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'Hitchhiker's Guide' text adventure gets 30th-anniversary update

Gather round, children. Way back in 1984, a software company released a text adventure version of Douglas Adams' classic offbeat sci-fi tale, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." As usual with the text adventure genre, there were no fancy graphics, elaborate sound effects, or any of the trappings of modern video games. It was just words describing scenes and giving you a chance to try to manipulate objects and solve puzzles, all based on Arthur Dent's journey through a somewhat tragicomic universe.

It's now 2014 and text adventures are relics of the past, but that hasn't stopped the BBC from issuing a 30th Anniversary Edition of the original Infocom game. This new version works in HTML5, has a large interface, and includes a feature that lets you tweet from the game to share your achievements.

The game is alternately challenging, frustrating, and fun. The BBC gives fair warning: "The game will kill you frequently. It's a bit mean like that."

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Explore life on our planet with this interactive documentary app

Brian Cox's Wonders of Life is another scientific app based on a show from the BBC, with great video and interactive sections that help you learn the scientific basis for life as we know it. Professor Brian Cox is your guide and narrator as you explore the app.

In the past, I wrote about Wonders of the Universe from the same publisher; an elegant and visually gorgeous app that let you explore our known universe on your iPad.

I liked Wonders of the Universe quite a lot for the ability to explore the universe and the HD graphics (particularly … Read more

BBC News suffers spectacular, entertaining camera disaster

In the short annals of Monday joys, this might have a permanent place.

For it seems that as Britain watched its BBC News today, some citizens could not believe their eyes.

I am grateful to YouTube poster Ben Bristow, who captured the event for, hopefully, an infinite posterity.

As a fine and wise lady presenter called Caroline talked about apologies and financial costs, the rug seemed to be pulled from beneath her.… Read more

Hacker tried to sell access to BBC server -- report

A Russian hacker wasn't exactly in the Christmas spirit when he reportedly tried to sell access to a BBC server on December 25.

Apparently first spotted by cybersecurity firm Hold Security, the recent attack hit a BBC FTP server and was conducted by a "notorious Russian hacker" known as "Hash" and "Rev0lver," Reuters reported on Sunday. No evidence has turned up indicating that the hacker stole any actual information.

But "Hash" attempted to make a Christmas Day profit out of his exploits, according to Hold Security founder Alex Holden. The hacker … Read more

Sherlock returns! Mini-episode grants fans early Xmas wish

In "Many Happy Returns," a seven-minute mini-episode of the hit TV show "Sherlock," we see Benedict Cumberbatch at it again as the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, as he makes his journey back to his roommate, colleague, and best friend Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman).

Warning: Spoilers ahead, so if you've never watched "Sherlock" or are catching up, stop reading now.

After Sherlock disappears after faking his own death in "The Reichenbach Fall" to fool his archenemy Jim Moriarty's henchmen -- who vowed to kill those closest to Sherlock if he did not die -- fans shared endless conspiracy theories on how clever the detective would have to be to convince even Watson (who sees Sherlock jump off the roof of St. Bartholomew's Hospital) of his own demise. … Read more

'Sherlock' interactive trailer: Clues, and a magnificent mustache

Sherlock Holmes is back! Dr. Watson's Magnum P.I. mustache! New love interest! Mrs. Hudson screaming! This and many more moments worthy of any rabid "Sherlock" fan can be found in the new interactive trailer released by BBC One.

Warning: Spoilers ahead, so if you've never watched "Sherlock" or are catching up (there are only three episodes a season) stop reading now. … Read more

'Doctor Who': My life and regeneration as a Whovian

On Monday, November 25, two days after the "Doctor Who" 50th anniversary special debuts through simulcasts around the world, I will pick up two young Whovians and drive to the local theater for a special 3D encore presentation of the show.

I will go wearing a brown floppy hat, a 10-foot-long striped scarf from Etsy, and a red velvet frock coat with a sonic screwdriver in the pocket. And I will carry a bag of jelly babies. All my years as a "Doctor Who" fan have been leading up to this moment, and I couldn't be happier to share it with the new generation of fans.… Read more

Become the Doctor with Sonic Screwdriver app

Sure, you could go out and buy a range of sonic screwdriver props, but for the Doctor on a budget, there's another option: pick up the official $1.99 Sonic Screwdriver app for iOS.

Created by Australian developer Useless Creations, which specializes in quirky augmented-reality apps (we like the dinosaur one), the app features four iterations of the Doctor's famous tool: the 3rd and 4th (John Pertwee and Tom Baker), as well as the more recent 10th and 11th (David Tennant and Matt Smith). … Read more

BBC presenter mistakes paper for iPad? Not credible

This is paper thin.

A BBC News presenter goes live on air and he's holding a packet of printer paper. A big, thick packet of printer paper.

Because, allegedly, he mistook it for an iPad.

BBC presenters all need an iPad, you see, to steady themselves as they stand and say interesting things.

iPads are exceptionally heavy. Yes, about the same weight and thickness as a huge, thick packet of printer paper.

Oh, of course, he mistook the paper for an iPad. And of course the BBC is run by people whose hero is Mussolini.… Read more

Fresh poster flaunts 'Doctor Who' 50th anniversary

An upcoming 75-minute special called "The Day of the Doctor" celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic sci-fi television program "Doctor Who." While the special show isn't anything new, a mint poster that debuted Thursday should re-illuminate your sonic screwdriver.

In case you're unaware, the anniversary spin-off stars outgoing Doctor Matt Smith; his predecessor (and tenth Doctor) David Tennant; and David Bradley, who plays the first Doctor -- a role originally portrayed by the late William Hartnell. Seasoned actor John Hurt, as well as Jenna Coleman and Billie Piper, round out the prominent cast. … Read more