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Guild Wars 2 Beta announced, full game launches this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 11:23 am

President and Founder of ArenaNet, Mike O'Brien, has announced on the ArenaNet blog several things for Guild Wars 2 today. Firstly, the Guild Wars 2 beta will open to select press in February, and if that wasn't good enough, ArenaNet will "aggressively ramp up the size of [the] beta test events" to include gamers outside of the press.

 

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The post continues to confirm a 2012 launch for Guild Wars 2, which before now, was never confirmed. Excited, Guild Wars fans? Guild Wars 2 promises to bring a new style of questing to the MMO tradition, as well as facilitate an unmatched level of cooperative play between gamers.

 

Guild Wars 2 will not charge a monthly subscription like other MMORPGs. More news on Guild Wars 2 as it happens, for now, that should be enough to excite GW fans for a few weeks at least.

XBMC running on $25 Raspberry Pi

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 10:26 am

Raspberry Pi is shaping up to be a great thing for modders and the hobbyist community. The latest tease is the $25 unit running popular home-theater PC software, XMBC. Considering the Raspberry Pi is more-or-less the size of a credit card, this is an amazing feat.

 

 

It was recently demoed showing off XMBC, and for the cost of less than a thumb drive, it offers an ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2835 processor with a built-in multimedia engine. The chip is capable of decoding high-profile H.264 content at 1080p, and XMBC seems to take advantage of that very nicely.

 

It also sports a 3.5-mm audio jack, onboard SD slot, built-in HDMI and USB ports and the base of Raspberry Pi has the necessary ingredients for a basic home-theater PC. There is a second model available which includes an extra USB port, 10/100 Ethernet, and double the onboard memory for an additional $10.

Continue reading 'XBMC running on $25 Raspberry Pi' (full post)

Skyrim 1.4 beta patch, lots and lots of improvements

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 9:20 am

Been obsessively playing Skyrim since launch like most people? Want to keep on that bleeding-edge, well, Bethesda have been kind enough to release the latest 1.4 beta patch for Skyrim and have made it available through Steam.

 

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Bethesda have warned people of the update, with "apply the update at your own risk." In order to apply the update, you'll need to check your Steam settings then opt-in to the Skyrim beta listed there. Bethesda recommend backing up your save games just in case you lose them, and the resulting after effects of which would be complete rage black-out.

Continue reading 'Skyrim 1.4 beta patch, lots and lots of improvements' (full post)

Apple's iBooks has a great three days, 350,000 textbooks downloaded

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 8:25 am

Just 72 hours after the debut of Apple's iBooks textbook store, there have been 350,000 downloads of textbooks. According to Global Equities Research, who monitor Apple's iBook sales through a proprietary tracking system, more than 350,000 textbooks were downloaded from Apple's iBooks Store within the first 72 hours of availability.

 

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There were 90,000 downloads of iBooks Author, Apple's free textbook-creation tool, during the same 72 hour period. With 350,000 textbooks downloaded in a short amount of time, one would come to the conclusion that iBooks is [so far] a success. This success is actually great, not just for Apple, but for textbook publishers who are set to make more money on books sold through iBooks than they do through retail.

 

According to Global Equities Research, the supply chain markup on textbooks ranges between 33- and 35-percent. Considering there's methods between publisher, distributor, wholesaler and then retailer, cutting out multiple middlemen means only good things for textbook publishers.

The average Silicon Valley Tech salary has passed $100k

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 7:26 am

The average annual salary of a Silicon Valley technology worker has surpassed the $100,000 mark this year. Tech-jobs website operator Dice Holdings Inc. has said that salaries for software and other engineering professionals in California's Silicon Valley rose 5.2-percent to an average of $104,195 last year.

 

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This beat the average 2-percent increase to $81,327 in tech-workers' salaries nationwide. It was also the first time since Dice began the salary survey in 2001 that the numbers broke the $100,000 mark, said Tom Silver, a Dice senior vice president. It comes at a time where companies such as Facebook Inc., Zynga Inc., and Twitter Inc., that have reignited the web boom.

 

Some companies have gone public, too, with LinkedIn Corp. and Zynga hitting IPOs and Facebook is eyeing an IPO soon, too. Their success has made a domino effect on new start-ups, which has then ignited a hiring war for software engineers and others.

 

To compare, job growth elsewhere in the U.S. has remained relatively slow. U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.5-percent, its lowest level since early 2009. Silver said "there's a tussle for talent growing in Silicon Valley and employers have to pay up." Tech-job postings in Silicon Valley on Dice rose to 5,026 earlier this month, up 26-percent from 3,974 a year ago. Nationwide, tech-jobs only rose 11-percent in the same period.

Windows 8 will include simplified wireless connectivity configuration

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 6:28 am

Windows 8 is set to make it easier than ever for users to manage their Wi-Fi and mobile connections, with group program manager on Microsoft's devices and networking team, Billy Anders, publishing a post on Microsoft's Building Windows 8 blog, that outlines steps taken to improve the wireless connectivity experience.

 

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Mobile broadband is being integrated alongside standard Wi-Fi in Windows 8. In Windows 7, it was included, but there were several steps required to be taken before the mobile device could connect, such as installing third-party drivers and software. Microsoft are removing that annoying step, by working with mobile broadband hardware partners to develop a universal driver that will work with all mobile devices and eliminate the need for additional drivers or software.

 

Windows 8 will include a new networks settings menu that allows you to turn off individual radios (Bluetooth, mobile broadband, Wi-Fi) or disable them all at once with the new airplane mode. This native radio management is said to eliminate conflicts and confusion that is often introduced when third-party manufacturers add their own connection software.

Continue reading 'Windows 8 will include simplified wireless connectivity configuration' (full post)

Intel to acquire Qlogic's InfiniBand assets, whips out $125 million

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 5:29 am

Intel have just announced they have agreed to acquire QLogic's InfiniBand business for $125 billion in cash. The move ie said to enhance Intel's networking and scalable high-performance computing portfolio. The deal is expected to close by the end of the current quarter pending the usual regulatory approvals.

 

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What is InfiniBand? InfiniBand is a switched fabric communications link for data flow between processors and I/O devices used in high-performance computing and enterprise data centers. Intel says that the acquisition supports their vision of innovating on fabric architectures to achieve ExaFLOP/s performance by 2018. An ExaFLOP/s is a quintillion computer operations per second, a hundred times more than today's fastest supercomputers. Fast, huh?

 

Intel has also said that they expect a "significant number" of InfiniBand employees to join their company. QLogic may have sold their InfiniBand assets, but they will now reportedly work on converged networking, Ethernet and storage area networking (SAN) products.

Anonymous threatens Facebook, again, this time they'll take it down on January 28

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 4:21 am

[Updated] Here we go again. Anonymous plan to take Facebook down on January 28 as part of what they are calling Operation Global Blackout Part 2. The voiceover on the video claims responsibility for the recent attacks on CBS, Warner Brothers and the FBI.

 

 

In the video, viewers are encouraged to be part of the "first official cyber war and help bring Facebook down". Why is Facebook being targeted? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe because taking down Facebook would get everybody to stand up and listen.

 

Anonymous are recruiting people to download their "Low Orbit Ion Cannon" (LOIC), which is an open source network stress testing and denial-of-service attack application. The video goes on to explain how to use the app to attack Facebook but points out that if done randomly, it won't work as Facebook has over 60,000 servers across the world.

Continue reading 'Anonymous threatens Facebook, again, this time they'll take it down on January 28' (full post)

Toshiba AT200 Android-based tablet gets priced for Australia

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 3:26 am

Toshiba are about to unleash their thin-as-hell 10.1-inch Android-based tablet in Australia. The Toshiba AT200 is a 10.1-inch tablet, weighs in at 535 grams, includes 16GB of on-board storage, micro HDMI, micro USB 2.0 and micro SD card slots.

 

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Toshiba have announced today at the AT200 will be priced at $579 here in Australia. The AT200 also sports Gorilla Glass, an a very thin 7.7mm body. Considering it only has Honeycomb and not Ice Cream Sandwich for its OS, it won't be a huge competitor.

 

The iPad is roughly the same price, and at that price the Transformer Prime is quite the contender. Toshiba is trying, but are they trying hard enough? Will you pick one up at this price, if you don't already have a tablet?

Biggest solar flare since 2005 is happening right now

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 24, 2012 2:49 am

We're not even finished with the first month of 2012 and we are already experiencing some seriously powerful stuff happening to us because of one of the most important things we, humans, require to live: our Sun, our Star. The Sun, at around 0359 UT on January 23, from sunspot 1402 erupted and produced a long-duration M9-class solar flare.

 

The explosion's M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being classed an X-flare, the most powerful there can be. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare's most extreme ultraviolet flare, below:

 

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The resulting coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0617 UT on January 22 and according to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field and briefly exposed satellites in geosynchronous orbit to solar wind plasma. The effects of this will last roughly 24 hours, where Earth's magnetic field reverberates from the impact. This causes bright auroras to be seen around the arctic circle. Bjørn Jørgensen observed this display from Tromsø, Norway:

 

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Jørgensen said "this was amazing, it was a wonderful experience to see these stunning auroras".

Continue reading 'Biggest solar flare since 2005 is happening right now' (full post)

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