EA is coming out with another NFS. The beauty of this one is that it’s free. That’s right. Absolutely free. EA has is experimenting with free-to-play games. Before this one, it released Battlefield: Heroes. It got Best of 2009 from IGN. I’ve played a few of these free-to-play games, and I loved them. Combat Arms was my first one, and it was brilliant. Battlefield Heroes was a great game as well. For those of you who don’t know how these free-to-play games work, here’s how it goes:
Usually you have to register on the site
download the game
Yep, that’s it. However, there is a catch. Usually you can’t get special weapons or you can’t customize your character quite as much if you put a few bucks in the game. Meaning, if you charge your account, you can buy special weapons or equipment that could aid you in your game. EA hasn’t released information on how they are going to profit off NFSW, but I imagine that you won’t be able to get certain cars, gadgets, or little add-ons without throwing in a few greenbacks.
As you can see for yourself, the game looks great. And remember, it’s a free game. Free games don’t look this good, until now. EA is planning to include ~250 cars with around 50-100 when the game launches. The maps are from previous games including: Carbon, Most Wanted, and EA also plans to include maps from the other NFS games.
Onto gameplay. It’s fairly straightforward. It has a minimalistic hud and simple controls. It’s more arcadey than a real simulation. You can have nitro boosts and power-ups. EA also said that they would include other modes like in Pursuit, where you had cops. Yes, you will be able to play as a cop. Customization options are adequate, paint jobs, wheels, etc. When you launch the game, you are landed into a massive world. Just a press of the button has you matched up with 7 other players. Now all that’s left is to pick a game mode and your set. The racing is seamless.
Oh and one more thing, it’s PC only.
The game still has a ways to go, but so far it’s looking promising. What are your thoughts? Put them in the comments. Do you think this will be a hit or miss? Leave it in the comments.
Microsoft was sued by i4i on March 2007 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas — a court considered a haven for small businesses that sue technology companies for patent infringement. Microsoft had apparently violated a patent regarding custom XML, which separates markup tags from content. The two Office suits that contain the custom XML is Office 2003 and Office 2007. On August 12, Judge Leonard Davis ruled that Microsoft pay an excess of $290 million and issued a permanent injunction for the “449 patent”. Judge Davis also ruled that Microsoft pull Office 2003 and Office 2007 from store shelves.
As expected, Microsoft is appealing the ruling. The software giant filed a motion with the Court of Appeals on Tuesday for an expedited review of its appeal and to stay the permanent injunction while the appeal is pending, according to Kevin Kutz, a Microsoft spokesperson.
“These filings are not unusual in patent cases,” Kutz said. “As we’ve maintained throughout this process, we believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We look forward to filing our appeal and to Court of Appeals review.”
“The appeal was fully expected, given the signifcance of the case and the flagship status of Microsoft Word to the defendant,” said Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i. “I4i will continue to vigourously enforce its patent. We firmly believe the jury verdict and judgment were both fair and correct and we have been vindicated through the process.”
There are only two options:
1. Microsoft and i4i settle the issue out of court.
2. Microsoft and i4i continue to fight for years to come.
Customers will have no choice but to sit back and wait.
As many of you know, Snow Leopard will be the new OS for upcoming Macs. It is currently in beta for anyone who wants to test it.
AppleInsider reader inewton1974 pointed us to an annotated Flickr albumof nearly four dozen Snow Leopard screenshots he published a bit earlier in the week. He begins by noting that the software’s setup assistant will now warn users if they don’t supply a password hint and claims that QuickLook capabilities have been built into universal Open and Save dialog windows.
inewton1974 has been kind enough to supply the world with glimpses of Snow Leopard. There seem to be a ton of improvements to the OS already. A first big change is the apparent loss of Quicktime. There are many options for it that are completely missing. Apple may be doing away with Quicktime. Everything is becoming smoother. The Finder slides icons into place instead of shifting abruptly.
For just a quick run down of the small changes made so far to Snow Leopard:
There is a slider in the Finder to change icon size and there are updates to the Date & Time preference pane will let Snow Leopard users display the time and date (or day of the week) side-by-side in the Mac OS X menubar. Time Zone preferences have also seen an overhaul. Each time zone is highlighted as a user moves their mouse cursor across the map. And as previously note, users will have the option to have their time zone updated automatically with help of Snow Leopard’s new Core Location framework.
Users who prefer not to have their Mac’s location identified via Core Location can switch the option off via the general security preferences. The same preference pane also introduce a handy new feature that will let users adjust the time interval between when their Mac goes to sleep (or activates a screen saver) and when their password will be required to regain access.
For instance, you could set your screen to dim after 10 minutes of inactivity but not lock down the system and require a password prompt for 45 minutes. In current versions of the Mac OS, there’s no separation of these features.
Below is a capture of QuickTime X Player’s HUDless movie playback presentation:
The new Player software will also let users upload movie files to Youtube or their Mobile Me accounts.
The same software also provides both basic video and audio editing (trimming):
A handful of changes are also in store for Snow Leopards Preferences, namely a separation of the Keyboard & Mouse preferences, a relocation of Bluetooth preferences from “Hardware” to a new section called “Internet & Wireless,” and a renaming of the “International” preferences to “Language & Text.”
There are many more changes made in Snow Leopard. This new OS already seems appetizing and I can’t wait to get a hold of it.
Apple on Wednesday officially kicked off its 2009 back-to-school promotion, which offers a free 8GB iPod touch to students and educational staffers who purchase a qualifying Mac. –Apple Insider Staff
That’s right folks! Buy any new Mac and you get a FREE 8GB iPod Touch! With no added price! The 8GB iPod Touch is priced at around $229 USD. For example, if you buy a MacBook for $1,000 then you will receive an 8GB iPod Touch. What’s the catch you ask? Only a few.
You are eligible for this offer if you are in a private K-12 school or you are taking higher education (i.e. College, University, Academy, etc). That is the only way you can receive this offer. Any faculty or staff member of the K-12 private schools and any faculty of the higher education schools also qualify for the offer. Also important, parents who are purchasing a Mac for their child are also eligible for the offer. Also note this:
The promotion offers a $229 online rebate that cancels out the price of an 8GB iPod touch. Customers who instead prefer an 8GB iPod nano, 16GB iPod nano, 120GB iPod classic, or 4GB iPod shuffle can elect to receive lesser rebates that will similarly compensate for the costs of those models.
Now, which Macs qualify? The MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Pro’s qualify. The Mac mini and refurbished Macs do not qualify.
When, where, and how do you participate?
You must buy your Mac and iPod in the same order on the same day and before September 8. The items must be purchased from the Apple Online Store for Education Individuals, an Apple Retail Store, Apple Telesales, or an Apple Authorized Campus Store located in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia.
“After you receive your Mac and iPod, submit your claim online by October 8, 2009,” Apple says. “Once your claim has been submitted, check your rebate status at any time.”
I was on the Apple site earlier yesterday and I saw this promo. I thought nothing of it. I didn’t know this was new until I read about it on the Apple Insider. I found this to be rather exciting and wished I was in college or in a private school. This is a great deal if you are big into Macs.
For more information please go to The Apple Insider
bMost of us are familiar with email and sending things through it. We are used to attaching a document to an email and sending it. It’s fast and easy. Email is all well and good, but what if you are working on a project that had multiple people working on it? Email would be a hassle, and you would have to appoint a person to view all these different changes to the project. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way were multiple people can access your file and also speak to each other about changes? Well, I’m about to give you 3 sites that you can do that on.
The first one is Etherpad.com. It sets up a random URL for the web page of your document. However, I wouldn’t recommend this one because of one flaw, there is no security. Once someone knows the URL to your document, they can get it. There is no way to set a password or anything of the nature. It is very useful however, for quick meetings on non-sensitive material. You have a chat window off to the side where you can discuss your project and you can see everyone’s changes to see which is better. It takes far less time than email. Each person’s changes is highlighted a different color AND this is a free service. I may start using this myself, it sounds very handy.
No. 2 is something a little more secure and feature rich. It is Box.net.
A team of people can share a collection of documents that is posted to their own Web page. You can do full-text searches across this collection, and have threaded discussions too. The cost is $15 per user per month. And unlike Etherpad, you can share all kinds of files, not just word processing documents.
That basically says it all. You can upload multiple types of documents and search text through your pile of documents. You can have conversations as well. I don’t believe there is a chat, but the conversations stay put like a forum post.
The last of these services is Drop.io.
This is like Box in that you can save a wide variety of files and do so securely, like Etherpad in that you have real-time chat. But there is plenty more going on here. The cool thing about Drop.io is that you have so many ways to get information in and out of the shared Web page. You can upload content via Web, e-mail, send via a text message, Facebook feeds, or even phone or fax it in. The phone calls are saved as audio files.
As you can see, Drop.io is basically a combination of the previous two. You can try it out for free. If you want to create one shared page, that will be $10 per year for 1 GB of space. Personally this service sounds the best to me. Many features and seems to be easily accessible. I haven’t tried out these services myself yet, but I may come back and update this with my own opinions of the one(s) I’ve tried. These are great services if you are part of a big company working on many projects. It is faster and easier to share your projects through one of these services.
Read the full article at: Computer World
May 11, 2009 (IDG News Service) A year ago, when a Time Magazine reporter told Tan Dailin that he’d been identified as someone who may have hacked the Pentagon, he gasped and asked, “Will the FBI send special agents out to arrest me?”
Dailin (better known as “Withered Rose” in Chinese hacking circles, was arrested in Chengdu, China by local authorities. He now faces seven (7) years in prison under a new Chinese cybercrime law that was passed in late February. Western media has been covered with stories of Chinese hacking for years. Up until now, the cybercrime in China was governed by three articles added to China’s criminal code in 1997. These articles were severely out of date. The definition of cybercrime was quite narrow. It has broadened greatly with the passing of these new laws.
These laws however, are still in the early stages of development. The max years a person can spend in prison for a cybercrime is seven years. That is poor considering that in the United States, where people who commit computer fraud regularly serve 20 year sentences. Many experts are wondering if China is sponsoring politically motivated cyber-attacks and turning a blind eye to cybercrime.
In the past few years, cybercriminals have been posing as security experts and calling on small-business owners to offer their services. If they aren’t hired, then they simple attack the business. They usually start out with distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, unless they are paid.
Dailin reportedly was arrested after he trained a DDOS attack on rival hacker groups. His victims went to authorities with evidence.
Some IT professionals have turned to crime in the past few years. China’s economy is struggling, and these professionals can not easily find jobs.
Zhao, the CEO of security consultancy Knownsec, called China “the world’s malware factory,” saying that the country has become a major source of online attacks and so-called zero-day attacks, which target previously undisclosed software flaws.
Recently, in the past few months, Chinese hackers have gained fame for launching widespread attacks against popular programs such as Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, and many local programs.
May 7, 2009 (IDG News Service) Cybercriminals who went after Facebook users with a number of phishing attacks last week have now turned around and begun sending spam messages from the Facebook accounts they cracked. – Apple Insider
Some of the spam is your normal spam, Viagra, etc. But the other spam is much more dangerous. This spam leads users to sites that overload your computer with adware. One of those sites, mygener.im –do not visit this Web site; it will attack your computer — is loaded with attack code that is used to install malicious programs, said Paul Ferguson, a researcher with antivirus vendor Trend Micro.
Facebook is disabling accounts that it links to recent spam attacks, but the company won’t say how many users have been affected. Facebook is considered by many to be a “mini-myspace”, but it has grown in popularity. It looks like there are only a few users that are affected. This is pretty big news and it sounds like Facebook has some security holes to fill. Many of my classmates have Facebook accounts. Many popular bands and celebrities have Facebook accounts as well. Facebook is no longer the small social networking site it was deemed earlier.
Facebook had an incident last year with Koobface, which was a worm program that spread like the plague through Facebook. It tried to trick its victims into downloading malicious code. It seems Facebook is not a reliable place at the moment. They really need to up their ante on their security.
Spammers have turned back the clock and are recycling a years-old tactic by planting their messages in images, a security researcher warned today. –ComputerWorld
Image spam was something that was popular years ago. It caught everyone off guard. Spammers would send their unwanted material through emails in the form of images. This created a huge problem until most major email clients started to filter the images. An odd spike in image spamming has returned in 2009 where it declined rapidly in 2008.
About 25% of last months spam can be attributed to image spam. These image spammers seem to be doing the same thing they were before, but it seems they are less skilled at it. Few of the messages included ready-to-click links. Instead, the images contain a URL that the user must type into their address bar. Far less efficient in my mind. From March 19 to April 9, spammers conducted an image spam test. The test was obviously successful because on April 21 it came back stronger than ever. After April 9 the spam had nearly ceased entirely, then all of a sudden came back the 21st.
Experts are surprised that this tactic is working. Most email clients should filter the spam out, but it is possible that perhaps for performance reasons, the vendors ditched the image-based spam filtering. Experts also predict the return of other old tactics such as PDF and audio clip-based spam.
A couple of tech blogs are reporting Tuesday that Apple may have some interest in acquiring Twitter in an all-cash deal, though neither publication is able to substantiate the rumors or outline a clear-cut strategy that would serve to motivate the iPhone maker into such a deal.
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that lets users broadcast short messages of up to 140 characters – known as tweets – to other users who subscribe to their feeds, known as followers.
Twitter has skyrocketed since its creation. Many celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears have adopted the service. Oprah also announced that she is going to use the service, says TechChrunch.
There are about 25 million Twitter users worldwide, which has been swelling by 40% each week since last month.
A technology blog reported Tuesday that Apple may be talking about buying Twitter for $700 million.
Find out more at Apple Insider
The search engine giant, Google, has taken a more eco-friendly route to cutting grass. They’ve hired goats. I’m not “kidding”. They hired ~200 goats from California Grazing to spend roughly a week at the Google Mountain View Headquarters.
This is where Google will beat all of its competitors, in the greenest lawn contest. It may not be the best smelling, but it sure will be the greenest. I find it funny that such a big company as Google would “waste” their money on goats. This is why Google rocks, they aren’t scared to try out new things and go the extra mile.