Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The Christmas Toy

Christmas 1986 my parents gave me an Omnibot MkII (replete with 'ejecting' cassette deck), by Tomy, along with an assortment of Transformers and Zoids toys! To this day it remains one of my most cherished holiday memories! Therefore, whilst watching The Gadget Show on five (a UK-based commercial television network), it was with some amusement that I learned of Takara Tomy's latest addition to its burgeoning Omnibot family! i-SOBOT!

i-SOBOT, looking not unlike Transformers Decepticon Shockwave sans weaponry and alternate mode, retails for a hefty £200 and, inflationary factors aside, matches the original Omnibot's price tag! Not exactly an impulse purchase at the best of times let alone during a serious economic recession! Yet, how could I resist buying an i-SOBOT for £100 and adding Meccano's Spykee to my Amazon order too? Keep your eyes peeled for future robotic antics in my Flickr photostream!

This is my final post of 2008 (I can be found on Twitter)! May I take this opportunity to thank all my readers and sponsors for their continued support. Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and a Festive Festivus. I hope that 2008 was a good year for you and that 2009 will be even better. I'll be back in the New Year...

Rudolph's Rustic Reindeer

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Review of the Year 2008

An irreverent Review of the Year. And the prizes go to:

*Web - Twitter. There's so many reasons! Join now and see for yourself! Runners up: Adobe AIR and RSS.

*Application - Adobe Photoshop CS4. Tabs! Runners up: Boxee and Flash CS4.

*Gadget - iPod touch. A paradigm shift and the future of portable gaming! Runners up: Nintendo Wii and PlayTV.

*Video Game - Valkyria Chronicles (PS3). Runners up: Mario Kart (Wii) and LittleBigPlanet (PS3).

*Album - Out of Control (Girls Aloud) Runners up: Chasing Lights (The Saturdays) and Circus (Britney Spears).

*Single - The Promise (Girls Aloud). Runners up: Take A Bow (Rihanna) and Up (The Saturdays).

*Movie - Wall-E. Runners up: HellBoy II: The Golden Army and Batman: The Dark Knight.

*Blu-ray (formerly DVD) - Sleeping Beauty. Runners up: Wall-E and The Incredible Hulk.

*Television Drama - Dead Set. Runners up: Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

*Television Sci-Fi - The Big Bang Theory. OK! It's a wonderfully written sitcom about a group of geeks obsessed with Doctor Who, Star Trek and Halo. Runners up: Doctor Who and Torchwood.

*Merchandise - Star Wars New Millennium Falcon. Even better than the real thing! Runners up: Doctor Who Classics and Transformers Crossovers.

You should follow me on twitter here.

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Watchmen aren't Home Alone on PlayStation

As predicted in The Sunday Times' ingear section, Sony's PlayStation Home is now in Open Beta and can be freely discussed! I can't compare PlayStation Home with Microsoft's New Xbox Experience (NXE) as I don't have access to an Xbox 360! Lets not dwell on minor technicalities!

My initial impression of PlayStation Home is favourable despite the inherent danger that Sony's answer to Second Life is nothing more than a walled garden promoting the vertically integrated company's products and little else! Such churlishness aside, I'm confident that this won't be the case in the mid-to-long term.

The latest trailer for the highly anticipated (an understatement to be sure) The Watchmen movie premièred on PlayStation Home this week! I have an acute interest in this adaptation as I interviewed The Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons for an audio documentary I made at Bournemouth University in 1995. At the time there was speculation that Terry Gilliam or Tim Burton would be undertaking directing chores and I asked Dave Gibbons what his thoughts were? Dave, unsurprisingly, welcomed both! It would be interesting to ask him, again, now!

From a social networking perspective. PlayStation Home affords the perfect platform for virtual Tweet-Ups or Tweet Meets! I've already met several Twitter peeps and played games in the bowling alley! And I welcome the facility that games such as FIFA 09, Resistance 2 and Call of Duty: World at War can be launched from within PlayStation Home (PSN members must each own a copy of the game).

I can foresee Sony BMG Music superstars Britney and Beyoncé performing virtual stadium concerts on PlayStation Home.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

PlayStation Home Open

Highly Anticipated Service Open For All PLAYSTATION 3 Users

Tokyo, Foster City, London, December 10, 2008 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today announced that its highly anticipated PlayStation®Home Beta service for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) will become available for all PS3 users around the world *1 on December 11, 2008. Following the successful completion of the closed beta service, PlayStation Home’s open beta service will continue to evolve with new features and functionality.

PlayStation Home is a ground-breaking 3D social gaming community available on PS3 that allows users to interact, communicate and share gaming experiences. By leveraging the power of PS3, PlayStation Home delivers overwhelming visual graphics and rich gaming social experiences only possible on the PS3 platform. Within PlayStation Home, users can create and customize their own unique avatars and explore the virtual community in real time where they can communicate freely through text or voice chat. PlayStation Home users will not only be able to enjoy variety of entertainment content such as mini-games, videos and special events along with their friends, but will also be able to create their own community by using the “Club*2” feature to create clubs with other PlayStation Home users who share the same interests. PlayStation Home also allows groups of users to launch directly into their favourite online games together from PlayStation Home.

PlayStation Home, available as a free download*3 starting December 11, will launch directly from the PlayStation Home icon on the PlayStation®Network column of XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) on PS3. Users will be able to experience basic features and services of PlayStation Home, free of charge*4. PlayStation Home will allow open interaction among users, business partners and SCE, and will evolve with additional features including dedicated game spaces, special events and exclusive themed items, to further enrich the entertainment experience on the PS3 platform.

“PlayStation Home is truly a promising network community service on the PlayStation platform, made possible with the powerful combination of PS3's overwhelming computational power and PlayStation Network that covers many countries around the globe,” said Kazuo Hirai, President and Group CEO, SCE. “We are committed to providing PS3 users with exciting gaming experiences with PlayStation Home and together with our partners and users, expand the new world of interactive entertainment as we move forward.”

For users accessing PlayStation Home in the Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) regions, themed virtual environments will be available to explore. Starting with a themed Far Cry 2 space, PlayStation Home will offer game inspired environments that allow people to discuss the specific games, plan strategies and access content and clues that will enhance the gaming experience. The number of gaming environments such as this will regularly increase, with spaces for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune™, Warhawk™, Motorstorm and SOCOM following very soon. SCEE is working with leading publishers such as: Electronic Arts, UBISOFT, Midway, Sega and Atari to create engaging environments that will provide users with an on-going gaming experience.

“We are very excited to be bringing PlayStation Home to Europe and the PAL territories, offering users an interactive, social, gaming experience,” said Daniel Hill, Home Service Manager, SCEE. “PlayStation Home is unique to anything else in the gaming world and by partnering with both global and regional gaming and non-gaming brands, we are able to offer exciting and entertaining content that will enhance the PlayStation experience.”

SCEE today also announced the first partnerships with some of the world’s most respected lifestyle brands for the Open Beta. Fashion leader Diesel, contemporary furniture designers Ligne Roset, energy drink Red Bull, film studio Paramount Pictures and video content providers Hexus TV and Eurogamer are the first on board. They will offer resident’s virtual clothing for their avatar, virtual furniture for their PlayStation Home apartments, exclusive video content and a virtual flying challenge: the Red Bull Air Race.

Visitors and residents will be able to explore PlayStation Home with their avatar character and, thanks to Diesel, avatars can look great from the start with Diesel offering the latest men’s and women’s designer avatar clothing, with items ranging from free of charge to €1.50. So for those visiting PlayStation Home, they can dress their avatars in the latest jeans and jacket prior to getting out and about.

On the home front, PlayStation®Home gives everyone their own apartment to spend time in and entertain friends - who will now be able relax on exclusive Ligne Roset furniture. At the virtual store, people will be able to choose from a selection of the most popular Ligne Roset designs, including the iconic Togo and Facett upholstery collections. It will be possible to personalise furniture by selecting from a wide selection of fabrics and leathers allowing a unique and individual look. This is an opportunity to get acquainted with Ligne Roset’s cutting edge designs created by some of Europe’s most talented designers.

As the very first consumer brand space, Red Bull has created the Red Bull Island where visitors to the Island can interact and take part in many of Red Bull’s unique events. Initially there will be the opportunity to get inside the cockpit of a Red Bull Air Race plane and compete against the PlayStation community. The real-world Red Bull Air Race World Championship has become a global phenomenon in just four years, attracting millions of spectators. Now those spectators can leave the stands, become a pilot and tackle the Red Bull Island course themselves. The Red Bull Island will continue to expand, adding new and exciting content in early 2009.

Taking full advantage of the PlayStation Home Theatre, SCEE has partnered with various content providers to enhance the cinematic experience. Offering a wide range of content, the PlayStation Home Theatre will provide lifestyle technology programming from Hexus TV, gaming content from Eurogamer and exclusive film content from Paramount Pictures. Starting with the release of the highly anticipated film, Watchmen, Paramount Pictures International will use PlayStation®Home to promote its latest films. Initially, PlayStation®Home residents will be able to view an exclusive video greeting from Watchmen Director Zack Snyder as well as the latest Watchmen trailer. A selection of virtual Watchmen merchandise e.g. T-Shirts with the smiley face logo, Doomsday clocks and character statues, will also be available in the New Year, ahead of an exclusive Q & A event where cast and filmmakers will meet selected press and competition winners fans within the Watchmen themed environment.

PlayStation Home is exclusive to PS3, free to download and easy to join. It’s the ultimate online community – a place where you can meet friends, try the latest games, hear new music, watch videos, relax in the apartment of your dreams and much, much more. With more and more spaces being created and partners like Diesel, Ligne Roset and Red Bull coming on board, the PlayStation Home experience is just getting started.

SCE will vigorously promote the expansion of the world of PS3 by introducing new services that will open up new possibilities and enjoyment in interactive entertainment.

*1 PlayStation Home will not be available in some regions.
*2 To be a “Clubhouse” owner, user will need to buy the entitlement to run the club.
*3 When the service is available, PlayStation Home icon will appear after booting/ re-booting the PS3 system. To enjoy PlayStation Home, users will need broadband network connection and PlayStation Network account in addition to the PS3 system.
*4 Some content and services are charged.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

GO!VIEW 'give-away' contest

To celebrate the launch of GO!VIEW on PSP, which is currently showing Universal's The Bourne Identity and House. GO!VIEW and myself are offering several lucky readers a chance to win some seriously cool prizes including Bourne and House t-shirts, Heroes clocks and limited edition comics!

To enter for a chance of winning one of these prizes, just answer this simple question. How many steps are there to registering at Please post your answer in comments!

The competition closes December 31st 2008 and the winners will be randomly selected by me. My decision will be final! Good luck.

Special thanks to GO!VIEW for supplying the competition prizes. Sign up for GO!VIEW, and trial it free for a month! PSP. More than just gaming...

Friday, 28 November 2008

PlayStation Home Beta & GO!VIEW on PSP

Black Friday is not short of surprises! Not only have I received an exclusive invitation to join the PlayStation Home Beta (PlayStation Home is a 3D, interactive, evolving service, exclusive to PS3™). But, a PSP Slim & Lite has arrived!

Kings of Portables

Looking forward to exploring PlayStation Home and reviewing GO!VIEW on PSP during December. Incidentally, I'll be comparing and contrasting the PSP Slim & Lite against the iPod touch to see which (if any) is the new king of portables!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Black Friday or VAT Monday?

Mark your calendars. And start your research now by browsing my shops to find iPod, PSP, and Blu-ray gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Unlike bricks-and-mortar, my online stores are open 24/7:

Apple Shop
Blu-ray Shop
Bratz Shop
DS Lite Shop
PlayStation Shop
Wii Shop
Xbox 360 Shop

Buy gadgets, toys, computer and video game hardware, software, and accessories under one roof and be assured of excellent order fulfilment (provided by Amazon). At the same time you're supporting my blogging at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Download Darkville on iTunes

"Within the depths of insanity, a castle composed of intricate illusion. Within its grounds there lived an alien hero, forgotten in the chaos of madness and confusion..." - Darkville

Darkville (iTunes) was inspired by the works of Tim Burton with the intention of being developed as a unique multimedia intellectual property (IP) - traversing comic books, film, music, toys and more!

However, Darkville, due to innumerable reasons, did not progress much beyond what you see here! The creative ideas it spawned bled through into December Duet (iTunes)...

This teaser trailer formed part of my A-Level Media Studies showreel at Exeter College.

The incidental music was composed and performed by Michael Williams and myself! The poem was written by me and performed by Michael Williams!

Subscribe to my podcast in iTunes and download it directly onto your iPhone and iPod touch (requires software update 2.2 or later)!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wii Speak

December sees the launch of Nintendo's Wii Speak peripheral, which coincides with the release of Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City!

Wii Speak is a microphone accessory for Nintendo's Wii video game console. Connected to the console via USB, the device can be placed near the video display, allowing voice chat to be conducted with the entire room. The device features an LED to indicate when the microphone is active.

According to Miyamoto, the microphone is designed to "clearly capture many different voices being spoken in a room at the same time and convey that over the Internet." Addressing concerns over background noise due to the placement of the microphone near a television set, Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City producer Katsuya Eguchi states that the device is designed to filter out video game sound from the audio speakers. Miyamoto notes that the quality of the noise filtering functionality in the Wii Speak is "very good", which may be contributing to the cost of the device. In an IGN product interview, the microphone was rated excellent.

You can purchase Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City with Wii Speak!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Ray Harryhausen signing at Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet is pleased to announce that Ray Harryhausen and his co-author Tony Dalton will be signing A Century of Model Animation at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Saturday 22nd November 2008.

Inspired at 13 years old by seeing King Kong, Ray knew his future lay in special effects. Following on from his mentor Willis O'Brien, creator of Kong, Ray took the art of stop-motion animation one step further, weaving his magic on every concept from dinosaur to alien. Probably the single best-known name in special effects, Ray Harryhausen is both visionary and artist and has written two previous and very successful books on the subject.

A Century of Model Animation traces the history of the genre from its earliest days, through movies like Jurassic Park right up to Aardman Animation. Readers receive a fascinating insight into the patience and ingenuity of the animators, discover the development and refinement of the technology, and are treated to tantalising glimpses of the many abandoned projects. Lavishly illustrated with stills, this is the ultimate glossy guide to the special effects industry.

Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for signing events, including: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Mark Millar, Guillermo Del Toro, Brian Froud and Stephen King.

For more news about signings, please go to:

Monday, 17 November 2008

Subscribe by RSS (it's free you know)

If you subscribe to this blog by RSS, please make sure you update the RSS feed to the new address - I have implemented 30 day redirection! If you're not already a subscriber, subscribing won't cost you a thing and you'll never miss another blog post again! I even include my Flickr photostream and podcasts too!

Although you can subscribe to this blog using feed readers such as Google Reader, My Yahoo! or Newsgator. Why not subscribe by email or Mac OS X Dashboard Widget?

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Scoop: Star Wars Holiday Special

Canson sent over the following press release, which I'm sure Star Wars fans will want to read!

Monday, November 17th will be the 30th Anniversary of the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. To commemorate this auspicious day, RiffTrax will be featuring their Riff of the Holiday Special, along with their other Star Wars work.

RiffTrax is the internet continuation of the cult-hit TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. At the end of the show's television run, star Mike Nelson and his comedic cohorts (Satellite of Love partners Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot) reunited to 'riff' (comedic commentary made during a film) the latest and greatest Hollywood blockbusters and duds, including most of the Star Wars lexicon (Episodes I-II-III). This is accomplished through the release of MP3 tracks (the RiffTrax) that synchronize with the playback of a given film to reproduce the MST3K experience. We've also developed a free software player that makes synchronization effortless. True to MST3K form, these riffs add endless hilarity and value to even the worst of films. Put another way, we're so bad it's good.

The Holiday Special can be currently found here, with a preview clip available on YouTube.

If you're interested in our other Star Wars stuff, see below:

Episode I

Episode II

Episode III

Don't let people forget about Life Day, celebrate with us!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Simplify Digital

Last night's edition of The Gadget Show featured Jon Bentley's guide to the best broadband deals on the market! The presenter suggested using Simplify Digital (The UK's leading digital TV, broadband and home phone comparison service. Free and impartial consultation accredited by Ofcom).

During The Gadget Show I tweeted that I was about to contact Virgin Media cancellations and investigate switching to an O2 or sky broadband package! Simplify Digital (Twitter link) followed me and sent a most helpful follow-up DM!

I was so impressed with Simplify Digital's friendly advice, that it was my duty to inform readers of this excellent service. You may wish to subscribe to the Simplify Digital Blog!

Again, Twitter proves itself invaluable.

Now, back to calling Virgin Media in the hopes of negotiating a faster broadband connection at no extra cost!

You should follow me on twitter here.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Lise Mhyre signing at Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet is pleased to announce that Lise Mhyre will be signing Nemi Volume 2 at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Thursday 13th November 2008.

Lise Myhre is the artist and writer of the Metro’s savvy cartoon-strip Nemi, named after the famous Italian lake and Inigo Montoya, a character in Myhre’s favourite film, The Princess Bride. She also designs CD covers and clothing and illustrates books. She lives in her native Norway.

Featuring an exclusive introduction by singer-songwriter Tori Amos, this brand new hardback collection gathers together some of the hilarious highs of the Nemi strip. Hang out with Nemi and her mates, including her best friend, the blue-haired Cyan, as they deal with love, friendship, inebriation, sex…and the other really important things in life!

Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for signing events, including: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Mark Millar, Guillermo Del Toro, Brian Froud and Stephen King.

For more news about signings, please go to:

Monday, 3 November 2008

Album Review: Girls Aloud - Out of Control

A deluge of artists are releasing albums annually! Sugababes, Britney and Girls Aloud! There are no signs of quality control issues with these prolific pop stars!

"The Promise" opens Out of Control with aplomb and benefits from an extended mix. "The Loving Kind" evokes the electro-pop brilliance of the Pet Shop Boys; whom collaborate on the sensational "Love Is Pain"! "Turn to Stone" is a synthesised tour de force that Gary Numan would be proud of!

This is the band's fifth studio album. There's a melancholia that punctuates Out of Control and it's all the better for it! Critics may argue that Out of Control can't match Chemistry or Tangled Up for sheer experimentation! Indeed the production, at times, is akin to a Tangled Up mashup! However, I'd suggest that no other band, in recent times, in any genre, is as eclectic, or adventurous, as Girls Aloud!

Girls Aloud is a manufactured band that has transcended its origins and produced some of the best music of the last decade! Out of Control crystallises that enviable reputation.

**** out of *****

Girls Aloud release Tangled Up Live from the O2 (Blu-ray) this month!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Britney's Circus is Coming to Town

Billed as one of the all-time comeback pop albums, and accorded the pomp and circumstance of Michael Jackson's Dangerous (1991), Britney's Circus, the follow-up to last year's stunning Blackout (2007), comes to town this upcoming holiday season.

The complete track listing:

1. "Womanizer"
2. "Circus"
3. "Out from Under"
4. "Kill the Lights"
5. "Shattered Glass"
6. "If U Seek Amy"
7. "Unusual You"
8. "Blur"
9. "Mmm Papi"
10. "Mannequin"
11. "Lace and Leather"
12. "My Baby"
Bonus track
13. "Radar"
Additional bonus tracks for international release
14. "Rock Me In"
15. "Phonography"

"Womanizer" was one of the first music videos I downloaded, from iTunes, onto my iPod touch 32GB! The single failed to impress me upon first listen! However, the promo video changed that and "Womanizer" is a contender for pop single of the year along with The Saturdays' "Up" and Girls Aloud's "Promise"!

Zomba Label Group has revealed that Circus' title track will be the next single released to whet your appetite for the main event. I'll be reviewing the album soon.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Tank Girl at Forbidden Planet

Danie Ware, one of my awesome Twitter peeps and social media marketing guru par excellence for Forbidden Planet, sent over the following press release, which I wanted to share with readers.

Forbidden Planet is pleased to announce a signing with Alan Martin and Rufus Dayglo. They will be signing The Cream Of Tank Girl and Visions Of Booga at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Saturday 8th November 1-2pm

The Cream Of Tank Girl: Alan Martin and artist Jamie Hewlett created Tank Girl in 1988 for Deadline magazine. Their anarchic heroine is now a cult icon which has produced 41 strips, 8 monthly comics, 6 graphic novels, one prose novel, and a Hollywood movie! Now, from the depths of the outback she sits astride her fabulous tank to celebrate her 20th anniversary with this hardback, collectors edition of everything Tank Girl. It also includes unseen art-work and exclusive new commentary.

Visions Of Booga: Hot British artist Rufus Dayglo joins Alan Martin for a riotous new tale about Tank Girl. Following a bungled train heist and a shoot out in an outback petrol station, Tank Girl and Booga (the kangaroo) go on the run with the only copy of the great lost ‘Book of Hipster Gold’, which just happens to hold the secret to ending all wars and suffering. With Mafia dons, henchmen, a crooked cop and half the Australian constabulary hot on their tails, it’s one long frenzied chase to the sanctuary of Booga’s long-lost little brother’s vast business empire – and maybe world peace.

Forbidden Planet is the largest store of its kind in the world. Some of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and Cult Entertainment have come to our London Megastore for signing events, including: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Simon Pegg, William Gibson, Mark Millar, Guillermo Del Toro, Brian Froud and Stephen King.

For more news about our signings please go to:

Friday, 31 October 2008

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It's Halloween and, for Linus, that can only mean one thing: the Great Pumpkin is flying over all the pumpkin patches searching for the most sincere one to reward with treats. Linus will wait in the cold, with Sally and his security blanket to keep him company, hoping the Great Pumpkin will pick his.

Available for the first time on iTunes, this timeless classic from Charles M. Schulz and Bill Meléndez is remastered and features many heartwarming scenes.

Apple iTunes

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Give GO!VIEW a go!

PSP™ owners to beat boredom this winter with a free trial of the fully launched GO!VIEW service

From today, GO!VIEW (, the portable Video-On-Demand Service for the PlayStation®Portable (PSP™), officially launches in the UK and Ireland giving PSP ™ owners the opportunity to access TV Shows, Movies and Sports on-demand and on the move. Following its Beta release in July, GO!VIEW has now been fully updated to bring PSP™ users the ultimate in on-demand content – exactly how they want it, when they want it. What’s more, a free 30 day trial of all three subscription packs is available to all PSP™ users so they can try GO!VIEW for themselves before signing up.

There’s no excuse for any PSP™ owner to be bored this winter with the wide range of TV shows, movies and sports that can be easily transferred to the PSP™ via an internet enabled PC. From top entertainment shows including Heroes, Desperate Housewives and The Mighty Boosh, through to sporting highlights such as Barclays Premier League football from Sky Sports, and a wide selection of top movies, there’s content to suit every PSP™ owner’s tastes. With a full range of programming that is frequently updated, GO!VIEW provides a constant source of entertainment for PSP™ owners to use wherever they want, whenever they want. And all PSP™ owners can enjoy a free trial for one month with no commitment.

From beating boredom during the commute to preventing arguments about what to watch on TV, every PSP™ user will benefit from GO!VIEW this winter!

GO!VIEW is a joint venture between Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and BSkyB who have established the joint venture ‘GO!VIEW Entertainment UK’. This is being used to bring the PSP video-on-demand to market in the UK, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands & the Isle of Man. Sky is providing their expertise in building successful video-on-demand platforms as well as content acquisition. Sony Computer Entertainment is providing the marketing for the service.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Halloween 'give-away' contest: Galacula mimobot®

To celebrate Halloween, and reward readers with a seasonal treat, I'm running another 'give-away' contest! This time it's a Galacula mimobot® designer USB flash drive!

To enter for a chance of winning this really cool prize, please leave a Halloween-themed comment on this post. The competition closes October 31st 2008 and the winner will be randomly selected by me. My decision will be final! Good luck.

Special thanks to mimoco for supplying the competition prize. See the entire mimobot® range here.

If you enjoyed reading this post subscribe by RSS! I'll be running further 'give-away' contests throughout the autumn and winter.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Album Review: The Saturdays - Chasing Lights

With the economic recession dominating headlines, pop music provides a much-needed diversion, and a burst of optimism, from the crisis of capitalism!

The Saturdays' debut album delivers unfettered pixel perfect pop (with a sprinkling of R&B) that, at times, rivals Fascination Records' 'other girl band' Girls Aloud; none more so than on "If This Is Love", "Up", "Keep Her", "Issues" and "Work"!

"Chasing Lights", the title track, is tailor-made for the Christmas market and "Set Me Off" wouldn't make Britney blush!

The Saturdays (two parts S Club 8) could be accused of merely being pretty Stepford WAGs-in-waiting! Yet, against the odds, Chasing Lights is an ebullient contender for pop album of the year! Girls Aloud and Sugababes have compelling competition in the Official UK Charts. Rejoice. Up is where we go from here.

**** out of *****

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Download MTV's The Hills on iTunes

The Hills is back for season 4, and the girls are beginning to make some big decisions that will set the course for the rest of their lives.

While Lauren struggles to balance the tension between her roommates, Audrina and Lo, she starts dating Doug, an old flame from Laguna Beach. Meanwhile, Brody, Audrina and just about everyone else warn Lauren not to trust her new friend, Stephanie Pratt (Spencer's sister). And when Lauren makes a surprising discovery about Stephanie and Doug, she realizes that her friends might be right.

Just as Audrina thinks it's time to let her boyfriend Justin go and begins dating Colin, Justin turns up the heat in their relationship, leaving her torn. Whitney rises up the ranks at People's Revolution much faster than she expected and meets a model in New York who could possibly sweep her off her feet. And Heidi deals with the consequences of moving back in with Spencer, including putting her job at risk. As if that wasn't enough, Heidi's sister Holly comes from Colorado for an indefinite visit, putting some serious pressure on her renewed relationship with Spencer.

During season 4 of The Hills, life in Los Angeles only gets more complicated as friendships, relationships and loyalties are tested like never before.

Series 4 of The Hills started last Sunday night on MTV and to get yourself in the mood, download an exclusive free clip which goes behind the scenes at The Hills UK aftershow party and gives you an idea of what to expect from Series 4.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Introducing the MacBook Mirror

Further to yesterday's Apple notebook event. I'm eager to get hands-on with the all-new MacBook and MacBook Pro models replete with all-glass screens! Flu permitting, I'll drop by the Apple Store Princesshay, on Saturday, following a Devon Tweet Meet at The Phoenix Centre, Exeter.

In view of MacBook pricing (unless someone would sponsor me), I'll consider a purchase following Macworld 2009! With this is mind, an iPod touch (32GB) is now an affordable alternative in the portable web browsing space. And a, most belated, replacement for my Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)!

I'd be most interested to know your thoughts about Apple's move to all-gloss screens for the MacBook and MacBook Pro products. Is it more of a vanity mirror than practical enhancement? Please post your observations in comments. Thank you.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Will Apple scratch Microsoft's Surface?

With Halloween only a few weeks away it's opportune that Apple should unveil new treats, at its notebook event, today!

Despite the credit crunch/crisis (a journalistic euphemism for recession as far as I'm concerned), electronic goods continue to be "recession-proof" and consumer appetite for new MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro products has not abated! I've held off purchasing a new iPod touch (32GB) because of the ongoing speculation regarding new MacBooks!

There's considerable conjecture concerning what the new notebooks may or may not deliver in terms of their form factor (the flair of a MacBook Air) and functionality.

Clearly, Apple is keen to leverage touch screen technology - strikingly showcased in its iPhone and iPod touch - and place Microsoft's Surface ambitions into consumers hands now! In only a few hours time we'll know the answer.

Apple announced the new 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro tonight (GMT), which derive design cues from the MacBook Air and current desktops! The new Multi-Touch Trackpad is, literally, as smooth as glass!

In view of the hefty price tag for an entry level MacBook, I'll wait until Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard ships before making a purchase.

Monday, 13 October 2008

My PlayStation Network ID

In keeping with yesterday's post and extending social networking beyond blogging and services such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace.

Got a PS3 and a PSN account? Then please add me:


I can usually be caught, online, playing the likes of FIFA 09, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online, Grand Theft Auto 4 and SoulCalibur IV.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

My Mario Kart (Wii) Friend Code

As the nights draw in Mario Kart (Wii) is consuming more of my leisure time. Therefore, if readers would like to race, against me, on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (WFC), please add my Friend Code:


Please post your Friend Codes in comments and I'll add you.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

FIFA 09 wins without WAGs!

Late last night I removed the shrink wrap from FIFA 09 (PS3) and loaded the Blu-ray disc with a mixture of excitement and trepidation! The last time I bought a copy of FIFA was during the heyday of the Sega Mega Drive in the 1990s! Would FIFA 09 rekindle a long lost love and steal me away from Konami's upstart Pro Evolution Soccer (PES)?

FIFA 09 is closer than ever to the pick-up-and-play prowess of PES, without detracting from the franchise's trademark realism, and looks even more attractive. Premier League players move and act like their real-life counterparts. However, lower league players look like zombies leftover from Capcom's Resident Evil franchise!

The online component of FIFA 09 has been bolstered by the addition of adidas Live Season. adidas Live Season, an optional premium service, is activated once you've linked your Playstation Network (PSN) gamer profile with an EA Master Account, which can be set-up directly from within FIFA 09! You are entitled to free updates, for the league of your choice, using an exclusive redemption code found on the back of the manual. Naturally, I've chosen Barclays Premier League in order to follow the fortunes of my beloved Manchester United. Should you wish to subscribe to all supported leagues, additional charges will apply.

Even without WAGs, FIFA 09 is an irresistible football video game package that's almost impossible to beat! I'm looking forward to another friendly between Exeter City FC and Manchester United at St James Park, Exeter!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


Of all the AAA titles being released during the upcoming holiday season, LittleBigPlanet promises to be as unique as it is compelling!

Imagine a world that's yours to shape, build and explore. Imagine the possibilities, then jump head first into the reality. LittleBigPlanet puts the power of absolute creation into your own hands. If you can see it, you can enhance it. If you can't see it, you can invent it.

The LittleBigPlanet experience starts with players learning about their character's powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve--all requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as players begin, their creative skills will grow and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings--the first step to sharing them with the whole community.

Characters have the power to move anything in this glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play. There's no complicated level editor; all of these skills can be learned by simply playing the game. Creativity is part of the game play experience and playing is part of the creative experience.

Fathom out ways to overcome tricky obstacles as you interact with the surrounding environment, or compose inspirational locations and objects that are totally unique to you. Immerse yourself in an organic world that's just waiting to be personalized.

Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it's ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch--or can go and explore everybody else's.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

"Fabulous 15"


The Toy Authority Reveals 36 New Toys Guaranteed to Top Christmas Wish Lists and Selects the "Fabulous 15" Representing the Best of the Season

WAYNE, NJ (September 25, 2008) - With the official start of the holiday shopping season only weeks away, today Toys"R"Us announced its 2008 Hot Toy list, representing the definitive selection of toys that will top kids' wish lists this holiday season. The company's predicted list of the biggest holiday "must-haves" features 36 new toys that are sure to delight and excite kids across the country when they open their Christmas presents. Carefully selected after a comprehensive review process, items on the list are organized by age from "Baby's First Christmas" to "Big Kids" and serve as a starting point to help parents, friends and family find the perfect gift for any child. From the overall list, the "Fabulous 15" were selected to represent the very best toys of the season. All items featured on the list are available at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide and at

"After a thorough evaluation of all new toy introductions throughout the year, and consultations with our global merchandising team in 34 countries, Toys"R"Us has the unique ability to provide our guests with THE ultimate list of items certain to bring big smiles to kids' faces – the Toys"R"Us Hot Toy list," said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "With new toy shipments arriving in our stores daily, customers will have a better chance of finding the hottest toys, in stock, at Toys"R"Us than anywhere else."



Following are the Toys"R"Us "Fabulous 15," representing the best new toys of the holiday season (listed in alphabetical order):

50's Diner™ from Step2®
Bakubelt™ Action Kit from Spin Master™
Circus Ring from Playmobil®
Classic Lights and Sounds Trike from Radio Flyer®
Girl Gourmet™ Cupcake Maker from JAKKS Pacific®
EyeClops® Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles from JAKKS Pacific®
Imaginext™ Spike the Ultra Dinosaur from Fisher-Price®
Laugh & Learn™ Shop & Learn Walker from Fisher-Price®
Little Mommy™ Sweet As Me™ Baby Knows™ Dolls from Mattel®
Pink 8GB iPod® nano from Apple®
Pink Tag™ Reading System from LeapFrog®
Sesame Street® Elmo Live! from Fisher-Price®
Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Twilight from LEGO Systems, Inc.
Wii Fit™ from Nintendo®


From Baby's First Christmas to Big Kids, the Toys"R"Us Hot Toy list represents the top new toys for 2008 in each age group:

Baby's First Christmas
Candy Rock ‘N Bounce Pony from Radio Flyer®
The classic Radio Flyer Rock ‘N Bounce Pony received a makeover and now boasts a flashy design in pastel hues of pink and purple. This Toys"R"Us exclusive features a safety saddle to keep toddlers secure, which can be removed to accommodate an older child. The patented Rubber Bounce Suspension provides a safe, quiet ride, while the soft fabric body can be removed for easy cleaning. Riders can also hold onto the easy-grip for safe, fun riding. No batteries required. Ages 9 months to 3 years.

Crayola Beginnings™ Baby TaDoodles Rainbow Tower from Crayola®
With the TaDoodles Rainbow Tower, available only at Toys"R"Us, children can explore colors, lights and music by stacking and nesting the easy-to-grasp TaDoodles puppy, kitten and mouse characters on the musical base. These friendly faces combine to make new colors and music when one is placed on top of the other in this skill building toy. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 6 months and up.

Laugh & Learn™ Fun with Friends™ Musical Table from Fisher-Price®
Encouraging baby's learning and play, this bilingual activity table offers interactive characters with light-up faces that have unique and expressive personalities. The set features an interactive "First Words" book, counting phone with detachable receiver and piano keys. The table has four modes of play in both English and Spanish that teach letters, numbers, opposites, shapes, colors, greetings, first words, songs and tunes. After baby stops engaging in one activity, another activity will light up to promote continued play. Also, the included laptop opens and closes for realistic role-play, while the legs of the table are detachable for younger-age floor play. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 6 months to 3 years.

Laugh & Learn™ Shop & Learn Walker from Fisher-Price®
This learning walker teaches baby through everyday play and will continue to entertain children even after they master walking through three interactive play modes. As the steady walker is put into motion, music and lights encourage continued movement and sing-along to the "ABCs" and other learning songs. The Shop & Learn Walker includes four grocery shape-and-sort items and three additional grocery items. Once a shape is placed into its corresponding sorter, the cart responds by stating the color and shape of that item, while activating sounds and dancing lights. The three modes of play are Learning, Music and Imagination, which teach baby about colors, shapes, counting, letters, opposites, textures and objects. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 9 months to 3 years.

13 months to 2 years
50's Diner™ from Step2®
Children can step back to yesteryear with this retro-themed diner that transports them behind the grill at a local hot spot from the 1950s. This classically styled kitchen features everything needed to prepare an imaginary meal and serve customers – just like a real diner – including an oven, grill, dishes, silverware, cups, spatula, ice cream scoop, sundae dishes, deep fryer, ketchup and mustard bottles, and a sink to clean the dishes. To help kids turn up the heat, the included griddle pan and coffee pot activate electronic sizzling and bubbling sounds when placed on the stove's front burner. Of course, there's ample seating for customers at a retro-style tabletop with a working jukebox that lets kids rock around the clock with three 50's-style tunes. 2 "AA" batteries and 4 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 2 years and up.

Crayola Beginnings™ Scribble & Sing™ Art Station from Crayola®
Designed to captivate and spur toddler creativity, this Scribble & Sing Art Station offers toddlers a chance to experience color and sound, while discovering the joy of making a first mark with their favorite TaDoodles friends. The set comes complete with five TaDoodles markers, including orange bear, blue chipmunk, pink duck, yellow squirrel and green owl, each designed to fit in the palm of a child's hand. When a child places any of the five markers into the center circle, the Art Station recognizes the TaDoodles character color, activating unique songs and activities. Featuring 15 fun activities, kids can scribble to the sounds of music and lights for endless hours of imaginative play. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months and up.

Nick Jr.™ Wonder Pets™ This is Serious Ming-Ming from Fisher-Price®
Straight from Nick Jr.'s hit show, Wonder Pets, everyone's favorite character Ming Ming is here to sing and dance her way into the hearts and homes of kids everywhere. The 13-inch plush pet offers two modes of interactive play and brings all of the signature phrases, songs and dance moves from the show to life. Ming Ming can also answer the "Can Phone" upon hearing the "Can Phone" song, strike that signature pose and dance the "This is Serious" dance, all choreographed to the Wonder Pets' theme song. In the second mode, Ming Ming will take kids through some of her adventures, lead games and teach them how to do the dance. 4 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 18 months and up.

Sesame Street® Elmo Live! from Fisher-Price®
For the first time, Elmo seems to step out of the TV screen and into kids' living rooms with the help of animatronics. This lifelike version of everyone's favorite red monster opens and closes his mouth as he speaks, moves his arms, dances, crosses his legs, sits and stands as he tells stories and jokes. Children can activate their furry friend with a tickle or a squeeze of Elmo's foot, tummy, back or nose. 6 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 18 months and up. Available at Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 14.

2–4 years
Barbie® & The Diamond Castle Princess Liana™ and Princess Alexa® Dolls from Mattel®
In the new Barbie & The Diamond Castle movie, Barbie and her pal Teresa star as two best friends, Princess Liana and Princess Alexa, on their journey to discover music, magic and the power of friendship. To bring home the wonder of the theatrical release, kids will have fun reenacting scenes from the film with this Barbie doll, featured as Princess Liana, who sings two songs from the movie and wears a mesmerizing glittery gown that magically transforms with the flip of a switch! Barbie's necklace also lights up when she sings. Pair her with the Teresa doll, featured as Princess Alexa, in a similar glamorous dress, to hear them perform beautiful duets. Each doll sold separately. 3 "LR44" button cell batteries required (included). Ages 3 and up.

Classic Lights and Sounds Trike from Radio Flyer®
A retro-inspired redesign of the classic tricycle, this three-wheeler with pink "mod" flair will have kids clamoring to go for a fun-filled ride. Little fashionistas can take a spin around the neighborhood to show off the trike's flashy design and cool "Ms. Flyer" license plate. Girls will learn to abide by the rules of the road, using the touch-button blinkers to show which direction they're headed next. This Toys"R"Us exclusive even has a working horn and buttons to activate fun tunes. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 18 months to 3 years.

Classic Train Table with Roundhouse from Imaginarium
All aboard for fun with this Toys"R"Us exclusive train table, featuring more than 100 pieces, that lets kids use their imagination as they ride the rails. This real wood table comes with everything needed to create a small city, including more than 23-feet of track, eight train cars, a fueling station, an airport tunnel, a working crane, a roundhouse with five opening doors, people, street signs, street lamps, trees, a truck, a helicopter and more. When any wooden train engine or train car featuring a magnet chugs over one of six different sections of the track, it comes to life with exciting train-themed movements, lights and sounds. The table also features two drawers, making cleanup a snap when playtime is over. 6 button cell batteries required (included) and 5 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 3 and up.

Imaginext™ Spike the Ultra Dinosaur from Fisher-Price®
Stomping out of the prehistoric age, this 27-inch-tall, remote control dinosaur is ready to become a child's new best friend. Spike can walk, move his head, stand on his hind legs, open and close his mouth, blink and eat two boulders or a bone (all included) with a command from the remote control. Each button on the included remote features a symbol, making it easy for kids to use, even before they learn how to read. Spike also roars and growls like a real dinosaur. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included), and one rechargeable "9.6 volt" battery (included). Ages 3 to 10 years.

Little Mommy™ Sweet As Me™ Baby Knows™ Dolls from Mattel®
These three baby dolls really do know! When kids put the doll's hands to its eyes, it will recite the "ABCs" and play games. And, when the doll's hands are placed to its mouth, ears, toes or tummy, it'll name that body part in English and in Spanish. Featuring a choice of three dolls, including a blonde girl, brunette girl and blond boy, these interactive toys provide language development and fine motor skill-building, while kids emulate mom and dad through active role play. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Each doll sold separately. Ages 2 and up.

Natural Wood Alphabet Blocks Wagon from Toys"R"Us
This natural wood alphabet block set, available exclusively at Toys"R"Us, is both fun and forest-friendly. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of certification on the box indicates that wagon and blocks are crafted from replenishable materials that are chemical-free, ensuring safe and environmentally conscious play. This classic set of alphabet blocks, designed with a unique wood-burning technique, fit snugly into the wagon so kids can bring the joy of educational play with them wherever they go. No batteries required. Ages 2 and up.

V.Motion™ Active Learning System from Vtech®
Kids won't be parked in front of the TV any longer. Now, little learners can be put in motion while driving home lessons in math, reading, science, spelling and more! The V.Smile Motion TV Learning System is a kiddie gaming console that combines wireless, motion-activated play, web connectivity and educational gaming into a system that plugs directly into your television. The system gets kids engaged with games that include characters such as Scooby-Doo, Thomas the Tank Engine and Spider-Man, as well as new friends like Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E and Wonder Pets. Kids will love the wireless action-packed play that connects them with animated pals that guide them through age-appropriate skill levels and developmental activities. 3 "AAA" and 4 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 3 to 7 years.

YO GABBA GABBA!™ Dance Time Brobee from Spin Master™
Kids and fans of the Nick Jr. show YO GABBA GABBA! are sure to find this Dance Time Brobee doll tons of fun! Simply press Brobee's foot to get him moving and grooving, and he'll prompt children to dance along. This 13.5-inch tall interactive toy swings his arms around and shuffles his feet while doing the "Go Brobee" dance, a familiar step to fans of the show. Brobee also sings other familiar songs and says fun phrases from the show. 4 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 2 and up.

5-7 years
30" designer series acoustic guitars from First Act Discovery®
Future pop stars can decide how they want to jam with their choice of five Designer Series Acoustic Guitars, available only at Toys"R"Us. These eye-catching instruments are made with natural wood, thin frets and low string action to help musicians achieve the highest quality sound. The guitars also come equipped with exclusive Learn-A-Chord Cards that teach beginners to groove as they strum their way to fame. Kids can choose from the pink Jeweled Rosette guitar bedazzled with style, the Lavender guitar with butterfly stenciling, the Army Stripes guitar with green and black print, the classic black Diamond Plate guitar or the blue Flame Bling guitar, all sure to be a hit with young musicians. No batteries required. Ages 7 and up.

Circus Ring from Playmobil®
Kids can join the circus without leaving home when they put together this deluxe set boasting more than 200 pieces. Featuring a circus ring, an adjustable big top tent, ticket booth, light-up arch, high wire, trapeze artists, ringmaster, popcorn salesman, a family of three and seating for 30, children have everything they need to create the greatest imaginary show ever. 2 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

The most realistic interactive pet to join the FURREAL FRIENDS family, this plush dog will have kids eating out of its paw as soon as they see its range of tricks. Through voice recognition and animatronics, BISCUIT reacts just like a real golden retriever when children command it to "sit," "sit up and beg," "lie down," "give me a paw," "speak" or ask "do you want a treat?" BISCUIT responds by moving its head and ears, blinking its eyes, wagging its tail and barking. BISCUIT even comes with its very own dog treat – a bone it can "chomp." 6 "D" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

Disney® Hannah Montana Malibu Beach House from Play Along®, a division of JAKKS Pacific®
Straight from everyone's favorite Disney Channel program Hannah Montana, this set is an exact replica of Hannah's real house on the show! The House includes iconic accessory pieces that are instantly recognizable, such as Hannah's unique leg table and the swing she sits on to write her music. The playset also features six different Hannah play areas, including a bedroom, kitchen, living room, closet, upstairs balcony and porch, and comes with a doll that is available exclusively at Toys"R"Us. The set includes more than 80 accessories and stickers to decorate and customize the house. No batteries required. Ages 5 to 7 years.

Disney® PIXAR U-COMMAND WALL-E from Thinkway Toys
This realistic 9-inch-tall, infrared-controlled version of WALL-E comes to life with animated motion, voice, sound and light effects as kids maneuver him forward, turn him in reverse or make him dance! They can command the easy-to-use joystick controller on this Toys"R"Us exclusive to choose from a menu of pre-selected actions, voice responses and light effects that enable over 1,000 action combos. It is easy to replicate the quirky characteristics of WALL-E by controlling his eyes and arms, turning his treads and even pressing a button to recreate signature WALL-E movie expressions. 7 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 6 and up.

Pink Tag™ Reading System from LeapFrog®
Little learners can enjoy reading in a whole new way when they use the Pink Tag Reading System. This educational tool, available in pink only at Toys"R"Us, looks like a pen and lets kids hear an entire story, individual words or play learning games when scrolling over the words or pictures in a story. Kids can choose from a 20-volume library that includes "The Little Engine That Could" and "Olivia," as well as a title available only at Toys"R"Us, the popular "Dora the Explorer: Dora Goes to School." Parents can share in their child's learning accomplishments by connecting the Tag Reading System to a computer. 2 "AAA" batteries required (not included). Ages 4 to 8 years.

Star Wars: Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon™ from Hasbro®
The fastest ship in the Star Wars galaxy roars to life in this 2 ½-foot version featuring lights, sounds and even phrases directly from the original Star Wars trilogy. Piloted by the included 3 ¾-inch scale versions of Han Solo and Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon is ready to take kids into light speed with smuggling compartments, pivoting gunner station and room for 16 additional figures. Kids can easily play inside the ship by removing the outer panels, where they can access the medical bay to treat wounded troops or place up to four action figures in the cockpit. 3 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 4 and up.

X-trek PRO™ Track Set from Silverlit® Electronics
Aspiring racecar drivers can test their skills on this 14.5-foot track set, built for speed and maneuverability. Kids can race the two included 1:60 scale cars using the included tri-band remote controls. Just like in a real race, the cars can enter the pit stop area for a quick recharge before getting back into gear. Kids can also remove the cars from the track between races to charge them from the remote. The set, available only at Toys"R"Us, also brings an extra level of control to R/C racing with a unique front wheel steering system. Kids looking to make a bigger and more challenging set can extend the track with any X-trek Pro track piece or set. 2 "1.2 V Ni-MH" batteries required (included) and 8 "AA" batteries required (not included). Ages 5 and up.

8-11 years
Bakubelt™ Action Kit from Spin Master™
Bakugan Battle Brawlers™ is the latest craze among young boys, bringing a new component to trading card game play by adding plastic marbles (Bakugan Battle Brawlers) that "explode" to reveal mini-figures when they roll onto a metal Gate Card. Now, kids can prepare for Bakugan™ battle with the newest accessory, the Bakubelt Action Kit. This Toys"R"Us exclusive Action Kit features a Bakubelt, a Bakuclip™ that allows kids to reach for their Bakugan Battle Brawlers without ever taking their eyes off the game, two Bakugan Battle Brawlers (including one exclusive Deco Bakugan), two Gate Cards and two Ability Cards. No batteries required. Ages 5 and up.

EyeClops® Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles from JAKKS Pacific®
Powered by real night vision technology, Eye Clops Night Vision goggles allow kids to see up to 50-feet away in absolute darkness. The invisible infrared illumination lets young secret agents stay hidden, while giving them the advantage of seeing their opponents in a pitch-black night. Kids can go on special missions and perform night maneuvers in their own backyards with these goggles, which are fully adjustable and padded for comfort. The spyware comes equipped with a breakaway power cord attached to a counter-weighted battery pack to ensure the high-tech fun is safe for everyone. Requires 5 "AA" batteries (not included). Ages 8 and up.

Girl Gourmet™ Cupcake Maker from JAKKS Pacific®
Now girls can whip up homemade fun as they design their own cupcakes. Children just use the pre-measured spoon to add water to their favorite batter mix, stir, pour the mix into a cupcake cup, seal the creation in the microwaveable cupcake maker and cook for 30 seconds - no baking involved! Once the cupcake cools, kids can place it on the Cupcake Froster and choose from one of four delectable flavors to top their cupcake with bakery-style frosting swirls. The set comes with everything needed to create four batches of cupcakes, including one microwave container; the Cupcake Froster; four cupcake mixes, including Red Velvet, Cinnamon Sugar, Chocolate and Yellow Vanilla; four frosting mixes, including Cream Cheese, Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry; sprinkles, mixing bowl, pre-measured spoon, four cupcake cups, cupcake cup holder and two recipe cards. Microwave not included. No batteries required. Ages 8 and up.

Nickelodeon™ iCarly Webcam from Imation™
iCarly, the wildly popular sitcom on Nickelodeon®, inspires tweens everywhere to participate in the first-ever scripted series to include original kid-created content. Carly and friends host regular webcasts, asking viewers to send in their own videos and pictures to air on TV or upload to Now, with the iCarly Webcam, kids can reach for the stars. The iCarly Webcam, which is available only at Toys"R"Us, combines photo and filming to let kids capture images of themselves or create video chats right on a computer screen. The digital accessory comes complete with additional software that will help tech-savvy tweens achieve their 15-minutes of fame, including a special Digital Diary and video- or photo-editing software to help kids create and share their digital designs. Computer not included. No batteries required. Ages 5 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide in October.

Tweens can get the word out with this new version of SCRABBLE, elegantly redesigned in pink hues and available only at Toys"R"Us. Offering the same classic crossword challenge, this new version features a pastel rotating gameboard, pearl-like letter tiles and an embroidered fabric pouch. Whether preparing for a girls' night in or a pink party, SCRABBLE DESIGNER'S EDITION still spells "F-U-N." No batteries required. Ages 8 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide in October.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Twilight from LEGO Systems, Inc.
Flying straight out of the first animated Star Wars adventure and available only at Toys"R"Us, the Twilight is a temperamental but powerful starship piloted by Anakin Skywalker during his adventures in The Clone Wars. This massive LEGO® model, with 862 pieces, features retractable landing gear that is activated by moving the wing, a flick missile, a side-mounted escape pod, moveable laser cannon turrets and four minifigures including Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka, Rotta the Hutt and R2-D2. No batteries required. Ages 9 and up.

U-Dance from Hasbro®
Now, kids and tweens everywhere can show off their dance moves to some of the hottest songs with the unique and innovative U-DANCE gaming system that can be played alone, or with friends, for a challenging arcade-style face off. Completely wireless and dance-mat-free, featuring motion-sensing technology, this system allows players to act as the controller using body movements and real dance moves, such as jumping, sliding, cross-overs and more. Dancers simply plug the console into a TV, attach the wireless Motion Tags to their feet and literally step into the game, using their body as the game controller. Movements are then mirrored by ‘virtual footprints' on the TV screen. To play, dancers follow actual footprint icons as they appear on the TV to the beat of the music. The gaming system features three levels of game play for each song and popular dance music by hit artists, including Run It by Grammy-nominated pop artist Chris Brown, ABC by the Jackson 5 and Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by M.V.P. featuring C + C Music Factory. 4 "AA" batteries (not included). Ages 8 and up. Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 18.

Zillions™ Pink Touch Screen ATM from Summit
Kids will enjoy learning how to manage their money with this realistic, pink mini-version of a touch screen ATM, available exclusively in pink at Toys"R"Us. This hip new take on the classic piggy bank is equipped with advanced touch-screen technology that allows kids to access their "accounts" with a personalized pin number. The ATM is programmed to distinguish real money with its bill-reading and coin recognition system, helping young penny-savers track their earnings. 3 "AA" batteries required (included). Ages 8 and up.

Big Kids iMod™ from Razor®
This sleek, motorized Eurostyle scooter, available only at Toys"R"Us, comes equipped with two full range speakers and a docking station that is compatible with all current versions of the Apple® iPod®, so kids can cruise around the neighborhood as they listen to their favorite tunes. With its white exterior, the iMod is designed to match the classic, clean look of an iPod®, while boasting 12" tires and over 10 miles of smooth cruising capability at speeds up to 15 mph on a single charge. The iMod also comes with an FM stereo so kids can tune into their favorite stations. Kids can lift the seat to reveal a special storage compartment. 2 rechargeable "12V Lead Acid" batteries required (included) and 4 "AA" batteries required (not included). Apple iPod not included. Weight limit 170 lbs. Ages 12 and up.

Pink 8GB iPod® nano from Apple®
The fourth generation iPod nano, available in pink, lets music lovers carry thousands of songs on the go with a stylish new design featuring a curved aluminum and glass enclosure. Users just plug the iPod nano into a Macintosh or Windows based computer through the USB port, connect to iTunes, load their favorite tunes or movies, and they're ready to rock. The new iPod nano lets users enjoy up to 24 hours of music playback or four hours of video playback in a single charge and is available in a wide variety of colors including pink, blue, silver and black. Users can even lightly shake the iPod nano to automatically shuffle their songs. 1 rechargeable "Lithium Ion" battery required (included). Available in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide on October 19.

Star Wars®: The Force Unleashed™ from LucasArts™
For the first time, videogame players can wield the full power of the Force! This entirely new chapter in the Star Wars Saga casts players as Darth Vader's "Secret Apprentice" and promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy. Set between the largely unexplored era between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, players will assist Vader in his quest to rid the universe of Jedi – and face decisions that could change the course of their destiny. Using the newest videogame programming technology, environments and characters react exactly as they would in the real world, offering a new level of authenticity to the game play. Players can use the Force when they purchase the game on a variety of videogame consoles including the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS and the PlayStation Portable. No batteries required. Rated "T" for "Teen."

Wii Fit™ from Nintendo®
The newest addition to the Wii gaming platform, Wii Fit takes fitness and fun to a whole new level. Players can create a dynamic, personalized workout regimen while practicing yoga, training muscles, aerobicizing or playing balance games. Users just step onto the included Wii balance board, where they can set up a personal profile and set goals, test their balance, track their progress and work out with a virtual trainer. With more than 40 fun activities and exercises to choose from, including pushups with side planks, jogging in place, heading soccer balls and swiveling their hips while hula-hooping, players will have fun as they get into shape with this unique system. The Wii Balance Board also works with additional games for added challenges. Wii console not included. 4 AA batteries required (included) Rated "E" for "Everyone."

About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,500 stores, including 585 Toys"R"Us stores and 262 Babies"R"Us stores in the U.S., more than 693 international stores in 33 countries, which includes licensed and franchise stores, and through its Internet site at

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Sony PlayTV review

Sony's long-awaited Freeview dual-tuner adapter add-on has arrived in the somewhat functional form of the PlayStation-branded PlayTV! Will it transform the PS3 into a credible personal video recorder (PVR)?

The PlayTV pack-in includes a Blu-ray installation disc and mini USB cable! Be warned: PlayTV has no loop-through and there's no aerial splitter, a serious oversight! As my PS3 is conveniently placed near the sky+ box, I connected PlayTV directly into the RF2 output, which proved a useful workaround! I'd recommend using a high quality coaxial cable, to minimise signal loss, such as Profigold's BA-PGV8921!

Installation is a breeze and, following a system reboot, PlayTV is immediately accessible from the PS3's XMB! The GUI is intuitive and responsive with a luxurious 7-day electronic programme guide (EPG) that compares favourably with Apple TV and eclipses current offerings from sky and Virgin!

Scheduling recordings, with either the SIXAXIS controller or, more preferably, Sony Blu-ray remote, is the epitome of simplicity! I'd like to have seen a series link option and the ability to record two channels at once, but Sony assures customers that PlayTV will be continuously updated via PSN (a broadband connection is required)!

Background recordings can be performed whilst watching Blu-ray discs such as Wall-E or playing video games! However, there is a caveat. The quality of recordings maybe adversely affected according to Sony! During gameplay tests (using Devil May Cry 4 and Soul Calibur IV amongst others) I've yet to note any detriment to playback.

The overall quality of recordings is excellent (contingent on compression and signal strength) and is upscaled to 1080p (if your television supports the resolution)! Incidentally, native 1080i support for Freeview HD will be added in the future.

Bear in mind that 1GB of HDD space roughly equates to an hour of recording time and there's no means to adjust the bit rate to trade-off picture quality against recording duration! Therefore the PS3 40GB model won't pass muster if you're going away for weeks at a time and recording every episode of EastEnders and Neighbours.

With disk space at a premium, I'd suggest going for the 80GB model or higher! Sony promises a limited edition 160GB model for the upcoming holiday season!

Going forward, the engineers at Sony Cambridge should consider picture-in-picture (PiP) and conditional access for subscription-based services such as Setanta Sports!

As it currently stands, PlayTV is an absolute "must-have" for anyone with a PS3 and PSP! I cancelled my sky+ subscription and PlayTV trumps it in almost every regard! Look no further for a scalable multimedia PVR that can be accessed (via PSP) from anywhere in the world!

PlayTV crashes with alarming alacrity! Worst of all, it's a hard lock that necessitates a reboot of the PS3, stopping any ongoing recordings until the power's back on. Hopefully Sony will push a PSN patch ASAP!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Bring Back Star Wars sans Skywalker

Did you watch Bring Back Star Wars, presented by Justin Lee Collins, which was shown, last night, on Channel 4?

Justin Lee Collins, following his successful A-Team, Dallas and Grange Hill assignments, attempted to reunite the principal cast of the original Star Wars trilogy in his inimitable style!

Carrie Fisher is, as always, interview gold! Princess Leia was my first pin-up and adorned my bedroom wall for almost a decade! And I'm entirely envious that Justin Lee Collins had a guided tour of Carrie Fisher's homestead, despite being terrorised by one of Carrie's canines, that's not a euphemism!

The revelation that Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Anthony Daniels (C3-PO) never got along was a baffling surprise! And what's with Mark Hamill's (Luke Skywalker) self-defeating agenda to distance himself from the Star Wars saga? Collins' was fortunate not to raise the ludicrous $50K, purportedly requested by the actor's agent, to interview the embittered star! Skywalker! More like Starkiller!

Ultimately. I was left yearning for an unspoiled reissue of the original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray! George Lucas you, alone, have the power to bring balance to the force...

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Download FIFA 09 demo on PSN

Start practising your skills today with the all new FIFA 09 demo available for download from PLAYSTATION®Network

Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK, 11 September 2008 – FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ: ERTS) and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the new season of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), the world’s only official FIFA global football gaming competition. The FIWC is a season-long tournament mirroring the real world of football in which competitors from all around the world can participate playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 on the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™).

This year marks the fifth FIWC season, which will kick off with the launch of FIFA 09 on 3 October. Players will be able to compete at one of 19 physical FIWC 09 Qualifier Events across the globe, kicking off in New Zealand on 25 October and covering countries all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Italy, South Africa and the US[BM1] . Players will also be able to compete for the 13 places available in the final for the best online players via the PLAYSTATION®Network. The 32 finalists will compete to be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year, rewarded with an invitation to the FIFA World Player Gala along with a USD 20,000 cash prize and an all new KIA ‘Soul’. For the first time in the tournament’s history, the runner up will receive USD 5,000, while the player coming third will be awarded USD 1,000.

Hopeful competitors can get a head start and practise their skills for the tournament from today by playing the official FIFA 09 PS3 demo available for download worldwide now via PLAYSTATION®Network. Registration for participating in the online leg of the FIWC 09 tournament will take place directly inside the retail version of FIFA 09 on the PS3 in early October.

“The FIFA Interactive World Cup has established itself as a premier gaming tournament, and the only one under the FIFA banner. Over the last years I have witnessed incredible virtual football action which promises thrilling games and excitement at the upcoming interactive season. I am really looking forward to the kick-off of the 5th edition where everyone has the unique chance to become a real FIFA World Cup champion,” said FIFA Executive Member Chuck Blazer, himself an avid gamer.

“Over the last four years, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the gaming competition for football fans and gamers. It’s the only tournament in which competitors can play as their football heroes and have their virtual skills recognised by FIFA, the real life world governing body of football,” said Matt Bilbey, Senior Director, Sports Marketing, EA. “With our partners at FIFA and PlayStation, we’re excited for this year’s season to kick off when FIFA 09 launches in early October. The development team has done an incredible job in making FIFA 09 even more authentic and fun to play, so make sure you get a taste of it now and start practicing with the demo on PLAYSTATION Network.”

”This year is PlayStation’s second season involved in the FIWC and we are very excited to see the tournament grow and evolve to establish itself as the biggest online football tournament in the world,” said Darren Carter, VP for Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE. “This season players will be able to truly understand the unique experience FIFA 09 on PLAYSTATION 3 and PLAYSTATION Network offers and we look forward to seeing players from around the world go onto the PLAYSTATION Network and get practising immediately.”

During last year’s tournament, players spanning the globe from New Zealand to South Africa, Brazil to Korea to the USA and Italy dribbled and scored their way through the tournament’s 20 live qualifiers, while over 25,000 players competed in the online leg. In the end, it was Alfonso Ramos from Spain who emerged victoriously from the Grand Final in Berlin. He will join his real life football heroes on the 12th of January 2009 at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich to accept his trophy.

EA SPORTS™ FIFA 09 for the PlayStation®3 is now powered with dynamic real-world data and analytics, lifting the game to new heights of authenticity for football fans and gamers connected online. The adidas Live Season* service is based on how real players performed in the most recent real-world matches. Gameplay will change dynamically as the performance of players and football teams in the real world experience the highs and lows during their campaigns. Additionally over 250 gameplay additions and enhancements, Custom Team Tactics, 10v10* Online Team Play and the enhanced Be A Pro: Seasons will offer players a unique football experience that matches the complexity, finesse and beauty of the real-world game. To learn more about FIFA 09 visit

Details about the live qualifier events near you will be made available over the coming weeks at, so check in regularly to keep your fingers on the pulse of the FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009.

Footage and photography of the FIWC 08 is accessible on the FIFA Media Channel** now:

* Feature not active in FIWC tournament settings

** Requires registration at

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Jar Jar Binks Salad

A side dish from the Dark Side:
Sculpt Jar Jar Binks out of a root vegetable.

It's always great to hear from readers and, in this instance, share the endeavours of a fellow Star Wars fan and blogger!

Kevin's post (I accept no responsibility for the content of any other web site, including any site which may link to or from this site) appeals to my sense of humour and is also most health conscious too!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Previewing PlayTV

Sony launches its much delayed and maligned PlayTV Freeview tuner add-on for the PS3 on September 19th!

At the beginning of August I cancelled my sky+ subscription, following unresolvable technical issues, and am in the market for an inexpensive HDD PVR!

PlayTV plugs directly into the PS3 via USB (no additional power supply required) and is a space saving solution: it is no larger than a SIXAXIS controller.

The following key features of PlayTV are yet to be confirmed:

* Record and view your favourite programmes at the same time - PlayTV enables you to record both Standard Definition as well as High Definition

* Personal Video Recorder functionality - watch live TV, pause, fast forward and rewind

* Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) to show what's on, now and next - up to 7 days in advance in certain countries

* Mobile TV functionality - export content easily from PS3 HDD to PSP - watch TV on the go! Thanks to live streaming, you can watch your favourite show whilst abroad

* Channel surf with either your BD remote or your SIXAXIS

PlayTV is available for pre-order from at the very reasonable price of £59.99! I'll be reviewing PlayTV soon!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

MTV True Life is now casting for "I'm a Fanboy"



Are you a young person who is obsessed with a certain book, comic, or video game? MTV’s True Life is looking for young people who are die-hard fans of certain brands, characters, or fantasy series.

Are you obsessed with comic books, anime, fantasy, or manga? Do you like to dress up as your favorite character and attend conventions with other fans? Have you ever waited in line overnight for a book, movie, or video game release? Do you have tattoos depicting your favorite brand or characters? Have you ever missed work, school, or other important events to engage in role-playing or cosplay? Are you misunderstood by your family or significant other because of it? Do you aspire to author your own graphic novel or comic series despite your parents’ disapproval?

If you appear to be between the ages of 16 and 28, and want to share the story of your fantasy obsession, email us at with all of the details. Be sure to include your name, location, phone number and a photo, if possible.

Tell MTV why you need to be seen and heard. This is your chance to let others see what your life is all about!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Multimedia Memorial

Last week, whilst working on my mother's memorial project at Lucerne House Care Centre, Exeter, I had the notion that an ASUS Eee PC maybe an excellent enabling device for people with physical disabilities! With its shockproof Solid State Drive (SSD) design, users are able to enjoy stable and reliable computing on-the-go; while up to 8 hours of battery life and high speed 802.11n connectivity make it the ideal portable.

With the above in mind, I'm going to use this post as a soapbox and invite ASUS to contact me concerning the possibility of donating an ASUS Eee PC. I am prepared to mention ASUS, or any memorial project sponsor for that matter, in all subsequent press coverage - I intend to approach local and national newspapers with a most positive nursing home story.

Multimedia Memorial

A resident with the custom installation team from shop@Panasonic, Harlequins Centre, Exeter.

The plasma television forms part of my mother's memorial project, which is a work-in-progress! I have also donated a Nintendo Wii, PC and widescreen monitor amongst other equipment.

Special thanks to shop@Panasonic for donating a plasma television wall mount bracket and their time for free!