Shared posts

28 Mar 07:35

IKEA launches its own low-cost smart lighting range

by Matt Brian
For many people, their first foray into the world of home automation begins with lighting. There's a good reason for this: smart bulbs easily fit into existing furnishings and can be operated using just a smartphone, which (mostly) everybody now owns...
28 Mar 05:48

Bloody, meatless Impossible Burger will soon be easier to find

by Billy Steele
The so-called Impossible Burger debuted last year, but it's still pretty difficult to get you hands on one. Although it looks, smells and even bleeds like the real thing, the burger's patty contains no beef, but rather "meat" that's made from plant p...
28 Mar 05:45

'StarCraft: Remastered' upgrades a real-time strategy classic

by Jon Fingas
Blizzard is legendary for keeping old games alive, but it's going the extra mile this time around. The studio has unveiled StarCraft: Remastered, an overhaul that drags the 1998 real-time strategy game (including the Brood War expansion) into the mo...
28 Mar 05:44

Amazon considers opening augmented reality furniture stores

by Jon Fingas
Amazon's retail plans could extend well beyond books and groceries. New York Times sources hear that the internet giant is "exploring" the possibility of appliance and furniture stores with a technological angle. You'd use augmented or virtual real...
28 Mar 05:42

Facebook will remind you to vote in local elections

by Jon Fingas
Facebook isn't limiting its get-out-the-vote initiatives to federal elections. The social network is now offering reminders to vote in local US elections, whether they're at the county, municipal or state level. You'll see these notices as long as yo...
28 Mar 05:41

FBI's facial recognition database is dangerously inaccurate

by Andrew Tarantola
Despite law enforcement's attempt to conceal its existence, it's no secret that half of Americans over the age of 18 -- 117 million people in total -- are part of a massive facial recognition database, their personal information culled from DMV files...
22 Mar 09:16

Amazon boss Bezos channels Ellen Ripley and has the best time as a giant robot

by davidneal@gmail.com(Dave Neal)
Amazon boss Bezos channels Ellen Ripley and has the best time as a giant robot

He looks a little too comfortable up there

22 Mar 09:16

OneDrive and Xbox Live down as Microsoft suffers yet another outage

by stuart.sumner@incisivemedia.com(Stuart Sumner)
OneDrive and Xbox Live down as Microsoft suffers yet another outage

But firm claims Outlook has bounced back

22 Mar 09:01

Disney Accused of Stealing Zootopia

by Lucy O'Brien

Screenwriter Gary Goldman has filed a federal lawsuit against Disney for stealing his idea for its hit animated film, Zootopia.

Goldman, whose writing credits include Total Recall and Big Trouble in Little China, claims that he had pitched his version of Zootopia - which was also called Zootopia - to Disney execs twice, and both times it was rejected. Per Variety, he claims that the 2016 movie that recently won Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards ripped off its name, character designs, themes and lines of dialogue from a project he first showed the company in 2000, and a second time in 2009.

Continue reading…

21 Mar 15:54

The Big Bang Theory Renewed for Season 11 and 12

by Alex Osborn
Roumen.ganeff

Surprise :)

The Big Bang Theory will be back for an eleventh and twelfth season, as CBS Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television announced a two-year broadcast agreement to continue the show up through the 2019 season.

News of a two-season renewal isn't all too surprising, given prior comments from CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller. Last year at the TCA press tour, Geller spoke to the likelihood of The Big Bang Theory continuing beyond Season 10, saying, "We are very confident that everyone involved wants more Big Bang past year ten."

Continue reading…

21 Mar 12:00

Cruise through your Kindle comics with ComiXology's Guided View

by Stefanie Fogel
ComiXology's Guided View is a great way to experience digital comics. Designed for mobile devices, it allows readers to view things on a panel-by-panel basis, mimicking how you read a print comic. Now, that feature is available on Amazon's Kindle app...
19 Mar 17:03

MASTER OF NONE Season 2 to Premiere in May

by Clarissa
Netflix has announced that season 2 of MASTER OF NONE will premiere on Friday, May 12. The teaser for the new season doesn’t reveal a lot, but here’s what we know: “After traveling abroad, Dev (Aziz Ansari) returns to New York to take on challenges in his personal and family life, a new career opportunity, […]
19 Mar 17:02

FX Renews LEGION For Season 2

by Clarissa
FX has ordered a second season of LEGION, the new Marvel Comics series about David Haller, a man diagnosed as a schizophrenic but who may actually be more than human. “The first season of LEGION was a stunning achievement,” saidEric Schrier, Co-President of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions. “More than a new series,LEGION is a […]
19 Mar 17:02

CBS All Access Renews THE GOOD FIGHT for Season 2

by Clarissa
CBS All Access has given a season 2 renewal to THE GOOD FIGHT. “We’re only a few episodes into the first season and the reaction from CBS All Access subscribers and critics alike has been phenomenal,” said Marc DeBevoise, President and Chief Operating Officer, CBS Interactive. “This series and its characters are just beginning and […]
19 Mar 11:56

Stare into an active volcano with Google Street View

by Rob LeFebvre
Standing next to a boiling lake of molten rock the size of two football fields has got to be awe-inspiring, but it's also pretty damn dangerous. Google partnered with two explorers to capture images of one such volcano as they rappelled down the wall...
19 Mar 11:54

Google's new algorithm shrinks JPEG files by 35 percent

by David Lumb
For obvious reasons, Google has a vested interest in reducing the time it takes to load websites and services. One method is reducing the file size of images on the internet, which they previously pulled off with the WebP format back in 2014, which s...
19 Mar 09:18

Why the future of phones, wearables and watches is flexible

by Jamie Carter

We know the trends in smartphones for 2017: dual cameras, bezel-less designs, and HDR displays. But there's one highly desirable feature that always seems to be just beyond the capabilities of today's handset manufacturers, and that's flexible, bendy, foldable phones. 

Rumors of flexible screens are everywhere. Will the Samsung Galaxy X have a foldable 4K display? Will Apple use a foldable OLED display on the next iPhone

LG's G Flex 2 came out in 2015

Of course, we've been here before in a basic (read: underwhelming) sense, with Samsung's contoured Galaxy Round and LG's G Flex and G Flex 2 phones from a few years ago. But there's more to this even than shape-shifting smartphones. 

“In the short term we’re looking at phones, TVs, tablets and wearables such as smart watches,” says Jack Wetherill, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. 

In fact, so many prototypes of flexible TVs, wearables and watches are emerging that it now seems certain we're on the cusp of a flexible future. So who will unveil the first truly flexible product? Not surprisingly, flexible displays are likely to come first from South Korea, and the smart money is on either LG or Samsung.

Flexible 'open frames'

Starting big, LG just demoed its 65-inch Flexible Open Frame OLEDs at the ISE 2017 event in Amsterdam in February. OLED technology has a distinct advantage in creating flexible screens because it's so thin, but the Flexible Open Frame OLEDs (4K resolution, of course) can be bent into either convex or concave shapes to fit any environment.

Flexible OLEDs are, for now, being sold as visual experiences to advertisers. © LG

LG Displays has also shown off its rollable, flexible and even transparent panels and tablets before. "They are beautiful things to see,” says Wetherill of LG’s proof-of-concept rollable, flexible displays. 

“But since LG is the main manufacturer of OLED, they are largely proof-of-concept displays.”

Bendable displays

Terms like bendable and foldable are used interchangeably when discussing flexible displays, but they're drastically different. 

A bendable display is the least ambitious; it simply flexes between your fingers. Such displays are what have arguably already been created; they're just not on sale yet. 

“Manufacturing processes for bendy OLED displays are built into some smartwatches and smartphones already, but at the moment you can’t flex or bend them,” says Wetherill. 

Since they already have an OLED layer beneath the glass that's already made using plastic, lots of gadgets are therefore almost ready to bend. 

“If you have a bendy screen product in your pocket it just won’t break as easily, adds Wetherill. This is all about ditching glass to make gadgets both lighter and safer. China's Royole recently talked up its 0.01mm-thin FlexPhone that bends enough to wrap around a wrist. 

Foldable and 'out-foldable' displays

After a few bendy phones likely launch in 2018, further down the pipeline will come foldable and rollable phones. This is where the concept of flexible displays starts to impress. Samsung is reportedly working on a foldable phone – possibly called the Samsung Galaxy X – that uses some kind of hinge.

LG showed-off a flexible 4K display at CES 2016

It will almost certainly be based around Samsung's AMOLED display tech. It is possible to make LCD displays flex, but OLED is easier. Although it seems unlikely to happen before 2018, LG seems intent on producing what it calls 'out-foldable' OLED displays for Apple, but also for Google and Microsoft

However, LG could choose to focus on making displays for its own products if the LG G6 manages to resurrect its smartphone business.  

The rollable future

But there's more innovation ahead. 

“The next stage is when the user can roll up a screen and carry it around, which may have business applications,” says Wetherill. One example might be in industry and engineering, where a mechanic has to go onto an aeroplane or into a factory to fix a problem, but needs to consult vast manuals.

FlexEnable has a completely curved, roll-up OLCD screen

“A tablet is too small, so rolling out a big display may have advantages, and there could even be lots of small-screen devices that could be rolled out to become a bigger device,” says Wetherill. 

He predicts these types of flexible screens could appear sometime in the 2020s. An Apple iScroll, anyone? 

Plastic beats glass

Making a display bend, fold or flex means using completely new components with some 'give' in them. Moving away from its tough Gorilla Glass for phones like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Corning's new Willow Glass is ultra-thin and flexible, but the flexible future will be owned by plastic substrates and plastic… everything

Corning's new Willow Glass is flexible, but the future is plastic

Showing at MWC 2017 in Barcelona in late February was a 12.1-inch organic LCD (OLCD) on plastic, which uses organic transistors on a plastic sheet. It's 10 times lighter than conventional glass-based displays and can go much, much larger.

“While LCD is the dominant and trusted display technology in the market today, glass-based LCDs can’t deliver the conformability, robustness and thinness requirements in new applications we are seeing across many sectors including automotive, consumer electronics and wearables," said Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable.

The company is working with display manufacturers in Asia to support the transfer of its OLCD platform into conventional flat panel display lines. 

At the same event, FlexEnable also showed off the latest version of its wearable, 0.3mm-thin, 4.7-inch OLCD as a smart watch – although it could just as easily be a phone – which we've reported on before; this new version has a touch sensor and plays video. It also showed a flexible, plastic e-reader.

Flexible components

Flexible screens also require flexible components, and near FlexEnable's demos at the MWC 2017 were some candidates. AMO and RWTH Aachen University showed tiny, flat and flexible WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular (potentially even 5G) antennae that used graphene inks, as did Graphene Security's completely flat RFID chips, which enable contactless payments, using graphene-based antennae.

Components like RFID chips and WiFi receivers can now be printed using graphene inks

Even stretchable OLED circuits are on the horizon; researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) recently developed a stretchable circuit that includes an OLED display, using inks to produce the circuits, the substrate and the organic elements. The scientists claims that the breakthrough could make the costs of producing flexible electronics as low as that to print newspapers.

By turning to flexible, even printable components, portable electronics of all kinds could be about to smash through their glass ceiling and embrace a plastic future. 

19 Mar 09:17

TV buying guide: Everything you need to know before buying a new television

by John Archer

For things you mostly just want to sit back and watch, televisions have become hellishly complicated to buy. Within minutes of dipping your toes into TV buying waters these days you’ll find your head swimming with so many acronyms and so much brain-melting jargon that you may well end up deciding to bury your head in the sand and stick with what you’ve got.

This, though, would be a real shame. For lying behind all the complication are some truly outstanding TVs capable of making your old set look like a relic from the stone age. With this in mind, we’ve put together this simple but comprehensive guide to all the latest TV tech that matters. By the time you’ve finished this you’ll be a TV salesman’s worst nightmare: a consumer who actually knows what they’re talking about…

Screen size

The range of screen sizes available today is immense, taking in everything from 14 inches to more than 100 inches. So how do you figure out the optimum size for you?

While some will always recommend going for the biggest screen you can afford that doesn’t spread over windows or doorways, there are a couple of different formula out there you may find helpful if you want a more scientific approach. 

According to THX, you should divide the diagonal width in inches of a screen you’re interested in by 0.84, with the result giving you the number of inches you’ll ideally be able to put between you and the screen. Using this method, if you get a 65-inch TV you should sit around 6.5 feet from it, or more likely you can perform the opposite calculation to choose a TV once you know how far you're able to sit from it. 

We suspect 6.5 feet will be a bit closer than most normal viewers will be comfortable with for a 65-inch TV, though. So another common calculation you could try is a seating position between 1.5x and 2x the diagonal width of your screen. Using this approach, a 65-inch screen would work for a viewing distance of between 8.1 and 10.8 feet. 

Time to get your measuring tape and calculators out, people.

Wall mounting

Many people think they’d like to wall mount their new flat TVs. However, research suggests that when it comes down to it, precious few of us actually do.

If you’re positive this will work for you, though, there are a few things to consider. First, remember that the TV will be right up flat to the wall, so you might want to go up a screen size or two. 

Second, think about TVs designed to be used with ultra low profile mounts, so that they stick out as little as possible from the wall. Or, given that many TVs don’t ship with wall mounts included, if you want to be able to choose from a wide selection of mounting options at a range of price points, look for a TV with wall mount screw positions compatible with the ‘VESA’ industry standard.

One other thing to bear in mind if you’re thinking of wall mounting a TV is a set’s realistic viewing angles. Especially vertical viewing angles if you’re thinking of mounting a TV above a fireplace (which is not something we’d typically recommend).

Panel technologies

There are two types of TV technology you need to understand: LCD and OLED. Plus there a couple of important variations on the LCD side. 

LCD/LED TVs

LCD/LED TVs use panels of liquid crystal pixels illuminated by external light sources. The liquid crystals rotate round to let through the amount of light needed to illuminate pictures correctly, with external filters creating colour. 

The main advantage of LCD TVs are brightness, affordability and durability. Their main disadvantages are limited viewing angles and difficulties controlling light in the picture due to the use of external light sources.

There are two types of LCD panel: IPS and VA. IPS types are predominantly made by LG Display, and feature in all of LG’s LCD TVs, plus some (usually affordable) models from other brands too. VA panels are more widely used, and are made by a variety of manufacturers. 

IPS panels offer slightly wider viewing angles than VA panels, but struggle with contrast. VA panels up to this point feature narrower viewing angles, but generally produce much better contrast.

OLED TVs

OLED TVs use a system of organic phosphors in self-emitting pixels to enable each pixel to generate its own light, completely independent of its neighbours. This allows for vastly superior contrast and light precision than you can get with even the most advanced LCD TV. It also means OLED TVs can be watched from much wider viewing angles than LCD TVs without colour or contrast reducing. These features have made OLED popular with many serious AV fans.

However, there are issues with OLED TVs too. First, while prices have dropped over the past couple of years, they’re still substantially more expensive than typical LCD TVs (though some are now cheaper than high end LCD TVs). 

Second, OLED TVs currently can’t get nearly as bright as LCD TVs - something that could become an issue with HDR content. 

Finally, there have historically been issues with lifespan and image retention (where bright image elements can ‘burn’ into the screen’s phosphors if left on for too long). However, LG, the main manufacturer of OLED screens, claims to have fixed these lifespan/image retention issues, and we haven’t seen any evidence recently that might counter those claims.

For a full rundown, check out our guide to OLED TVs

Backlight technology

A key point to consider if you decide to buy an LCD TV is how the LCD panel is lit, since this can have a large impact on the contrast the screen is capable of. 

Some use lights mounted on the edge of the screen firing across it (aka edge-lit panels), while some use lights mounted directly behind the screen. Generally speaking, TVs with lights behind the screen deliver better contrast than edge-lit models. But these models don’t generally feature such slim designs, tend to cost more, and often use more power.

One final option to consider with LCD TVs is local dimming. This sophisticated feature allows a TV to output different amounts of light from different sections of its edge or direct lighting arrays, and can dramatically improve contrast.

Connections

These days the main connections you need to check are HDMIs, USB ports and multimedia support. 

With HDMIs you’re talking about the number (try and get at least three) but also the specification. With 4K TVs, try and get a TV with v2.0 HDMIs rather than v1.4 HDMIs, to guarantee the best compatibility with current and upcoming source equipment. 

USBs ports are useful for both playing back multimedia (especially photos and videos) stored on USB drives, and, with some TVs, recording from the TV’s tuners to an attached USB hard drive. Look for at least two, and ideally three USB ports.

Most TVs now have built-in wi-fi and Ethernet ports so that you can connect them to the internet. Not all TVs, though, also let you use these network connections to access multimedia stored on other devices on your network. So if this is a feature you want, make sure the TV you buy supports it. Note, too, that some TVs additionally support Bluetooth communication with external devices.

Curved or flat?

Curved TVs are much less common in 2017 than they have been in recent years, with pretty much all manufacturers bar Samsung deciding that they’ve run their course.

If you are looking to buy a very large TV and/or you’re going to be sitting pretty close to your screen, the way the picture on a curved screen enters your peripheral vision can make for a slightly more immersive experience. Curved screens follow the shape of your eye, too, arguably making the corners of the picture look sharper than they do on flat TVs. Plus curved screens tend to suffer less with colour and contrast loss when viewed from an angle.

However, there are issues with curved TVs too. First, they tend to distort any onscreen reflections so that they cover much more of the screen than they would with a flat TV. Second, if you watch from an angle of really much more than 20-25 degrees, the picture can start to look foreshortened. 

Finally, if you’re not sat in the optimal position (if you’re either too far back or off to the side), curved TVs can distort the picture’s geometry.

Resolution: Ultra HD vs HD

There are two resolutions to choose from right now: Ultra HD (also known as 4K), and HD. Ultra HD TVs carry 3840x2160 pixels, HD TVs carry 1920x1080 pixels. This means Ultra HD TVs have four times as many pixels as HD ones, and so can deliver pictures with much more resolution. 

With native 4K sources starting to become more common now (Netflix, Amazon, Ultra HD Blu-ray and Sky Q in the UK) and the prices of 4K TVs plummeting, we’d generally recommend that you buy a 4K TV even if you don’t currently have any access to 4K content. Especially if you’re looking at a TV of 50 inches or more. 

While I’d recommend 4K for a main living room TV now, though, HD TVs can be good bargains for second rooms. 

HDR

High dynamic range (HDR) is the latest technology to arrive on the TV scene. HDR TVs are able to produce pictures that contain much more brightness and contrast than normal TVs - so long as they are fed HDR content that contains this extra luminance data. 

All current HDR TVs also support wider colour spectrums (often described as wide colour gamut, or WCG - essentially meaning that ) than most non-HDR TVs - which is handy, as pretty much all HDR content also carries wide colour spectrum picture data.

There are currently three types of HDR. HDR10 is the industry standard, and all TVs support this. Dolby Vision adds an extra layer of information that tells a TV how to render pictures on a scene by scene basis. Only some brands - most notably LG, Vizio, TCL and (via an upcoming firmware update to some models) Sony - support this. 

Finally there’s Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), designed for HDR broadcasts. The majority of TV brands have pledged support for this via firmware updates in the course of 2017.

For a full rundown of the technology check out our full guide to HDR

Quantum dots

Some (usually high end) LCD TVs have started to use Quantum Dot technology to deliver wider colour ranges than you can get with normal LCD panels. Quantum Dots are tiny particles ranging from 2 to 10 nanometers in size, with each size capable of emitting a different colour. Using them allows LCD TV makers to avoid colour filters and white LED Backlights - two things that typically limit an LCD TV’s colour performance.

Samsung is the biggest advocate of Quantum Dot technology, with its 2017 ‘QLED’ models using a new metal-coated type of Quantum Dot that can produce a much wider colour range, more brightness and a wider viewing angle than traditional Quantum Dots. Quantum dot TVs are generally markedly more expensive than normal LCD TVs, though.

There are alternatives to Quantum Dots when it comes to expanding colour range. Some TVs - including Sony’s recent Triluminos models - use wide-range phosphors. LG, meanwhile, will be using Nano Cells in its high-end LCD TVs for 2017. These alternatives to Quantum Dot technology use same-sized dots just one nanometer wide in conjunction with normal colour filters - a combination which LG claims enables its new Super UHD TVs to deliver better contrast and more balanced colours.

Brightness (nits)

A screen’s brightness (as measured in nits) has started to become a big deal with the arrival of HDR, with many HDR proponents - including, especially, Dolby - stating that we’re about to enter a ‘nit race’ where TVs push to constantly get brighter. 

The brightest LCD TVs (Samsung’s upcoming ‘QLED’ models) can get as bright as 2000 nits. The 2017 generation of OLED TVs are reckoned to get to between 800 and 1000 nits.

Contrast ratio

Few TV brands still quote contrast ratios. But if you do see one, it’s basically a calculation of the difference between a screen’s deepest black and brightest whites, written as, for instance, 10,000:1. It’s generally worth taking these figures with a pinch of salt, though, as they can be measured in multiple, very different ways.

Speakers

The sound quality of flat TVs can vary immensely. So if you’re not intending to use some sort of external sound system, this is something you should pay attention to.

Most brands quote a number of Watts of power for their TV speaker systems, but this is seldom helpful in deciding how a TV is likely to sound. 

Look instead, for instance, at how many speakers a TV has, and the configuration of those speakers. For instance, a ‘2.1’ configuration would indicate stereo main speakers with the ‘.1’ bit pointing to a dedicated bass speaker. Or a 3.1 configuration would point to a dedicated centre or dialogue channel alongside stereo and bass speakers.

Subwoofer speakers for bass are always welcome given how much TV speakers generally struggle with the lower end of the sound spectrum.

Another audio issue is the way the lack of room available to speakers in thin TVs means they usually have to fire their sound downwards. Yet this can lead to an indirect, muffled, weedy sound. TVs that manage to provide forward firing speakers tend to sound much cleaner and more powerful.

Some TVs of late have even gone so far as to ship with sound bars that either hang off their bottom edge or sit separately below the main screen frame.

One final word of warning here is that you should treat the claims of TVs to offer DTS or Dolby Digital surround decoding with scepticism. No TV can deliver anything close to a proper surround sound experience from its own speakers without using actual rear speakers, and many sound pretty horrible if they try. Experience shows that a good stereo sound - especially with a subwoofer to add bass - routinely trumps a half-baked pseudo-surround sound system or mode.

Smart TV

Almost every TV these days can be added to your broadband network to enable the use of online features or, in some cases, access media files stored on other storage devices - mobile phones, tablets, NAS drives etc. This sounds great on paper, but in reality the quality and usefulness of such ‘smart’ features can vary greatly.

Generally speaking, if you have a number of personal smart devices in your home, TVs that can access content on other devices in your home - including via Bluetooth as well as wi-fi - are worth looking out for.

Where online features are concerned, don’t be seduced by app quantity. The vast majority of TV apps are borderline pointless, and just clutter up the smart interface. App quality is much more important. In fact, for many households the only online features that really matter are online streaming/catchup services. Especially Amazon Prime, Netflix, and catch-up services for your region’s broadcasters. For instance, BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub, All4 and My5 in the UK.

Finally, the simplicity of a smart TV interface plays a key role in how much you might use it. Currently LG’s webOS and Panasonic’s Home Screen 2.0 systems handle their content most effectively. 

For a full breakdown of how the various manufacturer's smart TV interfaces stack up check out our best smart TV platform guide

What's next

Phew, We’ve now covered the important stuff you should think about at the very start of your TV buying quest. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll talk about the sort of things you should try and look out for once you’re actually standing in front of a TV you’re thinking might be the one for you.

  • For some more concrete recommendations check out our guide to the best 4K TVs.
19 Mar 09:08

James Gunn All But Confirms Guardians of the Galaxy 3

by Joe Skrebels

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Guardians of the Galaxy will almost certainly be getting a third installment.

Speaking to Complex, writer/director James Gunn said that "there will be a Guardians 3, that's for sure. We're trying to figure it out."

Given that the first Guardians is one of Marvel's best-received films so far - both critically and commercially - there's little doubt Disney would want the sub-franchise to keep running, although the media giant has yet to confirm a third film itself.

However, Gunn seems less sure on whether he himself will stick with the series after Vol. 2 is released in May: "I'm trying to figure out what I want to do really, that's all it is. I got to figure out where I want to be, what I want to spend the next three years of my life doing. You know, I'm going to make another big movie; is it the Guardians or something else?"

Continue reading…

19 Mar 09:08

Horizon: Zero Dawn Sales Pass 2.6 Million in 2 Weeks

by Alex Gilyadov

More than 2.6 million units of Horizon: Zero Dawn were sold worldwide during its first two weeks on sale, Sony announced today.

Developer Guerrilla Games' open-world role-playing game has now become the best-selling new first-party IP on PlayStation 4 and the studio's "biggest debut." Sales includes both digital units sold through the PlayStation Store and physical copies sold through to consumers.

"We knew Horizon Zero Dawn was going to be something special, so to see the incredible critical reaction to a brand new game world translate into this level of sales is really gratifying," said Shawn Layden, Chairman of SIE Worldwide Studios.

For comparison, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End sold over 2.7 million units worldwide in just its first week.

Continue reading…

19 Mar 08:51

“ATTENTION PARENTS: Kids Under 12 Cannot Walk or Ride to School on Their Own”

by lskenazy

The sign below signals the end of childhood — and parenting — as we know them. Apparently in Queensland, Australia, children are not allowed to walk or bike to school under age 12, and parents are not allowed to let them, according to this police notice, posted on Twitter by Stephen B @BicycleAdagio:

.

What’s most terrifying is not the draconian decree, but the belief that any time a child is unsupervised the child is AUTOMATICALLY IN DANGER, which means that parent is AUTOMATICALLY NEGLIGENT.

This is a new world view and it criminalizes not just parents who believe in their kids, but parents who believe in rational risk assessment. Our children today live in the safest times in human history. To treat them as if they are endangered merely by going outside on their own ignores reality. It also ignores the fact that the number one way kids die is as car passengers, as many parents who are forbidden to let their kids walk will inevitably end up driving (and thereby endangering) them.

Finally, is it really the job of the police to provide THE safest environment possible? So should they make kids scoot down the stairs on their bottoms till age 12? Should they force kids to wear helmets in class, in case of falling ceiling chunks? Should they require the lunch ladies to put the fish fillet sandwiches in the the blender before serving, to minimize the chance of a child choking? When does “safest possible” become TOO safe?

I’d say in Queensland, that moment has arrived. – L

 

15 Mar 14:20

Incredibly obsolete Apple-1 computer could be yours for £250,000

by davidneal@gmail.com(Dave Neal)
Incredibly obsolete Apple-1 computer could be yours for £250,000

Will not run iTunes

15 Mar 07:32

UK to make online ticket-buying bots illegal

by Jamie Rigg
A new amendment slipped into the Digital Economy Bill, which is now pretty close to becoming UK law, would make the use of online tout bots that hoover up tickets to popular music, sport and other events a criminal offense punishable by unlimited fin...
15 Mar 07:32

This self-cleaning bag freshens up your smelly gym clothes

by Kris Naudus
At my age it's important to get to the gym on a regular basis, but it's hard to find the time. It's just as difficult to get around to doing laundry, which means I tend to get stuck carrying a bag of sweaty, smelly gym wear. But maybe it wouldn't be...
13 Mar 11:48

Intel buys self-driving tech firm MobilEye for $15.3 billion

by Steve Dent
Roumen.ganeff

15bn is a very large pile of cash

Intel's recent work with MobilEye on self-driving cars must have gone well, because the chip giant is buying its Jerusalem-based partner for $15.3 billion. The deal was first reported by Israeli business site The Marker but has now been confirmed by...
13 Mar 10:04

Police find two calves wedged into a Honda Civic

by James Fossdyke
Roumen.ganeff

dafuq?

Police in California came to the rescue after receiving reports of a cow stuck in a parked car. The California Highway Patrol for the San Gorgonio Pass received calls last Saturday, which stated...

-- This feed and its contents are the property of AOL, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

13 Mar 07:24

Kong: Skull Island Takes Down Logan at the Box Office

by Alex Osborn

Kong: Skull Island debuted in first place at the domestic box office, earning an estimated $61 million.

As noted by Variety, Warner Bros. and Legendary's new film performed well above expectations, which had Skull Island's weekend earnings pegged somewhere between $45 million and $50 million.

That said, the Jordan Vogt-Roberts-directed movie has a long way to go before recouping its hefty $185 million production budget, and will have to rely on international success if it's to reach levels of profitability.

Factoring in both production and marketing costs, Kong: Skull Island needs to make approximately $500 million worldwide to be considered a success for Warner Bros. and Legendary. The film won't debut in China for another two weeks but so far has made $81.6 million in international markets.

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13 Mar 07:24

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Post-Credits Scene Confirmed

by Alex Osborn

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will have a surprise for those who wait until all of the end credits have finished rolling, director James Gunn has confirmed.

When asked on Twitter if there would be mid and post-credit scenes in the upcoming sequel, Gunn replied, "all I'll say is, unless you have to rush out because your mother is dying, stay through the entire end credits."

Chris Pratt is back as Peter Quill/Star Lord in the sequel, who's once again joined by Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and many more.

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13 Mar 07:23

Game of Thrones' Final Season Confirmed to Be 6 Episodes

by Alex Gilyadov

Games of Thrones' final eighth season will indeed be the shortest one yet.

Per Entertainment Weekly, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss revealed that Season 8 will only be six episodes long during a panel at SXSW.

Though HBO hasn't confirmed the episode count, Benioff and Weiss are certain about the length and are already preparing for pre-production by deciding who gets to write which episode.

“We argued over who got to kill Sansa,” Benioff jokingly said.

Season 7, which will premiere a little bit later than usual for Game of Thrones on July 16, has also been shortened to only seven episodes. However, despite the shorter episode order, the "size and scale" of the show is increasing, resulting in  even bigger and more epic episodes. Sir Davos Seaworth actor Liam Cunningham revealed to IGN that the new season will also see a lot of the show's expansive ensemble cast coming together.

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11 Mar 22:41

WikiLeaks CIA cache: Fool me once

by Violet Blue
This week's poorly conceived distraction from Trump and Putin sittin' in a tree was brought to us by WikiLeaks, which dumped 8,761 documents of the CIA's hacking arsenal online for all to see. The leak factory didn't even bother trying to play coy --...