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Friday, 25 September 2015

Toys R Us at 30: Three decades of top toys

Britain’s biggest toy megastores is celebrating its 30th anniversary – after selling a staggering 3 billion toys to 360 million customers over the last three decades. For thirty something’s it will seem like only yesterday when they set foot in a Toys R US store for the first time becoming Britain’s first Toys R Us kids. 

The toy giant opened their first five stores in the UK in 1985, when Transformers (Robots in Disguise) ruled the universe and a slow and unwieldy Amstrad Home Computer System was considered the ultimate state-of-the-art computer game. Now the 92 store chain has set up a ‘Toy Timeline’ to show how kids choice of toys has come full circle with Turtles, Thunderbirds and Barbie along with long term popular classics like Star Wars and LEGO appearing yet again in top toy predictions for Christmas 2015.

Toys R Us was founded over 70 years ago in the USA and now operates in 33 Countries but Toys R Us in Britain was the first company owned venture outside North America. Company spokesman Mike Coogan said: “When we opened people just knew us for Toys – we are now so much more. Our product range has broadened massively over the years. As well as toys, we offer baby care products, bikes, video games and so much more”. 






Friday, 18 September 2015

Supermoon lunar eclipse:The science behind the celestial phenomenon

This month's highly anticipated "supermoon eclipse" may be a magical treat for skywatchers, but there's nothing supernatural about the event.
On Sept. 27, skywatchers throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, western Asia and the eastern Pacific Ocean region will witness a total eclipse that happens to occur when the moon looks abnormally large and bright in Earth's sky. It will be the first supermoon eclipse since 1982, and the last until 2033.
This rare celestial phenomenon has its roots in the moon's elliptical orbit around Earth.
"When the moon is farthest away, it's known as apogee, and when it’s closest, it's known as perigee," Noah Petro, deputy project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. "On Sept. 27, we're going to have a perigee full moon — the closest full moon of the year."
The moon is about 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) closer to Earth at perigee than it is at apogee. As a result, perigee full moons, also known as supermoons, appear about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter in the sky than do apogee full moons (which are also called minimoons).
"There's no physical difference in the moon," Petro said. "It just appears slightly bigger in the sky. It's not dramatic, but it does look larger."
"Normal" total lunar eclipses — which occur when the Earth, moon and sun align, and the moon passes completely into Earth's shadow — aren't terribly uncommon: On average, a skywatcher in a given location on Earth can expect to see one of these events every 2.5 years or so.
But it is uncommon for a total lunar eclipse to coincide with a supermoon. There have been just five such events since 1900 (in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982), NASA officials have said.
Rarity does not imply anything inexplicable, however.
"It's just planetary dynamics. The orbit of the moon around Earth is inclined to the axis of Earth, and the orbital plane of all these things just falls into place every once in a while," Petro said. "When the rhythms line up, you might get three to four eclipses in a row, or a supermoon and an eclipse happening."
The supermoon will begin to dim slightly at 8:11 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27 (0011 GMT on Sept. 28), NASA officials said. The total eclipse will start at 10:11 p.m. EDT (0211 GMT), and it will last 72 minutes.

Apple customers report devices crashing on iOS 9 update

© Stephen Lam/Getty Images Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller speaks about iOS 9 availability during a Special Event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium September 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California.
A significant number of Apple Inc customers are reporting their mobile devices have crashed after attempting to upload the new iOS 9 operating system, the latest in a line of launch glitches for the tech giant.
Twitter and other social media were awash with disgruntled customers reporting two distinct faults, with one appearing to be linked specifically to older models of Apple iPhones and iPads.
"It is beyond inconvenient to not be able to use your phone for a day," said student Pip Cordi as staff in the Apple store in central Sydney looked at her phone on Friday. "I have a lot of apps that I use for school - things like language apps and dictionaries and that's all really important for my studies."
Another iPhone user, Zorry Coates, said she had spent three hours in the Apple store and had been left with the option of either returning her phone to factory settings - losing any non-backed-up data - or waiting until Apple technicians announced an update.
"They said they were aware of the problem and their engineers were working on it 24/7, but they couldn't tell me when - or how - I would get a solution," Zorry said.
"I'm very annoyed because it's wasted half my day. They pride themselves on being a company that's flawless."
Apple's headquarters in San Francisco did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday. An Apple spokesman in Sydney said the company had no comment.
Despite any troubles, significant numbers of iOS users had upgraded; more than 16 percent, according to Mixpanel, a San Francisco, California-based analytics company, as of 4 p.m. PDT (2300 GMT) Thursday.
Charlie Brown, a technology expert at Sydney-based Cybershack, said any number of dissatisfied customers was significant in the social media era, particularly following the troubled rollout of iOS 8. Apple released several further updates to iOS8, but some of the bugs were never fully fixed.
"The risk to Apple in terms of having dissatisfied customers is that as their customer base grows, so will the number of those dissatisfied customers," said Brown.
One group of users reported that iOS 9 upgrade would fail after several minutes, requiring them to start the process over. Many posted screen shots of the error message they received: "Software Update Failed."
That problem was likely caused by servers that were overloaded when too many people tried to download the upgrade simultaneously, tech analysts said.
"It's like the Black Friday thing," said Bob O'Donnell of Technalysis Research, referring to the major U.S. shopping sale day after Thanksgiving. "Some websites get creamed on the traffic on Black Friday."
Other users, many of them with older devices, reported their devices seizing up on a "swipe to upgrade" page. The latest upgrade had been deemed by Apple as "friendly" to the older devices after the iOS 8 problems.
"Apple were saying the downloading mechanism doesn't take as much space to download," said Sydney-based Graham McKay, an IT support specialist.
McKay and Brown said they always advised clients to wait several days before downloading any new upgrades from Apple, Google Inc or Microsoft Corp to make sure any glitches had been found and ironed out.
Metering the upgrade, or allowing users to upgrade in waves rather than all at once, would have been a smarter approach, O'Donnell said.
"It's a lot about setting expectations," he said.
Apple did this week delay the release of watch OS 2, its updated operating system for the Apple Watch after it discovered a bug in development.

info source:

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Xbox 360 gets big update with 2GB cloud storage and other new features

© Provided by The Verge
These days most of Microsoft's gaming focus is on the Xbox One, but today the company proved that it hasn't forgotten about that console's predecessor. The Xbox 360 has received a pretty big update that adds a host of new features, led by a bump to 2GB of cloud storage for your game saves. Previously the 360 offered 512MB of cloud space, but now gamers are getting a lot more room for those occasions when they switch between consoles or visit a friend. The added storage is particularly useful since Microsoft is preparing to add backwards compatibility to its Xbox One. You can pull down your saved game progress when playing older titles on Microsoft's newer console, as noted by Major Nelson.
Second, the Xbox 360 can now successfully connect to the internet at hotels and other public locations where users must agree to terms of service (through a web portal) before they're granted access. Xbox Live will first test for a usable connection and then instruct you to open Internet Explorer, which you'll use to agree to the fine print and get online.

Other new features have been in testing with Microsoft's Preview Program members for some time; these include an Activity Feed that lets you view the activity of your Xbox One friends and like or comment on their screenshots, game clips, and other content. (Xbox 360 also now displays activity of Windows 10 users on your friends list.) Finally, the new update adds Groove Music and Microsoft Movies & TV apps to the console.

Obama: Paris train heroes are 'the very best of America'

Obama: Paris train heroes are 'the very best of America'

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama hailed the courage and quick thinking of three high school friends who helped avert tragedy on a Paris-bound train last month as they came to the White House on Thursday, where he labeled them "the very best of America."
"Because of their courage, because of their quick thinking, because of their teamwork ... a real calamity was averted," Obama told reporters as he sat beside the three men — Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler — in the Oval Office. "It's these kinds of young people who make me extraordinarily optimistic and hopeful about our future. I thank each and every one of them and wish them well."
It was just the latest honor for the three friends who were traveling through Europe on Aug. 21 when an armed gunman attempted to open fire on a train from Amsterdam to Paris they were riding.
Skarlatos and Stone quickly moved to subdue the man, ultimately tackling him to the ground as he tried to shoot at them. Stone was wounded when the man slashed at him with a box cutter. Sadler and a British businessman helped hogtie the gunman on the floor of the train.
French President Francois Hollande awarded each the Legion D'honneur at the Elysee Palace in Paris, saying they faced down the "evil" of terrorism and prevented carnage. The trio was also feted at a parade in Sacramento, Calif., last week.
Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard, and Stone, who serves in the Air Force, wore their formal military dress for the presidential encounter. Sadler, a student at California State University, Sacramento, opted for a sharp blazer but no tie for the setting.
Obama teased Skarlatos for his quick addition to the cast of "Dancing With the Stars" while noting he planned to ultimately serve in law enforcement. But whatever each man ultimately does, "They're going to do it well," the president said.
"We just wanted to say thank you to them not only for saving so many lives," Obama said, "but also for making America look so good."