Shared posts

18 Mar 00:04

Whistleblower explains how Cambridge Analytica 'exploited' Facebook

by Richard Lawler
Last night Facebook announced bans against Cambridge Analytica, its parent company and several individuals for allegedly sharing and keeping data that they had promised to delete. This data reportedly included information siphoned from hundreds of th...
17 Mar 07:54

Xiaomi launches Mi Body Composition Scale

Xiaomi has launched the Mi Body Composition Scale in India. The device is designed to track various body stats when paired with the Mi Fit app. The Mi Body Composition Scale looks like a standard weighing scale at first glance. The surface is made out of tempered glass with anti-slip finish for use with wet feet. It has a large LED display that lights up when you step on the scale and auto adjusts brightness to ambient light. When paired with the Mi Fit app over Bluetooth (available for Android and iOS), the scale can show you your weight, body mass index, body fat, muscle mass,...

17 Mar 07:45

The Last Ever Episodes of Game of Thrones Made the Cast Cry

by Filip Miucin

spoiler alert

During the annual INTV conference in Israel yesterday, Francesca Orsi, the Senior Vice President of drama at HBO, implied that everyone would die, "one by one," leading up to the shows final episodes. The last season of Game of Thrones will not be a disappointment, promise HBO executives.

The entire cast got very emotional during a table reads for one of the final episodes of Game of Thrones. Everyone was crying, and it ended with a heartfelt 15-minute applause.

“It was a really powerful moment in our lives and our careers,” said Francesca Orsi, while participating in a panel called “The Best of HBO” at the INTV Conference in Jerusalem. “None of the cast had received the scripts prior, and one by one they started falling down to their deaths.”

Continue reading…

17 Mar 07:42

Lord of the Rings TV Series Could Cost Half a Billion

by David Griffin

Amazon is shelling out big money to compete with other streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, with a new report indicating that its planned Lord of the Rings series could wind up costing as much as $500 million for its first two seasons, which is crazy since the original trilogy only cost $281 million according to Box Office Mojo.

The report comes from Reuters, who studied internal documents from the company detailing the cost/benefit formula that Amazon uses to determine which shows are successes or failures. The metric they use is called "first stream," or what new shows Amazon Prime subscribers are watching when they first sign up. So far, the first seasons of Man in the High Castle and The Grand Tour have provided the most bang for their buck. For example, Man in the High Castle Season 1 cost $72 million to produce and drew in an audience of 1.15 million new Prime members during their first stream. That's a cost of around $63 per subscriber -- not a bad deal. On the other end of the spectrum, Season 2 of Man in the High Castle cost $107 million to make with an average cost of $829 per subscriber. With Season 3 on the way, one has to wonder what this downhill trend for such an expensive show might mean for its future.

Continue reading…

17 Mar 07:26

PlayTable combines blockchain and board games for peak nerdery

by Kris Naudus
Whether they're taking over a section of your local Target or dominating the list of Kickstarter's highest grossing projects, board games are booming right now. And, while traditional board games still have their place, plenty of companies are trying...
17 Mar 07:21

Duolingo's Klingon course has finally arrived

by Swapna Krishna
It's not an exaggeration to say we've been waiting for Duolingo's course in Klingon for years. Now, it's finally making its debut. Star Trek fans (or really, anyone who's interested in taking a course in a constructed language, or conlang) can access...
17 Mar 07:12

Intel redesigned its 8th-gen processors to patch ‘Meltdown’ flaws

by Steve Dent
As promised, Intel has redesigned its upcoming 8th-gen Xeon and Core processors to further reduce the risks of attacks via the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, CEO Brian Krzanich wrote. Those fixes are on top of the software updates already issu...
17 Mar 07:09

New Yorker applied machine learning to blocked bike lane problem

by Mallory Locklear
Alex Bell likes to bike around New York City, but he got fed up with how often bike lanes were blocked by delivery trucks and idling cars. So he decided to do something about it, the New York Times reports. Bell is a computer scientist and he develop...
15 Mar 06:59

Security Researchers Publish Ryzen Flaws, Gave AMD 24 hours Prior Notice

by Ian Cutress

Through the advent of Meltdown and Spectre, there is a heightened element of nervousness around potential security flaws in modern high-performance processors, especially those that deal with the core and critical components of company business and international infrastructure. Today, CTS-Labs, a security company based in Israel, has published a whitepaper identifying four classes of potential vulnerabilities of the Ryzen, EPYC, Ryzen Pro, and Ryzen Mobile processor lines. AMD is in the process of responding to the claims, but was only given 24 hours of notice rather than the typical 90 days for standard vulnerability disclosure. No official reason was given for the shortened time.

As of 3/13 at 5:40pm ET, AMD has since opened a section on its website to respond to these issues. At present, the statement says:

"We have just received a report from a company called CTS Labs claiming there are potential security vulnerabilities related to certain of our processors. We are actively investigating and analyzing its findings. This company was previously unknown to AMD and we find it unusual for a security firm to publish its research to the press without providing a reasonable amount of time for the company to investigate and address its findings. At AMD, security is a top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as potential new risks arise. We will update this blog as news develops."

At this point AMD has not confirmed any of the issues brought forth in the CTS-Labs whitepaper, so we cannot confirm in the findings are accurate. It has been brought to our attention that some press were pre-briefed on the issue, perhaps before AMD was notified, and that the website that CTS-Labs has setup for the issue was registered on February 22nd, several weeks ago. Given the level of graphics on the site, it does look like a planned ‘announcement’ has been in the works for a little while, seemingly with little regard for AMD’s response on the issue. This is compared to Meltdown and Spectre, which was shared among the affected companies several months before a planned public disclosure. CTS-Labs has also hired a PR firm to deal with incoming requests for information, which is also an interesting avenue to the story, as this is normally not the route these security companies take. CTS-Labs is a security focused research firm, but does not disclose its customers or research leading to this disclosure. CTS-Labs was started in 2017, and this is their first public report.

CTS-Labs’ claims revolve around AMD’s Secure Processor and Promontory Chipset, and fall into four main categories, which CTS-Labs has named for maximum effect. Each category has sub-sections within.

MasterKey 1, 2, and 3

MasterKey is an exploit that allows for arbitrary code execution within the secure processor of the CPU, but requires the attacker to re-flash the BIOS with an update that attacks the Arm Cortex A5 at the heart of the secure processor. In one version of MasterKey, the BIOS update uses metadata to exploit the vulnerability, but the goal is to bypass AMD’s Hardware Validated Boot (HVM). The impact of MasterKey would allow security features to be disabled, such as the Firmware Trusted Platform Module or Secure Encrypted Virtualization. This could lead to hardware-based random attacks. CTS-Labs cite that American Megatrends, a common BIOS provider for Ryzen systems, makes a BIOS re-flash very easy, assuming the attacker has a compatible BIOS.

  Impact EPYC Ryzen Ryzen Pro Ryzen Mobile
MasterKey-1 Disable Security Features
AMD Secure Processor
Yes Yes Maybe Maybe

CTS-Labs state that MasterKey-1 and Masterkey-2 has been successfully exploited on EPYC and Ryzen, but only theorized on Ryzen Pro and Ryzen Mobile by examining the code. Masterkey-3 has not been attempted. Protection comes via preventing unauthorized BIOS updates, although if Ryzenfall compromised system may bypass this.

Chimera HW and Chimera SW

The Chimera exploit focuses on the Promontory chipset, and hidden manufacturer backdoors that allow for remote code execution. CTS-Labs cites that ASMedia, the company behind the chipset, has been fallen foul of the FTC due to security vulnerabilities in its hardware.

  Impact EPYC Ryzen Ryzen
Chimera HW Chipset code execution No Yes Yes No
Chimera SW

A successful exploit allows malicious code that can attack any device attached through the chipset, such as SATA, USB, PCIe, and networking. This would allow for loggers, or memory protection bypasses, to be put in place. It is cited that malware could also be installed and abuse the Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine of the chipset, leading to an operating system attack. CTS-Labs has said that they have successfully exploited Chimera on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro, by using malware running on a local machine with elevated administrator privileges and a digitally signed driver. It was stated that a successful firmware attack would be ‘notoriously difficult to detect or remove’.

Ryzenfall 1, 2, 3, and 4

The Ryzenfall exploit revolves around AMD Secure OS, the operating system for the secure processor. As the secure processor is an Arm Cortex A5, it leverages ARM TrustZone, and is typically responsible for most of the security on the chip, including passwords and cryptography.

  Impact EPYC Ryzen Ryzen
Ryzenfall-1 VTL-1 Memory Write No Yes Yes Yes
Ryzenfall-2 Disable SMM Protection No Yes Yes No
Ryzenfall-3 VTL-1 Memory Read
SMM Memory Read (req R-2)
No Yes Yes No
Ryzenfall-4 Code Execution on SP No Yes Maybe No

CTS-Labs states that the Ryzenfall exploit allows the attacker to access protected memory regions that are typically sealed off from hardware, such as the Windows Isolated User Mode and Isolated Kernel Mode, the Secure Management RAM, and AMD Secure Processor Fenced DRAM. A successful attack, via elevated admin priveledges and a vendor supplied driver, are stated to allow protected memory reads and writes, disabling of secure memory protection, or arbitrary code execution.

Fallout 1, 2, and 3

Fallout applies to EPYC processors only, and is similar to Ryzenfall. In fact, the way that CTS-Labs describes the vulnerability, the results are identical to Ryzenfall, but relies on compromising the Boot Loader in the secure processor. Again, this is another attack that requires elevated administrator access and goes through a signed driver, and like Ryzenfall allows access to protected memory regions.

  Impact EPYC Ryzen Ryzen
Fallout-1 VTL-1 Memory Write Yes No No No
Fallout-2 Disable SMM Protection Yes No No No
Fallout-3 VTL-1 Memory Read
SMM Memory Read (req F-2)
Yes No No No

CTS-Labs states this as a separate name on the basis that it can bypass Microsoft Virtualization-based security, open up the BIOS to flashing, and allow malware to be injected into protected memory that is outside the scope of most security solutions.

What Happens Now

As this news went live, we got in contact with AMD, who told us have an internal team working on the claims of CTS-Labs. The general feeling is that they have been somewhat blindsided by all of this, given the limited time from notice to disclosure, and are using the internal team to validate the claims made. CTS-Labs state that it has shared the specific methods it used to identify and exploit the processors with AMD, as well as sharing the details with select security companies and the US regulators.

All of the exploits require elevated administrator access, with MasterKey going as far as a BIOS reflash on top of that. CTS-Labs goes on the offensive however, stating that it ‘raises concerning questions regarding security practices, auditing, and quality controls at AMD’, as well as saying that the ‘vulnerabilities amount to complete disregard of fundamental security principles’. This is very strong wording indeed, and one might have expected that they might have waited for an official response. The other angle is that given Spectre/Meltdown, the '1-day' disclosure was designed for the maximum impact. Just enough time to develop a website, anyway.

CTS-Labs is very forthright with its statement, having seemingly pre-briefed some press at the same time it was notifying AMD, and directs questions to its PR firm. The full whitepaper can be seen here, at, a website registered on 6/9 with no home page and seemingly no link to CTS-Labs. Something doesn't quite add up here.

AMD have us on speed-dial for when an official statement is released.

Sources: AMD, CTS-Labs


Update 3/13 5:40pm ET

Reported over at Motherboard are a few new elements to the story.

Dan Guido, founder of security firm Trail of Bits, was contacted by CTS Labs last week to confirm the exploits and the code.

"Each of them works as described,",

Stated Guido. Guido has confirmed to AnandTech that Trail of Bits has had no prior contact with CTS-Labs, stating that

"they found us through a mutual friend".

Guido goes on to say that CTS-Labs

"sought us out because they were concerned about the validity of their findings".

In a tweet, Guido goes on to say that Trail of Bits was paid for their research time, clarifying further that 

"It was driven by curiosity first and a favor. However, once we received the technical report and fielded their first set of questions, we realized it went beyond a favor. We anticipated 1 bug, not 13, so we asked to get paid."

Reuters has published that Trail of Bits were paid $16000 for the time spent reviewing the code.

Motherboard also stated that due to the escalated privileged required for these attacks, these are 'second stage' vulnerabilities, requiring the attacker to gain administrative access first before installing relevant (potentially undetectable) spying software on a network.

Also reported at Motherboard, CTS-Labs CEO, Ido Li On, has stated that the issues are

"very, very bad. This is probably as bad as it gets in the world of security,"

CTS-Labs decided to state to Motherboard when they notified AMD of the issue, but CFO Yaron Luk-Zilberman defended their timing decisions, calling it a "public interest disclosure". Luk-Zilberman is also quoted as saying

"We are letting the public know of these flaws but we are not putting out technical details and have no intention of putting out technical details, ever"

CTS-Labs has reached out to discuss the issue, but have not responded to my email.

Update 3/14 4:45am ET

We have arranged a call with CTS-Labs today.

Update 3/14 5:00am ET

Reported by Ars Technica, a second security firm has now spoken publicly about being contacted by CTS-Labs for verification of the vulnerabilities. Gadi Evron, CEO of Cymmetria, stated in a series of tweets that:

  1. He knows CTS-Labs and vouches for their technical capabilities, but has no knowledge of their business model
  2. All the vulnerabilites do not require physical access (a simple exe is all that is needed)
  3. Fallout does not require a reflash of the BIOS
  4. CTS-Labs believes that the public has a right to know if a vendor they are using makes them vulnerable, which is why no substantial lead time was given.

Quoted by Ars is David Kanter, founder of Real World Technologies and industry consultant, who verifies that even though these are secondary stage attacks, they can still be highly important. David states that while

"All the exploits require root access - if someone already has root access to your system, you're already compromised. This is like if someone broke into your home and they got to install video cameras to spy on you".

Ars also quotes Dan Guido, who states that all that is needed to enable these exploits is the credentials of a single administrator: 

"Once you have administrative rights, exploiting the bugs is unforunately not that complicated."

14 Mar 06:26

Stephen Hawking passes away at age 76

by Richard Lawler
Late Tuesday night the family of Stephen Hawking announced that the physicist has passed away at the age of 76. Awarded more than a dozen honorary degrees, Hawking theorized that black holes emitted a form of thermal radiation, and contributed to wor...
13 Mar 07:00

All the ways daylight saving time screws with you

by Sara Chodosh

When entire countries lose an hour of sleep simultaneously, bad things happen.

Only a narrow band of people are really that affected by daylight saving. But gosh darn it, we will complain about it loudly every year.
12 Mar 22:10

Marvel's Jessica Jones: Season 2 Ending Explained

by David Griffin

Warning! Full SPOILERS follow for Jessica Jones Season 2. Check out our reactions to every Season 2 episode right here.

Now that you’ve finished your Jessica Jones Season 2 binge, let’s discuss what might be in store for our heroes down the road after that thrilling finale.

Starting with Jessica (Krysten Ritter), who surprisingly appears to be in a good place after witnessing her mother’s death at the hands of her best friend, Trish. Even after losing her mom, it’s nice to see that Jessica is still open to becoming a part of a new family. It will be interesting to see if Season 3 begins with Jessica, Oscar, and Vido still together. While it’s difficult to imagine Jessica settling down, now that she knows more about her past, perhaps she can truly start over?

Continue reading…

11 Mar 08:19

Time for a Cryptocurrency Heater for Your Home

Cryptocurrency seems to be infecting everything now and this new heater from a French startup seems to be a natural evolution of this infection. The heater is manufactured using two Sapphire Nitro+ RX 580 GPU's (has normal heating conductors as well) and mines Ethereum by default. Put your wallet address into the mobile app and off you go to mining and heating your home. You can buy this device for the low, low, low, price of just $3,600. Did I say low price? My bad. The company thinks they'll sell hundreds of these in the next year. I'm not so sure about that. However, the saying a fool and his money are soon parted comes to mind. You can set it up in a few minutes by plugging an Ethernet cable and putting your Ethereum wallet address in the mobile app. You'll then gradually receive ethers on this address — Qarnot doesn't receive any coin, you keep 100 percent of your cryptocurrencies. Discussion
11 Mar 08:16

This Is What Happens When Bitcoin Miners Take Over Your Town

Back in 2013, Washington state's East Wenatchee became the target of prospective bitcoin miners thanks to its hydroelectric dams, which allowed for the nation's cheapest electricity. Now, many years later, the area is home to countless operations, and the power being used is nothing short of astounding. The commercial miners now pouring into the valley are building sites with tens of thousands of servers and electrical loads of as much as 30 megawatts, or enough to power a neighborhood of 13,000 homes. And in the arms race that cryptocurrency mining has become, even these operations will soon be considered small-scale. Discussion
10 Mar 19:00

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses on Coulson's fate, that familial reveal

by Natalie Abrams

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the 100th episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought Phil Coulson’s story full circle during its 100th episode, and in doing so ended up dropping a number of major reveals.

During the landmark hour, the price of the deal Coulson (Clark Gregg) made with Ghost Rider was finally revealed: The Kree serum that revived him after his death in Marvel’s The Avengers would be burned off, so now the wound in his chest is slowly killing him.

But that was almost the least of their worries as the explosion at the end of the 99th episode resulted in a tear in the space-time continuum, opening up a fear dimension where their worst fears are literally coming true — from the returns of Lash and Hive to an LMD Simmons trying to kill Yo-Yo.

Coulson volunteers to close the rift, but comes face to face with Deathlok (J. August Richards), who basically tells him that none of the events of the last five seasons are real, that he’s imagined everything while doctors desperately try to prevent him from dying following the events of The Avengers. For a moment, he almost believes it’s true — and honestly, maybe the audience does, too — but Coulson recognizes that it’s only his worst fear manifested. The real Deathlok then appears, helping Coulson to finally close the rift.

To celebrate their success, Fitz and Simmons end up getting married, with Coulson officiating. It’s the moment many S.H.I.E.L.D. fans have been waiting for basically since the beginning of the series. And to top it off, viewers also learn that Deke (Jeff Ward) is actually their grandson. Twist! EW turned to executive producers Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell to get scoop on what’s next:

RELATED: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast shares audition stories

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Fitz and Simmons got married! What came with the decision to do it during this hour?
JEFFREY BELL: Part of it was we sat down and thought, as fans, what are the kinds of things we would want to see? Part of that is paying homage to where we’ve come from, part of that is a couple of “oh my God” moments, and something looking toward the future that is hopefully something emotional.
JED WHEDON: And something that really rewards the fans. We felt like we wanted the 100th to be for those people who had watched them all. I don’t think there’s anybody who watches this show who is not rooting for this couple.
MAURISSA TANCHAROEN: Truthfully, it was about damn time. After 100 episodes, they needed to get married.

Deke is the grandson of Fitz and Simmons. Will they discover the truth? What can you tease of their reaction?
WHEDON: We don’t want to tease too much of that out other than there’s obviously fun to be played.
BELL: There’s comedy gold.
WHEDON: We liked it as a reveal also because the wedding is something that you know how that works, you know what it is, you know what it means to get married, and for a couple that we’ve put through the wringer so many times, it was a way of not just celebrating that they’re getting married, but of showing that this isn’t just the hope of a happy ending, there actually is one already attending the wedding. To us, it was not just a cool reveal, but a way of seeing their love manifested. How they’ll all react is a wait and see, but you can imagine that it’ll be fun.

Although we did get a happy ending at the end of the 100th hour, Coulson is still dying. What can you tease of his journey moving forward?
WHEDON: I think it’s very clear in the episode of how he’s approaching it. Though a lot of emotion does come out with Mike Peterson, he’s come to terms with it. It’s something he actually had to come to terms with a long time ago when he was discovering the T.A.H.I.T.I. Project and everything that had been done to him. I don’t think he wants to go through any of that again. He’s ready for nature to take its course. You can sense from everybody else in the episode that they’re not as willing to let go as he seems to be. Some of that will play out. What happens, we’ll have to wait and see, but he seems as much at peace with it as you can be considering there’s so much he’s done in a world that thinks he’s dead.
BELL: He says, “Just because I’m at peace with it, doesn’t mean I’m in a hurry to die.”
WHEDON: He’s not excited for it.

Is this a season-ending arc? Will we get resolution to Coulson’s fate by season’s end? And does that all depend on whether or not the show is renewed?
BELL: Right now, we’re writing a series end, because as far as we know this could be it.
WHEDON: Truthfully, we have our idea of how this season ends and we think that there’s still more story. We would never want to end with, “And there were never any stories after that.” Everybody is going to carry on after the show, so you always want to leave with the idea that there are more stories. It’s a question of whether or not we will tell them. We have our end, and we’ll stick to it regardless, but we think it’ll work either way.

Will you put any hints in there as to what a potential season 6 could be should the show get renewed?
TANCHAROEN: As Jed said, we’ll never end something without the potential for more story. That’s how we’ve ended every season, because whenever we’ve come to the end of all the season’s past, we go into that mostly not knowing until the very last minute, so we’re basically doing the same thing to close out season 5. It can fit well as a possible series finale, and it can fit well as just another season’s end. Hopefully people feel the same way.
WHEDON: What we don’t want to do is get to the end of the series and have gone off of something where you’re like, “Well, now it makes no sense.” We want there to be a sense of resolution for the audience and a reward for the audience for being on this whole journey. We don’t want to leave them hanging with something that didn’t get paid off. That being said, not everybody is going to die in the finale, so those people will live on with stories to tell.
BELL: You can’t kill everyone.

Are you confirming there will be death in the finale?
WHEDON: We are not. All we are confirming is that not everyone will die.

It’s going to sound like I’m about to ask whether Coulson dies or not in the end…
BELL: Every year, every story that we set up, we try and pay off in a meaningful way. Whether you’re getting a hard yes or no to that, we try and give you a satisfying emotional resolution. That’s our goal this year.

That’s fair year to year, but since you’re looking at this as a potential series finale, does it almost feel fitting for you as writers — whether it happens or not — that because this show started with the rebirth of Coulson, that it end with the death of Coulson?
BELL: Those are your words.
WHEDON: Yeah, if that were the way that it went, it would have the emotion you’re talking about.
BELL: Poetically it makes sense, the way you said it.
WHEDON: But there’s a lot of story left to tell. We know that he’s not going to go down without a fight. He might be ready to go down without a fight, but the rest of the team depends on him. So there’s a lot of story left to tell.

What was it like for you to bring the story full circle to the beginning of these series by revealing that Coulson is actually dying from his original wound in The Avengers?
BELL: It was really fun for us. The idea of bringing J. August Richards back as the voice of that, as the first person S.H.I.E.L.D. encountered in the series, was super exciting for us. To let him be the one to articulate every doubt and fear Coulson had ever had, and to be able to point to all those other moments or markers of the first 100, meant a lot to us. It was really great that he was able to come and do that, and to tie it back to the pilot that way.
WHEDON: One of the things going into it that was a bit daunting in writing the 100th is it came after episode 11, which was our first one back after that break. It came in the middle of stuff. We had to make it special, but not just a one-off. There was a lot of different ideas of how to pack it in, but the Mike Peterson of it and that conversation became the core of it in that we knew we had an excuse to have Coulson flashback on all these years and to reminisce and question. That became the tentpole that we built everything around.
TANCHAROEN: It was important for us to have Mike Peterson back not only because of how he’s symbolic of the very first mission the team had together, but in him pointing out Coulson’s possible doubts and fears, he’s also pointing out his reason for everything, his reason for the team, which is he wanted to establish a family, and over the course of five years, he has that connection with all these people. To at all imply that it’s not real is the heartbreaking part, not only for Coulson, but for the audience, which all the more makes it impactful.

Can you talk about toying with the audience a bit and making it seem like the entire series was some sort of comatose coping mechanism in Coulson’s head?
WHEDON: You can take from it what you want to take from it.
TANCHAROEN: Were there moments when you watched it like, “No, they are not doing this right now?!”

Of course!
WHEDON: The question is out there, so people can debate it forever.

Does that explosion and destruction of the monoliths mean the team can’t go through the time loop again?
WHEDON: They have some stuff to figure out. No, the time loop could still be in effect.
BELL: Right now, as far as we know, we are just reliving a loop that’s already happened — as far as the character’s know.
WHEDON: And so far, we have not broken it.

How much are people going to fight against that and try to change the loop in the coming episodes?
WHEDON: That’s the game we’re playing is: Can we change the future we saw? We know there’s differing opinions on that. We know from that episode that Fitz believes time is fixed and therefore cannot be changed. Yo-Yo even said to herself in the future, “Are you telling me to change the future or telling me I can’t?” That question is still out there.
TANCHAROEN: That question may fracture the team.
BELL: The good thing about having a bunch of different people is lots of different points of views.

That’s tough for Yo-Yo, because that future has already come true for her in certain ways. What can you say of her journey moving forward?
WHEDON: Yo-Yo’s in a terrible position. She’s the only person with any knowledge of what could change this future, and it’s basically that you have to let Coulson go. That’s going to create some tension within the team.

And how will the team react to that piece of information? Because we haven’t actually seen Yo-Yo tell anyone, right?
TANCHAROEN: No, we have not.
WHEDON: Right, and now knowing what’s happening, it won’t be necessary to tell someone unless something else comes up, because he’s already going . I don’t know, there’s a lot of implications, and that’s the stuff that will be explored. All your questions will be answered.
TANCHAROEN: Just watch the show.

Daisy brings up a good point that there is no S.H.I.E.L.D. anymore. What is really left of it, and is that something that Daisy will be determined to keep alive to honor Coulson?
WHEDON: The quinjet showed up with a few reinforcements, so that’s everything we have right now. Part of the issue moving forward is it’s really just us against everything else, because we have the few resources that came with Deathlok and that’s about it. We’re going to have to see how they manage with such limited resources while still being hunted. The one good thing they have is a completely hidden secret base.

And with Coulson on death’s door, will we see Coulson and May act on their feelings for each other?
WHEDON: They’re starting to express them a little bit, so that’s another wait and see.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

10 Mar 08:37

How to set your family’s PS4 play time using 5.50’s Play Time Management

by Francesco Astri

With system software 5.00 we redefined the concept of family on PlayStation Network, giving you a whole new range of controls to keep your family safe when using your PlayStation 4.

Now, with the 5.50 update, Play Time Management builds on this feature, giving family managers and guardians the ability to set precise play times for each child family member.

Play Time Management is available on your PS4, web browser or accessible from the PS App, making it easy to keep an eye on your family’s entertainment, even on the go.

How does Play Time Management work?

Play Time Management lets the family manager or guardian decide exactly when and for how long younger users can use PlayStation 4, whether they are playing, watching a video or simply using any of the console features.

Time frames, limits and actions to take at the end of a session are decided by changing three simple settings:

  1. Set Play Time restrictions
    This one is pretty straightforward. Using this setting, you can enable Play Time restrictions or turn them off by selecting “Restrict” or “Do Not Restrict”.
  2. Allocate Play Time
    This customisable set of options allows you to set time limits around console use. The simplest option is “Every Day” where “Play Time Duration”, “Start Time” and “End Time” will be repeated for each day of the week. “By Days of the Week” gives you the option to differentiate Play Times based on the days of the week (a.k.a. “Can we have more play time for the weekend?”).
  3. Action for when Play Time ends
    These two options – “Notify Only” or “Log Out of PS4”. The latter will send a notification to remind children that their Play Time is over, popping up every five minutes after the limit ends. This option allows the session to carry on until someone stops it manually. The latter option will log the player out of their profile (prior to this there will be notifications 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes before the end of Play Time).

Play Time Management

What happens when the time ends in “Log Out” mode?

When Play Time runs out with “Log Out” mode active, a screen with two options will be shown – “OK” will take the child family member to the log-in screen with the Play Time indicator at 00:00 under their profile.

The second option, “Ask to Change Play Time”, will give instructions to Family Managers or Guardians on how to extend the session.

Remember to tell your children to save before the end of Play Time as the applications will be suspended once the time is over.

Play Time Management

How can I increase or decrease Play Time?

Family Managers or Guardians can increase or decrease Play Time at any moment, even before the end of Play Time.
Here’s how:

  • On PS4
    Go to [Settings], [Parental Controls/Family Management], select the Child Account you would like to modify Play Time for, then [Change Play Time for Today]. Here you can increase or decrease Play Time in 15 minutes intervals.
  • On web browser (desktop or mobile)
    Sign in to Account Management, click [Account], [Family Management] and select the Child Account you would like to modify Play Time for, then [Change Play Time for Today]. Here you can increase or decrease Play Time in 15 minutes intervals.
  • On PS App
    Open PS App on your mobile device and tap the PlayStation symbol at the bottom of the screen, then [Settings] and [Family Management] and log into your Family Manger Account.Select the Child Account you would like to modify Play Time for then [Change Play Time for Today]. Here you can increase or decrease Play Time in 15 minutes intervals.

Play Time Management

We hope you enjoy Play Time Management, one of the many new features of PlayStation 4 System Software 5.50. Don’t forget to leave your feedback in the comments and feel free to ask me any questions you might have about Play Time Management.

You can also check out the video below to find out about other parental control features available on PS4.


The post How to set your family’s PS4 play time using 5.50’s Play Time Management appeared first on PlayStation.Blog.Europe.

09 Mar 22:26

Mom: Jill's eating addiction will result in a tragic setback

by Lynette Rice

Jaime Pressly’s alcoholic character on Mom has a heartbreaking setback in tonight’s episode of the CBS comedy — and it’s all because of a storyline that was created to cover up her real-life pregnancy.

Last fall, executive producer Gemma Baker decided to incorporate Pressly’s pregnancy weight gain into a story about Jill (Pressly) becoming a food addict. Now that she’s returned from maternity leave (her first episode back was March 1), Pressly has lost the weight but not the urge to indulge. So in tonight’s episode, Kristin Chenoweth stars as an effervescent life coach who “cleanses” Jill as a way to break the cycle — but there’s no shortcut for addicts, explains Baker.

“It definitely gave us an opportunity to explore a story that we might not have,” Baker says of Pressly’s pregnancy. “This different solution looks positive, but it just isn’t the fix.”

Jill’s battle with food won’t end after tonight’s episode, adds Baker.

Back in September, Pressly told EW how glad she was that Baker found a creative solution to address her pregnancy — even if it meant wearing a cumbersome fat suit.

“I never figured I would hide behind tables because that never works, and Chuck Lorre is not known for being that cheesy,” Pressly said. “I knew they would come up with something fantastic.”

Mom airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

09 Mar 22:19

Will the Avengers discover that Agent Coulson is still alive?

by Natalie Abrams

To read more on Avengers: Infinity War, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands today. You can buy all 15 covers here, purchase the four most popular covers here, or see and purchase individual covers here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

A billionaire in a metal suit may have kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was the mysterious agent in dark shades who tied many of the Phase One films together.

Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) made his brief but memorable debut in 2008’s Iron Man, introducing the world to the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D. As Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) trusted right hand and a Captain America fanboy, Coulson went on to appear in Iron Man 2, Thor, and two short films before Loki (Tom Hiddleston) brutally kabobbed him in 2012’s The Avengers.

Though Coulson’s heartbreaking death eventually served as the catalyst for the disparate heroes to band together and save New York, he was shockingly resurrected not long after to star on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which on Friday becomes the first Marvel TV property to hit a landmark 
100 episodes. It’s been six years since Coulson’s miraculous return, yet the Avengers are still none the wiser — which is fine by Gregg. “When they feel like it’s time to start connecting any of these worlds, they will,” he says. “I feel like I’ll hear from them then, but in the meantime, I have my hands full trying to do a good job on ”

In recent episodes, S.H.I.E.L.D. has revealed that Coulson is actually dying from as yet unknown reasons, though answers are expected in the 100th episode as the character reveals exactly what deal he made with Ghost Rider last season. Couple that with the fact that the show is on the bubble — the executive producers are writing the season-ender as a series finale — and the point might be moot by the time Avengers: Infinity War actually debuts.

While Avengers: Infinity War is already jam-packed with more than 20 heroes amassed across the MCU, there’s still hope for this long-awaited reunion. “It’s certainly something that will get resolved, and it may get resolved in a very surprising way,” says head of Marvel Television and S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeph Loeb. Could that bombshell mean an end-credits scene reveal? We’ll be sticking around after Infinity War 
 to find out.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Avengers: Infinity War will be released in theaters on April 27.

09 Mar 07:28

Trump Accomplishes Nothing at Meeting with Video Game Executives

by Blake Morse

Earlier today, the President of the United States, Donald Trump met with several representatives from the video game industry as well as several anti-violence in gaming advocates to discuss the effects and influence video games have on children. The meeting came about as a result of the recent mass shooting that occurred at Parkland High School in Florida. Trump seems to feel there is some sort of correlation between the violence in games and the mental instability of would-be mass murderers and put together the meeting to address these issues. However, it would appear that not much, if anything, happened today as a result of the hour-long meeting.

Attendees included members from both sides of the aisle. ESA President Mike Gallagher, Zenimax (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) CEO Robert Altman, and Take Two (Grand Theft Auto) CEO Strauss Zelnick, represented the game industry at large while Parents TV Council rep Melissa Henson, Lt. Col Dave Grossman (writer, Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing) attended on behalf of those who believe that the violence in games is helping to drive the violence plaguing American society. 

Apparently, though, nothing really happened during the meeting. The President showed off an 88-second supercut of violent scenes from video games and commented on how visceral they were. There does not appear that there was much time spent in discussion of problems or solutions during the meeting. As of right now, no one's really sure what, if anything, was accomplished by the whole thing. 

Those in attendance said there was very little discussion of any sort of new government restrictions or policies and that the discussion focused more on what the video game industry could do voluntarily to self-regulate. According to a quote credited to the ESA on The Verge, the video game reps weren't really budging on anything:

“We welcomed the opportunity today to meet with the President and other elected officials at the White House. We discussed the numerous scientific studies establishing that there is no connection between video games and violence, First Amendment protection of video games, and how our industry’s rating system effectively helps parents make informed entertainment choices.”

The White House released their own statement regarding today's meeting as well:

“During today’s meeting, the group spoke with the President about the effect that violent video games have on our youth, especially young males. The President acknowledged some studies have indicated there is a correlation between video game violence and real violence. The conversation centered on whether violent video games, including games that graphically simulate killing, desensitize our community to violence.”

What's interesting about this statement is the President citing studies that correlate violence in video games to real-life violence, because those studies do not exist. Many studies that have attempted to find such a correlation does exist, but none have ever been successful in finding an actual link between the two. 

Many are speculating that the meeting is merely a distraction tactic to draw attention away from the recent controversy surrounding mass shootings in America and the role that certain types of guns have played in each one. Recently, the NRA has come under heavy scrutiny and the White House may be trying to use this as an opportunity to pass the buck, so to speak.

After the meeting, the White House posted the 88-second montage of violent games to YouTube. However, they did not provide an age gate. Hopefully, no young, impressionable children happen upon it.

09 Mar 07:07

Jon Favreau will write a ‘Star Wars’ live-action TV series

by Swapna Krishna
Disney has made it clear how important Star Wars is to its new streaming service; the company is producing a long-awaited live-action TV show set in a galaxy far far away as an exclusive. Today, Lucasfilm announced who's going to be at the show's hel...
09 Mar 07:03

This penguin selfie is the best thing you'll see all day

by Mallory Locklear
Animal selfies will never not be wonderful and lucky for us all, there's another one to add to the collection. As the Washington Post reports, Eddie Gault, a researcher with the Australian Antarctic Division, put a camera on the ground near an empero...
07 Mar 22:24

How Marvel's Jessica Jones assembled an all-female lineup of directors for season 2

by Shirley Li

A version of this story appears in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now. Buy it here or subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Like its titular antiheroine, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is breaking barriers.

For its second season, the Marvel-Netflix production recruited female directors to helm all 13 episodes — an achievement that aligns with the series’ reputation as an envelope-pushing, women-centric drama featuring a complicated female protagonist. Though more female filmmakers have entered the spotlight in recent years — 2017 saw massive successes from directors Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Dee Rees — women directed only 11 percent of the year’s top 250 films, according to the 2017 “Celluloid Ceiling” study from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Jessica Jones‘ female-led set in season 2, in other words, is a remarkable triumph.

Yet, having all 13 episodes directed by women wasn’t exactly showrunner Melissa Rosenberg’s goal when she pitched the idea in the fall of 2016. Instead, the accomplishment was a pleasant surprise. After all, she hadn’t even aimed that high when she floated the idea; at the time, she had simply hoped to bring on more female directors in general, until Netflix’s VP in charge of original series, Allie Goss, upped the ante. “She said, ‘Why not all 13?’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, of course!'” Rosenberg recalls.

And assembling the all-women lineup, it turns out, wasn’t hard to do. “It didn’t take a lot of effort to fill those slots,” Rosenberg says. “There’s a lot of highly qualified and talented female directors out there, so what we did was simply open the door. It wasn’t like we had to give a bunch of women their first break. It was just being inclusive.”

“It wasn’t like I was doing them any favors,” she continues. “They were doing us a favor by joining our roster. And, you know, we’re looking forward to the day when we’re not even having this conversation, we’re just talking about them as qualified people who happen to be women. Hopefully, we’re there someday, but now? Not yet.”

Which is why, ahead of the second season’s debut, the series has made sure to celebrate its female filmmakers by tweeting introductions to several of the directors. Take a look at the tweets below:

Marvel’s Jessica Jones returns March 8 (a.k.a. International Women’s Day) on Netflix.

07 Mar 22:15

Black Lightning Star Breaks Down That Shocking Ending

by Laura Prudom

Spoiler warning: This interview contains plot details for Black Lightning Season 1, episode 7, titled "Equinox: The Book of Fate."

The body count has been pretty high on Black Lightning so far, but judging by the end of episode 7, death might not be as permanent as we feared.

After seeing Tobias choke out local drug dealer Lala in jail at the end of episode 2, it seemed like a major player had been taken off the board pretty early -- but in a shocking twist (pun intended), the final moments of "Equinox: The Book of Fate" revealed that not only is Lala somehow "alive," something seriously supernatural is going on in Freeland. LaWanda White -- or at least some kind of entity that looks like her -- was there to greet Lala when he woke, cryptically asking whether he believes in the resurrection before turning into dust and transferring herself into a tattoo that branded itself on his chest.

Continue reading…

07 Mar 12:00

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. bosses writing season finale as a SERIES finale

by Natalie Abrams

The end of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. may be nigh.

With the ABC superhero drama on the bubble, executive producers Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell tell EW that they’re writing the final episode of the fifth season as a series finale.

“Right now, we’re writing a series end,” Bell says, “because as far as we know, this could be it.”

Though S.H.I.E.L.D. has undergone yet another creative resurgence this season — setting the show in space in a future where the earth has been destroyed, and now returning to the present to save the planet — the series is only averaging 3.6 million total viewers and a 1.1 in the coveted 18-49 demo, season-to-date. ABC boss Channing Dungey said during the Television Critics Association press tour she was “cautiously optimistic” about the fates of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon a Time, though the latter was later announced as now being in its final season.

All that said, the powers that be over at S.H.I.E.L.D. say they will complete the story while also leaving possibilities open. “We’ll never end something without the potential for more story,” Tancharoen says. “That’s how we’ve ended every season, because whenever we’ve come to the end of all the season’s past, we go into that mostly not knowing until the very last minute, so we’re basically doing the same thing to close out season 5. It can fit well as a possible series finale, and it can fit well as just another season’s end.”

Whedon adds: “You always want to leave the idea that there’s more stories, it’s a question of whether or not we will tell them. We have our end, and we’ll stick to it regardless, and we think it’ll work either way.”

The move comes as the series, which will hit its landmark 100th episode on Friday, recently revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s fearless leader Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is apparently dying, bringing the show full circle from Coulson’s resurrection following his death during Marvel’s The Avengers.

It appears the show is on track to use Coulson’s fate as a potentially series-ending arc, rather than introducing some new MacGuffin. “What we don’t want to do is get to the end of the series and have gone off of something where you’re like, ‘Well, now it makes no sense,'” Whedon says. “We want there to be a sense of resolution for the audience and a reward for the audience for being on this whole journey. We don’t want to leave them hanging with something that didn’t get paid off. That being said, not everybody is going to die in the finale, so those people will live on with stories to tell.”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays air 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

07 Mar 11:57

Uber’s self-driving trucks are making deliveries in Arizona

by Mallory Locklear
Uber announced today that its self-driving trucks have been operating in Arizona for the last couple of months. The company said it has two main transfer hubs in Sanders and Topock, but other than that, Uber is being pretty tight-lipped about the ope...
06 Mar 21:00

Memcached Amplification Attack Breaks New DDoS Record At 1.7 Tb/s

Arbor Networks, a DDoS protection firm, recorded a new record-breaking 1.7 Tb/s DDoS attack, surpassing last week's 1.3 Tb/s attack. The new attack also exploited the recently discovered memcached server vulnerability.
06 Mar 20:56

'Luke Cage' season two premieres June 22nd

by Jon Fingas
Jessica Jones isn't the only streaming Marvel show getting a long due follow-up. Netflix has posted a teaser clip confirming that Luke Cage's second season will premiere on June 22nd. The video itself doesn't reveal much about the story, but it's evi...
06 Mar 08:16

Nissan’s debut Formula E design is inspired by the Doppler effect

by Steve Dent
It's hard to believe that Nissan, which sold more EVs last year than Tesla and every other automaker, has yet to race in Formula E. However, Nissan announced late last year that it would become the first Japanese automaker to join the electric-racing...
06 Mar 07:11

Bentley's first plug-in hybrid is an ultra-luxurious SUV

by Jon Fingas
Bentley has been promising a hybrid version of its Bentayga SUV for over 3 years, and it's finally here... although you might not want to pat yourself on the back if you buy one. The simply-titled Bentayga Hybrid delivers the same ultra-luxurious de...
06 Mar 07:11

MoviePass CEO: 'we watch how you drive from home to the movies'

by Jon Fingas
MoviePass' approach to gathering viewer data might raise eyebrows. According to Media Play News, CEO Mitch Lowe told those at a business forum that the movie subscription service's app not only tracks your location, but follows you to and from the th...