Minecraft Update Brings More Features to Windows 10 & Pocket Edition

When it was released people couldn’t stop talking about it, while the graphics were done in blocks Minecraft’s simple graphics has done nothing but focus people’s attention on the options and gameplay choices. With versions for every console, including the Wii U, and people creating everything from houses to working mobile phones, it’s no surprise that when Microsoft brought out the game, they wanted to keep expanding on it. The latest update sees just that for the Windows 10 Beta and Pocket Edition.

Titled the “Overworld” update, everything from new visual updates to new gameplay choices have been added. Amongst this list, you can create some of the more advanced Redstone components, from creating repeaters and dispensers to trapped chests (for all those ‘visitors’ to your house). If you go near a swamp be warned as the spooky witches will now be there protecting their cauldrons, containing all kinds of randomly generated potion’s.

Microsoft seems keen to expand on the already popular game, with the release of an “educational edition” this summer. I haven’t played the game in a while and was thinking of booting up the server again at some point, but what do you all think? Has Minecraft had its time? Are you still playing the game and if so do you think the updates are enough to keep people interested or are the mods people create more useful when you want to find something new to do?

See How This Robot Is Able to Improve Its ‘Mini-Robots’ with Each Generation

Researchers at the University of Cambridge seem to be studying how evolution took place and are apparently using a ‘mother’ robot for that. The robotic arm in question is able to build miniaturized robots from a selection of blocks equipped with small motors, check their progress on the table and make the necessary adjustments to improve and fix what went wrong in earlier generations.

This might sound quite scary, but it really is mind-blowing. The robotic arm is able to watch the progress of the robots while they move on the table with the help of a mounted web camera, while observing their speed and ‘imperfections’. Lead researcher, Dr. Fumiya Iida, explains that this might seem as a heartless evolutionary process, but don’t forget, this is done without the use of DNA. I mean, when you look at how evolution took place on Earth over millions of years, you kind of see a glimpse of it in the video below.

While we learn things in a similar way, evolution on a larger scale has different ways of ’embedding’ information into their ‘next generation’. Iida hopes that this experiment may shed some light on some unanswered questions about evolution, but in the meantime, he even has real-world applications for the project. Think about quality control and how these machines can spot imperfections or broken products on down the line. It is a start, but for those of you who are thinking about a Terminator scenario, we are still far away from something like that. At least with this particular project.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information

Invalid Bitcoin Upgrade Causes Chaos

Relativity recent and certainly modern anonymous currency Bitcoin has somewhat botched an upgrade which has left many Bitcoin miners generating invalid data blocks.

This upgrade applies to a new rule which means that certain Bitcoin mining pools which do not validate their money, have been generating the aforementioned invalid data blocks. This could also mean that if a consumer is paying by certain client apps to for example a retailer, the payment in Bitcoins could therefore be invalid which means said shopkeeper has received similar to that of a counterfeit note.

According to the official Bitcoin website, if you are using a lightweight (SPV) wallet, a Bitcoin Core 0.9.4 or earlier or a web wallet, you would need to wait a quite staggering 30 confirmations more than normal. Of course if you are using a paper note with a historical face on the front, this problem does not affect you.

It also turns out that “around half the network hash rate was mining without fully validating blocks (called SPV mining), and built new blocks on top of that invalid block”. Without implementing validation, many large miners have lost over $50,000 dollars worth of income so far.

Bitcoin may well be the future but as a consumer, I as yet do not trust the anonymity or security of this currency. After all, in order to buy a Bitcoin, a consumer would need to pay using a form of payment which connects the individual. On paper, yes I know, Bitcoin has potential to expand, but until the finer details are ironed out, I think I will stick to physical forms of currency.

Image courtesy of slimbeleggen

Thank You Bitcoin for providing us with this information


Google Chrome Turns 8-Bit, Lets You Play, Post and Share With Lego Blocks

Back in mid 2012, Google has revealed one of their projects dubbed ‘Build’,a virtual Lego tool that lets you play with plastic bricks in your browser. And fast-forwarding to the present, Google also releases the project to the public, having it now opened to everyone.

In the past, users wishing to give the project a try had to find a parcel of land in Australia and post their ‘masterpieces’ there, being the only way to use the app. Now the tools is available worldwide and users can do the same anywhere in the world. The geographical features make it possible to browse user creations by location, and a new addition also lets you see what your Google+ buddies have built with the tool. There is also a filter that lets you see only specific types of creations, such as buildings.


The tool is based on WebGL platform and is reportedly compatible only with Chrome browsers. Google also states that you should be able to play with virtual bricks using the Android version of the web browser in addition to the web, so long as you have a device with “high-end graphics capabilities.” There is also a promotional aspect, given the Lego blocks, having a series of characters and scenes from the upcoming Lego Movie. Those of you interested can start building their own ‘masterpiece’ here.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of The Verge

Apple Engineer Builds Lego Drawing Machine

A true Lego enthusiast like Apple software engineer Andrew Carol can build wonders it seems. After watching Martin Scorsese’s Hugo movie, he started building a mysterious automaton machine as he saw in the movie out of Lego blocks and made a prototype that used Lego chains to move a pen over paper in two dimensions. However, he did not finish it until last November, when he got the “itch” to finish it by working weekends and during the holidays, having it done by Thanksgiving.

The automaton machine was not the first, nor the last of Andrew’s contraptions. He has also built a Babbage Difference Engine and an Antikythera Mechanism, also called an Eclipse Predictor. All of his work can be viewed on his web page here.

While Carol’s machine works slowly, it can be programmed to draw images using a complicated chain of plastic blocks, according to Fast Co Design. And while the machine is elaborate, Carol doesn’t like hearing it compared to the designs of Rube Goldberg.

“Rube Goldberg machines were intentionally designed to be overly complicated ways to solve simple problems,” he says. “My machines are as simple as possible within the constraint of being purely mechanical and using Lego parts.”


Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of Fastco Design