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Leisure Suit Larry Kickstarter Ends With $673k

Apparently a remake of the classic Leisure Suit Larry is in the works. Kickstarter is being instrumental in bringing back games playing on nostalgia, from Tim Schafer adventure games and cyberpunk to post-apocalyptic RPGs and, ah, wank jokes. The campaign to fan-fund Leisure Suit Larry HD, a remake of Al Lowe's sleazy adventure game wrapped up yesterday at $673,602, having passed its goal of $500,000 last week. $655,182 was raised directly through Kickstarter, with the rest coming from Paypal.

While the Kickstarter's now closed, Paypal donations are still open so that total's ticking slowly upwards. However, LSL fell short of its second funding goal. Replay Games was gunning for $750,000, hoping to add new speech, puzzles, cutscenes locations, minigames, "girls" and more if it hit that mark. Still they got close, so one imagines Larry's adventure may be fleshed out a little.Leisure Suit Larry HD is coming to PC, Mac, and Android and iOS devices. The remake was actually announced back in October 2011, to be funded the regular way, but when that fell through they turned to fans.

Diablo 3 Open Beta Weekend Starts Today

Today Shacknews is reporting that Diablo III will be open to the public for beta testing. The open beta weekend begins this afternoon at 12:01pm Pacific, then will run until 10:00am on Monday, Blizzard explains in a Diablo blog post. All you need to play is a Battle.net account. You can download the client in advance, so you don't miss a second. The beta is relatively small, packing the first part of Diablo III's first act, but you will be playing Diablo III. Unlike proper closed beta testers, open beta players won't receive 'Beta Bucks' to spend in the auction house and cannot post in the beta forums.

Diablo III launches for PC and Mac on May 15. The closed beta test will wrap up on May 1.

Apple Posts OS X "Mountain Lion" Developer Preview 3

Apple released the third developer preview of its OS X "Mountain Lion" operating system for Macs and Macbooks. The Developer Preview 3 (Build 12A178q) was released to members of the Mac Developer Program. While a change-log is not listed, a number of new known issues with the build were listed, which Apple, along with its MDP partners are working on. OS X "Mountain Lion" is Apple's next major operating system for Macs, Macbooks, Mac Pro, and Mac Servers. It is slated for late Summer, 2012.

PNY Speeds Up with the Bar Attaché USB Flash Drive

PNY worldwide leader in USB flash drives, PNY technologies, the leading manufacturer in memory products has introduced the new fast paced Bar Attaché USB flash drive. Its high speed 3.0 data transmission surpasses the standard USB 2.0 drives and accelerates data transfer making it less time consuming to access your digital files and media.

Specially designed to deliver the next generation in high speed connection, the Bar Attaché USB offers read and write speeds up to 44 MB and 65 MB respectively. Encased in metallic bronze finish, it conveys class and sophistication to perfection demanding respect and complementing the personal taste of the user. The cap on design can be attached to the rear end of the drive thus eliminating any worries of misplacing it.

Matrox Also Introduces the DualHead2Go Digital Mac Edition Adapter

Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced the launch of the DualHead2Go Digital Mac Edition (ME) external multi-display adapter, designed specifically for use with Mac systems. The DualHead2Go Digital ME, encased in a small, silver box connects to the Thunderbolt port or Mini DisplayPort video output of Mac notebooks or desktops and drives two external DVI displays each at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200. This easy-to-use solution, at an MRSP of $179.00 USD, is the ideal multi-display adapter for any Mac user looking to expand their desktop to see more and do more.

DualHead2Go Digital ME comes bundled with Matrox PowerDesk desktop management software that lets users configure their multi-display setups and easily maximize an application per screen. In addition, the new Desktop Divider feature enables users to further customize their desktop space and improve work flow by allowing displays to be divided into smaller sections, in each of which a program can be opened and maximized. DualHead2Go Digital ME is also fully High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) compliant and permits users to view copy-protected content on HDCP-enabled displays.

Western Digital Gives Mac Users the First 2 TB Portable Hard Drive

Western Digital today introduced the first 2 TB capacity portable drive dedicated for Mac customers, My Passport Studio. This new standard in high storage capacity, along with Apple Time Machine compatibility for quick and easy automatic backup of Mac hard drives, allows Mac users to use one drive for the protection and transport of virtually all their digital content, everywhere they go.

The new My Passport Studio portable drive maintains its elegant and protective all-metal casing to complement the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, providing the beautiful aesthetic that Mac users expect while increasing storage capacity to 2 TB, enough space for approximately 400,000 photos, 240 hours of video or 500,000 songs.

Altec Lansing Introduces the New inAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay Speaker

Today, audio innovator Altec Lansing released the inAir 5000 Wireless AirPlay Speaker (MA5000) that allows users of iTunes, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to stream music wirelessly over their Wi-Fi network to any room in the house. The inAir 5000 is the first in a new series of AirPlay enabled audio networking products that capitalize on the audio engineering excellence and groundbreaking product design of Altec Lansing.

The new inAir 5000 is the perfect companion for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch as well as computers running iTunes. Whether a user is playing music from a personal iTunes library or streaming content from AirPlay-enabled apps, the inAir 5000 is the simple, elegant way to wireless entertainment with astounding audio clarity.

VLC Media Player Reaches Version 2.0.0

The VideoLAN team has this weekend released the 2.0.0 version (codename Twoflower) of their VLC open source media player. This build includes a heap of updates including reworked Mac and Web interfaces, a new rendering pipeline for video, multi-threaded decoding for H.264, MPEG-4/Xvid and WebM, new filters, support for 10 bits codecs and two new languages (Telugu and Kurmanji), subtitles improvements, (experimental) support for Blu-ray discs, and hundreds of bug fixes.

VLC 2.0.0 is available here for Windows and Mac OS X (or just OS X).

OS X "Mountain Lion" Drops Support for Several Older Mac Models

Launched yesterday as a developer-preview, Apple's OS X "Mountain Lion" will support fewer Macs than its predecessor, probably because of increases in hardware requirements for smooth operation that older Macs can't quite guarantee. The support list for Mountain Lion looks like this:
  • iMac (mid 2007 or later)
  • MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, 2008), (13-inch, plastic, Early 2009 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later), (15-inch, 2.4/2.2 GHz), (17-inch, Late 2007 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
  • Mac Mini (Early 2009 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)
As you can see, some x86 Mac models are out of the support list, including importantly, the pre-Unibody plastic Macbook Pros. Perhaps Apple will support Mac OS X "Lion" with security updates for a lot longer.

With "Mountain Lion", Apple Drops the "Mac" in OS X

Earlier today, Apple unveiled a developer preview of its upcoming operating system for Macs, Macbooks, Mac Pro, and Mac Servers, codenamed "Mountain Lion". It could be observed that Apple mentioned the new OS as simply "OS X", without the "Mac" (as in Mac OS X). A quick run through the new developer preview by The Verge, revealed that the change took effect in the software as well, as all about boxes and information pages reflected it. The article also notes that Apple conspiracy theorists may draw a line between today's development and the 2007 decision to rename the company Apple Inc., from Apple Computer, indicating that Apple is prioritizing on its portable computing device product lines a lot more than its core product, the Mac.

Apple Releases OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview with Over 100 New Features

Apple today released a developer preview of OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world's most advanced operating system, which brings popular apps and features from iPad to the Mac and accelerates the pace of OS X innovation. Mountain Lion introduces Messages, Notes, Reminders and Game Center to the Mac, as well as Notification Center, Share Sheets, Twitter integration and AirPlay Mirroring.

Mountain Lion is the first OS X release built with iCloud in mind for easy setup and integration with apps. The developer preview of Mountain Lion also introduces Gatekeeper, a revolutionary security feature that helps keep you safe from malicious software by giving you complete control over what apps are installed on your Mac. The preview release of Mountain Lion is available to Mac Developer Program members starting today. Mac users will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion from the Mac App Store in late summer 2012.

Google Chrome 17 Stable Available for Download

After going through a month-long beta stage, Chrome 17 has now been promoted and is available as a Stable release for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Chrome 17 (build 17.0.963.46) features new Extension APIs, updated Omnibox Prerendering, download scanning protection, various tweaks and fixes for about 20 vulnerabilities.

Chrome 17 Stable can be downloaded via this page.

John Browett Joins Apple as Senior Vice President of Retail

Apple today announced that John Browett will join the company as senior vice president of Retail, reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Browett comes to Apple from European technology retailer Dixons Retail, where he has been CEO since 2007. Beginning in April, he will be responsible for Apple's retail strategy and the continued expansion of Apple retail stores around the world.

"Our retail stores are all about customer service, and John shares that commitment like no one else we've met," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "We are thrilled to have him join our team and bring his incredible retail experience to Apple."

Valve Announces Mobile Steam App, Closed Beta Now Available to iOS and Android

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the beta release of the Steam application for iOS and Android devices.

With the Steam app, gamers around the world may chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content for their favorite games, read the latest gaming news, stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales, and more.

Apple Reports Record First Quarter Results

Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter which spanned 14 weeks and ended December 31, 2011. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 44.7 percent compared to 38.5 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 58 percent of the quarter's revenue.

The Company sold 37.04 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 128 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during the quarter, a 111 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 5.2 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 15.4 million iPods, a 21 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

Google Delivers Chrome 18.0.1010.0/1 Through the Dev Channel

Search giant Google has once again updated the Chrome Dev Channel and released two new Chrome builds, version 18.0.1010.0 for Mac and Linux, and 18.0.1010.1 for Windows. According to their maker, these builds include the following updates:

All

- The PDF plugin now adds 'Rotate Clockwise' and 'Rotate Counterclockwise' commands to context menus, so users can more easily view documents scanned horizontally.
- Updated the first-run bubble text and added a link to change the current search engine.
- Fixed HTML5 showing download bar in fullscreen mode.

Elecom Intros New Pocket Bluetooth Keyboard for iOS, Mac OS, and Windows Devices

Japanese company Elecom unveiled a nifty new gadget for those on the move, and don't mind long sessions of thumb-typing, the TK-FBP029 Mini Bluetooth Keyboard. Measuring 146 x 78 x 21 mm, and weighing 96 g, the keyboard features a clam-shell form-factor like the electronic pocket organizers of last century. The keyboard works over Bluetooth 3.0, and is compatible with Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Apple Mac OS devices (Macbook, Mac, Mac Pro), Windows devices (Windows PC, Windows Phone, Windows Embedded), and even Sony Playstation 3. The hinge of its lid can get locked into an obtuse angle, letting you place a portable device (such as your iPhone) on it. It comes in lid color options of black, white, and hot pink. The company did not give out pricing information.

Das Keyboard Reveals Mac-friendly Mechanical Keyboard

Hearing the cries of Apple fans all over the world, the Das Keyboard team has developed, and now unveiled, a mechanical keyboard for Macs. Known as the Model S Professional For Mac, the keyboard in question features a glossy black upper casing, Cherry MX blue mechanical key switches with gold contacts, Mac-specific keys (Option, Command), a Sleep function, 6-key rollover, a built-in 2-port USB 2.0 hub, and a 2 meter USB cable.

The Model S Professional For Mac costs $133 but you can pre-order it now for $113. The keyboard is set to become available on April 16th.

uTorrent Use Surges To 150M Per Month, Announce New Consumer Electronics Partnerships

BitTorrent, a leading peer-based technology company, today announced that the company's flagship BitTorrent Mainline and µTorrent software clients have grown to over 150 million monthly active users worldwide.

In December 2011, the classic BitTorrent Mainline client boasted over 20 million users, while the legendary tiny-but-mighty µTorrent client grew to over 132 million users. The numbers represent an aggregate count of both software clients running on Windows, Mac, Android and Linux platforms.

The company also announced four new strategic "BitTorrent Certified" device partnerships at CES in Las Vegas including TVs, set-top boxes, media adapters, and Blu-ray players. BitTorrent Certified devices are designed to enable consumers to discover, play, share and move all types of personal media, regardless of size, type or format, so that they can play high-quality content in their living rooms. New certification partners include:

Apple Patents New Face-Recognition Device Unlock Technology

Some time in June 2010, Apple filed a patent application for a unique new facial-recognition technology that's light on the resources. It was discovered by AppleInsider. Entitled "Low Threshold Face Recognition," the application defines a method of recognizing a person using a front-facing camera of a device (could be anything from an iPhone, iPad, to even a Mac or Macbook), that consumes very little system resources, and is hence light on the device's power source.

It could very well be an evolution of the "Slide to Unlock" mechanism found on iOS devices, and conventional password entry to wake Macs up. If granted, this technology comes to being at a particularly important time, when a similar technology evolving out of Android Face Unlock, and when facial-recognition will be a key feature of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system, to log into systems and wake devices up from their e-slumbers. Apple's proposed technology relies on analyzing a "high information portion" portion of the human face, rather than using the conventional resource-heavy method of recognition. Apple claims its technology will be just as reliable.

Apple Seeks Patent for Fuel-Cell Powered Notebooks

Apple reportedly started ground-work on developing a design with which future Macbooks can be powered by fuel-cells, pushing the battery life envelope further up. Apple has applied for two key patents with USPTO, titled "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device", and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."

The filing states "Our country's continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling." It continues "These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources."

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Apple Working on Retina Display for Macbook Pro

Apple sure knows how to surprise us when it comes to display advancements, be it its retina display on iPhone products, 2560 x 1440 pixels in 27-inch monitors (Apple was first to market with that density), or talk of 2048 x 1536 pixels native resolution with the next generation iPad. This latest news is bound to shock and awe. Apparently, Apple is working with upstream suppliers to develop a retina display for its Macbook Pro products. As early as in Q2 2012, Apple will launch a new Macbook Pro with 2880 x 1800 pixels (that's more pixels than even the costliest of today's 30-inch displays can manage). More importantly, it's a return to the 16:10 aspect ratio. It will achieve this without upscaling display dimensions. Meanwhile, Apple's PC competitors ASUS and Acer plan 1920 x 1080 display notebooks around that time.

Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

The original 8-bit Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the early 1980s, but the original company eventually closed down in the 1990s, having launched their 16-bit Amiga range in the meantime as the C64s successor. For a while now, replica C64 models, packed with the latest PC technology, have been made by Commodore USA, a different company that has purchased the original Commodore brand.

Since last summer, they have been selling a replica for $999 powered by an Intel CPU. This PC, called the C64x Ultimate (model number: C64x-UL) included a dual core Atom D525, NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics, 4 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. A barebones version is available for $349 without a motherboard, just the keyboard and case, allowing the customer to add their own hardware into the retro box. However, Commodore USA has now upgraded their offering with a considerably more powerful CPU. This version is the C64x Extreme (model number: C64x-EX) which includes a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU, mini-ITX motherboard and PSU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, DVD writer (slot loading) 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The back panel has the following ports: legacy PS/2, USB 2.0 x5 (one eSATA combo) USB 3.0 x2, Ethernet and three audio jacks. Video connectivity is looked after by HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs.

Bitcoin & Password Stealer Trojan For Mac Now Available!

Hot on the heels of our previous story of Apple Macs falling prey to a DDoS trojan, we now have another Mac trojan come on the market, as explained by Sophos. Yes, the Apple platform must indeed be becoming more popular to get this one. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the popularity of any computing platform, including smartphones, can be judged by the number of criminals who will attack it. This little nasty, called OSX/Miner-D or 'DevilRobber', hijacks Mac OS X to perform various tricks, which include minting Bitcoins (the virtual and now virtually worthless currency) stealing usernames and passwords (of course) taking screenshots and stealing the victim's Bitcoin wallet while it's at it, if there is one. And for good measure:
it runs a script that copies information to a file called dump.txt regarding truecrypt data, Vidalia (TOR plugin for Firefox), your Safari browsing history, and .bash_history.
So, now the criminals also know about all the sites one has visited, eroding user privacy even more. It looks like this malware has covered all the bases, but wait, there's more.
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