Weekly News Roundup (25 May 2008)

Sorry for the lateness of this roundup. Life once again got into the way of work, and the only reason why most of my roundups are not late is because most of the time, I have no life. There’s not a lot of news this week either, despite me having no life … quiet news weeks do happen from time to time, and last week’s news bonanza more than makes up for this week anyway. So let’s get started.

Is this what your computer looks like?Actually before I start, I wanted to say something about the “If I were to buy a computer today …” feature that I ran this week. It relates to a poll that I ran on the site a few weeks ago, in which I asked the age of people’s computers. I was expecting that most people’s computers would be between 2 and 4 years, and I was right, but what I didn’t expect was so many people who have computers over 4 years old. In fact, 55% of those polled had computers older than 2 years. But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, since my two computers are both over four years now, and they will be closer to five years by the time I replace them. It looks like the time when people swapped computers every 18 months has ended, as computers get more and more powerful and we have less and less reasons to upgrade. But this also means that when you do buy a computer, and just like buying a new car, you need to be careful what you buy to ensure that it can last 3 or 4 years for your needs. Hopefully, the “If I were to buy a computer today …” feature can help you do just that. Anyway, onto the real news.

CopyrightIn copyright news, popular torrent site Mininova is being sued by the Dutch anti-piracy agency for obvious reasons. The MPAA has won another victory in court, this time winning $4 million against websites ShowStash and CinemaTube. Is it me or has there been a lot more piracy related lawsuits than usual? But everyone knows that these sites are just a move to Antigua away from being completely safe from the copyright cops, although to be completely safe, the individuals who operate the site have to move there too (but out of all the places you are “forced” to go, Antigua is not the worst). TPM ChipThe alternative is to do what Napster are doing and go legit, and Napster are now offering 6 million DRM free songs for purchase. And as one forumer quipped, they were offering DRM free songs back when it all started too (except DRM wasn’t the only thing free about those songs). On the PC front, Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell says that PC games piracy is near an end thanks to TPM chips currently being shipped with motherboards. I’m a bit skeptical. And do people still play games on PCs?  

High DefinitionOnto HD news, Denon are going to release cheaper players that still cost about 10 times more than your average DVD player, but it’s still cheap for Denon standards. Denon, Onkyo are brands that you buy if you want to best and are willing to pay through the nose for it. For everyone else, Pioneer or Sony is good enough. While hardware prices are something people do not like (see our current poll for the quite lopsided results), another thing they don’t like is how old movies look on Blu-ray, with the poor color reproduction and noise compared to recent releases. The problem seems to be grain, which old movies have plenty of due to being shot on film. But does removing grain destroy the original look and feel of the movie, considering many directors are adding in grain deliberately these days to give the film a grittier look. I for one think they should leave film grain alone and concentrate more on removing dirt, scratches and other things that occurred after the film was shot, not during. The suggestion that studios should skip older movies for release on Blu-ray will more than likely kill off Blu-ray as a format. Just because a film is old, it doesn’t mean that it can’t look fantastic on Blu-ray, with or without grain.

3D TVBut while grain is a very 2D problem, the future of movies seems to be shifting to 3D (but we’ve heard this before, in the 80’s in fact). TV manufacturers are lining up to produce 3D TVs that won’t require glasses. I’ve also been fascinated with 3D, but I’ve yet to experience it without those headache inducing glasses.

GamingAnd finally in gaming, there is a leaked photo of what the Xbox 360’s motion controller could look like (or what I call the Xbox Wii-60). To be honest, it looks more like one of those dodgy Asian Wii clones designed by someone who got confused and fused it with the 360 design. It won’t out-Wii the Wii though, so I don’t know why Microsoft is bothering to be honest. Xbox Wii-60 ControllerThe Xbox 360 Spring Update appears to be cancelled as well, as Microsoft devote more time to fixing their DRM portability related issues (being able to play downloaded stuff on more than just the original console, especially after your old one died from the RRoD and you got yourself a new one). Has Microsoft run out of ideas for the 360? Can’t believe they are going to skip an important update for some boring DRM stuff that never should have been a problem in the first place. Or maybe they are keeping the best stuff for the Jasper update of the hardware.

And good news for those who hate fanboys … they may not be able to reproduce offsprings thanks to the toxic chemicals founds in game console plastics. Of course, the same toxic chemicals are found in just about any modern appliance, so I think the future of the human race is pretty much doomed.

And on that light note, we end this week’s news roundup. See you next week at, hopefully, the usual time.


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