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XBox (Games)

Inside the New Xbox Experience 50

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-and-better dept.
Eurogamer has an in-depth look at the new Xbox Experience, which is coming on November 19th. They discuss the new interface and features, and their reaction is generally positive, citing graphical improvements, smooth file management, and better chat functionality. "The Guide is also your access point to the new Party system, where you can gather eight of your friends together in a voice-chat channel and move the group between games. You don't even have to be doing the same thing: you can just chat along regardless. And because it's a service layer, it automatically works with all your existing games. Gears of War treats it like it's always been there. Instead of inviting a player, you invite the group; instead of ending a session and having to reassemble for another, you stay together. You can open it up to friends or set it to be invite-only, and while it's one of NXE's quieter additions, it's also its most authoritative statement: this is Microsoft saying, 'We figured we might need to do something like this, so we made sure we could.'"
Microsoft

+ - Justice Dept Defends Microsoft Against Google

Submitted by
Frosty Piss
Frosty Piss writes "The Seattle PI reports that Google has complained to U.S. antitrust officials about the hard-drive searching tool built into Windows Vista, saying that it stymies Google's similar search program. The complaint, lodged late last year, was revealed Saturday by The New York Times in a story on its Web site about the Bush administration's handling of Microsoft antitrust issues. The real story, though, is not the Google complaint itself, but how the Justice Department is failing to enforce the Microsoft anti-trust decree. According to the story, Thomas Barnett, the assistant U.S. attorney general in charge of antitrust issues, sent a memo last month to state attorneys general across the nation, seeking to persuade them to reject Google's complaint."
Biotech

+ - Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone Growing

Submitted by Bayoudegradeable
Bayoudegradeable (1003768) writes "What are some of the costs of increased ethanol production? The Times Picayune in New Orleans is reporting on the massive, and growing Dead Zone that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico. Farm runoff, fertilizers and the such are the direct cause and the increased corn production to fuel the ethanol craze is making things worse. Sounds like more bad news for an area still struggling to rebound from Katrina."

Marriott IT Exec Shares Network Horror Story 98

Posted by Zonk
from the waps-that-kill-ip-layers-run-amok dept.
alphadogg writes "Neil Schubert is only partly kidding when he calls Marriott International's move toward a converged network a horror story. 'I'm here to tell you a terrifying tale of network design, support and administration,' he said at an IT conference in Boston, referring to a major bandwidth crunch caused by guests wielding Slingboxes and other network devices that overran the hotel chain's outdated network. 'One of the things we've learned about our guest networks is we have one of the most foreign, hostile environments known to man in the network administration world ... I can take 100,000 customers a night on that infrastructure and we actually have less incidents of harm than we do on our corporate back-office infrastructure.'"
Google

+ - Google Custom Site Search may be hiding results->

Submitted by
crystalattice
crystalattice writes "Google's Custom Site Search appears to be less than useful for established sites. According to J de Silva's GIDBlog post, not all the pages related to a search query are being returned. From the article: "If I search Google for [site:gidforums.com auto add slashes], i.e. restricting the search to only my web site, GIDForums, I expect it to return this page, but according to Googles Custom Search Engine, that page doesnt even exist! Notice that its not listed at all; not filtered, and not even stuck inside their infamous supplemental results. But its an old page! In fact the page is very old over 4 years old, actually and Google indexed this page very soon after it was written, and even referred people to the page for at least a couple of years, or more. So why did they remove it? What happened?""
Link to Original Source
Media

+ - A business model for the MAFIAA

Submitted by sehlat
sehlat (180760) writes "I asked my wife her opinion of the MAFIAA's war on their customers and she sent me the following essay. Posted here because I think it deserves attention.

As our communication technology expands (some might say 'explodes'), traditional media are being forced to rethink their traditional models. Nowhere is this more evident than in the struggles of major movie studios, music studios and publishing companies. Some of them are in outright legal wars with their customers. This is a certain ticket to bankruptcy court — it's just a matter of time.

In the past, big studios and big publishers were king. Composers, performers, authors and artists all had to go through them to reach an audience. Even if they went to the considerable expense of self-producing, how did they distribute their wares? The entertainment corporations were free to pay their talent as they saw fit, charge for their product as they saw fit, and they didn't have to answer to anyone. The only real adversaries they had were each other and the counterfeiters.

Counterfeit movies, books and music have always been a nuisance, but they weren't a major threat. Quality problems kept most customers attached to the genuine article. But then the technology expanded, and anyone could make a copy for their mom, their girl friend, their cousin Ernie. A lot of big companies panicked and set loose packs of lawyers to gnaw on the hands that feed them.

Panic is blind, and this is no exception. Those big companies aren't seeing the big picture, and if they don't rethink what they're doing, they will go as extinct as the dodo, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT NEEDED ANY MORE.

The studios and publishers make a big deal about "intellectual property", but how are they defining that? Do they create anything? Or do they buy the creations of others? Do they sell anything? Or do they pretend to sell their wares, but then insist on the right to continue to "own" and control them?

These days, studios and publishers actually function as glorified introduction services. Once they were mass-producers, using economies of scale to make the expensive, cumbersome process of generating and duplicating entertainment media (whether book or music or film) cost-effective. But today, we're getting to the point where anyone with a good computer and the requisite skills can turn out high-quality content, and mass duplication isn't necessary — it can be done electronically by the purchaser. So the function of the studio or publisher is to 1. Recruit the talent, and 2. Introduce their work to the consumer.

Think about an introduction or dating service. You want to meet a nice person to go out with. The service is happy to oblige, for a fee. So far so good. But what if the service wanted to plant spyware in your car, your favorite haunts, even your bedroom, to make sure that you couldn't ask the person out again without paying them? What if they sued you for introducing her to your cousin Ernie? Would you do business with them?

No matter what they do, these agencies can't successfully control each iteration of the material they sell. If they stop trying, they'll continue to make money. Most people don't want to take the time to record or print their own entertainment. Most artists don't want to be their own marketing companies, either, so they too will continue to support agencies that treat them fairly. Some of both will go to the extra trouble, because they have more time and/or skill than money, but chances are that those people wouldn't be doing business with the agency in the first place, so nothing is being lost to them.

What about all this is so difficult? The same bloated corporations that have been swindling their artists for years are now running amok, suing grandmothers and grade-school kids for doing the very thing that will keep their products in the marketplace. Word of mouth is the most potent advertising a company can have — why aren't they taking advantage of it? The consumers want to be entertained. Show them a little bit of something entertaining and they want more. Intelligent marketing dictates selling content; recorded media might remain as a secondary "convenience" market for people who can't or don't want to convert data to their format of choice, but it's not mandatory any more. The company that's smart and realistic will provide previews, or older material from an artist's library, to potential buyers. When they sell something, they will sell it. They'll sell it in units that make sense (individual songs as well as albums, individual stories as well as collections, etc. No encryption, no spyware, no strings attached at all, except that if anyone tries to copy and market their material, they can act against them on behalf of the artist. And speaking of the artist, they'll pay their talent well enough to make it attractive to work with their agency, because if they don't, their talent has the option of marketing directly to the consumer. In the coming shaking-out of the information/entertainment media, the companies that are smart and realistic will win.
"
Google

+ - Google Search Slowed Down by Vista

Submitted by Vengance Daemon
Vengance Daemon (946173) writes "The United States Justice Department has rejected an antitrust claim made by Google. A New York Times Article states that "...Google has accused Microsoft of designing its latest operating system, Vista, to discourage the use of Google's desktop search program." It then adds that a Justice Department "memo dismissing Google's claims, sent to state attorneys general around the nation, alarmed many of them...Some state officials said they believed that Google's complaint had merit...[and] the memo appears to have backfired. Prosecutors from several states said they intended to pursue the Google accusations with or without the federal government. In response, federal prosecutors are now discussing with the states whether the Justice Department will join them in pursuing the Google complaint." What an odd place to work the Justice Department must be these days."
Portables

+ - Asus stuns Computex with $189 laptop->

Submitted by
slashthedot
slashthedot writes "As if Intel's cheap laptop release last month wasn't enough, Asus sprang a surprise during Intel's Computex keynote today with the announcement of a $189 laptop.
The notebook uses a custom-written Linux operating system, measures roughly 120 x 100 x 30mm (WDH) and weighs only 900g, boots in 15 seconds from its solid-state hard disk. Asus chairman Jonney Shih claimed the 3ePC would be available in all areas of the world, not only developing nations.
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/114773/asus-stuns-comp utex-with-100-laptop.html"

Link to Original Source

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