Microsoft Removes the ‘Notch’

Minecraft

Image Credit – CKAB

Are you a gaming freak right from your childhood? If yes, you would have indeed played Minecraft quite often. But, do you know who created this game? It was from Marcus Persson.

Minecraft’s Creation

Marcus Persson, also known as Notch, created the sandbox video game Minecraft ten years back. It was released in the year 2011, by Mojang.
Minecraft allows the player to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world.

Other activities in the game include exploration, resource collecting, crafting, and combat. In other words, this game allows its players to discover limitless ways of playing and creating things one can imagine. In this game, you also can build anything you think of, explore your unique world and interact with various other creatures.

took the world by storm with the help of its open-ended design. Since its release, it has attracted over 91 million active players of all age groups from almost every country in the world. After Tetris, this is reportedly the second best video game.

Acquisition of Minecraft

Microsoft is no guest to purchases. The company has acquired assets like LinkedIn and Skype. However, in its history of investments, the decision of obtaining Minecraft and its developer Mojang for $2.5 billion is the one that stands out.

While doing so in 2014, they only did see the vast potential. However, what it failed to see were the controversial tweets that were to come from ‘Notch’ and the founder of Minecraft developer Mojang.

The ‘Notch’ Controversy

While Notch left the company after the Minecraft deal, his tweets continued to upset and divide the fans of his popular game Minecraft. Persson, a polarizing figure on Twitter, is no stranger to controversy. He tweeted transphobic comments on some occasions like International Women’s Day.
Persson’s provoking tweets are not at all comfortable because Minecraft is a child-friendly game. The basic version of Minecraft carries an E10+ age rating in the USA whereas, it is considered suitable for children aged seven and upwards in Europe. It can be misleading for the Minecraft players who are too young to understand these.
Jokes have long been made about Notch. However, instead of being quiet and enjoying his billion dollar likes to put other people down and express his ideas of white male supremacy. He somehow manages to hold a vocal group of supporters who share his views, but many Minecraft fans out there wish he would go away.

Recent Update removes the ‘Notch.’

Given the controversy surrounding Persson, coupled with the fact that he presently has no real involvement in the latest developments to the title, it is easy to understand that Microsoft was looking to distance itself from Persson.

On opening Minecraft’s screen, a yellow text pops up. The text would display random messages, some of which read “Made by Notch” or “The Work Of Notch.”

The latest Minecraft APK update to hit the Java version of the game has removed the references of Notch from the yellow texts. This change was pointed out by a Twitter user last month. However, Persson is still referred to as the game’s creator in Minecraft’s credits. But as the game develops further, Microsoft will hopefully consider leaving the man behind as he has been involved in putting down people and holding the torch of white male supremacy.

The fans of Minecraft, who are not such great fans of Notch because of this racist, homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic comments on Twitter, expressed their happiness about this distancing of Minecraft from Notch.

Microsoft has turned Minecraft into more of a behemoth by entirely taking over the development and licensing of the game whereas notch has not had a hand in the game for years. Some of the Minecraft players who enjoy the game still regret playing a game made by someone like Notch, who has routinely espoused hate and intolerance online.

Oukitel U15 Pro to be worlds cheapest MT6753 phone?

OUKITEL recently announced that the U13 and K7000 will be in stock this October, with those two models now ready to go Oukitel have decided the time is right to announce another new model the Oukitel U15 PRO.

We can see from the renders provided that the Oukitel U15 PRO will come in at least three colours, silver, gold and rose gold.

The Oukitel U15 PRO has a 5.5″ HD display which has been sourced from Sharp and boats 3GB of RAM along with 32GB ROM which can be expanded with up to a 128GB SD card.

Power for the OukitelU15 PRO is provided by a Mediatek MT6753 Octa-core CPU, the phone will be running Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box and sport a fingerprint reader, 16MP rear camera, as well as a 3000mAh li-po battery which will be provided by Chinese battery company SCUD Battery Co. Ltd who are known for their batteries high safety levels.

Whilst these are not cutting edge specs, they should be easily enough for most users day to day needs.

Having spoken to some of the guys at Oukitel, an intriguing bit of information has been revealed… Oukitel are aiming to make the Oukitel U15 PRO the cheapest Mediatek MT6753 device in the world.

Whilst the final price has not yet been released, there is hope that we will have a truly affordable device ready to purchase in the coming months and to give as gifts this Christmas.

For more details of the Oukitel U15 PRO head over to Oukitel’s site here, or feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

Hopefully a review sample will be on its way to wirelesspixxa for a review in the not too distant future.

Regards wirelesspixxa.

ONEmicro speakers from ONEaudio Review

I have recently spent a lot of time reviewing bluetooth earphones, whilst many have been fairly good in terms of sound quality… non have delivered a true stereo soundscape nor have they managed to provide a full audio signal due to the limitations of the bluetooth protocols.

A similar problem is found when looking at Wi-fi speaker setups, latency becomes a factor and although minor the human ear can and often does pick up on the small delays it causes.

The effect of these delays and reduced frequencies is that the purity of the music and the depth that the original composition had can be left wanting.

When I heard about that ONEaudio had won both the CES Innovation Award

Unfortunately review funds do not quite stretch to the $4000 for their beautiful clear acrylic top of the line ONEclassic Audiophile series speakers, so I opted for the ONEmicro instead.

So what is it that differentiates the ONEaudio speakers from their Bluetooth and Wi-fi counterparts?

Back in the later part of the 1980’s the DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) standard was formed, finding its way in to many communications devices across 110  different countries.

The DECT standard proved to be very effective as the 1.9ghz frequency range it operates in, is not shared by other wireless devices, providing clear and error free transmission.

As mentioned above it is the correct reproduction of a stereo sound stage that ensures listening is a true pleasure, until this point Audiophiles have always scorned the idea of wireless sound as channel synchronisation, time jitter and phase error between both the tweeter and woofer and also between left and right channels have been a big problem with Wi-fi and Bluetooth solutions.

However by using DECT for their speakers ONEaudio have managed to get channel synchronisations to within 0.5 uS, which is around 50 times better than WiFi, time jitter is less than 0.1ppm, which is about 10 times better than Bluetooth, but more impressive still, ONEaudio can manage zero phase error between tweeter and woofer and between left speaker and right speakers.

So thats the technical stuff out of the way, lets take a look at the actual speakers.

The speakers themselves are cylindrical in shape with a diameter of  62mm and sit 52mm tall, they are fairly weighty given there diminutive size, weighing in at 300grams per speaker.

The main body is split with the base being a harder white plastic that features the ONEaudio logo, above this is a clear plastic ring that allows the blue leds inside to show through, above this is a creamy white top section with a white mesh speaker grill on the top and a white rubber surface on the bottom.

On the bottom of the speakers you will find two buttons, one is the power and volume up, whilst the other functions as both a mode select and volume down control these are both recessed in to the speakers base.

Also supplied in the box is an aluminium USB DECT dongle that features the ONEaudio logo and an opaque end cap, the dongle is very nicely made and also has a few tricks up its sleeve, being able to connect with both PCs Macs and Android.

In order to get the speakers to work with your computer (works with both macs and PCs), you simply insert the dongle in to a free USB port and select it from the sound outputs on your OS.

To make the speakers work with an Android phone you need to connect using a USB OTG cable, an orange light illuminates on the dongle to show  that it is working, if like me you have a phone that has a USB Type C connector, you will need to buy a dedicated USB Type C OTG cable as the provided lead does not work with a micro USB to Type C adapter.

Next you need to power on the ONEmicro speakers by holding in the power button on the base of each speaker, a really nice touch is that each speaker identifies itself with a spoken prompt “I am on the right” or I am on the left” allowing you to easily place the speakers in the correct position.

Once I had the ONEmicro speakers connected I tried a quick demo that was supplied by ONEaudio, the file contains a properly phased sound of a dog barking.

It was really nice to hear the sample in action as it perfectly placed the dogs bark in the centre of the sound stage, making it appear to be in the middle of the two speakers.

Having played the sample on another set of bluetooth speakers, it was very apparent just how much is lost in quality due to the bluetooth speakers lack of proper phasing.

Next up came some real world music tests, first up came some classic trance tunes, I was truly amazed at just how much sound was coming out of the speakers (given their size), but it was not just the volume that was impressive but also the quality of the reproduction and the overall levels.

My next musical test for the ONEmicro speakers was with some classical music, the speakers handled it with fine results, placing the individual instruments and creating an immersive sound stage.

Bass was surprisingly decent for such small speakers, but if you like really deep bass an optional sub is also available to complement the ONEmicro speakers.

The next test was with video audio, I paired the speakers up to my Doogee P1 projector and played back 10 minutes of Starwars the force awakens.

One of the limitations of the projector was always its low audio output levels, but once paired to the speakers the experience became a whole lot more immersive.

If you were to take this combination away with you whilst camping or on holiday, or even using them in the garden whilst sitting having a few drinks you would not fail to be impressed with the portable home theatre that you have created.

Overall the volume and quality of sound for speakers of this size is truly mind bowing, with the added bonus that DECT allows perfect audio phasing to create amazing soundscapes.

ONEaudio have other speakers in their range as well as the ONEbox that allow 5.1 output over DECT for use in wireless home cinema setups, the boxes have various inputs including WiFi (for DLNA and airplay), Dongle, USB ram and toslink.

*The image shown above, is of the prototype casing and may not be representative of the finished product.

The ONEmicro speakers are available to purchase directly from ONEaudio for just $199.99 if you are looking for something that will give you the best sound for size, I would highly recommend the ONEmicro speakers, as whilst they are not as cheap as some bluetooth and wifi speakers the sound just leaves them in the dust.

I hope to be given the opportunity to test some of ONEaudio’s ONEclassic speakers which are currently available as part of a fully funded Kickstarter Project, if you are quick you can still get your name down for a set for just $1899, if they are audibly as good as the ONEmicro speakers, I can see a lot of music lovers moving over to DECT based speakers in the near future.

Bitboy review

Bitboy

The summer of 1998 – Years before the revolution of front-facing cameras and the duck-face pout, the Game Boy Camera was released in PAL territories.
Take photos of yourself, your friends, your dog; then maybe give them alien antennae and a pig snout, before putting a frame around it and printing it off, This was cool!

Unfortunately, unless you printed these off on the clunky Game Boy Printer and kept them safe, chances are they were doomed to be lost.

Without going through an arduous process of buying old PC components and trying to get your old copy of Windows XP to run smoothly long enough for it to work, there was no way to share your old photos with friends and family on social media, or simply ensure that your memories were preserved.

Flash forward to 2015, and news emerged that Alexander Bahr via his website GameBoyPhoto.com were developing the BitBoy; a device that, once connected to your Game Boy, would provide a simple process of transferring photos from your Game Boy Camera straight to an SD card.

The process is achieved by essentially fooling the Game Boy into thinking that it is actually a Game Boy Printer that has been connected, and so the camera sends the file over to the BitBoy, which saves it as a .BMP file on the SD card.

Upon opening the package the BitBoy arrived in, it all seems very minimal – a jiffy bag, the BitBoy, a micro-USB cable, and a 4gb SDHC card. There’s not even a manual, but GameBoyPhoto.com have one available as a free PDF file.

It’s all pretty straight forward and easy, but that manual explains any queries a user may have.

At the time of ordering, GameBoyPhoto.com also gave the option to order a separate USB transfer cable with the BitBoy; in case yours was lost to the sands of time (or more likely stuffed down the back of a cupboard or trapped under your bed), saving the hours of searching that would ensue when it came time to rescue your old snaps.

This, along with the pre-packed micro USB charging/transfer cable means that you’re all set to rescue your pictures, even if you are without a card reader.

The whole process is incredibly simple; as it requires no more input than it would have done to print the images all those years ago – and in doing so, brings back a lot of fond memories of printing your photos off as stickers for yourself and your friends.

You insert the SD card into the slot on the side of the unit, connect your Game Boy using the USB Link Cable, make sure your Game Boy Camera is inserted, and power it up! At this point it’s almost like muscle memory navigating to “View”, selecting the image you want, and tapping Right on the D-Pad to select print (making sure you’ve added all the stamps and frames you want first!), and then admiring the little Teddy Bear running on the beach ball while the professor takes notes. Very Nintendo.

To import the photos onto your computer, remove the SD card from the BitBoy and insert it into an SD card slot on your machine – or if you don’t have that or a card reader, simply use the Micro USB cable provided with the BitBoy to turn it into one! The SD card will be automatically formatted into a file tree that is simply “Game Boy Camera”, “00000”, and then your images. From there, it’s a smooth process of drag & drop before you open them in your viewer or editor of choice.

As well as the photos taken from your Game Boy Camera, the BitBoy can also rescue your achievements from Super Mario Bros Deluxe, Pokemon Yellow, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening and several others, meaning all of your medals and Pokedex entries are ready to be shared with the world once again!

The images appear at a tiny 24kb in size, and 160x144px in resolution; and while this is incredibly small by modern standards of digital photography, it’s absolutely possible to work with these in any standard image manipulation program to simply increase their size, or to play around with them in any way you see fit.

bitboy friends

The images are produced in black & white using the 4-color palette of the Game Boy system and this all adds to the aesthetic of the images and the charm of the process itself.

I recently used one of my BitBoy photos as my Facebook profile picture, and received many admiring comments and curious questions from friends!

bitboy luke

Initially the BitBoy was only to be built and dispatched to a very limited number of pre-order customers (myself being one of them), however it now seems they’ve opened the gates to any and all comers.

With a current price tag of $100 + postage for the BitBoy itself, and a further $15 for the Link cable (currently out of stock at the time of writing), anyone can get their hands on the device and start to fall in love with the Game Boy Camera all over again.

The combination of simplicity, compact design (the unit itself measures in at a tiny 5cm x 4cm x 1.5cm!), and the metaphoric value the BitBoy provides in giving new life not only to the Game Boy Camera itself but also your long-lost photos, makes the device a brilliant little addition to the Game Boy’s arsenal – rejuvenating one of the long-forgotten peripherals of a revolutionary gaming device.

More information on the GameBoyPhoto is available via their
Facebook or Twitter at: @Gameboyphoto

Or you can head over to BigCartel to get your order in now.

Hope you enjoyed the review, it should be the first of many game related reviews coming soon (including the EverDrive for Nintendo 64, that I am currently reviewing). If you have any questions, please fire away in the comments!

Thanks,

Luke

ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system on Kickstarter

You may remember my previous review of the ONEmicro wireless portable DECT speakers, they use DECT technology to ensure perfect timing between left and right audio signals over a wireless transmission.

For lovers of surround sound and multiple speaker setups, a new ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system Kickstarter project has today been launched (10/01/2017).

By using their proprietary DECT based encoding and transmission systems ONEaudio are able to provide a truly wireless 5.1 speaker setup.

ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system hifi-audio

ONEaudio say that with the ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system they are able to fill a room up to 350sqft with dynamic 3d bass filled sound, this is thanks largely to the clear and correctly phased sound provided by the compact sized satellite speakers and the use of proprietary bass filling technique and their own twin driver 6″ ported subwoofer (also wireless).

ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system onebox-micro-music-server

The other part that makes up the ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system is a console box that acts as a sound server, using wifi for wireless CAS (computer as source) as well as connecting android and IOS devices wirelessly.

Using the consoles onboard storage capacity you should be able to store around 600 CD’s worth of music on the device as well as Hi-Res audio files to give an even better sound to your music.

If you require more storage for your music collection you can simply plug in a USB stick, adding a cheap additional source of storage.

The console also has standard NAS functions built in to the box, supporting local and network access.

Hopefully with the ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system, ONEaudio will be able to produce a setup that works as easily and as well as their previous speakers did, I loved the ease of connection as well as the speakers amazing phased sound output, not to mention the portability afforded to them by their great battery life.

The best part for me is that I will be able to use my existing ONEmicro speakers in the setup, which should hopefully allow me to save money on the full setup.

I look forward to getting a chance to sample them first hand in the not to distant future, for now you can read the press release below and check out the Kickstarter campaign.

ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system ces-innovation-award-and-dect-award-innovation

If the full ONEmicro wireless 5.1 surround system kit is as good as the speakers they will surely be on to another winner! and given the fact they have now won awards at CES and DECT for the technology my hopes are set very high.

You can read the full press release below and check out the Kickstarter campaign here

ONEaudio To Launch Kickstarter Campaign For The world’s only TRUE wireless surround No speaker cable, no power cord, ONEmicro surround turns your room into your personal theatre ONEaudio, developers of the new generation of wireless audio, recently announced that they are going to launch their Kickstarter campaign on 10th Jan 2017 of the world’s only TRUE wireless surround sound speaker with a small size yet big sound.

Currently, the so-called “5.1 wireless speakers” always need at least one wire to operate. True wireless theater speakers have always been a dream, until now. Using award winning DECT technology, ONEaudio has been able to remove all the cables in ONEmicro surround, for a full 3D surround sound with a simple setup.

The ONEaudio speakers have a small size but have the ability to deliver powerful sound. ONEmicro is wireless and compact size, perfect for any room of the house. Due to ONEaudio’s proprietary bass-filling technique and twin driver subwoofer, the satellite speaker ONEmicro can generate big 3D sound covering up to a 350 square feet living room.

ONEmicro is the smallest speaker in the ONEaudio series that has been widely reviewed and acknowledged for its full-bodied vocal, crystal clear sound, excellent sound imaging, and solid bass. The clear and accurately produced sound is similar to listening a live performance. Before the ONEaudio’s DECT technology, no available technology has been able to provide both ultra-low power consumption and synchronized multi-channel transmission from source to satellite speakers.

Only DECT can fulfill these two requirements. ONEsurround has got CES Innovation Award and DECT Award Innovation. The console box in surround system is also a music server, ONEaudio has adopted WiFi for wireless CAS (Computer As Source), connecting an iPhone or Android phone to the console box. Without messy cables, the speaker system can be simply set up and tidied up in a minute, due to the compact console box and wireless speakers combination.

Less time setting up, more time enjoying. The console also has 600 CDs storage and accepts Hi-Res audio files. It also supports both local and remote access, and standard NAS operation. The ONEaudio speakers can also be used outdoors because the speakers can be detached from the console box and the connection can be switched to the USB dongle making them perfect for a garden party, or when camping.