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Items of Note:
We want to give a big shout out and thank you to Brian and the entire crew over at Slice of Scfi. They were very generous to give us a big plug. If you love scifi TV or movies, be sure to check them out at sliceofscifi.com. If you want to hear them pimp The Geekcast, listen to episode 208 and we’re mentioned within the first five minutes.
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Once again, Chuck is the main thing I’m geeking out to this week. Episode after episode, this show has gotten so good. It’s to a point where I watch it almost-live and I can’t wait a few days to watch it on my TiVo. Next week is the season finale and I’m hoping it doesn’t dissapoint.
In addition, Caprica came out on DVD this week. This direct-to-DVD movie takes place in the BSG universe but I believe it has little else to do with the show. From the previews shown, it looks like it goes into development of the advanced cylon models. I’ll probably end up renting it and not purchasing it. Be sure to check Netflix or Amazon On Demand for availability.
Gozer: The Godfather 2. First Impressions of the game, graphics, sound, gameplay, etc…
Tech & Gaming News:
Sign of the times: Microsoft sales drop?
Even sales at Microsoft appear to be headed downward. If projections hold, Microsoft on Thursday will report a year-over-year drop in quarterly revenue, a first for the software maker.
The company has come close to flat-lining before, most notably in mid-2000 as the dot-com boom came to an end. Even then, though, it managed to post a slight increase in revenue.
Microsoft is forecast to report quarterly revenue of $14.15 billion for its fiscal third quarter, according to Reuters Estimates, down from $14.45 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Per-share earnings are pegged to come in at 39 cents, down from 47 cents a year ago.
In addition to paying attention to Microsoft’s overall numbers, folks will be closely watching what Microsoft has to say about the PC market. While Intel surprised some last week by suggesting the PC market had hit bottom, AMD’s chief executive said Tuesday that such a prediction is premature.
“I don’t know how anybody can say we’ve hit bottom, considering the macroeconomic outlook,” CEO Dirk Meyer said during the AMD earnings conference call Tuesday afternoon.
Even when the economy does bottom out, Microsoft has said it is not expecting sales will quickly return to where they were in recent years. CEO Steve Ballmer has repeatedly characterized the current woes as a “reset” of the economy, rather than a temporary dip. When things do pick up, Microsoft said in January, expect slow growth.
There will be other items to watch for during Microsoft’s earnings report.
Some think Microsoft might also finally bite the bullet and admit that it is trying to get Windows 7 out this year, as opposed to just by January. The software maker has had a largely positive response to the beta version and is expected to come out with a near-final “release candidate” version in the coming weeks.
In general, new operating systems aren’t necessarily the biggest driver of new PC sales, but computer makers are holding out some hope that an early release of Windows 7, combined with continued good reviews, could help the holiday season perhaps be somewhat better than it might otherwise have been. For Microsoft, the release of Windows 7 offers the opportunity to move pastWindows Vista, a product that has had a decidedly mixed reputation in the marketplace.
The earnings call will also provide an opportunity to hear not just what Microsoft says about its quarterly results, but also a chance to learn if it is seeing any signs of weakness among customers renewing long-term corporate licensing deals.
Also of note will be what, if anything, Microsoft says about discussions with Yahoo on a search deal. The two sides have reportedly been having some face-to-face talks in recent days and weeks. However, the two sides have done plenty of talking without reaching an accord.
On Yahoo’s earnings conference call on Tuesday, CEO Carol Bartz also pointed to search as an important core area for Yahoo, but she wouldn’t rule out the possibility of relying on another company’s search technology plugged into Yahoo’s infrastructure. Microsoft, meanwhile, has been testing the next version of its search product, code-named Kumo.
Further job cuts are also a possibility. One analyst said this week that he anticipates Microsoft willgo beyond its previously announced cuts. However, I’d note that Microsoft’s January planscalled for up to 5,000 jobs to be cut over an 18-month period and it made only about a third of those cuts right away.
Pirate Bay’s fileshare four get year’s jail
Guilty verdict could help music and film companies recoup millions of dollars
By Veronica Ek
updated 11:34 a.m. ET, Fri., April 17, 2009
STOCKHOLM – Four men behind The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s biggest free file-sharing Web sites, were each sentenced to a year in jail on Friday for breaching copyright, and ordered to pay $3.6 million in compensation.
Analysts said the guilty verdict in the closely-watched test case could help music and film companies recoup millions of dollars in lost revenues, though they doubted it would stem the tide of illegal downloading.
In a broadcast on The Pirate Bay’s Web site one of the four defendants, Peter Sunde, taunted the court, holding up a mock IOU note for 31 million Swedish crowns ($3.6 million) followed by the initials “JK” — Internet lingo for “just kidding.”
Amazon Video on Demand goes high definition
Amazon has added HD content to its Video on Demand service. The upgraded content is available for viewing via a Mac or PC, and also for streaming to compatible devices like Roku’s streaming player and some HDTVs.
Today Amazon announced that its Video On Demand service now has HD movies and TV shows, which had started appearing in late March, available for purchase or rent. The move catches Amazon up with Apple’s iTunes Store, which has offered HD content for rent via AppleTV since January 2008, though it only recently allowed watching HD content on a Mac or PC this March. Likewise, Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature has also offered a selection of HD content for some time.
Currently, Amazon VOD has a selection of over 500 movies and TV shows available in HD. That pales in comparison to its library of over 40,000 titles, but it does include a lot of popular content. Amazon highlighted the HD availability of movies like Frost/Nixon, Twilight, and Yes Man and hit TV series like Californication,The Tudors, Smallville, and Gossip Girl. We also spied Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and The Office in there as well.
In addition to adding HD content, Amazon is also announcing that select partners’ devices which support Amazon VOD are supporting the upgrade to HD. In addition to the Roku digital video player, TiVo DVRs (Series3, HD, and HD XL), and the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link, Amazon and Panasonic are announcing that Panasonic’s VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs are now Amazon VOD-compatible.
“Our customers have been asking us for two things: HD and the ability to watch movies and TV shows instantly on their television, said Bill Carr, Amazon vice president Music and Video, in a statement. “Today we are thrilled to begin offering HD and to add the distinctive Panasonic VIERA CAST-enabled HDTV lineup to the growing number of televisions and devices supported by Amazon Video On Demand. We plan to continue making it easier than ever for customers to instantly enjoy their favorite TV shows and movies in HD from the comfort of their living rooms.”
With today’s Amazon news, the concept of “tuning in” for TV content at a particular date and time dictated by a broadcast company seems all the more like a quaint anachronism, much the way that dial-up Internet connections and floppy disks seem now.
Upgrade Your Warner Bros. HD-DVDs to Blu-ray
Five bucks plus shipping gets you the Blu-ray version of films you bought on HD-DVD.By Chris Pereira, 04/22/2009 at 14:36
Some retailers offered coupons or trade-ins for HD-DVD purchasers following thecollapse of the format early last year. Since then, there hasn’t been much noise in that space; Blu-ray has gone on to do its own thing and my HD-DVD player acts as nothing more than a secondary DVD player. For those who still live in regret over the decision to pick the wrong side, you’re in luck: You can now upgrade many of your HD-DVDs from Warner Bros. to their Blu-ray counterparts throughRed2Blu.com (via Joystiq PlayStation). The process isn’t free — it’s $5 per upgrade plus shipping of $7 per order — but if you have a few Warner Bros. HD-DVDs sitting on your shelves (or know of a place you can still get HD-DVDs on the cheap), it’s a far cheaper alternative to buying the Blu-rays in stores.
The process is pretty simple: You place an order for which movies you want to upgrade (Batman Begins, The Matrix, The Departed, and the Ocean’s Eleventrilogy are among the 128 eligible titles), mail in the cover art with the UPC intact, and then wait 4-5 weeks. The deal is unfortunately only good for those residing in the United States or Puerto Rico, so HD-DVD buyers in other regions remain out of luck.
How To: Fix stuck pixels on an LCD screen
On Thursday morning I woke up and went along my normal routine of going on my computer and watching some video. Instantly I saw that there was a pixel on the left side of my iMac that was stuck in a blue state. My iMac is only 9-10 months old and the thought of having to see a blue pixel for the next 4 years was not appealing. I rebooted and also toggled my display settings but neither did the job. Luckily I found a utility that did the trick.
JScreenFix is a java applet that helps fix stuck pixels and image persistence on LCD screens and reduces burn-in on plasma screens. The applet runs safely inside a web browser, does not require installation and works with Windows, Linux and Mac computers. Jscreenfix claims that it repairs most stuck pixels in under 20 minutes, and mild screen burn-in within 12 hours.
I used the fantastic mac utility caffiene to keep my iMac’s screen on at all times and I loaded up the website. Once it was cycling through the pixels, I shrunk the window down to a small size so it was just working on the area I needed. Once this was going, I headed to the livingroom to play Xbox. Two hours later, I checked in on the progress and the pixel was no longer stuck!!
JScreenFix may not work for everyone, but it’s another tool to assist with LCD issues. It’s simple, free and cross-platform! Check it out at http://www.jscreenfix.com/basic.php
Bouncing Betty Glitch for Call of Duty World at War Nazi Zombie Mode
New Asylum Map – First off turn the power on to make sure all the perk cola machines are on. Get 2 Bouncing betties and run to any of the perk machines. get as close as you can to the cola machine and equip the bouncing betty. With the right trigger plant the first one into the ground right in front of the cola machine. Go right to the second bouncing betty, hold the right trigger for a second or two then immediately after you plant the second bouncing betty hit “X” the purchase the perk cola. If you did this correctly , and have alot of money, you should be holding nothing in your hand. Go buy another gun. After you buy another gun, you will now have three guns instead of two. You can do this with all four perk cola machines and acquire alot of guns for ample nazi zombie destruction.