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Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.2 Released This Morning Including Full Patch Notes

Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.2 was officially released this morning unleashing the latest changes to this blockbuster PC game. Blizzard also released the full patch notes for Patch 1.0.2. You can find a summary of the notes below as well as visiting the entire patch 1.0.2 notes by clicking here.  Patch 1.0.3 will be the first “game balancer” patch released and that should be coming soon.

Only one class change was made in this patch and that was only for the Monk class.  This change is related to the Tranquility rune in the Serenity skill.  They have changed the time of the duration of immunity granted to nearby allies reduced from 2 seconds to just 1 second.

Other fixes mainly include several general bug fixes.  Many players were receiving an Error 14009 when logging in and now players should no longer receive that error.  Under the “select a hero” menu, it will now display the difficulty level for each of the characters.  Speed enhancements have been made to the streaming downloader.  All of the players in a party receive “Till Death Do Us Part” achievement even if they don’t have Haedrig Eamon as their active follower.

A change to Act IV for Witch Doctors was made.  Players will no longer receive an error if they kill a Shadow Clone with a DOT skill after it’s launched a firebomb before it reaches it’s target.

Several changes for the Diablo 3 Auction House were made in Patch 1.0.2.  Players will now receive an error if they try to purchase an item after the 50 item limit has been reached in the Completed tab.  The “Physical Damage” preferred stats option for rings was renamed to “Bonus Minimum Physical Damage”.  Players will now receive a warning if they try to place a new bid over a previous bid on the same auction.  You can now also sell items that you have purchased from vendors and equipped in-game within the Auction House.  Issues that were occurring when listing items on the Auction House from a different character than the one currently selected has been fixed.

A random fix for Battle.net includes the public chat list is sorted alphabetically.

One skill change was made for the Witch Doctor character.  Spirit Vessel (passive) can no longer clear debuffs when using waypoints or chaging equipment.

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Diablo 3 Game Design Update and Patch 1.03 Notes Released by Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)

Diablo 3, released almost 2 weeks ago by Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) has already set new records for PC game sales being dubbed as the fastest game seller ever.  Interesting enough, Blizzard Entertainment released some very interesting in-game stats on a Battle.net post yesterday as well game design updates.  If you have never played Diablo 3 or any of it’s predecessors, these may not make a lot of sense to you.

According to Blizzard:

  • Since Diablo 3′s release the average player has created 3 players each.
  • 80% of the characters are now between levels 1 and 30
  • 1.9% of the characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
  • 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
  • Majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act 1 Normal
  • The Most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class
  • The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian:  Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter:  Lingering Fog, Wizard:  Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor:  Numbing Dart

Blizzard also commented on game design updates such as hotfixes and patches, especially patch 1.03.  Blizzard noted that hotfixes will only be used for critical design issues while client patches will be used for non-critical issues.   The basic summary is patch version 1.02, which should be coming out next week sometime, has been in development since the game’s launch.  The main focus of patch 1.02 is to address service issues.  Patch 1.03 will be the first patch to address game balance issues.  As game issues arise that immediately need to get fixed a hotfix will be issued.  Most issues however will be handled through the client patches.

Patch 1.03 will also address the issues that are arising in Inferno.  Inferno is the highest difficulty rating in the game and some classes are having an easier time than others.  That will be addressed to ensure all classes are viable in Inferno.

Other areas that will be included in the 1.03 patch are the Blacksmith leveling and crafting costs.  Adjustments to the Blacksmith costs for training (gold and pages) and crafting from levels 1-59, and reduce the cost of combining gems.  The big kicker here is it will now only require 2 gems instead of 3 (at least until Flawless Square).

You can view the entire Battle.net post here.

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Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) Being Squeezed Out of Smartphone Market By Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has seen it’s share of the smartphone market sliding south the past few years but has recently been pushed to single digit market shares.  According to a research firm IDC, Research In Motion had a small 9.7 million Blackberry phones shipped out in the first quarter of 2012.  That may sound like a lot of phones but it’s actually good for only 6.4% of the smartphone market share.  Compare that to the first quarter of 2011 which showed that 13.8 million Blackberry phones shipped out for 13.6% market share and you can see a huge slide.

The Canadian smartphone manufacturer main 2 competitors are Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:APPL).  Both of those companies combined for over 80% of the smartphone market share in the 1st quarter of 2012.  Google owns the Android operating system and Apple of course owns the iOS operating system on their iPhones.  Android phones captured 59% of the smartphone market share and Apple grabbed 23%.

Research In Motion is getting ready to launch it’s latest version of Blackberry phones with their newest operating system version 10.  It’s a completely new OS that RIMM hopes to use to climb back into the smartphone market.  You can checkout a preview video here.  It’s features include flowing from task to task easier without having to open and close apps, keyboard that will predict your next word to improve writing speed, and all new gesture controls.  As you can tell from the video the new OS 10 makes it look much less like previous Blackberry phones.

The new Blackberry phones are expected to be released later this year.  Unfortunately for RIMM, Apple is also expected to release their highly rumored iPhone 5 (also known as iPhone 4G).  Latest rumors point to Apple increasing the size of the iPhone screen for the first time along with finally adding 4G capabilities.  Also, Research in Motion won’t find it any easier going next year when Facebook is rumored to be coming out with their own smartphone or smartphone software.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)  recently went public with it’s stock and is seeking new markets to grow their balance sheets.

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Viper Networks (PINK:VPER) Acquires 30% of Aequitas Energy

Viper Networks (PINK:VPER) today announced they have agreed to a 30% stake in Aequitas Energy. This comes after this past weekend’s announcement that both Viper Networks and Aequitas Energy were working out the final agreement.  Terms of the deal include a $1 million investment into Aequitas Energy this year.  A $500,000 payment is expected within the next 20 days while the other $500,000 payment is expected no later than October 31st, 2012.

VPER’s investment assures a 30% stake in the energy reseller company Aequitas Energy.  It also aligns them for an even larger investment opportunity and ownership share in 2013 if Viper Networks goes that route.  Also, Viper Networks receives one seat at the board of directors of Aequitas Energy along with rights for even additional seats based on ownership percentages of other owner representation.  One additional aspect of the deal allows the President of Viper Networks to work closely with Aequitas Energy’s management with focus on their IT department.

Viper Networks is a provider of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication products and services.  The company offers an array of services and products for residential and small business uses.  They are located in Troy, Michigan and trade on the Pinksheets under the symbol VPER. The company competes with Vocaltec (NASDAQ:CALL), Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), Net2Phone, AT&T (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S), MCI WorldCom (NYSE:MCI) and Qwest Communications International (NYSE:CTQ)

Aequitas Energy is a growing energy reseller in the Connecticut and Massachusetts areas.  They have well-established ties to the industrial sector and commercial businesses throughout the northeast.  Aequitas Energy provides customers sources of energy at a lower rate than their current utility by seeking out other suppliers.

 

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Cloud Computing Company Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) Ranks Great Place To Work

Cloud Computing company Rackspace has made the UK’s Great Place to work list ranking in at 12 on the “Large Company” list.  It marks as the eight appearance on the award list.

The Great Place to Work list is run by the Great Place To Work Institute.  The Institute helps identify organizations that promote great work places through the development of high-trust workplace cultures.  The Great Place To Work list this year includes 75 different organizations categorized by small medium and large businesses.

Rackspace Hosting has been a leader in cloud computing for several years now.  Cloud computing hosting can help reduce server load, increase website speed, and help consumers who want to have a huge infrastructure at their fingertips without having to invest large amounts of money.

The company boasts that they promote a fun workplace environment while keeping their employees excited about their jobs.  Rackspace was created back in 1998 by Richard Yoo in San Antonio, Texas.  It has offices in both UK and Australia along with the headquarters being in the USA.  In 2011 the company reported over $1 billion in revenue.  Rackspace serves cloud hosting for large companies such as Domnio’s, Vodafone, Sage, and many more. Rackspace has over 110,00 cloud customers to date and that number seems to be growing fast.

Rackspace Hosting services include Cloud Hosting, Managed Hosting, and Hybrid Hosting.  Their Cloud Hosting service has been very popular as it’s pay-as-you-go pricing.  They offer Cloud Servers which are dynamic server hosting utilizing Linux or Windows.  Cloud File hosting offers on-demand cloud storage and content delivery network.  They also offer Cloud sites which is a managed platform offered as a service.

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Hunger Games Finnick Role Rumor Causes Curiosity From Actor

Hunger Games is an extremely popular young adult novel written by novelist Suzanne Collins.  With this popularity of course comes a mass flow of rumors but normally these types of rumors don’t make actors call their agents and ask if it’s true or not.  That is exactly what happened recently with upcoming 26 year old actor Robert Pattinson.

Robert was at the Cannes Film Festival this past weekend with the premier of his latest movie Cosmopolis.  A stream of internet reports hit the airs stating that Robert Pattinson would be filling the role of Finnick in the next Hunger Games movie.  Pattinson was curious, so he called his agent which basically stated it’s just a rumor and not going to happen.

The Hunger Games was first published on September 14, 2008.  It’s a story of a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where once the countries of North America once existed.  The Hunger Games is an annual event held in Panem where by lottery selection one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the capital of Panem compete in a televised battle until one person is left.

The book really took off and an film version was soon created with it’s first installment in March 2012 with a budget of $78 million.  To this date the first film has generated over $395 million in revenue.  A sequel is planned for release in November next year.

The role of Finnick in the Hunger Games is very coveted.  Finnick will play a major character in the last 2 installments of the trilogy and with the first films huge success, competition for that role is sure to be fierce.

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Android Tablets Enhanced with Pre-Loaded Games Coming to GameStop (NYSE: GME)

Android tablets selling in Gamestop stores isn’t recent news.  However, last Friday the company released a PR stating they will soon be rolling out a new plan to increase Android powered tablet sales.  These tablets purchased only at Gamestop will be coming pre-loaded with hand picked free games.  This comes after the company has tried a trial release of this promotion in about 200 stores in November 2011.  Evidently, the results were good enough to move forward.

Android tablet models such as the Acer Iconia Tab A200 ($299), Asus TF300T ($399), and Toshiba Excite ($449) are among the products mentioned in the press release to be included in the offer.  The free games that will be coming pre-loaded on the tablets include Sonic CD, Riptide, Congregate Arcade gaming app.  Also, the company stated they would include a free issue of the Game Informer Digital.  Game Informer is the leading video game magazine which will come in a digital format on the tablet.

Android powered tablets are trying to grasp a larger share of the tablet market which has recently been dominated by Apple’s iPad.  Gamestop notes that these tablets can all be purchased with trade-ins of games, consoles and other tablets including iPhones and iPads.  They are also offering free shipping with this promotion.

Gamestop CEO stated on November 17th, 2011 on an earnings call that the company has been very pleased with tablet sales.  Gamestop believes they can push Android tablets to gamers and with these extra promotions.  On Monday, Gamestop stock is trading up almost 2% in wake of the news.  Gamestop trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GME currently trading for around $19-20 per share.  The announcement of the new in-sore promo comes after stock market analyst Jim Cramer rated the stock as a sell last Thursday.

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Google Glasses Prototype Video and Photos Officially Released

Last week Google officially released a short video of what their prototype model of their new product Google Glasses can do.  Along with the video, they also  released pictures taken with the new Google Glass product, otherwise known as Project Glass.  The video and pictures can be seen here.

If you haven’t heard of the latest Google invention, it’s basically a set of glasses that can take photos, video, and also connect to the web.  It’s the newest product to Google’s growing list and a could actually reinvent sunglasses in a way we have never seen it taken before.  Imagine being able to take photos, video, and even connect to the web while jogging, throwing a football in the backyard, or even taking a stroll around the city.

Project Glass tech lead Max Braun recently added in a blog post on Google +:

When our team started using Project Glass test devices at home, we saw a different kind of family photo. These are the precious moments you want to savor and capture at the same time.

The 15 second video boasts 720p resolution and shows basically what a person would see while doing back flips on a trampoline.  In addition to the video people can browse numerous photos taken by the beta testing team at Google.  Last month, a 2.5 minute promo video was released on YouTube by the Project Glass team taking viewers on a potential user’s daily routine including:  making breakfast, video chatting with girlfriend, and traveling around New York. The opportunities for Google Glasses are very intriguing and we await more videos and photos to see what else the product’s capabilities can produce.

 

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Android and iPhone Possibly Getting New Smartphone Competition

When it comes to the smartphone arena you think of Android, iPhone, or Blackberry.  However, social network giant Facebook, which recently has just come off a mixed result IPO, may actually be jumping into the smartphone arena soon.  According to a recent report in the New York Times, unnamed sources and even potential Facebook recruits were told that the company will soon be coming out with their own smartphone.

Facebook, which was a privately held company for many years recently opened up it’s stock to the public launching a huge IPO on May 18th 2012.  It had a bag of mixed results, with most analysts calling the stock underachieved.  Most analysts will agree that Facebook should have launched an IPO much sooner, bringing it’s social network popularity with them to the table.  That brings us back to new growth arenas for Facebook which might be under more stress now then ever before to jump into new sectors to continue building the company.

Android like the Apple iPhone, have been flourishing in the smartphone business raking in customers and profits.  Samsung, one of the leaders in Android powered smartphones, recently released news of their latest phone with a larger screen.  Apple has been rumored recently to be working with Asian manufacturers to design a 4 inch screen for their soon to be released  iPhone 5.   Speaking of Apple, according to the New York Times, Facebook has been hiring or at least tried to hire experts who had worked on the iPhone previously.

Rumors that Facebook has been working on a smartphone have been circulating since 2010 when Techcrunch reported they were privately planning and designing a smartphone in the future.  Facebook, when asked about these rumors, responded with

Our mobile strategy is simple:  we think every mobile device is better if it is deeply social.

So with the debut of the latest iPhone rumored to be occurring later this year, and with Samsung and HTC releasing powerful Android powered smartphones, is there room for yet another smartphone?  Considering smartphones are a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, there is plenty of room for more iPhone and Android competition.

 

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Diablo 3 Patch Coming This Week Says Blizzard

If you an avid gamer you have probably heard of the game Diablo 3 (or otherwise known as Diablo III).  Just released a few weeks ago, some are already calling it the best selling game ever.  However, with such popularity also comes lots of issues.  Upon release, some users had issues logging into Battle.net to play Diablo 3.  Battle.net is the game server environment created by Blizzard to run their popular games such as Warcraft, Starcraft, and now Diablo 3.  According to Blizzard themselves, a patch will be released this week that should address issues such as latency on the client end and also other bug fixes within the game.

Since the game’s launch, Blizzard has already applied a number of hotfixes that address gameplay issues as well as making tweaks to improve service stability.  Service stability was the biggest concern.  On launch day, users noted many issues with servers going down randomly.  Some users never seemed to have any issues with it but obviously a large portion of Blizzard’s customers did.  If you browse through the support forum on Blizzard’s Battle.net website you’ll see many threads expressing concern over not being able to log in and play the game.

On May 15th, Diablo 3 was launched setting a new record for PC games sold within 24 hours with over 3.5 million copies.  Within a week the total had grown to over 6.3 million copies.  Diablo III is the third installment to their very popular Diablo franchise.  It’s a dark fantasy/horror themes RPG (role playing game).  It just like World of Warcraft and Starcraft games released by Blizzard has become extremely popular due to it’s multi-player option that allows people from all over the world to play together.  Battle.net is Blizzard’s online network community they provide to allow players to play their games such as Diablo 3 online.

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