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Dan Booth

British gamer and technology addict.

Big Day of Sport

Normally the big day of sport happens once a year, this is when multiple major sporting events happen in one day. It brings a great excuse to get your friends together for the whole day, place some friendly bets and prove your worth with your know how across sports.

WHAT IS IT: Monaco GP Qualifying

This weekend starts with the Monaco GP qualifying, the most important part of the Monaco GP. Formula 1 has been a bit processional this year, with Mercedes running away with the championship having won 5 out of 5 races. This has been mainly down to a superior engine over their rivals.

WHY WATCH?

Monaco may pose their biggest challenge of the season as Monaco doesn’t reward an engine like other tracks. Throughout practice Red Bull and Ferrari have been much closer than at previous events. Expect a Mercedes Pole, most likely from Hamilton with a possible Red Bull splitting them. It will be an exciting Q3 and also, its Monaco, it just looks brilliant.

WHERE TO WATCH:

Sky Sports F1, Coverage starts at 12 p.m. Qualifying starts at 1 p.m.

WHAT IS IT: Championship Play Off Final

Derby take on QPR in the Championship Play Off Final, in a straight out winner takes all duel

WHY WATCH?

Play Off finals are always very competitive. Derby are looking for their first win and promotion since 2007, QPR are in their first play off final at this level, but they face an issue due to poor financial issues. The winner will get promoted and gain around 50 million. Players are likely to play extremely passionately as for a lot of them it will be their chance to play in the Premier League. It will also likely be the biggest games of their career so far.

WHERE TO WATCH:

Sky Sports, Kickoff at 3 p.m.

WHAT IS IT?

Champions League Final, Real Madrid are looking for title number 10

WHY WATCH?

Real Madrid have some of the finest players in football, most of the time they play a beautiful game and its very special to watch. Athletico Madrid are La Liga champions this year and have blown away Real Madrid and Barcelona. Hopefully we will see a great Madrid Brawl in Lisbon and typical Spanish theatrics won’t be a talking point post game. This game has potential to be a classic

WHERE TO WATCH

Sky Sports, Kick Off 7.45 p.m.

Its rare that 3 great events happen on the same day, it promises to be a great to for sport, get your friends over, it could be a classic!

WHAT IS IT?

NBA playoff game 2, the Indiana Pacers visit Miami Heat.

WHY WATCH IT?

The number 1 Pacers meet the number 2 and reigning Champions Heat. Whenever you get the top team playing the second best in any sport you would expect a pretty epic game. Miami Heat have one of the best teams in NBA history, you could end up watching history being made. Why else would you want an excuse to watch basketball, its fast paced entertainment. Its a late start so consider recording it!

WHERE TO WATCH?

Sky Sports, 1.30 a.m.

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Jason Mraz, YES!

Jason Mraz is back, the single Love Someone has been released on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5LsjYPPgEk). This new album is promoted as being completely acoustically recorded, which is great as Jason Mraz is best when he’s playing accoustcally.

The Album will be called YES! which Jason said he hoped that when people listened to it they would “be like, YES!” There are a few previews of songs you can find around Youtube, most are poor quality from him playing gigs, but you get the idea. Love someone has been officially released as a single, its beautiful, sounds like his older live sets he used to do, and the backing vocals by Raining Jane are wonderful

Anything Jason Mraz does accoustic is beautiful and relaxing. I’m counting down the days till 15th of July for the album release. It should be Brilliant!

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Monaco GP 2014 Predictions

The Monaco GP practice day is in the books, what have we learnt? Not a lot actually, with 22 cars storming around such a small track, they struggle to get a gap, as Nico Rosberg showed in P2. Rosberg was over 4 seconds down on Fernando Alonso’s best time.

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P1 is the representative session, with the Mercedes top and Red Bull and Ferrari Breathing down their necks. The Top six will most likely be decided by these top teams, but the order is up in the air. Safety bets say Lewis Hamilton On pole, with Nico Rosberg close behind. Then Daniel Ricciardo 3rd followed by Fernando Alonso, then Vettel infront of Raikonnen. Williams and Force India should round out the top 10, but you shouldn’t count out Romain Grosjean putting his Lotus where it may not belong.

Expect the usual suspects to go out in Q1 being, both Marussia’s and both Caterhams and the big scalp being Maldonado, although the likelyhood of someone crashing is very high and likely!

The race won’t have much overtaking, the grid will stay pretty much the same bar a couple of shakers and movers through pit stop strategy. I’m expecting a 5th victory in a row from Lewis Hamilton this weekend.

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Monaco GP Experience

The Monaco GP experience is one the best things I have ever done. As an avid F1 fan I know that there are some races that must be done, Silverstone, Monza, Spa-Francochamps and the crown jewel Monaco. I had already been to Silverstone in 2011, it was great, I loved every moment of it, however you do feel distanced from the action.

Monaco is an F1 Fanatics dream, you end up being so close to the action wherever you go! Even walking around the city you can hear the V8 screams echo around the buildings making the experience all the more involved (I don’t know how the V6 turbos will sound there, hopefully the unique setting will amplify the sound). Monaco is the only track where practice is held on Thursday, the track is open to the public on Friday after a couple of support races are finished Friday morning. Walking or driving the track makes you appreciate how much the camera’s “flatten” the track out. Monaco’s circuit has many undulations and as its a road for the rest of the year it ends up being bumpier than permanent circuits.

The Leows hairpin is the slowest corner on the F1 Calender, taken at a pretty impressive 40 mph which considering the dimensions of an F1 car, is very impressive. Its unique in the fact that the cars have Monaco specific suspension to allow the lock to get around this corner, its great to see the cars being get forced to handle such different corners.

Another favourite corner of the track is the first section of swimming pool, on TV you can see how quick the change of direction in an F1 car really is. If you see it with your eyes it becomes even more impressive! Red Bull cars have dominated this section of the track in recent years.

On Thursday we spent out day on the main straight, alongside the braking zone for the first corner. The view made you really appreciate how quickly cars slow down.  The ticket we got allowed us access to a small area by the first turn and even provided food (buffet).

Our tickets for the rest of the weekend were on the grandstand at the final corner looking down the main straight. The view was spectacular, the drivers get on the power so early and they don’t seem to care about the wheel spin created as the outside kerb rights the car. I went down to the front of the grandstand and felt like I could high five drivers as they went past, we were literally a meter away the track. You cannot get much closer than this!

You can see the drivers moving from the paddock (which is down by stars and bars) to the track, they would always wave to all the fans whilst walking around, it seems that they love the atmosphere that the enclosed Monaco brings.

The support races are brilliant to watch and you should definitely stay and watch them. The support drivers are much more eager to pass and it creates some great entertainment. It also helped get me a better seat and others around started to leave on Saturdays support races after qualifying.

The most unique experience of Monaco is the opening of the circuit after each day. Approximately 2 hours after the race the streets are open to the public and there are party’s on the streets, it is truly the pinnacle of race experience. There’s something very strange yet satisfying to think that just a few hour ago Formula one cars where going as fast as possible on this tarmac.

A bar to look at around Monaco is stars and bars. Its any sports fans dream, there’s tons of memorabilia around the place from all sorts of sports. Its a great place and the prices aren’t as steep as you would expect. Great Memorabilia like Superbowl and Motogp signed and some of it has been used, there’s a crashed bike there. Your ticket into here will gain you access to the marina around the paddock, it also brings you to the place where the teams have to go to get to the pits. Its the perfect place to go to gain autographs of your favourites.

If watching races isn’t your thing, or you want to go and look around other places on a holiday, you should consider looking over to the Cannes film festival. Its about a 40-50 minute drive from Monaco. Its a pretty cool event, you may even see your favourite celebrity. There’s also a lot of very nice cars cruising around the Cannes area!

Now onto predictions, I can’t look anywhere else but Mercedes, and unlike most races, this will be won on a Saturday, something that you would expect Lewis Hamilton to win, Nico Rosberg is no slouch around Monaco though. Expect the Red Bulls to be much closer than before as engines will not pose a factor. Sebastian Vettel expects his team to shine, Daniel Ricciardo will look to continue his brilliant streak. Ferrari is not good enough, Kimi will struggle as he is not comfortable with the car, Fernando Alonso will continue to put his car where it shouldn’t be, but don’t expect miracles. The best aero cars will shine this weekend, personally I can’t wait, I may not be there to experience it first hand, but its still great on TV

If you are an F1 fanatic you should go to Monaco, it will be the best experience you can have. The cars are close, you rub shoulders with the famous and they don’t mind talking to you, its one of the best holidays I’ve been on and I’ve been to Disney World

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The Open 2014, A Look Back at 2006

The golf Open 2014 returns to Royal Liverpool in the Wirral this summer. After a very successful tournament in 2006 won by Tiger Woods (his last Open victory), the Wirral looks forward to hosting another successful and hopefully sunny week.

In this blog I’m going to look at the Open 2014 from a multiple standpoint. how much has technology moved on since The Open 2006. Well… in 8 years you may end up being very surprised. Who’s the top golfer now Tiger Woods isn’t as dominant? What amazing feats have been done. All that and more will be here somewhere!

As phones are such a staple to every persons technology nowadays, we shall start there. Phones in 2006 where only just starting to push towards having 3 megapixel cameras. Phones come with at least 8 megapixel camera’s now and are starting to push up to 13, theres even the Nokia Lumia which packs a mindblowing 41 megapixels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nokia were the kings of phones, having the 6 best selling phones of 2006 across the world. The most sold phone was a Nokia 1600 (hope its had snake on it!) which sold 130 million units in 2006 (helped by it being targeted at developing countries) The “famous” Iphone (2007) didn’t exist, and neither did tablets (became popular in 2010), so expect a lot more of these to but put up into the air on practice days.

Mobile gaming was simply poor, there were no stand out games as there was not smartphone revolution. Games had to use the old style button inputs which never worked well. Angry Birds came out in 2009, which seems strange as it feels like its been around longer than 5 years.

Social Media had just started to boom, twitter was launched on the 15th of July that year and Facebook was made available to everyone in September.  Not many people would know that twitter was available to the public before Facebook, there’s a good question/answer for a pub quiz!

The Xbox 360 had just released at the end of 2005 but the PS3 was still being developed whilst the 2006 open was on. It was released to North America and Japan in November 2006 while Europe had to wait until March 2007 to get their hands on the PS3. 8 years down the line and we have ourselves the next generation of games consoles. The top game in July 2006 was NCAA Football 07 (in USA). PC gaming had their requirements needing a minimum of 256mb, very low compared to now, and considering that some PC gamers have 64gb at their disposal, it seems pitiful.

The song topping the UK charts was Lilly Allen with “Smile” whilst the Open was being played.

Sky had only just started their HD package just before the open in may. The British Open was the first golf event in the UK broadcast in HD. Now in 2014 we’re looking close to seeing broadcasting being available in 4K (4 times clearer than HD).

Other notable events of 2006 include: Italy winning the world cup in Germany. The Winter Olympics were held in Turin. Chelsea won the premier league. The Pittsburg Steelers won the superbowl. Barcelona edged Arsenal to win the Champions league. Fernando Alonso Won the Formula 1 drivers championship, with Renault becoming constructors champions.

In 2006 Tiger Woods was the top golfer in the world, consistently winning  majors, now Tiger is struggling with a constant knee injury, amazingly he still hovers around number one in the world, he has just been knocked off the top spot by Adam Scott this week. A player who could have a good week on the Wirral is Sergio Garcia, the Spaniard had a brilliant week in 2006, loosing out due to a poor last round mixed with Tiger being dominant. From a British point of view, Justin Rose is currently the highest brit on the world rankings with Rory Mcllroy 2 places down. There is a good chance of a Home victory with some great talent, they just need to be in form.  Although in 2006 there were no British players in the top 10.

 

Here’s hoping for a brilliant Open 2014, lets see what changes will await us up till the next time Royal Liverpool hosts the Open.

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Taking it back to the Old School SSX Style

 

I dusted off a classic game a couple of days ago after getting nostalgic about it. Talking to Alice and Robyn about their SSX experiences and I was surprised by the knowledge they had of the series! Ok so the main topic was around SSX Tricky, but that game isn’t backwards compatible for an xbox 360 🙁 SSX 3 was still right up there with Tricky so I thought I’d play it!

First things first, it doesn’t look as bad as I was expecting. Considering I was playing this on a 37  inch screen it didn’t seem stretched, it was slightly blurry, but only in that 11 year old game type of way!
Now for anyone who has never played an SSX game, firstly, Shame on you, secondly, its a highly unrealistic snowboarding game where you get a ridiculous amount of air, flip and spin an unbelievable amount of times, whilst taking the board away from your feet and doing some funky skateboard-esc tricks. Its a very unique game, where Amped and Shaun White games went down a slightly more realistic road (they are still a touch mad but they are games!) SSX went to the Xtreme!
To be fair, SSX took the right route on this, its unique and I love playing the game because its mad! The tracks also make it crazy! Racing through a city of tight turns, then jumping over a 50ft building is awesome! Learning the best routes and finding the secret routes gives the games replay value! If you haven’t played an SSX before I highly recommend buying SSX3 or SSX Tricky (if you have a ps2). These games are amazing, the A.I. can challenge you if you haven’t mastered the game, the tracks give you endless fun, you can challenge yourself to get higher scores, the possibilities are endless.
The reason I’m not recomending the most recent SSX is not because its not good, it just lacks the crazy tracks from the previous games!
Go and get an SSX game and get playing, hopefully I should have a Lets play with Alice soon too!

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Nintendo’s Investor’s Idea

 Repost from my Blogspot

Seth Fischer, a hedge fund investor in Nintendo wrote to the president of Nintendo: “Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher.”  He also wants to push Nintendo into the Mobile realms of gaming, not for the gamers though, for the profits he will see afterward!

If you read a previous a previous blog of mine you will know about my displeasure toward microtransactions. I feel like if, and its a big if, Nintendo follow through with this the gaming world would turn away from Nintendo, which seems rather sad. This may seem small to the casual gamer, however, this would open the flood gates to Nintendo charging you in other games, want to pay £1 in a Pokemon game to capture your favourite pokemon?….. Exactly!

Happily Nintendo have previously said they aren’t keen on the venturing into the mobile industry and they aren’t looking toward free to play games either. I hope Nintendo will stay strong against their investors on this one, I feel like these investors have been playing candy crush too much and think that its the perfect game blueprint. Nintendo know better than this… I think!

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Track day Dream Fulfilled

 

My 21st birthday present from my dad was a track day at Anglesey circuit. The car of choice was a Formula Ford. Driving cars fast has been something I have wanted to do throughout my teen years. After about 10 years of nagging my dad gave me the opportunity to see if he made a mistake not getting me into racing earlier.

The first part of the experience you notice once you arrive is the lovely staff at the circuit. They sign you in and tell you where you need to go and when. Its all organised, but has a nice relaxed feel to it. In the safety briefing they tell you all you need to know, making it as fun as possible as going through it as well, added bonus in my eyes!

Once briefed, we were taken out to their safety car to get a look at the track and an idea of the racing line. The instructor was very detailed in what we should expect the cars to do throughout each corner. After a gained understanding, we were individually taken out in regular road cars (ford pumas) with an instructor to judge our driving ability.

During the one to one instruction they give you tips on where to improve your driving, including very fine areas like your turn in being half a meter late! They judge every area of your driving ability and give you an overall score out of 100, I was pleased to get 92/100 after being told my instructor would give Sebastian Vettel 95. Apparently he hasn’t given a score that high before either! The scores given determine the order that you go out in for driving the formula fords.

They choose your formula ford based on your height and weight given before you arrive. These only need to be estimates so don’t get flustered over it. They proceed to get you comfortable in the car and give you a feel of where and how things work. The gears are a H-pac set up and and difficult to get used to. The gear stick being on the right doesn’t cause as much as a problem as I had first expected though, you get used to it instantly.

The first laps in the Formula ford are spend behind the safety car, this allows you to get acclimatised to the car, how it feels and responds to inputs. Its also a good time to practice getting into 2nd gear, many people have issues with this.

Once the safety car goes in you are free to go as fast (or slow) as you would like. The best part is that they take spinning off with a pinch of salt. A word of advice, remember to step on the clutch if you spin out,  this means you wont stall the car and you get more time out on track.

You will be bought in every 10 minutes (depending on what you have booked) to have a small break and get some tips on where to improve, its all very friendly advice, they want you to have the best time possible!

Before you know it you are done, one of the best days I have ever had, and it was all done before midday! I would say that if you have ever wanted to try single seater cars out, a track day is the perfect way to do it. I loved every moment of it, the staff were great, the cars are fun and the circuit poses a good mix of corners to challenge you. I would advise getting good weather though, a slightly damp track was great fun, but I would have liked to see how much I could have got out of the car

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Titanfall Challenges

With Titanfall alive and kicking, I thought I would set some mini challenges for people to try and beat during their gameplay. Most of these are fun, different ways of playing the game. Have a go at them and look at the game a different way!

  1.  Rodeo as many titans as you can in succession (no touching the floor) I couldn’t get past 2 in the beta but its definitely do able
  2. Get a multi kill from the Titans nuclear destruct perk
  3. Get a double kill on a single wall run
  4. Don’t die in a game and escape
  5. Don’t die in a game and destroy the evac ship
  6. Eject from you titan straight onto rodeo-ing an enemy titan
  7. Hack multiple spectres at once… because you can!

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GTA V High Life

GTA V has received its newest update. The high life update went live early on the 13th of march and came alongside update 1.13.

The high life content brought new 4 new vehicles, a new gun, new apartments and clothing, the standard content that has been seen before. The most intriguing addition comes in the form on mental state which helps players distinguish between friendly players and players who are likely to kill you on sight. It works in a very simple way, map blip colors range between red (psycho) and fade pink, the eventually fade completely to white (peaceful).

Violent activity adds to the Mental State meter. Property damage (killing civilians or police, destroying cars) increases it very slowly. Player on player aggression will see your mental state meter quickly grow to full psycho.

Killing psycho players will gain you experience, so there is incentive to kill them if they come near you, as an added bonus, you don’t add to your mental state for killing psycho players. Killing peaceful players still gains no experience and bounty’s are still a large part of free play, though their map blip has changed to distinguish it against psycho players.

I really like the dynamic this addition has bought, the times of wondering how aggressive an approaching player are largely gone, there is potential to bring an us against them mentality in the free roam lobbies too.

All in all, Rockstar has done a great job with this update, along with the additional content they have improved the game. GTA online is still one of the most varied fun game on the market.

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