Archive for February, 2010

Nintendo DSi XL coming soon….

Since the release of the first DS back in 2005, Nintendo have sold more than 100 million handheld games consoles worldwide.  And now they’re back with a bigger and better version, the Nintendo DSi XL.

With a choice of three colours, Dark Brown, Wine Red and Natural White, the XL will still incorporate all the features of the DSi, including dual screens, however the screens will be 93% larger than that of the current DS, at 4.2 inches across.  The XL will also feature a wider viewing angle (which Nintendo say will create better social gaming), built-in games and a pen stylus which is easier to hold than previous models.

The battery life is expected to last slightly longer than the DSi, at around 16 hours and, it’s also slightly heavier, weighing in at 314g.

Release dates for the XL are still a little vague, but they’re expected to hit the shelves in the U.K. around March 5th, with the U.S. following suit a few days after.  The cost for an XL will be slightly more than a DSi, at around £150 ($230) but sites such as Amazon are offering a pre-order service allowing you to get your hands on one as soon as they’re released, plus they’re offering a discount if you order now.

The days before social networks…..

It’s 1991.  My dad has just brought my new PC home.  It’s a Packard Bell Multi-Media PC.  A 486 DX2 running at 50Mhz with 4MB of RAM and a 8x CD drive!  It’s huge and the 15″ monitor has speakers attached to it!  Wow!  Compared to the stuff we use school (Acorn BBC!), this is one seriously fast machine!  Windows 3.11 is on it, but not to worry, a friend has given me Windows 95 saved onto 42 floppy disks… I’ll install that, then we’ll get the 9600kpbs modem hooked up and we’ll surf the information superhighway!  Not that I knew what I was looking for you understand……

Lets move forward a few years…. it’s now 2010 and we’re living in a world crammed with so much technology, it’s unreal!   Super fast computers, slim laptops, touch screen smart phones, internet cafes, Wi-Fi connections to our devices whilst we eat….  no matter what we use, we all have the ability to communicate with one another with tremendous ease.

Does anybody actually write a letter anymore?  I can’t even remember the last time I put pen to paper!   These days I use e-mail for nearly all of my commnication.  Even if I can save speaking to someone on the telephone, I’ll prefer to write an e-mail! 

If I can use other means, then I will.  And by other means, I’m talking about sites such as  Twitter, Facebook and the other social networking sites that have literally changed how we communicate on a daily basis. 

Before the days of broadband, we had dial-up.  If you had a modem that could connect to the ‘Information Superhighway’ at 14.4k you were up there with the best!  Bulletin boards were all over the place, with people adding new posts daily for people to read.  AOL operated chat rooms where people could use microphones to talk to one another…  seriously, that was awesome stuff!   The social network trend had begun!

In the late 90’s, as broadband started to become more mainstream, people were signing up to companies who could offer the fastest connection, amazed that they could download a game in just a few minutes compared with having to let it run overnight!

Blogging sites popped up overnight, Vlogging added itself to the trend and sites such as YouTube, EBay and Google began to take over with millions of hits to each site every day.  People could communicate with the world and share their stories whilst having a coffee in the kitchen!

Now, it’s sites such as Google, Twitter and Facebook that dominate the world wide web.  With Facebook now with a reported 450 million users worldwide, Tweeters sending 50 million tweets per day and Google offering up-to-date live search, social networking has seriously evolved.  

There’s so much choice now…  which social network site is the best?  Do you have a favourite?

And, the big question is…. can you remember what you used to do before you created your Twitter/Facebook accounts??  How often do you logon to check people’s statuses and the trending topics?

We could all say that it’s taken over our lives just a little bit…  but maybe that’s how things are meant to be from now on. 

I wonder what’s over the horizon.  Maybe everyone will stop using Twitter and Facebook and just meet for a coffee, instead of using their keyboards! 

Who knows!

@jaybranch

Totally Disgusted!!

I turned 31 recently….  (19th of Feb to be exact) and the wife bought me some lovely presents, one of which was a 60Gb hard drive for the Xbox360.  I’d been after one for a while, to save games on as the memory card ran out of space.  I asked her to get me one, but not to bother with a new one, as they are quite expensive.  So she got a ‘pre-owned’ one.  Nothing wrong there, as most of my games are pre-owned anyway, to keep the cost down!

So, last night I decided to get the Xbox setup and I put the hard disk in…  switched it on and was disgusted by what I saw!  There were 11 profiles saved on the disk, all of which contained utter filthy words… you know, words beginning with F, B and C!!  What made it even worse is that my 7 year old is sitting there with me and read some of the words on the screen!!!!  

Let me know if I’m wrong here, but aren’t the shops that sell these ‘pre-owned’ disks supposed to wipe them beforehand??  

I’ll be making a visit to the shop concerned on Monday to see what they have to say! 

I’ll keep you informed! 

Jay

Great North Run 2010

Well, I’ve decided that yet again I’ll participate in this years Great North Run.  I’ve done it twice now and to be honest, I wouldn’t feel quite complete if I didn’t do it.  Ok ok, so I’m not an elite athlete in the least, but I do enjoy running and I do my best every year.  My first attempt I managed 2 hours 20 minutes and last year was 2 hours 12 minutes (Would’ve been less but I stopped to help a girl who decided it was a good idea to faint right in front of me!)

In case you don’t know what the Great North Run actually is, it’s possibly the biggest running event, globally, in the running calendar.  It’s a half mararthon (13.1 miles) that starts in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne and ends near the coast at South Shields.  Luckily, I live right between Newcastle and South Shields, so I can practice the route beforehand.  It’s quite ‘up and down’ compared to some running courses I’ve been on, but it’s a great route….  very scenic! 

This year the run celebrates it’s 30th anniversary, so there’s been literally tens of thousands of people wanting a place.  Hence, the general ballot for places filled up very quickly!  An approximate figure of ‘100,000’ entrants was recorded this year, each wanting one of the 54,000 places available, however there were many disappointed faces as some people didn’t get a place to run.  I was one of the many unlucky runners who didn’t get their own place, however not to fear!

I contacted Tony Horne at Metro Radio who hosts a morning radio show in my area and he told me to get in contact with the station, as they still have places for their nominated charity called ‘Cash for Kids’.  Basically, they help disadvantaged children in the North East who have suffered from abuse and neglect, who are disabled and have special needs, or just simply need some extra care and guidance.  They gave me a place straight away, so long as I can raise at least £300 for Cash for Kids, which i think should be quite easy! 

So, I’ve started running again after a few months off (I actually suffered from an injury last year, so haven’t ran properly since October 2009!!) and I’m looking for some very generous people who can help me raise the £300 (and more!) for Cash for Kids.

You can visit my JustGiving page which is HERE  and you can donate using your credit/debit card. 

Anyway, thanks for reading today and I’ll have a few updates soon! 

Thanks

Jay

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