Author Archives: Gary McKeon

GeForce 7600 will handle Duke Nukem Forever

Who knew this dinosaur would still be playing games in 2011. You can all breath a collective sigh of relief; well at least those of you who haven’t upgraded your gaming rig in 5 years.

The PC hardware requirements for the upcoming 3D Realms shooter Duke Nukem Forever have been made available, and frankly it looks like a hardware cakewalk from here. It may not provide you with ample grunt to run everything on the highest settings, but according to the specs a 5-year old Nvidia GeForce 7600 will be enough to get you through at least some semblance of a game.

Minimum:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0 Ghz
  • Graphics: NIVIDIA GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Hard Drive: 10GB

Recommended:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.6 Ghz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS / ATI Radeon HD 3850
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Hard Drive: 10GB

Duke Nukem Forever is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on June 10th internationally, and the US 4 days later on June 14th. You can  pre-order the game on PCXbox 360 and PS3 from Amazon.

Related:
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
Portal 2 gets bug-zapping fix for PC
EA week on Steam starts now, 25% off Dragon Age II
New game releases for the coming week May 2 – May 9
Portal 2 for $29.99
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
id brings RAGE to unsuspecting Texans
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
Back to the Future episode 4 available now

Bin Laden not dead, as long as he’s malware

Bin Laden not dead, as long as he's malware.It seems the death of terror and Al-Qaeda financier Osama Bin Laden is being taken advantage of by malware makers.

With the recent shooting of Bin Laden by American forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, cunning malware makers are luring in unsuspecting PC users via links on social networking sites with the promise of Bin Laden images. The site then prompts users to download what they think is antivirus software, but all they get is insidious malware that hijacks their machines.

According to a blog post by antivirus firm Kapersky Lab malware makers are also taking advantage of a loophole in the way Google’s search algorithms handle breaking news. When a user searches for images of Osama Bin Laden they might find themselves on certain malicious domains, where viruses will be downloaded to their machine.

Related:
iOS 4.3.3 coming soon
Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone
PlayStation services being restored this week
Playstation Network shut down to prevent piracy bonanza?
IE9 nears 10% market share
Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers
F.E.A.R. the one month delay

iOS 4.3.3 coming soon

According to a source inside Apple, the company will be releasing iOS 4.3.3 in under a fortnight's time.According to a source inside Apple, the company may be releasing iOS 4.3.3 in under a fortnight’s time.

The lads over on BGR have been given the impending release, which is expected to fix the location tracking bug that started off a tornado of controversy back in April.

According to BGR’s source the update will include the following:

  • The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
  • The size of the location database will be reduced.
  • The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
  • Battery life improvements.
  • iPod bug fixes.

Related:
Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone
PlayStation services being restored this week
Playstation Network shut down to prevent piracy bonanza?
IE9 nears 10% market share
Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC

Portal 2 for $29.99

Portal 2 for $29.99If you’ve not yet seen fit to purchase Valve’s Portal sequel, perhaps a price drop of $20 might suit?

Over on Amazon they have dropped the price of Portal 2 (PC version) from $49.99 to $29.99. The console variants also have similar price-drops; PS3 and Xbox 360 deals here and here.

As if that’s not good enough, Valve recently announced that the first DLC for Portal 2 will be absolutely free of charge this Summer. The DLC will feature new test chambers, leaderboards, challenge mode for single and multiplayer modes; and will be free across the board whether downloaded on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, or PS3.

Related:
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
id brings RAGE to unsuspecting Texans
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
Back to the Future episode 4 available now
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC

IE9 nears 10% market share

IE9 boasts nearly 10% market share.According to the Windows Team Blog Internet Explorer 9 has nearly reached the 10% market share milestone.

IE9 went live on March 14th and since then has garnered more respect than most of the company’s other browser releases. Despite leaving Windows XP users in the shade, it appears IE9 is one of Microsoft’s biggest success stories in recent years. IE9 has already raced passed Opera 11, which holds a modest 2.18% share.

Microsoft’s Ryan Gavin:

This month’s share report from Net Applications continues to show some great momentum around Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7, with share about to pass 10% for the last day in April. We’re excited about that.

But Microsoft is not resting on its laurels; the company already has a preview release of Internet Explorer 10, which can be downloaded here. This next release will be excluding users of Windows Vista as well as XP, making IE10 a Windows 7-only release.

Related:
Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders

Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge

Portal 2 DLC en route and free.In a press release today Valve gave us a glimspe into their first upcoming DLC for Portal 2. Doug Lombardi already let it slip in an interview that the first DLC was en route for a Summer release. But the best news of all is that Valve will be charging you exactly $0.00.

The DLC will feature new test chambers, leaderboards, challenge mode for single and multiplayer modes; and will be free across the board whether downloaded on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, or PS3.

Valve also made it known that Portal 2 is their fastest-selling game since the seminal Half-Life 2 back in 2004. The sequel to 2007′s Portal is at number 1 in the UK charts and currently holds a Metacritic score of 95%.

Related:
Back to the Future episode 4 available now
AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam
EA raises over 1 million for Japan

Apple: We have no plans on tracking the location of your iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs.According to Apple, the data stored on the iPhone that keeps records of a user’s location and even timestamps for up to one year is a software bug. The unencrypted data can be read from the iPhone giving anyone access to details of a person’s whereabouts. Privacy advocates have been up in arms about the issue; including US Senator Al Franken, who sent a pressing letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

But it seems all the emotion may have been slightly out of proportion. The company claims the information was not meant to be stored on the iPhone (let alone unencrypted) and the only purpose it serves is logging of WiFi hotspots and cell tower data, which in turn enables faster GPS triangulation. There is still the issue of consumer privacy and Apple clearly botched it, but at least it appears there was no nefarious intentions on the part of Apple and they are taking steps to rectify the matter.

The company will be addressing these issues and more in the next iOS update, which is coming out in a few weeks time:

Software Update
Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

  • reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
  • ceases backing up this cache, and
  • deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.

You can also find a Q&A on Apple’s website with 10 of the most common questions surrounding this matter answered.

Related:
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam

AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers

AMD adds Catalyst Update to latest drivers.New Catalyst drivers have been released for Radeon HD 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 series graphics cards.

Catalyst 11.4 resolve a whole host of game issues, while bringing to the table a few new features; like new task based display management controls, a refreshed Eyefinity setup and AMD Catalyst update, which is similar to what Nvidia added to their drivers back in March. AMD’s Catalyst Update informs you when new drivers are available.

There are also some performance improvements in Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battleforge, Batman Arkham Asylum and a few others, see below:

Performance Enhancements
A number of performance enhancements are seen with the AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series and AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series:

  • Call of Duty Black Ops – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single GPU configurations.
  • Battleforge – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Batman Arkham Asylum – gains of up to 20% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Aliens vs. Predator – gains of up to 8% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Civilization 5 – gains of up to 15% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Far Cry 2 – gains of up to 6% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Just Cause 2 – gains of up to 9% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Lost Planet 2 – gains of up to 10% on single and multiple GPU configurations.

Download the new Catalyst drivers here.

Related:
F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012

Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC

Portal 2 DLC en route.The details are a little sketchy but Valve’s Doug Lombardi made it known in a an interview with FastCompany that DLC is planned for the Summer; with more of the nitty-gritty in the pipe-line.

We will be announcing some DLC for it, so folks can keep a look out for more content coming this summer. We’ll be putting more details out about that in a week or so.

The sequel to 2007′s puzzle-platformer has already garnered high and favourable marks among reviewers. Although a certain percentage of gamers found Valve’s inclusion of pricey bot dress-wear a little tasteless.

Related:
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’

Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC

That's the best-looking 34-year old I've ever seen.Treyarch are pulling out all the stops for their upcoming Black Ops DLC ‘Escalation’. The new expansion pack will feature vocals from none other than: the original and best child murderer Freddie Krueger himself  (Robert Englund), slayer of vampires Sarah Michelle Gellar aka ‘Buffy’, The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker and star of Machete, Danny Trejo.

Escalation also includes a zombie-killer map as a homage to the legendary George Romero.

From Black Ops director, Dave Anthony:

This is Treyarch’s tribute to the legendary George Romero, who truly defined the zombie genre and whose incredible work has been such an inspiration to our team. It was an absolute honour to work with such an amazing and talented cast whose passion and energy brought their characters instantly to life. Fans are going to love this.

Don’t forget to check out the new trailer for ‘Call of the Dead’, the zombie-laden map in which Sarah Michelle Gellar and Robert Englund tag-team up to kick some zombie ass.

Black Ops DLC Escalation features 4 new multi-player maps and will be available for Xbox 360 on May 3rd, while PC and PS3 users will have to wait a little longer; there is still no official release date for either.

Related:
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

Amazon slash 33% off Crysis 2

Crysis 2 , 33% off.If you hurry over to Amazon now you can snag Crysis 2 for only $39.95, down from $59.95; a saving of 33%. The deal includes the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 version of the popular sequel. This is an Amazon ‘Deal of the day’ so it won’t be around tomorrow.

Related:
Crysis 2 DX 11 support is in the pipeline, Crytek say
Crysis 2 patch addresses online cheating
Crytek dismiss DX11 patch rumour

Darkspore now available on Steam

Darkspore now available on Steam.Steam users in the United States can now purchase and download Darkspore, but the rest of the world will have to wait util April 27th.

The sci-fi Action-RPG developed by Maxis Software is loosely based on 2008′s Spore.

To get a glimpse of what you’ll be up against, check out EA’s gameplay trailer here.

Darkspore is an online Action-RPG where you can play up to four players in co-op and PvP. Instead of playing a single hero character, you collect and control many heroes, each with their own unique set of special abilities. Battle across alien worlds to collect loot that you can use for upgrades.

Related:
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

From Stuxnet to Stars; Iran’s virus woes continue

The true intent of 'Stars' is yet to be uncovered.

First the country’s nuclear facility at Bushehr was hit with a deadly virus last year (Stuxnet), which was allegedly designed to hijack and take control of equipment used in the country’s nuclear program. Now Iran claims to be the victim of another cyber-assault.

According to Tehran, another intricate and malicious virus has been uncovered and is targeting the country’s government institutions. According to the head of Iran’s civil defence organisation the newly uncovered virus dubbed ‘Stars’ was able to inflict some minor damage.

The ultimate purpose of ‘Stars’ is still yet to reveal itself. Gholam Reza Jalali, military head of the Iranian Passive Defence Organisation has said “The Stars virus has been presented to the laboratory but is still being investigated, no definite final conclusions have been reached.”

A number of Iranian government officials have always blamed the United States for Stuxnet, but voices are mute for the time being as to the origin of Stars.

Related:
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

Charlie Sheen launches new app for iOS

Charlie SheenThe former star of Two and a Half Men isn’t dwelling on the show’s cancellation; be it selling t-shirts, tiger-blood or his ‘My Violent Torpedo of Truth’ speaking tour. Sheen knows how to make some serious coin from his loyal fan-base.

The “epic winner’s'” next business venture is the launch of a new app for iPhones and iPads. Titled “The MaSheen“, for $2.99 the app lets you keep up to speed with the antics of Charlie from video rants to magic 8-ball predictions.

Related:
Charlie Sheen ‘Duh, Winning’ T-Shirt
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

Stick ‘em up, I have a PS3 controller!

Cameron Pittman.Sometimes you read stories that make you wonder just how far the human race has come from the African Savanna.

20-year old Floridian Cameron Pittman, who was already on probation for a previous crime tried to hold up a Sun Food Store with a PS3 controller hidden in his pocket. After receiving a tip, police rushed the building to catch the convenience store cat burglar in the act.

Cameron dropped the remote when officers stormed the store, and now faces charges of strong-arm robbery and violation of probation. The 20-year old now has plenty of time to think about what he did wrong; should have used a NES gun, duh!

Related:
Pre-order Fable III on Steam now
Valve’s bald-guy logo explained
Portal 2 patched already
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Fraps updated to v3.4.2
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers

Pre-order Fable III on Steam now

Pre-order Fable III on Steam now.

The next iteration of the massively popular Fable franchise is coming to PC on May 17th (North America), 19th (Aus), 20th (EU); but it’s now available to pre-purchase on Steam. When released Lionhead Studios’ action role-player will also be launching on the Games for Windows Live platform, but if you pre-purchase on Steam you will get access to:

The Rebel’s Weapon & Tattoo Pack:

A collection of four exclusive weapons and five exclusive tattoo sets to customize their rebel hero. See Fable III store page full details.

Fable the third has been wooing Xbox users since its release last October, and Lionshead promise more of a punch for the PC release. Users with enough grunt in the graphics department will be treated to full 3-D functionality. Also if you felt the console version was a tad on the easy side, there will be a PC-exclusive hardcore mode to challenge gamers a bit more. You can also pre-order the retail version from Amazon.

Related:
Valve’s bald-guy logo explained
Portal 2 patched already
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Fraps updated to v3.4.2
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers

Windows 7 milestone, Microsoft wants you to ditch the “habit” of XP

Windows 7 on the rise; XP support is running out.Windows 7 is 18 months old today. Back in October 2009 Microsoft launched the follow-up to the luke-warm reception of Windows Vista.

Since that time Windows 7 has seen widespread adoption, sold more than 350 million licenses and just 2 months ago got its first service pack. This coupled with the arrival of Internet Explorer 9, it’s pretty clear the Windows 7 platform has been a success for Microsoft.

With all that in mind the company is taking this opportunity to give people and organizations advice on how to put XP in the recycle bin; the ageing OS still has over 46% of the worldwide market share. With only 1081 days left until XP’s support runs out, Microsoft wants everyone to ditch what they refer to as “the habit” of Windows XP. It may seem like an insensitive way to talk about one of their most successful operating systems, but given the fact that XP is nearly 10-years old it kind of makes sense.

If you’re leaning towards Windows 7, check out the Windows Team Blog’s 10 steps to point you in the right direction:

So how can Springboard help you to get off Windows XP and move to a modern OS? Here is 10 ways we can help?

  1. We dove deep into that topic during our most recent Virtual Roundtable, “Is XP Good Enough? Really?”. Check out the virtual roundtable to hear common issues and solutions around moving off XP.
  2. Test your skills at deploying Windows 7 in the Deployment Learning Portal.
  3. Check out the free Springboard Series Tour which will show Office 365, Windows Intune, Office 2010 and the latest Windows deployment techniques.
  4. Check out the Windows deployment sessions at TechEd in Atlanta.
  5. Become a Springboard Series Insider and get monthly tips and tricks on Windows, Office and Internet Explorer.
  6. Check out our Springboard Zone for OfficeInternet ExplorerWindows IntuneMDOP and Desktop Virtualization.
  7. Watch for local events from STEP (Springboard Technical Experts Program) members in your local city worldwide.
  8. Follow our twitter feed at MSSpringboard for great IT pro information. We were picked as one of the top IT pro feeds to follow by 26 different sites.
  9. Before you begin to deploy Windows 7, download the Windows 7 90-day Trial and get started testing your apps and hardware.
  10. Did I mention the cool desktop gadget? Download the Windows XP EOS Gadget (available soon in 10 languages) and see the countdown for yourself!

Related:
Windows 7 price-drop on Amazon
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?
Apple’s profits almost double, helped by rising iPhone sales
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Is XP Good Enough?
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?

Valve’s bald-guy logo explained

Valve's bald-guy logo explained.
Ever wondered who the bald guy is when you launch a Valve game? Or what the meaning is behind the iconic image? You’re not alone; a curious Valve fan sent the company an email asking for an explanation and received a reply from Valve’s Ray Ueno who worked on developing the original concept.

When the company launched in 1995 they approached a number of agencies to find a suitable model for the picture. But they were looking for a heavy-set individual and all the agencies would send them was the exact opposite.

“We kept requesting “heavy-set”, “normal” models, and they kept sending us “beautiful”, “thin”, “perfect” headshots to review,” Ueno claims.

So Valve finally convinced an agency to take to the streets and “pull “everyday Joes” who were more “interesting”, “common”, and for the bald guy, “kinda big, heavy-set, and bald”.

The agency set out upon the streets of Seattle’s Broadway district taking a wealth of polaroids (remember them?), and took their pics back to Valve. They then selected the ‘bald guy’ from some of the shots taken off-street. According to Ueno “he was literally pulled out of a coffee shop or book store!”.

A few days later, we brought him into studio and shot the image you now see at the beginning of our games. We also shot a 2nd image of a different guy with a valve in his eye using the same process (you might remember him as well—attached below). The two comprised the “Open your mind. Open your eyes.” concept for our initial brand, respectively.

So there you have it folks. In the unlikely event this ever comes up in a pub quiz, you can be the saving grace of the red team.

Related:
Portal 2 patched already
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Fraps updated to v3.4.2
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
id: Doom 4 is “awesome”
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan

Apple’s profits almost double, helped by rising iPhone sales

Apple nearly doubles profits, thanks to a rise in iPhone sales.Apple has reported quarterly net profits of $5.99bn, almost double what it made 1 year ago.

This massive profit spike is being attributed to a large rise in iPhone sales. The company sold 18.65 million iPhones, causing Apple’s stock to go up 2.5%.

According to Apple CEO Steve Jobs the company is “firing on all cylinders”, and promised that Apple will “continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year”.

Meanwhile the iPhone maker is coming under fire from all fronts because of its recently discovered tracking activities. iPhone and iPad users’ whereabouts have been tracked secretly by Apple, and uploaded to the company incognito; raising a few eyebrows from privacy advocates.

Related:
Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Is XP Good Enough?
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?

Al Franken takes on Steve Jobs over iPhone tracking

Al Franken worried about the privacy implications of Apple's tracking.You may not have been aware of it but if you own an iPhone it may be secretly keeping track of your every movement, wherever you have been. This information is allegedly stored on a secret file on the iPhone and then uploaded to your PC when you sync it. Your whereabouts including time and date is then passed on to Apple.

Because this information is not encrypted on the phone you can download an application that reveals the details of your whereabouts, including timestamps; raising legitimate privacy concerns.

Some politicians are extremely irked by the non-disclosure of such a policy and the privacy implications. In a open letter to Steve Jobs, Senator Al Franken is demanding answers from the Apple CEO.

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I read with concern a recent report by security researchers that Apple’s iOS 4 operating system is secretly compiling its customers’ location data in a file stored on iPhones, 3G iPads, and every computer that users used to “sync” their devices. According to the researchers, this file contains consumers’ latitude and longitude for every day they used an iPhone or 3G iPad running the iOS 4 operating system-sometimes logging their precise geo-location up to 100 times a day. The researchers who discovered this file found that it contained up to a year’s worth of data, starting from the day they installed the iOS 4 operating system. What is even more worrisome is that this file is stored in an unencrypted format on customers’ iPads, iPhones, and every computer a customer has used to back up his or her information.

Franken basically wants Apple to explain why they are tracking users’ movements (which isn’t limited to the iPhone; the iPad also exhibits the same behaviour), how the data is generated, the frequency of this information gathering, why the data is not encrypted and also if this practise is permissible under the terms of its privacy policy.

The details of Apple’s tracking activities were discovered by security researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warren and made known at O’Reilly’s Where 2.0 conference.

Update: It’s looking more likely that this is a bug in the iOS software, one that will be fixed soon. Although Apple hasn’t publicly commented on the matter, reliable sources have cast doubt over the initial privacy concerns.

Related:
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia giving away Duke Nukem Forever PC
Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Is XP Good Enough?
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?
Google puts video website out to pasture
Google updates Chrome with Flash Player fix
Vista may whine but it’s stuck with IE9

id: Doom 4 is “awesome”

id Software CEO Todd HollensheadIn a recent interview with EuroGamer, id Software said they are working very hard on Doom 4 to try and make it a unique experience for gamers; something completely different to their upcoming post-apocalytic shooter RAGE.

According to id CEO Todd Hollenshead Doom 4 is neither a sequel to Doom 3 nor is it a reboot of the franchise; although Hollenshead was somewhat vague with the details:

Doom 3 was sort of a reboot. It’s a little bit different than those, and if I told you why, I would get my ass kicked when I got back. So I’ll just have to leave it at that.

RAGE is due out on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in September of this year; but we still know very little about Doom 4, apart from the fact that it will be using id Tech 5, the same game engine as RAGE. Unfortunately we have no release date for Doom 4, no video-demo or even a screenshot for that matter. At least for now it seems id Software have their lips tightly sealed regarding the long-awaited next iteration in the Doom franchise.

Related:
Pre-order RAGE now
Portal 2 available now on Steam
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

Portal 2 available now on Steam

Portal 2It’s been a long wait but Portal 2 is now ready to play on Steam. It is also available from retailers across the US, although Europe and Australia will have to wait another 2 days to get their hands on a retail copy of the game.

The sequel to the massively popular 2007 game was due for release at Christmas 2010 but much to the dismay of fans, it was delayed until now.

If you took the time to pre-load the game 1 week ago, all you need to do is log-in and start playing.

Related:
Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon
New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25

Valve patches buggy TF2 ‘Hatless Update’

Valve fixes crashes from 'Hatless Update'.After the pain of the so-called ‘Hatless Update‘ from Valve 5 days ago, a patch has finally been released to quench the anti-Valve sentiment from disgruntled players of the popular online shooter.

The hefty update from April 14th brought a few new features to the game; including a revamped voting system,  improvements to bots and voice chat and some in-game training.

The problem with the update however, is that it was pre-maturely applied to the stable version of the game and clearly wasn’t ready for wide-spread consumption. After the update users found themselves treated to 5 days of random and constant crashes to the desktop, and also an inability to access their weapon loadout (among other issues).

The good news is that Valve have finally got around to ironing out the bugs; so breath easy my fellow TF2 addicts.

Team Fortress 2

  • Fixed a server crash that could occur if TFBots were used across map changes
  • Fixed a client crash caused by weapons with attached models
  • Fixed a material system crash
  • Fixed a client crash with dynamic model loading
  • Fixed a few backpack images not drawing correctly
  • Fixed listen servers sometimes not authenticating with Steam (not being able to use Offline Practice)
  • Fixed the “itemtest” command
  • Fixed players not being able to access their backpack loadout
  • Updated the localization files

 

Related:
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon
New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25
Life-size Big Sister costume from Bioshock 2
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
1 million Facebook likes to unlock Battlefield 3 trailer

Apple updates iTunes, addresses sync issues

Apple addresses sync and other issues with iTunes 10.2.2.Apple has released an update to their popular iTunes software, bringing the media player up to version 10.2.2.12.

This small update fixes a number of issues including a problem with hanging while syncing. Some users have been experiencing hanging issues with their iPhones and iPads while using iTunes to sync their devices.

There are also a number of security exploits that have been plugged. If you haven’t been prompted to download the new iTunes from your desktop, grab the manual download here.

From Apple:

About iTunes 10.2.2

iTunes 10.2.2 provides a number of important bug fixes, including:

  • Addresses an issue where iTunes may become unresponsive when syncing an iPad.
  • Resolves an issue which may cause syncing photos with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to take longer than necessary.
  • Fixes a problem where video previews on the iTunes Store may skip while playing.
  • Addresses other issues that improve stability and performance.

iTunes 10.2 came with several new features and improvements, including:

  • Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.
  • Improved Home Sharing. Browse and play from your iTunes libraries with Home Sharing on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.

Related:
Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers
Is XP Good Enough?
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?
Google puts video website out to pasture
Google updates Chrome with Flash Player fix
Vista may whine but it’s stuck with IE9
Windows 7 Home Premium for as low as $99
30 handy apps, all free and weighing under 2MB
Flash exploit being fixed tomorrow, says Adobe
Another critical Flash Player exploit in the wild

Nvidia rolls out WHQL-certified 270 drivers

At the end of March Nvidia released an early beta version of their v270 drivers for 6-series and above GeForce graphics cards; bringing with them massive performance gains to their 500 series of GPUs; also fixing the terrible performance in Dragon Age II. The company also added a new auto-update feature that alerts you via the taskbar when a new driver is available, with links to download.

The 270 family of GeForce drivers have been given the OK from Microsoft and are now available to download WHQL-certified (Windows Hardware Quality Labs testing). If you opted to download the beta drivers (270.51) back in March you should have already been notified of the new release, provided you had auto-update enabled.

Check out the above video in which Nvidia’s Tom Petersen goes through briefly what these new drivers bring to the table. You can read in detail about all the performance gains here.

Related:
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon
New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25
Life-size Big Sister costume from Bioshock 2
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
1 million Facebook likes to unlock Battlefield 3 trailer
WoW player grinds to 85 without killing any mobs

Is XP Good Enough?

That is the question being asked over on the Window’s Team Blog. It’s a rhetorical question no doubt but Microsoft wants to reach out to companies and I.T. pros still using the 10-year old operating system.

Is XP good enough?There are only 1085 days left until Windows XP reaches the end of its support. Microsoft will effectively be cutting off the oxygen supply; no updates, no tech support etc.

With so many security threats and dangers yet unseen on the internet, can a company really afford to be defiantly using a much less secure operating system, and one that will be left adrift, unpatched and uncared for by its maker?

In this video a panel of experts discuss the pros and cons of XP compared to Windows 7; migration costs, application compatibility etc. You’ll need Microsoft’s Silverlight plugin installed in order to view the video.

Related:
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?
Google puts video website out to pasture
Google updates Chrome with Flash Player fix
Vista may whine but it’s stuck with IE9
Windows 7 Home Premium for as low as $99
30 handy apps, all free and weighing under 2MB
Flash exploit being fixed tomorrow, says Adobe
Another critical Flash Player exploit in the wild
Kindle with “Special Offers” aka ads, to launch on May 3

Google puts video website out to pasture

Google Video officially ends its service on May 5th 2011.It’s all too clear that YouTube is the dominant video sharing website on the internet. Google clearly saw the site’s potential when they bought out YouTube back in 2005 for a cool $1.65 billion.

Google originally wanted to compete with YouTube using their Google Video site. But now that YouTube more than satisfies the needs of Google’s customers, the company is finally pulling the plug on their ageing video service website; having already stopped taking new uploads since May 2009.

Google sent out an email to users who have videos hosted on video.google.com. In this email they basically said if you want to keep your videos you had better download them by April 29th or they will be gone forever.

On April 29, 2011, videos that have been uploaded to Google Video will no longer be available for playback. We’ve added a Download button to the video status page, so you can download any video content you want to save. If you don’t want to download your content, you don’t need to do anything. (The Download feature will be disabled after May 13, 2011.)

Related:
Google updates Chrome with Flash Player fix
Vista may whine but it’s stuck with IE9
Windows 7 Home Premium for as low as $99
30 handy apps, all free and weighing under 2MB
Flash exploit being fixed tomorrow, says Adobe
Another critical Flash Player exploit in the wild
Kindle with “Special Offers” aka ads, to launch on May 3
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?

BioWare founders start auction for Japan quake victims

Bioware’s founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk.Valve and the Team Fortress 2 community recently raised nearly half a million dollars for the Japanese relief efforts, after the disastrous earthquake.

Now BioWare are digging deep to help shore up Valve’s efforts. The company founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk are auctioning off various BioWare items on eBay including personally autographed hoodies and games.

All proceeds are going to the Japanese Red Cross and you can bid on the items from anywhere in the world. BioWare will ship the items to the highest bidder, wherever they reside.

If you’re interested in any BioWare autographed gear, head on over to the BioWare forums for more info. Or you can go straight to the auction page and start bidding. Good luck!

BioWare is auctioning off 2 Xbox 360 Game consoles and 2 custom painted PS3s each autograped by BioWare founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk each Xbox 360 will come with copies of Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition and Dragon Age II autographed by the respective game teams. We will also be auctioning off 10 of the new Zip up Mass Effect 2 hoodies again autographed by Ray & Greg. All proceeds will go to the Japanese Red Cross  to help the people who need it most.

Related:
Valve bags nearly half a million for Japan
Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon
New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25
Life-size Big Sister costume from Bioshock 2
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
1 million Facebook likes to unlock Battlefield 3 trailer
WoW player grinds to 85 without killing any mobs

Fallout: New Vegas GotY Edition sighted on Amazon

Fallout New Vegas

Fallout New Vegas

The Game of the Year Edition of Bethesda’s Fallout: New Vegas has been sighted on Amazon.co.uk.

The popular role-player developed by Obsidian Entertainment was released on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in October of last year. Despite a handful of bugs the game received some pretty decent reviews, and has a metascore of 85/100

There is no release date for the GotY edition, or any other details for that matter; but Amazon are taking pre-orders for £20.62.

Related:
New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25
Life-size Big Sister costume from Bioshock 2
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
1 million Facebook likes to unlock Battlefield 3 trailer
WoW player grinds to 85 without killing any mobs

Google updates Chrome with Flash Player fix

New Chrome logo (only available in latest beta).The latest Flash Player exploit which uses a Flash (.swf) file embedded in a Microsoft Word (.doc) file has finally been plugged by Adobe.

Google have updated their Chrome browser with the relevant fix which plugs the critical hole in Adobe’s Flash Player software.

The latest build of Chrome is 10.0.648.205. You can find out if you have the latest version by clicking on the spanner in the upper-right then find ‘About Google Chrome’. This small update also fixes a few other issues listed here.

The Chrome Stable channel has been updated to 10.0.648.205 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame.  This release contains a new version of Adobe Flash which includes a fix for a security vulnerability.

Using IE? You can manually download the Flash update here.
Firefox users grab it from this page.

Related:
Vista may whine but it’s stuck with IE9
Windows 7 Home Premium for as low as $99
30 handy apps, all free and weighing under 2MB
Flash exploit being fixed tomorrow, says Adobe
Another critical Flash Player exploit in the wild
Kindle with “Special Offers” aka ads, to launch on May 3
Is Windows 7 finally overtaking XP?