Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mobile Number Portability in August

Come August and mobile phone subscribers will not have to go through the troublesome routine of informing everyone about a number change in case they decide to switch to another service provider.

Union Communications and IT Minister A Raja said that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) plans to introduce Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in major cities, followed by other cities by the end of this year. He made the announcement at the launch of BSNL's 3G services in Chennai.

The MNP system will allow subscribers to retain their number when they shift their telecom service provider.

The DoT had approved MNP in November 2008, saying the system would initially be introduced in the metros.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Killzone 2, Afro Samurai

When Sony showed off the capabilities of its newest system -- the PlayStation 3 -- at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2005, one game had nearly everyone talking.

The short video, presented without explanation, was an amazing futuristic war game with visuals that exceeded anything that could be done at the time. Quite simply, we couldn't believe our eyes; there was no way a game could look that good. Surely the footage had to be some kind of pre-rendered clip, not actual in-game footage.

When it is finally released on Feb. 27, will Killzone 2 be that great, once-in-a-lifetime game everyone is expecting it to be?

Sadly, the answer is no.

Don't get us wrong. K2 is still an amazing war game that belongs alongside the other big boys in the future war category, such as the Resistance and Gears of War franchises. It is technologically flawless and a sight to behold.

Unfortunately, it's really not much different from the rest of the aforementioned titles that came out last holiday season, save for the frustratingly different default control setup (which can be changed to a more standard setup without much trouble). Fight the bad guys, drive 'em back, blah, blah, blah. We've played this a thousand times before.

Though Killzone 2 does look better than most, it ultimately fails to live up to the insanely high expectations that had been created for it -- and that's a shame.

Grade: A (The same high level as its predecessors, but little else)

Details: PlayStation 3 platform; $59.99; rated Mature (blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)

Wasting such great potential

All the elements are there to make Afro Samurai one of the best games ever: a fresh, comic-inspired visual style; funky, original characters; good controls; a great soundtrack supervised by RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan; even the voice of Samuel L. Jackson in all his uncensored glory.

As if to prove that even the best ingredients still require a great chef, Samurai is so horribly assembled it quickly becomes apparent that the game is flawed to the core (and not just because you can slice people in half in a big, bloody mess).

Besides the atrociously confusing level design that seems as if it was created to force you to walk in circles, and the miserable sound mixing that sets some of the characters' voices at full scream while others are at whisper levels, when we tested it out, Samurai suffered from a giant glitch near the conclusion of the first battle that ended the fight abruptly and caused the game to inexplicably skip ahead.

All the money spent on those billions and billions of billboards advertising the game and the animated film on DVD would have been better spent on some quality control.

Grade: A (for visuals and story), D-minus (for level design and sound mixing)

Details: Xbox 360 and Play- Station 3 platforms; $59.99; rated Mature (blood and gore, drug reference, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language)

Killing zombies and looking good

Another recently released gory samurai game is the Japanese import Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad.

Here's the setup: Two shapely sisters have to fight off wave after wave of angry zombies, determined to eat brains or whatever it is zombies do. By swinging their mighty samurai swords, the sisters can slice the zombies in two. And, as in most cheesy horror films, even that won't stop the zombies; their legs and waists attack on their own.

Oh, and did we mention that the older sister wears a skimpy bathing suit that would fit right in with the ones in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and that the younger sister is dressed in full Japanese schoolgirl attire, pleated skirt and all?


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Trend Micro offers parental control s/w

BANGALORE, INDIA: Is your computer safe from viruses? How many spam mails do you delete daily? Is your child aware of the viruses that disguise as credible sites? These common questions apply not only to professionals and computer users in office, but also a PC user at home.

If you thought only computers at work place are prone to virus attacks, then your are wrong. A single PC at home, with an Internet connection, is made use of adults as well as the modern day 'tech-savvy' children for homework, to play games, chat with friends and watch animations. Youngsters are seldom aware of the potential threats when they are using the Internet. Predators in the world wide web appear in various forms, and employ various methods by asking you questions and gathering your personal information to engage in all sorts of illegal activities. Now, you can easily fight such threats and control your child's activities with the 'Advanced Parental Control Software' embedded in the Trend Micro Internet Security 2009.

The Parental Control solution comes along with the Trend Micro Internet Security package 'TM Internet Security'. Today, Trend Micro enjoys the credit of being the only company which offers this Internet Security Software that provides end-to-end, detailed and intuitive advanced parental control.

Giving more details about Trend Micro Internet Security 2009 package, Amith Nath, country head, Trend Micro says: " With Trend Micro Internet Security 2009 (TIS), we enter the commercial vertical in the country. TIS has been built around Smart Protection network which means the user is protected from malicious web, email and document attacks. TIS is a robust security suite which also has goods like mobile security, PC optimization and advanced parental control embedded in one software package. "

"The software also prevents accidental leakage of private information, which means, it prevents children from revealing personal information via the web, inter messaging tool and the email. The child may enter the phone number or address or credit card number which in turn would be all garbled and not understood by the receiver," he explains.

The parental control feature allows -

  • Limited Internet access by time of day and day of week, that would show a reminding pop up five minutes before the Internet access time is up. This way, the parents can control the timing when the child sits before the PC
  • Blocks the sites parents do not want the child to access. Further, this can be done by age level of the child. TIS software solution comes with four pre-set categories - Child, Teenager, Adult, and None. Parents can choose from these categories or customize it to their desire which could mean blocking gaming, gambling, social networking or any sites they would want to
  • Prevents accidental leakage of private information by the child using the PC

The software is available in both single and three license packages which are valid for a year. TIS can be bought online as well from Trend Micro authorized distributors/sub distributors. From January end it will also be available in retail stores.