Movies, Music, Video Games, Social Networks and Lifestyle News And Reviews

Product reviews and news of digital entertainment products and services in movies, music, video games, game streaming, social networks and lifestyle products.

We’ve seen our share of obscenely tricked-out systems as of late; rigs like the Maingear Rush and Epic Rush, the iBuypower Chimera 4SE FX Ultimate, and the Falcon Northwest Tiki (among others) are bursting at the seams with the hottest hardware, but of course, those systems typically have commensurate price tags. None of the above cost less than $2,700, and the Maingear Rush drains the pocketbook at a whopping $8,393 as configured. Digital Storm’s latest offering, the Vanquish II, take a completely different approach. It still has excellent components inside, but none is quite the top end. Performance will take a hit to be sure, but so will the cost. As Digital Storm... Read more...
People have a tendency to get ticked off if you mess with their heads, especially without their permission. Facebook, the world's largest social network, found this out the hard way when it revealed that it had altered nearly 700,000 user feeds to study people's emotions. Not cool, but are these types of studies necessary in order to build a better online experience? Online dating site OkCupid seems to think so. "OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. It’s not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up a blueprint or something. Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how... Read more...
The Heartbleed Bug illustrated just how vulnerable our global communications structure really is, and now a glut of important tech companies in collaboration with the Linux Foundation are launching a new initiative called the Core Infrastructure Initiative to better support the open source projects and technologies that keep the Internet afloat. Image Source: Flickr (snoopsmaus) The first item on the docket is increased support for OpenSSL, which if you’ll recall was the source of the Heartbleed problem. OpenSSL “could receive fellowship funding for key developers as well as other resources to assist the project in improving its security, enabling outside reviews, and improving responsiveness... Read more...
The U.S. government might not negotiate with terrorists, but it is willing to use social media as a tool to engage in conversation with jihadists and their sympathizers online. Why bother? The U.S. government hopes that it can convince potential terrorists to go in another direction. It's an ugly world the government's stepping into, but can it work? "We are actually giving al Qaeda the benefit of the doubt because we are answering their arguments," Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), tells CNN. "The way I see it is we are participating in the marketplace of ideas." It's not a job for the faint of heart or anyone... Read more...
As unfortunate as it is, DDoSing is as easy to pull off as it is frustrating. With enough computers at their disposal, anyone could force enough traffic to a website in order to take it down, and even massive services are not immune. A perfect example of this is ongoing, with popular social networking site Meetup. This is a site that's ranked in the top 500 globally, but despite that, it's been down more than it's been up since DDoS attacks began on Thursday. Here's what's interesting about this particular DDoS attack: Meetup could stop it for a mere $300. Given the fact that this site spends millions each year on its own security, $300 is a drop in the bucket, and in effect, the site's losing... Read more...
The Intel Haswell-based gaming rigs keep coming. Digital Storm sent us a mid tower gaming machine dubbed the Digital Storm VIRTUE Level 3, which boasts some hot, next-gen components wrapped inside a stoic, unadorned chassis--rather like the CyberPowerPC Xtreme Gamer 5200 we just looked at. Digital Storm says that the VIRTUE was an effort to create a mid tower-sized option that evinced the same care and attention typically devoted to the bigger, showier gaming rigs we’re used to seeing. The VIRTUE is certainly well-made, and there’s surely a market for mid tower rigs, but like the aforementioned Xtreme Gamer 5200 the VIRTUE Level 3 is devoid of some of those fun bells... Read more...
Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings is notoriously difficult. Facebook’s services are constantly evolving (wait, we’re “poking” each other again?), therefore by nature altering which privacy settings alter what aspect of the service, and of course the privacy settings and policies themselves are always in flux. To say it’s a moving target is an understatement, and frankly, we’ve completely given up trying to stay on top of it. If you feel like a newb because you can no longer explain to your mom how to keep this or that private on Facebook don’t feel bad--it’s a bit of a mystery to Mark Zuckerberg’s own kin, too. Mark’s sister... Read more...
Gaming is something we've done quite a bit of over the years, but sitting down to pick a list of the most addictive games ever proved surprisingly tricky. Addictive games aren't necessarily the top sellers, or record-smashing behemoths. Sometimes, their appeal is measured in near-perfect execution of a narrow concept, while other games keep us up 'til 3 AM because, despite their flaws, they offer a compelling, challenging experience. Orcs Must Die 2 has eaten more of my life than I want to admit in front of my employers. Here is our criteria: No mobile/pocket/Facebook games:  I've been a Tetris fanatic for decades, while games like FarmVille and Angry Birds enjoy huge audiences.... Read more...
Gaming PCs come in all shapes and sizes, but the small form factor gaming rig is not one that you see all that often. When it comes to tablets, notebooks and small form factor PCs, “thin and light” may indicate the latest and greatest in design and mobile components, but when it comes to gaming, a lithe chassis can be indicative of deep compromises on the performance inside. Digital Storm has tackled the task of building a system that offers both high-performance parts and a small chassis with the Bolt series of custom PCs. Indeed, they nailed it on the compact size; the Bolt’s case measures just 3.6"(W) x 14"(H) x 15"(D), and while the components inside the Bolt we tested aren't... Read more...
Diablo III isn't just a game -- it's a sequel, a social service, and a financial experiment all wrapped up in one. We've discussed the game's structure and balance in our extensive preview as well as its security problems earlier this week. The third part of the game -- the Real (Money) Auction House, or RAH -- won't debut until May 29 at the earliest and therefore won't be covered here.  Diablo III will likely go down as one of the most polarizing games of 2012. What follows is a detailed examination of the game's best attributes and a frank discussion of its failures. Diablo III: Graphics, Gameplay, and Design: Act II's Caldeum, Jewel of the East D3's gameplay is great. It retains all... Read more...
How do you make the experience of buying from a boutique system builder easier than it already is? If you're Digital Storm, you answer that question by offering a line of pre-configured machines that are fully loaded to meet your budget and ready to ship in 72 hours. Not only do you save the time and energy required to build your own system from scratch, you also skip the exercise in picking out each individual component and then crossing your fingers hoping you've made solid selections. Owning a high performance gaming system doesn't get any easier, and though it's true you rob yourself of the fun and geek XP points that comes from building your own box, not everyone is down with getting... Read more...
Dell's enthusiast gaming PC division has built a legacy on designing over-the-top desktops and notebooks, that push the boundaries of performance and style with an unmistakable design flair.  We've been pretty impressed with the Alienware systems we've looked at thus far, and though they tend to run a premium in terms of price, performance and design quality generally scale along with that higher price tag. On the test track, Alienware notebooks have racked up some of the best performance numbers we've seen and the company's desktops rank right up there as well.  One shape the Aliens have never assumed previously, however, is the small form-factor desktop.  And let's be honest,... Read more...
It's been a busy spring for OEMs, and Digital Storm is no exception. Earlier this year, Intel was forced to suspend shipments of Sandy Bridge's accompanying Cougar Point chipset while it fixed a design flaw. This, in turn, left both system OEMs and retail motherboard vendors no choice but to suspend/delay their own Sandy Bridge-based products. Now the market is awash with product refreshes, making it more difficult than ever for any one product to stand out from the crowd. Digital Storm's new Enix appears to pull it off nicely, however, at a (relatively) cheap price compared to many of the boutique systems we've reviewed in the past 18 months. At $3300, our review system is actually an expensive... Read more...
Some people stay in relationships simply because they are afraid that their prospects aren't good. They don't have the confidence to leave. For them, there's a new Facebook app, which launched last Friday.  It's called WaitingRoom. Some criticized the Facebook app Breakup Notifier, which would let a user know via email if someone they were interested in changed their relationship status. That app was banned last week, just prior to the launch of WaitingRoom. Instead of letting you know when someone changed their relationship status, WaitingRoom encourages them to change their relationship status. In other words, it gives them a push toward breaking up with their current significant other.... Read more...
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