Vigile writes "With the release of AMD's latest budget graphics card, the Radeon HD 4770, the GPU giant is bringing a lot of technology to the table. The card sports the world's first 40nm GPU (beating out CPUs to a new process technology for the first time), GDDR5 memory, and 640 stream processors, all for under $100. What is even more interesting is that as PC gaming has evolved it appears that a $99 graphics card is all you really need to play the latest PC titles — as long as you are comfortable with a resolution of 1920x1200 or below. Since so few PC gamers have screens larger than that, could the world of high-end PC graphics simply go away?"
...this version completely lacks support for Daylight Saving Time.
theodp writes "Time reports that vinyl records are suddenly cool again. Vinyl has a warmer, more nuanced sound than CDs or MP3s; records feature large album covers with imaginative graphics, pullout photos, and liner notes. 'Bad sound on an iPod has had an impact on a lot of people going back to vinyl,' says 15-year-old David MacRunnel, who owns more than 1,000 records."
Ron Bison writes to mention Game Politics is reporting that anti-game presidential candidates didn't fare so well in the Iowa caucuses. "On the Republican side, Mitt Romney, who lumps violent video games into what he terms an ocean of filth, was badly beaten by Mike Huckabee. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton saw both Barack Obama and John Edwards win more of the popular vote. Clinton has previously proposed video game legislation in the U.S. Senate. She recently told Common Sense Media that she would support such legislation if elected president."
Phurge writes "According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, the Australia government has decided to take the controversial step of having internet service providers filter web content at the request of parents, in a crackdown on online bad language, pornography and child sex predators. 'The more efficient compulsory filtering of internet service providers (ISPs) was proposed in March last year by the then Labor leader, Kim Beazley. At the time, the Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, and ISPs criticised his idea as expensive. Three months later Senator Coonan announced the Government's Net Alert policy, which promised free filtering software for every home that wanted it. She also announced an ISP filtering trial to be conducted in Tasmania. That trial was scrapped. Today Mr Howard will hail the ISP filtering measure as a world first by any Government, and is expected to offer funding to help cover the cost. Parents will be able to request the ISP filter option when they sign up with an ISP. It will be compulsory to provide it. The measures will come into effect by the end of this month.'"
A while back we discussed the corruption investigation aimed at Alaska Sen. Ted "series of tubes" Stevens. A number of readers sent us word that the home of Sen. Stevens was raided earlier today by agents of the FBI and the IRS. The focus of the raid was a remodeling project at Stevens's home and the involvement of VECO, an oil company.
owlgorithm writes "Salon reports that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been leaked four days before it hits bookstores. It turns out that someone with access to the American edition of the book has taken a photograph of every one of the pages and made them available via bittorrent. Publishers may well be quaking in their boots, but in some places the quality is barely legible. On many pages the pirateer's hands are in the pictures with other pages needing a bit of Photoshopping just to make out the words. It appears many of the sites have been removing the content, naturally enough."
iansmith wonders: "I have a new Gateway computer hooked to a flat screen monitor. The problem is the video out is only VGA which does not look as sharp as a DVI output. To help with this, and also to let me run dual displays, I want to add a video card to the machine. In the past I would just grab a standard VGA card for $20, plug it in and go, not needing fancy 3D graphics. I do not want to spend $300 for a gaming video card... does anybody make a video card with DVI out that is not a souped up 3D powerhouse, with a price tag to match? Even worse, all new machines seem to be PCI-Express and so that makes it even less likely I'll find something affordable. I can't even use an old 3D card from home. What would you all suggest I do?"
It would be hard to argue that World of Warcraft hasn't been a huge success. Not only has it been a financial success in the MMO market, but it has introduced many new people to Massive gaming that might not have otherwise given it a shot. With their first expansion, The Burning Crusade, Blizzard has made huge advances in many areas of the game. Long-standing complaints have been addressed, and the structure of the popular title has been reinforced. The casual players have gotten a large injection of content that is both accessible and enjoyable to someone who doesn't have huge amounts of time to play. At the same time, hardcore players who thirst for new challenges on a daily basis have quite a bit of work ahead of them. This is not to say that The Burning Crusade (BC) doesn't have its pitfalls, but overall I get the feeling that this is closer to what Blizzard's World of Warcraft dream was meant to be. Read on for my opinions of this new round of addiction.
prostoalex writes "It's a big victory for Richard Stallman in North America, as Cuba decided to adopt open source software on the national level. Both Cuba and Venezuela are currently working on switching the entire government infrastructure to GNU/Linux operating system and applications, the Associated Press reports from Havana: 'Both governments say they are trying to wean state agencies from Microsoft's proprietary Windows to the open-source Linux operating system, which is developed by a global community of programmers who freely share their code.' The AP article doesn't mention the distro used for government workers, but says that the students are working on a Gentoo-based distro."
dropgoal writes "Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas (and GOP presidential candidate) has reintroduced the Truth in Ratings Act. Like the previous version that failed to pass last year, Sen. Brownback's bill would make the FTC responsible for overseeing the video game ratings system and possibly result in a unified ratings system for games, movies, and TV. The ESRB would also have to review all game footage before issuing a rating. Currently, the ESRB hands out ratings after viewing a reel with representative content prepared by the developers. Sen. Brownback thinks that's not enough. 'Video game reviewers should be required to review the entire content of a game to ensure the accuracy of the rating. The current video game ratings system is not as accurate as it could be because reviewers do not see the full content of games and do not even play the games they rate', he said."
Mr_Foo writes "According to a Nature article, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE imager is suffering from a loss of peripheral vision. The problem surfaced less than a month after the orbiter reached Mars. One the camera's four color detectors has completely stopped working, and it is feared that the problems are spreading. Currently seven of the fourteen HiRISE's detectors are sending back corrupted data and although the issue is only creating a 2% loss of signal at this time it is expected to worsen. The lead investigator for the mission is quoted as saying the problem is systemic: 'In the broken detectors, extra peaks and troughs are somehow being introduced, causing... a "ringing" in the signal. "We don't know where the ringing is coming from," [the investigator] says.' Warming the electronics before taking images seems to help the problem. This effect might be one reason why the detectors on the cold periphery of the array were the first to pack up."
babooo404 writes "Last week, Walmart launched their online video download service. Immediately there were posts that the service did not work with the Firefox or Safari browsers. There was a collective, "WTF" when this happened as this is 2007, not 1997. Now it appears that reports are out that Walmart has completely turned off the ability to get into the application at all by Firefox, Safari or any other browser it does not like."
musicon writes "A group of scientists at Purdue University have created a portable refinery that efficiently converts food, paper, and plastic trash into electricity. The machine, designed for the U.S. military, would allow soldiers in the field to convert waste into power. It could also have widespread civilian applications in the future. Researchers tested the first tactical biorefinery prototype in November and found that it produced approximately 90 percent more energy than it consumed."
Croakyvoice writes "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, the seventh and final book in the best-selling series, has been scheduled for release at 12:01 a.m. on July 21, 2007, Scholastic announced today." A deluxe edition for collectors and enthusiasts is also planned with a simultaneous release.