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Archive for May, 2010

Earthworm Jim HD is quadrupling the groovyness

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Earthworm Jim HD is quadrupling the groovyness screenshot

I love me some Earthworm Jim, but the prospect of yet another re-release of the original game, even in sparkly high-definition, left me wanting. I want new Jim, not old Jim that I've played a thousand times before.

Then I watched the above trailer and the footage of four-player Earthworm Jim action and, well, I'm a sucker. The games were manic enough on their own, but to add the interference assistance of other players will probably turn the whole thing on its head.

I will require a team of intrepid souls to assist me in defeating the Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt. Who's with me?

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Google’s answer to internal security: Drop Windows, use Mac or Linux instead

May 31st, 2010 No comments

In an effort to increase internal security, Google is reportedly in the midst of an effort that would make many IT professionals envious: It’s effectively banning Windows. Instead, the company is directing employees to use Macs or Linux PCs, according to the Financial Times.

Google employees tell the Times that the company started promoting the idea of moving away from the Microsoft operating system in January, following the recent attacks on its Chinese operations. Since then, many workers have migrated from Windows, and new employees are being given the choice of Mac or Linux computers. “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,” said one employee.

Windows has long been the bane of  IT workers, thanks to the fact that it’s vulnerable to many types of viruses and malware, and is often targeted by hackers due its large install base. The attack that originated from China used malware that targeted Windows PCs running Internet Explorer 6 — an old version of the web browser that’s particularly vulnerable to hacking. Apple’s Mac OS, and Linux operating systems, are far more secure in comparison to Windows.

When faced with an attack like this, most organizations would normally promote updating Windows computers away from older browsers, and remind employees about the importance of running Windows Update to keep their computer as secure as possible. Google has apparently taken that a step further by moving employees away from Windows altogether. I wouldn’t be surprised to see other organizations follow suit, particularly since most IT professionals would prefer not to deal with the daily headache of Windows problems.

In addition to being a security effort, the move away from Windows would also help the company to promote the use of its own products among employees. Its Chrome OS, for example, would be a worthy competitor to Windows on netbooks and ultra-portable laptops.

We’ve dropped a line in to Google representatives to see if they can corroborate the Financial Times’ story, and we’ll report back once we hear more.

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Intel debuts new Atom chips for razor-thin netbooks

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Intel is debuting new members of its Atom family of microprocessors today that can be the brains of everything from low-power laptops to razor-thin netbooks.

To show off the new technology at the Computex 2010 trade show in Taiwan, Intel is demonstrating its Atom chips inside a razor-thin “Canoe Lake” platform, which can serve as the electronics for a dual-core netbook that is just 14-millimeters thick (half an inch). With that size, the prototype netbook is the world’s thinnest such device. The thin netbook runs Intel’s “Pine Trail” version of the Atom processors.

Intel makes and sells microprocessors and chip sets that are part of computer platforms, or generic designs for the innards of a machine. Computer makers then take those platforms, customize them, and offer the products for sale. So Intel’s new platforms enable new products across many companies. The Atom family combines computing performance with low power, enabling Intel to get its chips into many low-power devices such as smartphones, netbooks, and tablets.  Intel recently said its latest Atom chips will use 50 times less power during idle operation.

One new customer for Intel’s Atom chips and Linux-based MeeGo operating system software is Chinese car maker HawTai Automobile, which will use the technology in future in-car entertainment systems.

Intel also showed its code-named “Tunnel Creek” Atom processor, which is a system on a chip. That is, it glues together a variety of chips into a single, low-cost chip that can fit in small devices. Tunnel Creek will allow other chip makers to connect their chips to an Intel processor. Intel also has more options that allow any of several operating systems to run on the chips, including MeeGo, Google Android or Chrome, and Windows 7.

Renee James, senior vice president and general manager of software and services at Intel, said that Asus will be the first computer maker to ship a pre-installed version of Intel’s netbook app store, dubbed the Asus AppStore, this fall.

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Globalfoundries expands chip factories as worldwide demand recovers

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Globalfoundries, a major contract chip manufacturer, said today it is increasing its chip factory capacity in Germany and New York as worldwide customer demand recovers. The new expansions could mean hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars more spending, depending on the scale of the investments.

The spending is a reflection of confidence in the overall tech economy, since are used in everything electronic and are a bellwether for technology spending. The chip industry is expected to grow 30.6 percent in 2010 to $300.3 billion, up from $229.9 billion in 2009, thanks to a robust recovery, according to market researcher iSuppli.

Globalfoundries, which spun out from Advanced Micro Devices in 2009 with funding from the government of Abu Dhabi, makes chips for AMD as well as other chip design companies. It is creating a series of new projects for its 300-millimeter chip factories to “support expected increases in both near-term and long-term customer demand.” Overall, Globalfoundries — which combined operations with Chartered Semiconductor in January — had $2.75 billion in annual revenue in 2009.

That includes the construction of an additional factory at its Fab 1 site in Dresden, Germany, to add equipment that can make 45-nanometer, 40-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips and increase overall output to 80,000 wafers per month. (A wafer is a basic unit that is processed in a chip factory; once it is finished, it is sliced into individual chips). Fab 1 is already the largest chip factory in Europe, and its new expansion means its manufacturing site will cover eight soccer fields. Output is expected to be ready in 2011, and work is starting immediately. The expansion is still contingent on approval of subsidies from the German government.

Globalfoundries is also expanding the factory under construction at its Fab 8 site in New York to increase capacity for 28-nanometer, 22-nanometer, and 20-nanometer chips and bring overall site output to 60,000 wafers per month. The investments will create hundreds of new jobs in both locations.

Meanwhile, the Advanced Technology Investment Company, which is controlled by Abu Dhabi and is the entity that owns the stake in Globalfoundries, plans to create an advanced technology cluster in Abu Dhabi. The site is next to the Abu Dhabi International Airport and is expected to house advanced technology companies.

“For ATIC, [Globalfoundries] represented the first step in Abu Dhabi’s vision to become a leader in the semiconductor industry,” said Ibrahim Ajami, chief executive of ATIC. “Today we announce the next phase as we take our first steps in establishing a world-class advanced technology cluster over the coming years.”

Globalfoundries’ biggest rival is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which has more than $10 billion in annual revenue.

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Final Fantasy VII HD remake would take forever to make

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Final Fantasy VII HD remake would take forever to make screenshot

At one time or another, I think we’ve all wished for a Final Fantasy VII remake which would update the game's now dated visuals into the HD era. People have been pleading for it about as long as I can remember the idea of HD gaming starting to disseminate. 

Final Fantasy XIII producer, Yoshinori Kitase, made a statement at an event celebrating the Korean launch of the most recent title in the series which may give some hopefuls pause. In Kitase's opinion, it would take ten times longer to reproduce Final Fantasy VII than the original development to get it on the level of production seen in XIII. Considering that FF VII took 3-4 years to produce, that would put it at around retirement age for a lot of us.

Exaggeration? Probably, but maybe this is just Square Enix’s way of telling us to let it go. It’s as if they’ve been profiting from the name for so long by this point that even they think it’s just a little bit sad.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Pushed Even Further From Possibility [Escapist]

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Keeping up with Intel, Qualcomm ships its first dual-core Snapdragon chips

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Intel is applying pressure to cellphone chip makers as it barges into the market with its Atom microprocessors. In response, Qualcomm is announcing today it has created its first dual-core Snapdragon chip set for smartphones.

Announced at the Computex 2010 trade show in Taiwan, the third generation Snapdragon chip sets have two application processor cores running at up to 1.2 gigahertz. The names for the new chip sets are the Mobile Station Modem MSM8260 and the MSM8660. They’re targeted at high-end smartphones, tablets and smartbooks, which are hybrids of phones and laptops. Smartbooks have displays ranging from 7-inches diagonal to 15 inches.  One of the first announced earlier this year was Lenovo’s Skylight, pictured below.

These devices include a graphics core capable of running OPEN GL ES 2.0 graphics as well has high-definition 1080p video. At the same time, they don’t use a ton of power, so they can be built into small devices with long battery lives. These chips will go head to head with rival chips from Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, Marvell and Texas Instruments. Qualcomm says the Snapdragon chip sets are being used in more than 140 different device designs that have either already launched or are currently under design.

Among the devices using Snapdragon chip sets are Acer’s Liquid and neoTouch smartphones, Dell’s Streak 5 Android tablet (pictured), HP’s Compaq Airlife 100 smartbook, HTC’s Droid Incredible and Nexus One smartphones, Huawei’s S7 tablet, and Lenovo’s LePhone smartphone.

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Soar like an eagle this week in Snoopy Flying Ace on XBLA

May 31st, 2010 No comments
Grab your bomber jackets, folks. On June 2, Snoopy: Flying Ace soars to the Xbox Live Arcade for 800 ($10), and if you recall from our previous hands-on experience with the game, it's something we're looking forward to. In Snoopy: Flying Ace, players can take on the role of the famous Peanuts crew or use their own Avatar to pilot fully customizable aircraft.

The part we're most excited about? Outmaneuvering the competition online with graceful tricks reminiscent of the original Xbox gem Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. We look forward to shooting you out of the sky.

JoystiqSoar like an eagle this week in Snoopy Flying Ace on XBLA originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 31 May 2010 21:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How is the BP oil leak affecting the Mushroom Kingdom?

May 31st, 2010 No comments

How is the BP oil leak affecting the Mushroom Kingdom? screenshot

I don't watch the televised news, as a rule. It's never been a part of my life. So, as a result, I wind up becoming aware of news only after it has been run through the cultural filter related to my hobby of choice.

Take this piece of art by zero-lives, as an example. Did you guys know that there's some oil leaking out of a well into the Gulf of Mexico? That sounds vaguely unhealthy. Somebody should probably do something about that. Anybody know who's responsible?


Mario Brothers - BP Oil Edition [zero-lives' Flickr via Tiny Cartridge]

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Synaptics sensors to prevent accidental touchpad swipes

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Synaptics is announcing today that it has created new touchpad improvements that will make life easier for frustrated laptop users.

The company’s newest laptop touchpads include SmartSense , which are smart enough to reject accidental palm touches on the pad. The latter problem is a huge pain when you’re typing because, as I have experienced many times, it’s quite easy to accidentally touch the pad, highlight text, and delete it by accident. They new touchpads can also detect up to four fingers touching a pad at the same time, enabling new kinds of gestures. The technology will show up in new, more accurate laptops in the coming months. That’s important, as laptops have to compete against other new gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Some folks may consider touchpads to be old technology. But Synaptics is showing there is still room for improvement. And Synaptics’ user interface expert Andrew Hsu recently posted that there is considerable room for improvement in human-machine interface technology.

At the Computex 2010 trade show this week in Taiwan, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is showing off its PC TouchPad-IS family of products, which use new image sensor chips, including SmartSense.

Synaptics’ new ClickEQ technology also makes it easier for users to press the touchpad as if they were pressing a button, eliminating the need for the mechanical buttons that are on every touchpad-enabled laptop today.


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Buddhist man seduces boys using a Nintendo Wii

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Buddhist man seduces boys using a Nintendo Wii screenshot

Okay, so, I think this Taiwanese guy was dressing up in Buddhist monk's robes and raping boys. That's what I'm gathering from this Chinese report that's been circulating around tonight. Arrested in April, the man would invite boys back to his house with promises of a Nintendo Wii and would then assault them.

So far as I've been able to glean from Chinese site Apple Daily, that's the story. But that's not the real story here. The real story is the creepy CG video created to depict the tale. Man, these things are freakin' weird. I'm both terrified and compelled to play Mister Mosquito at the same time.

???Wii? ????4?? [Apple Beat via Sankaku Complex]

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