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Microsoft

Microsoft Secret Prototype Phone Stolen 249

bossanovalithium writes to tell us that details are emerging about the theft of a top secret prototype mobile device stolen from an executive's pocket. Time to start watching eBay. "There are fears that leaks regarding the features and early bugs in the software could mar the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 which the company hopes will give it the edge over the iPhone and the new Google Android operating system. The new product includes support for touch-screen technology similar to that found on the Apple iPhone. Among the features offered in the new service unveiled by Microsoft's chief executive, Steve Ballmer, on Tuesday, is a version of Windows Marketplace for Mobiles, which is set to compete with the popular Apple's App Store and provide easy ways to download music and products to mobiles. "
The Almighty Buck

Do Video Games Cost Too Much? 763

Valve's Gabe Newell gave the keynote address at this year's Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit about the cost of games, the effect of piracy, and how to reach new players. Valve undertook an experiment recently to test how price affected the sales of their popular survival-horror FPS, Left 4 Dead. They Reduced the price by 50% on Steam, which "resulted in a 3000% increase in sales of the game, posting overall sales that beat the title's original launch performance." They also tested various other price drops over the holidays, seeing spikes in sales that corresponded well to the size of the discount. This will undoubtedly add to the speculation that game prices have risen too high for the current economic climate. G4TV ran a live blog of Newell's presentation, providing a few more details.
Upgrades

Steam To Begin Hosting Game Mods 81

Valve made a brief announcement on Friday that they will be allowing the download of user-created game mods directly from Steam. "Once installed, these MODs will appear in your 'My Games' list and will receive automatic updates just like other games on Steam. Also, these MODs now take advantage of Steamworks, which provides stat tracking and tighter integration with the Steam community." Mods will be available for five different games to start, and more in the future.
Science

Another Way the LHC Could Self-Destruct 367

KentuckyFC writes "Just when you thought it was safe to switch on the LHC (though it won't be for a while yet), another nightmare scenario has emerged that some critics worry could cause the particle accelerator to explode. The culprit this time is not an Earth-swallowing black hole but a 'Bose supernova' in the accelerator's superfluid helium bath. Physicists have been playing with Bose Einstein Condensate (BECs) for over 10 years now. But in 2001, one group discovered that placing them in a powerful magnetic field could cause the attractive forces between atoms to become repulsive. That caused their BEC to explode in a Bose supernova — which they called a 'Bosenova,' a name that fortunately did not catch on. This was little more than a curiosity when only a microscopic blob of cold matter was involved. But superfluid liquid helium is also BEC. And physicists have suddenly remembered that the LHC is swimming in 700,000 liters of the stuff while being zapped by some of the most powerful magnetic fields on the planet. So is the LHC a Bose supernova waiting to go off? Not according to the CERN theory division, which has published its calculations that show the LHC is safe (abstract). They also point out that no other superfluid helium handling facility has mysteriously blown itself to pieces."

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