Post by:
16 Apr 2014 | Leave a Comment

‘We’re all the boss’ s a campaign by giffgaff that reinvents the meaning of the word ‘boss’, so that it will no longer apply to one individual. In this series they show how people work together can make things better, much like how giffgaff works. The series sees different collaborations with Astroid Boys, Trinity Warriors, a group of Coasteerers, Cardiff University Gaming Society and others in several different projects, you can find out more about their stories over at giffgaff.com/alltheboss

Filmed in loads of different communities all over the UK, the campaign focuses on people who are making things happen, making big decisions, bringing their ideas to life and being their own boss. This is anyone from Marcus who set up his own clothing label, to John, a member of a group of coasteers. Check it out.

This is a sponsored post.

Post by:
14 Apr 2014 | 9 Comments

SOE Landmark

SOE Landmark

As you saw if you read the site yesterday, our current online obsession is Sony Online’s ‘Landmark‘. A massive multiplayer crafting game, where you and your friends can build anything you want.

Are you into building games? Do you love Minecraft, but wish there was a bit more control than just placing pixelated cubes? Then this competition is for you!

We’re giving away 4 unrestricted Closed Beta keys to Landmark, meaning you can get in game right now, and help develop it’s future direction! All you have to do to be in with a chance to win, is one (or both) of the following:

1. Retweet the following:
Win a Beta Key for SOE’s Landmark. Tweet @Geektown why you should win! http://wp.me/p10pHL-3R9

2. Leave a comment on this post saying you want to win and tell me why I should pick you to win a Beta key!

If you do win, and would like to come join us, you’ll find Geektown right next to the main hub on Satisfaction (EU) server > Arch. You can come use our crafting stations to help get you started. :)

 

The competition closes on 18th April 2014 and is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY aged 16 or over.
There will be 4 winners picked from entries on geektown.co.uk and Twitter.
By entering you are agreeing to the rules of this competition. Full rules can be read here.

Post by:
13 Apr 2014 | Leave a Comment

A few days ago, Geektown had the pleasure of visiting The Gadget Show Live 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham. As with last year there where a number of interesting items on display, some practical, some just for fun. Here are the top 6 gadgets we saw at the show:

6. E-Bikes (Electric Bikes)

E-Bikes

E-Bikes

Last year you couldn’t move for 3D printers at the show. This year’s darlings appears to be the humble bike, but with a twist. There were a number of bike accessories and some foldable bikes, but the one that really caught my eye were the E-Bikes. The show had a big track set up so you could try out a number of battery operated electric bikes, which are essentially normal pedal bikes, but with a battery which can either assist you with your peddling, or take over completely.

It’s a slightly odd, but not unpleasant experience. On full battery power, it’s like free wheeling down a hill, but on the flat. Using it in assist mode is like having someone pushing you from behind. Like having some giant parent pushing you along, like they did when you learned to ride in the first place. The bikes are obviously a bit more expensive that your run-of-the-mill pedal bike, but they tend to get used a lot more, due to the fact the rider doesn’t have to worry about going out somewhere and not having the energy to pedal home again!

Electronic Bikes on Amazon

5. SunnyCam (Hands Free Video Camera)

I actually first saw the SunnyCam at ComicCon a few weeks back, when one of the photographers was wearing a pair of them to record footage (and if your reading this SunnyCam people, send a pair to Sleepy Hollow star Nicole Beharie as she was after a pair!) Put simply, they’re glasses with a HD video camera in them. No need for additional mounts, or things strapped to the side of your head. Just pop on the glasses and click the record button.  They record 720p HD video on to a 16Mb SD card which slots into the arm of the glasses. All the controls are easily accessible via buttons on the top of the arm, and you get 3hrs recording time from a charge. They actually look pretty stylish too!

SunnyCam website

4. OneWheel (Electric Skateboard)

OneWheel is the world first self-balancing electric skateboard. Taking inspiration from Back To The Future 2′s hover board, they wanted to build an easy to use ride that felt like you were floating across the ground. What they came up with was a board which, although it doesn’t actually hover, still looks awesome and performs beautifully. The main wheel is like a mini F1 tyre, and you control the board by a switch under your front foot. They’re in the process of building the product right now, and are taking preorders on their website. Interestingly, they assumed it would just be used as a fun cool toy, but some of the business guys that are backing them have said they want them for the commute to work!

OneWheel Website

Technology Will Save Us

Technology Will Save Us

3. Technology Will Save Us (DIY electronics kits)

Technology Will Save Us create as sell these great little DIY electronics kits. From simple circuits that click together, to more advanced kits that require a bit of soldering, they’re wonderful ways to introduce kids to electronics and programming. Whether it’s creating speakers, musical instruments, or simple hand-held games, it’s a brilliantly put together, inspirational product that totally deserves a place on this list.

Technology Will Save Us Website 

2. Tactus Smootch & VitriFender (Phone Covers)

As any regular reader of this site will know, we love phone accessories at Geektown, and the folk at Tactus had 2 which really caught my eye.

First up is the VitriFender screen cover. Pfhh… screen covers a screen cover you say? Not in this case… VitriFender is a piece of 0.4mm tempered glass, with a surface hardness of 8~9H. That means it’s 3 times stronger than your standard PET film. As I walked up to the stand, the sales guys was happily dropping 1 inch diameter ball bearings onto the screen from a fairly decent height without a mark being made on the phone. They even say you can take a knife to it and it won’t scratch!

The 2nd item is the Smootch. Made from ‘plubba’ (i swear i’m not making that up!), it’s a pliable rubber that has micro suction technology, allowing you to ‘stick’ your phone or pad to a smooth surface. At the show they had a number of them just ‘stuck’ to a plexiglass wall of the stand. You could take it off, and the cover itself is not sticky at all. Then just place it back to the wall, and it stays there. It’s like witchcraft!

Tactus Website

1. 1stFone/OwnFone (Phone)

1stFone

1stFone

For me, this ingenious little device was the star of the show. It’s an easy to use, well built, small phone. Just the size of a credit card, about 0.5cm thick, and very light, you can have it pre-programmed with up to 12 numbers. No text, no apps. Just a phone that make voice calls to the people listed on it.

If you want to give a phone to your young child so you can call them, and they can call you, but don’t want them to have internet access or be able to run up huge bills, then you can give them a 1stFone, and it will only let them call the people programmed into it. Or if you have an elderly relative that struggles with technology, then an OwnFone will let them have a set of numbers they can call at the push of a button. You can even design the front to have photo buttons rather than names, or even have the letters in Braille for blind users. All the numbers are stored in a cloud, so if you need to change a number, just call them up, and they’ll change it there and then. If you need to change the names, you can get your phone re-printed (they’re 3D printed) for £10 with the new names or photos on them.

1stFone Photos

1stFone Photos

Prices for the phone start at a very reasonable £40, and kids (or big kids) can pick and chose from a number of colourful designs. You can even upload your own images to customise the cover. Contracts start at £7.50 a month, and also come on pay-as-you-go. It should in theory also be safer from theft. Apart from the fact it doesn’t really look like a phone, what would be the point of someone stealing a phone that can only call preset numbers?

A genius, simple, easy to use product, with a wide range of uses.

1stFone/OwnFone Website

Post by:
13 Apr 2014 | Leave a Comment

Must… stop… building… must… write… article… Sony Entertainment Online’s latest online game ‘Landmark‘ recently made the move from Alpha to Closed Beta. For those of you unfamiliar with Landmark, it’s a huge open world game, where you can build anything you can imagine… And that means you can spend a lot of time in this game, tweaking and perfecting your creations. It say it’s somewhat addictive would be an understatement!

What is Landmark?

Building in Landmark

Building in Landmark

Landmark is a massive online sandbox where individuals, or groups can build anything they like. It’s about taking your pick & axe, heading out into the world, hacking down trees, mining for minerals, and using them to build something cool… And people have really were building some incredible stuff, from simple houses to huge statues, to castles, to aeroplanes! It’s amazing the amount of control some pretty simple tools can give you!

We’re at the start of Closed Beta, so there’s still a lot of features to add in – water, caves/underground, & combat to name a few key things, but those will come in time. What we do have are lots of destructible environments which you can mine/chop to get different minerals, gems and wood. You start out your Landmark adventure at a travel ‘hub’. This allows you to travel between the various islands in the game (more on them later), and also has a couple of basic crafting stations. You have a basic pick and axe, which means you can head out into the world, to start mining and chopping straight away. All you need to do is find a copper vein, or tree and get to work! Once you have a few basic raw materials, you can come back to the hub and craft the all important ‘Claim Flag’.

Staking your claim!

As much fun as destroying things can be, what you really need is a place to call home. This is called a ‘Claim’, and gives you an area where you can build permanent structures. You make a ‘Claim’ by crafting a Claim Flag at the hub crafting station, then running out into the world to find an unclaimed bit of land. If you’re struggling with this, you can switch on a ‘view claimable land’ option in the settings menu, which will highlight where in the world you can and can’t build. Once you find a open spot you like, you just have to ‘right click’ your flag to stab it into the ground and screaming ‘CLAIMED!’… (okay, that last bit is optional…), and your now a proud land owner! Claims have an upkeep of 300 copper (which is the most common resource) per day per Claim. You can currently only pay for 5 days at a time, but i suspect this’ll get altered as the game moves to Live. It’s a case of not wanting to have prime real estate sat doing nothing, and more importantly giving Beta testers a reason to login more frequently. It’s not really a huge hardship, as you can get around 300 copper out of a single copper vein, so it’ll only take 10 mins of mining to come up with a weeks worth of fees. It’s possible to chain a few claims together by crafting additional ‘Claim Flags’, and attaching them to the side of the main Claim, but for that, you need to make yourself some crafting stations.

Let Building Commence

Crafting stations in Landmark

Crafting stations in Landmark

Now you have your claim, you can start building whatever you like with the raw materials you’ve already mined. At this point, that’s mainly going to be wood, stone, some metals, and dirt. It’s enough for you to build some basic structures, but to get the more advanced building tools, better picks/axes, things to help you mine faster, and ‘props’ (which are pre-made items, like chairs, tables or lamps you can use as extra decoration), you need to build your own crafting stations. This is done by getting some basic raw material and crafting at the free crafting station at the Hub, or finding a friendly claim nearby that has the option to allow visitors to use their crafting stations turned on. Once you have your own crafting station, you can place it on your Claim, and get to work on gathering more advanced materials to improve your building options and tools.

Finding Advanced Materials

Not all materials are available on your current island. To get the higher level stuff, you’ll need to use the Hub to jump between locations. Each island has a different look and some unique building material referred to as ‘biomes’. For instance, Desert Biomes, as you’d probably expect, have lots of sand and unique tree types, where as Tundra Biomes have their own unique trees, plus lots of ice and snow. Currently the islands are split into tiers 1-4 and all the mineable material is on the surface. So the lower level materials such as copper and iron are in lower tiers, whilst higher level materials like obsidian and diamonds are in higher tiers. This will eventually be switched so all tiers will be be layered in single Biomes, so you’ll have to dig down to get to the higher tiers, rather than it all being on the surface.

The Tools of the Trade

Geektown Castle

Geektown Castle

I’ve been playing the game since Alpha, and have had some great fun just trying out the building tools, and seeing what I could create. This is where Landmark is way ahead of any other ‘building’ game. Rather than just stacking blocks on top of each other, Landmark gives you a variety of simple geometric shapes to build with. Cubes of various sizes, a variety of corners/triangles, and spheres in a range of sizes. You start with the basic ‘Add‘ ‘Delete‘ and ‘Heal‘ tools (the latter reverting whatever you’ve done to the landscape back to its original state). You can do a lot, even with just these, however you can also craft additional tools:

  • Select – which allows you to select/copy/paste areas
  • Smooth – which smooths out your shapes the more you use it)
  • Line – which… draws lines… and finally
  • Paint – which allows you to ‘paint’ an existing area with a new material

As I mentioned earlier, the game is still in Closed Beta, the the stuff you can build even now is quite incredible. Just take a look at the official player showcase forum, and you’ll see some astonishing work. As I implied at the start of the post, I’m spending an awful lot of time in Landmark, just enjoying the chance to build and rebuild anything I can think of. What’s nice about being in the Closed Beta is the developers are watching how player use tools and props, and are developing the game around player feedback. There’s a lovely community spirit to the game, and the forums. There’s also a lot features to come. I’m looking forward to the day they add in water and underground features like caves and caverns. There’s also some basic combat incoming, although that’s really not the focus of the game. The other feature I’d love to see is an equivalent to Minecraft’s redstone system, to allow the ability to create electrics, but I suspect that may be a way off.

Personally, for my build I decided I wanted to stay reasonably traditional, but rather than build one massive structure, I wanted to build a town… A Geektown if you like… There’s a video above, and screenshots below, but if you want to take a look in game, it’s on Satisfaction (EU) server > Arch, just next to the Hub. Everyone is welcome in Geektown, and the crafting stations are open to all. And if you see my toon (Tathor) wandering around, give me a /wave. :)

Post by:
10 Apr 2014 | 2 Comments

Dan Harmon

Dan Harmon – Community

Television fans have never had it better. The small screen golden age, which began roughly 20 seconds into the first episode of David Chase’s seminal mob drama The Sopranos and has continued unabated into today, has left armchair critics spoilt by a seemingly unending tide of world class programming. It would once have seemed laughable to question whether television had overtaken film as a storytelling medium, but the debate has been comprehensively answered by the migration of bonafide Hollywood stars and Oscar-winning talent from the Silver Screen to our Living rooms – see Kevin Spacey and Matthew McConaughey’s acclaimed recent turns in House of Cards and True Detective respectively, or the news that Tom Hardy will be appearing in the upcoming series of Peaky Blinders.

With this kind of acting pedigree In front of the camera, and the immense investment placed in production values (Game of Thrones is rumoured to cost a cool $6m an episode, while Mad Men paid $250,000 to show Don Draper listening to The Beatles), it isn’t always easy to look past the glitz at the genius that lurks beneath. For it is in the shadows of the writers room, between dozens of coffee cups and battered blackboards, that the magic truly happens. They might not receive the red carpet attention or pages of breathless tabloid prose, but the creators, writers, and showrunners – the brains behind the best television – are the real stars.

While the brilliant Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul deserved every award going, their dark puppet-master, Vince Gilligan, deserved more than a tip of Heisenberg’s hat for his unflinching commitment to creating an arresting 50 hour epic. Matthew Weiner brought a studied, novelistic brilliance to both The Sopranos and Mad Men; George RR Martin and his partners in brutal fantasy crime have created a world every bit as real as our own; and the influence of Dan Harmon on the madcap brilliance of Sony TV’s Community was recognized by the fact that his return to writing duties on this Thursday’s Season 5 premiere has been entitled the ‘Re-Pilot’ – the captain’s back in charge and the comedy is set to soar once more.

These are the geniuses who turn rainy nights sat on the sofa into the highlights of every week. Here’s our tribute to the often under appreciated…

David Benioff and Dan Weiss : Game of Thrones (2011)

Putting the spotlight on terrifying flame-spitting dragons, unforgettable cinematic scale battles, impressive visual effects and breath-taking landscapes, the writers of the epic fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, certainly know how to keep their 20 million fans hooked season after season. When David Benioff and Dan Weiss met, about 17 years ago, they were both studying Creative Writing at Trinity College in Dublin and that does not come as a shock. Who else could transfer George R. R. Martin’s work into mind-blowing images better than a wildering imagination-full pair of minds? Compelled by mythical stories and influenced by Anglo-Irish authors such as Beckett or James Joyce, Benioff and Weiss already knew they would be better off writing Fantasy; so when they were asked to bring the books to life, they of course accepted – and they weren’t wrong as Game of Thrones now proves to be the most widely watched series of all time.

Vince Gilligan : Breaking Bad (2008)

Breaking Bad has swept millions of fans off their feet and has left its public in deep sorrow after the Season Finale. From the beginning to the end of the series, Vince Gilligan has shown undeniable great talent in directing the degrading story of a chemistry teacher, Walter White, embarking himself in a career of drugs and crime after being diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and given only 2 years to live. Winning the director’s guild Award for the season Finale, Vince Gilligan has become one of the most renowned and influential series’ directors of all time. Gilligan also possesses the ability to capture themes such Sci-Fi, with The XFiles, being one of his milestone productions!

Dan Harmon : Community (2009)

Dan Harmon’s 5th Season of Community is coming back to our screens on Sony Entertainment Television! After a rumoured dispute with leading actor Chevy Chase, Dan Harmon had left the cast in 2013 and was replaced by another show-runner. Even though the media, the cast and the crew agreed he was difficult to work with at times, his absence was even harder to cope with. Harmon’s hard work, talent and dedication for the show were what made the difference. After all, we do say that ‘Madness is Genius’. All his sleepless nights, working on the evolution of the Greendale Community College students, paid off when he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series in 2012- and he is now coming back for more!

Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat : Sherlock (2010)

Set in 21st century London, Sherlock and Watson strike back for more adventures. Wandering in the dark streets of the capital, the two main protagonists use nowadays’ technologies such as mobile phones and GPS to track down the bad guys. After numerous adaptations of Conan Doyle’s stories, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat still manage to make a remarkable use of their imagination to make this show stand out of the competition. The writers’ admiration and influences of the Victorian literature is highly demonstrated throughout the striking similarities between Sherlock and time-travelling favourite Doctor Who.

Aaron Sorkin : The Newsroom (2012)

Whilst working on the set of The Social Network, a film for which he earned 8 nominations and a best screenplay award, Aaron Sorkin was already thinking of his return to television. He came up with the idea to create an American political drama series and that did not come as a surprise to fans…. Similar to his previous work on The West Wing, The Newsroom also reflects Sorkin’s liberal political view in a story of government, power and corruption within the media industry. While we might view Sorkin’s style and themes as repetitive, his indisputable talent and sarcastic way of portraying society will always leave its audiences in awe.

Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan : Modern Family (2011)

Modern Family is one of today’s highest viewed American sitcoms. Narrating the daily way-of-life of an atypical family, Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan base their various plots on the happenings of their own family lives. Introducing a variety of hilariously contrasting characters while using mockumentary footage of them revealing their secrets in a face-to-face unilateral conversation with the camera, the show’s writers know exactly how to make their audiences fall off their chairs with laughter. Comedy sitcom series actually seem to be Levitan and Lloyd’s landmark, highlighted in their previous works on TV shows Wings, Frasier and the briefly-screened Back To You. Side note: Christopher Lloyd in NOT the Christopher Lloyd that plays Doc Emmett Brown in Back to the Future!

Paul Abbott : Shameless (2011)

Paul Abbott has not always had an easy life. Seventh out of eight children, his parents both abandoned him when he was 11 and he had to be brought up by his 16 year old, pregnant sister. Raped and suicidal, Abbott found an escape in writing, which, further on, led him to become one of the most successful television writers in Britain, mostly renowned for his work for Coronation Street and Shameless. Introducing us to the largely dysfunctional Gallagher family, Shameless seems to be, even though denied by Abbott, somewhat autobiographical.

Nic Pizzolatto : True Detective (2014)

In this sensational thriller, Nic Pizzolato perfectly develops an enthralling plot that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats. True Detective follows two Lousianna State Police detectives in their 17 year-long hunt for a killer. Nic Pizzalato’s past experience as a University teacher of fiction and literature, along with his large repertoire of self-written thrillers and fiction short stories could already foretell the success of his televised show. In the month since True Detective premiered in America, Pizzolatto has been compared to three Davids (Simon, Milch and Chase – the men behind The Wire, Deadwood and The Sopranos) and has just signed a two-year deal with HBO that will allow him to develop a second series.

Beau Willimon : House of Cards (2013)

In this modern day analysis of power struggles and corruption in the U.S. Senate house, Beau Willimon actually showcases his early days in politics. In his early 20s, he became one of the many young people to devote themselves to the Vermont Government, supporting Howard Dean in his 2004 presidential campaign. Through Howard Dean’s defeat, Beau witnessed the negative implications of idealism and found a mysterious inspiration which led him to transform these real-life scenarios into an Award-winning series.

Matthew Weiner : Mad Men (2007)

A black-suited male silhouette enters his office, places his suitcase on the floor, and watches as his furniture disintegrate. He continues walking before falling off a skyscraper. In his descent, he freefalls past images of seductive women, alcohol and his other occupations. In this opening credit of Mad Men, the animation reveals encrypted clues as to what the show is all about. Portraying a society of yester-year, through events and goings-on in an advertising firm, Matthew Weiner recounts the story of Don Draper, a creative director working for the Sterling Cooper Advertising agency. Matthew’s work is observed to be consistent to his use of classical settings, which are also recurrent in his previous show The Sopranos.

Community Season 5 premieres exclusively on Sony Entertainment Television (Sky 157, Virgin 193, BT 454, Talk Talk 454) this Thursday 10th April, with a double bill from 10pm.

Post by:
10 Apr 2014 | 13 Comments

School is back in session 10PM, THURSDAY 10TH APRIL

Commnity – School is back in session 10PM, THURSDAY 10TH APRIL

Sony Entertainment Television has announced the return of cult US comedy “Community” to UK screens, with its 5th Season premiering exclusively on the channel (Sky 157/Virgin 193/BT and TalkTalk 454) at 10PM, THURSDAY 10th APRIL hot on the tail of its acclaimed debut stateside.

Season 5 sees Breaking Bad’s Jonathan Banks join the cast as the imperiously cranky Buzz Hickey; Jeff (that’s Mr. Winger to you) makes a shock return as a teacher; and a Greendale-wide search for a troublemaker known only as the Ass Crack Bandit… With series creator Dan Harmon triumphantly back at the helm, Community’s fifth season sees the pop-culture-riffing comic phenomenon reach stunning new heights.

To help celebrate this return, we’re offering you the chance to win a COMMUNITY GOODIE BAG containing:

  • x1 T Shirt (sizes: XS/M/L to be requested by winner)
  • x1 Signed Cast Poster
  • x1 Inspector Spacetime Toy Gun Memorabilia (this is actually a prop taken from the show itself!)

We also have a runners up prize of:

  • x1 T Shirt (sizes: XS/M/L to be requested by winner)
  • x1 Signed Cast Poster

 

How to Win a COMMUNITY Goodie Bag!

We have 1 main prize a 1 runner up prize to give away, and as usual, all you have to do to win, is one (or both!) of the following:

1. Retweet the following:
Community S5 premieres tonight, 10pm @SonyTVUK #CommunitysBack RT to win Community Prizes! @Geektown http://wp.me/p10pHL-3Qe

2. Leave a comment on this post saying you want to win!
You can just say you want to win, or… be a bit more creative with your answer, and tell me why I should pick you to win! ;)

 

The competition closes on 18th April 2014 and is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY aged 16 or over.
There will be 2 winners picked from entries on geektown.co.uk and Twitter.
By entering you are agreeing to the rules of this competition. Full rules can be read here.