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Xbox One

Microsoft officially announced its successor to one of the best game consoles ever, the Xbox 360, this past week. The Xbox One is dubbed an all-in-one entertainment system. In a news release, Microsoft raves it took its "state-of-the-art gaming OS and fused it together with a powerful Windows OS. So you get the best of both worlds, without compromise. Forget about having to switch inputs to watch TV or play a game. Now you can run a host of apps right alongside your game without any loss of performance."

With the new console, it's added new features such as Skyping a friend while playing a video game -- which I think is pretty cool. You can watch movies (Blu-ray player), listen to music, explore Windows apps and watch live TV. One of the most important parts of Xbox is Live, which syncs everything automatically through the cloud. The new Xbox is very speedy. You can switch out of a game instantly, check sports scores and then go back and pick up where you left off without missing a beat. You can select a game and start playing as you're downloading it. As you advance further in the game, so does the download. There are many more features to the new Microsoft console, but from the things I have read and watched, I think Microsoft did a good job and took a real innovative approach.

UCLA surgeons use Vine

Vine is the new and booming video social network for iPhone, and it has some pretty serious uses, too. Doctors at UCLA did brain surgery while creating Vines, Instagram photos, and sending out tweets during the procedure. This is a groundbreaking use of social media. I watched all of the Vines and checked out a few of the photos and it was incredibly cool and insightful to see what brain surgery is like directly from a doctor recording it on an iPhone.

One of the main reasons they decided to push this procedure through various social-media platforms was to raise awareness for the implantation of a brain pacemaker. A representative of UCLA Health told the Los Angeles Times, "This was our first live-tweeted surgery and through it we wanted to bring attention to brain pacemakers." Brain pacemakers can reduce the risk of Parkinson's and tremors. I think this was a really neat use of social media.

Tumblr buys Yahoo

Last week, I wrote about Yahoo toying with the idea of buying the famous blogging website Tumblr. On Monday, Yahoo purchased Tumblr for $1.1 billion. What I found interesting about this deal was Yahoo purchased Tumblr with cash. The norm is for tech companies to offer 35 to 50 per cent of the total value in cash, and the rest in company stock. In the past, Yahoo has made some of the worst mistakes ever.

Its new CEO, Marissa Mayer, is supposed to be the company's saviour. However, in a way, she has already screwed up the deal with Tumblr. Investors got a little anxious about spending a billion dollars (no kidding), so Mayer promised Tumblr would be contributing to the company's bottom line next year. To me, this means they are going to rush the product and try to make money as quickly as they can -- which might ruin the service.

Yahoo should take the Google approach. It took losses with YouTube for a long time before it made any money. I hope Mayer doesn't screw up Tumblr, because I do like the site.

My fave social network

I use a BlackBerry as my everyday smartphone, which means I can't use Vine. But on my iPad Mini, I do have the app and it has quickly become my favourite social-networking site. I like Vine because, unlike Instagram, which is just a still photo, Vine is a six-second video. Vine is super-cool because you can watch celebrities act stupid or do something funny in just six seconds.

My favourite social networks are: 1. Vine; 2. Instagram; 3. Twitter; 4. Facebook; 5. Google+.

A year ago I spent my whole life on Facebook and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Now it's on the bottom of my list. I'm curious, what are your favourite social networks? Tweet me your list! @thedavidbell.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2013 A15

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