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+ - Should Microsoft Switch to WebKit?-> 1

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "Although IE remains the dominant browser on desktops, it's being trounced on tablets and smartphones by browsers based on WebKit, including Safari, the Android Browser, and Google Chrome. Faced with this uphill battle on handheld mobile devices, Microsoft MVP Bill Reiss has suggested that it might be time for Microsoft to throw in the towel on Trident and switch to WebKit. But although there are lots of points in favor of doing so, there are also some good reasons not to, including security and a need for healthy competition to avoid having mobile developers begin to target WebKit rather than standards. What do Slashdot readers think?"
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

ITC Investigates Xbox 360 After Motorola Complaint 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the papers-please dept.
FlorianMueller writes "The US International Trade Commission, which is increasingly popular as a patent enforcement agency, voted to investigate a complaint filed by Motorola against Microsoft last month. Motorola claims that the Xbox infringes five of its patents. In October, Microsoft complained against Motorola, alleging patent infringement by its Android-based smartphones. Apple, Nokia and HTC are also involved with ITC investigations as complainants and respondents. A new one-page overview document shows the ongoing ITC investigations related to smartphones and the products that the complainants would like to have banned from entry into the US market. The good news is that any import bans won't be ordered until long after Christmas. The ITC is faster than courts, but not that fast."
Hardware Hacking

iFixit Moves Into Console Repair 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the red-ring-of-rebirth dept.
sk8pmp writes with news that iFixit, a website known for Apple gadget teardowns and repair guides, is expanding into the game console market, launching a series of troubleshooting and repair guides to help gamers fix their own machines. They're also starting to sell replacement parts and the tools necessary to work on them. "Right now there are repair guides for 24 gaming consoles, including 206 repairs and upgrades. Some of these fixes deal with major issues, such as the infamous Red Ring of Death from the Xbox 360, but others are simpler. For instance, right now there is no easy way to clean out the fans inside your console. 'I think this is probably the number one cause of overheating these days now that manufacturers have mostly gotten their act together,' Wiens said. 'This is routine maintenance, and it's mind-boggling that the manufacturers don't provide people with an easy way to open the case up and blow it out.' You'll also learn how to replace broken LCD screens on your portables, replace the motherboard on your PlayStation 3, and do just about anything else you might want to do to these systems, from the simple to the harrowing."
Patents

'Free' H.264 a Precursor To WebM Patent War? 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the neverending-cycle dept.
webmink writes "The MPEG LA seem unwilling to explain why they have extended their 'free' H.264 streaming video policy now. This article unpacks the history of MPEG LA and then suggests the obvious — it's all because of WebM — and the worrying — maybe it's preparing the ground for opening a third front in the patent war against Google."
Microsoft

Xbox Live Pricing To Go Up To $60 Per Year 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the nickles-and-dimes dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "Microsoft has raised the annual price of Xbox Live Gold to $60, which is a price hike of $10. The new price goes into effect on November 1, but gamers can lock in the current Xbox Live price by renewing now. EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich is not surprised by the move, nor does he think it will really have much impact on the Xbox momentum."
Iphone

Apple Announces iPhone 4 1184

Posted by Soulskill
from the saw-that-one-coming dept.
In a keynote presentation today at WWDC, Steve Jobs officially unveiled the iPhone 4. It's powered by an A4 chip, has a glass front and back, and has stainless steel around the edges, which turns out to be part of the antenna system. The new iPhone uses what Jobs called a "Retina display," running at 960x640, or 326 ppi. The battery is also bigger, with a corresponding increase in battery life. The iPhone 4 supports 802.11n, has two mics for noise cancellation, and a three-axis gyroscope, which allows rotation and precision that accelerometers can't match. The iPhone 4's camera is using a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, which Jobs said does better at low-light photography. It also records 720p video at 30 frames per second, with tap-to-focus. In addition to this, they've created an iMovie app, which allows users to easily edit videos on their phone. Several live blogs of the event, with pictures, are available. The device ships in the US on June 24. Apple's product page has been updated with specs and a video. Read on for more details.
Update: 06/07 18:34 GMT by S : Steve's "One More Thing" this time around: FaceTime, live video chat from one iPhone 4 to another. It is Wi-Fi only at the moment, but they're working with carriers to expand that in the future.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Dedicated Halo 2 Fans Keep Multiplayer Alive 239

Posted by Soulskill
from the never-surrender dept.
On April 15th, Microsoft terminated Xbox Live support for the original Xbox console, marking the end of online multiplayer for many older games. However, a group of Halo 2 players have refused to give up online play by leaving their consoles on and connected since then. Overheating consoles and dropped connections have taken their toll, but at present, 13 players are still going strong.
GUI

Flash Builder 4 — Defective By Design? 66

Posted by timothy
from the mote-in-your-eye dept.
ApolloX writes "Adobe has released its new version of the Flex Builder, now renamed Flash Builder 4. This version is radically different from previous versions of Flex, introducing the new Spark architecture and theme support. While I am pleased Adobe has finally added support for Eclipse 3.5, I am disappointed with some of the new architecture changes that make doing simple things, such as skinning a button, now quite cumbersome."
Hardware

Commodore 64 Primed For a Comeback In June 330

Posted by timothy
from the new-use-old-number dept.
angry tapir writes "The Commodore 64 is getting a makeover, with a new design and some of the latest computing technologies, as the brand gets primed for a comeback. The revamped computer will be available through the Commodore USA online store, which is set to open June 1. The computer will be an all-in-one keyboard, with Intel's 64-bit quad-core microprocessors and 3D graphics capabilities."
Input Devices

Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? 411

Posted by timothy
from the erasing-the-analog-hole dept.
SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"
Input Devices

Microsoft Docs Indicate Future Xbox 360 Support For USB Storage 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-thing-you-didn't-shell-for-the-big-hdd dept.
Internal Microsoft documents obtained by Joystiq indicate that its Xbox 360 console will gain support for USB storage devices some time this Spring. "According to the document, the USB mass storage device must be at least 1GB and the system will do a compatibility check. 'The system partition occupies 512 MB of space, and by default the consumer partition occupies the remainder of the device capacity, or 16 GB, whichever is smaller.' Upon inserting a blank USB storage device, 'consumers are offered two choices: "Configure now" or "Customize."' The 'Configure now' option will use 'the entire device capacity, up to the maximum of 512 MB plus 16 GB,' meaning, regardless of the overall size of the device you're using, the Xbox will only enable 16 GB of usable, non-system storage. The 'Customize' option will allow you to 'preserve some pre-existing, non-console data on the device' such as music." There have also been rumors of a new, smaller form factor for the 360, and hacker Ben Heck has given his thoughts on some leaked motherboard pictures.
Games

The Problems With Video Game Voice Acting 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-called-in-de-fleet dept.
The Guardian's Games blog explores the tendency of modern video games to suffer from poor voice acting, a flaw made all the more glaring by increasingly precise and impressive graphics. Quoting: "Due to the interactive nature of games, actors can't be given a standard film script from which they're able to gauge the throughline of their character and a feel for the dramatic development of the narrative. Instead, lines of dialogue need to be isolated into chunks so they can be accessed and triggered within the game in line with the actions of each individual player. Consequently, the performer will usually be presented with a spreadsheet jammed with hundreds of single lines of dialogue, with little sense of context or interaction. ... But according to David Sobolov, one of the most experienced videogame voice actors in the world (just check out his website), the significant time pressures mean that close, in-depth direction is not always possible. 'Often, there's a need to record a great number of lines, so to keep the session moving, once we've established the tone of the character we're performing, the director will silently direct us using the spreadsheet on the screen by simply moving the cursor down the page to indicate if he/she liked what we did. Or they'll make up a code, like typing an 'x' to ask us to give them another take.' It sounds, in effect, like a sort of acting battery farm, a grinding, dehumanizing production line of disembodied phrases, delivered for hours on end. Hardly conducive to Oscar-winning performances."
PlayStation (Games)

BioShock 2's First DLC Already On Disc 466

Posted by Soulskill
from the read-the-rest-of-this-post-in-a-month-for-five-bucks dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from 1Up: "Trouble is brewing in Rapture. The recently released Sinclair Solutions multiplayer pack for BioShock 2 is facing upset players over the revelation that the content is already on the disc, and the $5 premium is an unlock code. It started when users on the 2K Forums noticed that the content is incredibly small: 24KB on the PC, 103KB on the PlayStation 3, and 108KB on the Xbox 360. 2K Games responded with a post explaining that the decision was made in order to keep the player base intact, without splitting it between the haves and have-nots."
Piracy

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

Posted by kdawson
from the single-point-of-well-you-know dept.
ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."
Internet Explorer

Steam UI Update Beta Drops IE Rendering For WebKit 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-a-coincidence-with-battle.net-in-beta-too dept.
Citing massive growth in their user base ("25 million users, 1000+ games, 12 billion player minutes per month, and 75 billion Steam client minutes per month"), Valve unveiled a revamped UI for Steam on Tuesday, opening the beta test to anyone who wants to try it out. There are many changes, and an increased focus on social features: "Right from within your own game Library, you can now track which of your friends plays each game or invite them to play one with you. Before you've even bought a game, knowing whether your friends play it is one of the most useful pieces of information to have. So on the store homepage, there's a new listing of what your friends have bought or played lately." Tracking games and achievements have both gotten simpler, and Valve has dropped the Internet Explorer rendering engine in favor of WebKit. An enterprising user also found files that may indicate the existence of an OS X Steam client.

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