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27 May 10:52

LastPass for Microsoft Edge now available

by Mehedi Hassan
Roumen.ganeff

Not that I'll be using Edge any time soon, but nice to know people are doing stuff

2016-05-27_11-47-16

Microsoft will be adding support for Extensions on Microsoft Edge later this summer to Windows with the Anniversary Update. Recently, the company released extensions for AdBlock, Office Online, Pocket, and more. Now, one of the most popular extensions, LastPass is now available for Microsoft Edge. If you are an Insider running the latest build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview, you will be able to try out LastPass on Microsoft Edge right now.

Just like most of the other Edge Extensions, LastPass seems to be ported from the Google Chrome extension which means that the extension has a tonne of features. Here are some screenshots:

Gallery

You can get LastPass on Windows 10 from the link below. Keep in mind that this extension is only available to Insiders running the latest build of Windows 10.

WP-Appbox: LastPass: Free Password Manager (Free, Windows Store) →

26 May 19:47

MSI untethers VR headsets with MSI Backpack PC with NVIDIA GTX980 GPU

by Surur
Roumen.ganeff

Sounds like fun

msi backpack pc

One of the great features of the Hololens is that its a full PC perched on your forehead. If you however want a no-compromise VR experience you need a full desktop PC with the latest GPU and processor.

Enter stage left MSI, who will be showing off their Backpack PC at Computex this year.

The device features a Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GTX980 GPU, and presumably a massive battery, and is designed to allow you to plug in your HTC Vive or Oculus Rift and wander around free from the risk of tripping over the power cord (but of course not from running into the walls).

The Backpack PC does not appear to be an original idea, with OEM Zotac also showing off a similar device.

Computex 2016 takes place from May 31st to June 4th, and I am sure the MSI is just one of the many amazing new PCs we will see there.

What do our readers think of this idea? Let us know below.

26 May 15:00

Microsoft reiterates that it is not giving up on Windows phone

by Michael Allison

Microsoft’s Lumia hardware plans may appear to have been buried yesterday, but this is all according to plan if a new report from the tech blog Windows Central is to be believed.

According to an internal memo acquired by the website, Microsoft has been swift to reassure its partners that the Windows platform for mobile devices and similar is not at risk.

I want to assure you that your investment in Windows phones is not at risk. The mobility of the Windows 10 experience remains core to our More Personal Computing ambition. We will continue to support and update the Lumia devices that are currently in the market, and the development of Windows 10 phones by OEMs, such as HP, Acer, Alcatel, VAIO, and Trinity; as well as develop great new devices. We’ll continue to adapt Windows 10 for small screens. We’ll continue to invest in key areas – security, management, and Continuum capabilities – that we know are important to commercial accounts and to consumers who want greater productivity. And we’ll help drive demand for Lumia devices.

Aside from a renewed claim of commitment to Windows 10 Mobile, the leaked email here reveals what Microsoft thinks are the strong points of Windows Mobile and what would be focused on going forward. It’s no secret that Windows 10 Mobile is prided on its security and management features, a feat that HP’s Elite X3 touts in its specsheet, but the new-found focus on continuum perhaps illustrates where Microsoft is going next with hardware.

It has been noted that Microsoft vastly improved Continuum’s usability in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (scheduled for July 2016), but the feature can only be used on high-end and powerful devices at the moment. As another excerpt from the email notes, Microsoft is pulling out of all markets but the USA, EU5 and Western Europe.

nuans

These are markets where Windows phone sold most of its high-end and desirable devices in contrast to developing markets like India and Brazil. It is inferred from that little nugget that Microsoft may be planning a surface like strategy, where they build “great devices” that are premium and desirable, very much like their Surface Pro and Surface Book devices.

What’s most important here, is that this is a restatement of what Microsoft earlier stated last year to be their long-term plan, despite their very public actions that created a perception of indifference.

If this statement sounds familiar, that is because it echoes wording similar to another internal email obtained by Windows Central where Microsoft reassures its mobile partners again about its commitment to Windows 10 Mobile and devices based on it, here:

I understand that you are hearing concerns from certain partners about Microsoft’s commitment to the mobile space.

Let me be very clear: We are committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.

We are currently in development of our next generation products and I wanted to reconfirm our commitment to Windows 10 Mobile. We believe in this product’s value to business customers and it is our intention to support the Windows 10 Mobile platform for many years. We have a device roadmap to support that from Microsoft as well as our OEM partners who will also be selling an expanded lineup of phone devices based on this platform.

It also builds up on Microsoft’s press release issued after the sale of the Nokia Feature phone business here:

Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO

In an interview with the Verge previously, Microsoft had stated that Windows on phones was not a priority for them this year, prompting a backlash from pundits and fans who perceived the statement as one which was an abandonment of the Windows platform.

In light of that, the repetitive statements made by Microsoft seem to be aimed at containing the fallout from that poorly worded statement.

After all, people observing Microsoft and Windows phone would note that Microsoft’s new focus is not that new. Last year when Microsoft’s Lumia line began to fall, we opined here that Microsoft wanted its mobile hardware division to be the new BlackBerry, a secure smartphone which caters broadly to the enterprise and “power-users”. Some tech pundits have seen such a feat as unrealistic with Windows watcher Peter Bright noting that there is not much of a divide between the business and consumer use in modern times, without strong LOB apps and rock-solid reliability, Windows is unlikely to appeal to the broad base of business users before the bug fixes and feature improvements expected in the Anniversary Update releases.

Nokia-Lumia-1520-National-Geographic-jpg

While Microsoft intends for other manufacturers to pick up the slack, the ghost of Nokia still very much haunts the room. Acer for one, pointed out to us the difficulties of making it in the consumer world on Windows phones and suggested it was a fool’s errand. HP and Vaio, along with Acer are explicitly targeting the business market, and while other smaller, consumer focused OEMs exist, their devices are hard to find and often under-powered.

What is new here is that Microsoft is seeing a need to stem the bleeding on Windows phone, so to speak. They are now reassuring their costumers and partners that “No, we aren’t giving up”. Even if that doesn’t do much for the market share of Windows phone based devices, it at least helps to reassure users that Microsoft won’t abandon the platform a little while longer.

What is certain however is that Microsoft has a lot of pieces on their chessboard for their next play at mobile, they’ve lost the last round, but they aren’t ready to give up yet. Unlike regular chess however, whether these pieces are enough to add up to a checkmate depends not only on how they are played, but how big the audience is.

26 May 14:05

US Government Is Spending Billions On Old Tech That Barely Works

A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that the government spends billions on maintaining really old tech. Personally, I find it hard to believe that our government would be as wasteful as this. Normally they are very good about managing our tax dollars and making sure the system runs as efficiently and effectively as possible. A system used by the Justice Dept. to monitor security and custody levels and inmate population information still uses COBOL, a programming language that dates back to the post-World War era. A system that tracks incidents involving hazardous materials used by the Transport Dept. is more than four decades old. A number of servers at Homeland Security still run Windows Server 2003, which hasn't been supported for almost a year, but these servers won't be transitioned to federal systems until 2018 because of backwards-compatibility issues. And, a nuclear weapons coordination system used by the Defense Dept. is still running on an IBM Series/1 computer -- a machine that dates back to the 1970s and uses 8-inch floppy disks. Comments
23 May 15:30

‘Preacher’ Review: A Devilish Classic is Reinvented With Heavenly Results

by Jacob Hall

preacher review

Preacher is a very different beast than the Vertigo comic book series it is based on and for many fans, this will be a difficult hurdle to leap. But everyone else can just jump right in and enjoy the blasphemy, irreverent comedy and the hilariously excessive violence, because the first chapter of AMC’s new series is a triumph. This is the kind of pilot episode that arrives feeling fully formed and confident. Preacher knows what it is, lays all of its cards on the table in the first five minutes, and asks you to come along for the ride with a wicked gleam in its eye. From the look of things, this will be a ride worth taking.

Read the full Preacher review after the jump.

Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s original comic is one of the most controversial and entertaining series to emerge from the ’90s, a blackly comic ode to bad taste that went out of its way to track down every sacred cow before gleefully slaughtering it. For the television adaptation, series creators Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin have eased up on the comic’s grotesque anarchy in favor of something more patient and measured. This is still recognizably Preacher, but it’s Preacher with the foot taken off the gas pedal. While the comic was happy to speed toward oblivion, two middle fingers raised high in the sky, the TV show isn’t in a hurry. It wants to amble. It wants to take in the sights. Hell, that’s appropriate for a show that’s about as Texan as high school football and barbecue.

Plot differences aside, the Texas of AMC’s Preacher shares a great deal in common with the Texas that Ennis and Dillon dreamed up. This isn’t quite reality, but it’s not quite a cartoon landscape either. There’s a very careful balancing act going on here. This is the American southwest reinvented by an Irish comic book writer who watched a lot of Hollywood movies and then filtered through a slightly more sensible American lens. The result is a world that obeys most of our rules while also allowing for anything to happen. It’s a world where everything is just slightly off. It’s a world where you can care about a small town minister’s crisis of faith and not bat an eye when a vampire saddles up next to him at the local watering hole.

This oddball landscape is home (or temporary home) to three characters who make instant impressions. There’s Reverend Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), the preacher of the title who has returned home to Annville, Texas’ to run the local church after abandoning a life of…not doing good things. His monotonous existence, fueled by cigarettes and booze and increasingly irritated one-sided conversations with the almighty, is interrupted by the arrival of Tulip (Ruth Negga, who makes one hell of an entrance), Jesse’s ex-girlfriend and highly proficient outlaw. That’s before you get to Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), the friendly Irish vampire who finds himself in town after exiting an airplane a little too early.

Preacher introduces these seemingly disparate characters from seemingly different genres, as well as an entire town’s worth of oddball supporting players, and slowly pulls them together. Yes, Preacher is a drama about a man wrestling with his faith, but it’s also a vicious dark comedy, a horror story and a crime tale. And as the opening scene (which is literally set in outer space) suggests, there is plenty of fantasy yet to come. After all, some kind of mystical force is hopping around the world, possessing religious leaders and…well, you’ll just have to watch the show.

This sounds like a kitchen sink story if there ever was one, but it somehow all comes together with surprising elegance. Rogen and Goldberg, directing Catlin’s script, utilize the devil-may-care nuttiness they have used to great effect in their feature film work to juggle every element. This blend of genres, with unruly comedy comfortably sitting side-by-side with monsters and mayhem and bonebreaking action, was previously glimpsed in This is the End, the duo’s 2013 comic gem. But while that film was scrappy and rough-around-the-edges, their work in Preacher is more polished and reserved.

This is a show with an eye for location, taking advantage of stark landscapes and deteriorating small town architecture to paint a convincing portrait of a very specific, if off-kilter, place. This is an odd thing to say about a show as preposterous and deliberately offensive as Preacher, but this is their most mature work as filmmakers so far. With this tricky tone and visually arresting look established, Catlin has a bleak and wicked playground to tell all kinds of stories going forward. Since he’s a Breaking Bad veteran, he knows a thing or two about that.

As a longtime fan of the original comic, it would be easy to cross my arms and get irritated by how little the plot of this pilot resembles the plot Ennis and Dillon originally cooked up. Instead, it’s easier to focus on the fact that everything about this series works. Cooper is a fine leading man, stoic and forthright and cynical in that charming way that natural born movie stars can pull off. Negga and Gilgun are just a hoot, having a great time with their outrageous characters. The rest of the supporting cast is easy to love or hate. The violence, which often arrives suddenly and with terrific amounts of splatter, would make Sam Raimi proud.

Like its source material, Preacher is at war with its own setting, taking characters who are uniquely Texan and pitting them against the worst aspects of their own culture. It’s no accident that Jesse Custer finds himself squaring off with a group of men dressed as Confederate soldiers for a Civil War re-enactment. Texas, like Preacher itself, is a weird place full of contradictions. There is no better setting for a story this unhinged. This is the most promising television pilot to arrive in ages.

The post ‘Preacher’ Review: A Devilish Classic is Reinvented With Heavenly Results appeared first on /Film.

25 May 19:20

The US Olympic cycling team is training with smart glasses

by Jon Fingas
When the US cycling team heads to the Olympics in Rio this summer, it'll have an ace up its sleeve: training with smart glasses. Solos has worked with the team to create augmented reality glasses that show vital data in mid-ride (such as cadence and...
19 May 13:30

Dwayne Johnson’s ‘The Janson Directive’ Will Begin a New Robert Ludlum Cinematic Universe

by Ethan Anderton

Robert Ludlum Cinematic Universe

Back in September of 2014, news surfaced that Dwayne Johnson would star in The Janson Directive, based on the novel of the same name from The Bourne Identity author Robert Ludlum. The project just so happened to be set up at Universal Pictures, the home of the Jason Bourne film franchise, which made the opportunity for a crossover easily possible. Thankfully, Universal isn’t trying to expand the world of Jason Bourne again, but they are looking to create a new cinematic universe.

The Janson Directive will be the first in a series of films based on Robert Ludlum novels that all take place in the same universe, and Universal has already assembled a team to shepherd the new endeavor. Find out more about the Robert Ludlum cinematic universe after the jump.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Janson Directive, here’s the official synopsis of the book from Amazon:

When billionaire philanthropist Peter Novak is kidnapped by a terrorist known as The Caliph, it’s up to Paul Janson — a legend in the notorious U.S. covert agency Consular Operations — to save him. But Janson’s rescue operation goes horribly wrong…and soon Janson is marked for death, the target of a “beyond salvage” order issued from the highest level of the government. Now Janson is running for his life, pursued by Jessica Kincaid, a young agent of astonishing ability who can anticipate and counter his every move. To survive, Janson must outrace a conspiracy that has gone beyond the control of its originators. To win, he must counter it with a conspiracy of his own…

Johnson will be playing the title character with the book being adapted by James Vanderbilt, the writer behind The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, White House Down and this summer’s Independence Day: Resurgence. Those titles don’t exactly inspire confidence, but at the very least, Vanderbilt has blockbuster film experience.

Vanderbilt worked with Akiva Goldsman (who is coming off building the Transformers cinematic universe) to crack the story for The Janson Directive, and he’ll also be working with his Mythology Entertainment partners Brad Fischer and William Sherak to develop the series of films that will be part of the Robert Ludlum universe. Captivate Entertainment’s Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner are also overseeing the cinematic universe creation as well.

Beyond The Janson Directive, other titles that Universal already had in development that will be part of this new universe include The Parsifal Mosaic, The Sigma Protocol and Covert One. That means these movies won’t be part of the Jason Bourne universe, which also includes The Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner, but that’s probably for the best.

After The Janson Directive, The Hollywood Reporter says the plan is for Vandebilt to co-write two more treatments for movies based on a couple of Ludlum books, though it’s not clear if they will include any of the three other aforementioned titles. They will help the cinematic universe take shape and other writers will be hired to turn the treatments into screenplays.

The appeal of a cinematic universe is obvious for a movie studio, but does Universal really need to link all of the Ludlum novels they had in development to create a larger cinematic world? Is there any narrative benefit beyond just having connective tissue between the movies? The trade mentions that the movies will have crossover points, which likely means certain characters will appear in several movies, perhaps even the main characters. Johnson is certainly excited about the prospect:

The Janson Directive is classic Robert Ludlum. Sharp, edgy and layered storylines. The character is complex, conflicted, bad ass and lethal — I can’t wait to sink my teeth into this and bring him to life. Between Jamie, Akiva, Captivate and Universal, it’s an exciting time to help produce and build out this awesome Ludlum universe.

Johnson is certainly a huge action star, but does he have the dramatic chops to pull off a role like this? After all, The Jason Bourne franchise had plenty of outstanding drama to go with the intense action. Frankly, I’m not entirely sure that Johnson could deliver the kind of nuanced, layered performance that Matt Damon has turned in and will reprise this summer. But not every main character needs to be like Jason Bourne, so it could work out just fine. Only time will tell.

Are you interested in a Robert Ludlum cinematic universe?

The post Dwayne Johnson’s ‘The Janson Directive’ Will Begin a New Robert Ludlum Cinematic Universe appeared first on /Film.

22 May 12:26

Megadeth - Former Drummer Nick Menza Dies

by BloodTears
Roumen.ganeff

2016 is not a good year so far

Devastating news arrive this Sunday morning. Multiple sources are claiming that former and great <a href=/bands/band.php?band_id=163&bandname=Megadeth>Megadeth</a> drummer Nick Menza has reportedly died at the age of 51 after suffering a heart failure last night onstage while performing with his band OHM at Los Angeles club The Baked Potato. The venue itself has confirmed it and <a href=/bands/band.php?band_id=163&bandname=Megadeth>Megadeth</a> frontman Dave Mustaine tweeted about it, feeling gutted. <a href="/events/news_comments.php?news_id=29323>Read more...</a>
20 May 18:43

Thor: Ragnarok Villain Revealed

by Scott Collura
Roumen.ganeff

So this is what Hulk and Thor are doing

The cast of Thor: Rangarok has been revealed, and its full of name actors playing crazy cosmic Marvel characters, including Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as “the mysterious and powerful new villain” Hela, Jeff Goldblum as the “eccentric” Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as the Valkyrie and Karl Urban as Skurge.

Chris Hemsworth of course stars as the God of Thunder, with fellow Avenger Mark Ruffalo co-starring as the Incredible Hulk. Other returning Asgardians include Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.

Thor: Ragnarok concept art Thor: Ragnarok concept art of Hela

Continue reading…

20 May 21:11

Fargo: Ewan McGregor Starring in Season 3

by Nicole Carpenter

Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor will play two central characters in Season 3 of FX's Fargo—brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy.

The upcoming third season, which is scheduled to begin production later this year, will be set "closer to present day" than the first two seasons, Deadline reported.

Ewan McGregor as young Obi-Wan Kenobi

As Emmit Stussy, McGregor will play a "handsome, self-made, real estate mogul and family man." As the Parking Lot King of Minnesota, Emmit is considered "an American success story." His younger brother, Ray Stussy, is "more of a cautionary tale." He blames Emmit for his misfortune—he's a parole officer who peaked in high school—and has a "chip on his shoulder about the hand he's been dealt."

Continue reading…

20 May 23:29

Marvel's Iron Fist: Carrie-Anne Moss Joins Cast

by Alex Osborn

Carrie-Anne Moss has joined the cast of Marvel's Iron Fist, reprising her role as Jeri Hogarth from Marvel's Jessica Jones.

This will be the third Marvel-centric Netflix Original series in which Moss has been involved, appearing as Hogarth in the aforementioned Jessica Jones, as well as a cameo in Daredevil: Season 2.

Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth in Marvel's Jessica Jones.

"Carrie-Anne has fast become a fan-favorite part of our street level saga, and we share our viewers’ excitement in bringing her into Marvel's Iron Fist," Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said in a statement. "As Marvel fans know, Hogarth in the comics plays a critical role in the life of Danny Rand, so it seems only fitting that Carrie-Anne join in."

Continue reading…

19 May 13:10

Plague Inc. mutates into a board game with successful Kickstarter

by John Keefer

Plague Inc. has been an interesting phenomenon to watch. It started as a popular mobile title from Ndemic Creations - headed by Shack Chatty user James Vaughan - mutated several times, then evolved into the PC and Xbox One space. We thought it was finally contained, but Vaughn has come up with a different Plague Inc strain: a board game.

Kickstarter for the project has already blown through its initial goal of $34,000 and is currently sitting at almost $164,000 with still more than 12 days left. The game is for 2-4 players (5 if you get the expansion at the second tier), and offers extra Plague and Event cards to early backers. The third and final tier for $62 gets you the Plague Enthusiast Pledge pack of A metal game box, poster, Plague Inc.: Evolved for PC, a soundtrack, and your best disease name added to the game. Because of the early success, the game has already unlocked several stretch goals and Vaughn is scrambling to add more.

"I really wanted the challenge of making a physical game to go alongside the video game - especially as board games are getting increasingly popular now," Vaughan told us. "The big scary question is how many of the 70 million players will be interested in Plague Inc: The Board Game!"

If everything goes according to plan, the game should be shipped in November to backers. Also, watch reddit today as Vaughan will be doing an AMA at 11 a.m. ET

If you want a feel for how the game will play, Vaughan created a demo video:

We'll keep following this to its conclusion. Good luck, jamiejme.

19 May 12:04

Daniel Craig Turned Down This Much Money to Play Bond Again

by Joe Skrebels

Daniel Craig has reportedly turned down £68 million (approximately $99 million) to play James Bond in two more movies.

According to the Daily Mail's sources, Craig has said he is "done" playing Bond, despite MGM offering the huge sum for him to return for two more films beyond Spectre, including endorsements, profit shares and even a co-producer credit.

Craig has reportedly earned £38 million total for the four Bond films he has made so far.

Last year, Craig said he'd rather "slash my wrists" than play Bond again, but added that "If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money." Apparently, even that wasn't enough.

Continue reading…

19 May 13:31

Playing The Joker Was the Most Fun Jared Leto's Had on a Film

by Nicole Carpenter

Suicide Squad actor Jared Leto had a "blast" playing the Joker, despite having to shave his eyebrows off for the second film in a row.

Getting the call to play the Joker was "terrifying and exciting" for Leto. "It was a real honor to get asked to play the part," he added. "These characters are so special to people and I have a lot of respect to that."

During an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, the actor told Degeneres filming Suicide Squad was "the most fun

ever had on a film." And it sure sounds like he did; back in April, it was reported Leto sent a bunch of disturbing gifts to his co-stars.

Continue reading…

19 May 13:54

Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends Mega-Crossover Coming

by Matt Fowler

One probably guessed this was on the way, given Supergirl's new move from CBS to The CW for its second season -- and The CW releasing their fall 2016 schedule featuring four of its five weekday nights kicking off with a DC Comics series -- but a giant four-show mega crossover event is headed our way that will bring together Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

On a conference call with the press this morning, CW head Mark Pedowitz confirmed that all four of their Greg Berlanti-produced DC series will join up for one big story. Said Pedowitz, "Just imagine what our superhero crossover episode is going to look like come December," while also referring to the crossover as "the biggest one ever."

Continue reading…

18 May 14:47

azspot: The World’s Largest Employers thought this might make...



azspot:

The World’s Largest Employers

thought this might make others go “hmmm” as it did me.

also, been following @azspot since the dawn of time, and it and @infoneer-pulse are probably my two favorite news posting tumblrs… in case you’re into that sorta thing.

20 May 00:08

Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Bill Criminalizing Abortion

by brooke@proper.io (Brooke Binkowski)
The bill's sponsor says he hopes to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
20 May 02:09

Point your phone at an equation and Mathpix will solve it

by David Lumb
Roumen.ganeff

Ultimate cheating tool

Math isn't everyone's strong suit, especially those who haven't stretched that part of their brain since college. Thanks to the wonders of image recognition technology, we now have Mathpix, an iOS app that lets you point your phone camera at a proble...
18 May 13:41

New phones let Japan's government secretly track its citizens

by Daniel Cooper
Roumen.ganeff

Not nice

The Japan Times is reporting that local mobile network NTT DoCoMo is embracing government surveillance. The company launched five new smartphones on Tuesday that lets the authorities to track a user's location without their knowledge or consent. Exis...
02 May 15:24

'Silicon Valley’ Is Secretly Teaching You About The Real Tech Industry

by Matt Giles

Season three of the HBO sitcom borrowed from Facebook and Google

Pied Piper moves beyond peer-to-peer distribution in season three, and introduces neural networks into the compression platform.
05 May 15:04

This Is How It Could Look When Robots Take Over

by Dave Gershgorn
A real A.I. wouldn't need a graphic interface.

Sci-fi short ‘ANA’ shows computers outsmarting us

This Is How It Could Look When Robots Take Over…
17 May 21:30

How Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson Became a Central Character in the MCU

by Peter Sciretta

Agent Coulson

Did you know that Clark Gregg‘s appearance as SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson was never meant to be a recurring role, never mind a role that would be central to Marvel’s first television series? Find out how Agent Coulson ended up in Thor, which cemented his prominent role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As you probably recall, Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson first appeared in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, pestering Pepper Potts in an effort to try to get a meeting with Tony Stark before helping her uncover the true plans of Jeff Bridges’s villainous Obadiah Stane. Gregg’s role in the film was mainly to serve as comic relief and to set up Marvel’s first end credits button featuring Samuel L. Jackson as SHIELD head Nick Fury. And apparently that was all that Marvel had planned for the character.

What propelled Agent Coulson into a more central role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Thor screenwriting team Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz. During his recent appearance on Kevin Smith’s “Fatman on Batman” podcast (via ScreenRant), Stentz explained how Coulson ended up in the film:

This was a page one re-write, based very loosely on story beats that they gave us… there were beats that they had, and beats that they didn’t have, and we were kind of working them together. At one point it was like ‘Okay we want S.H.I.E.L.D. to be in there’ and they’re like ‘We can’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. as the bad guys!’ ‘No, not the bad guys, just the people opposing Thor; they’ll be the good guys by the end, trust us.’ And then they’re like ‘Well, you can have S.H.I.E.L.D., but Sam Jackson’s holding us up in negotiations so we don’t know if we can have Nick Fury. And we’re like ‘Well, how about that Clark Gregg guy from the first Iron Man, he was great and he popped! Can we have Coulson?’ And they’re like ‘Coulson, Coulson, Coulson… oh him! Yeah, you can have him.’… They ended up giving him a bigger role in Iron Man 2 because they liked how he was popping in Thor. Clark Gregg actually sent us t-shirts as a thank you.

So there you have it: Samuel L. Jackson’s reluctance to sign a contract led to Agent Coulson’s increased role in the MCU, leading of course to his own ABC television series The Agents Of SHIELD.

The post How Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson Became a Central Character in the MCU appeared first on /Film.

17 May 21:05

Anti-Piracy Group's Revenues Collapse, Pirates Too Hard To Track

I just want to know how these guys aren't bankrupt by now. Predictably, the company is blaming its financial woes on ISPs that refuse to forward shakedown letters to their customers. Anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp has just turned in another set of dismal results. During the past three months revenues plummeted 78% versus the same period last year with the company recording a net loss of $784,000. Pirates, it appears, are becoming harder to track and threaten. Comments
17 May 16:00

Powers: What You Need to Know About Season 2

by Matt Fowler

Based on Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's mature superhero saga comic book of the same name, Powers became PlayStation's first ever live-action scripted series last year. Sharlto Copley stars as grounded superhero-turned-cop Christian Walker while Susan Heyward stepped into the role of Deena Pilgrim, Walker's hotheaded new partner.

Season 2 comes to the PlayStation Store on May 31st so we thought it'd be a great time to briefly look back at Season 1 while also teasing what lies ahead in this year's batch of episodes.

Powers takes place in the world of superhuman abilities, with the LAPD's Powers Division being charged with handling serious crimes committed by those with these abilities. And Walker's former life as an insanely strong crusader gives him an extra bit of insight into the world of those who soar above normal citizens. And those who think they're above the law.

Continue reading…

17 May 20:36

Preacher Creators Want to Make Something New on TV

by Terri Schwartz

When Preacher premieres on Sunday, the show's creators want it to feel different from anything you've seen before.

Preacher tells the story of a man named Jesse Custer who is grappling with trying to be a good preacher and live up to his father's shadow. When something happens to him that affects his sway over his congregation -- and all people -- his struggle becomes a bit more complicated.

Adapted from the Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon comic book series, Preacher is going to pick up earlier than when Volume 1 begins. But the show, developed for AMC by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin, still stays close to its roots.

"We don’t have to try that hard

because just turning Preacher into a TV show makes it unlike anything that’s been on TV before," Catlin told IGN. "Just to bring that world to life; the violence and the perversity and the comedy and the love story and all the different genres — crime drama, western drama, vampires — it’s just built in crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it, on TV or in a movie or pretty much anywhere."

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17 May 15:40

Venezuelan apocalypse: Some updates on the epic failure of socialism in oil-rich Venezuela

by Mark Perry
food

Despite having more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, and in fact more proven oil reserves than any country in the world (8 times more than the US), oil-rich Venezuela’s economy is imploding and collapsing under the burden of socialism, and economic conditions there have deteriorated so dramatically that they probably now qualify as the “economic apocalypse” that some left-leaning economists were predicting just a few years ago would never happen in Venezuela. Some links and updates about Venezuela’s economic apocalypse appear below (a few new items have been added to the original post):

1. Here’s an overview from Investor’s Business Daily back in February, when Venezuela was still “on the brink” of economic collapse:

Like a skyscraper crane about to topple in high winds, Venezuela is teetering on the brink of a horrific economic collapse. It was brought on by one thing: socialism, taken to the hilt. Yet incredibly, neither Bernie Sanders nor his voters make this connection.

Today Venezuela, with the world’s largest oil reserves is, believe it or not, importing oil. It’s a perfect illustration of Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman’s well known saying that if the Sahara took up socialism, there would soon be a shortage of sand. Socialism has also led to massive shortages of food, toilet paper, diapers and medicine, among many other things, all the result of state planning and currency controls and rampant inflation (see photo above of Venezuelans lining up for food). After 18 years of socialist spending, inflation has hit 720%, the IMF says. And don’t forget that Venezuela also has the world’s highest crime rate, with Caracas rated the world’s most dangerous city by the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.

2. According to a news report from PanAm News: “Hungry Venezuelans Hunt Dogs, Cats, Pigeons as Food Runs Out: Economic Crisis and Food Shortages Lead to Looting and Hunting Stray Animals.”

3. BBC reports that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has threatened to seize factories that have stopped production, and jail their owners. Atlas Shrugged playing out in real life. (HT: Hit Squad, who points out that this is “Atlas Shrugged playing out in real life.”)

4. From a Sunday New York Times article, “Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals“:

The economic crisis in Venezuela has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans. It is just part of a larger unraveling here that has become so severe it has prompted President Nicolás Maduro to impose a state of emergency and has raised fears of a government collapse.
Hospital wards have become crucibles where the forces tearing Venezuela apart have converged. Gloves and soap have vanished from some hospitals. Often, cancer medicines are found only on the black market. There is so little electricity that the government works only two days a week to save what energy is left.

5. Bret Stephens describes socialism in his WSJ column today (emphasis mine):

Socialism is a mental poison that leads to human misery of the sort you see in the wrenching pictures [that appeared in the Sunday New York Times article above] of filthy operating rooms, broken incubators and desperate patients lying in pools of blood, dying for lack of such basics as antibiotics.

Democratic socialism—whether Chavez’s or Sanders’s—is legalized theft in the name of the people against the vilified few. It is a battle against income inequality by means of collective immiseration. It is the subjugation of private enterprise and personal autonomy to government power.

6. Here’s another part of the health care apocalypse in Venezuela, from an April article in Reason:

Over the past decade, an estimated 13,000 physicians fled the country in search of greener pastures. Cuba dispatched some of its own physicians to fill the gap, only to see them defect in turn. That’s no shock, considering that the physician father of a Venezuelan friend of mine has been reduced to accepting payment in cooking oil and other groceries.

7. As Bloomberg reported recently, Venezuela doesn’t even have enough money now to pay for the paper to print more money to keep up with its hyperinflation (which will reach 720% this year according to the IMF).

8. Looting of grocery stores has become increasingly common in Venezuela, as a result of the food shortages, watch video here.

9. In the CNN video below “Food, medicine scarce as Venezuela crisis deepens,” we learn that even though Venezuela is sitting on the world’s largest oil reserves, it can’t stock the nation’s refrigerators and can’t provide the life-saving medicine that many Venezuelans need to survive.

10. Even the New York Times editorial board today blames socialism for Venezuela’s downward spiral and economic apocalypse:

This crisis has exposed the hollow promise of the socialist policies Mr. Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, have peddled since the late 1990s. While many Venezuelans got a taste of prosperity in better housing, subsidized food and higher wages when oil prices were high — oil accounts for roughly 96 percent of Venezuela’s exports — the government failed to build anything resembling a sustainable economy. It also failed to save when money was flowing in, which would have softened the impact of the recession that began in 2014.

The New York Times also points out that Venezuela’s apocalyptic murder rate is now about 52.2 Venezuelans per day, or one murder about every 28 minutes.

MP: Despite what maybe should have been an obvious outcome and end-game of the socialist policies of Chavez and Maduro, it’s interesting to look back at the cheer-leading being peddled by some on the left as recently as 2013 for Chavez and Venezuela’s socialism, here are two examples:

11. Writing in Salon in March 2013, David Sirota extolled “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle.”

12. In November 2013, left-leaning economist Mark Weisbrot scolded “Venezuela haters” by claiming that “this economy is not the Greece of Latin America,” and warning the haters (aka sensible adults) that “predicting a Venezuelan apocalypse won’t make it happen.”

The post Venezuelan apocalypse: Some updates on the epic failure of socialism in oil-rich Venezuela appeared first on AEI.

17 May 13:00

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Pascal Review

Roumen.ganeff

The new generation has arrived.

Combining 16nm FinFET manufacturing, unprecedented clock rates, 8GB of GDDR5X memory and some forward-looking technologies built for Surround gaming and VR, Nvidia's new GeForce GTX 1080 is going to win over (and break) some hearts at $700.
17 May 07:17

Star Wars: Rogue One Character Names, New Images and More

by Peter Sciretta

Star Wars: Rogue One

Okay guys, we finally have a good amount of information on Star Wars: Rogue One, which hits theaters later this year. An official preview of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide has been posted online, giving us an unprecedented amount of new images and new information for the upcoming Gareth Edwards stand-alone Star Wars film.

The new information contains character names and information on all the main characters, new vehicles from both the Rebellion and the Empire, and much more. Since this information is being released as a preview to promote a book six months before the release of the film, I’m pretty sure none of this information is considered spoilers (it certainly doesn’t seem spoiler-ish). Hit the jump to hyperspace!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide

A 10-page preview of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide was released in the Edelweiss catalog as part of a Macmillan Winter 2016 preview (discovered via: jedi-bibliothek.de thanks to /film reader Mike J). While the book doesn’t list an author, I’m hoping that Lucasfilm story group member Pablo Hidalgo is behind this as his work on the Force Awakens visual guide was fantastic. The 164 page book features 130 Full-Color Photos. Here is the official book description:

The official companion book to fall’s most anticipated release of Star Wars Rogue One. Never-before-seen interviews, images and teasers from this major motion picture. Detailed, in-depth character profiles, iconic vehicles, weaponry and droids. Lucas Films proudly presents the official companion book to this fall’s most anticipated release of Star Wars Rogue One. Featuring never-before-seen interviews, images and teasers from this major motion picture. Experience all the thrills with detailed, in-depth character profiles, iconic vehicles, weaponry and droids you’ve been looking for. Featuring 160 pages of action-packed photos and content, this official Lucasfilm collector’s book is a must-have for every Star Wars fan.

The book will be released on January 24th 2017 with a $24.99 msrp — you can pre-order now on Amazon. Now lets get to the new information.

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Star Wars: Rogue One Character Names

The book gives us the names and some brief information about the rogue band of resistance fighters who unite to steal the Death Star plans. Note that most of the text on these pages is placeholder text and the page previews note that the layouts are not final. That said, it seems like most of the names at very least are correct as some of the new names line up with previous rumors.

  • Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso , a highly skilled soldier and warrior.
  • Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor , an officer in the Rebel Alliance.
  • Jiang Wen plays Baze , a freelance assassin
  • Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi, a rebel soldier.
  • ??? plays Pao , an alien who is described as a “fierce warrior”. Looks like another computer generated character.
  • Donnie Yen plays Chirrut, who is described as “a spiritual warrior.”
  • ???? plays Bistan, another CG-looking alien who is also described as “fierce warrior”.

I was surprised to learn about the alien members of this rebel group. You can see a glimpse of them in the pages spread above. While some of the first names have made appearances previously in obscure RPGs and books, none of the full character names have appeared before in Star Wars lore, canon or Legends.

K-250

Most interesting is we now know what computer generated character Alan Tudyk plays in the film, an imperial model K-250 enforcer droid. While most of the text on this page is filler, it does appear that the droid character was a former Empire security droid who somehow joins the film’s group of rebel fighters on this daring heist.

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Another page reveals information on one of the Imperial villains: Ben Mendelsohn plays Director Krennic, a military director for the Empire. Yeah, not very much there but it appears that his job is to prevent the rebellion from getting the Death Star plans which should make him the main villain of the film even though a couple of these pages confirms that Darth Vader will make some kind of appearance.

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Star Wars: Rogue One’s New Ships

The book also confirms some new vehicles on both sides of this war, including an Imperial TIE Striker and a Rebel Starfighter, “a versatile rebel alliance craft that balances speed with the firepower of proton torpedo launchers.” Both look cool and feel like they would definitely fit in during the New Hope era even though we didn’t see them in the original trilogy.

Here is a gallery of the other sample preview pages from the book:

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The post Star Wars: Rogue One Character Names, New Images and More appeared first on /Film.

16 May 22:05

Bill Gates 1995 DOOM Video

Anyone remember this classic video from 1995? Apparently all the buzz surrounding the new DOOM has generated more interest in watching Bill Gates shoot a monster for interrupting his speech. Comments
16 May 20:48

Margot Robbie to Star in Harley Quinn Movie

by Alex Osborn

Warner Bros. is looking to expand its DC Extended Universe with a Harley Quinn spin-off film starring Margot Robbie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Robbie will not only reprise her iconic role from Suicide Squad, but produce as well. The outlet also notes that this won't be a solo outing for Quinn, as the movie will reportedly focus on several other female DC characters as well, with Batgirl and Birds of Prey being considered.

While details are being kept under wraps and Warner Bros. has yet to comment, a female writer is said to be penning the script.

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