Unfortunately for all of you that had weekend plans to strip down before broadcasting videos of your gaming exploits, Twitch has updated their Rules of Conduct. Inspired by their new owners at family-friendly Amazon, this adjustment likely shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It doesn’t matter how good you look naked (or nearly naked), Twitch’s new rules are very clear:
“Nerds are sexy, and you’re all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let’s try and keep this about the games, shall we?
Wearing no clothing or sexually suggestive clothing – including lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments – will most likely get you suspended, as well as any full nude torsos*, which applies to both male and female broadcasters. You may have a great six-pack, but that’s better shared on the beach during a 2-on-2 volleyball game blasting “Playing with the Boys.”
* If it’s unbearably hot where you are, and you happen to have your shirt off (gents) or a bikini top (ladies), then just crop the webcam to your face. If your lighting is hot, get fluorescent bulbs to reduce the heat. Xbox One Kinect doesn’t zoom? Move it closer to you, or turn it off. There is always a workaround.”
While some people may feel this is unnecessary censorship, some of us are wondering if it was a really big problem to begin with? It seems the change was kept fairly quiet by Twitch, but that is likely moreso because they didn’t want to make it seem like they used to be all about the nudity.
It looks like Apple isn’t the only one bracing for the impact Chromecast will have on the way we watch TV, Amazon has released their Fire TV Stick as a viable contender. Built using powerful hardware (a dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, dual-band, and dual-antenna Wi-Fi with MIMO), the Fire TV Stick boasts Amazon’s award-winning user interface accessible by the included remote control (or “you can use your phone as a remote with the free mobile app that includes voice search”).
Beyond just being easy to use (plug it in and you’re basically ready to stream in a matter of moments as it arrives pre-registered), the Amazon Fire TV Stick is content rich:
“[Giving you access to a] vast selection of the most popular video and music services, including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more for instant access to shows like Transparent, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, and The Wire—plus the largest selection of movies and TV episodes to rent or buy from Amazon Instant Video.”
Like the Chromecast, you can fling or mirror content directly from your smartphone or tablet to the Fire TV Stick as well.
If you are now curious enough to give the Fire TV Stick a try, it will be available for sale on November 19th and can be pre-ordered now for $39 USD. Lucky Amazon Prime members ordering before 6:00 a.m. (PT) on October 29, 2014 will receive a significant discount and only have to pay $19 USD. As an added benefit, eligible customers will also enjoy free trial periods with Neflix and Amazon Prime with their purchase of a Fire TV Stick.
The Amazon Fire Phone has not been selling very well, and recently the Seattle company said they had to write off close to $170 million in loses. Things have got so bad, that AT&T is throwing in a free Fire Tablet in a bid to lure people over. What is all the fuss about, is this a legit good phone? Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box. You can get a sense on the form factor and core features that makes this unique in the marketplace.
Amazon has been focusing on making their entire lineup of tablets family friendly. In the last few years they have developed a system called Freetime, which automatically blocks access to the Silk Browser and Kindle content stores, disables location-based services, in-app purchases, or social features, and requires your parental controls password to enable or disable the feature. Amazon also unveiled Freetime Unlimited in 2012, which is a subscription based service that lets parents download thousands of movies, television shows, books and apps for a low monthly fee.
Amazon has packaged all of this into the brand new Fire HD Kids Edition, which spec wise, is exactly the same as the Kindle Fire HD6 and HD7. The main difference is the rubberized padding that spans the entire circumference of the tablet. This is an accessory that is shipped with the tablet and is not built right into it.
Today, we unbox a brand new entry into the Amazon product line, the Fire HD Kids Edition. We show you everything that comes in the box and power it on for the first time.
Fans of classic video game titles such as Street Fighter 2 and Final Flight will be excited to play the latest release from Yoshiki Okamoto: Monster Strike. The game is reminiscent of other monster collecting games, like Pokemon and Digimon, but with action and RPG elements added in. Originally released in Japan, Monster Strike is now available on Android (and iOS) across North America.
You begin by selecting your first monster teammate (I went with Blue Smydra –he didn’t have the highest attack or HP stats, but he was the fastest choice), then setting forth to pull back and sling him into your enemies in an effort to attack! There are a series of special moves that you can unleash as you defeat bosses and progress through the game, keeping you engaged and interested as you play. While it sounds simple, there is a lot of detail and complexity that will make you grateful there is a detailed tutorial mode that guides you through getting started.
The game also features a social media component that allows you to team up with friends in groups of 4!
If you are in the mood to play a game that gives you a true feeling of what classic pinball arcade games should be like with a touchscreen, modern, RPG-inspired twist, then give Monster Strike a try and download it for free now.
The Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 2014 edition is the Seattle companies flagship large screen tablet, meant to carry the battle to Apple, Samsung and Sony. This device has amazing resolution and has been slimmed down and enhanced with a new version of Android. It also has better hardware under the hood, compared to the HDX 8.9 2013 version. Today, we do a proper unboxing video, showing you everything that comes in the box and power it on the first time.
When Amazon first started making tablets they focused on seven and eight inch models and adhered to this size convention for the first few generations. This year, the Seattle based company broke the mold and developed a six inch tablet, called the HD6. Today, we take this out of the box and show you everything that comes inside. As an added bonus, we power it on for the first time so you can get a sense of new design changes and an updated version of Android.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage is one of the most cutting edge e-readers we have ever seen. The screen is completely flush with the bezel, has amazing screen clarity and haptic enabled page turn buttons. Today, we take this little puppy out of the box, show you everything that comes inside and power it on for the first time.
The Amazon Kindle Voyage has just been released and is a refinement of two generations worth of Paperwhites. Today, we look at the illumination settings in a completely dark environment, chiefly to see if its completely viable to read when going to sleep.
The Voyage has two different settings when it comes to controlling the brightness of the front-lit display. One is called “Auto brightness” which basically uses the ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the levels, based on your environment. You can also tap on the icon, on the main navigation bar to manually set it yourself.
In this video, we check out the screen clarity in complete darkness and check out every single level of illumination.
Following a swirl of Internet discussion that is trying desperately to suggest that the iPad is circling the drain (so to speak), Fast Company charted the growth of iOS and iPad apps between June 2010 and October 2014. The results of their research makes one thing clear: whether the iPad succeeds or not, the iOS app marketplace is growing steadily.
So why is it that iPad year-over-year sales have declined during the last three quarters? \Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests that existing users are upgrading more slowly, and other products (such as the iPhone and Mac) are cannibalizing the iPad. Those reasons certainly seem more likely than the reason being offered up by anecdotal bloggers telling us that nearly 675,000 tablet-optimized apps are disappointing to would-be iPad owners (not to mention the overwhelming evidence to the contrary showing that people using tablets are doing so in very limited ways: games, social media, surfing the web, and streaming media).
It is just as likely that the tablet market is becoming saturated, or that the larger 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus (nicknamed the phablet) is blurring the lines between smartphones and tablets enough that users don’t want both… regardless of the reason, news that the app marketplace is thriving is good news. Oh, and as everybody tries to speculate that Apple is going to be in some kind of financial trouble because they are selling fewer tablets, should remember that the 30% they are making off each iOS app purchase is a much larger margin than they typically make on hardware.
The cost of eBooks are poised to dramatically increase at the beginning of the new year, due to changes in VAT. Readers will end up having to pay anywhere from 17% to 25% more on each title, depending on the country they live in.
The European Commission recently unveiled a new ruling where member states will be taxed in the European member state in which the consumer is located, as opposed to the country from which the product is sold. Starting in January 2015 the new tax rates will be in effect for eBooks.
The new VAT laws will prevent Amazon, Nook and Kobo from getting away with charging a paltry 3% tax on eBooks, magazines, graphic novels and newspapers sold to European countries, because their headquarters are in Luxembourg. In a few months, UK customers will have to pay the 20% VAT on eBooks from Amazon, instead of the 3%. This will increase eBooks accross the board by 17%.
The Luxembourg government stands to lose around €800 million a year from the ruling, while the UK and Germany stand to gain around €350 million each by the higher VAT rates.
Patrons of Amazon and Barnes and Noble in Europe are obviously going to be disgruntled that they will be paying more money for books, but the evening out of the VAT will allow Waterstones, Thalia, Txtr, Ciando, and Virtualo to compete better on price and hopefully gain more traction in the industry going forward.
In the United Kingdom Amazon accounts for 75% of all eBook sales. They have been able to capture the vast majority of readers due to the low prices and solid discovery experience. Will customers remain loyal if the prices increase dramatically?
Kobo has reached an agreement with Marvel to sell over 250 graphic novels on their global online bookstore. The new comics can be purchased using any of the official Kobo tablets, their main website or bought in one of their many apps for Android, Blackberry or Windows.
The inclusion of Marvel graphic novels joins Archie, DC and Dark Horse on the Kobo ecosystem. With so many Marvel movies on the horizon like X-Men Apocalypse, Ant-Man and Avengers 2, and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, readers will want to become familiar with the source properties.
“For more than 75 years, Marvel has been transporting comic fans to exciting new galaxies,” says Santiago Melo, Merchandiser, Kobo. “Tackling big issues with larger than life characters, these stories continue to be a constant source of enrichment in our popular culture and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Kobo family.”
“Marvel is excited about our partnership with Kobo and happy to have the opportunity to provide fans, new and existing, another great way to experience our legendary content,” says David Gabriel, SVP Sales and Marketing for Marvel Entertainment.
Fitbit hasn’t even made their official announcement launching their upcoming wearable, but Brookstone went ahead and started offering pre-orders for the much-anticipated Surge watch… though the page is now unavailable. Often regarded as the king of the fitness-related wearables market, Fitbit’s updated entry in this category could be a meaningful contender.
During the time Brookstone had their page active, we were able to get a glimpse into what this device is going to look like –inside, and out. While the main question answered indicates this is indeed a fitness device and not a true smartwatch, a touchscreen display (that tilts up slightly toward you, making it very easy to see) and additional functionality helps it to actually fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of technology is now built-in, like the 8-sensors (for steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, floors climbed, and active minutes) along with with a GPS to make those details more accurate without the need for a smartphone nearby.
Athletes will love the automatic, continuous heart rate monitor and the ability to record workouts as they happen.
Geeks will appreciate that a few smartwatch features are included, allowing for call and text notifications while also being able to control your music.
Most importantly (and even better than being water resistant and lasting a full 7-days on a single charge), the device syncs wirelessly and is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS (plus with Aria Wi-Fi scale).
With an anticipated price-tag of $249 USD, it’s on the expensive side of fitness trackers. It may be seen as worthwhile for those interested in a little more functionality than existing pedometer type trackers can offer, without making the more sizeable jump into a full Android wearable or the upcoming Apple Watch.