Dolphin emulator SVN r7613 released

/* Posted June 24th, 2011 at 2:56am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

Here’s the latest build of Dolphin, the ever-improving open-source Nintendo Gamecube and Wii emulator for PC. So what’s new in the latest update?

dolphin_nsmb2

 

Changelog:

    • The user Config directory in the dolphin emu distributed files is now an empty directory (since the portable file has been removed).  Hence that directory should be created and not copied.  This fixes a downstream packaging issue.  Downstream packages strip empty directories from the install.  So users of those packages will find that their settings are not saved.

       

      Developer’s note:

      Dolphin is a Gamecube and Wii emulator. Most games run perfectly or with minor bugs. Games are playable at HD quality, up to 1080p. This is a remarkable feature the actualGamecube and Wii consoles are not capable of. As an open source project everyone can commit improvements. The code is hosted on code.google.com. Dolphin is actively developed and almost every day new features are added and bugs fixed as well.

      System Requirements

      • Windows XP or higher, or Linux, or MacOSX Intel.
      • Fast modern CPU with SSE2. Dual core for a speed boost.
      • Any reasonable modern GPU with Pixel Shader 2.0 or greater. nVidia or ATI are good. Older integrated Intel chips may not work, newer ones should work fine.
      • For more information, see http://forums.dolphin-emu.com/thread-4.html

      Features

      • Runs the following types of games:
      • Gamecube Game Disc
      • Wii Game Disc
      • Wii Downloadable Games / Virtual Console
      • Triforce Arcade games
      • Action Replay Simulator
      • Xbox 360 Controller support, with rumble (KB Plugin)
      • Experimental NetPlay
      • Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering (OGL Plugin)
      • Save states
      • Memory Card Manager with GCI memcard export/import support
      • Real and emulated Wiimote support
      • Basic PowerPC Debugger and Log Window
      • DSP HLE and experimental LLE
      • Memory viewer and dumper
      • PowerPC Just-In-Time recompiler
      • WAD Support
      • Some support for Homebrew and XFB Emulation
      • Hi-Res Support, texture dumper, Free Look (OGL Plugin)

       

      Usage Notes

      • The GUI should be pretty much self-explanatory.
      • To use Action Replay codes, follow the examples in the Patches subdirectory. Use + in front of a cheat name to activate it. The cheats can be named anything.
      • To start in debug mode, pass /d (or -d) on the command line.

       

       

      Download: Dolphin SVN r7613 32bit

      Download: Dolphin SVN r7613 64bit

       

       


      *UPDATE*

       

      The Dolphin dev team has released the long awaited update of their emulator project, bringing it to version 3.0.

      Developer’s note:

      Yep, we really did it. Finally, after 20 days of string freeze and almost 3 months of feature freeze (totally worth it), we’re officially declaring Dolphin “it must new” 3.0 as released!

      As (something like) the release manager for 3.0, I’m proud of this release. It’s a lot more polished compared to 2.0 (especially the user interface) and should suffer from much fewer bugs. However, we of course still have a lot room for improvement, and for sure will further work on getting closer to perfect Gamecube/Wii/Triforce emulation

       

      Changelog:

      • Tons of bug fixes: This totally deserves to be a major point for this release. There’s been roughly 2500 commits between 2.0 and this release, so there are REALLY too many changes to mention. All kinds of stuff from strange UI behavior, crashes, graphical glitches and other sorts of problems were fixed. For example, many games which didn’t boot at all in Dolphin are working fine now.
      • Improvements to the user interface: The configuration dialogs were restructured in a more sensible manner to ease emulator usage for new users. The video config dialog received a complete overhaul and features a description panel for each option now.
      • Various feature additions: This release also features support for the Wiimote speaker, EFB format change emulation, a gfx debugger, audio dumping, and many other stuff
      • Low level DSP emulation: Thanks to numerous fixes to the LLE emulator engine, audio emulation in Dolphin is close to perfect now (provided that one has the necessary DSP dumps of course)
      • New API support: Added a D3D11 video backend and an XAudio2 audio backend
      • Removal of the plugin interface: The 2.0 release already had seen the introduction of plugin rewrites; the new plugins have been brought to feature parity and replaced them so well, that we decided to merge all plugins the Core. Further improvements are better suited as additions in the current infrastructure since this architecture allows for a much better integration with the other parts of Dolphin.
      • Translation support: Recently we introduced supporting for translating Dolphin into any language. However, due to a lack of well-done translations it was decided to only ship a set of eight translations (Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Greek, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish) with Dolphin 3.0.
      • Performance/Accuracy: There have been some performance optimizations (especially in the texture decoder), but generally speaking performance decreased in favor of more accurate hardware emulation.
      • Building Dolphin: The Windows build uses MSVC 2010 now, Linux users should use the new CMake build system. OS X people still compile Dolphin via SCons.

       

      Download: Dolphin v3.0 32bit

      Download: Dolphin v3.0 64bit

       

      And while your at it, don’t forget to explore our DL page to grab hold of the latest brews from all around the scene.

       

       

      Via [Dolphin]

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      Download Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Internet Security 2012 Trial

      /* Posted June 24th, 2011 at 2:56am [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Gadgets    */

      Delicious Delicious

      Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 and Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 are the latest version of Kaspersky Anti-virus software. Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 is an all-in-one security suite which has been designed to deliver premium protection from viruses, Trojans, spam, hackers and etc. While Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 intends to provide complete security protection, Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 acts as the backbone of the PC’s security system that able to provide real-time protection against the latest malware and viruses. Both the latest version of Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 has included lot of new features, enhancements and improvements such as redesigned interface.



      Key features of the Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 includes:

      • Completely redesigned interface – Makes navigating around security settings inside Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 quick and easy.
      • Kaspersky URL Advisor – Marks web links with a color-coded tag that shows their danger level and allows user to choose whether to open them.
      • Kaspersky File Advisor – Checks file safety with a single click of the mouse.
      • System Watcher – Monitors suspicious application activities and allows user to roll back system changes made by malware.
      • Application Control – Restricts program access to personal data and system files according to the level of danger that each program presents.
      • Safe Run Mode – Lets user launch suspicious applications and websites in a special, isolated environment where they cannot harm their computer.
      • Two-way personal firewall – Protects against hacker attacks.
      • Anti-Phishing and Anti-Spam technology – Provides reliable protection for user personal information and guards against unwanted spam and adware.
      • Parental Control – Provides flexible and effective settings to keep children extra-safe when they use computers and the Internet.

      Key features of Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 includes:

      • Completely redesigned interface – Makes navigating around the PC security program quick and easy.
      • System Watcher – Protects PC against unknown threats and lets you roll back system changes made by malware.
      • Kaspersky File Advisor – Allows user to check file safety with a single click of the mouse.
      • Kaspersky URL Advisor – Marks web links with a color-coded tag to advise user of their danger level.
      • Anti-Phishing module – Warns about phishing sites that steal personal data.
      • Task Manager – Allows user to monitor malware scanning activities as they happen.
      • Desktop gadget – Lets user see their computer’s security status instantly and gives them quick access to essential security settings inside Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012.

      Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 and Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 are now available for free download with 30 days of fully functional trial at http://www.kaspersky.com/internet-security-2012. Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 and Kaspersky Antivirus 2012 are priced at USD59.95 and USD39.95 per year for one PC.

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      Xecuter Project CK3i – New Product Range Coming This Summer

      /* Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 8:56pm [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Xbox    */


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      Minecraft Modders Make Epic Tribute in Zelda Adventure

      /* Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 8:56pm [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Video Games    */

      Minecraft modder Gary520 has released a trailer to show off what is perhaps the blocky game’s most ambitious creation yet: an epic, 10-hour adventure based on The Legend of Zelda.


      wireduk
      It’s called Zelda Adventure and manages to squeeze the franchise’s most iconic elements — including a boomerang, a magical ocarina and an old man with a beard — into millions of polygonal blocks and boxes.

      Like other, more legitimate, games in the series, you’ll have to traipse through eight puzzle- and enemy-filled dungeons on your quest. You’ll scout through forests, snowy villages and endless deserts to find imposing fortresses, underground lairs and secret caves.

      You also get to go hands on with Link’s arsenal of items and weapons. You’ll get to grab distant rupees with a boomerang, warp around the world by tooting on your ocarina, blow up creepers with pixel-art bombs and defend yourself with a Kokiri shield.

      It’s all rather lovely and exquisitely well-made, with the only disappointment being that it’s not called The Legend of Zelda: Blockarina of Time. Gary520 is still working on the game, but you can grab an early release, with about five or so dungeons available, from the Minecraft forums.

      If you’re interested, though, best get it downloaded quick. Nintendo doesn’t take kindly to fan games and has quickly shut down fan-made content in the past. The Japanese firm killed off a homemade Zelda-inspired movie in 2010.

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      CalenGoo for IPhone

      /* Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 8:56am [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under News    */

      CalenGoo from Dominique Adur Gunia provides the Google Calendar integration you’ve been looking for.

      Let’s say, hypothetically, you’ve got a busy life–a far fetched idea these days, I know. So you need to upgrade from the flower-themed day planner you got for Christmas last year and you jump aboard the Google Calendar bandwagon. At the same time, you need this calendar wherever you go. The built-in Google App support doesn’t give you enough control, and neither does the mobile Web version. The iCal and Google Calendar syncing doesn’t work like a finely tuned Swiss watch just yet. So what is a social butterfly such as yourself to do? I’d say check out CalenGoo, an impressive integration of Google Calendar on the go.

      The first thing you’ll notice with CalenGoo is the various views and general elasticity of the interface. Your calendar can appear as columns, a grid, a list, or a day-by-day view. An update, released in the last week, adds a landscape mode for day view that shows a whole week at a glance in the style of the day view.

      You navigate between the different views by tapping the choices at the bottom, entering a certain date, or double tapping the day. All of this works in both portrait or landscape mode and makes use of the iPhone’s multitouch capabilities, letting you pinch to zoom events and swipe to move between days and months.

      Opening the settings really sheds light on how flexible and well thought-out this app is. You can change nearly everything from all the colors displayed in the interface to how often it syncs to the calendar. You can also set how to manage time zones and even how to access events.

      Adding new events provides the same sort of easy experience you’d get inside iCal, but with all of the added functionality of Google Calendar at your fingertips, such as inviting folks to events and pulling contacts from your address book to add attendees. You can copy with one tap. Displaying the location of an event takes you into the Maps application. A magnifying glass lets you access the search feature and a Today button brings you to the current date.

      All changes made in the app are held until the next time you sync, and all data from the last download is cached. As a result, using Google calendar with no Internet connection is a breeze.

      This app succeeds on many levels. It provides full control over the experience without overwhelming the user, and it just makes sense overall. CalenGoo provides the sort of connectedness that makes bouncing back and forth between your Google calendar online and the app itself seamless and trouble free.

      If you’d like to be a bit more of a power user about it, an extensive tutorial is available via the developer’s Website, making your transition to CalenGoo even smoother.

      [Rob de la Cretaz is a full-time polymath and a proud resident of Pittsburgh.]

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      Panasonic LUMIX GF3 vs Sony NEX-C3 Micro Four Thirds Cameras Comparison

      /* Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 2:56am [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Gadgets    */

      Delicious Delicious

      As you may know, Micro Four Thirds camera is the compact camera device ideal for folks who wanna experience superior image quality comparable to that of D-SLR cameras – without the size and bulk of digital SLR cameras. Recently, Panasonic and Sony have announced the launch of their latest digital interchangeable lens camera – Panasonic LUMIX GF3 and Sony NEX-C3, respectively. If you’re one whom in consideration of purchasing either one of them and would like to know more specifications and features of the both, then the following comparative table of Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF3 vs Sony ? NEX-C3 might be a quick reference you are seeking for.

      Panasonic LUMIX GF3 vs Sony NEX-C3

      From the table above, you can find that Panasonic LUMIX GF3 is slightly lighter than Sony NEX-C3, as well as has higher-resolution video recording capability. Anyway, both of the compact contenders are small enough to carry everywhere, seems perfect for people who dislike the bulky size of DSLR camera. Ultimately, if you prefer a less bulky advanced digital camera, any of them may suit your need. You may want to take into consideration promotions and price available in your locality before making a purchase, and also to actually try out the camera first.

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      5 Tips for SEO Web Design – A Guide to Onsite Search Engine Optimisation

      /* Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 8:56pm [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under SEO    */

      Search engine optimisation (SEO) has come a long way in the last decade.
      SEO graphic

      When the phrase first appeared, SEO web design meant little more than stuffing your cool 90’s website with whatever terms you were optimising for, getting listed on DMOZ, and populating your metadata for the search engines to analyse. Search engine marketing and SEO optimisation were basically as primitive as the search engines themselves; before the first algorithm was written to spot keyword-stuffing, you simply typed your key term more times than anyone else to get the top spot in Yahoo.

      But, oh boy, have things changed. In their endless search to provide users with the most appropriate, authoritative and high-quality suggestions for a given search term, the algorithms and web metrics used by search engines such as Google to index, analyse and understand the contents of the web have become increasingly advanced.

      The complexity and relative importance of SEO services has evolved alongside these developments, as the SEO expert’s job of attaining top positions in search engine results (SERPS) has become ever more challenging and competitive.

      But don’t be put off. Search engine optimisation, internet marketing and social networking all start with solid website design. Building from the ground up with these 6 SEO tips will give you a huge head-start in the race for those coveted and profitable SERPS positions.

      1. Keywords

      Keywords, key phrases, and key terms are the bread and butter of SEO and search engine marketing. Intelligent keyword selection, strategy and analysis are a large part of how it’s done. Your keyword choices could reflect what you do, where you are, what you love, your expertise, your USP or maybe your brand terms. Be realistic; for example it might be too late to take on Amazon for the term used books.

      Visualise your chosen key terms as the ‘real estate’ you will be competing for.

      Head terms are your top-level phrases. If you were selling SEO web design, your head terms would include web design, SEO, website design, search engine optimisation and plenty more. These head terms are normally the most competitive in a field – so use variations, think laterally, look for an opening, and you’ll be getting somewhere.

      Your long tail or tail terms include phrases that relate to your head terms. Get creative; identifying and owning the right long-tail terms is a great way to corner your own part of a competitive market. A few examples for our imaginary web firm might be WordPress website design, e-commerce SEO, ‘Mytown’ web design, celebrity SEO… etcetera.

      Do as much keyword research as possible. You can use tools such as Google Adwords keyword tool, Wordtracker, SEOmoz, and don’t forget the invaluable Google search box itself. Since Google introduced the ‘Instant’ search results this became even more useful – the list of auto-complete suggestions can show you what the world is searching for. Select and list your head and long tail keywords and terms very carefully before you go any further.

      Keyword analysis spreadsheet

      Using your keywords

      So, you know what your keywords are, but what do you do with them? Well, search engines need to be shown exactly what your website is all about in order to drive website traffic to you. Your chosen keywords must then be used throughout the website design process.

      Key terms must be included in:

      • Title Tag
      • Keywords and meta description
      • Navigation and menus
      • Business slogans
      • Your URL
      • Bullet points
      • Alt text for images
      • Image descriptions
      • Title attribute in links
      • Your main page or product copy
      • Internal and external links
      • Footer links and sitemap
      • Breadcrumb trails
      • Header Tags – H1, H2 and H3

      But don’t overdo it! Remember that SEO optimised content should be useful, authoritative and well-written. Unnatural repetition or ‘keyword spamming’ will not help you rank and can even cause penalties. Google works by trying to link people to the most relevant optimised content on the web, and importantly it tries to link them to what they will like. So if it looks like spam to you – don’t publish it.

      As soon as your website goes live, start tracking and refining your keywords based on referrals and performance. Google Analytics should be installed on your site; it is a good, free way to get started with web traffic and keyword analysis, and much more.

      2. Navigation

      Many websites could do wonders for both user experience and their search rankings by improving their navigation. Think about how the following advice might help you elsewhere in your web site design; this is crucial stuff.

      Make your navigation both search engine and user friendly

      If you have heard the term semantics on your travels, navigation is a great place to begin implementing it. Quite simply, the term semantics refers to the study of meaning; the relationships between signifiers (for us, words) and what they stand for. How does it work?

      Google’s spiders are hopefully crawling (having a good look at) your website on a regular basis.

      They might not be clever enough (yet!) to get your jokes, but by analysing your links, internal navigation and content, they are using advanced semantics to judge quality based on the organisation of information on your website.

      For example, if I you built a semantically correct drop-down navigation menu labelled COMPUTERS, that expanded to read LAPTOPS – DESKTOPS  – NOTEBOOKS, and each of those expanded into brands, models, screen sizes or other variations, that information makes sense to both Google spiders and your customers.

      Utilise semantic organisation of information not just in your menus, but right across your entire website, integrating the data you collected in your keyword research.

      Well-ordered, semantic ‘beauty’ is why Wikipedia wins so often in the SERPS. Wikipedia is a great example of organic search engine optimisation which puts out strong ‘authority signals’ for many subjects and key terms.

      Nested navigation

      Navigation Pitfalls

      A classic web development mistake which negatively impacts SEO is using images as buttons for navigation. Always use text, as words will be indexed and understood in relation to where they link and what is around them. Yes you’re getting it – semantics again.

      If the link to your web design page was a picture called button 1, why would a search engine follow it? The search engine would also be ‘upset’ that the linked page wasn’t full of great information on button1.

      Words, text, and html links are always the best choice.

      Many of the pretty effects that you might associate with Photoshop, Javascript or Flash-based menus can now be achieved with text-based CSS3. Any pretty features built in CSS have the advantages of being compatible with more browsers, are search engine friendly, and provide faster loading times. Flash and Javascript should generally be avoided at all costs, as they do not present open, easily understood information to search engines.

      Keep it simple, keep it text-based, and use CSS.

      3. URL’s and folder names

      Your URL (uniform resource locator) is a great place to start to optimise your web design. Every page on the internet has a unique URL, and this is the part of your website that is most referenced and repeated elsewhere on the web.

      A really bad URL, unhelpful to both people and search engines, looks something like this one;

      http://www.jcpenney.com/jcp/X6.aspx?GrpTyp=STYItemID=185a337deptid=70732dep=MENS+SHOEScatid=81551pcat=MENS+SHOEScat=sandalsNOffset=0pcatid=70732Ne=8+3+14+1031+4294957900+18+904+833+949N=4294933639+263SO=0cattyp=RLENao=0PSO=0CmCatId=77583|81551

      Seriously, one of the largest US retailers can’t get this right? If the webmaster at JC Penney had any sense, they would have basic re-write rules or a CMS plug-in enforcing something like this;

      http://www.jcpenney.com/mens-shoes/sandals/skechers/journeyman-sandal

      Be better than JC Penney! Apply our good old semantic principles and your key terms to URLs and folder structures throughout your site design. Everyone will like your website more.

      4. Images

      Another often overlooked area of SEO web development is the correct handling of images.

      • To optimise your images for fast loading times and clarity, compress them to make the file sizes smaller.  Aim for between 30 and 100kb, with a resolution of 72dpi
      • Always use the ‘alt tag’ attribute to give the search engines something else to read
      • Place images in context with your page content; make sure they are relevant and have appropriate titles and captions
      • Put all your images in a folder called ‘images’ – because it makes sense!

      5. Social Media

      Ok, everyone is going on about social media networking, social media marketing, social media agencies and social media campaigns. You may or may not have realised what all the fuss is about.

      Twitter birdie

      Facebook is currently the most visited domain on the internet, and scarcely a day goes by without the latest Twitter scandal hitting the news. Most internet users are taking part in various social media networks, and web users are accustomed to seeing buttons everywhere on the web that enable them to promote or trash content.

      Search engines are increasingly taking these ‘social signals’ into account, and are interested in the size of your networks, who you know, who follows you, and how active you are.

      Obviously -  if there’s a chance that someone will click a ‘like’ button and potentially tell thousands of people about your great page, you really should give them the opportunity.

      The simple act of Tweeting a link to your latest post or product increases it’s visibility. Many companies and individuals are using the power of social media to great effect, whether they use an established social media agency or simply take it all on themselves.  Ok, this is an obvious line, but – you should not get left behind!

      At a bare minimum, take advantage of social media by joining Twitter, Facebook, Digg and LinkedIn.

      Figure out how they work, and integrate the appropriate sharing buttons on all your website’s pages. Every time a user says ‘like’, posts a bookmark, or even writes a review, it will pass social link-heat back to your site and increase your visibility.

      Summary:

      • Analyse, understand and implement your keyword strategy throughout every aspect of your website, paying attention to good semantic structure
      • Don’t use technology that obscures your content or makes for an over-complicated website – stay text based, stay simple
      • Pay attention to detail and information structures throughout, with clear navigation menus, URL’s, folder names and image properties
      • Leverage the power of social media; integrate the most used bookmarking and sharing tools wherever they are appropriate.

      Gez Hebburn is an SEO copywriter and blogger at Fresh Egg, a social media, web design, insight and SEO agency based in Brighton UK.

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      Custom Firmware 6.39/6.35/6.20 PRO-B7 Released

      /* Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 2:56pm [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under PSP    */

      The PRO team has released an official update to their custom firmwares. For those of you using the nightly builds you should definitely move on to this official release as it’s sure to be much more stable, plus it’s got tons of improvements. This custom firmware is for all PSP’s and has the new memory speed up feature that is very similar to Dark_ALex’s old MS speed hack, which helps improve read rates.

      To clear things up, some unofficial builds have incorrectly been referred to as “? This build is the OFFICIAL release, straight from the developers themselves. Sorry for the confusion in the past.

      Anyway, here is the changelog for the official PRO-B7 build:

      [!] Fixed NODRM Engine (DDF012 DLC Costume Bug)
      [!] Improved Inferno Game Compatiblity (GTA China Town, Corda2f, etc.)
      [!] Updated scePower_driver NID Resolver
      [!] Added Configuration Reset on PRO Update
      [!] Added DA psp-packed user module support
      [+] Added UMD VIDEO / GAME XMB Mount Feature (No UMD required, allows for Game Updates)
      [+] Added Custom IPL Flasher for 6.39 PRO (1g, 2g hackable mainboard permaflash)
      [+] Added non latin1 ISO filename support
      [+] Added memory stick speedup option
      [+] Added ISO cache option (available in Inferno and NP9660)?

      As stated before, if you’ve been keeping up with the nightly builds then this release should include many improvements. A big hanks to all the developers who contribute to this project, including Coldbird, VirtuousFlame, neur0n, and anyone else I’ve missed. Keep up the great work guys!

      Downloads are below as per normal. Pick the one that mathces the firmware your on or your previous PRO-B6 FW.

      Source: Pro CFW Google Code Page

      Download: Custom Firmware 6.39 PRO-B7

      Download: Custom Firmware 6.35 PRO-B7

      Download: Custom Firmware 6.20 PRO-B7






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      Modern Warfare 3 Treads Familiar Ground

      /* Posted June 22nd, 2011 at 2:55am [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Video Games    */

      Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, scheduled for release this November, looks and feels quite a bit like previous games in the shooter series.
      Image courtesy Activision

      LOS ANGELES — In a small, dark room hidden away in the Los Angeles Convention Center, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 executive producer Mark Rubin pilots a SEAL delivery vehicle through a web of sunken cars and floating corpses.

      A massive enemy submarine passes overhead. This is his target. He slowly approaches the craft, plants an explosive and retreats to a safe distance. Boom. Rubin rises alongside the ailing sub, surfacing to see a New York City skyline under assault.

      This is the beginning of “Hunter Killer,” a Modern Warfare 3 campaign level shown behind closed doors at the E3 Expo earlier this month. The presentation started out with some unique moments — in 2009’s Modern Warfare 2, such underwater segments weren’t player-controlled — but quickly reverted to familiar territory.

      The 20-minute demo was full of high-octane gunplay and flashy explosions, but there was no hiding the fact that Modern Warfare 3 is the same old Call of Duty wrapped up with a shiny new bow.

      Modern Warfare 3 development began at Infinity Ward, but after much of the company’s creative talent jumped ship to Respawn Entertainment, Activision brought on internal development group Sledgehammer Games as backup. With such an upheaval in the development process, it seems the two teams have decided to play it safe rather than roll the dice on any risky new concepts.

      Nearly every moment in the demo was ripped straight out of an earlier Call of Duty title: Progress through highly linear environments, watch a scripted event, kill a few bad guys. Later in the level, after blowing up the submarine’s command center door with a few pounds of C4, players engage in a slow-motion firefight with the guards. You may remember these action sequences from Modern Warfare 2. They play precisely the same here.

      Don’t get me wrong: Modern Warfare 3 seems to be a phenomenal game. The gunplay is fast and furious, the pacing unrelenting and the visuals top-notch. This game also brings a more ambitious scale to its urban environments. As Rubin hops in a getaway boat, enemy forces pummel New York City in the background. Jets scream overhead as missiles batter the buildings, motorboats speed toward the city skyline and helicopters pester defending forces with machine gun fire. It’s quite a sight to behold.

      It’s just all so derivative. If this is your first entry in the series, you’ll think it’s a strong contender for game of the year. But if you’ve played the last few Call of Duty games, you’ll be considerably less impressed. The presentation was filled with moments of déjà vu: The sub infiltration looked exactly like the opening moments of Call of Duty 4, when Soap McTavish raids and escapes a sinking cargo ship.

      “[Modern Warfare 3] is our chance to bring back characters you’ve known and loved in the past to new levels with epic urban warfare, 60 frames a second, and smooth, cinematic action,” says Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey.

      In other words, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer didn’t want to stray too far from the game that outgrossed Avatar. The environments are fresh, as are a few of the weapons, but ultimately the gameplay experience seems to be a carbon copy.

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      Fetch.io: Download manager in the cloud

      /* Posted June 21st, 2011 at 8:56pm [Comments: none]    */
      /* Filed under Web    */

      Over the past few years, we’ve seen a plethora of download servers and utilities that range from the infamous torrent clients to temporary file servers like RapidShare, Megaupload, and HotFile. Torrenting in particular has seen some new improvements in the area of clients; uTorrent (which was eventually acquired by BitTorrent) became one of the most portable, system-friendly clients and Webware sites like Torrific have even eliminated the use of client software altogether.

      So how do you top that?

      Fetch.io: A Swiss Army Knife download manager?

      (Credit:
      Fetch.io)

      Enter Fetch.io, a cloud-based service similar to the likes of Dropbox but with the utilitarian function of Torrific, as well as support for RapidShare, Megaupload, FileServe, and other services. Instead of downloading your files to your own computer, you input a torrent URL or any cyberlocker URL from a site like Megaupload, then go about your business. Fetch.io will “fetch” the files itself using its own connection, download them to a remote server, and notify you of the completed ingestion via e-mail. You can then access your files directly from your Fetch.io folder in a process similar to Dropbox.

      If you download a movie file, Fetch.io will automatically encode it as MP4 or Flash format for streaming support. This opens up movie-streaming potential for various media platforms and mobile devices.

      Keep in mind that although Fetch.io’s servers can download files at an amazing rate, users are still capped at their own respective download speeds and bandwidth when accessing their completed downloads on Fetch.io’s servers.

      Fetch.io is currently in the beta stage and is offering user accounts of up to 20GB of free storage and 40GB in bandwidth. Fetch ‘em while they last.

      Fetch.io boasts support for multiple download sources, including torrent and cyberlocker sites.

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