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30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back Brings Surprises

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Josh Henry

30th Anniversary of <i>The Empire Strikes Back</i> Brings Surprises

If you are like me, you may know that the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was yesterday May 22nd. It's amazing to think that it has been 30 years since, in my opinion, the best Star Wars movie was released. For 30 years Star Wars has captured the imagination and hearts of over 3 generation. The media decided to celebrate the occasion in multiple ways, one being a Marathon of the original trilogy on SPIKE TV all day. That being said this anniversary didn't just spell happiness for fans of the movie franchise but also the community of BioWare's MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.

In case all the articles I have written about this game haven't gotten you excited yet, maybe this will get you a little more interested. Last Friday, May 21st, BioWare announced that in order to pay tribute to Episode V, that the game would contain that planet upon which one of the most memorable battles in the Star Wars movies occurred, Hoth. If you are familiar with the planet Hoth you are probably having the same reaction as most of the community of TOR, and saying things like "But it's just a planet of snow! We have a planet of only sand (Tatooine) and now we have a planet of snow!?!?"

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Geometry Just Became Fun

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Josh Henry

Geometry Just Became Fun

Some of us here at the show have been playing the multiplayer open beta of Bizarre Creations' wonderfully addictive racing game known as Blur, and it turns out that Steam and Bizarre Creations are giving computer gamers more incentive to buy the game. Their bargaining chip? Offering every person who pre orders the game on steam a free copy of the just as addictive game Geometry Wars: Retro Evolution.

Blur goes on sale this Tuesday, so if you're hoping to grab Bizarre's twin-stick time sink at no charge, you should probably pre-order the game ASAP.

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Portal Downloaded 1.5 Million Times

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Josh Henry

<i>Portal</i> Downloaded 1.5 Million Times

If you release it for free, they will download it. Valve has revealed that its free download of Portal, offered as part of the launch for Steam on Mac, has been anxiously grabbed by 1.5 million users. If you have yet to acquire your own free copy of Portal, get on it. You've only got until May 24.

Valve also released some interesting figures on Mac user habits on Steam. According to their findings, two-thirds of Steam for Mac users are running the service through a laptop. Also, more than 11% of purchases made on Steam have been by Mac owners. No word on whether one of those upcoming Mac title sets will feature the Valve catalog, with games such as Left 4 Dead, Counter-Strike and Half-Life. When making their announcement in March, Valve had said their titles would be available in April along with Steam for Mac.

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HP Uses the WebOS Platform for Printers

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Nicholas DiMeo

HP Uses the WebOS Platform for Printers

When HP purchased Palm earlier this month, we talked about why and for what reason the computer and printer retailer wanted a phone manufacturer. It turns out that now we possibly have found a reason for why they wanted the webOS. They want to introduce the multitask-intensive operating system into a line of printers! Yes, printers. That's what HP's Mark Hurd said on their quarterly earnings call:

I think in this case of Palm, and our planned acquisition of Palm, it really has more to do with the intellectual property and the fact that when you look across the HP ecosystem of interconnected devices, it is a large family of devices. When we think of printers, you've now got a whole series of web-connected printers that, as they connect to the web, need an OS. We prefer to have that OS in our case to be our IP, where we can control the customer experience as we always have in the printing business, and that's a big deal to us.

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Google to Own You

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Scott Ertz

Google to Own You

Google wants to own you, that is a given. They already own your Internet search, your email, your videos, your browser (either Chrome or a plug-in), your phone and even your ads. What they don't own yet? The web apps you use on your computer, but they want to. How do they propose this next level takeover of our daily lives? The Chrome Web Apps Store.

Coming to Chrome users later this year, Google will be launching a store where you can purchase web applications, similar in style to the Android Marketplace. The difference here is that it will not be exclusive to the Chrome OS and the apps will not have to live only in the Web App Store. What is the reason for developing a non-exclusive store on the Internet? The ability to get more people to spend more of the time on Google's services.

If the images from Google so far are to be believed, gaming seems to be a big part of the store, with Plants vs Zombies from PopCap Games and LEGO Star Wars from LucasArts being features as apps available from the store.

Are you guys at all interested in installable web apps, or is using them on the web just fine with you? Let us know in the comments section.

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One Bad Apple...

posted Sunday May 23, 2010 by Jon Wurm

One Bad Apple...

There has been a string of unusual deaths over the past year at a factory in Taiwan owned by Foxconn, a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision, the worlds' largest manufacturer of consumer electronics and has over 800,000 employees. Eleven of Foxconn's employees have tried to commit suicide and two of them have survived. This all started last year after an employee in charge of shipping for Apple's then iPhone prototype killed himself after one went missing. A sixteen year old employee also died of cardiac arrest while most of the other employees jumped off the building. Foxconn has acknowledged there is a problem and has taken steps to help improve their emotional and mental well being by hiring consolers and Buddhist Monks as well as creating an incentive program for employees to watch out for each other. Apple looked into accusations of bad employment practices and discovered that some employees were overworked during peak hours and not taking any days off. Otherwise the complaints were mostly unfounded.

I'm really not surprised that Apple can't make the connection between bad employment practices and death being a bad thing. The factory in question, where most of the deaths occurred, solely produces iPads and iPhones so they wouldn't want to mess with supply or profit margins in the interests of being humane. We've seen the way Apple treats their employees here and the only reason conditions are better is because they are required to be by law.

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