Nothing but sports. It’s that simple
- HBO GO crashes during Game of Thrones
The HBO Go crash during the Game of Thrones’ season premiere was unthinkable. Its like having the lights go out during a Super Bowl. Wait, that did happen. The service crashed because the demand was too much. Millions of viewers were unable to watch the show via the service. The crashed affected HBO Go on all platforms. Xbox 360 to iPads, everything was down. The service returned later last night but by then viewers might have moved on to other means of getting the show.
“HBO GO did experience issues due to overwhelming demand around the premiere of Game of Thrones. The service has returned to several platforms and we are working hard towards full recovery, which we expect soon.” ~HBO Go representative
We don’t know how many people tried to watch the show via the service but this is not the first time the service has crashed. There have been other highly anticipated shows that have brought the service down. Just last month the show “True Detective” crashed the service. Rumors have it that HBO lets the service crash and become overwhelmed as a way to stop people from sharing their logins. HBO has repeatedly said that is not the case but its stating to be a pattern.
- Say hello to Cortana. Microsoft’s answer to Siri
Microsoft in the post Steve Ballmer era seems to be changing the face of the company one new product at a time. Office on iPad was more than well received by the press and end users alike. The return of the Windows button in 8.1 update is also a reversal that many are applauding. Cortana looks to keep the good vibes going. The digital assistant is a lot more like Apple’s Siri than Google Now with one big difference, Cortana works.
There is nothing more frustrating than asking Siri a question only for it to tell you that it can’t help you. Microsoft has released over 10 new videos about the digital assistant. The differences between Siri and Cortana is like night and day. Cortana is fast and 100% more accurate. Microsoft’s Cortana has a very interesting “personality” but if you are a Halo die hard fan you are going to be disappointed. Cortana does not look like or sound like the Halo AI. However, there are many Halo jokes planted in there. I hope Microsoft expands Cortana to other properties. I’m looking at you Xbox One.
Who is Cortana?
Cortana’s thought on Siri
Cortana saves your social life
Cortana vs. Siri
- Amazon Fire TV: What it is and isn’t
Amazon has entered the set top area with its Fire TV. The video streaming hardware is not just for movies and shows. The little box also will play games. This is something that Apple has been rumored to be working on. As for Google, there are already a few Android powered game systems however none of them are as robust as the Fire TV. The specs of the device are nothing that Sony or Microsoft need to worry about. The $99 box sports 2 gigs of RAM, Wi-Fi, a blue tooth remote, a custom OS and has a quad-core processor. On the media side the Fire TV will come with support for Hulu Plus, HBO GO, SHO Anytime, Watch Espn, Showtime, MLB, Disney, YouTube, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Netflix, Amazon’s own Instant Video and Music services. Amazon will also be delivering explosive content for the device.
The remote has seven buttons and a click wheel navigator. Amazon Fire TV has no lag or buffering. Soon as you press “play” your content starts playing right away. You can have watchlist just as you would find in the app. You will also have access to your media library, games, apps and photos. The instant playback will spoil you and will make it hard to go back to your other media boxes. The custom OS is a bit HTML and a bit Android. No one including Samsung does a better job maximizing Android than Amazon. They were able to do incredible things with Kindle Fire. That experience is helps the Fire TV shine. Unlike Apple TV, devs are welcome and encouraged to port their apps over to the Fire TV. Developers can port web or Android based applications.
VP of Kindle Peter Larsen said the issues with current set top media boxes are capabilities, performance issues and closed ecosystems. Amazon went on to state the issues with the current crop of Media boxes.
- Poor search on Roku
- Horrible text entry on Apple TV
- Buffering of content in terms of loading content
- Amazon Instant Video isn’t available on Apple TV
- Microsoft charges $60 per year just to use Netflix
The Amazon Fire TV lets you search by using your voice or entering text. The remote has a mic on for better detection of voice commands. You can search by genre, title, actor and keyword. What’s more the search works on all content providers. This is an issue with Microsoft Xbox One whose voice search does not work where it is needed most, in Netflix. Amazon X-ray is the 2nd screen craze that every tech company that does hardware is on. Microsoft calls theirs SmartGlass. For the Amazon Fire TV, if you own a Kindle you can pull up relevant information about the content that you are watching. X-Ray for music on the Fire TV coming soon. This will let you display the lyrics of the music you have playing.
Amazon seems to have done gaming right. They worked with Devs and publishers to make gaming on Fire TV competitive. The home consoles may not have to worry about specs but the price of the Fire TV mixed with the wide range of games may start to dent on their bottom line. Until Apple TV gets gaming Amazon will own this casual space. Steam could have won this space with its Steam Box platform but made it just confusing enough for the average joe to stay away. EA, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft and Take-Two are all set to bring games to the system. The games will start to flow to the system next month. You can use the Fire TV remote for gaming but we recommend buying the $40 Amazon dedicated game controller. The Fire TV game demoed was Minecraft. The Fire TV is available today for only $99. I would however, would wait to see how the Apple TV gets refreshed.
- Jeopardy contestant blows easy question
Jeopardy contestant blows easy question. That’s not a headline you see a lot but it happens.The contestant named Joe made Alex Trebek give him the “you’re kidding, right?” look. The answer was “100+ assists in an NHL season has been accomplished only 13 times, 11 times by this player.” Getting the question would be one thing an understandable if you don’t watch hockey. However, “Who is Magic Johnson?” was nowhere near the right answer. It’s not even the right sport.
Trebek never one to pass a chance to jab a contestant said “Oh no.” The question should have been “Who is Wayne Gretzky?”.
Joe is still one smart guy. He went on to win the game and is not going to let sport blogs get him down. He said had the following to say.
“So apparently my terrible Jeopardy response from last Friday’s episode has gone mildly viral on sports blogs today. I refuse to be ashamed.”
- Facebook’s spending spree continues… Will buy Oculus VR for $2 Billion
Facebook has money. Ok, Facebook has a lot of money. It will have boat loads of cash for a very long time. The stock has gone up 100% from its IPO. What does a company do with all that cash? Well, if you are Google you buy pro companies that will help your operation system flourish or help you enter new markets for search. If you are Apple you sit on if for what seems like forever. If you are Microsoft you use your war chest to help you stay relevant in a post desktop world. Facebook on the on the other hand is on a spending spree. What they are buying does not seem to make any sense. They paid a lot for Instagram which made sense you it wanted to put ads on their fine. It paid for $16 Billion for WhatsApp which was way too much. However, we understand, you wanted to get a foothold in foreign markets. We get it. However, buying Oculus VR for $2 billion? yes, the Oculus VR is the future of virtual reality but is it worth $2 billion? Facebook’s plans for the VR headset aren’t clear to anyone. Maybe they will make the go to product for watching TV or movies. Maybe Mark’s vision comes true and people use the device for watching sports. The social media giant’s announcement didn’t help clear up any of those ideas.
But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.
This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures. ~Mark Zuckerberg
WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable. I’ve known Jan [Koum, WhatsApp cofounder] for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected. ~Mark Zuckerberg
WhatsApp posed a threat to Facebook’s business just like Instagram did. The app is an alternative to SMS. What is does is send messages for free regardless of the device you are using. You may not have used WhatsApp but you sure have heard of it. The app is very popular abroad. Facebook will pay $12 billion in stock and $4 billion in cash for WhatsApp. As a bonus, Facebook will also give an extra $3 billion in restricted stock units to WhatsApp’s founders and employees as part of the deal. That brings the total of the deal to which would bring the total deal $19 billion. The popular messaging app has close to a billion users. This only a messaging app people! $19 billion? Facebook is basically paying billions for AOL Instant Messenger. They are now about to pay Billions for what could turn out to be the next Nintendo VirtualBoy.