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September 18, 2012

Google+ hits 400 million registered users, 100 million active users


Google+ continues to slowly grow with more and more users warming up to the new social network that was released just a year before. There were times when any people though it would be a dead platform, whilst others just criticized it in different ways possible. Google didn't give up and continued to update its platforms, adding new features and improvements each time. Vic Gundotra has revealed that Google+ has hit 400 million registered users and currently has 100 million active users via the website and the mobile app.

As Gundotra remarks, “It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination.” He has every right to be excited, 400 million is a huge number.

However though, I must admit that Google+ is nowhere near comparable with Facebook; but it does give Facebook a run for its money. Facebook recently reported that they are about to hit the 950 million mark. But if you compare Google+ and Facebook in speed of growth, Facebook took about 4 years to accumulate 100 million active users whilst Google+ did this in just one year.

Google+ continues to make changes since its initial rollout from UI overhauls to feature improvements and it shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. I personally use Google+ more than Facebook now and find nothing wrong with Google+ at all. One thing I do detest about Facebook though; are the constant ads and irrelevant information that seems to appear right in front of your face at every click. Anyhow, I use Google+, do you?

Bad Piggies gameplay trailer revealed

Android Central
Rovio has revealed its swine-centric follow-up to Angry Birds, a few weeks back, but exact gameplay details had been a mystery, until now. Today, the first trailer for Bad Piggies gives us our first taste of what we can expect from the pig-focused follow-up. Much like Rovio's Amazing Alex, the pigs are tasked with building all manner of wild contraptions in order to make their way through levels, stealing eggs as they go.

The piggies will be able to include wheels, umbrellas, propellers and even rockets in their creations, before guiding them through the 2D platformer-style levels. It's certainly a bit of a departure from flinging suicidal birds into the piggies' defenses, and hopefully an indication of a little more gameplay depth.

Bad Piggies is due to appear for Android, iOS and other platforms next Thursday, September 27. You can find the full teaser trailer below.

[via Android Central]

Anime Review: Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid + OVA

After a nice break from the main story in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Sagara and the rest of the gang are back on track with the continuation of the story left off from Full Metal Panic! where most enemies appear and plot twists to be had.

Full Metal Panic! The Second RaidSynopsis:

This series is set about two months after the events ocurred in the Tuatha de Danaan at the end of the original series. Mithril becomes aware of a secret organization that has technology able to counter the ECS (Electronic Cloaking System) mode. This organization, known as Amalgam, also has "Black Technology", obtained from "Whispered" like Kaname Chidori, and like the other intelligency agencies, they intend to obtain more. However, when Sousuke's mission to protect Chidori is terminated by Mithril, all seems to be in place for Amalgam's plans... Like many of its fans know, it is based of the FMP novel "The End of Day by Day."

Review:

It is really rare for sequels to be better than the original and Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid does just that. With more action, more characters, more mechas, more comedy, and more romance; everything seems to have been supercharged for the grand finale. The story is set two months after the events of the original series and we encounter a secret organisation that has technology that is able to counter Mithril's ECS mode. Not only that, this organisation is out to obtain all the "Whispered" for themselves and will stop anyone in their way. Things get more complicated as Sousuke is suddenly withdrawn from his mission to protect Chidori and sent of various missions to investigate random killings in China and Hong Kong. I enjoyed watching the story and its various plot devices being played out is unexpected ways.

The art was simply amazing this time round. The anime series has been revamped with better quality graphics and superb animation and lighting effects. I enjoyed the series is high definition widescreen format which was spectacularly awesome to watch. Everything about the art in the anime just stood out and was visually appealing. Of course though, I imagined that the artists would have wanted to keep the look and feel similar to the original and there are similarities in the character's designed and style between the two series. The explosions looked better though.

The theme songs were catchy and simply pleasant to listen to. Thy suited the anime quite well and smoothly transitioned us into the episode with ease. Voice acting was pretty much the same as before; perfect and unchanged. However, I did note that a couple of characters sounded a bit odd to me, but it wasn't annoying that much to deter me from skipping those scenes or stop watching altogether. The sound effects were also quite well done and every explosion, knife clash, gunshot and footstep made the appropriate corresponding sound.

The recurring characters from the previous series were pretty much the same as before in style and personality. Although Sagara is still dense as ever, he seems to understand a bit more now which is a relief. Chidori manages to nearly confess her love to him in the end, but we could definitely tell that she likes him. As for Teletha, she still likes Sagara from afar, and is cute as ever. There are also a few new characters which will definitely entertain you (especially that crazy, psychopath scientist which will probably get on the nerves of anyone that watches the anime).

In the end, it was a well produced, design, and directed sequel to an already successful series. I enjoyed the additional story developments, character interactions, and new characters. Since the anime was relatively short (13 episodes) compared to the original, I felt that it was rather short. I wanted to learn more about some of the new characters as well as more about the "Whispered" which was not explored in-depth in the anime. Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is a must-watch anime series!

STORY: 8
The story continues on strong introducing many new characters and plot devices.

ART: 9
High definition with detailed characters and environments makes this anime that much more enjoyable to watch.

SOUND: 8
Theme songs were nice and steady. Voice acting was pretty good and sound effects were well placed.

CHARACTER: 8
The combination of old characters with new ones are well intertwined in this anime.

ENJOYMENT: 9
Loved the fan service, the jokes and the battles. It was all exciting to watch.

OVERALL: 8
A solid sequel to a really good anime series. It is pretty uncommon to find an anime series as good as Full Metal Panic!.