Angry Birds Goes Intergalactic
Since its introduction two years ago the smartphone game app Angry Birds has become one of the hottest games on the market. Developed by Finnish company Rovio, the Angry Birds series has been downloaded more than 700 million times and last year it was the most popular paid-for app on Apple’s App Store.
The latest instalment in the series sees Angry Birds go intergalactic in Angry Birds Space and follows on from movie themed Angry Birds Rio and holiday themed Angry Birds Seasons. The game involves cartoon birds catapulting themselves into structures to defeat an army of evil pigs. In space gamers can throw the birds in zero gravity and use gravitational pull of nearby planets to set up trick shots, and with 60 in-game levels to complete it will keep you busy for some time.
Following the success of the Smartphone game developers Rovio are looking to expand their brand. A range of merchandise including books, toys and clothes is now available to buy, while a short film was recently shown on Nickelodeon that revealed six new characters and may well lead to a TV series or even a movie version of the game. Rovio are also looking to branch into the world of theme parks by opening Angry Birds areas that will contain rides and other activities.
One Man Town For Sale
A town verified as the smallest town in America has just been put up for Auction by its owner and fetched $900,000. Buford in Wyoming was bought in 1990 by Don Sammonds who lived there with his wife and son. Following the death of his wife and his son moving away Mr Sammonds became Buford’s only resident.
Buford is the second oldest town in Wyoming and is a remote area on Interstate 80, the main road between New York and San Francisco. It dates back to the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the 1860s. In those days Buford had a population of around 2000 but when the railroad was rerouted occupants gradually left until few remained. So what exactly does $900,000 get you in Buford?
For $900,000 the successful Vietnamese bidders will own a schoolhouse, a cabin, a garage, a convenience store, a gas station and a 3 bed house with fantastic views of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It also contains a mobile phone tower and 10 acres of land according to auctioneer’s reports. The auction attracted interest from 84 countries worldwide and had a starting price of $100,000.
It is still unclear what the two unidentified Vietnamese bidders intend doing with the town now that they own it and only flew in to bid for the town after they heard about the auction online. The town’s former owner Mr Sammonds intends to write a book about his experiences in the town and will announce his retirement as Mayor of Buford.
Nokia Lumia 900 - A Review
The latest attempt by Nokia to gain a foothold in the Smartphone market has arrived in the form of the Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone. In the light of Blackberry owners Research in Motion’s announcement that they will be concentrating on its business customer base there is an opening in the consumer Smartphone area which Nokia are looking to exploit.
The Nokia Lumia 900 follows on from the Nokia Lumia 800 and has many of its features and characteristics. This includes a 1.4GHz CPU, 16GB of storage and 8 megapixel camera that can take photos while the phone is locked. The Smartphone will run on Windows Phone 7.5 Operating System which is a refreshing alternative to iOS and Android, and if it runs anything like the Lumia 800 version then users are in for a treat.
The Lumia 900 has a bigger and brighter 4.3 inch AMOLED display compared to the Lumia 800 with a front facing camera that can record up to 720p HD video. Lumia 900 operates off HSPA+ which is believed to be around four times faster than 3G connection. Although 4G often drains your battery the Lumia 900 holds up well compared to iPhone and Android devices.
The new Nokia Lumia 900 is now available through AT&T and other providers now and retails at around $99 on a two year contract and is available in either black or blue, with a white version available in around two weeks. Although Nokia faces an uphill struggle to compete with the iPhone and Android the Lumia 900 is a step in the right direction.
Tiger is Ready to Roar at Augusta
It’s the beginning of April which means only one thing for Golf fans: Augusta and The Masters. On arguably the most picturesque course in world Golf the top players in the world will be battling it out for the famous Green Jacket. There is one man in particular who will be out to recapture past glories at the Augusta National and pick up his fifth Green Jacket in the process.
Tiger Woods is, in most people’s eyes, the greatest golfer the word has ever seen with 14 majors to is name. Only 3 years ago it looked as though it would only be a matter of time before he broke Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors, that was until well documented personal problems led to a lengthy absence from the sport. On his return to Golf he has struggled to recapture the form that saw him win a high percentage of tournaments he entered.
However, there is hope for Tiger fans following his first win since September 2009 in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Although the world’s top 5 were not present there were encouraging signs that Wood’s game and confidence was back to somewhere near its best with his impeccable ball striking and typically aggressive putting.
Tiger Woods will certainly have some serious competition in his quest for a 15th major. US open champion and world number 2, Rory McIlroy, will be looking to add to his first major title won at Congressional while world number 1 Luke Donald will be aiming to win his maiden major title after coming close on many occasions. Most spectators eyes on Sunday though will be on the man wearing red, hoping that he will be in contention at the top of that famous leaderboard.
April Fools Day Pranks
On April 1st millions of people will once again be attempting to play pranks on unsuspecting victims or make up random, often believable stories. To celebrate this fantastic day of fun and mischief I have put together a few of the funniest stories I have found from April Fools Days of the past.
In 1999 the Singapore Straits Times reported that a 17-year-old high school student had created a small computer program that would easily solve the famous Millenium bug. The student had supposedly devised the program in twenty-nine minutes while solving an algebra problem for his homework. His family and a technology consulting group were reportedly forming a joint venture called ‘Polo Flair’ to make money from the discovery. Numerous journalists and computer specialists contacted the Newspaper requesting more information about the program. Unfortunately neither the boy nor his ingenious program existed. It turned out that ‘Polo Flair’ was an anagram of ‘April Fool.’
In 1993 a DJ at KGB-FM in San Diego, announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base to Montgomery Field, a small airport just outside San Diego. Thousands of people immediately headed towards the landing site, causing enormous traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour. Police eventually had to be called in to clear the traffic. There was no such shuttle in space at that time and Montgomery Field was far too small to accommodate a shuttle anyway. The police were certainly not impressed. They decided to send a bill to the radio station to cover the cost of the prank.
Hunger Games Breaks US Records
Action movie The Hunger Games has become the biggest grossing film that is not a sequel in the opening weekend in the US. Incredibly it has become the third most successful opening ever in cinema history after Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and The Dark Knight, raking in over $155 million last weekend. So what is it about The Hunger Games that leaves Cinemagoers hungry for more?
The Hunger Games is based on a novel by Suzanne Collins and is the first of a trilogy of books aimed at older children and young adults. The story is effectively one of modern day Gladiator where a boy and a girl are sent from 12 districts of fictional country Panem to compete at the Hunger Games. The games are a televised event in which the chosen few fight to the death until one person remains. The story is told through 16 year old Katniss Everdeen (played in the film by oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence), a skilled huntress from the 12th district.
Many similarities have been forged between The Hunger Games and Twilight as they are both successful movies adapted from extremely popular books aimed at teenagers. However, the makers of Hunger Games are keen to distance themselves from this comparison citing the fact that Hunger Games appeals to both sexes due to its content where Twilight mainly appeals to teenage girls. There is no doubt that if the sequels to Hunger Games replicate the commercial success of the Twilight trilogy then we could be looking at another movie phenomenon.
Mega Millions Jackpot Up for Grabs
Mega Millions fever has gripped the US as millions of $1 lottery tickets are being snapped up in advance of today’s super draw which has a world record jackpot of $640 million. The size of this jackpot has been growing since January and has been unclaimed 18 times up until now. The unprecedented demand for tickets this week has meant the jackpot has grown by over $150 million dollars in the last 3 days alone.
A total of 42 US states sell lottery tickets for the draw and should you be lucky enough to win you have the option of accepting a lump sum of around $400 million dollars or receiving the full $640 million jackpot in 26 annual payments. However, the odds on actually winning the lottery are a mere 176 million to 1.
The odds have not dampened peoples enthusiasm with Americans queuing round the block and buying $50 worth of tickets instead of the usual $2 or $3. Many people who have never played before are buying a ticket in the faint hope of scooping the big prize, using either a random selection of numbers or a mix of birthdays. Convenience stores are also benefiting from the booming sales as not only do they receive a percentage of each ticket sold customers are also buying other products while collecting their ticket. If you have your lucky ticket in hand then good luck to you all.
One Direction Storm the US Music Charts
British boyband One Direction have topped the US Album Chart last week becoming the first British band to top the charts with their debut album. The five piece were put together by music mogul Simon Cowell during the boot camp stage of hit TV show X factor and went on to finish third. Cowell has helped mastermind their early rise to the top with a number one single and album in the UK and the early signs of world domination are there for One Direction.
The success rate of British bands in the US over the years has been pretty low making this achievement even greater. Only Coldplay in recent years have managed a similar level of success. There is no doubt that the success of One Direction has been helped by the lack of a big name US boyband at the moment. Since the days of The Backstreet Boys and NSync there hasn’t been a global US boyband which opens the door for boybands from other countries to win the affections of teen US girls. Fellow British boyband The Wanted are hot on the heels of One Direction with their debut single entering the US charts at number 5.
One of the main reasons for their almost immediate success is the influence of Social Media. Many Americans had already heard their music through YouTube and Twitter before they arrived in the states allowing them to acquire a ready made fan base to build on. With rumours of a TV deal with Disney added to the mix there only seems one direction for these boys and that is up.
Airlines To Introduce Wi-Fi Connection
Top US airlines are investigating the most cost effective ways of providing internet connection on both domestic and international flights. The most common option they have found that will provide wi-fi connection both on land and over water is via satellite services.
Many US airlines do currently provide internet connection on flights via internet service provider Gogo using air to ground technology. However, due to the way this data is transmitted it limits the service to land flights within the US only. The real money is to be made on international flights which is why the main US airlines have looked at satellite systems as a way of expanding their services.
Leading US airline Southwest has become the first airline to introduce internet connection via satellite into their planes. At a cost of $5 per flight, inflight broadband is now available on 180 planes with Southwest converting around 12 planes per month to satellite services. Southwest’s rivals United Continental have selected Panasonic Avionics to provide broadband connection its 300 fleet of aircraft starting this year and running through to 2015. Fellow airline JetBlue are introducing broadband services later in 2012 via LiveTV unit.
21 Jump St tops US Box Office
A big screen version of the popular 1980’s American TV show 21 Jump St has jumped to the top of the North American Box Office charts after its first weekend of release grossing around $35 million. It knocked 3D animation The Lorax into 2nd place after 2 weeks in the top spot. The original TV version helped launch the career of Johnny Depp, who has gone on to star in a number of blockbuster films including Pirates of the Caribbean and Edward Scissorhands.
The TV series ran for 5 seasons between 1987 and 1991 and the plot centred round young police officers who went undercover in schools and colleges investigating the typical issues of the time including drug trafficking, hate crimes, alcoholism, AIDS and Homophobia. Each show always resulted in moral message being delivered to viewers about the impact of a particular issue.
The movie version of 2012, featuring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, differs slightly from the original to move with the times and appeal to a young audience. Described as an action comedy, it follows the story of bumbling police officers sent back to school to try and infiltrate a drugs gang while struggling to maintain their cover. Johnny Depp returns to make a brief cameo as his original character alongside former stars Holly Robinson and Peter DeLuise.