Minecraft hits milestone, Pebble’s Core likes Alexa, Google’s podcars hit the horn

If you’re addicted to fighting off zombies while designing soaring architectural wonders, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a fan of Minecraft. Turns out you’re not the only one playing: Minecraft maker Mojang says the blocky game of blocks – and the occasional blocky sheep – has passed the 100 million mark in terms of copies purchased. For just this year, Mojang says the game is downloaded 53,000 times – each day.

First released in 2011, Minecraft has been a surprise hit, and Mojang was scooped up by Microsoft in 2014 for $2.5 billion. Mojang says Minecraft is played on every continent on the planet – including Antarctica – and that nearly half of the players are crafting away on mobile devices. It’s also one of the few video games parents feel good about letting their kids play – for hours on end. There are a lot of future architects out there.

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Smartwatch pioneer Pebble has been busy rolling out new stuff lately, including the unusual Pebble Core, a little box of tech that allows users to leave the phone at home but still listen to Spotify, record that moment of inspiration, track fitness data – and chat up Amazon’s helpful A.I. assistant Alexa, apparently. Not bad for just $69. The Core connects using 3G and there’s also a version for hackers who’d like to develop more core… stuff.

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We’re keeping a close eye on Google’s autonomous car efforts and it looks like they just gave their self-driving pod-mobiles a very human-like quality: knowing when to honk the horn. Up until now, Google says their cars only honked discreetly at the interior occupants as a warning about an exterior danger. They say they want their robot cars to be polite, considerate and only honk when it makes sense for safety.

And just what kind of horn does a law-abiding, courteous, self-directed people-mover have? Google didn’t say, but seeing how the roads seem to be filled with highly distracted human auto-pilots, we have some rather loud suggestions.

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