Starbucks Introduce Wireless Charging Station Experiment

Best known for being a second home to any aspiring writers with a laptop to hand, coffee shop franchise Starbucks have announced that a small selection from their many worldwide chains will be offering the chance for the general public to do likewise with their mobile devices.

starbucks_coffee_wireless_chargeTeaming up with battery manufacturers Duracell, an experimental movement will see ‘wireless charging services’ offered for smartphone users in select American stores, more specifically in a number of outlets from the cities of San Jose and Boston.

The Seattle-based firm will be bringing in ‘charging mats’ to tables in each of those stores chosen, designed as a more convenient way to charge a device than carrying cables around to plug into a wall or seat. The only requirement, naturally (aside from buying something from Starbucks first to use the facilities), is that the device is Powermat-compatible or that they have a specialised case to do likewise whilst dining or drinking in the store.

Starbucks’ interestingly-titled ‘chief digital officer’ Adam Brotman said of the introduction of a method to recharge smartphone and human batteries simultaneously: “Starbucks believes this is another step in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to in-store technology.”

While they are yet to make an announcement regarding plans to expand on their current trial in America (and potentially to other territories), it is certainly an innovative idea never-before-tried by any other major eatery or rest stop, but will it catch (or magnetically clip) on? It could be the breakthrough that makes your local Starbucks even more of a prime location to have a relaxing drink, catch up with friends, or even hold your business meetings:

Where To Watch The 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup began yesterday with host nation and tournament favourites Brazil somewhat struggling to a 3-1 opening match victory against Croatia, but if you are a football fan who missed out on the Opening Ceremony and this match, then you can catch up with the remaining 63 fixtures in the tournament.

2014 FIFA World Cup - Fuleco PosterMost Countries will be broadcasting and streaming the games for free,so if you are a traditional TV watcher, use a combo of streaming and broadcast, or have totally cut the cord then this page should hopefully remove any excuses for missing out on the games.

In terms of viewing in general, especially in a much more online and connected world than even the 2010 event, it will not be difficult for anyone with an internet connection to watch the tournament through live streaming wherever they are in the world, through ‘fair’ means or foul, provided you are willing to take the cost/security risk that could be found in some of the respective website genres.

In terms of TV rights (and by extension, some of the official streaming providers), it would also be hard-pressed for anyone to not have their territory covered in some official form should they have a working TV or Radio signal. In the case of the host nation, matches and highlights will be viewable through a number of rights holders, with Rede Globo, Rede Bandeirantes, ESPN Brasil, Fox Sports, and SporTV all officially covering the tournament in Brazil, with radio coverage coming through a large number of stations regionally and nationally led by Radio Globo, amongst others.

For the country that invented the sport that the Brazilians then perfected, as the saying goes (“Os ingleses o inventaram, os brasileiros o aperfeiçoaram”), viewers in England, and the UK as a whole [including non-qualifying countries, and territories not part of FIFA] will be able to follow matches on TV via the public service broadcaster BBC and leading commercial network ITV, who recently signed an extension of their shared agreement (around half of the matches each and sharing the Final) through to the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

In reigning world champion nation Spain, viewers can tune in via Mediaset Espana and Gol Television. People living in their first Group B opponents today (and 2010′s 2nd-place team), the Netherlands [Holland] will be able to watch their long-awaited rematch, and all other fixtures, through NOS. 2010′s Bronze Medalists Germany, meanwhile, will have the tournament covered on ARD and ZDF.

The USA, long dubbed as one of the final frontiers that the sport still needs to break into as a nation’s most popular, will carry coverage to itself and associated territories through ABC (in their last tournament before Fox take over free-to-air rights), sports broadcasting giants ESPN, and Spanish-language broadcasters Univision. Other primarily English-speaking nations that have qualified for the 32-team tournament include Australia (SBS); Ghana (GBC, Metro TV); and Nigeria (BON, Optima SMI).

Other territories of participating countries to note, either for their sporting and tournament heritage, or for being part of a geographically-widespread broadcasting area, include Argentina (Torneos y Competencias and TV Publica Digital), France [and all territories/departments, and Andorra, and Monaco] (TF1, beIN Sports, France Televisions), Greece (NERIT and Nova Sports), Italy [and San Marino, and Vatican City] (RAI and Sky Italia); Japan (Fuji TV, NHK, Nippon Television, TBS, TV Asahi, TV Tokyo), Mexico (Televisa, TV Azteca, Cinepolis), Switzerland [and Liechtenstein] (SRG SSR), Uruguay (Monte Carlo TV, Sociedad Anonima Emisoras de Television y Anexos, Sociedad Televisora Larrañaga), Algeria [along with almost all countries in the 'Arab-speaking world'] (beIN Sports), Russia [and presumably their current 'territories' by extension] (C1R, VGTRK), and South Korea [and North Korea] (SBS).

And viewers in the sole nation making its debut appearance, Bosnia-Herzegovina, will be able to do so through BHRT. For all 11 other countries who have their national football team taking part in this event over the next month, their official broadcasters can be seen below:

Belgium: VRT, RTBF
Cameroon: CRTV
Chile: TVN, Canal 13, DirecTV, Movistar
Colombia: Caracol TV, RCN TV, win Sports, Millicom
Costa Rica: Repretel, Teletica, Millicom
Côte d’Ivoire [Ivory Coast]: RTI
Croatia: HRT
Ecuador: Gama TV, TC Televisión, Oromar Televisión, DirecTV
Honduras: Vica Televisión, Telesistema, Televisora Hondureña, Millicom
Iran: IRIB
Portugal: RTP, CMTV, SportTV

As for major broadcasting nations which did not qualify, China will primarily see matches through CCTV, India [as part of a 'South Asia' rights deal] via MSM Satellite and Seven3, Indonesia with ANTV and tvOne, and Canada through CBC, Sportsnet, TVA, EastLink TV, TLN, Mediaset Italia Canada, and Univision Canada. For nations and territories not affiliated to FIFA, the charge is led by Greenland (KNR and DR (the latter also present in Denmark and the Faroe Islands)); and Kosovo (RTK, Digit-Alb).

Whilst almost the entire continent of Oceania (barring the French territories and New Zealand (who are covered by TVNZ and Sky Sport)) will be able to watch by Click Pacific. The remainder, because it would take too long to list everywhere else in the world and what they are doing, the more complete and legible list of broadcasters around the world can be seen here. In the biggest broadcasting effort in the tournament’s long 21-edition history, there can be few excuses for not keeping up in one way or another…

As a final alternative, you could just have a strong enough signal to be able to catch the official highlights at a convenient hour for free via a broadcaster or through FIFA’s official means (including their official tournament website and on YouTube). Though with the result fully on display on the same page for those wishing to just find out the result, the experience is… almost like watching it live?


Case in point:


And the sort of official videos that this tournament’s highlights may soon join, including a visual ode to the hosts’ illustrious history:


And an ‘Official Sponsor Tournament Anthem’ to help get you in the mood for the remaining 63 matches:

Latest TV searches:

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The Walking Dead Takes Third Year In A Row As Universals Halloween Headliner

AMC‘s popular zombie drama The Walking Dead is naturally looking to cash in and promote itself through every major opportunity going, with their latest confirmed event being on which continues on from something they have done for two years previously.

universal_halloween_horror_nights_cabin_downsizedThat is heading to Universal Studios Orlando (USA), and appearing as part of their seasonal ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ attraction (pictured featuring parody film The Cabin in the Woods) for the 3rd year in a row, but this time confirmed as the headliner.

Taking place across the theme park in autumn evenings, the Halloween Horror Nights incorporates a number of attractions including ‘terrifying mazes’ complete with hundreds of ‘scareactors’, that reenact and reinvent famous horror movie/TV show moments for interactive audiences, not too dissimilar to what you would imagine goes on here.

This year, Universal are showing their faith in the cable network’s current prized asset by allowing it headlining status of the Halloween maze, an experience for visitors that is set to be ‘inspired’ by the show’s most recent 16-episode fourth season.

A quote from an official press release by Universal Studios Orlando regarding the matter read: “This year’s bone-chilling maze will place guests at the heart of a harrowing journey to seek sanctuary at Terminus, an elusive destination that promises community for all. Mirroring the terror that befell the residents of the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by savage walkers, the experience will send guests fleeing from the fallen prison into unknown territory as they once again stage a desperate battle for survival against flesh-eating walkers and ruthless humans.

“The engrossing cult favourite television series will seep into other parts of Universal’s backlot, with predatory walkers prowling the secluded wooded areas of the movie studio. Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead will send guests on the daunting path to Terminus, interspersed with landmarks and walkers from Season 4, including the ‘burned moonshine cabin’, ‘charred walkers’ and ‘mud walkers’.”

Celebrating becoming the most-used show/movie to be featured as Halloween Horror’s main attraction through its third appearance, The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero stated: “This has been an incredible collaboration and I am thrilled to be working once again with the creative teams at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood to bring the world of The Walking Dead to our dedicated fans. I can’t wait for visitors to experience first-hand some of the iconic moments from Season 4 in what will be the biggest, most exciting and frightening Walking Dead maze to date.”

Of course, by then those visitors who are Walking Dead fans will be talking about season 5… but it is always good to look back every now and then:

Latest TV searches:

the walking dead season 5

Titan Produce Godly Millionaire’s TV Zeus

British television manufacturers Titan, with their newest model, the ‘Zeus’, have certainly placed themselves into the upper echelons of TV product folklore, after a their product appears to have broken the key size and price-based records in the industry with its launch.

titan_zeus_1m_tvThe Zeus is claimed by Titan to be the ‘world’s largest commercial TV‘, with their published ’370-inch’ screen size dwarfing the ‘groundbreaking’ releases from major technology companies in the past year that can barely manage a quarter of such figures. In a more general perspective away from the TV manufacturing industry, the Zeus is noted as measuring close to 8 metres wide by close to 5 metres high, almost as wide and around twice the height of a football goal.

Believed to be a release that will co-incide with the sporting TV marathon that will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Titan, for a number of reasons, are targeting public screening providers (such as pubs and ‘other public services’) as their main market for selling the device.

One of those reasons is naturally the size of a wall that would be required to fit the set indoors (making the ‘outdoor optimised screen setting’ (viewable in direct sunlight) a critical component), along with the fact that generally only people with those types of walls to hand would be able to afford this TV, with the Zeus also noteworthy for being listed at £1 million ($1.7m), and in doing so being the first TV set to surpass such a ‘milestone’. For more budgeted customers, there is the option to take on a new ‘mid-range’ set in Titan’s TV lines, with a ’100-inch’ model available from just £150,000.

For the millionaire buyer, though, features promised alongside the outdoor optimisation is a capability of displaying 65 million colours, as well as the presumably-expected support for watching 4K content.

Titan’s CEO Anthony Ganjou said of the work his company have put into making the Zeus “We have assembled the best screen technologists in the country to hand build a British-made screen which would not only be the biggest but the most extraordinary ever conceived. Following the interest in the launch range of our ultra high end 1000 inch domestic screens we decided to create something iconic and the team spent 6 months building the million pound screen.”

Whether they receive any customers this summer (or any season in the coming years) remains to be seen, and whilst the comparisons to what you could buy instead (many apartments, vehicles, hundreds/thousands of ‘regular’ 3D or 4K tv sets), the point that could really drive home the cost of the Titan Zeus is that you could be in the situation below, buy the set afterwards, and be without a penny to show for it. But you would have a nice TV set…

Psy Releases First Video In A Year With Snoop Dogg

South Korean singer Psy is fresh off the back of hitting the 2 billion view milestone on YouTube, and while the growth of the world’s most popular clip “Gangnam Style” naturally slows as it approaches its 2nd birthday, he will hope that fresh new content can maintain or improve the rates at which his channel is viewed.

psy_hangover_animeFollowing on from last year’s effort “Gentleman”, Psy, through School Boy Records & Republic Records, has this week unveiled the latest addition to his discography, a Snoop Dogg collaboration known as “Hangover”.

Not to be confused with the well-known recent movie franchise, the music video of “Hangover” features Psy and Snoop knocking back the soju in a video that features many more of the bizzare scenes that attracted people to “Gangnam Style”, highlights this time being the pair indulging in ‘synchronised teeth brushing’, skipping merrily through an amusement park with their dates, and a martial arts-infused game of pool. And a spoon-triggered bar fight in the background… that carries on into traffic. And also a Psy-triggered alcoholic domino.

After promoting the single through Jimmy Kimmel Live: Game Night, the video release on 8 June has in the space of 2 days already amassed 20 million YouTube views. That figure is currently still barely 1% of what “Gangnam Style” has achieved though, a feat which Psy noted of at the time: “2 billion views… they are very honorable and very burdensome numbers. With appreciation, I will come back soon with more joyful contents!!”

Of the recent effort which he hopes will grow in stature, Psy stated of the production of the song (which he claims was an idea, unsurprisingly, conceived after a night of partying) and the video, which was shot in Seoul (South Korea): “What I thought was I should refresh myself, and [let people know], that I’m doing something different, so I thought about maybe changing genres. After that hook part was done, right away I thought about Snoop Dogg. He’s hanging over every day, so, wow, I should call him! We [shot] that music video in Korea [in January]… Snoop and I both had only 18 hours. Snoop’s calculation was 8 hours of shooting and 10 hours of partying. That’s what he thought, and honestly, that’s how I convinced him to bring him to Korea.”

Set to move a lot faster this time around with the release of a new music video (with the end of the video hinting that next effort “Daddy” will be out by the end of the summer), will Psy be able to get several more videos to the top end of YouTube’s viewcount list?

Meanwhile, this previous Snoop Dogg guest appearance might be shown should Psy continue to build his status as YouTube’s #1 music video star:

And just in case you somehow missed it at any point in the last 23 months:

Kim Doctcom Offers $5m Bounty For Proof Of Corruption In Copyright Case

Mega founder Kim Dotcom, still reeling from and awaiting action against him over his last and more notable venture Megaupload, has announced his determination to prove that the shutdown of the latter file-sharing website was performed in an unfair manner, as he puts up a reward of $5m (NZ$5.87m) for anyone that can provide formal evidence of such practice.

kim_dotcom_worldchangerThe reward on offer is designed to encourage anyone who holds information to bring forth their evidence of any ‘wrongdoing and corruption’ that occured in the ongoing American piracy case against Dotcom, who claims he has been ‘illegally targeted’ by US authorities ‘on behalf of Hollywood studios’.

He has repeatedly claimed since the enforced shutdown of Megaupload in 2012 that American authorities, alongside national and local law enforcement in his current home of Auckland (New Zealand) have been ‘illegally targeting’ him since the raid on his mansion to do so.

The open request for help in his legal cause was made on Twitter, where he wrote: My case is unfair: I was declined discovery. I didn’t get my own data back. I need Whistleblowers. I am offering USD $5M. 

Speaking to TorrentFreak, Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schwartz_) added that full legal protection would be offered by him towards ‘any person willing to help’. He stated: “Let me be clear, we are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood. It is the opinion of my legal team that disclosure of such information would be lawful. I would also guarantee that any whistleblower coming forward would have the best legal representation at zero cost.”

Looking to avoid a jail sentence of up to 20 for himself and three Megaupload collaborators, on charges of copyright theft, money laundering, and racketeering, will Kim Dotcom’s efforts to pull out some formal leverage in the case be a move that bears any fruit for his cause?