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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Microsoft Extends Xbox 360 Warranty to One Year

In a move to benefit customers, Microsoft Corp. announced today that it will change the Xbox 360™ warranty from 90 days to one year from the date of purchase in the United States and Canada. Microsoft extended the warranty in these territories to be consistent with the standard one-year Xbox 360 warranty that is available throughout most of the world. The news is reason to celebrate this holiday season; it applies to both would-be purchasers and those who already have Xbox 360 and are still within their first year of ownership.

Effective today, the one-year warranty is now the standard for the Xbox 360 console. Customers who experience hardware issues with their Xbox 360 within one year of purchase can have their consoles repaired at no cost. Moreover, the new warranty policy is retroactive, so consumers who may have already paid for an out-of-warranty Xbox 360 repair within one year of purchase will be eligible for reimbursement of their console repair charges.

“Customer satisfaction is a central focus and priority for the Xbox 360 system,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “In addition to jaw-dropping features such as high-definition graphics, an amazing catalog of over 160 games, and social online and entertainment experiences on Xbox Live®, the Xbox 360 system now offers this extended warranty upgrade. It is truly the industry’s most compelling home entertainment offering.”

Customers who have already paid out-of-warranty repair charges within their first year of ownership can expect reimbursement checks for the amount of their console repair in approximately 10 weeks. Reimbursements will be automatically distributed, so customers need not contact Microsoft. Customers who have questions regarding this policy change or experience any hardware issues should visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/contact where they can check their warranty status, find troubleshooting information for common issues and find Xbox support contact information.

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 is expected to have a catalog of 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 and to be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360

Blogger Not In Beta Anymore

Blogger is not in beta anymore(see pic). One of the big new improvements is publishing your blog;
say goodbye to the dreaded “Publishing…” spinner. Now, when you make a new post or change any of your settings, your blog is updated and changes go live immediately; you don’t have to remember to republish.

What are the other new features?

Customize your template
Create a private blog
More feed options; added support for the RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0 standards
Updated Dashboard
Instant publishing

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Google Adsense Ad And Image Placement Policy Change

The practice of placing images above or next to adsense banners has been around for a while — the idea here is to trick visitors into thinking that the Google Ads are clickable image captions. Unsuspecting visitors click on the ads, and the webmasters make money. Now, Google has officially announced that the practice is no longer allowed.

From the site:"
Can I place small images next to my Google ads?

We ask that
publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship
between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the
ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item
found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find
something that isn't actually being offered. That's not a good experience for
users or advertisers.

Publishers should also be careful to avoid similar
implementations that people could find misleading. For instance, if your site
contains a directory of Flash games, you should not format the ads to mimic the
game descriptions.

What if I place a space or a line between my images
and my ads? Would that work?


No. If the ads and the images appear to be
associated, inserting a small space or a line between the images and ads will
not make the implementation compliant”

Below are two images showing something that wouldn't comply with their new policies.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Building instructions for Every LEGO Set Ever Made

This site has the complete instructions for building every LEGO set ever made. Since I have 2 suitcases full of LEGO bricks this will come in very handy. I am just waiting for my oldest son to be a little older before I surprise him with this gift.

The link to the site is here

Friday, December 15, 2006

Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games, Inc., Announce “Gears of War” Surpasses 2 Million in Unit Sales Worldwide,Fastest-Selling Next-Gen Console Game

A video game champion has been crowned; “Gears of War” made history today by becoming the fastest-selling next-generation game of 2006 and the fastest-selling exclusive Xbox® game ever.

Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games, Inc., today confirmed that “Gears of War,” the Xbox 360™-exclusive title, has sold more than 2 million copies worldwide since its release six weeks ago, with a stunning 1 million copies sold in the U.S. alone.

“‘Gears of War’ clearly has won the battle for the title of the must-have game of the year,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “Its phenomenal success is one of many reasons why Xbox 360 is the ultimate place to get together with friends to play this holiday.”

“We’ve always held high hopes for ‘Gears of War,’ but we never expected such an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and gamers all over the world,” said Michael Capps, president, Epic Games. “I can’t describe how stoked our team is right now. Our fans can absolutely count on Epic to keep delivering new gameplay through Xbox Live®.”

In addition to being the must-have video game of the holiday season, “Gears of War” continues to rage on the Xbox Live battlefield as well, with more than 1 million unique gamers engaging in 10 million online gameplay sessions and unlocking an impressive 7 million achievements.* On top of being the No. 1 title on Xbox Live, “Gears of War” has driven new members to the network; paid registrations per day have skyrocketed more than 50 percent since the game’s launch.


About “Gears of War”

More than 80 publications around the world have crowned “Gears of War” the best next-generation game of the year. At the Spike TV Video Game Awards that aired Wednesday evening, the next-gen-defining title garnered four awards, for Best Multiplayer Game, Best Shooter, Studio of the Year (for Epic Games) and Best Graphics. “Gears of War” thrusts gamers into humankind’s epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures who surface from the bowels of the planet. Blending the best of tactical action games with the best of survival horror titles, “Gears of War” features cinematic, beautifully rendered interactive environments with high-definition visuals. Critics everywhere overwhelmingly agree, making “Gears of War” one of the best-reviewed games of all time.

About Epic Games

Epic Games, Inc., based in Cary, N.C. and established in 1991, develops cutting-edge games and game engine technology for PC and console. The company has created multimillion-selling, award-winning titles in its Unreal series, and its latest game, “Gears of War,” broke sales records on Xbox 360, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide in the first six weeks.

Epic is also responsible for the Unreal Engine, which is the underlying technology for a wide range of games including Console Game of the Year winner “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” by Ubisoft, PC Gamer’s Game of the Year “Deus Ex” from Ion Storm/Eidos, “America’s Army: Special Forces” by the U.S. Army, and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (PC) by Electronic Arts. Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 is a two-time consecutive winner of Game Developer magazine’s Front Line award for best game engine. Additional information can be obtained through Epic’s Web site at http://www.epicgames.com

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games ), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®;” Xbox® and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com ), including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo®,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com ), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 is expected to have a catalog of 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 and to be available in nearly 37 countries by the end of this year. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360
system. Xbox Live connects millions of members across nearly 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Google Web Toolkit GWT 1.3 Release Candidate is 100% Open Source

Today is quite a milestone for Google Web Toolkit: with the GWT 1.3 Release Candidate, Google has announced that all of GWT is open source under the Apache 2.0 license. From their site:
And we're committed to doing this the Right Way. All of our development will be
done in the open, and we're going to be working directly from the GWT project on
Google Code. We've created a charter document ("Making GWT
Better
") that describes the philosophical foundations of GWT as well as the
nuts and bolts of compiling
GWT
yourself, contributing
code
, and participating in the new Google Web
Toolkit Contributors
group. We'll be discussing the GWT
roadmap
and all technical decisions publicly, we've republished the GWT web site documentation under a Creative Commons
license
, and, while we're at it, we'll be publishing our team meeting notes
to the contributors group.


So there you have it

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sun Announces Revolutionary Version of Java Technology – Java Platform Standard Edition 6

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), the creator of Java technology and the Solaris Operating System and the world's leading contributor of open source code, today announced the availability of Java Platform Standard Edition 6 (Java SE 6). The Java SE 6 release is the result of over two years of industry-wide development involving open review, weekly builds and extensive collaboration between Sun engineers and over 330 external developers. Developers interested in getting started immediately with the Java SE 6 release can leverage the new NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 5.5, which fully supports all the latest features of the Java SE 6 platform.


Java SE 6 software makes development easier, faster and more cost-efficient and delivers enhanced functionality for web services, dynamic language support, diagnostics, and desktop applications. In addition, over 160 companies worked with Sun and tested their Java technology-based applications on the Java SE 6 platform to help ensure compatibility, stability and optimum performance for the Java SE 6 release. Backward compatibility of Java SE 6 with previous versions of the platform preserves the skill sets of current Java software developers and protects Java technology investments. In-depth information and technology downloads for the Java SE 6 release are available at: http://java.sun.com/javase/6

The powerful combination of the new Java SE 6 release and the NetBeans 5.5 IDE provides developers with a reliable, open and compatible, high-performance framework for delivering Java technology-based applications faster and easier than ever before. The NetBeans IDE provides an open source, high performance, modular, extensible, multi-platform Java IDE to accelerate the development of Java SE 6 software-based applications and web services. The NetBeans IDE is available for download along with the Java SE 6 platform at http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads, or separately at http://www.netbeans.org

"Java SE 6 technology is now, more than ever, an extremely strong platform for both developers and vendors and the NetBeans IDE is the best way for developers to leverage all the new functionality in the Java SE 6 release. With expanded dynamic language and web services support, the Java SE 6 platform is optimized for building Web 2.0 applications and services," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Software at Sun. "Moving forward, the OpenJDK project will define how Sun's Java SE implementation evolves, and we look forward to working even more closely with the developer community on the next version of the Java SE platform."

Web 2.0
The Java SE 6 software helps accelerate developer innovation for web-based, dynamic and online collaboration applications by including a new framework and developer APIs to allow mixing of Java technology with dynamically typed languages, such as PHP, Python, Ruby and JavaScript technology. Sun has also created a collection of scripting engines at: http://scripting.dev.java.net and pre-configured the Rhino JavaScript engine in the Java SE 6 platform. In addition, the Java SE 6 software includes a full web services client stack and supports the latest web services specifications, such as JAX-WS 2.0, JAXB 2.0, STAX and JAXP.

Diagnostics, Monitoring, and Management

The Java SE 6 platform provides expanded tools for diagnosing, managing and monitoring applications and also includes support for the new NetBeans Profiler 5.5 and for Solaris DTrace, a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework that is included in the Solaris 10 Operating System. In addition, the Java SE 6 software further increases ease of development with tool interface updates for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM ) and the Java Platform Debugger Architecture (JPDA).

Enterprise Desktop

The Java SE 6 release delivers significant improvements to the desktop, which enable Java applications to integrate even more seamlessly into the end-user experience. For rapid visual development of interactive applications, the Java SE 6 platform includes a new layout manager component, based on the NetBeans GUI Builder (formerly code named Matisse). The Java SE 6 software also provides enhanced support for the upcoming version of Windows Vista.

"We welcome the Java SE 6 release and its compatibility with Windows Vista because we want to see a good Java technology experience available for customers using Windows," said Brad Goldberg, general manager for Windows Client at Microsoft Corp. "We have worked very closely with Sun through the development process to ensure continued compatibility and interoperability between Java technology, Windows and the latest versions of Internet Explorer.

Developer Support and Services

Developers using the Java SE 6 platform or Sun Developer Tools and technologies to leverage the Java SE 6 release, can get support through Sun Developer Services – Sun's complete line of developer how-to help, product support and updates, and training and certification programs (http://developers.sun.com/services ). For the Java SE 6 release, Sun is offering a special promotion for 60 days of unlimited support for Java SE 6 software, free of charge, through Sun Developer Expert Assistance. Sun Java MultiPlatform (JMP) Support (http://sun.com/javasupport ) offers end-to-end, mission critical Java technology support for customers with heterogeneous computing environments and helps to optimize application performance and reduce risk. In addition to the existing one year offering, Sun is now offering new three year subscription pricing for JMP Support to help customers lower costs. Sun Developer Network Program (SDN) members can also get a 10 percent discount on the new Java SE 6 technology training course. Developers are encouraged to join the SDN , at no cost, by registering online at: http://developers.sun.com/register

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sun Announces the Latest in Open Source Tools with the Availability of NetBeans Visual Web Pack and NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), the creator of Java and Solaris software and the world's leading contributor of open source code, together with the NetBeans community, today announced the general availability of the NetBeans Visual Web Pack (derived from the award-winning Sun Java Studio Creator IDE) and the NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack.


This announcement reinforces Sun's commitment to open source its software portfolio and to promote developer productivity by packaging toolsets that allow developers to leverage emerging web technologies and more easily build native applications, all in one IDE.

"The NetBeans Packs demonstrate our support and commitment to the developer communities to deliver cutting edge technologies," said Jeet Kaul, vice president, developer products and programs, Sun. "The Packs are a great example of how NetBeans is providing a complete set of tools built on the innovative NetBeans IDE and with more than 100 listed partners and more than 11 million downloads, NetBeans continues to change the landscape of software development."

The NetBeans Visual Web Pack is available with a rich visual design-time environment and one of the industry's leading support for Ajax-enabled JavaServer Faces components. It allows developers to visually and easily develop standards-based web applications and includes drag-and-drop binding to several data services and has a Data Provider API that allows a developer to bind to any data source. The NetBeans Visual Web Pack helps developers power their build out of next generation web applications. The NetBeans Visual Web Pack is supported across many common platforms, including Solaris 10 Operating System, GNU/Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

"We are excited about Sun moving additional native software development tools into NetBeans," said Patrick Leonard, vice president, product development, Rogue Wave Software. "This expanded access will contribute great value to native language users and the new and growing NetBeans community."

The NetBeans C/C++ Development Pack has been tested with both GNU and Sun Studio-based compilers, provides support for a variety of C/C++ project types and includes a makefile wizard to ease adoption. For a more productive developer experience, the C/C++ Development Pack includes sophisticated language model features, including dynamic syntax highlighting, code completion, code folding and a class browser. With this release of the C/C++ Development Pack, developers can use the NetBeans IDE in conjunction with their specified set of compilers and tools to build native applications. The C/C++ Development Pack is supported on Solaris 10, GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Developer Support and Services

Sun offers developers a complete line of developer how-to help, product support and updates, and training that reduces time and risk for the entire application lifecycle--from development through deployment through Sun's Developer Services programs (http://developers.sun.com/services ). Developers are also encouraged to join the Sun Developer Network Program, at no cost, by registering online at: http://developers.sun.com/register

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oops She Did It Again: Britney's Back at Number One as Yahoo!'s Top Search Term for 2006

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) released its list of the most popular search terms of 2006 and Britney Spears has topped the list for the fifth time in six years. In 2005 everyone on the Top Search list had music, film or TV hits, but 2006 was all about the under thirty celebrity set making a mark on pop culture. Based on results selected from millions of Yahoo! Search users, the top searches of 2006 gives unique insight into whom and what captivated people this year.

The Yahoo! Search 2006 Top Searches Web page can be found at http://buzz.yahoo.com/topsearches2006 or by going to Yahoo.com and searching for "Top Searches 2006." The site provides a destination where people can view annual recap lists on pop culture topics, news, sports and political happenings and, for the first time, interact with Top Search content by further exploring the moments that made 2006. In addition, top online videos, Flickr photos and Yahoo! Answers content that Yahoo! users contributed this year are also featured prominently on the site.

The Yahoo! Search 2006 Overall Top 10 Searches are:

1. Britney Spears
2. WWE
3. Shakira
4. Jessica Simpson
5. Paris Hilton
6. American Idol
7. Beyonce Knowles
8. Chris Brown
9. Pamela Anderson
10. Lindsay Lohan

"Controversy rocked the lives of several of the stars on this year's Top Search list and The 2006 Yahoo! Top Searches illustrate that people are closely following celebrity happenings and scandals," said Jess Barron, Yahoo! Editor and Buzz Index Guru.

Britney Spears' talent once kept her in the public eye, but this year she nabbed the top spot thanks to a new baby and a divorce filing. Shakira "shakes" her way up to the third position and number four Jessica Simpson separates from Nick Lachey and has a "Public Affair" with crooner John Mayer. Paris Hilton rounds out the top five for making up with reality pal Nicole Richie. The old-timer of the list is 39 year-old Pam Anderson who proves she's still young at heart by tying the knot with Kid Rock three times in a month before calling it quits following less than four months of marriage. In at number 10 for the second year in a row is Lindsay Lohan who admits to a bulimia battle, drug use and a penchant for the single life. In with all the ladies is teen R&B phenomenon Chris Brown, the only male to make this year's list.

"Movers" Rocket to the Top

Movers are Search topics that experience the greatest percentage increase in queries from one day to the next. Often coming out of nowhere, movers momentarily spark public interest and often disappear just as quickly as they arrived. When viewed month by month, they highlight some of the year's hottest news headlines and events. Visitors to the Yahoo! Search 2006 Top Searches Web page can access images and text for the top ten movers for each month that include myriad subjects ranging from specific mainstream happenings to the bizarre.

Yahoo! Search 2006 Top Movers of Each Month:

MONTH MOVER WHY?
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
January Barbara Hershey Boyfriend Naveen Andrews admits to
fathering a love child
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
February Danish Cartoon Drawings of Muhammad sparked a furor
among Muslims worldwide
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
March NCAA Brackets B-ball ruled the 'Net
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
April Cynthia Watros Her Lost character meets a fatal demise
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
May Jimmy Hoffa The FBI digs up a farm in search of the
former teamster leader's body
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
June Connie Chung The Web goes wild for video clips of her
off-key swan song
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
July SexyBack Justin Timberlake's career is back
thanks to a new slamin' single
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
August Gillian Chung Tabloid Easy Rider publishes photos of
the star changing and celebrities
denounce the pub's irresponsible
actions
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
September Steve Irwin The world pays tribute to The Crocodile
Hunter
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
October Mermaid costumes People "fish" around on the Internet for
Halloween outfit ideas
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------
November Jason Alexander Britney's first ex-husband rises in
popularity as news of her new divorce
hits
----------- ----------------- ----------------------------------------



Yahoo! Search Top 10 Searched Celebrity Babies

This year famous couples brought little bundles of joy into the world and into the spotlight. Top searched Suri Cruise and number eight, Grier Hammond Henchy, share a birthday. Coincidentally, respective parents Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields had a public spat in 2005 regarding anti-depressants and postpartum depression. Britney's babes Sean Preston and Jayden James Federline, three and four, are the only brothers on the list, while David Banda, in at number six, is the only adoptee tot of the lot.

1. Suri Cruise (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes)
2. Shiloh Nouvel (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie)
3. Sean Preston Federline (Britney Spears and Kevin Federline)
4. Jayden James Federline (Britney Spears and Kevin Federline)
5. Kingston James McGregor Rossdale (Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale)
6. David Banda (Madonna and Guy Ritchie)
7. Moses Martin (Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin)
8. Grier Hammond Henchy (Brooke Shields and Chris Henchy)
9. Barron William Trump (Donald Trump and Melania Knauss)
10. Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern (Anna Nicole Smith and Howard K.
Stern)

Yahoo! Search Top 10 Searched News Stories

People turn to the Internet and Yahoo! Search as primary sources for hard-hitting information. The tragic passing of Steve Irwin and the mysterious death of Daniel Smith rank as this year's top searched stories. Iraq was a top News Search of 2005 and interest in the Middle East continued in 2006, with conflict in Iraq, the Israel Lebanon conflict and the Saddam Hussein trial all ranking well.

1. Death of Steve Irwin
2. Anna Nicole Smith son dies
3. Conflict in Iraq
4. Israel Lebanon conflict
5. U.S. elections
6. Fidel Castro stroke
7. North Korea Nuclear test
8. Jonbenet Ramsey/John Mark Karr false confession
9. Saddam Hussein trial and death sentence
10. Danish Cartoon protests

Yahoo! Answers Most Answered Questions

In the last year, more than 160 million Answers have been contributed to Yahoo! Answers worldwide. Celebrities topped the list of the top five most answered questions with thousands of answers worldwide.

1. If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger,
what would you do? Asked by Oprah Winfrey - 36859 answers
2. What can we do to make poverty history? Asked by Bono - 29479
answers
3. What do you think happens to your soul when you die? Asked by Dr.
Deepak Chopra - 26817 answers
4. How can the human race survive the next hundred years? Asked by
Dr. Stephen Hawking - 25391 answers
5. Who should I sing a duet with? Asked by Ciara - 14799 answers

Those interested in more "Best of Answers 2006" from Yahoo! Answers can visit http://answers.yahoo.com/best to access an editorially-chosen collection of the most inspiring and helpful questions and answers from Yahoo! Answers users, as well as celebrities and prominent figures who posted their questions on Yahoo! Answers this year.

To see all of this year's Top Searches lists, go to http://buzz.yahoo.com/topsearches2006 or search for "Top Searches 2006" on yahoo.com. Additional categories to those listed in the press release include:

Top 10 Celebrity Searches
Top 10 TV Shows
Top 10 Sports Teams
Top 10 Song Lyrics Searches
Top 10 Movies
Top World Cup Players
Top 10 Blogs/Bloggers
Top 10 Searched Politicians

For the first time, in addition to Top Web Search lists, the Yahoo! Top Searches page will be interactive and will include user generated content top picks from Yahoo! Answers, Flickr and Yahoo! Video. In addition, people can check out social media material including Top Videos from Yahoo! Video, Top "Interestingness" Flickr photos, and Top Answers from Yahoo! Answers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

NEXT, the new novel by Michael Crichton

HarperCollins Publishers announces the publication of Next, the new novel by #1 bestselling author Michael Crichton. The one-day laydown is November 28th. NEXT will be published in hardcover, audio, large print and e-book formats simultaneously around the world by HarperCollins Publishers in the English language. The announced first printing is 2 million copies.

In his brilliant new blockbuster, Michael Crichton takes the reader into the realm of genetics: fast, furious and out of control. Prepare to enter a world where nothing is as it seems and a new set of possibilities is opening up at every turn. NEXT challenges your sense of what is happening, what is true and what is ethical. NEXT will overturn your assumptions of what you thought you knew. Provocative yet playful, dark and disturbing, NEXT is Michael Crichton as you've never seen him before.

Next will have you asking yourself:

Could your loved one be missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? It's 2006: do you know who all your children are? Do you know humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes? Do you want to design your own pet? Change the stripes on the fish in your aquarium? Or sell your eggs and sperm online for thousands of dollars? Did you know one fifth of all your genes are owned by someone else? Come to think of it, could you and your family be pursued cross country just because you happen to have certain genes in your body?

This is not just the world of the future-it's the world right now! Most of the events in this book have already happened. And the rest are just around the corner.

Get used to it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

MSN Teams Up With Kristin Cavallari, Al Roker, Jerry Rice and Perez Hilton for the MSN Holiday Challenge

Players can win a share of $100,000 in holiday cash giveaways.

MSN today launched the MSN® Holiday Challenge at http://www.msnholidaychallenge.com, kicking off the holiday season in style with the help of four celebrities who will share video clues with consumers for a chance to win a share of $100,000 (U.S.) in cash prizes.

The innovative promotion gives consumers the opportunity to win grand prizes of $50,000, $20,000 or $10,000, or daily cash prizes through an MSN exclusive online content scavenger hunt.

The celebrity-hosted video clues direct participants to various sections of MSN: MSN Entertainment, MSN Shopping, MSN Tech & Gadgets, MSN Lifestyle, FOX Sports on MSN, MSN News, MSN Travel, MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money and MSN Autos. After consumers answer three questions they will be automatically entered for the grand and daily cash prizes. Players may receive clues from one of these celebrities:

• Al Roker, star of NBC’s “The Today Show”

• Kristin Cavallari, star of MTV’s “Laguna Beach”

• Jerry Rice, the legendary NFL Super Bowl MVP who was selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times and was recently on “Dancing With the Stars”

• Perez Hilton, one of the Internet’s hottest celebrity insiders and bloggers


“The MSN Holiday Challenge is our gift to MSN visitors this season — tons of fun and helpful holiday information, delivered by the hottest celebrities, with the chance to win big money for the holidays,” said Lisa Gurry, director of MSN. “We encourage participants to play every day to learn more, be entertained and win big.”

The promotion starts today and lasts through Dec. 20, 2006. Consumers can play once a day to increase their chances of winning. Mr. Youth LLC is handling the promotion for MSN. Official contest rules can be found online at http://www.msnholidaychallenge.com/rules


About Mr. Youth LLC

Mr. Youth® leverages critical relationships and unparalleled experience to provide marketing, partnership, and promotional solutions to corporate marketers looking to reach the elusive 14-22 demographic. Mr. Youth serves as a powerful resource in the development and execution of promotional tactics built to build brand awareness, drive retail traffic, generate buzz, and generate PR coverage.

Mr. Youth®, a PROMO 100 company, is one of the nation’s fastest growing promotional firms. In 2004, Mr. Youth was awarded with the prestigious International Globes Award for Best Use Of Event Marketing in the world. In 2005, Mr. Youth was ranked #6 in the nation by PROMO Magazine for “Quality Of Work” in Promotional Marketing and one of the top 5 fastest growing agencies in the nation.

Mr. Youth’s® proprietary marketing properties include the TKO Campus Technology Tour (www.TKOTour.com ), operated in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association and CollegeFest® (www.CollegeFest.com ), the nation’s largest back to school college marketing event.

For more information on Mr. Youth, please visit www.MrYouth.com

Thursday, November 30, 2006

HP Helps Unlock Mysteries of World’s Oldest “Computer”:The Antikythera Mechanism

HP researchers are literally shining a light on what may be the world’s oldest computer.

The Antikythera Mechanism is an ancient astronomical device built by the Greeks around 80 B.C. and found on a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera by sponge divers in 1901. It is believed to have been created to track lunar and solar cycles for agricultural and religious purposes, but its precise function – and how it works – has eluded scholars for more than a century.

In September 2005, members of the Antikythera Research Project invited HP Labs research scientists Tom Malzbender and Dan Gelb to Athens to apply their patented reflectance imaging techniques to the front and rear surfaces of the more than 70 fragments that comprise the mechanism, including metal plates and gears, some of which are inscribed with faded Greek characters.

The technique involves taking photos of an artifact from a fixed point and 50 different light sources arrayed in a hemisphere over the object. The HP researchers’ computer program then ties the images together, enabling an archaeologist to change the angle of light or texture of the surface of the object to make faint markings appear more vivid.

“One of the advantages of reflectance imaging is that you can change the quality of the surface of an object, by, for example, making dull surfaces shiny, like obsidian,” said Gelb, senior research scientist, HP Labs. “That way, the faint markings on these ancient artifacts become more visible and that helps scholars determine their meaning.”

By capturing the images digitally, the technique also enables scholars around the world to study the rare, delicate objects without having to travel to where they’re stored or to handle them.

Some of the reflectance images, technically described as polynomial texture maps, are available at www.hpl.hp.com/research/ptm/antikythera_mechanism/index.html

The results of Malzbender and Gelb’s work, in collaboration with researchers from the U.K. and Greece, appear today in the British science journal, Nature (“Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism”). The other researchers used an X-ray technique, called computer tomography, to probe the depths of the device.

The new research explains how the gears work and identifies twice as many markings on the device as previously detected.

“The Antikythera Mechanism is the only technological device from the ancient world and the oldest computer or calculator known to man,” said Malzbender, distinguished technologist, HP Labs. “Nothing like it appears until the Renaissance, when clocks first appeared.”

This isn’t the first time that the HP Labs researchers’ work has been used for archaeological purposes. In 2000, Malzbender volunteered the resources of the technology to capture faded Sumerian tablets for researchers at Yale and the University of Southern California. It was this work that caught the attention of the Antikythera project.

The technology was originally developed not for archaeology, but as a method for improving photorealism and rendering efficiency in 3D graphics. It also could be used in criminal forensics, detecting distinctive characteristics in footprints or tire marks, for example.
The technology also still has potential commercial uses for HP, but many of the techniques have been made available to the scientific world for academic purposes.

Sun Microsystems Launches The Big Mashup

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ:SUNW), the creator of the open source Solaris Operating System (Solaris OS), today announced the launch of The Big Mashup (at www.sun.com/thebigmashup), a unique online experience examining how the world of entertainment and news gathering is rapidly changing as the network blurs the line between audience and entertainer, viewer and newscaster, fan and producer. With Internet technology—music and movies, broadcast news and blogs, entertainers and audiences—can all converge and mix online. The Big Mashup will feature a documentary with media and entertainment thought leaders, a community blog discussing the impact of changes brought on by the network, and Snapp Radio, an online music and photo application mashup developed by Sun Labs and featuring Last.fm and RadioParadise streams paired with Flickr images.


"The Internet today is all about participation, collaboration, and community —we all see this every day by the rise of citizen journalism, blogs, podcasts, online videos, and mashups of all kinds," said Ingrid Van den Hoogen, senior vice president of brand and global communications. "Our Big Mashup brings together leading innovators across various new media sectors to address the future of entertainment and the growth in the network which is fueled by community and collaboration."

Chris Melissinos, Sun Microsystems' chief technology officer for Web 2.0 and a self-proclaimed video game addict, hosts the documentary video showcasing entertainment and media thought leaders such as Andrew Baron, founder, and Joanne Colan, host of Rocketboom; Gillian Caldwell, executive director of WITNESS; Joel Hyatt, Current TV's CEO and co-founder; Douglas Rushkoff, writer and lecturer on technology, pop culture and media; Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky, artist, writer, musician and producer; and Martin Stiksel, Last.fm's CCO. These industry pundits will give their perception of how the network has changed for businesses and the way entertainers perform.

Another key component to The Big Mashup is Web 2.0 music application, Snapp Radio, which streams music from Last.fm or Radio Paradise and weaves in Flickr photos tagged with keywords or emotionally evocative tags corresponding to the song. Links to related communities and websites that explore the new realm of entertainment online will also be included on the site.

The Participation Age

Sun believes the world is entering a new era — a Participation Age — where dramatically lowered barriers to entry, plummeting device prices, and near-universal connectivity are driving a new round of network participation. From blogs to Java technology, SMS messages to Web services, participants are forming communities to drive change, create new businesses, new social services, and new discoveries. This growth in the network economy is fueled by sharing and collaboration among communities interconnected by technology and driven by purpose. Sun also believes that sharing and collaboration in the Participation Age will stimulate innovation to help all participants from across the world grow and prosper.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Scott A. Edwards [saedwards@hotmail.com] The Blog Spammer Of The Week

Scott A. Edwards is the pimp spam master of the week
Here is a guy who would pimp all kinds of crap to you. He has left at least 100 comments. I remove them right away since I get an email once a comment has been made



Here is one of his so called 'comments'

Check this out for FREE...

This opportunity says:

"Your Ad" Will Be Instantly Displayed on Thousands of Websites and Read By Over 10 Million People Per Week For FREE, and It Only Takes 60 Seconds To Get Started!

To find out more visit: low cost network marketing site. It successfully exposes FREE information covering Traffic and low cost network marketing related stuff.



Don't you think he as a kind of mischievous look like Jack Nicholson in The Shining? I can spot a little smile ( he mast be thinking he will make millions by leaving comments all over the place)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Web 2.0 Summit Video And Podcast Available For Download

Video and audio from the Web 2.0 Summit are now available. Below is what is offered

Video and Audio:
Web 2.0 - A Conversation with Eric Schmidt
Google CEO Eric Schmidt joins Web 2.0 Summit 2006 program chair John Battelle for a conversation. They talk about Google's recent purchase of YouTube and the importance of video as a format. Schmidt explains why Google stood up to the request to provide end-user data. Batelle asks if Google is building an online suite to take on Microsoft Office?

Web 2.0 Summit Opening Session
The week we begin with the opening session from program chairs Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle. They look back at their original notions of the ideas that make up Web 2.0 and preview many of the sessions that you will see in the coming weeks.

Audio only:
Web 2.0 Podcast - a look ahead
The Web 2.0 Summit 2006 wrapped up last night. Two and one half days jam packed with sessions. You'll get to hear and see most of them in this Web 2.0 podcast stream. Next week Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle kick our podcast off with their look at Web 2.0. You'll then hear conversations with Google's Eric Schmidt, IAC's Barry Diller, The New York Times' Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and Alibaba's Jack Ma.

Lou Reed at Web 2.0
Day two of the Web 2.0 Summit 2006 began with conversations with Jeff Bezos and Bruce Chizen followed by a debate on Net Neutrality between Vint Cerf and Robert Pepper. GoDaddy's Bob Parsons gave the audience advice on running a company. Performer Lou Reed capped off the day with an after dinner set.

Launch Pad at Web 2.0
Before the start of Web 2.0 Summit 2006, 13 companies announced new products at the Launch Pad. We take a quick look at some of them in this report from the show.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

365 Days Later, Xbox 360 Unveils First Wave of TV Shows and Movies on Xbox Live

With a robust library of 160 high-definition games expected by holiday, Xbox 360™, the video game and entertainment system from Microsoft Corp., will get even better today. On its one-year anniversary, Xbox 360 will digitally deliver an initial lineup of TV shows and movies to gamers in the U.S. via Xbox Live®, the online games and entertainment network from Microsoft.

As announced earlier this month, Xbox Live Marketplace will now provide gamers with easy access to hundreds of full-length TV shows for download to own and movies for download to rent from CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment with more content rolled out through Xbox Live Marketplace every week. Xbox 360 is the first gaming console to offer standard and high-definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution.

Since its launch on Nov. 22, 2005, Xbox 360 has gained impressive traction fast. Xbox 360 was the fastest console to reach 5 million sold, and 6 million Xbox 360 consoles had been sold by the end of September 2006. At least 10 million are expected to be sold by holiday. Expected to be available in 37 countries by holiday, Xbox 360 continues to retain record game and accessory attachment rates, according to NPD. With more than 4 million members and an expected 6 million by June 2007, Xbox Live continues its leadership as the first and most comprehensive online games and entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire Xbox 360 experience.

Xbox 360 is prepared to have a booming holiday season, with consoles readily available at retail along with a host of new accessories such as the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, Xbox Live Vision camera and Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, not to mention blockbuster games such as “Gears of War” and “Viva Pi├▒ata™.”

“We’re exactly where we wanted to be this holiday with Xbox 360 retail stock availability,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With an incredible library of games, more than 4 million gamers playing online with Xbox Live, and a growing catalog of high-definition gaming and entertainment content, why would anyone wait in line when you can get a superior experience from Xbox 360 right now?”

Examples of the download-to-own TV shows and download-to-rent movies available on the network on Nov. 22 include the following:

  • “CSI,” “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: New York,” “NCIS” and “Star Trek” from CBS
  • “Chappelle’s Show,” “Drawn Together” and Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” from COMEDY CENTRAL
  • “Pimp My Ride” and “Punk’d” from MTV
  • “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon
  • “Skyland” and “Invader Zim” from Nicktoons Network
  • “Chinatown,” “Star Trek VII: Generations,” “Patriot Games,” “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” “The Sum of All Fears,” “The Untouchables” and “We Were Soldiers” from Paramount Pictures
  • “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “Frisky Dingo,” “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law,” “Sealab 2021” and “The Venture Bros.” from Turner Broadcasting
  • Some of the most intense fights from Ultimate Fighting Championship
  • “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1
  • “Perfect Storm,” “Poseidon,” The Shining,” “Three Kings” and “V for Vendetta,” as well as “The Nine” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” along with the CW show “Veronica Mars” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainme


Using the Family Settings feature, parents and individuals can choose the video content that can be played on their family’s Xbox 360. With the availability of this new entertainment content, gamers now can set controls based on movie, TV and video ratings, or they can entirely block explicit and unrated video content for themselves or their children.

Xbox 360 gamers in the U.S. can access Xbox Live Marketplace with a free Xbox Live Silver subscription or a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription and a broadband connection. Pricing is competitive and will vary based on format, media type and whether the content is a new release movie or a classic feature film. High-definition TV shows will be 240 Microsoft® Points per episode, and standard-definition TV shows will be 160 Microsoft Points per episode. New release movies in high definition will be 480 Microsoft Points, and standard-definition new release movies will be 320 Microsoft Points each. Classic feature films in high definition will be 360 Microsoft Points, and standard definition will be 240 Microsoft Points. After purchasing a high-definition TV show or movie, gamers can download the standard-definition version at no additional charge.

Microsoft Points can be purchased at retail or via Xbox Live. For example, gamers can get a 1,600 Microsoft Points card at retail for $19.99 (U.S.) or 1,000 Microsoft Points through Xbox Live for $12.50 (U.S.). More information about Xbox Live Marketplace is available at http://www.xbox.com/marketplacentertainment

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Major Search Engines Unite to Support a Common Mechanism for Website Submission

Sitemaps Protocol Will Enable Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to Provide More Comprehensive and Fresh Search Results

In the first joint and open initiative to improve the Web crawl process for search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft today announced support for Sitemaps 0.90 (www.sitemaps.org), a free and easy way for webmasters to notify search engines about their websites and be indexed more comprehensively and efficiently, resulting in better representation in search indices. For users, Sitemaps enables higher quality, fresher search results. An initiative initially driven by Yahoo! and Google, Sitemaps builds upon the pioneering Sitemaps 0.84, released by Google in June of 2005, which is now being adopted by Yahoo! and Microsoft to offer a single protocol to enhance Web crawling efforts.

Together, the sponsoring companies will continue to collaborate on the Sitemaps protocol and publish enhancements on a jointly maintained website www.sitemaps.org, which provides all of the details about the Sitemaps protocol.

How Sitemaps Work

A Sitemap is an XML file that can be made available on a website and acts as a marker for search engines to crawl certain pages. It is an easy way for webmasters to make their sites more search engine friendly. It does this by conveniently allowing webmasters to list all of their URLs along with optional metadata, such as the last time the page changed, to improve how search engines crawl and index their websites.

Sitemaps enhance the current model of Web crawling by allowing webmasters to list all their Web pages to improve comprehensiveness, notify search engines of changes or new pages to help freshness, and identify unchanged pages to prevent unnecessary crawling and save bandwidth. Webmasters can now universally submit their content in a uniform manner. Any webmaster can submit their Sitemap to any search engine which has adopted the protocol.

The Sitemaps protocol used by Google has been widely adopted by many Web properties, including sites from the Wikimedia Foundation. Any company that manages dynamic content and a lot of web pages can benefit from Sitemaps. For example, if a company that utilizes a content management system (CMS) to deliver custom web content -- (i.e., pricing, availability and promotional offers) -- to thousands of URLs places a Sitemap file on its web servers, search engine crawlers will be able to discover what pages are present and which have recently changed and to crawl them accordingly. By using Sitemaps, new links can reach search engine users more rapidly by informing search engine "spiders" and helping them to crawl more pages and discover new content faster. This can also drive online traffic and make search engine marketing more effective by delivering better results to users.

For companies looking to improve user experience while keeping costs low, Sitemaps also helps make more efficient use of bandwidth. Sitemaps can help search engines find a company's newest content more efficiently and avoid the need to revisit unchanged pages. Sitemaps can list what is new on a site and quickly guide crawlers to that new content.

"At industry conferences, webmasters have asked for open standards just like this," said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Watch. "This is a great development for the whole community and addresses a real need of webmasters in a very convenient fashion. I believe it will lead to greater collaboration in the industry for common standards, including those based around robots.txt, a file that gives Web crawlers direction when they visit a website."

"Announcing industry supported Sitemaps is an important milestone for all of us because it will help webmasters and search engines get the most relevant information to users faster. Sitemaps address the challenges of a growing and dynamic Web by letting webmasters and search engines talk to each other, enabling a better web crawl and better results," said Narayanan Shivakumar, Distinguished Entrepreneur with Google. "Our initial efforts have provided webmasters with useful information about their sites, and the information we've received in turn has improved the quality of Google's search."

"The launch of Sitemaps is significant because it allows for a single, easy way for websites to provide content and metadata to search engines," said Tim Mayer, senior director of product management, Yahoo! Search. "Sitemaps helps webmasters surface content that is typically difficult for crawlers to discover, leading to a more comprehensive search experience for users."

"The quality of your index is predicated by the quality of your sources and Windows Live Search is happy to be working with Google and Yahoo! on Sitemaps to not only help webmasters, but also help consumers by delivering more relevant search results so they can find what they're looking for faster," said Ken Moss, General Manager of Windows Live Search at Microsoft.

The protocol will be available at sitemaps.org, and the companies plan to have Yahoo! Small Business host the site. Any site owner can create and upload an XML Sitemap and submit the URL of the file to participating search engines.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MSFT: Bungie Studios Prepares “Halo” Nation to Finish the Fight

On the fifth anniversary of the release of the landmark Xbox® video game “Halo®,” Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios today celebrated the milestone by announcing an exclusive hands-on experience with “Halo 3,” one of the industry’s most anticipated sequels. The Xbox Live® multiplayer public beta, which is a pre-release version of the multiplayer experience of “Halo 3,” is scheduled for availability in spring 2007 exclusively on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system.

In addition, Microsoft and Bungie confirmed today that consumers will be able to experience the “Halo” universe this holiday season through a one-time airing of a stirring, 60-second “Halo 3” teaser ad. And finally it was announced that the new, premium downloadable content for “Halo 2,” exclusive to Xbox 360, is scheduled for release in spring 2007.

“The ‘Halo’ Nation has a nearly insatiable desire,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “We hope a taste of advance ‘Halo 3’ gameplay satisfies some of their appetite as we count down to the game’s launch later in 2007.”

Expanding on everything that has made the “Halo” franchise so widely recognized, the final version of “Halo 3” will provide a wealth of technical and gameplay advancements, available only through Xbox 360, the leading next-generation video game entertainment system. Via the Xbox Live multiplayer public beta, a first of its kind for the “Halo” franchise, gamers will be able to play online via Microsoft’s premier online entertainment network and participate in a pre-release version of the multiplayer experience of “Halo 3.” This beta also represents an opportunity for gamers worldwide to participate in the development of “Halo 3.” Through the resulting feedback, Bungie Studios will be able to further refine and hone the end result of “Halo 3.”

Unveiled earlier this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, “Halo 3” represents the third chapter in the “Halo” trilogy, an international award-winning action series that grew into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.7 million units worldwide, which equals nearly $700 million in sales, and logging in excess of 800 million hours of multiplayer action on Xbox Live.

On Dec. 4, the special 60-second “Halo 3” advertising spot will be broadcast, one time only, on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” The ad, created by advertising agency McCann Erickson, will provide viewers with a unique and compelling look at Master Chief and the world of “Halo 3.” It is easily one of the most anticipated ads of the year and promises to be the biggest event in appointment advertising this year. It underscores the innovative approach and driving influence the “Halo” franchise has commanded. The television spot will also be available for download exclusively for Xbox 360 users via Xbox Live Marketplace.

In addition, gamers who have jumped in to Xbox 360 will be able to join legions of Xbox fans next spring in all-new multiplayer maps for “Halo 2” available for download through Xbox Live Marketplace. The exclusive “Halo 2” content will bring new experiences and excitement to the seminal sequel that made entertainment retail history in its first 24 hours — with $125 million in sales — and that boasts more than four billion online matches since its release in November 2004.

“Since its original release, ‘Halo 2’ has redefined online play, delivering superior multiplayer capabilities in addition to an incredible social experience, and nurturing a constantly growing community through Xbox Live,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “After five years of rabid fan interest in the ‘Halo’ franchise and with more than 4 million users and counting on Xbox Live worldwide, this is the perfect time to invite fans to join the global ‘Halo’ phenomenon.”

Next-generation high-definition visuals; enhanced artificial intelligence; an advanced real-time lighting engine; and new weapons, characters and challenges are just a few examples of the evolution of design and technology in “Halo 3.” These improvements are designed to give gamers an unparalleled experience and tell an even more compelling and engrossing story. Working in concert with Xbox Live on Xbox 360, “Halo 3” builds on the unique social multiplayer experience of “Halo 2” and promises to expand the innovative and evolving online gameplay and community of “Halo 2” on Xbox Live. In this third chapter of the “Halo” trilogy, Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax.

About Bungie Studios

Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon Trilogy” and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.5 million units worldwide, logging over 800 million hours of multiplayer action on Xbox Live and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel, an upcoming film adaptation and more. Bungie is currently at work on “Halo 3,” which represents the third chapter in this “Halo” trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Zune On Sale Now!

Amazon started to sell the Zune today. If you were getting one would you get the white, black or brown one? People started creating tags already; here are some of them

defectivebydesign (91), drm (22), garbage (5), ipod killer (4), microsoft (3), aac compatible (2), beats apple (2), crap (2), gay (2), gotzuned_dot_com (2), junk (2), laughable (2), weak (2), apple (1), buggy (1)

Try to guess which ones were made by Microsoft haters?

It's going to be a busy tech month. The Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii are also coming out this month. The PS3 has just been released in Japan. What you might find interesting, however, is that among those 80 000 happy PS3 owners was at least one who decided it was his or her sacred mission to crack this puppy open for a peek inside.

Click on the link below to see the pics
http://pc.watch.impress.co.jp.nyud.net:8080/docs/2006/1111/ps3.htm

Monday, November 13, 2006

SUNW: Sun Open Sources Java Platform and Releases Source Code Under GPL License Via NetBeans and Java.net Communities

Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), the creator and leading advocate of Java technology, today announced it is releasing its implementations of Java technology as free software under the GNU General Public License version two (GPLv2). Available today are the first pieces of source code for Sun's implementation of Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) and a buildable implementation of Java Platform Micro Edition (Java ME). Details are available at: http://www.sun.com/opensource/java/. In addition, Sun is adding the GPLv2 license to Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE), which has been available for over a year under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) through Project GlassFish at http://glassfish.dev.java.net.


This announcement represents one of the largest source code contributions under the GPL license (under which the GNU/Linux operating system is also distributed) and the open sourcing of one of the industry's most significant and pervasive software platforms. With more than 3.8 billion Java technology enabled devices, Java technology is showing explosive growth, appearing in volume everywhere. From mobile phones and smart cards to enterprise applications and supercomputers, Java technology provides a unifying platform for software innovation. By open sourcing Java software, while offering commercial products with indemnity for our customers, Sun expects Java technology to become even more pervasive.

"By open sourcing Sun's implementation of Java technology, we will inspire a new phase of developer collaboration and innovation using the NetBeans Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and expect the Java platform to be the foundation infrastructure for next generation Internet, desktop, mobile and enterprise applications," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Software at Sun. "With the Java Development Kit (JDK) released as free software under the GPL, Sun will be working closely with distributors of the GNU/Linux operating system, who will soon be able to include the JDK as part of the open source repositories that are commonly included with GNU/Linux distributions."

"Everyone has been expecting that one day Sun would open source Java technology, but no one expected just how far they'd go – GPL. A bold move, and a great opportunity both for Sun and for free and open source software, " said Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media.

Java SE

Sun is releasing three significant software components today for the ongoing development of Sun's open source implementation of Java SE in the Java.net community: Java HotSpot technology, the Java programming language compiler (javac) and JavaHelp software. Sun expects to release a buildable JDK in the first quarter of 2007, following established free software community practices for licensing virtual machines and their associated libraries. Java HotSpot technology and javac are two of the most important elements of Java SE; Java HotSpot technology is the Sun implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the core component of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), which translates Java code to the specific operating system and chip architecture, allowing Java software to run everywhere and javac is the compiler that analyzes Java source code for correctness and generates proper bytecodes for execution. JavaHelp software is the documentation system to complement the JDK.

These first components of the OpenJDK project will allow developers to experiment with the compiler, try out new language features, learn how a world-class virtual machine is built, port the JVM to new hardware architectures and operating systems, fix bugs and contribute new features. Through the OpenJDK project, developers will be able to directly influence the future of the JDK implementation, participate with their peers in an open community and help take Java technology where it hasn't been before.

Java ME

Available immediately in the Java.net community, is the source code for Sun's feature phone Java ME implementation, the next generation version of the platform that currently enables rich mobile data services in more than 1.5 billion handsets. Also available is Sun's Java ME implementation for the emerging advanced phone segment and the Java ME testing and compatibility kit framework, the foundation for Sun's Java ME compatibility tests. Later this year, Sun will release additional source code including the framework for the Java Device Test Suite.

Sun is releasing these technologies as free software in order to accelerate the development and evolution of the platform, reduce fragmentation and drive down development costs throughout the Java ME ecosystem. In addition, this move will provide easy access to the latest versions of Java ME platform technologies and, for the first time, enable the whole Java ME community to follow the activities of and participate in the development of these technologies.

Java EE

Sun is also announcing that it is now releasing the source code for Project GlassFish (part of the GlassFish Community) under a dual open source license. In addition to CDDL, Project GlassFish will also be available under GPLv2 in the first quarter of 2007. By adding a second license, we simplify the process of combining and distributing GlassFish code with other GPL licensed communities. By offering the Java platforms under a common license, Sun will allow developers to more easily distribute updated versions of Java SE, Java EE and Java ME together.

NetBeans and Sun Development Tools

The NetBeans IDE can dramatically simplify getting started with JDK development because the open source components have already been configured as NetBeans projects. Developers can download the source code, open it in the NetBeans IDE, and use the Build Project command to build it. For further information and a step-by-step tutorial go to: http://nb-openjdk.netbeans.org. In addition, an application developer project is available as part of the Mobile & Embedded community, with links to resources such as the NetBeans Mobility Pack, the Java ME authoring tool that delivers a whole new level of sophistication and ease for drag-and-drop screen design. Sun is also making available the world-record producing Sun Studio development environment for the development of the platform-specific native code in the Java HotSpot virtual machine.

The recently announced NetBeans 5.5 contains a variety of new features, including: Java Persistence API and JAX WS 2.0 productivity tools, Subversion support, and enhancements to the NetBeans GUI Builder (formerly known as Project Matisse). NetBeans 5.5 is the first and only freely available IDE to provide comprehensive support for Java EE 5, the industry standard for developing portable, robust, scalable, and secure server-side Java applications.

Second Life Event – Technical Q&A

Today, Sun is hosting a technical Q&A in Sun's SecondLife Pavilion to provide an update on its open source Java progress. Sun's Tim Bray, Simon Phipps as well as Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth will be available (in avatar form) for one hour to address any questions you may have.

Who:
Tim Bray, Director of Web Technologies, Sun Microsystems (Co-inventor of XML)
Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer, Sun Microsystems
Mark Shuttleworth, Founder, Canonical Ltd. and Ubuntu Foundation (First African in space)

When:
Monday, November 13, 2006 Q&A session from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m ET

Where:
In Second Life, go to: "Sun Pavilion" Or click the following shortcut link: http://tinyurl.com/m338r

Download the application at: http://secondlife.com/community/downloads.php
System requirements are here: http://secondlife.com/corporate/sysreqs.php

Developer Support and Services

Sun offers Java technology and Solaris Operating System developers a complete line of developer how-to help, product support and updates, and training that reduces time and risk for the entire application lifecycle--from development through deployment through Sun's Developer Services programs (http://developers.sun.com/services ). Developers are also encouraged to join the Sun Developer Network Program, at no cost, by registering online at: http://developers.sun.com/register

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hunker Down and Pray for Daylight: “Gears of War” Emerges Today

Hailed as the most-anticipated video game launch of 2006 and punctuated by incredible demand from gamers, “Gears of War” begins appearing in the first retail outlets today, with continued rollout to retailers worldwide. Microsoft Corp. forecasts that “Gears of War,” an exclusive title for the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system, is expected to sell more than 1 million copies worldwide this holiday season, setting a new mark for the fastest-selling original game for Xbox®. Starting now, gamers can run for cover and crush the enemy on their own, or take the season’s hottest action title online via Xbox Live®, the world’s largest online gaming and entertainment network, which boasts 4 million members.

“Gears of War,” developed by Epic Games Inc. and published by Microsoft Game Studios, made its debut to great fanfare at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005 and has captured the gaze of industry watchers and fans ever since. The intense, genre-defining game thrusts players into humankind’s epic battle for survival against a nightmarish race of creatures known as the Locust Horde. With its combination of cinematic, visceral gameplay, dramatic storytelling and intense action, and with single-player and multiplayer online play via Xbox Live, “Gears of War” is a seminal title for Xbox 360, providing one of the best next-generation interactive entertainment experiences today.

“‘Gears of War’ is a title we know will deliver on all of its promise, and we expect the game to reach 1 million copies faster than any new titles for Xbox,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of global marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “This holiday is an extremely important one for the entire industry, and Xbox 360 will offer the world unparalleled experiences available only on this console. We’ve put an enormous emphasis on bringing new and exciting titles to market, and ‘Gears of War’ is a key example of Microsoft’s commitment to developing original and immersive titles for gamers everywhere.”

Anticipation for the game’s launch today has been growing for several months. Microsoft’s “Match Made in Hell” promotion, a series of pre-release celebrations held throughout October, provided fans with their first opportunity to play the game before it reached store shelves. Headlined by a celebrity launch party in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the “Match Made in Hell” events were besieged by anxious gamers, desperate for their first opportunity to play the game. “Gears of War” has received several highly coveted awards, including the Game Critics Awards’ Best Console Game and Best Action Game of E3 2006, IGN’s E3 2005 Best Xbox 360 Action Game, and a GameSpot’s E3 2006 People’s Choice Award, and has already garnered praise in early reviews, earning a perfect 10 out of 10 score from Official Xbox Magazine and a perfect 5 out of 5 score from G4 TV’s X-Play; that episode will air Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. EST.

“The reception that ‘Gears of War’ has received has been tremendous,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for “Gears of War” at Epic Games. “Designing ‘Gears of War’ has been a labor of love, and we’ve poured everything we have into the title. We expect this game to be huge, and it’s exhilarating to see that people are as excited about ‘Gears of War’ as we are.”

“We’ve seen tremendous excitement and demand for ‘Gears of War,’ as Xbox 360 fans packed our stores across the country during our special after-hours events for their first chance to play the game,” said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of Merchandising at GameStop Corp. “‘Gears of War’ is hands down one of the most anticipated games this holiday, and the pre-order numbers we’ve received are astounding and second only to ‘Halo® 2’ for the Xbox platform.”

“Gears of War” from Epic Games and Microsoft Game Studios is a third-person tactical action/horror game available exclusively on Xbox 360. It is available now at select retailers and will be available widely beginning Nov. 12, 2006, in the U.S. for the estimated retail price of $59.99, or $69.99 for a special Limited Collector’s Edition, which will include a collectible embossed metal box, the “Destroyed Beauty” hardbound art book, and a bonus DVD that features the making of “Gears of War,” the “Art of Gears of War” trailer and the MTV program “Gears of War: The Race to E3.”

Microsoft and Epic’s celebration of the game’s release continues on Nov. 12, with a full slate of activities scheduled on Xbox Live, including a 24-hour leader board tournament for online multiplayer matches, hourly sweepstakes drawings offering the chance to win one of several Samsung HT-P29 Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound systems, Game with Fame sessions with “Gears of War” fans Megadeth and members of the Epic development team, and much more. A full list of scheduled events can be found at http://www.xbox.com. In addition, due to the popularity of the highly rated MTV “Gears of War: The Race to E3” broadcast, MTV will feature its follow-up to the program, “Gears of War: The Race to Launch,” which follows the birth of the game through the eyes of eager fans waiting for its release and the real-life characters that created it; the program will air on MTV Nov. 13 at 8:30 p.m. and on MTV2 at 9:30 p.m. EST/MST/PST.


Check out the Amazon reviews

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spam of the day: Mrs.S Zuma --zuma4120a@katamail.com

I guess I didn't follow the advise below in red ;-)

Dear Beloved, I am wife of Sacked Deputy President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma. It is out of desperation that I am sending you this mail. My Husband and I need your assistance in fronting for us as owner of funds that are his which might come under investigation soon if the fund's ownership is not changed soonest. As my Husband's finances are increasingly becoming the source of investigation by our distractors. The source of these fund's which my Husband earnings would not validate, will further sink him into the cesspool dug by our enemies. It is because of the dire strait we find ourselves that we resolved to reach you and ask for your assistance in this matter. We are averse to letting those we know here into this deal because we are no longer sure of who our friends are. You will be handsomely rewarded if you choose to help us partnerhip in this project. I will be expecting to hear from you and will disclose further details to you upon your response. Do well not to disclose the contents of this mail to anyone. Best Regards, Mrs.S Zuma.

Microsoft Rallies Developers to Build Next-Generation Applications

Microsoft releases the .NET Framework 3.0, Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, ASP.NET AJAX and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition.
Microsoft Corp. unveiled new technologies that enable developers to build next-generation interactive applications for Windows Vista™, the 2007 Microsoft® Office system and the Web. The new technologies are designed to help developers build Web services and connected, service-oriented applications that deliver the levels of security, reliability and differentiation that business and consumers expect.

“With the release of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system, the sky is really the limit on what developers can build — from applications that deliver advanced data visualization to highly connected line-of-business solutions,” said Scott Guthrie, general manager of the Developer Division at Microsoft, during his keynote speech at the Visual Studio® Connections event. “By embracing trends such as AJAX and delivering new technologies for Windows® and Microsoft Office, we are opening the door to entirely new levels of innovation in the software industry while still allowing developers to use their existing skill sets.”

With easy-to-use tools and APIs designed to ensure immediate productivity and a superior user experience, developers can now begin building and testing their applications in advance of the broad availability of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system. The technologies announced today include the following:

• The release to manufacturing of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, which provides advances for building rich, interactive client applications (Windows Presentation Foundation), communication and workflow (Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation) and online identity management (Windows CardSpace).

• The availability to MSDN® Premium subscribers of Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system on release to manufacturing.

• The availability of Visual Studio 2005 extensions for the .NET Framework 3.0, a series of plug-ins and project templates that enable developers to use Visual Studio 2005 to build .NET Framework 3.0 solutions.

• The release to manufacturing of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system to build solutions for the six major applications in the 2007 Microsoft Office system: Office Word, Office Excel®, Office Outlook®, Office PowerPoint®, Office Visio® and Office InfoPath®. Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system enables developers to build scalable, robust line-of-business applications that leverage the functionality of the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

• Beta 2 of ASP.NET AJAX Extensions and the Microsoft Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) Library (collectively called ASP.NET AJAX), formerly codenamed “Atlas,” is a free framework that allows developers to quickly create a new generation of more-efficient, more-interactive and highly personalized Web experiences that work across the most popular browsers.

• The release candidate of Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 Compact Edition, a new offering for essential relational database functionality in a compact footprint. By sharing a familiar SQL Server syntax and common ADO.NET programming model with other editions of SQL Server, SQL Server Compact Edition allows developers and administrators to apply their existing skills and be immediately productive. The release candidate is available via download at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/compact


Customers Begin to Ship Solutions Now

Customers have already begun to deliver solutions using the innovative new features in Windows Vista and the .NET Framework 3.0. Mail order and online consumer purchasing leader OTTO uses the power of the .NET Framework 3.0 to create a new shopping experience for more than 10 million retail customers. Consequently, OTTO is able to position itself as a thought leader and innovator in a highly competitive market.

“The OTTO Store is the next-generation shopping experience — fun, personal, confident and secure,” said Thomas Schnieders, vice president of New Media at OTTO. “We could not have delivered this exciting new user experience without the advantages that Windows Presentation Foundation and CardSpace provide.”

These latest technologies have already enabled companies to build compelling Web solutions and realize immediate gains in developer productivity and end-user experience.

“Burton Web site visitors are generally young, tech-savvy kids with extremely high expectations for the content on burton.com,” said Bryan Johnston, vice president of Global Marketing at Burton Snowboards. “We need to give our customers the information and features they want so they come back to our Web site over and over again. Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET AJAX help us deliver the optimal user experience our customers demand.”

Learning and Training Resources Available Now

To enable successful deployment and use of Microsoft products and technologies, Microsoft Learning extends the customer readiness promise to the next generation of Microsoft technologies and offers the latest training products for developers. Along with the upcoming release of the .NET Framework 3.0, training for ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX is now available, with additional offerings for the .NET Framework 3.0 and Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, shipping in the next few months. Information on the latest learning and training resources from Microsoft is online at http://www.microsoft.com/learning

Product Information and Availability

The .NET Framework 3.0, Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, ASP.NET AJAX and Visual Studio 2005 extensions for the .NET Framework 3.0 are available for immediate download on http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio

Monday, November 06, 2006

Microsoft Office 2007 System Released To Manufacturing

Microsoft Corp. today announced the completion of the 2007 Microsoft® Office system code and confirmed its release to manufacturing (RTM). This gold code milestone concludes the largest Microsoft Office beta program to date, with more than 3.5 million people downloading Beta 2. The unprecedented quantity of feedback from beta testers and customers helped the Office development team effectively validate product quality and optimize performance. Microsoft Office RTM also marks a critical step toward worldwide business availability of the 2007 Office system, Windows Vista™ operating system and Exchange Server 2007 on Nov. 30, 2006. To underscore the significance of this new day for business, Microsoft executives will participate in events around the globe, including an event with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in New York. General availability of the products will follow in early 2007.

“We’ve crossed the development finish line, and the team deserves to celebrate,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “The 2007 Microsoft Office system RTM completes the most significant improvements to the products in more than a decade. It’s rewarding to be able to send this release off to our customers and help them take the next big leap forward in productivity.”

Today’s RTM begins the delivery of new tools and resources that will allow customers to learn about, try and buy the next release of Microsoft Office:

Learn. Microsoft Office Online has been redesigned to help people learn about what’s new in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Through the new enhancements, information workers can easily determine which products are best for their needs and find related productivity resources — whether it is assistance from one of the nearly 50,000 new help articles, a how-to refresher through one of the 35 new demos, online training through any of the 24 new courses, downloading one of the more than 400 new templates, or accessing other product downloads and tools.

Try. Starting Dec. 1 in the U.S. and Canada, and coming soon after to an additional 13 international markets,* Microsoft will make available free, downloadable product trials via Office Online. Expanding on the Online Test Drive already available today, the trials will allow people to try the new desktop programs before they decide to buy or upgrade to the 2007 release.

Buy. To support purchase and adoption, the 2007 release of Microsoft Office includes the largest investment in deployment and management tools in the product’s history. IT professionals can significantly reduce the cost and complexity of desktop deployments and upgrades by utilizing resources such as the Office Migration Planning Manager, Open XML Formats Conversion Toolkit, the Business Desktop Deployment 2007 Solution Accelerator, the Office Resource Kit, and more.


Beyond overall code quality for RTM, other notable updates include the following:

SMS Link for Office Outlook® 2007. This new service allows Outlook 2007 users to connect with friends’, families’ and colleagues’ mobile phones by using SMS text messaging. It allows people to send and receive e-mail, contacts, appointments and tasks as text messages to mobile phones.

Localization. Most desktop application products in the 2007 Office system will be comprehensively localized in 38 languages.

Multilanguage support. For the first time, 2007 Office system customers will be able to purchase individual, single-language add-on packs that enable applications and suites to instantly become bilingual. The packs add a secondary localized user interface, help files, dictionary and thesaurus.


More information about the 2007 Microsoft Office system and trying the new SMS Link service can be found by visiting the new Office Online at http://office.microsoft.com