May 17 2011
Sony has outlined plans to catch up on missed PlayStation Network store updates.
The firm revealed that it will publish multiple updates per week to catch up on the number of releases missed during the month-long period of downtime.
"To date, three Wednesday publishes were missed and rest assured that you won't miss any of this great content," read a statement.
"To catch up on the large amount of material, we'll be publishing to the PlayStation Store multiple times per week once commerce functionality is restored.
"We will update the PlayStation.Blog with information on timing of the Store restoration, as well as the full list of new content as each publish occurs."
While PlayStation Network services have been resumed for regions across the globe, access to the PlayStation Store will be brought online at a later date.
As part of the restoration process, users have to download firmware update 3.61 and reset their original PSN password in order to access the service.
Earlier today, Sony outlined a series of free PlayStation 3 and PSP games being made available as compensation for the downtime.
May 15 2011
Team Bondi has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 was the lead development platform for L.A. Noire, and suggested that other studios are doing the same.
The relatively easy task of porting a game to the Xbox 360 wasn't the only reason PS3 was the lead platform for L.A. Noire. The game was first announced in 2006 as a PS3 exclusive. The Xbox 360 version wasn't announced until much later in 2008.
"For this project, we led on PlayStation 3, and in a way I think that's what most people are doing. We found out that people were doing 360 and then trying to get stuff across to PS3 and were struggling with it," said studio boss Brendan McNamara.
"There seems to be less of a struggle to go the other way, I think. You hear things that you have to put a lot of effort into on PS3 and get it up and running pretty quickly on the 360. Then, like everyone else you have to scramble to get your framerate up."
It was recently revealed that the Xbox 360 version of L.A. Noire will span 3 discs.
L.A. Noire releases for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on May 17 in North America and May 20 in Europe.
May 14 2011
PlayStation Network could be restored within days, according to a report.
Users at NeoGAF have said that an internal network intended for game developers can now be accessed by a number of people.
Although certain features are said to be "shaky" and the ability to create new accounts is missing, for all intents and purposes the network is online.
It has been suggested that online matchmaking will be the first feature to return, with a Sony source telling Eurogamer that it will be restored within a few days.
Yesterday, it was reported that the number of PlayStation 3 systems being traded in has increased as a result of the prolonged downtime.
Earlier this week, Sony said that it was unsure of an exact date for the return of PlayStation Network, but has suggested that all services will be fully operational by the end of the month.
PlayStation Network, which currently supports 77 million users worldwide, went offline on the evening of Wednesday, April 20 as a result of hacker activity.
It was confirmed the following Tuesday, April 26 that personal information was taken as a result of the breach. Sony has since recruited an external security firm to help create a more robust network infrastructure.
The National Security Agency (NSA) recently published a report, "Best Practices for Keeping Your Home Network Secure" (PDF) in which it makes numerous recommendations designed to help home computer users avoid malware and other common problems.
Included among its suggestions are many oft-repeated tips such as keeping all software updated, using strong passwords, and so on. What mystifies me, though, is that it makes absolutely no mention of Linux--arguably the most secure PC operating system.
Instead, for its section on host-based operating system security, the NSA focuses its suggestions exclusively on Windows and Apple and the relatively limited steps that can be taken on those platforms.
'Substantial Security Enhancements'
On the Mac side, not surprisingly, the NSA urges users to keep their operating system and applications up-to-date, and to limit use of the privileged administrator account. It also recommends enabling data protection on the iPad and implementing FileVault on Mac OS laptops.
Outside the self-contained Mac microcosm, however, the NSA looks no further than Microsoft products. Targeting Windows users, it offers many tips similar to those on the Mac side, as well as installing a host-based security suite, using a Web browser and PDF reader with sandboxing capabilities, and implementing full-disk encryption (FDE) on Windows laptops.
Incredibly, its best suggestion for Windows users regarding operating system security is to make sure they've upgraded from XP to either Vista or Windows 7. Yes, that's right, it actually recommends Vista. Why not throw in IE6 while we're at it?
"Both Windows 7 and Vista provide substantial security enhancements over earlier Windows workstation operating systems such as XP," the NSA writes.
For office software, meanwhile, the organization's tip is to "migrate to Microsoft Office 2007 or later."
Microsoft Trained Brain Syndrome
Now, I ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
The U.S. Secret Service launched an official Twitter account this week, with plans to use the social media site to promote its visibility and investigative work.
The federal agency charged with protecting the nation’s highest government officials will use the account to “highlight the investigative missions, press releases, and distribute information to communities hosting national special security events, to explore Secret Service history and and promote any recruiting opportunities,” said Secret Service spokesman Max Milien.
For example, the agency plans to use the account during the APEC conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, in November to spread the word about roads and buildings that will be closed off for the event.
The Secret Service joins a number of federal agencies that already use social media tools like Twitter and Facebook.
The agency’s Office of Government and Public Affairs will run the account and plans to post its first tweet Monday, May 9. As of this writing, the account already has nearly 500 followers.
In a post on his blog on Friday, prominent programmer Joe Hewitt announced that he has left Facebook and will now be working independently.
Hewitt, who joined the social networking behemoth in July 2007 when it bought Parakey, a start-up he operated with Blake Ross, is perhaps best known for creating the Firefox browser – also with Ross. In addition, Hewitt designed the popular web development tool FireBug.
At Facebook, Hewitt helped to develop the company’s iPhone app, though he left the project in 2009 after opposing Apple’s app store policy which states that all apps must be reviewed and approved by the company.
It seems like Hewitt had a good time at Facebook – in his post he writes that “normally when I leave a job I go out cursing the management and wishing I had left much sooner. In the case of Facebook, I sent heartfelt emails to all of my managers thanking them for the privilege of letting me work there, and I genuinely meant it.”
In the post he writes about how grateful he is for the freedom the job afforded him, and that although â€œsome of my projects never made it out of the labâ€¦.others shipped and were huge successes.â€
Regarding FireBug, Hewitt writes that though he finished it over five years ago, “I’ve continued thinking about it nearly every day since. It was probably the most gratifying project I’ve ever worked on. Knowing that I was helping developers solve hard problems, work more efficiently, and create awesome things gave me an energy and happiness that was unmatched.”
“My mind is still full of ideas for tools of all kinds: tools for writers, designers, programmers, whatever,” he writes, in a clear indication that this will most definitely not be the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 08 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Autodesk released a major update to SketchBook Pro software that has artists switching from pencils and paints to virtual canvasses on iPhones or iPad tablet computers.
SketchBook Pro software upgrades were crafted to take advantage of improved features in second-generation iPads recently unleashed on the world by California-based Apple.
"This is the biggest release we've had since last year when the iPad launched," SketchBook product line manager Chris Cheung on Friday said at a Digital Canvas exhibit of art made using the application.
"It is more productive and, as a by-product, it is more fun as well."
The software lets people blend and texture colors as they would with oil paints or other mediums. Movements of fingers on gadget touch-screens are converted into virtual brush strokes.
"This way, I have my whole art studio in my pocket," said San Francisco artists Julia Kay, whose works were among those in the exhibit.
"If I get bored I can lean against a wall and make drawings in full color, every texture, and I don't have to clean-up afterward."
Works by 82 artists were featured in the Digital Canvas exhibit in the Autodesk Gallery in downtown San Francisco.
Along with professional artists there were SketchBook users whose day jobs ranged from grade school student and farmer to surgeon and aerospace technician.
Matthew Hall of Britain described studied at Winchester School of Art and Chichester University but veered away from painting for a decade while he focused on video. The he saw artists working on iPads.
"Now I take my iPad everywhere, using the SketchBook Pro app to capture what's happening around me or what's banging around in my head at the time," Hall said in a description of his ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 08 2011
BEIJING – Two of China's biggest technology companies have launched a court battle in Europe over mobile phone patents in a rare public clash between firms Beijing is promoting as national champions.
The fight between Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp. highlights the challenge for communist leaders who need to manage Chinese corporate ambitions as they try to create global competitors in telecoms, energy and other fields. It is the first case of its kind between major Chinese companies, which usually settle disputes in private.
"We're going to see more of this in this industry and others," said David Wolf, a technology marketing consultant in Beijing. "The government will find, wow, we've got these national champions, but now they're trying to kill each other."
The dispute centers on fourth-generation mobile technology, which companies that are developing it say will deliver more stable connections, wireless broadband and other advances. It is in limited use in the United States and being tested elsewhere.
Control of key patents could help decide which equipment suppliers are positioned to reap billions of dollars in sales once it is rolled out in other markets.
Huawei and ZTE make network gear, the core of phone systems. They have multibillion-dollar annual sales in China, Africa and Latin America and see themselves as potential global 4G leaders. That fits with Communist Party hopes to transform China from a low-cost factory into a creator of profitable technology.
Huawei announced last week it filed patent infringement lawsuits against ZTE in France, Germany and Hungary. ZTE rejected the claims and said it has asked a French court and Chinese regulators to invalidate a Huawei patent.
Huawei and ZTE are among China's first wave of fledgling multinational companies. They compete with Nokia-Siemens Networks, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 08 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Smartphones powered by Google software widened their lead on BlackBerry handsets in the US market during the first three months of the year, industry tracker comScore reported on Friday.
Android smartphones dethroned BlackBerry in January by capturing 31.2 percent of the US market and that share grew to 34.7 percent by the end of March, according to comScore.
BlackBerry handsets made by Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM) lost ground in the quarter, ending March with 27.1 percent of the US market.
Apple was close behind RIM with iPhone running on the California company's mobile platform commanding 25.5 percent of the market, according to comScore.
Samsung was the top handset manufacturer overall with a 24.5-percent share of the US market, comScore said, followed by LG with 20.9 percent, Motorola with 15.8 percent, RIM with 8.4 percent and Apple with 7.9 percent.
According to comScore, 234 million Americans owned mobile devices at the end of March and the number of smartphones owned climbed 15 percent to 72.5 million.
May 08 2011
LOS ANGELES – Billionaire Len Blavatnik is spending $1.3 billion to buy Warner Music Group Corp. a decade into a steep decline in CD sales for the music industry.
That could make him a sucker in line for many more years of slashing staff, or a savant for buying the company at the start of a digital music revolution.
The deal values Warner Music at $3 billion including debt and cash — even higher than the $2.6 billion it sold for in 2004 when the music industry was twice as big.
Warner Music was formed in 1929 as a way for Warner Bros. Pictures to acquire the copyrights of music for films. Warner Bros. Records was created in 1958 to distribute movie soundtracks and went on to discover such artists as Neil Young and Grateful Dead.
Today, the company is home to Faith Hill, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park and Josh Groban.
A decade-long battle with online piracy has devastated the industry. Although Warner is believed to have coped with it better than other recording companies, some industry analysts praised Warner's sellers for cashing out.
Standard & Poor's equity analyst Tuna Amobi calls it "one of the best deals in the music space of all time" — at least for the sellers.
His opinion of the buyer wasn't so rosy.
"Any time you have deep-pocketed investors in some glamor business, anything can happen," Amobi said.
It's possible Blavatnik's purchase, through the Access Industries company he controls, could turn out to be wise.
He's essentially buying into an industry that can't get much worse. And he'll be able to reap benefits from cutting duplicate jobs if he successfully bids for Britain's EMI Group Ltd., which Citibank is expected to sell ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)