Duqu And Stuxnet Have Three Brothers And Their Last Name Is “Tilded”


Based out of Moscow, Kaspersky Labs has been investigating the Stuxnet and Duqu viruses and has found that they are only a small part of a family of similar viruses. There are thought to be 3 other viruses that have yet to be found that work in concert with Stuxnet and Duqu. This was found because both Duqu and Stuxnet search for 3 other registry keys all starting with ~D, also known as “Tilded”. Stuxnet is a worm, and Duqu is a trojan so the other 3 programs could be any of a variety of types of computer viruses or malware, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Note that I'll just use the word virus to talk about the variety of malicious software in all it's form for ease of use.

We know that Duqu is an information gathering tool that gathers information about SCADA systems, and Stuxnet is used to target certain SCADA systems and cause them to fail, but we don’t yet know the functions of the other 3 viruses. We can only guess at their possible functions, but it’s probably safe to say that they also are used to target SCADA systems. Kaspersky hadn’t been able to find out who designed the malware, but they were able to find out that they were compiled on a Windows system. It’s thought that the Pentagon may have something to do with these programs, but they still continue to decline comment when asked about the subject.

Having modules that can be changed around and upgraded actually increases the scariness of these already scary viruses. Each module can possibly be used independently or in concert with other ~D viruses to achieve maximum effect. Should a cure for one of these viruses be found, that part of the virus can be updated and changed and still have 4 other working parts, without having to redesign the entire virus. Anti-virus companies have already began adding code to their software to help defend against Stuxnet and Duqu, but without knowing precisely what the other 3 programs are, it’s going to be difficult to protect against them.

I could guess as to what the 3 programs are for, but there’s no telling how wrong I could possibly be. So, I’d like any reader of this story to make guesses in the comments section. Maybe together we can get a good idea of what might be lurking out there. Here at GUO, you can post comments without having to register for anything.

Out of Print Blade Runner Sketchbook Now Online

blade runner sketchbookCurrently going for $200-$400 online, the long out of print Blade Runner Sketchbook collected production artwork from the seminal sci-fi movie that set the standard for what cyberpunk dystopia looks like. It is no exaggeration to say that every genre film released since Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” owes a great deal of credit to the visual styling of Blade Runner.

Now, thanks to uploader FutureNoir and the magical tubes of the Internet, this rare piece of film history is available for everyone to peruse. Check it out before Warner Bros. make this vanish like tears in the rain.

PlayStation Vita Sales Tank in Second Week on Sale in Japan

vita tankWhen the final votes were tallied, the PlayStation Vita (PSV) did pulled some pretty good sales numbers for its launch. In spite of initial launch issues with the system’s hardware, firmware, and connection issues, Sony’s new handheld would go on to sell through more than 324,000 units thanks to presales.

Things look a little less rosy for the PSV one week later. The week of December 19-25 saw the PlayStation Vita only clear 72,479 units. To add some perspective, this same week saw the 3DS sell over 482,000 systems. The original PSP line of handhelds also pushed more than 100,000 units out the door in the same week.

Source: Andriasang

Apple’s iTunes App Store had more than 5.6 Million Free Downloads per Day in November

Eclipsing October’s record setting month of 4.9 daily free downloads, Fiksu is reporting that Apple’s App Store had an average of 5.65 million daily downloads throughout the month of November 2011.Print

This new record is up 15% from the month prior and a whopping 82% increase from just one year ago. Lest you think these number may be on the high side, know that Fiksu only tracks apps listed in Apple’s Top 200 list to gather this data. The actual download numbers are unquestionably higher.

“As expected, and as we've seen before with new device launches, new owners' enthusiasm is high and their appetite for app discovery and engagement is strong. This bears out in the numbers with daily app downloads hitting a new, all-time record peak reflecting heightened competition for rank in the Apple App Store. Additionally, the rapid adoption of iOS 5 – and corresponding app updates – played a key role in this continued escalation in November.”

Check out the full report on Fiksu.

U.S. House of Representatives Busted for Illegal Downloading

Ever wonder what happens during those long House of Representatives meetings while they debate the exact wording on bills such as SOPA or Protect IP designed to give the U.S. the ability to shutdown any website in the world on a whim to stop online piracy? As it turns out, they’re busy downloading pirated material from the Internet.

house-interview

windows

TorrentFreak checked out the pirate snooping website YouHaveDownloaded to get the 411 on what your favorite legislators are actually up to over on Capitol Hill. Of the 800 hits listed, a good number were for self help books such as “Crucial Conversations- Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High”, “How to Answer Hard Interview Questions And Everything Else You Need to Know to Get the Job You Want”, “Do Not Open – An Encyclopedia of the World’s Best-Kept Secrets”, and, one of my personal favorites, “How Things Work Encyclopedia”.

Rounding out the list of illegal downloads are the usual suspects one would expect from any freedom stifling institution with a smokin’ hot Internet connection: Movies, television shows, the Windows 7 operating system, and, of course, pornographic videos.house-gang

For all the nitty-gritty, check out TorrentFreak’s full story.

Madoka Magica Exhibit Opens in Japan

madoka-8
Anime News Network has scrounged up all the latest user posted pictures from the opening of MOVIC’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica Exhibit that opened December 27, 2011 in the Sunshine City Culture Hall in Tokyo's Ikebukuro district.


Areas of the exhibit feature recreations of the girls in famous scenes from the show, an art gallery, themed carnival games, and, of course, a gift shop.

Head on over to Anime News Network for the full story and many more pictures.

Minecraft Spinoff Minicraft Sequel on Its Way

minicraft2twitterFather of the indie smash hit Minecraft, Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, recently tweeted his top down rebuild of Minecraft, dubbed Minicraft, will be getting the redux treatment.

minicraftOriginally designed for the 22nd Ludum Dare accelerated game development competition, Minicraft is the product of a mere 48hrs of coding. This free, browser based Java game is a fresh take on the Minecraft formula. Using the harvesting and crafting mechanics from its big brother, Minicraft plays much more akin to a classic 16-bit Japanese action adventure.

As for the future of Minicraft, Notch Tweeted that a name change is first on the list. In regards to the direction of the title, a later Tweet states “action roguelike with crafting and modifiable terrain.” Sign me up!

You can play the original Minicraft for free right now.

Video: Disney World's LEGO Store on Christmas Morning

Growing Up Otaku producer ryte2byte skipped opening presents this year and instead headed out to be with his fellow squares at the LEGO store in the Downtown Disney portion Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Enjoy these sights and sounds from a truly international marketplace as he braves the crowd (and the Florida sun!) on a day where shopping is usually the furthest thing from anyone's mind.

Is Google’s Browser the Next Great Gaming Platform? Reviewing Chrome for Gaming on a Netbook

At Google’s I/O developer’s conference in May 2011 Google expanded their Chrome Web Store in the wake of the Chromebook’s launch, tying the announcement to the release of Angry Birds for the browser. The Chrome team also announced its Native Client SDK (or NaCl. Yeah, a chemistry joke. And you guys thought I was a nerd!) citing the classic PC game Quake right in its FAQ and promising cloud save features. There is little doubt that Google has its digitized li’l eyes on the multi-billion dollar video game industry.

For this feature, we’re dusting off our old friend of GUO’s OnLive testing, the second worst netbook known to consumers, the $150 Woot Special Eee PC 900. Heck, if OnLive can deliver a quality Metro 2033 experience on this “system”, then surely it’s good enough for some browser games, right? Come with us as we dive into the Chrome Web Store’s gaming section with six of the most popular games and see just what the misspelled version of 10100 has in mind for gamers. Is this Chrome quality or does it flake off at the first signs of use?

Santa Prepares for World Tour with CISR Haptically-Enabled Universal Motion Simulator

Yeah, its poor form to post a video without a whole paragraph of blah-blah to weigh it down, but there really isn’t much else to say here. Let the Christmas coverage begin!

Apple iTunes App Store Year End Sale 2011 (Utilities, Kids, and Games)

dollar bill F18Every year those hardworking folks over at iTunes finally get some time off of the the holidays. What this means to us hungry consumers is that there will be no new apps, updates, or price changes for about a week. It also means that every penny pinching pusher of digital delights has to preemptively drop their prices to scarf up all those new customers lucky enough to be scoring an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad for Christmas. Sounds like the perfect time to throw together a big ol’ list of stuff on sale! We’re checking out some of the irresistible deals on games, apps, and kids software.

The New Best Video Game Kill Ever

Yeah, we originally rewarded “Best Video Game Kill Ever” to this guy with his game winning blind tomahawk throw across the map, but now a new challenger appears!

Placing itself squarely in the “WTF did I just see?” category comes this fragtastic ballet of aerial acrobatics from the game Battlefield 3:

Video: Bearded Dragon Playing on a Tablet

Wow, there really is a gaming experience tailor made for everyone these days! Check out this Bearded Dragon lizard going for high scores in Ant Crusher. Tongue gaming FTW!

Line up gentlemen! She’s a gamer and she’s single! And a dragon!

Free-to-Play Racing Game Need for Speed World Releases $100 In-Game Car

needforspeedworld_00969_screenAt this rate, the Urban Dictionary entry for “Free-to-Play” is going to be changed to reference Vaseline.

EA announced that a new buyable car has been added to their free online racing game Need for Speed World, the Koenigsegg CCX “Elite”. What makes it so awesome? Glad you asked:

  • A first in NFSW! Koenigsegg and CCX logos stenciled on the front windshield
  • One-off, carbon fiber body kit
  • A first in NFSW! Burnt titanium exhaust tips
  • Two-tone livery
  • Multiple material finishes
  • Satin matte paint
  • The wing mirrors have been moved forward, off of the doors, and made carbon fiber.
  • The interior has been treated to a matching swatch of the exterior, with blue seats, and yellow stripe.
  • The bezels and speakers in the interior have a blue neon glow
  • The headlamp buckets are carbon fiber
  • The wheels are 20”, have flat black centers and chrome lips
  • One-off livery featuring a honeycomb pattern.
  • Custom blue honeycomb neon
  • Custom “Elite” license plate
  • Exposed engine bay with custom cross bracing.
  • Spits EPIC flames out the back end when nitrous is engaged.

Now how much would you pay to play? EA’s glad you asked! This “Elite” edition Koenigsegg CCX normally retails for $100, but is currently on sale for the bargain price of $75 through December 21, 2011. Did we mention that it is NOT the fastest car in the game? Well, it’s not. Enjoy!

Producer Marc de Vellis responded to customer concerns in the Need for Speed World podcast “Ask Marc – Episode 58” with some exceptional advice: “Don’t like it? Don’t buy it.”

I think we should all do as he suggests.

AT&T Gives Up on T-Mobile Merger; Proclaims Doom for the Future

After failing to persuade legislators that the elimination of competition is a good thing, AT&T announced yesterday, December 19th, 2011, that they will abandon plans for their market destroying merger with T-Mobile. Of course, this will spell certain doom for us all. Check out this except from AT&T’s press release:

The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately. The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage.  In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.

Because monopolies are great for growth. You can read the whole press release on AT&T’s site.

Deal: Ultimate Scrabble & Crossword Cheat App ‘Tip of My Tongue’ is Free (iOS)

It’s not cheating, it’s leveraging an advantage. And now you can do it for free!

tip of my tongueIf you’re a lover crossword puzzles, Scrabble, Words With Friends, or any other kind of word game and don’t mind using a little ‘leverage’, Tip of My Tongue is for you! Give it a few letters, set your min and max word length, and let the miracles of technology send your opponents into a screaming tizzy of looserdom. Tip of My Tongue’s database of 125,000 words is stored offline making it ideal even when you don’t have a ‘Net connection handy. This unified app is on sale for free and works on all iThings running iOS 3.2 or later. Get it from iTunes.

PlayStation Vita Launches in Japan: First News Roundup

Sony’s latest portable video game system, the PlayStation Vita, launched in Japan on December 16th. We unleashed a flurry of Google-Fu on the ol’ Intertubes to round up the real look at Sony’s latest player in the mobile gamespace.

Sporting  a quad-core processor, a 5" touchscreen, rear touchpad, and support for motion control, the first question in the mind of this technophile is “What do the inside look like?” Fortunately, Pocket News turned an arsenal of tools on the gaming gadget to satisfy our curiosity.

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Sweet! See the full gallery over on Pocket News.

Review: Sonic CD (iPhone/iPad/Android) Blurring the Lines of Time and Tech

sonic cd iphoneOriginally debuting in 1993 for the Sega CD (aka Mega CD), a CD player add-on module for the 16-bit Sega Genesis (aka Mega Drive) cartridge based console system, Sonic CD (aka Sonic the Hedgehog CD) has become one of those cult classic titles of the bygone era (aka old geeks like it). Due to the relatively poor sales of the Sega CD, Sonic CD was a game that was talked about a lot more than it was actually played. I was one of the lucky ones. Having sunk dozens of hours into the original release of Sonic CD back in the day, the news of an updated version piqued my interest. You see, I was one of those people who had proclaimed Sonic CD to be the best title in the franchise. No other Sonic game has ever been able to recreate whatever magic pixie dust had so intoxicated me all those years go. This new release promised not to be a simple emulated version of the original, but an entirely new batch of code written specifically for modern hardware and delivering a tidied up version of the classic game at its original performance level to my cell phone. While this certainly seemed appropriate and possible, I was intrigued by a larger question: Can an eighteen year old platformer from the 16-bit era even compete with the art of gaming today, let alone in the heart of a jaded ol’ gamer who only ever enjoyed a handful of platformers to begin with?

NASA Is Looking For Some Big Stars With Radio Astronomy

NASA has enhanced it’s mission of discover with a new radio station. Known as “Third Rock – America’s Space Station” it will play a variety of New Rock, Alternative and Indie music in search of new music stars. This station is also an attempt to reach out to the younger crowd through internet radio to help fill high-tech jobs in the engineering, science, and IT fields. It can be reached by going through NASA’s web portal, the radio tab of Apple’s iTunes or directly by going to www.rfcmedia.com/thirdrockradio//

Built to be light-years ahead of the best new music, we’ll have to see if NASA can engage new prospects with this gambit. I’ve listened to the station for a little while and must admit that they do have some good new rock bands. I guess all that sky searching does pay off when searching the radio waves for new stars.

OK, I don’t usually do radio station reviews. Here is some hard science with an illustrated comparison of some really big actual stars.

(Click on image to Enlarge)
Note that our very own Sun will balloon up to the size of Arcturus (frame 4 – middle) when it goes red-giant in about 5 billion years. If VY Canis Majoris took the place of our Sun, it would extend all the way out to Saturn. Note that largest in size does not mean largest in mass. temperature, or luminosity.

First English Trailer for Puella Magi: Madoka Magica Released

The English speaking world braces for the onset of Madoka Madness! Aniplex has released their first trailer for the series English dubbed translation. Not quite feeling Kyubei’s voice, but we’ll see.

Edit: Whoops! Looks like somebody is being stingy about sharing with others again :(
Vimeo and/or Aniplex is not allowing embedding on this one. You'll have to go over to their house to see it.

And if you could think of a good reason why companies would want to stop fans from sharing their commercial, by all mean, leave me a line in the comments. I'm stumped.

24 J-Rockin’ Tunes from the Top Anime

Epyion over on 8tracks.com has put together a spectacular playlist featuring 24 of the themes from the biggest anime shows in the past couple of years. All of your new favorites are here. Be it the peppy Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood into, the beauty of Clannad After Story, or the hauntingly apocalyptic outro of Madoka Magaica, there’s something for every J-Pop fan in here. Take a break from Jingling the Bells with this awesome audio aside of anime.

Free, legal, and complete with links to iTunes so you can pick up your favorites forever, I’ve embedded this wonderful playlist below for your convenience.

PSA: Why is There an UltraViolent, M Rated, DRM Laden, EA Game in Humble “Indie” Bundle 4?

shankHumble Bundle, we have a problem.

The inclusion of the game Shank in the latest Humble Indie Bundle is flat out wrong for many reasons.

For starters, I believe the screenshot over there on the left should provide some food for thought. While the game’s store page on Steam is age gated due to content (ESRB rated M for “Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Violence”), there is no such warning anywhere on the Humble Bundle 4 site. Let’s take a quick peak at what Wikipedia has to say about Shank’s depiction of violence, shall we?

 

Grand Theft Auto III Released for iPhone/iPad. All the Gray You Remember, Now with Bad Controls

GTA3 iosGrand Theft Auto III makes its way to iOS 10 years after it changed open world gaming forever on the PlayStation 2.

The good news? It’s all here. The whole decade old incarnation of Liberty City, the mute protagonist, the mundane story, and all the fantastically exciting chaos that only an unscripted open world sandbox can bring.

The bad news is that Rockstar has thoughtlessly thrown a dozen touchscreen buttons all over the place without rhyme or reason. Worst of all, the digital driving controls that sunk GTA: Chinatown Wars make a return to frustrate anyone looking to take a joyride down memory lane.

You really can’t go home again. GTA III looks and feels (and is!) dated compared every other game in the series since released. While this iPhone version certainly benefits from a higher resolution, the textures remain just as gray and low res as the originals and the inane control scheme pops a cap in any semblance of fun. If you’re jonesing for some carjacking nostalgia, grab the PC version for your laptop when this inevitably goes on sale on Steam at the end of the month.

Grand Theft Auto III is now available for iDevices running iOS 4.3 or higher for $4.99 on iTunes.

OnLive Android App Passes 50k Installs, iOS Version Stuck in Apple Approval Limbo

Since bringing console quality gaming to your favorite ‘Droid exactly one week ago, the app has gone on to rack up a brisk 50,000 installs. Using remote data centers to run the actual game software itself, OnLive’s video game streaming service allows even the most modest of hardware to handle the most technologically advanced of software. Like Deus Ex. Man, that’s a cool game! Get it in the Android Market.

As for the user’s of Apple’s iOS devices? Well, if you’re a iDevice guy, you know what’s going on. Geek.com calls out “hints” that the OnLive app for iOS is stuck in that ‘will they/won’t they’ alternate dimension known as the Apple Approval Process. As is the case with the many revolutionary apps who skirt a little too close to Apple’s bread and butter, there is no known release date at this time.

Still don’t believe? Here’s a video of the graphic powerhouse Dirt 3 in the OnLive app side loaded into the $200 Kindle Fire :

The Sims Go Real-Time and Free-to-Play for iOS in The Sims: FreePlay

Your favorite gibberish spouting, pants peeing, party loving, little computer people are coming to your favorite little iDevice later this month.

sims freeplay ignTaking a cue from the very popular The Sims Social Facebook game, The Sims: FreePlay will be,as you might guess from the title, a free game powered by micro transactions. Also borrowing from it’s Facebook cousin, FreePlay will run on a real time 24 hour clock. Due to the extreme downtime associated with with real time working and sleeping, FreePlay will allow players to create and control up to 16 unique Sims.

In addition to customizing the Sims and their homesteads, players will be able to grow and customize their town with parks, shops, and opportunities for employment. While not included in the initial release, IGN’s preview hints at future content additions including marriage, pets, and neighbor visits.

Update: The Sims FreePlay is available now for free at via iTunes

Buy Some Apps, Give to Charity

 

12 Indie Apps for Christmas

12 Indie Apps for Christmas is a charity program organized by a dozen different iOS app developers. They have all pledged 25% of the sales of their games for the entire month of December to both Child's Play and Doctors Without Borders charities. With Apple already taking 30%, this is quite a sacrifice for small, independent software developers who live off of products that only cost a buck or two. Won’t you lend them a hand for these worthy causes?

You can check out these great games at http://12indieapps.com/

Google Updates Street View with Post Tsunami Images from Japan

Google Street View vehicles have collected new image data from the more than 44,000 kilometers of Northeastern Japan that were affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters. This new data has just gone live in both Street View and Google Maps. The images can also be viewed via a special website called “Build the Memory" showcasing before and after scenes of the area.

Source: Official Google Blog


View Larger Map

Review: Shine Runner (iPhone/iPad/Android) Fishtailin’ Fanboats for Booze Money

shine runner nightMoonshine. White Lightning. Hooch. Traditionally associated with the southern Appalachia region of the United States, moonshine is an unaged, homemade, distilled alcohol usually made from corn, yeast, sugar, and whatever else the local backyard brewer feels like adding to create his own distinctive local flavor. Skirting local and federal taxes that compose over half the cost of your average bottle of booze, a backyard still can produce 1,000 gallons per week and net their owner a cool $6,000. If it can be brought to market. That’s where you and your big red fanboat come in. Shine Runner is the new game from Vector Unit that gives you $500, ten days, and a pimped out airboat to see how much cash you can make smuggling goods around the ol’ swampland. Does Shine Runner go down smooth or leave you gagging and blind in one eye?

NASA’s Kepler Mission And New Habitable Planets


The Kepler mission is to scan a small portion of the Milky Way Galaxy looking for planets to determine the percentage of stars that have habitable planets.  It has the ability to detect Earth size planets or smaller and is also able to determine whether or not the planets are located in the habitable zone.  The Kepler Space Telescope uses the transit method to detect planets, which monitors the drop of brightness of a star as a planet passes in front of it.  This is a newer technique of detection, with the majority of planets being detected through the radial velocity method.   What Kepler is able to do that other telescopes can’t do is sit in space and monitor 150,000 stars continuously for over 3.5 years.  So far, Kepler has 2,326 planet candidates with a confirmed 28 planets discovered.

2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide–Part 4: Tabletop Traditionalists

dice cakeThe holiday season is a time where we all crack open our piggy banks and wrack our brains to think of the best surprise for that special someone in your life. And we do mean best! While there are some inexpensive items on this list, we set a $200 spending limit and we’re not afraid to use it.

We’ll be breaking down the generic “gamer” moniker into it’s various flavors and choosing one item we feel would make prefect surprise for your target of holiday cheer.

Don’t care enough to send the very best? We’ll clue you in on the best gift card based on their gaming platform of choice.

For the final part of our four part 2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide we unplug for a while and turn our scrutiny to those Cravers of Cardboard, the Poobahs of Pewter, the Daimyos of Dice, the tabletop and board gamers. These are old school gamers who indulge is such alien concepts as friends, family, sunlight, and dice. Lots and lots of dice.

App Store Deals for iOS and Android

money smileI haven’t done an App Store deal post for a while and there were several things that caught my eye, so…

Games

Mirror’s Edge (iPad or iPhone) is free. Down from $10. EA’s cult classic parkour sim reimagined as side scrolling platformer. An amazing game for the price!

Google’s 10 Billion Download sale continues with Game Dev Story, Sentinel 3, Farm Frenzy, and more for $0.10 each!

SpellTower (iOS universal) is $1. Down from $2. This Tetris meets Scrabble word game has been a huge hit! For a little behind the scenes info, check out Ars Technica’s piece on how creator Zach Gage hated word games.

Zombie Gunship (iOS universal) is free. Was $1. You are the gunner of an AC-130 aiding survivors during the zombie apocalypse the CDC keeps warning us about. Updated with snazzy new AirPlay support.

Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory (iOS universal) is $1. Namco’s WWI flight combat game down from $5.

EPOCH. (iOS universal) is $3. Down from $6. This is a cover based 3rd person shooter reimagined for touchscreens. What Infinity Blade did for melee, EPOCH. does for gunplay.

Utilities

SkySafari 3 (iOS universal) is free. Down from $1. One of  the best astronomy apps out there.

Google’s 10 Billion Download sale brings us music ID service Shazam Encore and Toddler Spanish for a dime each.

Piano II (iPad) is free. Down from $1. If you haven’t tried a piano app before, you really should. They are wonderful. Piano II’s unique feature is that it can display 2 mirrored keyboards allowing 2 people to play head-to-head on 1 iPad.

123D Sculpt (iPad) is free. Always has been, but I still think it’s a great app. Don’t let my bad art scare you off.

2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide–Part 3: Computer Crusaders

The holiday season is a time where we all crack open our piggy banks and wrack our brains to think of the best surprise for that special someone in your life. And we do mean best! While there are some inexpensive items on this list, we set a $200 spending limit and we’re not afraid to use it.

We’ll be breaking down the generic “gamer” moniker into it’s various flavors and choosing one item we feel would make prefect surprise for your target of holiday cheer.

Don’t care enough to send the very best? We’ll clue you in on the best gift card based on their gaming platform of choice.

In this 3rd part of our 2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide, we peek into the basement of the science building in search of the most secretive, the most insular, the most hi-tech and haughty gamers of them all: PC gamers. And there are many, many more flavors of PC gamers then your ever dreamed of.


Update Your Xbox 360? You Just Agreed Not to Sue Microsoft

e3-2011-xbox-presser1Sony has started a trend that is sure to spread like wildfire through end user license agreements everywhere.

The latest firmware update for the Xbox 360 contains a section in their license agreement where, by mindlessly clicking “I Agree”, you signed up for third party mediation to any of your problems with the software giant rather than suing them In addition you waive your rights to any class action suits. Here is the relevant section:

YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT BY AGREEING TO BINDING ARBITRATION, YOU ARE GIVING UP THE RIGHT TO LITIGATE (OR PARTICIPATE IN AS A PARTY OR CLASS MEMBER) ALL DISPUTES IN COURT BEFORE A JUDGE OR JURY.

Of course this is followed up with a section allowing Microsoft to sue you for using any of their trademarks or intellectual property. Ya know, things like typing the words “Microsoft” or “Xbox 360” without their express written permission.

You can opt out of all this condition by sending physical mail (Yeah, the kind with a stamp) to Microsoft, at the following address:

Microsoft Corporation, ATTN: LCA ARBITRATION, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052-6399

I can’t wait for this new trend in corporate manhandling to end up in court and be struck down.

2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide–Part 2: Mobile Marauders

The holiday season is a time where we all crack open our piggy banks and wrack our brains to think of the best surprise for that special someone in your life. And we do mean best! While there are some inexpensive items on this list, we set a $200 spending limit and we’re not afraid to use it.

We’ll be breaking down the generic “gamer” moniker into it’s various flavors and choosing one item we feel would make prefect surprise for your target of holiday cheer.

Don’t care enough to send the very best? We’ll clue you in on the best gift card based on their gaming platform of choice.

In Part 2 of our 2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide, we examine those brave souls who actually venture out into the wide world of Real Life and carry their gaming on the go. Be it boring commutes to work on a cell phone or Nintendo’s special form of back seat pacification with the wee ones, we’ve picked out some treasures for these outdoor adventurers.

OnLive Puts PC Gaming on Your Phone; Puts Consoles in Their Grave

onlive split second on Android Welcome to the next great disruption in the gaming market! As if tablets and smartphones weren’t already changing the way we think about darn near every dedicated computer device we own, the new OnLive app for Android has just dropped a bombshell on both the handheld and home console gaming markets.

onlive for tabletsNow available from the Android Market (and iOS version is expected “soon”), this tiny, free application (2.3MB) is available for Android devices running v2.3 or higher and alows you to stream PC gaming straight from OnLive’s data centers to your phone or tablet, on WiFi or OTA (just be sure to watch your data plan using OTA mobile networks!). Think of it as the NetFlix of gaming.

onlive unversal controllerDon’t like touchscreen controls? They thought of that too. For $50, you can order the Universal OnLive Wireless Controller. Loosely resembling the classic Xbox 360 gamepad, this controller connects to Windows, Macs, and mobile devices. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the ramifications of a phone that runs high end PC games with a HDMI out and a wireless Bluetooth controller Smile

Think it can’t get better? Download the OnLive app now and you’ll also get a free copy of Lego: Batman!

Free app, free service, free game. Drop a few bucks and you can be playing all of this season’s newest games like Assassin’s Creed, Saints Row, Batman: Arkham City, or L.A. Noir anywhere.

2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide–Part 1: Console Commandos

Games-Console-Christmas-Tree-Ornaments_1The 2011 ESA report on the demographics of gamers indicate that 72% of American households play computer and video games. The average age of those gamers is 37. Buying gifts for more than one person? You definitely have a gamer on your list. And they’re “mature”.

The holiday season is a time where we all crack open our piggy banks and wrack our brains to think of the best surprise for that special someone in your life. And we do mean best! While there are some inexpensive items on this list, we set a $200 spending limit and we’re not afraid to use it.

We’ll be breaking down the generic “gamer” moniker into it’s various flavors and choosing one item we feel would make prefect surprise for your target of holiday cheer.

Don’t care enough to send the very best? We’ll clue you in on the best gift card based on their gaming platform of choice.

In this first of our four part special 2011 Gifts for Every Gamer Guide, we go shopping for the most widely recognized and popular form of gamer: Those trash talking, gamepad abusing console jockeys. And Wii players.

Deal: 10 Great Android Apps on Sale for $0.10 Each

To celebrate its 10 billionth app download(!), the official Android Market is having, what else, a sale.

android saleFor the next 10 days you can grab 10 fantastic apps for your Android phone or tablet for one measly buck! Titles that caught my eye include the music ID service SoundHound, street racing sim Asphalt 6, drawing program Sketchbook Mobile, tower defense classic Fieldrunners HD, and, believe it or not, Minecraft-Pocket Edition (normally $7). It is a great collection of 4 and 5 star apps. Just one dollar for the whole collection? Grab ‘em all!

Head on over to the Android Market and get ‘em while they’re cheap.

Fate/Zero Servant Stat Cards

I suppose that some of this information might be considered spoiler territory, so reader beware.

As spotted on Reddit.com’s Anime subreddit, this is a (mostly) translated collection of the statistics sheets for the various Servants featured in the novel turned anime Fate/Zero. It’s always fun to see quantifiable, if arbitrary, numbers put on on our favorite heroes and villains. The gorgeous design and artwork sure doesn’t hurt either!

Get in on the discussion over at the original Reddit post.

Video: Gettin’ Cheesy in Skyrim

Ever wanted to see a dragon flying around in room full of full of cheese? How about 2,500 cheese wheels rolling down a mountain? YouTuber StuKKie86 has you covered for all this and much more on his channel.

For more Skyrim fun, check out GUO’s own story based review of the PC version, our Tribute to the EPIC Beards, and our recent video presentation, Have a (Daedra) Heart.

Review: Fail-Deadly (Win/Mac/Browser) A Free RTS You Play to Lose Against Yourself

fail deadly 3It’s that time of the year. The harvest has been wonderful this season. I am up to my armpits in wonderful triple-A sequels from all the biggest franchises in gaming today: The Elder Scrolls; Call of Duty; Assassin’s Creed; Saints Row; Batman; etc. The gaming life couldn’t be better. So how is it that I find myself slipping out late at night more and more to play a free indie RTS in my web browser? I’d like you to meet my mistress, Fail-Deadly. Shh! Don’t tell Skyrim!

Most Unique Space Vacation Opportunities In Detail

Well, we all know that Earth is the best spot In the Universe to vacation but this article is about new places to visit. This list is based on the Planetary Habitability Index recently created to determine the most habitable planets discovered recently by astronomers. These places are most likely to give rise to life, which we all know is important in a vacation destination. Eventually we will visit all of these places and soon after that many people will be either vacationing or moving to these places. So, what vacationing opportunities does the universe have to offer? Let’s find out!

The Cost to Ultrabook Early Adopters? About $400!

Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 Ultrabook with 13.3-Inch HD DisplayUltrabooks are expected to be the Next Big Thing in tech come the new year. The tread toward these super thin laptops started by the MacBook “It fits in a manila envelope!” Air is poised to reach critical mass in 2012. PC Pro is anticipating as many as 50 new ultrabooks to be shown off at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January. With netbooks on life support and the tablet market a quagmire to everyone not Apple, ultrabooks are the New Shiny of PC manufacturers.

But how much of a premium will it cost early adopters to get their hands on the latest and greatest? According to Acer, about 400 smackers.
DigitTimes quoted Acer president Jim Wong as saying he expects ultrabook prices to drop from their current MSRP of $1000 to $800-900 by the second quarter of 2012. In 2013, Wong expects ultrabooks to be on the market for $499. That’s quite a few Benjamins to buy some food for thought.

Acer is currently shipping one of the least expensive ultrabooks on the market: The Acer Aspire S3-951-6646 which sports an 1.6Ghz Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive for $899 (at the time of this writing).

Deal: Space Miner: Space Ore Bust (iPhone, iPad) is Free this Weekend!

SpaceMiner4I had to pass along the message that the spectacular iOS asteroid blasting RPG Space Miner is on sale for the low, low price of free this weekend.

I love this game! GUO’s own review gave Space Miner 5/5 stars and called it “a must play! It’s a giant bowl of polished arcade fun with big chunks of space truckin’ character drowned in sausage gravy.”


You can grab either the HD version for iPad or the SD version for other iThings on iTunes. Yes, it’s iOS 5 compatible.

Video: Skyrim: Operation Have A (Daedra) Heart

Welcome to Skyrim: Operation Have A (Daedra) Heart!

"You know what's wrong with Skyrim? Everyone is obsessed with death!" Thus sprach Jon Battle-Born.

With this lesson in mind, Growing Up Otaku undertook what just might be our stupidest quest ever: To spread the message of love by dropping thousands of Daedra hearts on grumpy NPCs. Enjoy!

Gaming Prose No More; GamePro Shuts its Doors

magazine-gamepro-battletoadsLaunching in 1989, GamePro has long been a mainstay of magazine racks. A must have for console gamers throughout the 1990s, GamePro was always on the cusp of cool. Writers sported animated avatars and wrote under pseudonyms like “Boba Fatt” or “Fart of War”. The ProTips section of the magazine saved many a SNES cartridge from meeting an untimely fate with a hammer. Codevault provided cheats for the toughest of challenges back before unlocks came in the form of microtransactions.

Sadly those times are over. Ars Technica is reporting that GamePro is going the way of the dodo. The final issue of the magazine is now on newsstands and the website will go offline December 5th. While it is heartbreaking to think of anyone losing their job this time of the year, catering to what is perhaps the most Internet connected audience in the world with a print magazine just doesn’t pay the bills. I’m sure that a free subscription of Game Informer being available with GameStop’s $15 Power Up rewards card probably doesn’t help matters.

Farewell, GamePro. Thanks for getting me through BattleToads.

Wave Disk Engine Is The New Super Motor For Cars

The Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program has been funding programs to increase fuel efficiency in cars and one program in particular is showing great promise. It’s called the Wave Disk Engine and it works quite differently than a standard internal combustion engine. The entire engine is composed of a spinning disk which draws in a gas / air mixture in from the center, ignites the mixture causing the disk to spin faster, then expels out the exhaust from the sides of the disk. Since there are no intake or exhaust ports that are mechanically activated, no pistons, cams or crankshafts this engine is much more efficient than standard engines. How much more efficient? Well, about 3.5 times more efficient, while being 30% lighter, costs 30% less to make, and could possibly reduce emissions by a whopping 90%!

Since this motor works best when operating at capacity, it would function most efficiently when operating in a hybrid type vehicle making electricity for an electric motor. The designers are currently working on a 35 horsepower motor which should be ready in 2013. While 35 horsepower isn’t much, when used to charge batteries in a hybrid, it could be enough to power a small car. Large versions will eventually be made to cope with the demands of larger or sport vehicles.

 What strikes me as interesting is the simplicity of this engine. It’s higher operating temperature almost negates the need for a cooling system, while increasing the efficiency of the engine itself. The lack of a large amount of moving parts should increase the lifespan of the engine while cutting down on repair bills. It doesn’t even need an ignition source or timing system, as shock-waves from the rapidly spinning air-fuel mixture ignites the gases at the precise moment. This new engine is engineering at it’s finest in a time when we really need some great engineering to save us from our greedy fuel consumption habits. Let’s hope that automobile manufacturers are willing to test this new product out so we can jump into our Wave Disk powered cars by 2014 or 2015.

Growing Up Otaku Digest: November 2011

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Welcome to GUO Digest, our end of month look back at some of our best and brightest since… well, the last GUO Digest. We bust our little buns trying to provide interesting, entertaining, and informative tidbits of brain busting geekery everyday. We know you’re busy and may not be able to visit daily so once a month we wrangle up our previous content, give it a spritz of behind the scenes commentary, and post it directly into your brainpan. Thus the Digest was born.