Tag Archives: windows-7

Blizzard Cashes in on Virtual Game Spending

I think I am in the wrong line of business. I knew already that Facebook’s Farmville was a huge hit. Every time I log into the site, I see people harvesting their crops and begging me to fertilize them. I’ve also seen people cooking up delicious things in their restaurants on Cafe World. I’ve heard (and read) that you can use real money to advance yourself in these games. I had no idea, though, just how huge of a market this is until now.

The people behind World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment, struck gold this week – literally. In the past, they have occasionally offered limited-edition virtual pets for sale in their online store. Pay Blizz some real money, and you can have yourself a seriously cool pet on the toon of your choosing. This week, the geniuses introduced a new Celestial Steed, which allows you to “travel in style astride wings of pure elemental stardust.” I’ll admit that the steed is pretty cool looking. But I can’t see paying twenty-five real dollars for it if I was already paying fifteen every month just for the privilege of playing the game.

Apparently, one heck of a lot of people disagree with me, though. Blizz is reporting that in the first four hours that the mount was available they made an astonishing two MILLION dollars just off of that pet alone. That is over eight-thousand smackers per minute.

The mount doesn’t give a player any advantages in the game over other subscribers. It simply looks cool. Who knew that you could make a fortune in moments through a virtual game? I need to put my brain to work to come up with one of my own.

Photo courtesy of MMO Champion and Blizzard Entertainment.

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Which is More Usable – a Mac or Windows PC?


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During live calls the other night, I had a guy ask me whether I felt that Macs are becoming more mainstream than Windows machines. He went on to say how he knew that in the past Macs weren’t very “user friendly,” and that he feels they are much more so now. The user interface on a Mac has certainly changed over the years, yes.

But you have to look at it like this: it’s still completely different than what Windows users are used to. Many long-time Windows power users give up when trying out a Mac. They feel they cannot find their way around. I’ve seen it happen many times. With that said, though, it all comes down to a matter of opinion and preference. I cannot possibly tell you which is better for you – or anyone else – to use. It depends what your likes and needs are.

I made a change to Mac as my primary system back when I was completely disgusted with Windows Vista. Vista had zero usability as far as I was concerned. The Mac operating system had what I needed, and works well for me. I don’t have a problem with Windows 7. In fact, I have a machine right in my office that runs it. For my needs, though, Apple builds a better system.

The only similarity between Microsoft and Apple is the fact that they both create an operating system. That’s where it begins – and where it ends. Apple makes a piece of hardware to go with that software and attempt to control it. Some people don’t like that. However, as consumers, we SHOULD like it. We know who manufactured each and every part inside of our Mac system. We know who to blame if it goes wrong. We know who to contact if things go awry.

Apple is pretty much the only company on the planet that controls everything from stem to stern… hardware, software and service. Don’t get all freaked out because you have to pay for Apple’s One Care. You have to pay for ANY extended warranty, right? It doesn’t fail me – ever. Every problem I’ve had was covered under the repair system. I don’t have to question “who is to blame for this problem?” It was all made by Apple, and it all goes back to Apple.

If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that HP will come the closest to being what Apple is as a company. Its problem, though, is that it currently has to support another company’s operating system.

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Unlock Hidden Windows 7 Themes


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Why would you want a theme on your computer, anyway? There are several reasons you might choose one… the most common, though, deals with the way things look. You want your colors and icons to look good to your eye. Themes will make sure that everything matches and scales well together and gives you an environment you can really work with.

This screencast was created by Joshua to help you learn how to unlock the extra themes found in Windows 7.

Open a Windows Explorer window, and click on the Organize tab at the top. From the drop-down menu, choose Folder and Search Options. In the View tab, make sure that “Show Hidden Files and Folders” is selected. Now you’re going to want to type this into the address bar at the top of the Explorer window: WindowsglobalizationMCT.

This will open a window that has five different folders contained in it. Click the first folder open, then scroll down and open up the Theme folder, and you’ll see the theme in there. Each of those five folders have a theme inside.

If you still aren’t happy with any of the themes you’ve come across, maybe you should try your hand at creating your own. Once you’ve customized your new theme, you can share it with others. Save it in a .themepack file format and email it to others, or send it via social networks or on an external hard disk. There are also several other themes to look through on the Windows Personalization website.

These extra themes are simple to install to your themes directory, and they’re all gorgeous. Your computer will pop – your background will come alive. Okay, perhaps it won’t exactly come alive. But it will look better, I promise!

Thanks, Joshua, for this screencast. Well done!

Are Compact Discs Dead?

In just a few months, Universal Music Group is dropping the prices on their CDs to between six and ten dollars each in an effort to boost sales. While the company does have its hand in the music download and streaming side of things, their profit margins are much better with physical disc sales. Up until now, however, it usually cost far more to buy a copy at the local WalMart than it did to purchase the entire album digitally.

In addition to the lower cost, UMG plans to add extra content to physical CDs that cannot be purchased online. Their hope is the combination of the lower cost packed with additional features will bring sales out of the serious slump they find themselves in. I personally love this idea, and will likely buy more compact discs than normal. I do buy music online, sure. But there’s just something about owning those sweet little silver discs that I am hopelessly addicted to. What about you? Will the lower cost cause you to go out and buy more music in hard copy form?

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Twitter Announces the @Anywhere Platform

Even though many people walked out during the SXSW keynote today, delivered by Evan Williams, there was a very interesting announcement made. The new platform will allow publishers to integrate Twitter deeper into their site and recreate the “open, engaging interactions” their readers expect from using Twitter “without sending them to the Twitter website itself.”

Using the new platform, users can identify and follow Twitter users on third-party sites without ever leaving that site. Some of the ones that will soon use this new service include Yahoo, Bing and Digg. This lets publishers make sure their audience is aware of their Twitter feed. The user can also elect to follow a site’s feed without ever leaving the actual site. This lets you get more followers, and allows Twitter to bring more users to their site, as well. According to Ev, Twitter is launching the service because it wants to make it easier on everyone to use Twitter. Given their growth has recently slowed, it makes sense to try to bring the service to the attention of more users.

What are your thoughts? Do you believe this new platform is a big step in the right direction for Twitter?

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Can a Gaming Addiction Kill Someone?

The answer, tragically, is yes. NextWeb reports that a couple in Korea has been arrested for allowing their premature infant baby starve to death while they were busy nurturing their online child in the game Prius Online.

The couple reportedly fed their baby only once a day between 12-hour stretches of play-time with with their game. The autopsy report of their baby showed the death was a result of a long period of malnutrition. “The couple seemed to have lost their will to live a normal life, because they didn’t have jobs and gave birth to a premature baby,” said South Korean police officer Chung Jin-won. “They indulged themselves in the online game of raising a virtual character so as to escape from reality, which led to the death of their real baby.”

This goes to show how very real and horrific that gaming addiction can be. It may not always lead to such dire consequences, but it can. Is even that slight risk really worth it? If you know someone who may addicted to video games – either machine-based or online – I urge you to get help for them. I pray to never read another story such as this. Do you know the difference between addiction and obsession?

What other things have you come across in YOUR reading today? Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to see what the people right here in our community have been up to.

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2010 Winter Olympics Opening Clouded By Athlete Death

The 2010 Winter Olympics is now officially off and running, albeit under a cloud of sadness. While the opening ceremony was indeed a spectacular event, it was also touching to see the support for fallen Georgian athlete, luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The remaining members of the Georgia delegation waved a flag with a black ribbon attached to the top, as well as wearing black armbands. Athletes from other countries were seen with the armbands in a show of fellowship and support, as well.

Kumaritashvili was killed during a practice run earlier today when he flew off the luge sled and out of the track into a steel beam. At one point during the day, Georgian officials were pondering pulling the remaining team members out of the Olympics. However, they have thankfully decided (as of now) to compete. These people have trained for years, some their entire lives, for this moment. While their hearts are heavy, it would be a shame for them to not have the opportunity to reach their ultimate goal.

Despite the pall cast over the night, the festivities were beautiful, and the crowd of thousands roared their approval throughout the event. Whether or not you’re a sports fan, the Olympics hold special appeal for many. I certainly hope you’ll be watching, and cheering on your home teams!

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Twitter Search Made Better

If you’ve ever had to search for something on Twitter, you know how difficult and frustrating it can be. First, the site only lets you search back through a couple weeks of tweets. Worse than that is the fact that you cannot narrow down whose tweets you will see in your results. This often means that you’ll be inundated with spam and other junk you weren’t looking for in the first place. Thankfully, Topsy seems to be getting it right.

Topsy is a simple search engine, powered only by tweets. Topsy doesn’t think the Internet is a collection of documents. They see that people are connected in a web of relationships. When you search for something on Topsy it finds snippets of conversations that match what you’re looking for. They ranks results based on how well they match your search terms, and the influence of the people talking about them.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you probably should head on over there now. Topsy results are fresh, because they’re based on what you’re talking about right now. However, they can also find out what you were talking about months ago, which is something Twitter itself hasn’t figured out how to do yet.

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Create Scrapbooks out of Your Photos on Facebook

Scrapbooking is serious business to those that participate in the activity. They are forever looking for the perfect papers and border. They spend hours browsing through stores, trying to find that elusive pair of scissors to make their borders just right. Creating a beautiful scrapbook isn’t an easy process for most. However, Scrapblog is making it simple. You can use Scrapblog to create a gorgeous scrapbook right on Facebook.

Select your background, choose your photos and count to three. Your Flash-based scrapbook will be assembled for you in just minutes. When you first start using Share the Love, the app will employ Scrapblog’s recently launched QuickMix technology to instantly generate a photo collage with up to ten Facebook photos. The photos will be automatically arranged with a set theme, which you can change easily. The app offers users coordinated stickers, backgrounds and captions.

Go ahead and try it out. It won’t cost you anything, and it’s a lot of fun! It’s amazing what kind of great new things you can discover online these days, isn’t it?

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The FBI Wants to Know Where You are Online

An article posted yesterday on CNET has Internet users bashing the FBI up one side – and down the other. Many are screaming about “Big Brother”, and civil rights. Others are proclaiming that they are going to leave the Internet completely, which I honestly don’t see happening. Seriously, folks… you’d be able to totally give up your online life?

According to the article, the FBI is pressing Internet service providers to record which Web sites customers visit and retain those logs for two years, a requirement that law enforcement believes could help it in investigations of child pornography and other serious crimes. If logs of Web sites visited began to be kept, they would be available only to local, state, and federal police with legal authorization such as a subpoena or search warrant.

It’s unclear what, exactly, the FBI wants to keep track of. The possibilities include requiring an Internet provider to log the Internet protocol (IP) address of a Web site visited, a domain name, a host name, or an actual website URL. While the first three categories could be logged without doing deep packet inspection, the fourth category would require it. That could run up against opposition in Congress.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you feel the FBI has the right to require ISPs to keep such information? Also, do they have the right to OUR information in this manner? There are many excellent things being posted online, such as this story, on a daily basis – some of it right here in our own community!

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