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YouTube Gaming Aims Sights At Twitch

Last year Amazon raised more than a few eyebrows in beating Google to purchase Twitch for a cool $1 billion. As the gaming community continues its phenomenal growth, we shouldn’t be too surprised at the recent announcement of the unimaginatively titled ‘YouTube Gaming.’

A post on YouTube’s blog yesterday revealed that YouTube Gaming is built to be all about your favorite games and gamers, with more videos than anywhere else. From “Asteroids” to “Zelda,” more than 25,000 games will each have their page, a single place for all the best videos and live streams about that title. You’ll also find channels from a wide array of game publishers and YouTube creators.

And when you want something specific, you can search with confidence, knowing that typing “call” will show you “Call of Duty” and not “Call Me Maybe.”

More details will be revealed at E3 next week in Los Angeles where the world’s press will be soaking up a plethora of announcements. We can be sure that there will be a wealth of information that will dominate our newsfeeds along with tales of million dollar game releases and virtual reality with Oculus Rift.   (more…)

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Tony Benn – Last of the Good Guys

It has often been said that we simply don’t have politicians like Tony Benn around now, but in a world dominated by spin and hidden agendas, I don’t think we have many people like him in the whole world anymore. How many people do you know that are  inspiring, principled, eccentric, rebellious without any hidden agenda or ambition?

These days it often feels like governments will bend over backwards to show you how cool they are and down with this kids by telling you their favourite bands or even invite the Blur and Oasis around for tea at Downing Street but all this is nothing but a transparent show to convince the voters how great it is to be part of ‘Cool Britannia’.

Tony Benn was one of those characters, that even if you completely disagreed with his opinions, you could respect him, because he always stuck to his core principles. Honesty and integrity were always paramount, which is an alien concept when thinking of politicians today.

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He also turned up at the Leftfield tent at Glastonbury every year and captivated crowds of all ages, even when in his 80’s he turned up to recharge his mojo, which is something many MP’s could learn from now. There was never an agenda, other than getting people to understand that ultimately we are all the same and we can build a better world together.

Glastonbury Festival’s Michael Eavis said “Tony Benn achieved legendary status in his own lifetime as he fought to improve the lot of the working class people of this country,” said Eavis via Glastonbury’s official Facebook page. “As a politician he presented his arguments in such a way that even his opponents couldn’t resist his charm. We were very privileged to have him starring at the Left Field political forum on so many occasions. His absence this year will be really sad.

Here is a perfect example of Tony Benn in 2008 at Glastonbury, a man in his 80’s but still wanting to make a difference and give the younger members of the audience a quick lesson on the dark side of the media.  “Remember that a frightened, demoralised populace is easier to control”

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Movie Trailer Voice Legend Hal Douglas Dies at 89

Growing up it felt like every movie I ever wanted to see had a trailer voiced by the same gravely voiced guy and just like one of those trailers “In a world with no internet…one man began a search that would last a lifetime” Tragically, I only found out the answer to this question after I learned that the voice of thousands of movie trailers Hal Douglas has passed away aged 89.

It seemed that every film in the 80’s and 90’s had that familiar voice on the trailers and it always puzzled  me that despite having  the most recognisable voice in Hollywood, he was equally almost completely anonymous at the same time.

Who could forget the Warner Brothers trailer for Letha Weapon in 1987 as Hal began “He was ready to retire…now he’s gonna wish he had

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUorM4nTX7k (more…)

Best Photographer On Instagram Makes $15,000 In 24 Hours

Last Thursday a Photographer called Daniel Arnold had only $90.03 in his bank account, nothing unusual there and something most of us can relate to, but in a moment of genius or desperation (you decide), he had a simple thought, “why not sell some photos on Instagram?”

He then posted the following on his Instagram Account “Hello, I just turned 34 this second. For one day only I am selling 4×6 prints of whatever you want from my Instagram archive for $150 each. I swear I will never sell anything this cheap again. If you’re interested, send a screenshot of the photo(s) of your choice to arnoldaniel@gmail.com (one d) and I will send a PayPal invoice, followed by a signed print. Easy peasy. Happy my birthday. I love you truly.”

Forbes reported that the response overwhelmed him. Orders poured in. A day later, he’d received nearly $15,000 worth of requests, and collected some $5,000. One buyer offered him $1,000 up front for prints of any photo that had received more than 1,000 likes; Arnold still hasn’t tallied how many that is.

Daniel has made quite a name for himself by wandering the streets of New York armed with an iPhone and a 35mm camera he effortlessly captures candid shots of street life in the big apple.

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With over 30,000 followers, the man that Gawker described as “The Best Photographer on Instagram” has stumbled on how to monetise Instagram by accident, which should make for an interesting future for the photo sharing site.

I am a massive fan of both Street Photography and Daniel’s work and for me it is the most purest and beautiful aspect of photography, but anyone following the Google+ saga will know that street photography frequently gets a bad rap from the press, the public and sometimes even other photographers claiming it’s wrong to photograph strangers without permission.

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In these 24 hour news channel times, paranoia about privacy and terrorism, have conspired to make the art of street photography a somewhat difficult hobby, which is ironic considering how we are all filmed by the ever present eye in the sky everywhere we go.

For me personally street photography is about capturing that special moment that nobody else can see and being able to show in some small way the world through your eyes.  Little moments, like when the person opposite receives a text message on their phone and find themselves smiling uncontrollably. To be able to capture genuine emotion in its raw form is something quite beautiful.

Hopefully the publicity gained by Daniel Arnold on Instagram will help a few more people appreciate the art of street photography.

The Unfortunate Parallels of Oceanic 815 and MH370

Way back on September 22nd 2004 a Boeing 777 Oceanic Flight 815 carrying 324 passengers, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. Of course this didn’t really happen at all, as this was the basic premise of the hit TV Show Lost.

We quickly learned that as a result of Desmond Hume (you alright, brother) failed to enter a code into the Swan station computer, which went on to cause a large burst of electromagnetic energy.

It wasn’t until after two months after the planes disappearance, that a wreckage was found in the Sunda Trench in the Indian Ocean near Bali. However the discovered wreckage was staged by Charles Widmore or Jim Robinson from neighbours to most UK and Australian viewers.

Over on the LOST island, more than 69 passengers and 2 crew members survived the crash and most TV fans will remember that six of these survivors made it off the Island and became known as the Oceanic Six.

  • Jack Shephard
  • Kate Austen
  • Hugo “Hurley” Reyes
  • Sayid Jarrah
  • Sun-Hwa Kwon
  • Aaron Littleton

How could we forget the character Eko, who was investigating the miracle of Charlotte Malkin as a fake priest and after finishing the investigation, he was returning with fake passport.

Whatever your opinion of the science fiction/supernatural TV Show, this LOST fan who has even been known to use the lottery numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 that Hurley won $114 million dollars with on the “Mega Lotto Jackpot, cannot help but see that parallels when I tuned into the news this morning and was advised that one of the safest aeroplanes in the world, the Boeing 777 had disappeared off the radar.

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Reuters reported

“There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. There were no signs of sabotage nor claims of a terrorist attack.

However, in Europe, news reports and officials said at least two people on board may have been carrying stolen passports”

Over 60 hours have passed and in these technology obsessed times, where we have an answer for anything that pops into our heads within a few seconds, it is incredibly hard to comprehend how an aeroplane can simply vanish from a radar screen and leave no trace.

The manner in which this has been reported has also raised suspicions, I cannot recall a time where a flight organization advise that they say they cannot find an aircraft.  Typically you have an announcement that the plane has gone down.  In this case, they chose to list it as lost contact and missing.  This terminology has raised some eyebrows and sent conspiracy theories into overdrive and with explanations that range from terrorism, accident and even supernatural.

There are also reports that a Chinese family successfully rang the mobile phone of a passenger on board Malaysia Airlines plane MH370. A video clip of a man dialling the number of his elder brother was shown on Beijing Television’s news bulletin. The call got connected, but no one picked up. The man, who did not give his name, spoke to reporters at a Malaysia Airlines briefing in Beijing. He claimed that he made a total of three calls, but no one answered. Desperate family members have asked Malaysia Airlines to use satellite technology to pick up the mobile phone signals of passengers before their phones run out of batteries.

With no distress call, no crash location, no debris and no explanation as to what happened to the 5 people that decided not to board the plane, there are a growing number of simple questions that remain unanswered.

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The suggestion that the two passengers on false passport resembled the footballer Mario Balotelli was greeted by laughter at the press conference and will no doubt start to trend for all the wrong reasons on Twitter. There are currently 239 people missing and the tone of the investigation is somewhat concerning.

*Update* Despite the civil aviation chief suggesting yesterday that one of the men looked like the black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli, they announced the following day to the press that it was actually 2 Iranian dudes, so with observations like this, it’s no wonder they are struggling to find a plane.

As for the other burning question of “What about people who checked in but did not board the flight?”  This has also changed now to the inspector general of police saying that everyone who was booked on to the flight had boarded – though he then contradicted himself by saying one person had missed the flight because they got the wrong day. Malaysia Airlines says that four people were booked but never checked in according to the Guardian.

However the truth is nobody knows anything at all and everything we read are just theories, opinions or are intent on spoon feeding the masses with a narative. So with all the talk of terrorism and foul play, I prefer to think back to the 1989 sci-fi movie Millennium starring Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd and hope that everyone involved are actually safe.

I honestly hope that this is indeed just one big DHARMA Initiative conspiracy and that these passengers are actually safe from harm on the LOST Island, or more importantly returned safely to their families. A mystery like this is much easier to comprehend by comparing to some old TV show or movie but on this occasion I fear the actual truth could be much more complex and baffling, not to mention heart breaking for families who may never know exactly what happened on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

With this in mind, it is important not to forget the potential loss of life and the tragic experience this has been for the families of these 239 people.

Travel Expert Simon Calder

Travel Chaos is something that the media love to exaggerate in this age of 24 hour news channels that have too much time on their hands so spend most of the time looping the same footage for hours at a time. However what has amused me over the last few years is that when a travel crisis hits anywhere in the world, there is only one man that will know the answers and that mans name is Simon Calder.

The name on its own probably means little too most of you but I can guarantee that you will know his face. It would appear if you a run a newspaper or TV Station, the name that must be in your phone is Simon’s number filed under “Travel Expert” and he will be in the studio before you can say “Volcanic Ash”.

It has been a source of amusement to me for sometime how he seems to be the only “Travel Expert” that we have so thought it was about time I delved into this man’s past to see exactly who he is and how is able to get the entire British Media eating out of his hand. (more…)

Kinect is for Christmas, not for life…

Gamers, as a rule, have a reputation of not being the most active of people but make no mistake Kinect is not aimed at your hardcore gamers, but at the all important family market over the Christmas period.

Whilst the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales hover around the 45 million mark, The Nintendo Wii has so far sold a whopping 75 million units because they managed to tap into the “Christmas Family Market”. Of course there are now many Nintendo Wii’s that are left unloved and untouched and sales are dropping like a stone because the fickle occasional gamers  are looking for something more sophisticated to impress at their Christmas Party.

In my head there will be many snob like scenarios, where people find themselves gathered in a living room of people whom they see once a year and when the Wii is turned on, someone will say “Darling, the Wii is so last year haven’t you seen Microsoft Kinect? We have it and it’s so much better”. At this point the hostess runs upstairs in tears saying “Why do they always have to be better than us and ruin our Christmas”. Christmas ruined! For me, this is the market Microsoft is aiming for.

As news breaks that worldwide sales of Microsoft Kinect smashes the one million mark in ten days, I thought it was about time I should test the latest must have from Microsoft in a home environment. The biggest drawback seems to be that you need to be at least six feet away from your TV with no obstructions in the way. This may be fine for your typical American living room, but I think it’s fair to say that the average UK living room is a little more intimate, or should I say cosy.

Is your living room this big? (more…)