Friday, February 10, 2006

News U can Use !

Halo 2 announced for Windows Vista

Microsoft has announced plans to bring its hit Xbox video game Halo 2 to the PC — but the game will only run on Windows Vista, Microsoft’s long-awaited update to the Windows operating system also known by its codename “Longhorn.” The game’s Mac status is still up in the air.

Microsoft plans to use an internal game studio to do the conversion of the hit game created by Microsoft’s own Bungie Studios. Halo 2 is a first-person shooter sequel to a game first seen by Mac enthusiasts at 1999’s Macworld Expo in New York City — shortly thereafter, Microsoft acquired Bungie and made Halo an Xbox-exclusive title.

Halo would later re-emerge for the Mac and PC, in 2003 — two years after it debuted on the Xbox. MacSoft licensed and published the Macintosh version of Halo, which shipped within weeks of its PC counterpart. That PC version was developed by Gearbox Software and based on Bungie’s original code.

The futuristic sci-fi game series follows the story of Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced human soldier who fights a war against The Covenant, a marauding collective of aliens bent on destroying humanity. Microsoft says the game has sold more than 14.5 million copies to date. It’s also spawned a movie, which is currently in pre-production and is due to be released in 2007.

The Windows Vista version of Halo 2 will combine the original game with its multiplayer map pack. Players will also have tools to build and customize their own multiplayer levels.

Microsoft did not state its reasons for making Halo 2’s PC debut exclusive to Windows Vista, but it’s thought that it may help drive adoption of the new operating system, which is due for release sometime in late 2006.

A MacSoft spokesman would not comment on his company’s plans for Halo 2.


End of Passwords from Vista!

Now, with Windows Vista, Gates feels he finally has the right weapons to supplant the password as a means of verifying who is who on computers and over the Internet.

The new operating system, due later this year, introduces a concept called InfoCards that gives users a better way to manage the plethora of Internet login names and passwords, as well as lets third parties help in the verification process. Vista will also make it easier to log on to PCs using something stronger than a password alone, such as a smart card.

"We're laying the foundation for what we need," Gates said in a speech at the RSA Conference 2006 here.

Even with the advancements, Gates said he wasn't naive enough to think the password would go away overnight.

"I don't pretend that we are going to move away from passwords overnight, but over three or four years, for corporate systems, this change can and should happen," he said.

Replacing passwords is part of Microsoft's endeavor to simplify security, which Gates said is dearly needed. "We have an overly complex system today," he said. Vista and Microsoft's upcoming security products, such as Windows OneCare Live and Microsoft Client Protection, will make life easier for consumers, he said.

Microsoft has described InfoCard as a technology that gives users a single place to manage various authentication and payment information, in the same way a wallet holds multiple credit cards.

InfoCard is Microsoft's second try at an authentication technology after its largely failed Passport single sign-on service, unveiled in 1999.

InfoCard attempts to address the complaint many critics had with Passport, which was that people's information was managed by Microsoft instead of by the users themselves and the businesses with which they dealt.

Although Microsoft has talked about InfoCard, and early versions of the InfoCard code were released to developers last year, Gates' speech marked one of the first times Microsoft has demonstrated publicly just how it might work.

In a presentation, Microsoft showed how a consumer could use a self-generated InfoCard to log in to a car rental site and then use a separate InfoCard from a membership group to get a discount on the rental.