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UGN Security: Open News Headlines

Android operating system on a netbook
Microsoft, Nintendo unveil indy games services
Retailers Launch HD DVD Fire Sales
Microsoft, Epic confirm Gears of War sequel
Expect more Blu-ray features -- and higher prices
US court throws out challenge to wiretap program
In U.S., Cuban Exiles Unmoved
Microsoft: HD DVD demise not a problem
Navy to shoot down failed satellite Thursday
Serbs in Kosovo Vow to Remain Part of Serbia

UGN Security: Open News Stories

Artic Warrior:
Hmmm 2011 and still no known Android OS for PCs. Maybe it was a fail. Still think Google will try an OS, if OSs are still relevant in the future. I do spend more time looking at a firefox window then I do a microsoft one.
Posted on Mon, 27 Apr 2009 09:07:43 EDT

Microsoft Corp unveiled on Wednesday new online services for their video game consoles to showcase games by independent developers, part of a push by the companies to tap enthusiasm for so-called casual games.

The $18 billion U.S. game industry, increasingly dominated by sequels and licensed properties, is turning to independent developers for inspiration much as the movie industry uses festivals like Sundance for fresh ideas and to discover new film-making talent.

Microsoft said trial versions of the first independent games, with titles such as "JellyCar" and "The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai," were available immediately, and it expected hundreds of games to hit the service by the end of the year.

Microsoft used its keynote at the Game Developers Conference to officially launch the service for its Xbox 360, underscoring the importance it expects such simpler games to play in broadening the appeal of that machine.

"Now we have another entry point, which is games made by people in their bedrooms," John Schappert, vice president of the Xbox Live online platform, said in an interview.

Microsoft, playing to its traditional strengths in software development for personal computers, began offering game production tools to amateurs and hobbyists about 18 months ago under an initiative dubbed "XNA".

"We've seen the democratization of game development, but it will also take something new, the democratization of game distribution," Schappert told the conference.

(Read more...)
Posted on Thu, 21 Feb 2008 04:50:16 EST

As HD DVD heads to an early grave following the loss of key proponent Toshiba, retailers have launched fire sales to dump players and movie titles in the high-definition format.
Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN).com, which announced Wednesday that it would only promote HD DVD rival Blu-ray, on Wednesday was offering major Hollywood movies in the losing format at 30% to 50% off the original price. The titles included Transformers, all three Bourne films in a package, American Gangster, 300, Beowulf, and the director's cut of Zodiac.

Toshiba, which said last week that it would stop selling HD DVD players, recorders, and disc drives for PCs by the end of March, slashed the price of its HD-A3 player from $150 to $100. The player was available online on Amazon and on Circuit City. At the latter, the player came with two movies, Bourne Identity and 300.

To help people find HD DVD movies and players at bargain prices, the site DVD Talk launched an online forum called "The Official HD DVD Fire Sale Clearance Thread."

Following Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group's decision earlier this month to stop shipping movies in HD DVD by the end of the year, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) slashed in half the price of its HD DVD video player for the Xbox 360 video game console. The player now sells for $129.

Companies that dropped support for HD DVD, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), said it was necessary to eliminate customer confusion over having to choose between two competing and incompatible technologies. Most consumers have shunned high-definition DVDs and players to avoid being on the losing end of the format war, which was reminiscent of the battle between Betamax and VHS in the early days of videocassette recorders. VHS eventually won over Sony-backed Betamax.

One of the key reasons Sony won the format war was the inclusion of a Blu-ray disc player with the PlayStation 3. Sony sold more than 2.5 million PlayStation 3s last year, according to the NPD Group.
Posted on Thu, 21 Feb 2008 04:46:45 EST

Remember when back in December Amazon mistakenly began taking pre-orders for Gears of War 2 on Xbox 360? Well, it seems like the giant online retailer indeed had the inside word on that one, as Microsoft and Epic Games just confirmed that Gears of War 2 is coming exclusively to Xbox 360 this November.

The official announcement came at the Game Developer's Conference where Epic’s Tim Sweeney revealed just a few tidbits. The game will feature improved graphics including advanced character lighting, more realistic shadows and water effects, and a tweaked Unreal 3 engine to include over 100 characters on screen at once. In addition, there is now support for certain Ageia physics elements and the potential for destructible environments. Unfortunately, no in-game footage was displayed at the show, but a brief animated teaser trailer is available
Posted on Thu, 21 Feb 2008 04:34:00 EST

I'll be the first to admit that i can't wait to get one.. But at the same time, I refuse to get one without owning a BDR + some additional disk space ;)...
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 23:51:54 EST

sounds like low-tech Karnivore all over again.
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 23:45:07 EST

Cuban exiles in the United States reacted coolly on Tuesday to the overnight news that Fidel Castro was resigning the presidency of Cuba, an island he has ruled with an iron fist for almost 50 years.

With Mr. Castro’s younger brother Raúl, who has been running the country for a year and a half, seen as most likely to succeed him, many said they expect the system of communist central control to continue unchanged.

Modest crowds gathered under gloomy skies in Miami’s Little Havana district, to the west of the main downtown core, but the excitement level was limited. Some Cuban flags were displayed, and signs saying “No Castro, No Problem” were waved.

Virgilio Hernandez, 67, who came to the United States from Cuba as a child, said: “Castro is known in all parts of the world as a horrible man. But the manipulation will continue under Raúl. Things will not change until we have a real election.”

People on the scene said the celebration at the end of July 2006, when Fidel Castro announced that said illness was forcing him to turn over day-to-day leadership of the country to Raúl Castro, were larger because the action seemed to signal Fidel Castro’s imminent demise.

Some Cuban exiles in Miami said on Tuesday that any real change would have to come within the country’s military, which Raúl Castro has commanded for decades. Even without Fidel Castro, one man said, there are a “bunch of auxiliary gang members who don’t want to see change.”

Responses in the Cuban community in Hudson County, N.J., were similarly restrained. “It was about time for him to step down,” said Orencio Fernandez, 64, while speaking to people in a bakery on Bergenline Avenue in West New York, N.J. “But he’s not dead yet. Things will change in Cuba when he dies and his brother dies, because the brother will carry on the same way.”

Mr. Fernandez, who lives in nearby North Bergen, said he heard about Fidel Castro in a news broadcast and went to the Web site of the Communist party newspaper in Cuba to print out the announcement. He was showing it to people as they came into the bakery.

A. R. Fernandez, a printer who left Cuba in 1960, looked at it and said: “It will continue. The brother took power. The older generation is still in power.”

Representative Albio Sires, Democrat of New Jersey, who once was mayor of West New York, said, “The first thing that struck me is, obviously, he is very ill, otherwise he would not have surrendered the reins after 50 years.”

With Fidel Castro out of the picture, Mr. Sires said, “I’m hoping that this leads to democracy in Cuba — that Raúl will start making moves in areas of freedom of the press, release of political prisoners and in terms of setting up elections.”

“The people of Cuba have been very patient the last 18 months” since Fidel Castro first relinquished power, he said. “I think the people of Cuba want change.” Mr. Sires was 10 years old when his family fled Cuba in 1962 with the help of relatives.

Senators John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who are running for president, issued separate calls for the release of political prisoners in Cuba.

“Fidel Castro’s stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba,” Mr. Obama, Democrat of Illinois, said in his statement. “Cuba’s future should be determined by the Cuban people and not by an anti-democratic successor regime. The prompt release of prisoners on conscience wrongly jailed for standing up for the basic freedoms too long denied to the Cuban people would mark an important break with the past.”

Senator McCain, Republican of Arizona, said that despite Mr. Castro’s action, “freedom for Cuba is not yet at hand.”

(read more...)
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 23:42:14 EST

Speculation has been growing over the last few weeks that the next gen movie format war is nearing the end, with Toshiba-based HD DVD falling to its Sony-boosted rival, Blu-ray.

Last week, major US retailer Wal-Mart announced that it would be dropping the HD DVD format. Reports circulated over the weekend that even Toshiba would soon be admitting the battle was over, although the company has yet to announce its surrender publicly.

Wal-Mart joins retailers Blockbuster, Woolworths, Best Buy and Netflix, which all have announced that they would be favouring the Blu-ray format. Blu-ray has also been winning the war on the production side of the industry, as evidenced by January's announcement from Warner Bros. that it would be going Blu-ray exclusive. That leaves only Paramount and Universal holding out in the HD DVD camp.

Sony is likely to be rejoicing at the news, as the PlayStation 3 is also a Blu-ray disc player, and the format's potentially winning the battle is likely to see sales of the machine leap. Its rival the Xbox 360 plays DVD movies, although a USB add-on, costing $130 in the US, and £115 in the UK, can be bought for watching HD DVD movies.

However, Microsoft has issued a statement today saying that it is not concerned with reports that the HD DVD will be joining the choir invisible. It said, "We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace, As we've long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles, and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry."

Microsoft also said that it would be waiting for the official word from manufacturers Toshiba--which has so far not issued confirmation that the format will be discontinued--before it makes a decision on the future of the add-on HD DVD player for the 360.
(Related Article)
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:57:19 EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy will likely attempt to shoot down a faulty spy satellite Thursday, the day after the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land, two officials told CNN Monday.

The officials -- who spoke on condition of anonymity because much of the planning remains classified -- said the idea is to leave as much time as possible so a second attempt could be made if necessary.

Because the 5,000-pound satellite malfunctioned immediately after launch in December 2006, it has a full tank of fuel. It would likely survive re-entry and disperse potentially deadly fumes over an area the size of two football fields, officials have said.

The Navy plans to fire at the satellite as it enters Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 150 miles.

Officials want the missile to hit the edge of the atmosphere to ensure debris re-enters and burns up quickly.

The Missile Defense Agency estimated the cost of a sea-based attempted intercept at $40 million to $60 million.

Without any intervention, Pentagon officials have said they believe the satellite would come down on its own in early March.

The option of striking the satellite with a missile launched from an Aegis cruiser was decided upon by President Bush after consultation with several government and military officials and aerospace experts, said Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffrey.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said there's nothing the military can do to make the outcome worse.

"If we miss, nothing changes. If we shoot and barely touch it, the satellite is just barely in orbit" and would still burn up somewhat in the atmosphere, Griffin said.

"If we shoot and get a direct hit, that's a clean kill and we're in good shape," he added.
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:51:31 EST


MITROVICA, Kosovo — A day after Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leadership declared independence from Serbia, 7,000 Serbs took to the streets of this divided city, waving Serbian flags, chanting “Kosovo is Serbia!” and burning an American flag covered with the words “The Fourth Reich.”

A small clutch of radicals stood at the bridge leading to the Albanian side of the city shouting, “Kick, Shout, Kill the Albanians!” Old men and women wept, some expressing disbelief that Kosovo was no longer theirs. A NATO military helicopter hovered overhead. Armed police formed a human shield to keep the protesters from trying to cross to the other side of the bridge, where crowds of Albanian onlookers looked on defiantly.

Mitrovica is divided between Albanians, who live south of the Ibar River, and Serbs, who live to the north. The city has long been a flashpoint for violence in Kosovo, a territory of two million people, where the 125,000-strong Serb minority ekes out an existence in isolated enclaves surrounded by Albanians, who make up 95 per cent of Kosovo’s population.

An explosion went off Monday night in the northern part of Mitrovica, near the building where United Nations police and mediation offices are located, Agence France-Presse reported. Police said there were no injuries and that damage was confined to a few shattered car windows.

The Serbian-dominated northern part of Kosovo already has parallel institutional structures and the majority of Serbs there do not recognize the authority of the Kosovo government. The ability of NATO’s 16,000 peacekeepers to maintain peace could help determine whether Kosovo will hold together.

As Kosovo’s jubilant ethnic Albanians continued to celebrate, concerns were growing that the Serbian-dominated north could boil over into violence, break off and bring about the partition of Kosovo. Conversely, analysts warned of the risks if Kosovo’s Albanians, newly emboldened by independence, tried to assert authority over the north, which accounts for 15 percent of Kosovo’s territory. “Mitrovica has for long time been the critical area in the south Balkans where things are going to come to a head,” said Misha Glenny, a leading Balkans expert based in London. “Whetever the outcome of Kosovo’s independence, everyone knows we are heading for de facto partition, but no one is willing to admit it.”

(read more... )
Posted on Tue, 19 Feb 2008 01:46:42 EST

- v5.0