Blizzard announced today that the third expansion to World of Warcraft, dubbed Cataclysm, is set for launch on December 7th. In addition to upping the level cap to 85 and including several new high level zones, the expansion will revamp the parts of Azeroth that have been around since WoW's initial launch, bringing the 1-60 leveling experience more in line with the improvements Blizzard has made in the expansions. Cataclysm will also give players two new races to play, Goblins and Worgen, who have joined the Horde and the Alliance, respectively.
eldavojohn writes "As you're probably aware, HTML is in a transition period, lost somewhere in the mire between versions 4 and 5. That doesn't stop us from using the latest and greatest, but it does create a requirement for gracefully falling back when a user does not have native support for features like canvas, video, audio, local storage, web workers and geolocation. HTML5: Up and Running is a great resource for someone tasked with bringing HTML4 webpages up to HTML5 standards, but it's mediocre-to-poor in illustrating advanced usage. For example, author Mark Pilgrim invests around thirty pages on video, while putting at most half a page toward web workers. Some of this is not his fault, due to support (or lack thereof), but the book felt skimpy at a couple hundred pages. For me, this book had value if only for the many wrapper scripts and workarounds like Modernizr, complete with code snippets. This book is for the beginner to intermediate developer and also for developers tasked with implementing HTML5 immediately. I received my copy for review from O'Reilly, but you can also find a draft of it under CC-BY-3.0 license. And the sample code is available online, so you can follow along." Read on for the rest of eldavojohn's review.
Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, calling into question the futures of over 5,600 stores worldwide. The company will be evaluating each location on a case-by-case basis, and seeks to cut costs after reporting a $558 million net loss last year. Newsweek credits the company's slow adoption of new media distribution methods as a big reason for the company's decline. "... while Blockbuster discussed creating its own subscription service to rival Netflix, it wasn't until August 2004 that its online DVD rental program actually started in the US. And when, in 2004, Coinstar entered the market with its Redbox DVD kiosks, Blockbuster didn't begin installing similar devices until 2008." CNET suggests that "Leaders of pay TV services might be wise to start doing the business equivalent of digging foxholes and manning the battlements or the same thing could happen to them."
Lev13than writes "In a direct retort to Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have announced competing rallies on October 30th. Stewart plans to host a 'Rally To Restore Sanity' on Oct. 30 on the National Mall in D.C. for the Americans he says are too busy living normal, rational lives to attend other political demonstrations. Colbert, meantime, will shepherd his fans in a 'March To Keep Fear Alive.' 'Damn your reasonableness!' Colbert said. 'Now is not the time to take it down a notch. Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!' Stewart, meanwhile, has promised to provide attendees with signs featuring slogans such as 'I Disagree With You But I'm Pretty Sure You're Not Hitler' and 'I'm Afraid of Spiders.'"
cybernanga writes "A group of researchers in South Africa has developed a filter that can purify water straight from the bottle. The filter sits inside a tube fitted on top of a bottle and purifies water as it is poured on a cup. From the article: 'The designer behind the filter, Dr Eugene Cloete, from the Stellenbosch University in South Africa, says the filter is only as big as an ordinary tea bag. He says the product is cost-effective and easy to use. "We are coming in here at the fraction of the cost of anything else that is currently on the market," says Dr Cloete on BBC World Service.'"
jamie passes along this excerpt from DiscoveryNews: "If you thought the geysers and overblown threat of a supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park were dramatic, you ain't seen nothing: deep beneath Earth's surface, the hot spot that feeds the park has torn an entire tectonic plate in half. The revelation comes from a new study (abstract) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that peered into the mantle beneath the Pacific Northwest to see what happens when ancient ocean crust from the Pacific Ocean runs headlong into a churning plume of ultra-hot mantle material."
angry tapir writes "US federal agents found more than US$150,000 in cash when they searched the house of Apple manager Paul Devine earlier this month, according to prosecutors. 'He had over $150,000 stored in shoe boxes,' Department of Justice Attorney Michelle Kane said. Devine was charged two weeks ago with taking kickbacks from Apple suppliers."
Atari and Cryptic Studios are teaming up to make a new Dungeons & Dragons-based RPG called Neverwinter, planned for Q4 2011. Gameplay will center on five-person groups that can include other players and/or AI allies, and there will be an extensive content generation system. Gamespot spoke with Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert, who explained parts of the game in more depth: "I think there are two very unique gameplay elements in 4th Edition that we've done something interesting with: action points and healing surges. In the tabletop game, an action point lets a player perform a reroll or add an additional die to a roll. In our game, action points are earned through combat and spent to power special abilities called 'boons.' These boons give players special boosts, but only in certain circumstances. Healing surges represent the amount of times a player can heal himself before resting. In D&D and Neverwinter, various abilities let players use a surge immediately or perhaps replenish the number of surges available. It's a precious resource that players will need to husband as they adventure in the brave new world. Positioning, flanking, tactics, and using powers with your teammates are also all things that come from the 4th Edition that are interesting. Of course, we're using power names and trying to keep power behavior consistent with the pen-and-paper counterparts. Neverwinter will definitely feel familiar to anyone who has played the 4th Edition."
angry tapir writes "The open-source Mozilla project has been offering cash bounties for security bugs for six years now, but often bug finders simply turn down the cash. Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the serious security bugs reported since Mozilla launched its bug bounty program have been provided free of charge, according to Mozilla."
A couple's home was saved from foreclosure after they found a copy of Action Comics #1 in a box in the basement. From the article: "In a statement released through ComicConnect, the owner of the prized comic book said the family was still 'a little shell shocked' after the unexpected find. 'I was so nervous when I realized what it was worth,' the owner said. 'I know I am very fortunate but I will be greatly relieved when this book finds a new home.'"
Atypical Geek writes "Charles Lane, writing for Slate, argues that subsidies for electric cars are an example of 'limousine liberalism' — a lavish gift for well-off Americans to buy expensive cars for the sake of appearing green. From the article: 'How rarefied is the electric-car demographic? When Deloitte Consulting interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only "young, very high income individuals" — from households making more than $200,000 a year — would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.' Lane also takes issue with the billions of dollars in subsidies offered to automakers for the manufacture of batteries, arguing that research (warning, PDF) concludes that the money will not help in jump-starting the economies of scale that will drive down prices. At least, not as much or as quickly as the President has argued."
AndrewGOO9 writes "With a few simple commands from the developer console, Alien Swarm can go from being played as an isometric top-down shooter to a first-person perspective. Surprisingly easy, it does make the game, which was released for free via Steam earlier this week, a lot more terrifying. But, anyone who is at home playing games like Modern Warfare or Halo should have no problem slaughtering their way through wave after wave of creatures. In fact, it poses the potential to make the game easier for people who would've otherwise struggled with the overhead view."
mario_grgic writes "Apple insider brings a story about expansion and renewal of a current 'Advertisement in Operating System' patent that Apple's Steve Jobs and other contributors have. The patent describes in detail (with OS X screen shots) how the forced ads would work (they would disable some OS functionality until the ad is viewed), but apparently it also applies to any device with a UI, including phones, TVs, set top boxes, etc. With Apple's recent entry into the mobile ad business, and its ambition to own half of all the mobile ads served during the second half of this year, it certainly makes one wonder if Apple would dare and put something like this in its desktop OS. I wonder if this would push more people to open source alternatives?"
An anonymous reader writes "The media would have you believe that violent video games will be the downfall of our civilization and the cause of moral decline in young people. A recent study suggests that most people aren't so easily influenced by the violence; instead, just a few bad apples are likely to react poorly, with everyone else showing little or no effect from playing these games." The American Psychological Association has posted the academic paper (PDF) as well, in addition to a few related studies. One examines how games can be a force for good (PDF), and another looks at the motivations behind children playing such games (PDF).
thecarchik sends in this piece, which was published last March but remains timely: "OK, so here's a little test: Which saves more gasoline, going from 10 to 20 mpg, or going from 33 to 50 mpg? If you're like most Americans, you picked the second one. But, in fact, that's exactly backwards. Over any given mileage, replacing a 10-mpg vehicle with one that gets 20 mpg saves five times the gasoline that replacing a 33-mpg vehicle with one that gets 50 does. Last summer, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business released a study that shows how much damage comes from using MPG instead of consumption to measure how green a car is. Management professors Richard Larick and Jack Soll's experiments proved that consumers thought fuel consumption was cut at an even rate as mileage increased."