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Halo 3 Matchmaking Update is Now Available for XBox 360

50°
314w ago - Per Shishka at Bungie.net (linked above): Testing is finally done and over with, and if you haven't already noticed, the January Matchmaking Update has been applied.

If you missed the Weekly Update where we described the changes for you, here they are again:

General Changes

Playlist Clean Up, Mythic Prep
In preparation for the new maps coming later this year, some of the less popular map variants are going to be removed over time. Some of these removals are not listed below, but will be reflected in the Matchmaking Playlist page here on Bungie.net. This will be an ongoing process with maps and their variants being systematically removed as warranted.

Push to Talk Restriction Increased
Since Halo 3's release, if a player were to join a Matchmaking playlist with a team size larger than four, he or she would have to push a button on the DPad to communicate directly to their team. After the January update, the PTT restriction is being increased to 6 players per team, meaning that players will not need to use the D-pad to communicate on any Matchmaking playlist but Social Big Team.

What does this mean for players? Well, for starters, it means communicating to teammates in 5v5 or 6v6 playlists will be trivial. However, this could...
 

Graphics Cards are Better than CPUs at Cracking Wi-Fi Passwords

100°
315w ago - There's a lot of software out there for cracking wireless passwords, and most of it is legal. Why? Because it's sold as a way for network administrators to 'test' their network's security.

Of course, there's nothing to stop you 'testing' a network that you don't own, in a coffee shop or airport, for example.

Most cracking programs use your PC's CPU to do the hardcore number-crunching, but it turns out that the graphics card is actually far better at doing the kinds of calculations necessary.

How good? Well, an above average quad-core CPU, the Intel Q6600 can only accomplish 1,100 passwords per second, whereas a similarly above-average ATI HD4870 graphics card can smash through 15,750 passwords per seconds.

Who woulda thunk it? Luckily, we might be seeing some of this power hit regular programs too, with Nvidia's [Register or Login to view links], ATI's [Register or Login to view links], and Apple's [Register or Login to view links] frameworks.

The graphics card isn't best at every type of calculation, but if a program can intelligently route calculations to their fastest solver, then we could see blazing program speed increases in the near future.
 

Video: Personal Trainer: Cooking With Fred Willard NDS Trailer

50°
316w ago - Actor Fred Willard is starring in a new promotion for the Nintendo DS and the Personal Trainer: Cooking video game.

This is the trailer for it, courtesy of GameTrailers.

The video's caption simply reads:

"It is a virtual cookbook!"

Check it out below!




 

RIAA to Halt Music-Swapping Lawsuits, Looking to ISPs Instead

250°
319w ago - Update: CNET has a copy of the [Register or Login to view links] to ISPs.

I caught this on Yahoo and found it interesting (although not surprising), so here goes:

At last, the music industry admits what we've known for years: That filing music-swapping lawsuits against teenagers, little old ladies, and corpses is a fool's errand (not to mention an expensive headache for the defendants). But don't worry–the RIAA has something new up its sleeves.

The new strategy (as reported by the [Register or Login to view links]): If the music industry finds out that you're swapping music files online, it'll send an e-mail to your ISP (agreements have already hashed out agreements with "some" unnamed service providers, apparently), which will in turn forward the message to you–probably with a little "P.S." asking you to stop.

If you don't stop, well ... your service provider probably won't sue you, but it might slow down your broadband connection, or cut off your service altogether.

So, why has the RIAA changed the play? Well, maybe it's been looking at reports like [Register or Login to view links] from the NPD Group, which shows that...
 

Sony's PlayStation 3 is a Sinking Ship as Sales Plummet

300°
320w ago - Alone among the three major videogame consoles, sales of the PS3 are down about 19% from November 2007, according to the latest stats from the NPD Group. Sony was only able to sell 378,000 PS3s this November, compared to 466,000 last year.

And the problem for Sony isn't the recession, it's the PS3. Microsoft (MSFT) put up respectable numbers with its Xbox 360, selling 836,000 units vs 777,000 in November 2007. And Nintendo's (NTDOY) Wii continues to dominate the market, more than doubling sales from 981,000 to 2.04 million.

So why is the PS3 flopping so badly?

1. It's the most expensive console on the market, $150 - $200 more than its rivals. Even if you believe the video game industry is "recession-proof" (it isn't), a tanking economy makes consumers more price-conscious.

2. The PS3's big bonus is its ability to double as a Blu-Ray player. Too bad no one seems to care about hi-def DVDs. The differences between Blu-Ray and DVD are hard to see on a TV less than 50".

3. The PS3 just doesn't have any must-have titles exclusive to the console. "LittleBigPlanet" has generated decent buzz but isn't a game-changer, and neither is Sony's new virtual world "Home."

There's really only one option left for Sony to remain in the game: deep price cuts, and not just for...
 
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