New Need For Speed Most Wanted Gets Demoed at E3 2012; Release Date Announced

Few days ago, I had written about a new Need For Speed: Most Wanted coming soon. At this year’s E3, EA gave a demo of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and showed us what can be expected from it.

Being developed by Criterion, the sequel to Most Wanted looks like a Burnout Game in Need For Speed clothing. Each race will have a start and finish line; how you reach the line is completely up to you. You can take the tarmac roads, go hunting for shortcuts or even go offroad. Autolog will be available as well and you and your Autolog friends should be able to jump into the race at any point of time. Need for Speed Most Wanted will be released on October 30th in North America and November 1st in Europe for all major consoles (PS3, Xbox 360), PC and portable and mobile devices.

Till then, there’s a short gameplay video of what you can expect

Two Simple Tips To Speed Up Program Downloads / Upgrades in Fedora

I’ve been playing with the latest version of Fedora since the past few days. Much like how Ubuntu has a command-line based software installer called apt-get, Fedora comes with yum.

I was trying to update my Fedora install to the latest version of packages and noticed that all my downloads were incredibly slow.

Slow Downloads in Fedora

No doubt, this was a result of the mirrors selected being overloaded/ saturated or just too slow. Here’s 2 tips to improve your download speeds.

Yum Plugins – FastestMirror And Axelget

In addition to Yum’s support for delta RPMs(which is awesome) yum also supports plugins. Two incredibly helpful plugins that help improve download speeds are

  • FastestMirror
  • AxelGet


FastestMirror connects to each mirror, times the connection and sorts the mirrors that yum can use thereby improving the download speeds. Installing fastest mirror is quite easy, type in

yum install yum-plugin-fastestmirror

To install the plugin. You’ll need to have root privileges, else this will fail. Once installed, confirm that it is enabled by checking for presence of below files in  /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/fastestmirror.conf

verbose = 0
socket_timeout = 3
enabled = 1
hostfilepath = /var/cache/yum/timedhosts.txt
maxhostfileage = 1

You can even explicitly set to exclude specific mirror by adding,

to the above file, replacing with your specific mirrors.


Axel is a pretty well-known command line download tool. Much like how IDM/FDM work, Axel uses the same concept of splitting the current file into multiple pieces and downloading them simultaneously, instead of one download at a time. Axel is the same tool which powers apt-fast, a tool to speed up program downloads / upgrades in Ubuntu. Setting up axelget is a bit more involved process.

sudo cp axelget.conf /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/

sudo cp /usr/lib/yum-plugins/

To confirm that the plugins are working, do a yum update. Yum should list out all the plugins in use

[root@caldeum sathya]# yum install git
Loaded plugins: axelget, fastestmirror, langpacks, presto, refresh-packagekit

That’s about it. With these two plugins, your downloads should be much faster.

Note: This should work for all distros supporting yum, I’ve tested this only on the current version of Fedora though.

Microsoft’s E3 2012 Press Conference Highlights

Microsoft kicked off this this year’s E3. Here’s what they showcased

Splinter Cell:Blacklist

Sam Fisher makes a comeback with a new Splinter Cell game. Being developed by Ubisoft Toronto, the demo shows that the game’s strayed a bit from its stealth roots.

Gears of War

Gears of War was the next game to be demoed. The game is being developed by People Can Fly studios, creators of games like Bulletstorm and is expected to include co-op gameplay.


Microsoft also showcased a new Forza being developed by a new developer, titled Forza Horizon. Unlike previous Forza games, this one looks to be open world with street and dirt roads.

Kinect, Smart Glass, Xbox Music

There were quite a few Kinect titles being showcased, including Fable,  FIFA 13, NFL and Dance Central. My colleague Paul takes a deeper look at Xbox Music and Smart Glass.

Gameplay Demos

Besides trailers, Microsoft also had some gameplay demos of some of their most popular franchises

Halo 4

Halo 4 seemed like just another Halo title, there wasn’t anything groundbreaking that I could notice.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft and Tomb Raider looked pretty good – if not for Lara’s constant moaning which sounds fairly disturbing.

Resident Evil 6

Also on display was Resident Evil 6 featuring what seems like hint of cell-shaded graphics.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Rounding off the press conference was Call of Duty Black Ops 2, which had cinematics, guns, flying aircrafts and still managed to look more boring and repetitive than watching a painter paint a fence.

Overall, quite a disappointing E3 showcase by Microsoft. What’re your thoughts? Drop in a comment and let us know.

Watch EA, Sony, Ubisoft And Nintendo’s E3 2012 Press Conferences Live

E3 or Electronics Entertainment Expo 2012 is here upon us. EA, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Ubisoft – each have their own press conferences demonstrating their products and keynotes. While Microsoft’s keynote just concluded half hour ago, the rest will be livestreaming their keynotes. Here’s a summary of press conference timings and livestream links, if you don’t want to miss them

Electronic Arts




Thanks to Sameer from MCV India for collating the links!

New Need For Speed: Most Wanted Is Coming Soon

Ask any gamer who likes Racing genre of games what their favorite game is and you’re bound to hear about Need For Speed: Most Wanted a lot of times. Need For Speed: Most Wanted was an absolute blast of a game, combining what most people crave – open world racing, car customization, street racing and cop chases.

IGN reports that a new New Need For Speed: Most Wanted is coming soon, and this was outed by TwitchTV’s E3 gaming schedule.  Whether the new Most Wanted will be a reboot of the series or a sequel remains to be seen; there’s no news on what the new game’s going to be like. Come E3 2012, however, this should be clear.

E3 2012 begins June 5th, 2012. And in case you don’t know what Most Wanted is all about, here’s Most Wanted’s trailer to bring you up to speed.

Blizzard Addresses Diablo III Account Hack Complaints

It’s not been a good launch week for Blizzard’s newest game, Diablo III. First, the servers melted completely with the onslaught of users trying to release 12-years worth of click-click-clicking. Then, there was a game breaking bug involving the Demon Hunter and Templar early on into the game, which left many users kicked out of the game and unable to enter. Then, there were problems with the game not being able to recognize quest  trigger points, leaving users(including me) losing achievements.

The latest egg in the face quite possibly be the most serious one – Blizzard forums are full of complaints from users about their accounts being hacked into, the items and loot being stolen. Rock Paper Shotgun mentions that Eurogamer’s Christian Donlan had a first-hand experience of this hack. The reason for this is not very clear, but some speculation on Reddit suggests that the sessions are being hijacked, giving the hacker full control of the accounts.

Diablo III

Even though Blizzard had two-factor authentication for logins, reports around the forums suggest that even people with two-factor authentication enabled have had their accounts broken into. I took a quick glance into my account this morning and thankfully, as of now, there has been no break-in.

Bashiok makes it clear that there have been no session-hijacking exploits that are in the wild:

We’ve been taking the situation extremely seriously from the start, and have done everything possible to verify how and in what circumstances these compromises are occurring. Despite the claims and theories being made, we have yet to find any situations in which a person’s account was not compromised through traditional means of someone else logging into their account through the use of their password.

Though that still doesn’t say about how people with two-factor authentication have had their accounts accessed. Another speculation is that the two-factor authentication was enabled after the break-in.

Blizzard’s response has been fairly generic, attributing it to new game release. Quoting Lylirra, the community manager:

Historically, the release of a new game — such as a World of Warcraft® expansion — will result in an increase in reports of individual account compromises, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now with Diablo III. We know how frustrating it can be to become the victim of account theft, and as always, we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help our players keep their accounts safe — and we appreciate everyone who’s doing their part to help protect their accounts as well.

We also wanted to reassure you that the Authenticator and Mobile Authenticator (a free app for iPhone and Android devices) continue to be some of the most effective measures we offer to help players protect themselves against account compromises, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of them. In addition, we also recently introduced a new service called SMS Protect, which allows you to use your text-enabled cell phone to unlock a locked account, recover your account name, approve a password reset, or remove a lost Authenticator. Optionally, you can set up the SMS Protect system to send you a text message whenever unusual activity is detected on your account, keeping you aware of important (and possibly unwanted) changes.

For more information on the Authenticator, visit

For more on the Mobile Authenticator, visit

For more on SMS Protect, visit

Blizzard also mentioned that users may be prompted with additional security questions, if the user is logging in from a previously unknown location

We also have other measures built into to help protect players. Occasionally, when detects unusual login activity that differs from your normal behavior — such as logging in from an unfamiliar location — we may prompt you for additional information (such as the answer to one of your security questions) and/or require you to perform a password reset through the website. World of Warcraft players might be familiar with this security method already, and Diablo III players may begin to encounter it as well.

Blizzard has asked the users to contact them via their “I’ve Been Hacked!” tool, if the user believes they have been a victim of an account compromise.

If you have had an account compromise in Diablo III, do leave a comment mentioning the details and the extent of losses.

Norton 360 Antivirus Review

Since quite some time, Symantec’s Norton set of applications have been known to computer users — particularly the anti virus application. Over the past few years, Symantec has been bundling more and more applications into a single suite for Internet security. Recently I got my hands on a review copy of Norton 360 v6.0 and tested it on my system for a period. Lets’s see how it does.


Norton 360 packs a simplistic UI. The application’s start page is divided into 4 sections; each highlighting the various areas of protection it offers — PC Security ( Virus/Malware  Prevention/Firewall), Identity ( Phishing Protection/Password Management), Backup ( file backup) and PC tuneup( general maintenance). Norton 360 also has a separate section for scheduling tasks and looking at the system performance. The start page also has an activity map of cyber-crime activity across the world.

Norton 360 Home Page


PC Security

Norton is quite well known for their anti-virus lineup. The PC security section handles tasks related to anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, incoming/outgoing email scanning and firewall.

The PC Security tab allows you to check on previous scan results, run scans on demand & check for updates to definitions. Clicking on “Run Scan” brings up the option to start an anti-virus scan. Like most anti-virus programs, there’s an option of running a quick scan which checks the most essential files, a full scan which performs a through scan and does a backup and a custom scan/task which allows you to customize what to scan and what to backup.

Norton Scan UI

Custom Tasks

The scan Facebook wall is a nice feature; it goes through your Facebook Wall and checks that the posted links are safe. With additional permissions, you can configure Norton Safe Web to automatically scan links and auto-post them to your if it’s not malicious — a nice way to keep your Facebook account clean.


The identity section manages the features in ensuring your online identity is not compromised. Features included in this section are

  • Norton Safe Web
  • Antiphishing
  • Identity safe

Norton Safe Web installs an add-on to your browser & uses Norton Safe Web service and looks up the site’s ratings and review, much like Web of Trust. Identify safe is Norton’s solution for a password manager, much like LastPass. In addition to passwords, Identity Safe also allows you to save Notes and Credit Card details — all behind a master password that you’ll need to enter to open the safe.
Identity Safe

If you login to a site that you haven’t visited before, Norton will offer to save your credentials, which can be autofilled in when you next visit the site. This is a nice and recommended way of password management since you’ll have to remember only the master password to unlock the safe — the others will be autofilled. You can also configure Identity Safe passwords to be transferred to your Norton account so that you can access it from any computer which has internet access.
Identity Safe Password Details
For all the nice things about Identity safe, I’m pretty disappointed because of a lack of Generate New Password option. A password manager without the capability to generate passwords is just flawed.

Bitcoinica Gets Hacked, Bitcoins Worth $90,000 Stolen

Bitcoinica, a Bitcoin exchange started by a 17-year old teenager Zhou Tong, has been shut down for security investigations. Posting on BitCoin Talk forums, Zhou posted a message stating the exchange has been taken down for security investigations after noticing a suspicious transaction in which 18547.66 bitcoins(worth about $91,000) were transferred from the exchange.

This is the transaction in question:

“account” : “”,
“address” : “182tGyiczhXSSCTciVujNRkkMw1zQxUVhp”,
“category” : “send”,
“amount” : -18547.66867623,
“fee” : 0.00000000,
“blockhash” : “00000000000003f6bfd3e2fcbf76091853b28be234b5473a67f89b9d5bee019c”,
“blockindex” : 1,
“txid” : “7a22917744aa9ed740faf3068a2f895424ed816ed1a04012b47df7a493f056e8″,
“time” : 1336738723

Bitcoinica transaction

Zhou maintains that apart from the Bitcoins, the database was also stolen but the passwords were salted and encrypted using bcrypt. Zhou mentions that the stolen bitcoins are likely to be reimbursed by Bitcoinica in USD. This isn’t the first time Bitcoinica’s been broken into; few months ago Bitcoinica’s bitcoin wallet which stored the funds were stolen due to a breach in Bitcoinica’s then webhost — Linode. Bitcoinica has been criticized for not making use of offline transactions which would’ve prevented both the break-ins.


Blizzard Prepares For Diablo III Release, Entertains Fans with an Animated Short

Blizzard has been revealing small bits of about the Lore of the Diablo III universe, the playable classes, skills and developer diaries on their Darkness Falls, Heroes Rise portal since the past few weeks. And now, with just under a week to go for the game’s release – all content on the Diablo III has been completely unlocked on their portal. The last big reveal: a six-minute animated short film directed by Peter Chung and animated by the animation studio Titmouse.

Diablo III

Titled “Wrath”, the video shows Deckard Cain chronicling the battle between Angels of High Heavens and Demons of Burning Hells, well before creation of the sanctuary. Without further ado, check out the video and let me know your thoughts on it!

And oh, if you’re new to the Diablo series, Gamespot has a video unraveling the story of the Diablo universe – go check it out!

Dell Expands their Alienware Lineup in India, Introduces Alienware M14x & M17x

Close on the heels of the Alienware X51’s launch in India, Dell has announced the expansion of the Alienware seiries in India, with the introduction of the Alienware M14X and the M17x. The two laptops are aimed at different segments – the M14x is catered towards the gamer who requires a balance between mobility and performance; while the M17x is more of a desktop replacement.

The Alienware M14x and M17x laptops come with the latest NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards and Creative Sound Blaster audio chipset with support for THX 7.1 digital surround sound and Klipsch-branded speakers. The Alienware M14x features optional dual drive configurations, up to 16GB of memory, a Blu-ray combo optical drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics engine with GDDR5 graphics memory.

Alienware M14XThe M14X’s bigger brother, the M17X features up to 32GB of memory, an optional 17.3-inch 120Hz Wide WLED 3D display, THX 3D surround sound and an option of  GDDR5-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M and 675M graphics solutions.

Alienware M17X

Both laptops feature Intel’s 3rd Generation processors, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity options, optional 3D HD gaming capability, optional Blu-ray disc drive and surround-sound quality from Klipsch speakers. The laptops feature AlienAdrenaline, which enables users to create shortcuts associated with games, or applications capable of triggering a chain of commands.

Dell has also announced that it has collaborated with EA to implement AlienFX software and lighting control system as well as an exclusive Alienware Arena dog tag in EA’s Battlefield 3. Gamers will see unique loading and menu and player health lighting effects while playing Battlefield 3.

Pricing, Availability And Specifications

The Alienware M14x and M17x can be booked online at Dell’s online store. The M14X starts at ₹85,000 + local taxes and VAT, while the M17X starts at ₹1,46,000 + local taxes and VAT.

The M14X is available in the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i5 and i7 Processor Options
    • Intel Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz (3.1GHz w/Turbo Boost, 3MB Cache) (Standard)
    • Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
    • Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz (3.6GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
    • Intel Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
  • Graphics Card Options
    • 1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M using NVIDIA Optimus technology
    • 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M using NVIDIA Optimus technology
  • 14-inch WLED HD+ display (1600X900)
  • Up to 16GB of DDR3 Memory(6GB Standard); 2x 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM SDRAM Slots
  • Up to 1TB drive or up to 512GB Solid State Drive

The Alienware M17x is available in the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i7 Processor Options
    • Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz (3.3GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache) (Standard)
    • Intel Core i7-3720QM 2.6GHz (3.6GHz w/Turbo Boost, 6MB Cache)
    • Intel Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
  • NVIDIA Graphics Card Options
    • 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 660M(Standard)
    • 2GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT 675M
  • 17.3″ 120Hz Full HD (1920 x 1080) WLED LCD w/3D Bundle
  • Up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory(6GB 1600MHz Standard); 4x 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM SDRAM Slots
  • Up to 1TB or up to 512GB Solid State Drive