Weekend tech reading: Valve working on a "Steam Box" console?

By on March 4, 2012, 2:58 PM

Exclusive: Valve said to be working on 'Steam Box' gaming console with partners, could announce at GDC Recently there's been chatter that Valve -- the company behind the massively popular gaming service Steam -- has been considering getting into the hardware business. Specifically, there have been rumors that the company has been toying with the idea of creating a proper set-top console which could potentially pose a threat to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell even recently told Penny Arcade: "Well, if we have to sell hardware we will." The Verge

Time Machine: Why didn't Internet on TV take off in 1983? The AT&T Tech Channel has another set of golden videos from the '80s - this time, they're highlighting the Viewtron system which let people access information, news, play games and conduct online banking through a remote-controlled (infra-red) keyboard and connected via telephone modem to a TV set. One of the big hopes for the system was online shopping, but as this AT&T post notes, "one of the online shopping sites had only logged a paltry 11 direct orders." ITworld

Anonymous, decentralized and uncensored file-sharing is booming The file-sharing landscape is slowly adjusting in response to the continued push for more anti-piracy tools, the final Pirate Bay verdict, and the raids and arrests in the Megaupload case. Faced with uncertainty and drastic changes at file-sharing sites, many users are searching for secure, private and uncensored file-sharing clients. Despite the image its name suggests, RetroShare is one such future-proof client. TorrentFreak

Lawsuit against US Copyright Group for fraud & extortion moves forward US Copyright Group was the first of the US-based copyright trolls, suing thousands of individuals in a single lawsuit, trying to get them to pay up (rather than going through an actual trial). US Copyright Group is really a front for a DC law firm, Dunlapp, Grubb & Weaver. One of its very first "big" lawsuits was against about 5,000 people for supposedly partaking in the sharing of Uwe Boll's Far Cry. TechDirt

The future of CPU scaling: Exploring options on the cutting edge In our first article, we discussed the problems facing CPU scaling and how neither multi-core or heterogeneous many-core designs are a long-term solution. This follow-up addresses what the semiconductor industry is doing about it. It’s a question best answered in two parts: Near-term innovations (think 3-5 years out) and longer-term research initiatives. ExtremeTech

For impatient Web users, an eye blink is just too long to wait Wait a second. No, that's too long. Remember when you were willing to wait a few seconds for a computer to respond to a click on a Web site or a tap on a keyboard? These days, even 400 milliseconds -- literally the blink of an eye -- is too long, as Google engineers have discovered. That barely perceptible delay causes people to search less. The NY Times

Innovation or hype? Ars examines Nokia's 41 megapixel smartphone camera Nokia ignited a bit of a controversy on Monday when it unveiled a smartphone with a 41 megapixel camera sensor dubbed the 808 PureView. Yes, you read that right—41 megapixels, not 14, or 4.1. It will soon be possible to buy a smartphone with as many megapixels as some low-end, medium-format digital SLRs. Ars Technica

Ralph McQuarrie, visual designer of 'Star Wars,' passes away at 82 Ralph McQuarrie is probably more directly responsible for the texture of my dream life between the ages of 7 and 13 than any other visual artist.  Simply put, the choices he made regarding the design of the world of "Star Wars" were one of the main reasons that film resonated not just with me, but with generations of viewers now. HitFix

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