Its been a while since I posted interesting and funny images. Here are a few I liked.
Germany lost the war simply because —
Scissors beats Paper!
How to wash a T Shirt?
AOL will phase out several online services as the Time Warner unit continues to struggle in its transition from a business model based on subscription fees to one based on advertising revenue. AOL will put out to pasture Xdrive, a hosted-storage service for individuals; AOL Pictures, a photo sharing and management site; and Bluestring, designed for sharing photos, music and videos, according to an internal memo obtained by technology news site TechCrunch. In the memo, AOL Executive Vice President Kevin Conroy said these and mobile services AIM World and MyMobile will be “sunset” because they haven’t gained enough popularity. A source close to AOL said the leaked memo is legit and that it was intended solely for Conroy’s team.
AOL’s popularity problem among end users and advertisers seems widespread, judging by the anemic growth AOL achieved in advertising revenues in the first quarter: 1 percent, when compared with the same quarter last year. AOL has been on a years-long shift away from its traditional business, based on charging people for dial-up Internet access service and for exclusive online content. It has been trying to move to a model based on online advertising, which has been experiencing strong growth in the past five years. AOL will try to sell Xdrive, AOL Pictures and Bluestring so that existing users of those services will be able to transition to a new provider, but if no buyer is found, the products will be shut down by the end of the year, according to the source.
Source: NY Times
Hasbro, the owner of Scrabble filed suit Thursday against the developers of Scrabulous, a word game played by millions of Facebook users each month. “We view the Scrabulous application as clear and blatant infringement of our Scrabble intellectual property,” said Barry Nagler, Hasbro’s general counsel. Hasbro also sent a letter to Facebook asking the social networking site to shut down Scrabulous. As of noon Pacific time Thursday, the game was still up. Filed in the Southern District of New York federal court, the suit against Rajat Agarwalla, Jayant Agarwalla and their company, RJ Softwares, claims copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
This month Hasbro introduced a beta version of its official Scrabble game on Facebook. Developed by Electronic Arts Inc., the game is slated to be available to all Facebook members next month. “We want to give Scrabble fans a legitimate way to play the game,” said Mark Blecher, Hasbro’s general manager of digital media and gaming. So far players have ruled in favor of Scrabulous. Scrabble counted 8,862 active Facebook players Thursday, and Scrabulous had 512,961. Blecher said the match hadn’t really begun, given that Scrabble was still in beta.
Source: LA Times, Martin
A soon to be released University of Michigan study will show that more than 75% of banking websites have serious security flaws. According to Atul Prakash, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, these flaws are design issues that cannot be quickly solved with a simple patch or upgrade. Prakash, along with doctoral students Laura Falk and Kevin Borders, studied 214 financial institutions and found that the most serious issue was the placement of contact or security information on insecure pages. Prakash argues that this can easily lead to phishing attacks by the placement of bogus numbers that lead to scam artists.
Approximately 55% of the sites had this problem, while 47% placed login boxes on insecure pages. Prakash is recommending that banks use SSL protocol to secure their login pages. Why any bank still has a non-SSL login page is beyond me. Rounding out the top five security problems are poor email security, broken chain of trust where banks redirect users to insecure outside sites and inadequate user id and passwords. 31, 30 and 28 percent of websites had these problems, respectively. Prakash’s study titled “Analyzing Web Sites for User-Visible Security Design Flaws” will be released later this month on his website here.
Source: TG Daily, Martin
Google opened its website Knol to the public on Wednesday, allowing people to write about their areas of expertise under their bylines in a twist on encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows anonymity. “We are deeply convinced that authorship — knowing who wrote what — helps readers trust the content,” said Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol. The name of the service is a play on an individual unit of knowledge, DuPont said, and entries on the public website, knol.google.com, are called “knols.” Google conducted a limited test of the site beginning in December. Knol has publishing tools similar to single blog pages. But unlike blogs, Knol encourages writers to reduce what they know about a topic to a single page that is not chronologically updated.
“What we want to get away from is ‘this last voice wins’ model which is very difficult if you are a busy professional,” DuPont said. Google wants to rank entries by popularity to encourage competition. For example, the first knol on “Type 1 Diabetes” is by Anne Peters, director of the University of Southern California’s Clinical Diabetes Programs. As other writers publish on diabetes, Google plans to rank related pages according to user ratings, reviews and how often people refer to specific pages, DuPont said. Knol focuses on individual authors or groups of authors in contrast to Wikipedia’s subject entries, which are updated by users and edited behind the scenes. DuPont said that rather than competing with Wikipedia, Knol may end up serving as a primary source of authoritative information for use with Wikipedia articles.
Source: Reuters, Martin
Intel announced prices for some of its latest, most powerful chips that might disappoint digital gaming enthusiasts because they’re more expensive than reports had speculated. The latest Intel processors for gamers, the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core processors for desktop PCs that run at 3.2GHz will cost US$1,499 each in lots of 1000 processors, with a slightly different version for $1,399. Another version of the chip that runs at 3.0GHz will cost $999 in the same amounts, according to Intel’s latest price list. Gamer blogs and some news reports had speculated the new 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core might come out priced at around $999, far less than Intel actually announced.
Each of the new chips comes with four calculating engines on board for more realistic 3D images and ultra-fast gaming speeds, according to Intel. Several gaming PCs have already been designed around the chip family, including Velocity Micro’s Raptor Signature Edition for around $5,995, which will ship next month and Gateway’s FX541XG for around $2,707.99, which starts shipping this week. The Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core chips had been code-named Bloomfield. A price war with rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over the past few years has helped push microprocessor prices generally lower. Microprocessors made for laptop PCs have held up better in price because the laptop PC market has been growing at a breakneck pace.
Source: PC World, Martin
At present, Sony PlayStation 3 is the worst selling latest-generation video game console. However, Kazuo Hirai, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., hopes that the latest system will eventually outsell its predecessor, Sony PlayStation 2 with 150 million units sold worldwide. “It’s not fun for me replicating the PS2 numbers. I’ve seen that movie already. I want to try to see if we can exceed the PS2 numbers after nine years, otherwise why are we in this business?” said Mr. Hirai in an interview with Financial Times. The original Sony PlayStation that was launched in 1994 was sold in 102 million units quantity worldwide, whereas the PlayStation 2, which was released in 2000, passed the 140 million units mark recently. The market of video games is increasing dramatically, particularly in the U.S., these days, hence, setting an unprecedented goal for the PlayStation 3 is not something strange.
But there is one thing that should be kept in mind when comparing PS2 and PS3: the former dominated the previous round of console war for the market and neither Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo GameCube could rival it. Nowadays Nintendo Wii has outsold both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, moreover, the latter is still ahead of its Japanese rival in terms of installed base. Game developers already recognize Wii as the winner of the current round and predict that both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will trail Nintendo’s latest video game system. Mr. Hirai did not reveal any strategies or initiatives that would help PlayStation 3, which is sold for $399 in the USA, to outsell Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii substantially in the coming years. Still, he indicated that he would work hard in order to PS3 to surpass sales of the PS2 over a similar time period.
Source: Xbit labs, Martin
U.S. sales of video game hardware and software rose 53 percent in June from a year ago, with Konami Corp’s “Metal Gear Solid 4″ helping to fuel a dramatic increase in the number of Sony Corp’s PlayStation 3 units sold, market researcher NPD reported on Thursday. “Metal Gear Solid 4″ claimed the top slot as June’s best-selling game, overtaking the two month reign Take-Two Interactive Software Inc’s “Grand Theft Auto 4″ enjoyed since its launch in April. The Konami game is made exclusively for the PS3. PlayStation 3 console sales jumped 94 percent from the prior month. U.S. consumers bought 405,500 PlayStation 3 consoles in June, up from 208,700 consoles in May.
“Exclusive content usually fuels hardware system purchases and PS3 sales certainly reflect the impact of Metal Gear Solid 4,” NPD analyst Anita Frazer wrote in the report. PS3 unit sales hit a record for a non-holiday month, she said. Nintendo sold 660,000 Wii consoles during June, a slight decrease from the 675,100 Wiis sold the month before. But the Wii’s solid sales have secured its spot as the best-selling video game console in the U.S. of the current generation of machines. The console has sold 10.9 million units since its November 2006 release. “The Wii appeals to people of all ages, generations and ability, and more and more new consumers continue to discover the Wii,” Cammie Dunway, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, told Reuters.
Microsoft sold 219,800 Xbox 360 consoles, a 17.8 percent increase from May. For the first half of 2008, the U.S. video game industry has generated $8.3 billion in sales. This is a 36 percent increase in sales from the same period a year before, indicating that the sluggish economy is not hurting the industry’s performance as people turn to home entertainment, NPD said.
Source: Reuters, Martin