pirate partySupport for the Swedish Pirate Party really began to surge with the introduction of the IPRED anti-piracy legislation. Its membership already surpassed that of the Green Party, with more than half of men under 30 reportedly considering voting for them in the 2009 European Parliament elections.

Then a guilty verdict was handed down in the Pirate Bay trial – an absolute gift for the Pirate Party, whose ranks swelled at an unprecedented rate. It now sits at just over 41,750 members (latest stats here) and at the current growth rate the party will be Sweden’s third largest in membership before the weekend.

Now a new poll conducted by Swedish newspaper DN.se predicts that the Pirate Party will get 5.1% of all votes in the upcoming EU elections this June – enough to guarantee a seat in the European Parliament. The poll further shows that the party is the second largest party among younger voters in the age group 18-30.

This poll confirms our recent phenomenal growth in support, and says there will be pirates in Brussels after this election,” Pirate Party Leader Rick Falkvinge told TorrentFreak. “Scoring like this in a poll will further enhance support for the party. While there’s still much work to be done, we’re on the home stretch and have the goal in plain sight. June 7 is election day. On the morning of June 8, we’ll know.”

“In January of 2006, we set sail for new civil liberties land by bypassing today’s politicians and talking directly to voting citizens — that is, with the goal of kicking some of today’s politicians out of office. It appears we’ve just heard the first LAND AHOY! from the watch,” Falkvinge added.

When the Swedish Pirate Party was founded three years ago, the majority of the mainstream press viewed them with skepticism, with some simply laughing them away. Times have changed though. The Pirate Party is now a serious competitor in for the established parties in Sweden, and on its way to conquer Europe.

This post has been written by enigmax on April 30, 2009 couresy of torrentfreak.com.

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This is the last day of our Spring-cleaning sale in the Maker Shed. We still have a lot of fantastic deals, but hurry it’s over tonight at midnight. That’s midnight Pacific Time, so all you East-Coasters get a little ‘extra‘ time to scoop up some great deals!

We are rolling back the prices on over a hundred of our existing products. Most around 50% off, but some of them discounted as much as 75% off! Once they’re gone they’re gone. This is a limited time spring-cleaning that ends at midnight (midnight on our San Francisco clocks).

Use code BLOWOUT at checkout for the FREE shipping on orders over $100. (Contiguous US)

Check out all the products that are on sale now!

This post has been written by Marc de Vinck on Apr 30, 2009 01:00 AM couresy of makezine.com.

Of all the games on display at Namco Bandai’s summer media event, none seemed to want more love than Active Life Extreme Challenge. After all, if you’d just watched the above trailer, would you truly be psyched to play it? Well, we’ve never been the type to pass on a game just because of a silly premise — if that were the case, we’d never have known the love of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand — so we gave it a shot. Turns out it’s not half bad.

Sure, you might might be able to play skateboarding, BMX and other extreme sports with a controller, but then you wouldn’t look totally goofy — like we did! Trust us, you’ve never known humility until you’ve gotten down on your hands and kneed in front of hundred of other journalists to "rock climb" on a plastic mat.

That’s exactly what we did, though, and it wasn’t easy. Granted, we tried it on hard mode, but pressing and holding the icons on each handhold without slowing down to peek at the mat is tough. Fortunately the three other minigames (out of a total of 15) we tried were a bit more forgiving.

The skateboard half-pipe was decent fun. There was no worrying about, well, anything you’d be concerned in a full genre title — just jumping before the red line and tapping the various directional arrows with your feet to perform flips and other tricks. Next up was base jumping, something we never really expected to do in a casual title. This one was all about timing steps on the correct arrows before losing control in free-fall. We were told that more difficult settings require the player to "stomp" away at virtual walls on the way down.

The final mode we tried was wakeboarding. For this, we actually held the Wiimote sideways like a waterskiing tow rope’s grip. We tilted it left and right in the wake in order to pass through colored gates which were sometimes — but not always, it was tricky — followed by jumps. The better-timed our jumps off the mat, the fancier the tricks we’d perform.

In the end, our minds remained totally un-blown. But we must to admit to having some fun, although we’d never play this game in front of strangers. Wait a second …

This post has been written by Randy Nelson on Apr 30th 2009 at 5:30AM couresy of joystiq.com.



We’ve been seeing a number of new options in online gaming, some clearly definable as being ‘massively multiplayer’, others less so. One of those game categories that blurs the line a bit is the MMORTS (massively multiplayer online real-time strategy) game… we’ll probably just stick with the acronym from now on. But we’ve wondered, what exactly can we expect from RTS titles as they adopt more features traditionally associated with MMOs?

Steven Crews from The MMO Gamer spoke with Petroglyph Games general manager and executive producer Chuck Kroegel about their upcoming title Mytheon. The game is a free-to-play, downloadable title that will be supported by microtransactions and focuses on the myths, heroes, and monsters of the world’s ancient cultures. Crews asks the questions we think are on a lot of people’s minds when they hear "MMORTS" — "Why bring strategy games into the MMO space? What do you get from a persistent universe that you couldn’t get out of something like Battle.net?"

This post has been written by James Egan on Apr 29th 2009 at 8:00PM couresy of massively.com.

Apple is sitting on a hugely lucrative business that is tied to its iPhone and iPod touch — the App Store. Apple has had massive success with the App Store from the start as users and developers flocked to the online marketplace. In only a year, Apple’s App Store has already generated a billion downloads and millions in revenue for the company.

With the success of the App Store, other mobile providers are thinking that the time is right for them to jump into the market and Nokia plans to do so with a leaner push into third-party applications. Reuters reports that Nokia is building new businesses for mobile internet services like games and maps, but it is scaling back separate investments in the face of sagging demand for its products.

Nokia’s Tero Ojanpera told Reuters, "We are moving into Ovi, into a platform strategy." The Ovi store is set to launch in May and will be available to a significantly larger audience at launch than the App Store is currently. An estimated 50 million Nokia users will have access to the Ovi store when it launches and so far, Apple has sold only 20 million iPhones.

Nokia was forced to take the first quarterly pre-tax loss the firm has ever recorded in January-March and to keep that from happening again it is cutting jobs and slashing costs. Nokia will cut costs in its handset unit by $911 million alone and will cut 360 jobs at its Internet services unit and 90 additional jobs in other parts of the company.

Analyst Bengt Nordstrom from Northstream told Reuters, "As much as iPhone and App Store is a success for Apple, it’s a humiliating defeat for the rest of the mobile industry." He continued saying, "Twenty years of efforts from operators and vendors to create mobile applications that customers like is overtaken in a heartbeat by someone that has never done it before."

Some analysts believe that the time is right for Nokia. Patrick Bossert from Convergys said, "Nokia’s timing is absolutely right."

This post has been written by Shane McGlaun on April 30, 2009 12:10 AM couresy of dailytech.com.

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Not content at owning 100% of the world’s brand awareness, Apple is looking into building its own chipset and has even hired a team to work on “multifunction” mobile chips.

In the cellphone world, a chip is a chip. Most of them are ARM-based but there are a few outliers. Most importantly, however, each has a similar power profile. Therefore, by controlling the entire chip themselves, Apple can handle its own graphics, video, and audio output as well optimize for power control – a huge concern with devices like the iPhone.

Quoth the WSJ:

In one sign of the new focus, Apple recently hired Raja Koduri, who was formerly the chief technology officer of the graphics products group at chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Mr. Koduri started at Apple this week, following in the footsteps of Bob Drebin, who had held the same title at AMD and is also now working for Apple. Online job postings from Apple describe dozens of chip-related positions it is trying to fill, some with partial descriptions like “testing the functional correctness of Apple developed silicon.”

This is Apple’s MO: build an all-star team in stealth mode and launch their internal product to much rejoicing. As expected, Apple declined to comment.

This post has been written by John Biggs on April 30, 2009 couresy of techcrunch.com.

A new report from Nielsen Online suggests that Twitter hasn’t yet reached a level of growth that can sustain the service, according to the research firm’s mathematical model. Despite the explosive popularity of the messaging service, Nielsen data indicates more than 60 percent of Twitter users that visit the site in a given month do not return the following month.

"Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent," writes David Martin, vice president of Primary Research for Nielsen Online, in a company blog entry. "For most of the past 12 months, pre-Oprah, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention."

To put that in perspective, when social networks MySpace and Facebook had the same amount of "Internet reach," as Nielsen calls it, both sites had a retention rate of about 60 percent. Nielsen measures both sites as having a retention rate of about 70 percent today.

Nielsen: Social Media Audience Retention
Nielsen’s model that compares "audience retention rates" with "Internet reach."

Further, Nielsen’s model that maps audience retention rate to Internet reach suggests that sites with a 40 percent rate should experience a growth limit of about 10 percent Internet reach. "To be clear, a high retention rate doesn’t guarantee a massive audience, but it is a prerequisite," writes Martin. "There simply aren’t enough new users to make up for defecting ones after a certain point."

However, the nature of Twitter is a lot different than MySpace and Facebook, which both require users to visit the site to interact with it. Users can access Twitter via SMS or third-party clients on both the desktop and mobile smartphone platforms in addition to its website. In fact, we’d argue that the majority of traffic comes via these other methods and not via its site. Also, some of the users who don’t return could be spam accounts that Twitter has gotten more aggressive about shutting down. So Twitter may in fact have user loyalty that Nielsen’s methods don’t take into account.

Martin is skeptical that Twitter can sustain its recent uptick in growth without more user loyalty. "Frankly, if Oprah can’t accomplish that, I’m not sure who can," he wrote. But as anyone whose book has landed on Oprah’s Book club reading list or whose product has appeared on Oprah’s Favorite Things can attest, Oprah’s recent foray into using Twitter is likely the thing to kick the service into mass adoption territory.

This post has been written by Chris Foresman on April 29, 2009 9:03 PM couresy of arstechnica.com.