Microsoft buys up Minecraft

September 16th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

Microsoft have been shopping and have bought Mojang, who own Minecraft. The computery GIANT has shelled out $2.5 billion (£1.5 billion) for it too.

minecraft gratis 500x227 Microsoft buys up Minecraft

The Swedish-based company Mojang’s popular Minecraft has sold over 54 million copies, and lets players build structures in their own little world, but can connect up with other users and have battles and the like.

Mojang’s three founders will leave the company – possibly to build a house made out of gold – but have assured fans that “everything is going to be OK”.

It is hoped that now owning Minecraft will be enough to woo anyone who is on the fence about owning one of Microsoft’s Windows Phones, but the company have assured gamers that Minecraft will still be on all the other platforms.

Minecraft is one of the top-selling apps on both Apple’s iOS store and and Android’s Google Play, and has recently been released for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It was the third most popular console game last month, too, according to market research firm NPD Group.

Mojang, who’ve been knocking around since 2009, made over $100 million in profit in 2013, and has a staff of 40. Microsoft said the Mojang team would join its game studio, which is responsible for titles such as Halo, Forza and Fable.

Microsoft chief executive, Satya Nadella, said: “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

Deathwatch: Rileys

September 16th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

snooker Deathwatch: RileysRileys, the snooker hall chain, has been forced to shut a quarter of its sports bars.

The company called in the administrators, and restructuring has already shut 15 venues, as well as cutting several jobs at their head offices, giving 124 staff the heave-ho.

The fate of another 400 jobs is in the balance however, as the firm hope to continue as normal while the restructuring happens.

Rileys was founded in 1878, and made their name with pool and snooker joints, however now also offer darts and bingo as solutions to your leisure time too.

An administrator, who answers to the name of Rob Harding, said: “Following our appointment it has been necessary for us to implement certain cuts immediately. We are now working to stabilise the business whilst we consider our options for securing the best outcome for the company’s creditors.”

The remaining 44 branches will continue business as usual, although for how long, who knows.

Poor Rileys. Looks like they’ve got a tricky snooker to get out of for the second time in less than two years.

How to delete an unwanted U2 album

September 12th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

u2 300x300 How to delete an unwanted U2 albumSo you’re one of the billions of people who were “gifted” a copy of the new U2 album and you don’t want it stinking up your iTunes, yeah?

Well, help is at hand.

As not everyone is a massive fan, or even occasional fans, who might have liked a few numbers by the hitmakers once upon a time but that moment has been obliterated by Bono being Bono and his band’s increasingly desperate attempts to remain a colossal thing and all that avoiding tax lark, you might need help in deleting their new album.

If the panto phishing business seemed bad, to some, this felt like a home invasion. Well anyway. Calm down.

Go to your music, select albums, mainly ‘Songs of Innocence’, and then swipe each track to reveal the delete option.

To remove it from your iPhone or iPad, go to Music and switch off “Show all Music”. This way you won’t see any tracks that aren’t actually on your iOS device.

This is quite informative if you’ve ever drunkenly bought something several years ago like, for instance, Kate Nash’s ‘Foundations’, and you were horrified when the cloud shoved it onto your new laptop.

So there you have it. And well done to those of you who already knew how to delete the U2 album and crowed about how much you didn’t care about the whole stunt on Twitter to your 32 followers.

Ratings to be taken from your tablets

September 10th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bbc iplayer 300x205 Ratings to be taken from your tabletsRatings news now, of a sort, with the announcement that viewing figures for TV watched on tablets is being recorded for the first time.

The Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) has now mastered the technology to allow such a thing, and will be able to read from Android and iPads.

The traditional way of measure TV ratings, BARB uses a panel of 5,100 homes across the UK, giving it data on the viewing habits of around 11,500 people. Then this is all extrapolated to work out the viewing figures for the entire country.

“The ability to track how our panel members watch television on their tablets is a great step forward,” said Justin Sampson, chief executive of BARB.

Only half of the 5,100 homes has such devices, but the that would be representative as demand increases.

So basically, someone’s going to get a lot of reports on what internet traffic certain shows are getting. It really is mind boggling that they didn’t think of doing this ages ago.

Tesco not launching smartphone after all

September 9th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

hudl 300x199 Tesco not launching smartphone after allYou remember a few months ago when we excitedly told you of Tesco launching a Hudl smartphone?

Well, cancel that all-night vigil party because Tesco now can’t be arsed.

Instead, the company are pouring their efforts into making the Hudl 2 as amazing as possible.

According to Robin Terrell, the supermarket’s multichannel director: “The technology sector is fast changing and constantly evolving and since then, the mobile market has become even more competitive. So in early July, I took the decision that we would put the phone on hold and concentrate on the Hudl 2 tablet.”

“Mobile technology – phones and tablets – are transforming all consumer industries and particularly retail. Our future success relies on our anticipating and adapting those consumer trends so that we can continually improve the products and services we offer our customers.”

The Hudl 2 is promised in the next few weeks, which is conveniently handy for Christmas.

Google cough up refunds for in-app idiocy

September 5th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

google play logo1 300x190 Google cough up refunds for in app idiocyGoogle have promised to give kids their money back.

Why? They’re promising to return at least $19 million (£11.6 million) to parents whose kids had racked up in-app purchases.

The kids were able to spree because of the parent’s credit card via Android Play store.

But now, as a result, a minimum $19m will be repaid to those who didn’t actually authorise the payments.

However the FTC found that when Google started its in-app purchasing in 2011, there wasn’t a proper security safeguard to stop them from making immense purchases.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says: “As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”

This follows Apple doing a similar pay-out of $32.5m for the same sort of app sprees.

Once the parents get their refund, they should get it in a bag of coins and whack their children over the head with it, then themselves, to teach everyone a lesson.

Peter goes to Iceland

September 5th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Orange one-time hitmaker Peter Andre is the new face of Iceland.

In a new advert for the frozen treat-based chain, he wanders around a branch picking out bargains and losing his shit to 89p pizzas, slightly oblivious to his clearly giddy fans who come up to him.

It’s the ITV2 constant’s first advert for the chain, following in the footsteps of Stacey Solomon and Kerry Katona. Oddly, for Andre, he doesn’t start blubbing like a big baby at any point.

Incredible times.

Amazon Fire due end of October

September 4th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

amazon fire Amazon Fire due end of OctoberAmazon’s streaming box, Fire TV, will launch in the UK in October.

The entertainment box will allow users access to on-demand TV, apps and smartphone content as well as games.

There’s also a voice search function where you can say things at it, and it will scroll through and find it, like we’ve seen with the Xbox One.

The Fire TV box will be shipped to Europe on October 23rd. It can be pre-ordered for £79 and Amazon Prime members can pre-order it for £49 for five days. The device will also be available at Argos, Dixons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The box will come automatically pre-registered so there’s no set-up. Previously purchased films and TV shows from Amazon will automatically be placed in a Watchlist, which is convenient (provided you’ve shopped with Amazon before, of course).

And as well as Netflix and Prime Instant Video, owners of the new box will be able to access Sky News, YouTube plus Amazon Music, Spotify and TuneIn.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO stuck his oar in and said: “Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price- customers love Fire TV and we’re thrilled to introduce it in the UK.”

“Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you’ll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Sky News, YouTube, Spotify, and more.”

Tiny box. Huge specs. Eh ladies?

YouTube: More than a billion viewers a month

September 2nd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

youtube 300x300 YouTube: More than a billion viewers a monthYouTube is now attracting more than 1 BILLION viewers a month.

This billion-odd are watch 6 billion hours of video, and 40% of them are watching it on mobile devices [as an aside, anyone who makes their videos unavailable on mobile devices should be beaten with a rubber hose and left unconscious in the street as an example to anyone else thinking of doing it - Ed].

YouTube channels have grown by 80.5% in the last year, according to new data published by online video industry site Tubefilter and analytics firm OpenSlate.

Tubefilter’s Top 100 rundown of the most viewed channels saw that they collectively raked up 9.46 billion views in July 2014, up from 5.24 billion the year before.

No.1 is some herbert named PewDiePie, whose monthly views have gone from 221.6 million to 438.9 million.

Let’s see what all the fuss is about, eh?

DisneyCollector, are at No.2, racking up 268 million views in the month, edging it past Shakira’s frankly pathetic 226.6 million views. Seems some people think her hips do lie.

In fourth place there’s gaming effort Stampy (199.6m views) and The Diamond Minecart (186.1m views) gets fifth. Gaming is still quite the thing though, with content generating 4.34 billion viewings in July.

VidZone comes to Samsung

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

vidzone 300x150 VidZone comes to SamsungVidZone has launched on Samsung mobiles, tablets and Smart TVs.

The music video service is now across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain.

Currently available via the Samsung Apps and Google Play Store, the ad-funded service is free to Samsung users, with no in-app purchases.

Users with a 2014 Samsung Smart TV can wirelessly transfer content from the VidZone mobile or tablet app onto the big screen, streaming it in order of the play queue they have set up.

VidZone had only been on PlayStation until now, with more than 11 million people downloading it since 2009.

There’s over 65,000 music videos from across the board of labels, as well as HD versions from the flashier stars with things like budgets, such as novelty dipshit, Pitbull.

There’s also exclusive content such as video premieres, live and backstage nonsense.

Lee Epting, vice president of Samsung Electronics Media Solution Centre Europe, reckons: “The use of online video music streaming services is booming. VidZone is leading the charge with a service that delivers one of the richest and most extensive music video catalogues – available instantly at the touch of a button. We are delighted that the service has been designed and optimised specifically for Samsung devices, marking the first time that VidZone’s service will be available on smartphones, tablets and Smart TVs.”

Adrian Workman, CEO of VidZone kept it briefer when he added: “We’re delighted to be launching VidZone via the connected Samsung platform and excited that new VidZone, users can now enjoy our music video application via market leading Samsung mobiles, tablets and smart TVs.”

So there you go. A service that you can probably have for free, across all platforms, elsewhere.

Vodafone 4G comes to PAYG

September 1st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

vodafone 300x216 Vodafone 4G comes to PAYGVodafone have extended their 4G network to Pay As You Go patrons!

This comes 12 months after Vodafone first offered the service.

They have been satisfied enough by the uptake in 4G, as it showed that the pay monthly customers were using three times more data than the past-it 3G customers.

The company have also had a shift around of its PAYG tariffs, bundling them with Sky Sports Mobile TV and Spotify, although Netflix is still only for the pay-monthly set.

It’s also raised data allowances across its Freedom Freebees, with the cheapest now at £20 and including 2GB of data, 500 UK minutes and unlimited UK texts, which must be used within 30 days of purchase.

And the first time a customer buys a 4G Freedom Freebee, they’ll get unlimited data for the first 30 days.

Fancy that!

Amazon goes shopping

August 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitch 300x300 Amazon goes shoppingAmazon.com have bought live-streaming gaming network Twitch and they’ve paid $970 million for it too.

In cash.

They’d been in a bidding war with Google for Twitch, which allows gamers to broadcast live streams from PCs, XBox and PS4 consoles of themselves playing video games.

Twitch, who we banged on about here, also run gaming events and redistributes content from Joystiq, Gamespot, and Destructoid, Manvsgame and more.

Twitch also has 55 million visitors, which might have something to do with the keen interest from both companies.

This is seen as another step in Amazon’s strategy to big up their entertainment services, and video games are a big old market where cash literally grows on trees (especially in the online game ‘Cash Trees’ where you play a tax-dodging entity having to hoover up as much cash off trees or something).

But what has Jeff Bezos to say, hmmm?

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

Tens of millions. Bet his pants tightened at that.

Government now poking nose into barbecues

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bbq 300x168 Government now poking nose into barbecuesPlanning a last barbecue of the Summer this weekend?

Well, you’ve probably been doing it all wrong according to a slightly belated new thing by the government.

The Food Standards Agency have produced a few videos and handy hints on how to keep yourself away from any food-based illnesses and mishaps.

On the FSA website, there’s some reasonably obvious advice, as it bugles:

“If you’re aiming to round off a sensational summer with a barbecue in the garden or park, we’ve served up some advice to help make it a sizzling and safe success. It’s the little things that you do that will help keep your loved ones and friends safe”.

LET’S HAVE A LOOK AT A FILM.

Some of it’s a bit sucking eggs, and we can’t help but think that now the nights are drawing in a bit, and it’s all gone a bit ‘keep a jumper handy’ weather-wise, that this is a little bit, well, late?

Well done everyone. Or more medium rare.

Playstation ruining gamers bank holiday

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

playstation network 300x216 Playstation ruining gamers bank holidayPlaystation is having a scheduled maintenance. On Bank Holiday Monday.

“THE BASTARDS!”, some of you cry.

The Playstation Network will be off at 5.40pm and won’t be back until 0.50am Tuesday.

PlayStation users will be unable to access the PlayStation Store, PSN account management and Network account registration.

Entertainment services and online gameplay will also be unavailable, and you won’t be able to sign into PSN via the PlayStation website.

So, you know. Go outside. Visit friends.

Finally put those shelves up.

youtube 300x300 Googles musical YouTube service! Its here!Google’s long rumoured music service is upon us!

YouTube Music Key will feature over 20 million tunes and videos curated especially for the service.

It will offer a 30-day trial for free, and then a monthly subscription giving access to what they’re bugling as “high-quality tracks – complete albums, organised into artist discographies”, specifically for YouTube with both video and audio-only streaming and offline listening.

It’s likely that the service will link in with Google’s current Play Music All Access thing, which also costs £9.99 a month.

According to reports, the YouTube service will offer concert footage, covers and remixes in addition to the official discographies of artists.

Google will offer an enhanced version of YouTube’s existing recommendation engine based on user choice, making suggestions of what to listen to as users watch videos on YouTube.

The service is expected to be offered once they’ve cleared up all the business of licensing and rowing with smaller labels.

That will no doubt be exciting… but won’t stop people enjoying the fruits of the torrent tree.