So Amazon Prime might have been all smug about the fact it poached the much-maligned fading lights of BBC's Top Gear show, but in this game of streaming Top Trumps Netflix seems like it's got the ace card: Star Wars.
According to rumours from Cinelinx Netflix is set to work with Disney to create three new live-action Star Wars TV shows.
And we thought our Lucasfilm excitement couldn't get any more powerful…
Disney already has a deal in place with Netflix to create Marvel-based shows, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron-Fist and Luke Cage - with more on the way - so Netflix seems like an ideal home for Star Wars. After all, the final series of The Clone Wars cartoon was distributed exclusively on Netflix too.
And with the amount of money Netflix is ploughing into its homebrew TV offerings we shouldn't be looking at low-budget offerings either.
In fact reports are that filming of the TV series is being scheduled to fit between work on the various movies so that they can share the same sets. Thank JJ that they've decided to eschew Lucas' obsession with CGI in favour of actual physical things…
There has been no official confirmation though as yet, and the rumours don't seem to have any clue as to who, what or when the different TV series will cover or when they might go live.
With Rogue One covering the Rebels' troops and the second of the Star Wars Anthology movies covering young Han Solo and potentially Boba Fett too, what's left for the TV series?
We're desperate to find out what the hell happened to Ashoka, and maybe see a little more about the seedy underbelly of Coruscant's lower levels too.
Though with three new movies, three anthology flicks and potentially three live-action TV series, is that going to be too much of a good thing?
Familiarity breeds contempt and all that...
Solitaire freemium .. what is this madness
Microsoft has released Windows 10 today, and with its release, we’re slowly learning about everything the new OS has to offer. While there are a number of great features included, we’re surprised to see a new version of Windows’ iconic Solitaire made its way to Windows 10. What’s more surprising is it appears Solitaire has been turned into a freemium game.
As you can see from the image above, Microsoft offers a premium for its Solitaire game. The premium, which can be purchased in 1-month and 1-year bundles, allows players to play Solitaire with no advertisements, gain more coins when completing Daily Challenges, and get a boost for each game of TriPeaks and Pyramid played.
Solitaire has been a staple of the Windows experience for as long as we can remember. Turning it into a freemium game seems like an underhanded way for Microsoft to make a quick buck on such a simple game. If you’re a fan of Solitaire, you might want to consider purchasing a pack of physical cards and play the game offline. At least you can do something else besides play Solitaire with your deck of cards, like perform magic tricks, build a house of cards, or play 52 card pickup.
During a Netflix Showrunners panel yesterday at the TCA Press Tour, Marvel's Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg discussed how her upcoming Netflix MCU series - which has now been confirmed to premiere in 2015 - will differ from Marvel's Daredevil.
"Jessica Jones is a very different show than Daredevil," Rosenberg stated. "We exist in the cinematic universe. The mythology of the universe is connected, but
very different. Tonally, they're very different. If you pick up
Bendis' graphic novel, Alias, and you pick up Daredevil, they're wildly different. And the shows ‑‑ that was my one concern coming in. 'Okay. Am I going to have to fit into whatever has been done with Daredevil or with any of the Marvel things before? The answer was, 'No. That's why we're hiring you, for your point of view.'"
The fuse has been lit on another Mission: Impossible movie, according to star Tom Cruise.
During his appearance on the The Daily Show, the Mission: Impossible actor-producer claimed the six entry in the franchise could shoot as soon as this time next year.
"We're starting to work on it now. We'll probably start shooting it next summer," said Cruise.
If Cruise is correct, this would suggest Paramount Pictures has already green-lit a sequel before the success of Rogue Nation has been proven at the box office.
It would also be a departure from the lengthy gaps between sequels that has been common with every Mission: Impossible movie from M:I-2 onwards.
With the success of its Daredevil TV series Netflix has announced plans to put out a new Marvel show every six months, pulling inspiration from The Defenders group of heroes.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association Ted Sarandos, Netflix CCO, explained that it was the company's plan to continue producing a new shows from The Defenders pool of characters. The final end goal is for them to all finally assemble (wink) for an ensemble series featuring them all.
"Some will selectively have multiple seasons as they come out of the gate," said Sarandos. "So there will probably be two launches a year."
The Defenders suits this approach perfectly, the comic-book group is referred to as a 'non-team' because of the individualistic nature of its ever-changing protagonists. So building up the individual characters via their own shows or miniseries before throwing them all together makes perfect sense.
To hit its two per year goal shouldn't be hard as The Defenders has had a bunch of different members since Dr. Strange, the Hulk and Namor the Sub-Mariner set it up. There's a host of possible crossovers too, with the Guardians of the Galaxy having time-travelled their way onto the roster at one point and even Howard the Duck and Spiderman made their own appearances too.
Right now though Netflix has Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist in development to compliment the second season of Daredevil.
This huge commitment to creating its own Marvel series just shows how times have changed for the streaming giant. It also shows how big a player it has become in the TV market.
Following on from Sarandos' 2013 claims of a goal to "become HBO faster than HBO can become us" it is close to delivering on that promise. The Vulture has plotted the homegrown content of both companies showing that Netflix's 36 shows in in production or on-screen in 2015 outstrips HBO's 23 count of its own content.
Considering last year Netflix's homegrown shows only numbered 11 that's huge growth.
HBO though is very much still HBO and with HBO Now it's created a US-only Netflix-a-like service too. And profit-wise there is no comparison - HBO is still reportedly ten times more profitable.
But then you've got to spend money to make money....
Who would you like to see Netflix creating their own series? I'm holding out it paying Cage to chew some more scenery as Ghost Rider.
It has been a busy time in Redmond. Three hundred and two days ago, on September 30, 2014, Windows 10 was announced by Microsoft. The name, at the time, was a bit of a surprise, and Windows 10 was born out of the ashes of Windows 8.1. Over the last three hundred days, we have seen a pronounced change in how Microsoft develops software. Windows 8 was the crowning achievement of Steven Sinofsky, and his sudden departure from the Redmond company only weeks after Windows 8 shipped perhaps signaled that Microsoft knew out of the gate that Windows 8 would be controversial and difficult to adopt for their core user group. A new direction was necessary.
And so we have Windows 10. Separated from Windows 8 by more than just a number, it was also forged by a Microsoft who was more open about the development process than I can ever recall. The day after Windows 10 was announced, Microsoft opened up the Windows Insider program, to give anyone who wanted a look at the new take on Windows to give it a spin, and not only that, they could offer feedback and suggestions for apps and features. The changes made to Windows 10 over the last three hundred odd days, have been dramatic, which is a testament to how the new Microsoft takes and processes the huge amount of feedback it received.
Windows 10 Start Menu and Desktop in October 2014
The Windows Insider program was very successful. Very quickly the number of people who had signed up was over a million, and the last count that I saw was that there are over five million people in the Windows Insider program. The response has certainly been enthusiastic.
Of course it helps that the software being tested showed that Microsoft was listening well before the Insider Program even began. Windows 8’s biggest pain points, such as the Start Screen, full screen apps, and the Charms bar, were not going to be tweaked in this release, but completely done away with. Back was the Start Menu, back was windowed apps, and back was what made Windows, well, Windows. Where Windows 8 was promoted as touch-first, Windows 10 was created as productivity first, with the OS trying to assist you with things like Snap Assist rather than get in your way.
There is a lot of changes and features to go over, and in typical AnandTech style, we are going to provide as much information about each as we can. I wanted to ensure that we did the review with the final code, to ensure any of our tests would be accurate and real-world results. Hopefully the full review is worth the wait.
With Windows 10 being the first ever free upgrade, here is a quick look at what to expect if you signed up to get the upgrade on day one.
Windows 10 gains a personal assistant in Cortana. What originally launched on Windows Phone has been brought to the PC, and it can now work across all of your Windows devices. One of the key benefits of Windows 10 over Windows 8 is that features like Cortana are easily discoverable. Cortana now lives in a search box right beside the start button, and it can keep track of your travel plans, set up reminders, and perform searches for you.
Microsoft is also adding a new browser to Windows 10, with Microsoft Edge. Although based on Internet Explorer under the hood, huge chunks of code have been taken out to improve security, and the rendering and scripting engines have been optimized to make Edge one of the fastest browsers around. It adds support for new features like being able to markup web pages and share them, and Cortana is built in to provide contextual search results right in the page. It is a big step up from Internet Explorer in standards compliance, and while it’s not quite finished yet, Microsoft has promised to update it often through the Windows Store.
With Windows 8, Microsoft basically built a tablet operating system, and stuck the desktop inside of it. I actually quite liked the design when using Windows 8 with touch, but using it on a large screen desktop could be frustrating. Windows 10 is still designed for both systems, but they have added Continuum to Windows 10 to automatically prompt to switch from one mode to the other. Optimizing Windows for what you are doing is a much better approach than optimizing for what you’re not doing, and Continuum finally bridges the gap between desktop and tablet on one device.
Gaming is getting a big boost on Windows 10, with support for DirectX 12 which is the biggest change to their gaming APIs since DirectX 10 launched with Windows Vista way back in 2006. DirectX 12’s most important feature is likely its low-level API, which can provide much better performance in a lot of scenarios where developers had been CPU bound before. Graphics Processing Units are massively parallel devices, but could be bottlenecked by the API being CPU bound. DirectX 12 makes some big changes to the API to give the developers the chance to get around these bottlenecks, and the upcoming DirectX 12 games can add a level of detail that was unattainable before.
Gaming doesn’t stop there though. Windows 10 brings some other cool things to gaming on the PC. The built in Xbox app will support Game DVR, allowing you to record game sessions, edit them, and share them, all within the Xbox app. One of the coolest features coming is game streaming from an Xbox One to any Windows 10 PC, allowing you to use any PC or tablet as the display for the Xbox, as long as it is on the LAN. This isn’t new tech, but it will be built into every Windows 10 PC. Windows 10 is also going to offer cross-device gameplay, allowing you to play against people on Xbox One or Windows 10. Some games will even support starting a game on one device and finishing on the other.
The built in apps have all gotten major overhauls with Windows 10, and now work a lot better on a desktop but equally well on a touch device. Photos has gone from an almost unusable application on Windows 8 to a very nicely executed app in Windows 10. Mail has seen a huge change, and has taken cues from their purchase of Acompli, which had one of the best email apps on iOS. Maps has also gotten a big facelift, and it can sync information among all of your Windows devices. Xbox Music has been rebranded to Groove Music, and the movies app is now a movie player with the Windows Store being unified to include all purchases including movies and TV.
On the security side, Windows 10 brings a lot of features here as well. One I am very much looking forward to is Windows Hello, which will allow you to log in with supported facial recognition hardware, or fingerprint readers. Once logged in, Passport will be available as a service to allow authentication to external services, if they add support. This will leverage public-private key technology, so if a third party was able to obtain the database of passwords from a web service, they would just have your public key which is useless to them. I’ve said it before, and will say it again. Passwords have outlived their usefulness and any work to move this technology forward should be a huge benefit to everyone.
And these features are really just the tip of the iceberg, with far more available including virtual desktops, drop shadows, a new dark theme, and more. Windows 10 is a big step up from Windows 8, but also from those that hung back on Windows 7. With the free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 being offered for a year, adoption should be strong, but time will tell. I have been running Windows 10 since October, and as my daily computer since January. It has been worth the wait.
German scientists have confirmed that an Electromagnetic Propulsion Engine, claimed by some to be 'impossible', actually works.
The EM Drive breaks the conservation of momentum law of physics, which is why it was originally widely ridiculed by the scientific community. However after repeated testing, it appears that the engine is actually producing thrust. Claims earlier in the year that it was creating a warp field have now been refuted.
It is propelled forward by microwaves bouncing around inside a closed chamber. It will supposedly be able to get us to Mars in just 70 days, without using expensive rocket fuel.
Android users should be on the lookout for any video messages they receive that suddenly disappear. Why? Because it could mean that particular device has been compromised.
A group of researchers from Zimperium Mobile Security revealed the flaw in the mobile OS, now going by the name "Stagefright," along with the news that around 950 million Android devices are actively vulnerable to being attacked.
An attack on an affected Android device is so simple that it only requires the attacker to know their victim's mobile number. Even more troubling, however, is the fact that no action needs to be taken on the device itself for the effects to take hold. And after sending a multimedia message containing the exploit, different parts of the device, including the microphone, camera and Bluetooth, can be accessed.