Welcome to my blog - Read and enjoy

Thank you for visiting my Scooby1970 blogspot. I update whenever I can and when I have something interesting to share. You will also find published work of mine at Gaming Illustrated. Gaming Illustrated is where most of my work now takes place, but I will transfer some of my more popular articles from there over to this blog, in extended format.

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Also check out my 10 Quick Facts for more sites I run.

Enjoy the blogs, and relive my ups and downs in life, view some interesting reviews and just enjoy the site. If you are interested in learning something about some of my favourite music then click here it's the official Jan & Dean Site that has taken me and my friend from across the sea, June many years to keep updated.

:) Mark

Friday, 17 April 2015

Election 2015

It’s not often that I get involved in politics on my blog, however, this coming election on May 7th 2015 in the United Kingdom deserves a mention for a number of reasons, most notably public apathy and general vote wasting.

At a time when we need strong leadership, a strong vision, and an even stronger leader, the leadership debates on television have opened our eyes to the Party Leaders. However grey the line is between each party, the public needs to think about their votes now more than ever, in order to ensure that the next Government is the sole Government, not joining other parties just to get in power.

We’ve seen the demise of the Liberal Democrats, who foolishly chose to partner with the Conservatives in the last election. Nick Clegg is now just a laughing stock to many, unable to stand by his ideals under the pressure of the much more dominant David Cameron led Conservative party.

This election, please do not waste votes on the lesser parties, however much you may want to be a rebel in voting UKIP, Plaid Cymru, SNP or (cough) The Green Party. Our country IS going to have either a Conservative or a Labour Government in this election, so make every vote count.

Just because your town or city may have always been Labour, Conservative or which-ever Party it is now, don’t not vote, don’t squander your vote on someone you know want get into power. Use your vote to cut a clear line between the two main parties. Use your vote so the United Kingdom can have a decisive party leading, with one leader, one set of policies and one vision for its people.
Our country has gone through many years of some of the worst cuts and austerity measures in our lifetime. We have unacceptable levels of taxing. Unemployment is artificially inflated when in fact it is rife among the young and the old. Wages are stagnant. Housing is in crisis with too many people in it for the money as opposed to offering a real “home”. Our armed forces are crippled. The NHS is a crippled shadow of it's former self. And to top it all, the rich get richer as the poor get poorer.

This is not a party political broadcast on behalf of any party, its just me trying to reach out to you (the reader), in the hope that regardless of who you have voted for in the past, this time you will make your vote count.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Streaming Movies In Chromecast

Google’s Chromecast -  An Introduction
Google’s Chromecast is an awesome piece of technology. It’s a simple streaming box that can be used to stream audio and video to your TV from your PC or mobile device. What this article looks at is streaming video from your Android Phone to your Chromecast with perfect results.

There are a lot of movies apps that work with the Google Chromecast such as Netflix, Now TV, Wuaki, Amazon Prime etc. All of these work perfectly fine, but many people want to stream movies and TV shows for free. A lot of people use XBMC, but there’s a better alternative for your movies when it comes to streaming quality.

It Can Stream
Chromecast has the ability to mirror your Android’s device to your TV, meaning that anything it plays is also on your TV. While this sounds good in practise, applications that are not specifically made to work with Chromecast can sometimes play with some annoyances such as the odd flicker, out of sync audio or minor defects.

Ideally, an app such as XBMC (or Kobi as it is now known) should be able to play on your phone or tablet and be able to stream to your TV. Sadly, the authors of XBMC have not tweaked the program to work with Chromecast, and you cannot change the default XBMC video player, so it is not always a complete success when streaming.

Watch Movies & TV Shows With Show Box
Along comes Show Box, a simplified version in the spirit of XMBC. No complicated add-on’s to get it to work, simply download the app and click on the film or tv show you want to watch and it works! Getting it to stream to your Chromecast you’ll need to download BubbleUPnP, which when set to Chromecast allows perfectly smooth streaming.

It really is as simple as these 3 following steps:

  • Click on “Show Box” App
  • Click on the fim or TV show you want to watch
  • Click “Watch Now”

As easy as 1,2,3! Now you can watch the shows you want, on your big screen using your mobile device. Show Box has been taken off Google’s Store, although a quick Google search will take you to the site where it can be downloaded from. BubbleUPnP is a free download on the Google store, and as well as being used with Show Box, you can load up videos stored on your device into it and stream them in perfect quality.

Buying A Chromecast
The great  thing about Google’s Chromecast is the fact that it is very cheap. At full price it’s just £30 from Google and other retailers. I bought it from Wuaki.TV for the price of the Game Of Thrones box-set which was £23.99 and a free Chromecast. At present, some retailers such as Tesco are selling the Chromecast for just £18! It’s the bargain of the century, and in this world where everyone owns a mobile device or tablet, it’s the perfect combination for your TV.

As well as casting from your mobile device, it can also receive casts from your PC’s Google Chrome browser. This means on your TV you can view websites, listen to music and video and more, all with the touch of the cast button!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Z Launcher By Nokia - A Preview

Nokia’s Z Launcher
Nokia are not well known for their Android software or applications, so when they announced to the World their new launcher, titled Z Launcher, the entire Android world were taken aback for a second.

Z Launcher is a stand alone third-party replacement launcher for your Android device, and as long as you are running Android 4.1+ and have a Google+ account, you can try out this app before it’s final release.

Unlike other launcher’s, Z Launcher is a single screen, simple launcher with ease of use being the main selling point. The screen consists of the time on the top left of the screen, calendar appointments  on the top right and a selection of the six most used apps laid out down the centre of the screen. Under this you get the usual system tray with access to calls, texts and photo’s etc.

The unique selling point of this launcher is your ability to swipe a letter to instantly bring up lists of apps, contacts and other items starting with this letter. You can swipe up-to the first four letters, making sure you always get the application that you want. If you swipe your finger backwards, this will delete your last letter. Another option is to hit the Apps launcher icon, and this will display a list of all your applications.

As mentioned, the screen lays out the six most used applications. This is a dynamic list, that will change by the hour depending on your usage of your phone. Nokia says that the launcher will learn how you use your phone, so the six applications will always be relevant no matter what time of day it is.

Who Will Use Z Launcher?
Z Launcher is amazingly simple to use. It has the most simplistic interface, and is quick and powerful at what it does. As a replacement for TouchWiz and other overlays, it’s a giant leap in a different direction.

Most people fall into one of two categories, either you’re a geek who will want to tinker with your phone and try out all sorts of launchers and applications, or you’re just a normal user who downloads the odd application and leave the phone mostly as it is. Because of this it is hard to imagine who would want to use Z Launcher, as it’s too simple for the geek, and won’t really interest someone already used to using their phones interface.

Z Launcher is unique, and perhaps installed in a phone as standard may be the only way to get it’s simplistic power out to the masses. For further information, visit https://www.zlauncher.com/ and give the launcher a test run!