E3 News: World of Tanks XBox One Launch on July 28th 


E3 News: World of Tanks XBox One Launch on July 28th 

Wargaming.net is ready to go on XBox One and the official release date for World of Tanks has been announced. On July 28th the free to play tank battle simulator will open its doors to the XBox One player base. Along with all existing game modes, the XBox One version of the game will also launch with the “Proving Grounds” PvE mode. This mode allows players to join AI counterparts to defeat 4 scenarios ending with a final “boss fight” against an E-100.

XBox One players will also be able to wage war with any of their friends playing on the XBox 360 version of the game as World of Tanks will support cross console play between the two consoles.

You’ll be able to download the game on July 10th to play in a brief beta that runs on July 11th and 12th then you’ll have to wait until the 28th to jump back into live play.

Check out the official announcement for download links and all the particulars and get ready to wage war!

Italian DJ hit with record MP3 piracy fine


Italian DJ hit with record MP3 piracy fine

An Italian DJ has been slammed with a huge €1.4 million fine after being caught with a reported 2,000 pirated MP3 music files and hundreds of illegally downloaded video clips.

The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) reports the Italian police discovered the DJ playing the allegedly pirated music in nightclubs near Rome. It ordered the fine against the individual, whose identity was not revealed, after a raid of the suspect’s house turned up none of the originally purchased music, a spokeswoman said. The DJ may also be subject to further criminal sanctions, the industry group said.

The suspect was caught with over 2,000 allegedly pirated MP3s and 500 video clips. The fine was imposed by the Italian Fiscal Police of Rieti (Rome). It is the largest in Europe against an individual for MP3 piracy, the IFPI said.

Enzo Mazza, director of the Italian recording industry association (FIMI), said: “We are pleased with the fine imposed by the Rieti Fiscal police. This DJ was touring clubs and making money out of the music he played – while those who had invested time, talent, hard work and money into creating the music in the first place did not get a cent. We hope this precedent will serve as a deterrent for those who are thinking of doing the same.”

The DJ was discovered as part of a police operation targeting radio stations and clubs around Rome, the IFPI said.

Intel to build $2.5bn Chinese plant


Intel to build $2.5bn Chinese plant

The Chinese government has given Intel permission to build a $2.5 billion chip manufacturing plant in Dalian, on China’s northeastern coast.

Intel plans to build a plant that will produce semiconductors, including microprocessors, on 300-millimetre wafers using a 90-nanometre manufacturing process, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an announcement (in Chinese) on its website. The plant will have a monthly production capacity of 52,000 chips, it said.

The planned plant will be the first constructed by Intel in China, and will operate along with test and assembly plants in Shanghai and Chengdu, a city in southwestern China. The NDRC announcement did not say when construction will begin on the plant, or when it would begin production.

Intel declined to comment on the NDRC announcement. “We haven’t made any announcements and we don’t plan to,” said Chuck Mulloy, a company spokesman.

If the NDRC announcement is accurate, the Dalian plant would be a coup for the Chinese government, which has made the development of the country’s semiconductor-manufacturing industry a national priority.

The most advanced production technology currently used by Intel is a 65-nanometre process, and the company has plans to begin producing chips using a 45-nanometre process later this year. The lower the number is, the smaller the size of the smallest feature that can be created on a chip.

Moving to a more advanced production process means chips can be produced at a lower cost, since more can be crammed onto a single silicon wafer. More advanced process technologies also generally help to improve performance and reduce power consumption.

While a planned plant in Dalian that uses a 90-nanometre process technology would lag several generations behind the most advanced technology used by Intel, the plant would still rank among the most sophisticated in the world.

(Ben Ames in Boston contributed to this report.)

MWC: iPad vs TouchPad vs PlayBook vs Xoom


MWC: iPad vs TouchPad vs PlayBook vs Xoom

Judging by the number of tablets at this year’s Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, anybody would think that somebody had some success with a tablet device at last.

The phrase ‘iPad killer’ along with its predecessor ‘iPhone killer’ and older relative ‘iPod killer’ is now taken to be a sure sign that said device will do no such thing.

Indeed, we don’t really expect any of the devices on display at MWC to pose a serious threat to Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. But it’s clear that there’s a wider market than the one Apple is currently carving out for itself, and cheaper and more widely available tablet devices will surely find a firmly profitable second place.

Apple remains, however, the elephant in the room and its absence is all the more conspicuous thanks to the weight and variety of devices aping its successful tablet. Just as last year all the talk was about what Apple would release, this year all the talk is about what devices (if any) can duplicate Apple’s success.

Macworld managed to get its hands on all the major tablets, and one thing is clear: Apple’s got some competition. While some are clearly more adept than others; and some are obviously more ready to roll than others; there’s a lot of fresh ideas coming to challenge Apple.

And fresh ideas mean progress and that’s good for everybody. Here’s what we thought of all the devices on test.

Motorola Xoom (Android 3.0)

HP and BlackBerry may have more interesting devices, but the one that’s probably going to give Apple the run for its money in terms of marketshare is Google with Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb). There are two devices here running Honeycomb, the Motorola Xoom and a Samsung 10.1. We managed to get more hands-on time with the Motorola so are looking at that in depth here.

Even though Google, like Apple, isn’t actually at the Mobile World Congress. You can feel Google Android everywhere. It’s powering half the devices and half the stalls here have Android logos or statues or other marketing material.

 

Developer support will be strong for Android 3.0, which is probably it’s biggest selling point. Confusion is probably it’s biggest hurdle to clear if it’s going to take on the pure simplicity of the iPad. There are multiple versions of Android on all different devices, version 2.2 (Froyo) for most mobile phones, a new version 2.4 seems to provide compability between phones and tablet; and the tablet itself is running Android 3.0. And then the operating system itself simply isn’t as, well… simple, as the iPad.  

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BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook has clearly defined itself as different from the iPad in many ways. First of all there’s the small 7inch form factor, only otherwise seen on the Galaxy Tab.  

The good news is that this doesn’t seem to be a compromise (the Tab was clearly running an OS designed for a smaller screen and scaling up to 7in seemed to be its limit). Instead BlackBerry has designed everything to work effectively in this smaller size.

The bad news (or at least odd news) is that it only works in horizontal mode. There is no accelerometer and no vertical holding position. Everything is designed to be held horizontally, which strikes us as odd because we spend most of our time using the iPad vertically.

In terms of interface design, however, the single view mode does mean everything has a consistency and the design is good. There are some nice touches to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Amongst them are the lack of a home button. Instead you roll a single finger up from the bottom to the top to bring up the main menu. This brings up all the open applications in a horizontal dock of displays and a set of icons underneath to launch new applications. Scroll up again and the icons scroll  up to fill the screen.

Apps are organised by categories: All, Internet, Media, and Games. And you can flick left or right to choose a category. You don’t seem to be able to re-arrange the icons or move them into folders but the flip side of this is that it’s easy to find things.

Another marquee features is live multitasking, which means that application still roll (video still plays, games still move, and so on) when you move to the home page. Impressive stuff, but we wonder if this will impact negatively on battery life.

It will feature BlackBerry’s persistent push messaging service, a surpassingly popular favourite with the younger demographic,  and email encryption favoured by business leaders (although this only works with a BlackBerry phone so it’ll be of more use to current RIM customers). It is possible to access regular email accounts such as Gmail and Hotmail directly from the PlayBook though.  

The all important Apps are something of a grey area on the BlackBerry Playbook. BlackBerry has ditched its current SDK model and adopted Adobe Air, which means apps can be ported to the PlayBook efficiently and quickly, although we’ve yet to be impressed by the quality of Air apps on the desktop and wonder how good they’ll be on a tablet. Making it easy for developers only really works if the market is also there for them.  

RIM is going some way towards this by striking deals with carriers whereby apps can be purchased via your phone contract, and you can even gift cash to other PlayBook owners (which combined with pay and go will be a good system for managing children’s accounts).

But whether RIM can convinced developers to add Air development to iOS and Android remains to be seen.

On the whole we found navigating the PlayBook to be smooth and a surprisingly pleasant experience. We were particularly impressed by the way RIM has dispensed of the home button in an elegant fashion. The screen is also strikingly high quality.  

Less convincing is the screen size and horizontal orientation lock.  

It is a surprisingly complete effort though, it looked ready to roll to us and RIM were happy to let the MWC crowd loose on their models. Shipping to the UK in the second half of the year. Definitely one to watch.

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HP TouchPad

Claiming a hands-on test with the HP TouchPad is actually stretching things a little bit. Out in public HP was adamant that nobody was allowed to touch the TouchPad, instead only watch demonstrations.

Behind closed doors, however, we managed to get a brief amount of hands-on time along with some good discussion as to the status of HP TouchPad.

First the good news. It’s obvious that this is by far the most interesting of all the tablets on display, at least judging by the crowds of people gathered round taking photos from all angles.

Unlike the BlackBerry PlayBook, the HP TouchPad has a full-on 9.7inch display and is in the same aspect ratio as the iPad. In terms of visual design and interface it’s probably the most ‘iPad-like’ of all the devices on display here, although some of the icons have clearly taken on a HP-sheen to them.  

As with BlackBerry there is something – in our mind at least – of a question mark regarding app development. The SDK has been announced, but is not yet available (although Kansal told us it would be available this month). Applications can be developed using web technologies such as HTML 5, or using C++ and a plug-in conversion kit. All of this seems pretty straight-forward and should encourage software development if HP can capture enough marketshare.

And, on the upside, HP clearly has a good relationship with a lot of software developers and publishers, and apps such as Kindle and Time Out were on display.  

Like the iPad there is a fixed-in battery, although there is no information yet regarding battery life. Connectivity is limited to one micro-USB  socket, with no MicroSD card or video output option.

On the whole the HP TouchPad is probably the most interesting of all the devices, whether that translates into the most commercial success is debatable.  

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Should Apple be worried?

Not really. For all the interesting ideas we’ve seen, most of them are minor variations on the iPad in some shape or form and we ask ourselves “what would we buy?” The answer remains the iPad.

And remember this is all compared to the iPad version 1, which was out last year. Apple has yet to announce the features for the iPad 2.

Having said that the Android tablets offer an alternative for third-party manufacturers to provide new features; the HP TouchPad may actually drive WebOS into the mind of the public, and the BlackBerry PlayBook has some bold decisions and genuinely unique features (like persistent messaging) that may duplicate its mobile phone success in a tablet space.

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Firefox 5 and beyond: A look at Mozilla has planned for its browser


Firefox 5 and beyond: A look at Mozilla has planned for its browser

Mozilla has some big plans for future versions of Firefox, including Internet Explorer 9-style dynamic jump lists, new sharing capabilities, identity management, and the end of the home button.

Firefox 4 is less than two weeks old, and already the folks at Mozilla are hard at work to keep their promise of releasing Firefox 5, 6, and 7 by the end of 2011. The next iteration of Firefox is expected to be ready for download by the summer.

At the moment, Firefox 5 is still in early development so Mozilla may delay certain features currently being discussed until future releases. In fact, some of the features discussed below, such as the home tab, were originally slated for Firefox 4 so you can never tell when a feature might actually make it into Firefox. It’s also possible that Mozilla could cancel certain features entirely. With than in mind, here’s a look at what Mozilla has planned for Firefox 5 and beyond in 2011.

Prism Takes on IE9

Mozilla looks set to integrate its Prism add-on with Firefox 5 and include new enhancements such as IE9-style dynamic jumplists.

Prism, currently available for Firefox 3 through 3.6, lets you place a shortcut to sites or Web apps right in your taskbar (Windows) or dock (OSX). When you launch the site shortcut it opens as a separate process from your main Firefox browser, and can include a variety of app-like functions such as notifications when you receive a new mail message.

Based on current UI design proposals, Mozilla may add menus to Prism Web apps so you can access a site menu right in your browser.   This feature would depend on the Website implementing the option. Desktop-accessible site menus is exactly what Microsoft included for IE9 with its dynamic jumplists feature used by sites such as Facebook, The New York Times, Windows Live, and PCWorld.

Unlike Microsoft, however, Mozilla may offer the option to access Website menus directly from the browser tab as a drop-down instead of right clicking on the taskbar or dock. This decision would be consistent with Firefox’s design of the new orange Firefox button that houses most of the browser’s menus in Firefox 4 as a drop-down menu.

Check out Mozilla’s early mock-ups for the new Prism feature here.

No Place for Home

Firefox 5 may dump the home button and replace it with a permanent home tab instead, according to a list of new Firefox features on Mozilla’s user experience page.

Mozilla has been talking about a permanent home tab since the early days of Firefox 4, so it’s not clear what is the status of this feature.

In late 2009, Mozilla discussed including dynamic content in the home tab such as social networking updates and RSS feeds instead of providing a link to a specific website such as iGoogle or Yahoo. If you want to read up on current thoughts about the home tab, check out this discussion on bugzilla.

Sharing

Mozilla wants to enhance the sharing features for later versions of Firefox. The new sharing feature would let you integrate your logins for social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter into Firefox. Then you would be able to click an icon in the URL address bar that would automatically let you share a link to specific Web pages with your Twitter followers or Facebook friends.

You can find a complete set of mock-ups for this feature here.

Enhanced Account Manager

Mozilla plans to beefing up Firefox’s account management features by allowing you to save login credentials for multiple accounts at once. You can find mock-ups of Mozilla’s Firefox account management plans here.

In-Browser PDF Viewer

It’s not the most exciting feature, but Mozilla is finally working on an integrated PDF viewer for Firefox. This means you won’t have to download PDFs to your hard drive to see them or rely on Google’s “Quick View” option to see the PDF in Google Docs.

Don’t worry, download fans — you will still have the option to save PDFs to your hard drive if you want to view them offline.

Mozilla has a lot of work ahead of it to get three more versions of Firefox finished by the end of 2011, but it looks like some great new features are coming to the open source browser. If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look at Mozilla’s Firefox roadmap to get a sense of the general direction and vision Mozilla hopes to take with Firefox in 2011.

Free UK Blueyonder set-up touted


Free UK Blueyonder set-up touted

Telewest will offer free installation of its UK Blueyonder broadband service from tomorrow.

Customers who subscribe to the service in October can take advantage of the deal.

Telewest Broadband director of Internet services Chad Raube said: “People get confused by separate line activation fees and extra hardware costs associated with ADSL providers. With our free cable installation, it won’t cost a penny, and there are no strings attached.”

The offer ends on October 31. Monthly charges start at £25 for the 512Kbps service. Call 0800 953 5354 or visit Telewest’s Web site for details.

Adobe software breaks down on Mac OS X Lion


Adobe software breaks down on Mac OS X Lion

More than a dozen Adobe products are not working properly on Mac OS X Lion, Apple’s new desktop operating system, continuing Adobe’s struggles to make its software compatible with Apple products.

The issues — listed by Adobe on its website — aren’t as cut and dried as the problem with Flash on iOS, which is that Apple blocks use of Flash on iPhones and iPads.

But Adobe says many of its products are missing functionality under Lion, which was released earlier this week. In addition to the fact that Lion drops support for older PowerPC applications, the Adobe issues may be enough for some users to delay upgrading.

Software often has to be rewritten to continue working properly on new versions of operating systems, or to take advantage of an OS’s new features. But Adobe and Apple have a contentious history, with Apple refusing to support Adobe’s widespread Flash technology on mobile devices due to concerns about battery life, security and performance.

Adobe doesn’t suggest any deliberate attempt by Apple to cripple Adobe products on Lion, but Adobe Senior Product Manager Jody Rodgers blogs, “The cat is out of the bag! Mac OS X 10.7 aka Lion is roaming the streets and you brave Mac IT admins have been deemed Lion Tamers by the public at large. Or at least by me. I’ve managed a few OS compatibility assessments in my past and it is no easy task to gather up all the necessary info from the software publishers that are used in your environment, run/coordinate testing, etc.”

Known issues in Lion affect Adobe software such as Acrobat, Adobe Drive, Contribute, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, Flash Player, Lightroom, LiveCycle, Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

Adobe initially said, “Flash Player may cause higher CPU activity when playing a YouTube video [on Lion.] Possibly related to disabled hardware acceleration,” but later retracted this issue, saying, “Lion provides the same support for Flash hardware video acceleration as Mac OS X Snow Leopard.”

Still, other Flash problems remain. For example, some users may find the “Flash Player settings dialog does not respond to mouse clicks,” and “custom native mouse cursors are not animating properly on Mac 10.7.”

Other problems:

• Flash Catalyst CS5 does not work on Lion and Adobe does not intend to update the product for the new OS. Catalyst CS5.5, the current version, is “generally compatible” with Lion but issues that degrade user experience caused Adobe to say, “We do not recommend that [Catalyst CS5.5] customers upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7.”

• In LiveCycle, “workflows that are dependent on Adobe Reader plug-in will not function.”

• “Adobe Reader plug-in and Acrobat plug-in are not compatible with the Safari 5.1 browser, which will ship with Mac OS X 10.7 and for 10.6 in July 2011. Adobe Reader and Acrobat will continue to work as standalone applications on Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.6, and will render PDF documents outside of the browser.”

Adobe also updated an FAQ on its Creative Suite to discuss compatibility with Lion.

Lion was unveiled to generally good reviews, with users praising the OS for trackpad gestures that allow iPad-like manipulation of applications, and new Launchpad and Mission Control features that provide more convenient views of applications.

However, some users complain that Lion has slowed their Macs down. The problem is apparently caused by the Spotlight search function re-indexing the contents of the computer, which slows down the computer for a few hours after installation. In general, Lion will perform better on newer Macs, particularly those with at least 4GB of RAM and solid state disks.

DDO Previews Upcoming Warlock Character 


DDO Previews Upcoming Warlock Character 

The dev team from Dungeons & Dragons Online sat down for their usual stream and gave players a taste of what they can expect when the new Warlock class is introduced later this year. With Turbine’s free to play title planning a level cap increase and other updates as well, 2015 looks to be a busy year for the veteran MMO.

Taking a look at the preview, the Warlock’s primary attack is Eldritch Blast. This blast of energy does have some options you can gain such as color and effect changes, and functions much like an arrow does for the archer. On the flip side though, your primary weapon does NOT impact the damage this attack does, so don’t expect to be equipping a great staff to make your blast’s damage 1d12 or anything. Animation wise, it seems very slow to me. Your character can actually outrun the blasts, but we’ll have to wait and see if any changes are made in the future.

It sounds like all the passives and traits that D&D players would expect for Warlocks are on the table or already implemented so D&D fans should be pretty happy with that, but the comments and forums aren’t exactly thrilled with some aspects of the Warlock including the wide variety of things Warlocks can be “good” at but most will have to specialize.

As much as I love warlock classes in general, this one really doesn’t do it for me to get me to come back to DDO, but what about you? Let me know below.

Resident Evil Operation Raccon City PC version LEAKED on torrents


Resident Evil Operation Raccon City PC version LEAKED on torrents

There’s still two weeks time left for the official release of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, but sadly for developers and loyal Resident Evil fans, the game is already out (or i should say LEAKED) on torrent sites.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City screenshotThis is not all, the game has been already downloaded by more thousands of pirates via torrent, and the numbers are increasing at alarming rate. This means that PC sales of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City will have to take a big blow.

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City will officially release on May 18 for PC. Let us know in the comment section below whether you will wait for the official release of the game or will go to torrent to download it a full two weeks early.

Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Heading to Wii U in Japan


Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Heading to Wii U in Japan

Yakuza 1 & 2 HD bringing Kamurocho to the Wii U Gamepad in Japan this August.

Yakuza 1 & 2 HD is picking up its bags and heading to the Wii U. The remaster, which was initially released for the PlayStation 3 in late 2012, marks the first time a Yakuza title has seen a release on a non-Sony console and perhaps is one of the biggest signs that Sega is behind Nintendo this generation considering the popularity of the series in Japan.

This new Wii U makes use of the console’s unique controller in two ways, the first of which being that players can view the Kamurocho map on the Gamepad’s screen during gameplay. The second being that the game will be compatible with portable play using the Gamepad. Yakuza around the house!

There has yet to be a peep on whether Yakuza 1 & 2 HD will be making its way West, as this announcement was made during Friday’s Japanese Nintendo Direct. The game will be released in Japan on August 8; let’s see whether or not we Yakuza 5-waiting sad saps will get lucky this time around.