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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens put their 'Lord of the Rings' knowledge to the test — Know Your Role



Know Your Role is a card game for only the most dedicated actors — and in this case iconic screenwriters. 

We quizzed Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens, who cowrote The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit film trilogies, as well as the new Mortal Engines film, to see how much they know about the fictional worlds they have brought to life.

Mortal Engines will be hitting cinemas 8th Dec. Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Lord Of The Rings, Peter Jackson, Hobbit, and Tolkien

Ariana Grande's 'thank you, next' just broke YouTube



Ariana Grande has another accomplishment to add to her ever-growing list: breaking YouTube

The pop singer dropped the much anticipated music video for her hit song “thank you, next” on Nov. 30, and in the process managed to overload the online video platform. Well, her devoted and passionate fanbase did, anyway. 

That’s right, according to YouTube, the service was unable to handle the barrage of comments on the video after it went live — prompting someone at YouTube to compare “thank you, next” to another famous internet moment

More about Youtube, Ariana Grande, Tech, and Big Tech Companies

These old and obsolete tech products actually make great gifts



This holiday season, while everyone else is giving and receiving the year’s hottest new tech items, why not do something a little different?

Give the gift of old and absolutely out-of-date technology to the geek in your life this year! (We’re not kidding.)

iPhones and iPads are more expensive than ever. The latest video game console bundles are already sold out. And the techie who already has all the newest gear is expecting you to give them that annual iTunes gift card. Change it up; surprise your loved one with the gift of retro technology.

Here are a few gift ideas that will have you reminiscing about the good old days and leave your gift recipient’s mouth agape (which could be good or bad, but it’ll certainly be fun!). Read more…

More about Christmas, Nintendo, Holiday, Video Games, and Tamagotchi

Facebook adds free TV shows Buffy, Angel, Firefly to redefine Watch



Facebook hasn’t had a hit show yet for its long-form video hub Watch, so it’s got a new plan: digging up some deceased cult favorites from television. First up, Facebook is making all episodes of Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly free on Facebook Watch. There’ll be simultaneous viewing Watch Parties where fans can live comment together for Buffy at 3 pm PT today, Angel tomorrow at 12 pm PT, and Firefly on sunday at 12pm PT. Facebook recruited Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar to promote the launch.

These shows aren’t original, and they’re far from exclusive since they’re included in a Hulu subscription and are available to rent or buy on other platforms. But at least they’re not run-of-the-mill web content.Wwith Facebook’s remake of MTV’s Real World not arriving until Spring 2019, these sci-fi and horror shows are the most high-profile programs available on the free ad-supported streaming service. The hope is that fans of these shows will come get a taste of Watch, and then explore the rest of its programming.

However, Facebook downplayed this as a change is overarching strategy when I asked if it would be licensing more old TV shows. Instead, it’s trying to build a well-rounded mix of content. A Facbook spokesperson provided this statement:

“No – this doesn’t reflect a strategy shift. We’re focused on bringing content to Watch that people want to discuss and create a community around — whether that’s live sports like UEFA Champions League in Latin America, compelling shows like Sorry For Your Loss, Queen America and Sacred Lies, or even nostalgia content like Real World reboot we’re bringing to Watch next year. Buffy, Firefly and Angel are pop culture favorites with dedicated fan bases, and we’re excited for the opportunity to bring these shows back in a way that enables fans to watch and discuss together on the same platform.”

There’s no guarantee Whedon fans will flock to Watch in droves. [TechCrunch owner] Verizon tried the same thing, bringing Veronica Mars and Babylon 5 to its Go90 streaming service. That failed to move the needle and Go90 eventually shut down. Meanwhile, Watch Party’s simultaneous viewing hasn’t blossomed into a phenomenon, but perhaps bringing the feature to Messenger (which TechCrunch reports Facebook is internally testing) could more naturally spur these social consumption experiences.

Watch has made some progress sicne its lackluster August 2017 debut. 50 million people now spend at least 1 minute per month with Watch. For comparison, over 18 Snapchat Shows have over 10 million unique viewers per month. Facebook Watch users spend 5X longer watching than on clips discovered News Feed videos. But Facebook Watch really needs to pour the cash in necessary to secure a tent-pole series — its Game Of Thrones or House Of Cards. That might mesh well with its new strategy of conceding the younger audience that’s abandon Facebook in favor targeting older users, CNBC reported.

With so much free video content floating around and plenty of people already subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, and/or HBO, it’s been tough for Watch to gain traction when it’s so far outside the understood Facebook use case. Laying a bed of diverse content is a good baby step, but it needs something truly must-see if it’s going to wedge its way into our viewing habits.

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E Ink debuts a new electronic drawing technology



E Ink — a name synonymous with e-reader screens — just debuted a new writing Display technology called JustWrite. The tech offers the company’s familiar monochrome aesthetic — albeit in negative this time, with white on black.

The key here, as with most of E Ink’s technology is minimal power consumption and low cost, the latter of which it was able to accomplish by dumping the TFT (thin-film-transistor LCD). Instead, it’s a thin roll that could be used to paper surfaces like conference rooms and schools, in order to let people write on the walls using a stylus with practically no latency, as evidenced in the below GIF. 

“The JustWrite film features one of E Ink’s proprietary electronic inks and offers similar benefits as E Ink’s other product lines: a paper-like experience with a good contrast and reflective display without a backlight,” the company writes. “The JustWrite film is an all plastic display, making it extremely durable and lightweight, with the ability to be affixed and removed easily, enabling writing surfaces in a variety of locations.”

The technology could go head to head with the likes of Sony and reMarkable on drawing tablets, but E Ink appears to be more interested in embedded it in non-traditional surfaces. No word yet on how or when it will come to market, though the company is showing it off in person for the first time this week at an event in Tokyo.

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Man gets a new face, and a second chance at life



A team at NYU Langone Health successfully transplanted their second face, and gave one man his life back. Twenty-six-year-old Cameron Underwood suffered a self-inflicted gunshot, resulting in massive damage to his face. Fortunately, after about 18 months, Underwood was matched with a donor for a face transplant, and today he is more positive than ever that his life can go back to how it was.  Read more…

More about Mashable Video, Face Transplant, Health Insurance, Nyu, and Medical Coverage

Ariana Grande's 'thank u, next' video is a perfect parody of all your favorite teen movies



Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” already cemented itself as a 2018 banger, and the official video is a party of its own. Full of classic teen movie tropes and references to Mean Girls, Bring It On, Legally Blonde, and more.

The movie references are fun on their own, all teased by Grande on social media leading up to the video’s release, but the cameos make “thank u, next.” 

From Mean Girls‘ original Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) to Kris Jenner as a cool mom, everyone in the video is having a blast – perhaps none more so than Jennifer Coolidge recreating an entire scene of Legally Blonde with Grande as Elle Woods. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Music, Movies, Ariana Grande, and Legally Blonde

The International Space Station’s new robot is a freaky floating space Alexa



Meet Cimon. The 3D printed floating robot head was developed by Airbus for the German Space Agency. He’s been a crew member of the International Space Station since June, though as Gizmodo notes, this is the first time we’re seeing him in action.

Really the floating, Watson-powered robot face is like an extremely expensive Amazon Echo designed to study human-machine interactions in space. This video highlights an early interaction between Cimon and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.

Gerst requests his “favorite song,” leading Cimon to play Kraftwerk’s “Man Machine,” only to shaken by the astronaut, who then demands the robot shoot some video. Once again Cimon complies, though this time he’s clearly a bit annoyed that the music has stopped. Kind of a rough first encounter for the two new coworkers.

“Happy with his initial outing, both Cimon’s developers and Alexander hope to see Cimon back in action again soon,” the ESA says. “While no further sessions are planned during the Horizons mission at this stage, it could mark the beginning of exciting collaboration between astronauts, robotic assistants and possible future artificial intelligence in space.”

Hopefully things go a bit more smoothly next time. Lord knows the last thing you want to do is piss off a space robot.

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