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'Kill switch' dropped from Vista

352w ago - Microsoft is to withdraw an anti-piracy tool from Windows Vista, which disables the operating system when invoked, following customer complaints.

The so-called "kill switch" is designed to prevent users with illegal copies of Vista from using certain features.

But the tool has suffered from glitches since it was introduced with many Windows users claiming that legal copies of Vista had been disabled.

Microsoft says its efforts have seen a drop in piracy of its software.

In a statement released by the company, Microsoft corporate vice president Mike Sievert, said: "Users whose systems are identified as counterfeit will be presented with clear and recurring notices about the status of their system and how to get genuine copies."

'Take action'

"They won't lose access to functionality or features, but it will be very clear to them that their copy of Window Vista is not genuine and they need to take action."

Microsoft has described the new approach as a "change of tactics". It said efforts to tackle piracy had seen numbers of fake copies of Vista at half the level of XP, the previous Windows operating system.

The change will take effect with the release of Service Pack 1, a major update to Windows Vista.


Xbox 360 DivX/XviD Playback Tested: It's Almost Perfect

352w ago - The Xbox 360 supports DivX and XviD as of today, which may make some of you with big file collections (like us) as giddy as a kid in store with puppies made of candy. We threw our entire collection of movies, TV shows and random clips at it and found that the 360 can play back pretty much anything. Here are some notes.

You can play files off of a CD/DVD. This feature wasn't listed on the Xbox Team's website as one of the supported locations for playing back content, but this is fantastic for homes that have wireless networks (or no network at all). In fact, reading off a disc is probably the best way to ensure your movie won't cut out in the middle due to network congestion (unlikely) or someone turning off the computer accidentally (fairly likely).

It supports almost all files. It played back all TV shows we threw at it, including My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Battlestar Galactica, and The Venture Bros.. Most of these, and most TV downloaded TV shows, are encoded in XviD format. As for DivX, that's supported back to version 5.0, but it's unlikely that you're going to find any DivX 3 or DivX 4 online, unless you're talking about old files you've saved for a couple years.

AC3 Audio is supported. Nice! AC3 support was added in the Spring Update, but it's nice to...

Game of the Year Simply Cannot Exist

352w ago - Look at the poorly drawn wheel below. Can you honestly say that one of those games outshines the rest?

This year has been an outstanding year for gaming. Just in the past few months, there has been an epic traffic jam of glorious titles to play and spend money on. I've been sitting on my ass so much that even my chair has started to complain. It squeaks when my butt cheeks clench up in tense, terrorist-fragging moments.

Albert Einstein said it best - "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." We haven't had any time to stop and really appreciate what we have been given. We cannot sum up the best, simply because a winner hasn't clearly risen above the rest. It would be foolish to choose just one.

The PSP Online Store - A Glimpse Towards The Future

352w ago - Two weeks ago, Sony launched the PSP PC store with a whimper. It debuted just two days before Thanksgiving, offering PSP owners the chance to download some free themes and buy and download few old and new PSP games. I didn't hear about any of it until the weekend when it got mentioned on the 1UpYours podcast.

Why the quiet launch? Was Sony embarrassed about it?

Late last week I interviewed Eric Lempel, the PlayStation director of network operations in charge of the store.

And we talked about everything.

Seriously. I don't think we missed a thing. Want to know what the plans are for this store? The pricing strategy? Why it requires a PC? Whether it will support Macs? Which titles formerly on UMD will be coming to the store (he revealed that "SOCOM Fire Team Bravo" and "Twisted Metal: Head-On" will hit by year's end)? Whether UMD titles will ever be released on the download store the same day as they are in game shops? Which PS3 games he'd like to see on the PSP store? The plans for import titles?

And more, more, more. Check out the chock-full interview below.

One excerpt to get you thinking:

Multiplayer: In general the store looks like it comes one step closer to fulfilling a lot of PSP owners' fantasy of "I want to download...

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

352w ago - The man behind the rebalanced Super Street Fighter II will destroy you. David Sirlin has competed in SF tournaments since 1991, represented the USA at Japan's Super Battle Opera tournament, playtested every Capcom Classics re-release of the games and literally wrote the book on competitive gaming. He's also got a cool site where he writes fascinating essays on game design.

Human Street Fighter encyclopedia Sirlin knows the series better even than its creators, so when he tells the world that HD Remix is the true sixth revision of the most successful beat-'em-up series ever, it's press-stoppingly serious business. HD Remix may have started as a polished remake, but with tweaks and fixes it's now a whole new game - scrubbed up, more accessible for newcomers, and rebalanced for tournament play at the highest levels.

The strongest characters, namely Balrog, Dhalsim and Vega, are untouched save for dampening their most overpowered combos, and chumps like Cammy, T. Hawk and Zangief have been beefed up considerably. The relative strengths have been maintained, but the gaps between characters are now compressed so the very weakest character is no longer a ten-second body bag case for the toughest.
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