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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Online Game Cheaters Start Out Young?

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First, let me introduce Club Penguin to you. According to Wikipedia, Club Penguin is

an online game primarily designed for children ages eight to fourteen, although you can be older, developed by New Horizon Interactive and bought by Disney. Using cartoon penguin avatars, players can waddle around, converse, play minigames, and participate in other activities with one another in a snow-covered virtual world.

which sounds like Second Life for kids. Obviously I don't participate in Club Penguin at all, so why am I even posting this?

Well like other games, there are cheaters or hackers if you will. And I didn't think kids' games had hackers. Looks like I was wrong.

Recently, a Youtube user posted a video walkthrough of hacking club penguin. Testmssg (testmsg), the person who posted the video, even helpfully states that "The packet that you are looking for will say the amount of coins at the end of it." And lots of kids seem to be searching it.



Looking deeper, I even found a forum dedicated to Club Penguin cheats (presumably by testmssg), though I don't get the rationale of hacking a free game. Or maybe I do.

As you may have guessed, all the trouble is simply to gain more money aka coins in the game. Which could get a player banned. Which would probably lead to complains, whining on forums and elsewhere.

Sounds familiar? Guess they had to start somewhere.

 

Internet People - A Tribute to Internet Celebs!

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An animated tribute to the internet people of the world, wherever you may be. Animated by Dan Meth, with music by Dan Meth and Micah Frank.

More about Meth Minute 39 >



Have fun remembering internet memes such as The Star Wars kid, Ok GO!, diet coke and mentos! For the list of memes featured in this video (to relive the good times or if you're just curious), visit Channel Federator or MetaFilter.

Afterthought: Hmm... will this video about internet memes become a meme? Just something to think about.

 

Never Try To Beat A Train

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A mother driving a minivan full of kids tried to beat a passing train, but instead, ended up being hit by 2 trains.

In the surveillance video below, the minivan races through a carpark while a train is passing through. At first, it looks like the minivan is going to make it but another train is approaching in the background.

Before you know it, the vehicle is hit by trains on both sides and the result is disastrous. Her two daughters were killed in the crash, while she remains in a critical condition in hospital. Luckily, her sons seem to have escaped with minor injuries as they have been released from hospital.

By releasing this video, it is hoped that other drivers would think twice before trying to beat a train.



[Source: NBC]

 

You're Too Sexy To Fly!

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Mini skirt gets grounded, Kyla (Kayla) Ebbert Two months ago, a 23-year-old college student, Kyla (Kayla) Ebbert, was told to change her clothes by Southwest Airlines because she was deemed to be too hot to fly! According to her, the guy at Southwest thought her entire outfit was inappropriate.

Because she was flying light, she didn't have anything to change into. Other than the very public lecture she received, she also had to endure the embarrassment of covering up her legs with a blanket the whole flight.

In the MSNBC photo on the left, the miniskirt doesn't look very short. I bet you could find shorter skirts on the streets. That is until you watch the video where she wears the same dress as she did that day (link below). That's when you notice the host looking slightly uncomfortable and as the MSNBC article notes, she flashes the audience.

And with this highly publicized incident, questions are brought up about Southwest Airlines dress code and possibly those of other airlines. Where should the line be drawn? Who decides when is too much (or in this case too little)?

In this case though, I think it was a bad call by the people at Southwest. She was definitely dressed in a sexy outfit, but it could have been handled better and with discretion. Something I would have suggested at the time would be to swap seats with someone else. Maybe Southwest should take lessons from Steve Jobs.

Edit: A thread at fark has more pictures of her.

[Video of interview]
[Source: MSNBC]

 

Friday, September 07, 2007

$100 Credit is Worth More to Apple than You

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Recently at 'The Beat Goes On' event, Apple announced a $200 price cut for iPhones and the phasing out of the "older" 4GB iPhone. Now if you didn't know that the iPhone was just released 2 months ago, you could be forgiven for thinking, "Well, that's life", or more bluntly, "Haha, suckers".

However, armed with the knowledge that the iPhone is a new product, would you have bought an 8GB iPhone if you knew that the price would drop by 33% (200/599 * 100%)? In fact, would you buy any product that would depreciate that quickly (a rate of 0.55% a day)? Repeat this simple procedure with the 4GB iPhone and you're looking at a 40% drop.

What's worse it that the iPhone you bought isn't even worth that much anymore, since it's a 2nd hand item. Assuming a secondhand 8Gb is worth $349 (based on refurb iPhone prices), your iPhone value has just dropped 42% in a few weeks (I don't even need to whip out my calculator, since Apple has kindly done the calculations and states "Save 42% off the original price").

Granted, no one can predict the future, but surely Apple had made plans for an event that was only 2 months away from the iPhone launch?

With these figures, you can see why iPhone customers were fuming. Some called it the "iPhone early adopter tax". Others decided to take matters into their own hands and storm Apple outlets to demand refunds (I may be exaggerating but you get the idea).

Which is why Apple responded with an open letter to their loyal customers. In it, the CEO, Steve Jobs, notes that people weren't too happy and justifies the decision to lower the iPhone price in order to target the holiday season, which I'm sure is well received by potential iPhoners.

There's also a paragraph about how technology prices are constantly in flux and suggests how early adopters will probably lose out one way or another. And then he offers a $100 store credit to iPhone users who aren't getting any kind of refund.

That's when you realize Apple may actually be doing something nice for their customers. You think so? Think again. A $100 store credit is not the same as $100 back in your pocket. When Apple sells something for $100, it costs them less than $100 to make it. That's how they stay in business.

Giving out $100 credit encourages people to check out their store and splurge cash on items that they may not have bought if it were $100 more. And there are quite a number of items (hint: new iPods) that may just catch the attention of iPhone users. Which means more business for Apple.

Even if none of them bought anything above $100, the loss to Apple would be less than giving out $100 handouts. Plus, the publicity from this open letter is certainly worth something.

This is a good example of how Apple took a few bad apples and made them good, which shows how shrewd a businessman Steve Jobs is. Anyone who plans on becoming the next Steve Jobs should take note.

And just in case anyone forgot, the price reduction was $200.

 

Beowulf Red Band Trailer

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The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing towns, and later, Grendel's mother, who begins killing out of revenge.


The R-rated trailer of Beowulf was just released and here it is. Sounds a lot like 300. "I am BEOWULF!"

And yes, the graphics are computer generated. Looks quite realistic though.



[Link: Beowulf at IMDB]

 

High School Musical Scandal Pic is Real!

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Vanessa (Venessa) Anne Hudgens (hutchins, hutchinson, hudgins, huggins, hutcheson, hudson, hudgson, hughes) aka Brainy Gabriella scandal The last time in Scandals and scandals, it was revealed that Vanessa Hudgens had produced some full-body self portraits with her camera. And recently the pics have emerged from their hiding and out into the big bad internet. Of course, at that point those pics could have been photoshopped.

However, it seems that the photos bouncing around on the internet are the real deal. Her rep has confirmed the legitimacy of the photos to several sources (shouldn't they be denying?).

And where are those pictures I speak of? As for the juicy pics, you can easily find them online. Really? You need a hint? Try Perez Hilton (Not work safe. Edit: It doesn't seem to be there anymore. But the links below should suffice.).

What I'm wondering now is who got the pics and how they managed to pry these "private" pics away from her.

Edit: You won't believe how many people can't spell "Hudgens" properly.
Edit2: Supposedly someone uploaded it to img.photobucket.com/albums/v469/genstarchild/vanessa.jpg, but it's now a private album. Update: Actually it turns out there's a typo in the url that people are searching for. As for what it is, this Google group thread should tell you (Not work safe).
Edit3: Some more pictures at Crazy days and nights (Not work safe). (Edit: Page is deleted.)

Site gets fooled by satire site Edit: For those searching for the supposed sex video starring Vanessa Hudgens, titled "Open Me First", it's a joke by satirical site (possibly Not work safe). You can see that from the fine print at the very end of the page and from the other headlines. But some sites got fooled anyway.

Edit: Finally, some other (big) site has caught on, after I first noticed this a few days ago. And they're credited as the "source" (at least by Google). Tough luck for me.

Oh and by the way, hello to ufck users. Mind telling me what you guys are looking at/for? Just curious, since I don't have an account.

[Source: TMZ]

 

The Truck that Almost Fell is True!

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The photos below looks too good to be true. But CNN has just confirmed its legitimacy and even has the story to back it up. Turns out that the truck hit a barrier, did a 180 degree turn and landed just inches away from the cliff's edge. And after all that, no one was hurt badly. What can I say? The driver should get an award for his amazing driving skills.

Lucky truck crash

Lucky truck crash

[Source: CNN]
[Pics: That's Not News]

 

Osama Found at APEC!

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Osama Found at APEC! title= Some actors from The Chaser's War on Everything managed to breach the "tight" security at APEC yesterday dressed as (wait for it...) Osama bin Laden. For the benefit of those who aren't Australians, The Chaser's War on Everything is a popular television show on ABC in Australia.

Apparently the team were waved through the green zone and made it to the red zone (which had sniffer dogs) before they decided to turn back. Which was when the police realized something was amiss and arrested them. At the time of the arrest, they were only metres away from the hotel where the US president was staying.

And those in charge of security said that the "multi-layered security" worked. One even said he was not embarrassed at all but was very angry, which tells you a lot about what they're thinking.

A security breach like this at a major event is definitely no joke, although I don't think they should be charged (at most let off with a warning). However the reactions from the security team is quite appalling when you take into account that the actors were wearing fake passes, with one dressed as Osama and had expected to be stopped at the first checkpoint. The fact that they even made it through the first checkpoint tells you how secure the security really is.

Edit: Here's a video about it. Even the cameraman (who filmed it live) was impressed and amused.



Edit: And the Chaser's take on the APEC incident. It becomes clear that it's really easy to get into APEC (at least for the Chasers).



[Source: Herald Sun]

 

Marié Digby Exposed!

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No idea who Marié Digby is? This video should get you acquainted with her.



As you can see (and hear), she's a pretty good singer, so good in fact, that her videos have been viewed more than 2.3 million times on YouTube. The one you just saw was the most popular one, a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella", which has over 800,000 views.

All this while, she's been marketing herself as an independent singer with no record ties on YouTube. She even made it onto radio stations and TV shows. But like "LonelyGirl15", she isn't an amateur. She already signed on with Hollywood Records in 2005 and even has a debut album out.

Today, the Wall Street Journal had an article about her and how the hoax was pulled off. It seems everything had been planned from the start. The videos were a way of gaining exposure for her debut album. The radio and TV shows were booked through Hollywood Records. Even the Apple laptop and software for making the videos she posted were provided by Hollywood Records.

Since the Wall Street Journal printed the article, the fans haven't been too happy. Most were disappointed. Some are even quite vocal about it (hint: cussing). Just look at the comments in her cover of "Umbrella". And that's too bad, cause I think she's sounds great even with the amateurish equipment (Apple laptop) she used.

I guess you really shouldn't lie on the internet.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]
[Link: Her YouTube page]

 

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What Were You Doing When The Player Crashed?

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We've seen how listing your real name beside your email address is not a good idea, especially when Google is around. And Google is always around. So if you're about to post a bug report, don't follow in this guy's footsteps.

Err.. what were you doing when the app crashed?

[Link: Bugzilla Gnome via digg (Possibly Not Safe for Work language)]

 

Eat as Much as You Want, But Maybe Not Popcorn?

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With scientists reporting success on controlling mice and worms' weight by manipulating the skinny gene, aka the "adipose" gene, very soon you too can stuff yourself all day at eat-all-you-can buffets. No matter how much the animals ate, as long as the gene was activated, they remained skinny and healthy (sound familiar?).

The only catch (there's always one) is if the food runs out, their survival rate drops drastically compared to their fatty counterparts. As usual, this is years away from becoming effective at combating obesity, but it looks promising.

Some of you may have already begun your feasts, but watch how much popcorn you eat. One guy, Wayne Watson, got popcorn lung by eating a few packets of microwave popcorn a day for 10 years. That sounds excessive but I bet some of you finish a few bags of chips daily. Anyone? No?

It's the first time a consumer's been afflicted with bronchiolitis obliterans, aka popcorn lung, and it's been linked to diacetyl, that is used in the flavoring. His doctor, Dr. Cecile Rose, speculates that diacetyl fumes may be produced when popcorn is microwaved.

Testing showed that Watson's home did indeed have the same levels of diacetyl fumes as those found in factories (where some workers have gotten popcorn lung). And ever since he quit eating the popcorn, he's been feeling better.

So if you're lucky enough to have the skinny gene switched on (don't lie, you know who you are), don't worry and eat on, just maybe not popcorn.

[Source: BastionOfReality via digg]
[Source: AP]

 

Raymond Crowe - The Unusualist

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Watch Raymond Crowe dazzle the crowd with his shadow puppet wizardry in a music video of "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. That's all I can say without spoiling the magic of it. So watch it!



[Link: Official site]

 

Bloglines is Listening...

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Warning! Bloglines is listening to its users! According to Feedburner, at least one of you is reading this blog via Bloglines, so I hope you're happy. In my last post about Bloglines beta, I lamented about some stuff such as shortcuts and clippings missing from the new version.

Well today, Bloglines has fixed some of that in "beta 1.01", wrote a post about it and even included screenshots. Some of them included are

  • Keep as New function which is renamed as "Pin"
  • Email this
  • Dynamic help feature
  • Shortcuts - most of them have been added
They are still working on adding features to the beta such as feed options and additional preferences for handling of read/unread posts. Here's a pic since they kindly provided 3 screenshots.

Screenshot of Bloglines beta 1.01

 

Official Rapidshare Manager beta?

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Official Rapidshare Manager beta From the icon on the left and the screenshots below, it appears that Rapidshare has developed their very own download/upload manager for premium users. It's been floating around forums for a few days now. The quote below is supposed to be an official comment from them.

Official Rapidshare Manager screenshot

Official Rapidshare Manager screenshot

Official Rapidshare Manager screenshot


We have developed our own program that is now in its late beta testing. The
program allows premium users to download and upload files with a new size of
4000 MB per file.

Please note that the language can be changed in the programs options in
English or German.
At the moment we have no documentation to this program, please ask our support
if you have any questions.


The highlight of this comment is the increase of the maximum file size to 4GB. Wonder if that's because they use FAT32. However, Since the validity of this program hasn't been verified, I'm not providing links to it. Besides, it's fairly easy to find it online.

 

Look Before You Buy!

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Two buyers were surprised to find that their recent acquisitions had "one last thing" in store for them.

100 legs found in basement The first guy bought a house and his plumber found a prosthetic leg in his basement. Not too bad you say, maybe the owner had been in an accident or had a leg amputated due to illness.

Even the home owner though the plumber was pulling a fast one till he saw the rest of the 99 legs. Yup, 100 fake legs left by the previous owner! Creepy? Fetish? Too late to guess now, since the seller had left the country.

[Source: The Sun Online]

Suspicious packet of white powder found in car This second guy is even luckier or worse off depending on your view. A dude's friend nabbed a second hand Ferrari 575 and drove it over to his place.

So the friend pokes around and guess what he found under the driver's seat. $1000? Nope. Higher. $5k? You'll never get it. He scores with what looks to be a packet of white powder. Highly suspicious looking packet of white powder. Wait are you sure that's co..

Originally Posted by TyrannoSullyRex
That's just a huge dessicant bag.


Wonder what they did with it? They gave it to a homeless person. Good call I guess, though posting it on a public forum doesn't seem too wise.

[Source: North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Forum via digg]

Now you know to always look before you buy.

 

Exercise Your Face to Keep out Wrinkles

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Facial Yoga Have plenty of wrinkles? Sick of regular Botox injections? Here's an alternative - facial yoga.

With weird sounding names like "The Lion", making funny faces may just be the answer to a lasting youthful appearance. The yoga instructor, Annelise Hagen, says it's beneficial to stretch and exercise facial muscles as they become flabby with disuse just like regular muscles. No word on the results of undergoing such therapy though and I can't really tell from the pics on reuters.

I wonder if yawning counts as facial yoga.

Want to learn some moves? See the link at LifeHack for desktop yoga.

[Photo, Link: The Face Yoga Routine at LifeHack]
[Source: Reuters]

 

New Stuff from 'The Beat Goes On'

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New stuff announced (from various live casts)

  • New version of iTunes, allows users to make ringtones. Ringtone features turned on next week.
  • Make your own ringtones and sync directly to the iphone. Retails for $.99 in addition to the cost of the song.
  • Product Red Shuffle - 1Gb at $79 shipping now. New colors for Shuffle.

iPod Shuffle

  • New Nano which is smaller and thinner, user interface is updated and high resolution with album artwork. 3 games are bundled - one called vortex. Battery life is 24hrs. 4gb and 8gb versions. 5hrs battery for video playback. 4GB only comes in silver and will be $149, 8GB will be in all other colors and will be $199. Ships today. iPod Nano ad is playing now, with the tagline “A little video for everyone”.

  • iPod (now iPod Classic) - storage will start at 80GB, and will be thinner than the old 30GB version (5th Gen). There will also be a thicker one at 160GB, but thinner than its predecessor (the old 80GB). So, 80GB and 160GB models. 40,000 songs in your pocket. 80 gb is $249 and 160 gb is $349. Same new UI as the iPod Nano. Full Metal design. Ships today.


  • touchscreen iPod - iPod Touch, new ipod g6
  • Touchscreen iPod announced - iPod Touch!

    Same interface as the iPod part of the iPhone. It is 8mm thin, has multi-touch, has Calendar, Contacts, Clock, Calculator, Settings, and more. Looks and works like iPhone but is thinner. Has Photos as well, just like always, but now you can flick through them just like your iPhone. The thing even has a "home" button.

    There is a Wi-Fi icon on the top left of the iPod Touch. The back of the iPod Touch has a black bit on the top right in order for the Wi-Fi antenna to connect out. You slide to unlock it...again...just like the iPhone.

    iPod Touch has Safari. Safari: It’s the same Safari as on the iPhone. Flips, landscapes, pans, flicks, scrolls, and is built right into the iPod Touch. Other similar features: Google and Yahoo search. YouTube included. Worldwide Product.

    22 hours of audio playback, 5 hours of video playback. Storage: 8GB and 16GB, $299 and $399. Ships in a few weeks (this month). iPod Touch battery life: 22 hours music, 5 hours video.
  • There’s an empty spot on the iPod Touch dock. It’s a new application: the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.

    Browsing the iTunes store is similar to the iTunes app on the PC. Tap a song to preview the song, and tap the download button to download. The next time you dock your iPod Touch to your computer, it’ll sync the song to iTunes.

    There’s a featured section, as well as search (searches everything), and the same selection as on the iTunes regular store. Not a slimmed, gimped down store for the portable iPod Touch.

    They’re bringing the iTunes mobile music store to bring it to the iPhone as well.

    Starbucks integration: When you get near a Starbucks location, you’ll get a Starbucks icon in iTunes Store. You can buy songs that are playing over the Starbucks music selection, and you can even look at the last 10 songs that’s been played and buy the songs there.

    Free access to the store while at Starbucks.

  • To refresh, iPod Shuffle ($79), iPod Nano ($149, $199), iPod Classic, ($249, $349), iPod Touch, ($299, $399), and iPhone ($499, $599).

    But, Steve says they want to get even MORE aggressive. What does this mean? iPhone will be even MORE affordable, so they’re dropping the price of the 8GB model to $399. Two hundred dollar price drop.

    4GB iPhone is now gone. Only thing left is the 8GB iPhone for $399.

  • It's over!

 

Oops, Mystery Girl Identified in CNN article

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Over at CNN, they have an article about how to write your resumes so that you don't annoy your prospective employers. The article lists fairly common sense stuff that people tend to forget while they're looking for a job. The 10 points seem mundane until you hit the last one.

Basically, it tells you to look the part, or be professional looking. And includes an anecdote about someone being rejected at an advertising firm because her email name was "weird2themax".

By itself it is quite harmless. However when you do a Google search for "weird2themax", that's when you realize that maybe including the email name wasn't such a good idea. You see, there are only a couple of results for "weird2themax" and in one of them, specifically at Barnes & Nobles, a reviewer's name is fully listed for a review she did.

And surprise, surprise, she has the same email name as the CNN article. So Linsey Sanders, if you're reading this, I wish you luck in your job search. I guess you don't need me to tell you to use another more "professional-sounding" email address for your resume.

I don't know about you, but I doubt their intention was to expose the real name behind the email alias.

Edit: Welcome reddit users! Thanks to reddit user dannykeithjames for linking to this post.

 

Sites With Live Coverage of 'The Beat Goes On'

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An Apple event always draws plenty of attention, whether it's the fanboys, haters or the curious (me) who wonder what last thing Steve Jobs will keep till the end to announce. While you're twiddling your fingers waiting for time to pass, here are a list of sites that provide live coverage of Apple's event, 'The Beat Goes On'.

 

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fancy Eating Like Hannibal?

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Fancy Eating Like Hannibal?

One look at this picture and I can tell that this is even weirder than my last post about mummified Japanese girls. This Japanese (not sure of its origin) banquet is actually a body made of food and wheeled in on an operating table for diners to feast on.

Upon slicing open the body, blood (red sauce) will sputter out to mimic an actual cut in a body. To spare you from grossing out on your keyboard, I've not included the image of someone making a cut, revealing all the internal organs for the world to see. If you're interested in the gory photos, you could check out the pics at the link below.

The drinks that they're having probably help in numbing them to the gross sight before them, but I'm not sure if I'll ever be drunk enough to even contemplate going to a cannibal event. On another note, what's the hair made of? Whatever it is, it sure looks realistic. Hannibal would be proud.

[Source: InventerSpot]

 

The Dark Knight (Batman)Teaser

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The Dark Knight is the sequel to Batman Begins, aka Batman Begins 2. Here's the plot.

Batman and James Gordon join forces with Gotham's new District Attorney, Harvey Dent, to take on a psychotic bank robber known as The Joker, whilst other forces plot against them, and Joker's crimes grow more and more deadly.




Official teaser. It really is a teaser, seeing that it reveals nothing except about a minute of dialogue.



This fan-made trailer combines the teaser (which shows nothing) with some footage and pictures, making it even better than the offical teaser.

[Link: Dark Knight at IMDB]

 

Miro - Watch, Share and Download Videos

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Miro

What is Miro?

If you're imagining some Japanese soup (miso), you couldn't be further from the truth. Miro is an open-source video player that allows you to
  • Play virtually any video file
  • Download files automatically from YouTube, Dailymotion, Bittorent and lots more.
  • Watch these videos in fullscreen

Bah! My video player can do that.

Still not convinced yet? It supports RSS feeds from video podcasts and has over 1500 channels for your viewing pleasure. Plus you can save a YouTube search and it'll download relevant videos as they appear. Like a video? Share it with your friends with a click of the button. Bonus! Miro is free!

Ok ok, I want it now!

They've just released a public preview which you can download at Miro's website. Watch a video demo of Miro in action to see how easy it is to watch, share and download videos with Miro.

 

Finding a Bride? Try MarryOurDaughter.com

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MarryOurDaughter.com Looking for a young, pretty bride? Who isn't? However, in a time where people talk about real love and mutual trust, comes a site that defies all logic by reintroducing pre-arranged marriages.

No longer would you need to head overseas for a mail order bride. It can all be done at the comfort of your home with just a couple of clicks at MarryOurDaughter.com.

Most of the girls listed there are in their early teens and for the price of a new car, you could too "own" one of these girls. Spot a girl you like? Fire off a marriage proposal to her via their online form. Simple and easy. Tips are even provided on how to go about writing one.

Is all this even legal? Well according to the site, it is in the US for girls as young as 13 as long as parental consent is given. They even mention that the bride price is a tradition from the Bible.

However, this certainly looks like a joke. First the "Sign up our daughter" link isn't functioning. Second, another site, the Museum of Hoaxes, has done some background checking and found some worthy suspicions. Third, over at digg, someone found a list of spam keywords at the end of the page.

Currently, the jury is still out on whether this is actually a legitimate site since no one has officially claimed otherwise.

Update: The snopes forum has a thread dissecting the site.

Latest update: Bits, the New York Times technology blog, has confirmed that MarryOurDaughter is indeed a prank.

Edit: Those looking for marrymydaughter.com are probably looking for this and have misread the domain name.

 

Is This Lootie?

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Who is Lootie?

Lootie Do I need to tell you? Really? Ok, during Hurricane Katrina, some guy was photographed taking a case of beer, while wading in knee-deep water. You can see his glee in grabbing free beer in the AP photo on the left.

So? What's up?

Well he became (in)famous and everyone's been photoshopping his image and trying to look for him. Heck they even made a game based on Lootie. And they finally found him after a long and exhausting search. But I must say, he looks quite different without his hair.

[Pic: AP photo]

 

Touchscreen iPod on the Way?

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iPhone-like touchscreen iPod on the Way? If you're an Apple fan, you're probably waiting in anticipation for the event tomorrow. So what can you (hope to) expect to see unveiled on September 5th? Here's a lineup of (rumored) stuff that will be revealed.

  • A new touchscreen iPod with a 3.5 inch display, sporting over 100gb of space, possibly with wireless support. Digital radio is not likely to make the cut.
  • The (in)famous fat iPod nano will gain a higher resolution 320x240 display and have its capacity maxed out at 12 to 16GB. Also some enhancements to interface design.
  • Finally, the Beatles may make an appearance in the iTunes catalog.
And if you're stuck at work, check out Gizmodo's page for live coverage of the event tomorrow.

[Source: Think Secret]

 

Netflix Down Again...

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If you're planning on grabbing some DVDs at Netflix.com, you're likely to be greeted with this message rather than it's normal site.

The Netflix web site is temporarily unavailable.
Thanks for logging on. We're sorry that our Web site is temporarily unavailable. We're working on it as fast as we can so thanks for your patience. Don't worry about your DVDs -- our distribution centers nationwide are humming as usual right now so you should receive your next shipment without delay.
-- Your friends at Netflix


That's because Netflix is down. Is it a site error? Ran out of DVDs? A belated labor day? No one except Netflix seems to know what's going on, except that this isn't the first time it's happened, probably not the last time either.

Maybe Netflix does this now and then to stay in the news? But one thing's for sure, no site = no customers.

Update: And it's back up for now. Begin countdown to next outage... 3, 2, 1...

 

Steve Fossett Missing

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Steve Fossett Missing

World aviation record holder Stephen Fossett is missing and a massive search is under way in western Nevada, a Nevada aviation spokeswoman said today.

Fossett took off from a private air strip known as Flying M Ranch, 30 miles south of Yerington, Nevada, at about 6 p.m. local time Monday, with enough fuel for four to five hours of flight, according to the Civil Air Patrol.

Searchers are looking for world aviation record holder Steve Fossett, who was reported missing Monday night.
Fossett, 63, was last seen taking off from the Hilton Ranch south of Smith Valley in a single engine Citabria Super Decathlon heading south.

Hope he's just taking a break somewhere. CNN has a picture of where he took off and a video at the link below. If you have no idea who he is, basically he's a record setter, and quite a prolific one at that.
He's credited with 115 world records or world firsts, and holds official world records in five sports, according to his Web site.

Read a quick profile of him at CNN.

Update: Help in the search via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Think of it as "many hands make light work". There are too many satellite images (of areas where he might be) for a single person to view, so by dividing up the work, each person contributes a little to make a big whole.

[Source: CNN, Record-Courier]

 

"You Let Me Win The Lottery and I'll Teach"

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Elwood Someone winning the lottery is not really a big deal. After all, there are so many lottery winners around the world, but I don't see much coverage on them. Of course, Elwood "Bunky" Bartlett who won the Mega Millions recently, did win enough cash to catapult him to possibly the top 20,000 richest Americans.

But this is the more interesting quote.

Bartlett, an accountant from Dundalk, said he made a bargain with the multiple gods associated with his Wiccan beliefs: "You let me win the lottery and I'll teach." Both tickets he purchased had numbers chosen randomly from the computer.

Wait a minute, can you actually bargain with gods??? I was under the impression that prayers weren't supposed to work that way. Maybe this is the New Age method of praying. Anyone keen to try?

[Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution]

 

Batteries? No, EEStor!

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The following sentence alone is worth reading the entire lengthy article (link below).

An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised "technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries," meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.

And in case anyone else is interested, Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co. (those smart guys) has already licensed EEStor's invention. The secret sauce lies in an ultracapacitor which can charge quickly like a capacitor, but has greater capacity like a battery.

Naturally there are doubters, since EEStor hasn't produced a final product yet. However, if this turns out to be true, it could have serious implications. Think about laptops, cameras and other electrical products that utilizes batteries. Not only could they last longer, but they'll charge faster too. And hopefully batteries will really become obsolete.

[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]

 

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bomb Blast Outside Sopranos Star's Theater

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Bomb Blast Outside Sopranos Star's Theater

Police are investigating an apparent pipe bomb explosion in Midtown. The blast occured outside a small theater, owned by a former star of the 'Sopranos'.

The explosion caused minimal damage to the front of Studio Dante, a 60-seat theater created by actor Michael Imperioli and his wife. However, Eyewitness News is told, it blew out a window of a red van parked near the theater.

The theater, Studio Dante, is run by Michael Imperioli, who won an Emmy Award for his work on television's "The Sopranos," and his wife, Victoria.

Authorities were working on the theory that the blast may have been meant as a message for someone on the block. It was not immediately known if the theater or others in the four-story building were the target.


Now as far as I can tell, The Sopranos is a show about the Mob. And this explosion just happened to occur near the theater of an actor who stars in the Sopranos as a Mob boss (if not the boss, then at least quite high up in the hierarchy). Has the reel life spilled over into real life or is it just a coincidence? You decide.

[Source: 7online]

 

Dude, Where's My Pants?

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Mark Stahnke woke up drunk and without his pants in his neighbour's yard (hmm...). But that's not the worst part. In his pants, he kept a $41,000 check for his son and a few hundred dollars in cash.

"I woke up cold not knowing where the heck I was, and I didn't realize it at first because I still had my shoes and socks on," he said. "When I got up, I realized, my God, I don't have any pants."


Luckily for him, Tim Curzan's (no mention of who this is) dog, Joe, had an interest in the pants and found them at an intersection. And you could probably guess the rest.

Any takers on how he lost his pants?

[Source: CNN]

 

When Wasps Attack!

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While Geetanjali Nagpal (Gitanjali Nagpal) is facing the consequences of taking drugs in India, over in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, wasps are attacking tourists at a world renowned site, regarded as one of the wonders of the world.

Over 100 people were stung at the rock fortress which is well-known for the ancient and beautiful frescoes (murals) of (get this ->) bare-chested women (no wonder the crowd!). Turns out the wasps are nearly as (in)famous, though not as popular (one can imagine why!).

If you wonder why they aren't spraying stuff, here's why.

The authorities say that they are reluctant to fumigate or smoke out the insects, for fear of damaging the ancient frescoes and its most famous exhibit, three women known as the Sigiriya maidens.


[Source: BBC News]
[Photo from AFP]

 

From Rags to Riches And Back

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This is the story of Geetanjali Nagpal (Gitanjali Nagpal) who was once a famous model in India, but destroyed her own life by taking drugs. Now she's reduced to being a beggar on the streets and is regarded as an outcast by her own family. She's living proof of what drugs will do to you if you let them control you.



[Source: IBNlive]

 

PS3 Firmware Update 1.92

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Playstation (PS3) firmware gets updated to 1.92 Sony has stealthily planted a new firmware update for the PS3. Power up your PS3, log on to the playstation network and you may just find the 1.92 firmware. This update comes just a month after the 1.90 update.

So, What's new?

Word at NeoGaf says that the Internet Browser application has been substantially improved.

Cancel the screensaver option: It's always been there.

Controllers auto-power-off now.

Miniclips (thumbnails) in the videos section, and game clips in the games folder all load up synchronized now. Quitting from game into XMB transitions quicker.(Aesthetic/Efficiency Update)

Confirmed: PS1/PS2 Compatibility updated.


Unofficial update log:
  • Ability to add Flash wallpapers
  • Seemingly faster XMB load times
  • XMB screensaver option (which was there prior to this but just became popular because of this)
  • Improvements on Internet Browser application
  • Auto power off for the controllers
  • Thumbnails in the video section
  • Synchronized game clips in the games folder load up
  • Faster transition from game to XMB
  • Updated PSOne/PS2 controller compatibility
  • Performance for the additional item which is transmitted with PLAYSTATION®Store was strengthened.
  • PlayStation® of the part in PS3® and operational status of the PlayStation®2 standard software were renewed. As for up-to-date operational status <> With you can verify.


UPDATE 3: Now we have the official changelog from Sony Japan. Here it is:

Customization of wallpaper/indicatory font (theme setting)

* XMB™(the cross media bar) it reached the point where the picture can be indicated in the background. In addition, it reached™the point where the indicatory font on XMB can be modified.
* [ At the time of message compilation of the friend ], it reached the point where picture letter can be input.
* When connecting the USB keyboard, it reached the point where letter can be input into input form of the Web page directly.
* It corresponded to the rise sampling output of music CD.

The other functions which are renewed with version 1.90

* Whole
o [ The disk to remove ] it added to the option menu of the disk.
o When modifying the idea contest of the file and the folder, [it reachedthe point where folder classification ] can be chosen.
* Setting
o [ [ BD 1080p 24Hz outputof BD/DVD setting ] (HDMI)] with [ it reached the point where entrance ] can be chosen.
o [ [ At music CD outputfrequency ] of musicsetting ] [ it reached the point where 44.1/88.2/176.4kHz ] can be chosen.
o [ [ With bit mapping ]of musicsetting ] [ it reached the point where type 2 ] can be chosen.
* Video
o [ Picture quality adjustment ] of the operation panel [was modified in imageaudio setting ].
o It reached™the point where the memory stick and animated picture of the AVCHD type which is retainedin the hard disk of the digital videocamera can be played back.
o It reached the point which in the record media and when playing back the animated picture file which is retained in the hard disk, [ slow (returns and ) ], [ scene to reset ] can do operation.
* Game
o While the playing®of PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 standard software,it reached the point whereoutput setting can be modified.
o It arranged the game which is retained inthe hard disk and it reachedthe point where it is applied.
* Network
o [ The file ] of Internet browser in the menu, [ ahead linking addition ] was added to the book mark.
o [ Browser security ] was added [ tothe tool ]of Internet browser.

* Friend
o When indicating (繧「繝舌ち繝シ) in the AV kyat, the (繧「) butter reacting to sound, it reached the point where it moves.
* In addition
o PlayStation of the part in PS3 and operational status of the PlayStation 2 standard software were renewed. You can verify up-to-date operationalstatus with .
o About the automatic restoration function of information of setting

As you can see the English translation's a bit loose, so we're still watching other Sony sites for their own official changelog.


[Link: 1.92 firmware updateThread at Playstation forum]
[Source: News For Gamers, Qj.net]

 

RAZR2! RAWR!

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Motorola has launched its RAZR2 phone and along with it are some advertisements for it. Here are 2 commercials that I've managed to find on youtube.



This one is quite amusing. In case you haven't guessed yet, the RAZR2 is out and the competing engineers can't quite figure out how Motorola did it. No idea why the dude at the end covered himself in coffee though.



This is the full version of this action-packed ad. You may have seen the shorter version which isn't as satisfying. However, I don't really get this commercial, is it really trying to highlight that the phone is as sharp as a razor?

Anyway, the background music is by Shiny Toy Guns who are known for the song, "You are the one" (at least that's when I first took note of them). The song featured in the previous video however, is "Le Disko". The opening lyrics are simply perfect for the RAZR. Here's the full video of Le Disko.

 

Female Beefeater Makes History

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I'm very certain that if you're not British, you're wondering if Beefeater actually means someone who eats beef. That's why I did a double-take when I saw the title of my source, "First Female Beefeater Begins Job". I was thinking, hmm, beefeater? Sounds like a great job. Taste beef all day, just like wine tasters.

Unfortunately for me and you, beefeater isn't what you thought it meant. Since Wikipedia has already done a great job of describing what a beefeater actually does, here are their duties.

The Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, popularly known as the Beefeaters, are ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. In principle they are responsible for looking after any prisoners at the Tower and safeguarding the British crown jewels, but in practice they act as tour guides and are a tourist attraction in their own right.


And this is how they came to be known as beefeaters.

The transition from "loaf" to "beef" may originate from the fact that early Warders were paid in beef, amongst other things. Count Cosimo, grand duke of Tuscany, visited the Tower in 1669 and commented on this "A very large ration of beef is given to them daily at court...that they might be called Beef-eaters" and earlier references can also be found.


So how did Moira Cameron, 42, who started work at the Tower of London today make history? It's simply because of who she is, which is a woman. Imagine all that fuss just because she's a woman. But when you consider that the 1000 year old tradition had no females before her, it becomes quite a big deal.

Not everyone thinks the same way though. According to her,

"I had one chap at the gate one day who said he was completely and utterly against me doing the job,"


To which she replied,

'I would like to thank you for dismissing my 22 years service in Her Majesty's Armed Forces'.
(she spent 22 years in the Army, a prerequisite for the job)

And no, she's not keeping a beard. Not that it helps in the job.

I think I would still prefer "beef-eaters".

[Link: Wikipedia]
[Source: Sky News]

 

30 Days of Night: Blood Trails Teaser

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30 Days of Night: Blood Trails is based on the New Orleans storyline from the original graphic novel by Steve Niles 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails follows George, a young addict who makes a living seeking covert information for Judith, the weary but wise New Orleans vampire hunter. Ready for change, George plans to score one final job so he can leave town, but finds the road to salvation quickly crumbling when his contacts start turning up dead. Now George must dodge vampires while navigating the harsh underbelly of New Orleans to get his last payday and make it out alive.

30 Days of Night: Blood Trails is the web-exclusive prequel to 30 Days of Night, opening on October 19, 2007, starring Josh Hartnett and Melissa George. 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails will be a 7 part series, beginning on September 13, 2007 at FEARnet, leading up to the movie.

From the looks of it, if blood, gore and vampires are your thing, be sure to catch the web-series (since it's free, I think). And be prepared to scrreeaam!



[Link: 30 Days of Night at IMDB]

 

Monday, September 03, 2007

Making Thermite!

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Over at Instructables, someone posted a guide on making thermite (no, not termite). Now if you are a fan of Mythbusters or Brainiac, I'm quite sure you should have seen the wonders of thermite demonstrated. However, for those unaware of the hot mixture that is thermite, the following video should bring you up to the right temperature.



With that knowledge in mind, I don't need to remind you that thermite is highly dangerous. And very very hot. Too hot to handle in fact (2500+ degrees Celcius), unless you crave the smell of your flesh melting.

The main problem in making thermite is acquiring the raw materials. It seems that aluminum powder is not easy to find. Some creative ways of producing it (from the comments) include inside of an etch-a-sketch, blending aluminum foil (are you that desperate?) and filing an aluminum block.

Aside from that small hiccup, the process of making thermite is fairly simple. Just get hold of the ingredients below and mix them up. If you want to make military grade thermite exotic ingredients are needed. For the exact ratios, refer to link below.

1. Iron oxide
2. Aluminum powder
3. Magnesium ribbon or thermite ignition mixture

For a more exotic mix you may also want to buy:

4. Barium Nitrate
5. Sulfur
6. Dextrin


And these are required to get the thermite going.

Magnesium ribbon, although unreliable, is still the most popular way to ignite thermite.

Sparklers

Thermite ignition formula sold on unitednuclear

A mixture of Potassium permanganate and glycerine will undergo a reaction that can provide enough heat to ignite thermite.


Of course, you need some container to hold the thermite (ceramic pot recommended by the guy who wrote it) and stay far far away from the actual ignition. Hopefully you'll live to tell the tale.

[Source: Instructables]

 

Butterfly on a Wheel (Shattered) Trailer

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What happens when your perfect life is threatened by a kidnapper? What would you do? How far will you go? What would you risk? This thriller, starring Gerard Butler, Maria Bello and Pierce Brosnan is not just another kidnapping movie. The characters aren't really sure of the kidnapper's motives, plus there's a twist in the ending. An IMDB rating of 9.5 from 300+ people surely says something about Shattered.


[Link: Butterfly on a Wheel at IMDB]

 

Scandals and scandals?

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So while I was not paying attention, two stories tried to sneak past my ultra sensitive, highly trained, outrageously expensive, hot stuff detector. Luckily I've got a backup (Surprise!). Note to self, always have a plan B.

So what are those sneaky stories? Well, the first one involves Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, both stars of "High School Musical". Ok, now you're telling me this better be good, cause you don't care too much for kids shows. Yeah well, this may change your mind.

Vanessa Hudgens scandal


The High School Musical franchise is being rocked by a new nude scandal after naked photos of Vanessa Hudgens may appear on the internet.

A source, who claims to have seen the suggestive snapshots, tells American tabloid the National Enquirer, "Shooting into a mirror with her camera phone, she took photos of herself naked except for a gold chain around her waist."

But U.S reports suggest that the photos, which were for Efron's eyes only, are about to start circulating in cyberspace after a third party got hold of them.

Now you're interested? I guess that's something to keep in mind. (No, there are no pictures and I'm not about to post any if there are.) See the update on this in High School Musical Scandal Pic is Real!.

And on to the next story that nearly slipped past me. It starts off innocently enough with a message, "help us reunite this lass with her camera". Then everything goes downhill from there. Way down.

Help us reunite (reunion) this lass with her camera

Apparently someone found a lost camera that happens to belong to a girl. And not just any girl as you can see, it's a rather attractive girl. So what does he do? He setups a Facebook group called "Help us reunite this lass with her camera" with this description.

We are trying to track down the lovely lass in these photos so she can be reunited with her lost digital camera. She certainly knows how to use it!

Along the way, he posts her pictures as well, presumably to help in the search. That sounds ok, and even a nice gesture to help a stranger. Except that those photos are quite revealing. How revealing? Well, in some she's wearing just her camera.

And it's very effective at getting people to help out in the search, if that's what they're claiming to be doing. Every five seconds a new Facebook member joins "the hunt for the elusive girl". The number of members has probably surpassed the 25,000 mark by now.

But there's a twist to this story. It appears that the sexy photos in the group can be found elsewhere online and have already been posted earlier. See the comments on the digg for more.

Now diggers are speculating that this may just be a viral campaign for some porn website (possibly her own). This just gets more and more interesting.

Update: The Daily Mail confirms the suspicions of diggers and says that Wendy is a porn star. And the porn site has admitted that this is a viral campaign. Well, I guessed it worked.

[Source: FemaleFirst, National Ledger]
[Source: Daily Mail]
[Pic from Bitten and Bound]

 

The Simpsons in Medal of Homer!

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Even if you're not planning on buying or playing the Simpsons Game, you should watch this trailer of the upcoming Simpsons Game. Why? For starters, it's the Simpsons. And it's a wonderful parody of Medal of Honor, complete with black and white footage, supported by serious orchestral music. It's best to keep quiet now, lest I spoil the experience for you. Perhaps this will change your mind about the Simpsons Game.

 

Making a 6 Figure Profit on Ebay

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Allsopp beerA story making the rounds on the internet now is how someone managed to make $500,000 by buying some beer on ebay.

Of course this isn't ordinary beer, it's an ancient Allsopp's Arctic Ale, brewed in 1852. It also had a handwritten note from early 1900s.

Unfortunately, the original seller made a mistake on the spelling and missed a 'p' which caused it to become listed as 'allsop' and hence no one legitimately looking for it could find it (since they searched for 'allsop').

Someone else, however, is about to get lucky. He nets the beer for a low price of $304. This buyer, Dan Woodul, decides to auction it off on ebay and got a really high ending price of $500k.

As expected, the bid is fake. The bidder, 'v00d004sc0re', made the bid for fun and even called up Dan to tell him about it.

However, Dan has received 6 figure offers for the bottle even though he has no intentions of selling it. He would rather it go to charity. That's one nice and lucky dude.

Edit: If you're feeling lucky, you may want to check out Auction Intelligence. It provides a free search tool to find typos such as those that occurred in the story.

[Link: Original auction ($304)]
[Link: 2nd auction ($500k)]
[Source: Tulsa]

 

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Free Ubi Games (Far Cry, etc)!

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Today is definitely your lucky day (go ahead, grab a fortune cookie). If Command & Conquer Gold for free wasn't enough to satisfy you, another game company, Ubi, has given away 4 of its games. These games include Far Cry, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Rayman Raving Rabbids.

Before you start wondering if the world's gone totally mad, note that technically they are not really "free". They are free of charge in terms of price, however they are not free of advertising. Yup, these games are released with adware in them. And there's a big problem for international users.

You will need an Ubi.com account and you must live in the U.S. to play the game.


If you qualify and don't care about the adware, you can grab them at these places.

Far Cry (2.68GB)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (542MB)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (1.13GB)
Rayman Raving Rabbids (1.25GB)

 

Free Chicken, Coke and Command & Conquer!

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Today is your lucky day! You get not one but two freebies just cause you're reading this post. As stated in the title, you can get chicken, coke plus the original Command and Conquer Gold for absolutely nothing. Oh, you need the details.

Ckick-fil-A is giving away 1,000,000 Chicken sandwiches and a medium coke to all eligble participants -from 8-20-07 ends at 11:59 p.m.( EST) on 09-29-07 so hurry ,only one coupon per person---www.freechickenandcoke.com
(Tough luck for international readers, this chicken and coke offer is US only.)

Free Command and Conquer Gold But no worries, Command and Conquer Gold is free no matter where you live (hopefully somewhere with a computer). EA is celebrating C&C's 12th anniversary so the original game is released as freeware as part of the celebrations.

PLEASE NOTE BEFORE DOWNLOAD:

We are providing the ISO image of C&C GOLD for both the GDI and Nod discs. In order for C&C GOLD to run on Windows XP, you will need to burn the ISO image onto a CD with a CD Burner and any "CD Burning Software" such as Nero, Alcohol, etc. There are also a few extra steps in order to make C&C GOLD run on Windows XP after you burn it to CD. Please click the link below for the exact instructions after you download both files!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD C&C GOLD GDI ISO
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD C&C GOLD Nod ISO
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD C&C GOLD INSTALL INSTRUCTIONS

Remember to visit www.commandandconquer.com as EA will think of something new each week (and if I remember I'll post it here).

[Source: GottaDeal]
[Source: EA]

Update: It seems EA's servers went down for while or are running slooooow due to the massive popularity of the game. So here are more download links in case you need them. By the way, the patch is for Windows XP.
And if you fancy torrents, here's a link for C&C Gold (1.12GB).

 
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