with the timing, watching live TV events can be a challenge. Fortunately, in a definite sign of the times, tonight's Presidential Debate has attracted the attention of most US broadcasters, many of whom will provide online viewing options. Leading the way is Hulu, a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp, who will stream the Fox-branded feed tonight.  Although they had— assuming they worked out the bandwidth issues that came up during the second debate. Most importantly, you can also access CSPANs replay of the debate on youtube.com.  Regardless of your party affiliation, there is no reason to not be an informed voter.   Please register and exercise your rights.... --

Blizzcon 2008 and Diablo 3

Blizzcon is a semi-regular convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to celebrate their major franchises: Warcraft, Diablo & Starcraft. This year's Blizzcon was on October 10 and 11, 2008 and once again held at the Anaheim Convention Center. It saw 15,000 gamers descend from 27 different countries to take part in two days of discussions, tournaments, and sneak peaks at upcoming releases. Several big announcements were scattered among a raft of new details about Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and Wrath of the Lich King. The new information went a long way toward drumming up interest for what already appears to be worthy successors to old favorites. Here is a very brief summary of what can be expected in Diablo 3. In designing the Wizard, the delopers made a conscious decision to focus on what they call "high magic." They announced the Wizard... --

An “Unprecedented Crisis”: World Bank Under Cybersiege

Through various sources, including a Fox News report, there have been large-scale and possibly ongoing security breaches at the World Bank. "The World Bank Group's computer network — one of the largest repositories of sensitive data about the economies of every nation — has been raided repeatedly by outsiders for more than a year, FOX News has learned. It is still not known how much information was stolen. But sources inside the bank confirm that servers in the institution's highly-restricted treasury unit were deeply penetrated with spy software last April. Invaders also had full access to the rest of the bank's network for nearly a month in June and July. In total, at least six major intrusions — two of them using the same group of IP addresses originating from China — have been detected at the... --

“The Dock” Receives a Patent

Finally after nine years, on Tuesday the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) awarded Apple and inventor Steve Jobs a patent for their User Interface for Providing Consolidation and Access. Their what? It is more commonly known as “The Dock”. 

If you’re a PC user, you may be unfamiliar with The Dock.  According to the Apple website “The Dock is the bar of icons that sits at the bottom or side of your screen. It provides easy access to some of the Apple applications on your Mac (such as Mail, Safari, ..

Using Money As Incentive For Competition On Consoles? Soon, possibly.

Has gaming for "real dollars" left the internet and arrived on your favorite console?  If not now, apparently very soon. MTV's Multiplayer blog reports on a company about to start offering a service that will allow players to compete in matches and tournaments over their PS2, PS3, or Xbox 360 using prize money as an incentive.  Doing so will, of course, require entry fees, but the contests are set up and opted into by the players themselves.  One source comments,  "To prevent cheating, the company has access to the game data and promises a knowledgeable in-house customer support team. There's also a reputation and feedback system, which Levy compared to eBay, that will allow gamers to make informed decisions about who they're playing against. ... [Company co-founder Billy Levy] ultimately thinks World Gaming will open up the field... --

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