Microsoft Gives Games the Boot

The battle wages against Xbox pirates.

1 min read

Infoweek reports that one million (!) gamers have been kicked off of Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming service, after being suspected of playing illegally downloaded games.\

Hackers are using mod chips to outwit the Digital Rights Management protection system on the console.  This isn't new. Check out a book called "Hacking the Xbox," which detailed how to pull off the trick. 

Thing is, people aren't just modding their consoles to play bootleg games.  They're also putting on their own operating systems, among other things.  Of course Microsoft needs to fight against piracy, but the company should consider how the mod communiy has benefited some of the biggest game companies around.  id Software, Valve, and Epic are among those who have embraced the modders, even opening up software to allow for greater personalization.  People - including some of those inside id Software, for example - thought this was a crazy idea at the time.  But the more ideological coders won out, and were proven right.  By allowing fans to tinker with wares, they vested an audience and increased the shelf life of products.  Is there a way to battle piracy while protecting this hobby?



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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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