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15 Aug 20:29

New Look at John Wick 3 Revealed

by Alex Gilyadov

Lionsgate has released a new photo from the upcoming John Wick 3: Parabellum.

The image, via Twitter, features the returning Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane. Fishburne portrayed the Bowery King in John Wick 2, while McShane played Winston in the first two John Wick movies.

New look at Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane in John Wick 3.

Continue reading…

15 Aug 20:27

Westworld Season 3 Will Be a 'Radical Shift'

by Alex Gilyadov

Westworld's third season will be a "radical shift" for the show, according to showrunners Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan.

Warning: Spoilers for Westworld Season 2 follow...Be sure to refresh yourself on the events of Season 2 finale with our "The Passenger" review.

In an interview with THR, Joy and Nolan teased their vision for Season 3 and what fans can expect from Westworld moving forward. According to Nolan, it's easier to take storytelling risks when most of the series' main characters aren't human.

Continue reading…

15 Aug 17:37

How Ubisoft Rebuilt Athens for Odyssey

by Jon Ryan

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the 11th core game in the franchise, averaging one a year since the original’s launch back in 2007. Considering this, it’s no surprise that they’ve honed their collective skills to a fine edge when it comes to crafting digital reproductions of historic locations, and that in addition to creating one of (if not the) best-looking game in the series, Ubisoft Quebec has poured more effort and detail than ever into their rendition of ancient Greece - and nowhere in it’s massive world map is a better example of this than the city of Athens.

“It’s that booming city of antiquity,” says Odyssey’s Creative Director Jonathan Dumont during a recent interview, “That we tried to picture as a city of light, as a city of the future, for them.” As the cultural, social and political hub of the Grecian world, Athens was many things to many people. A trading port, a center for academia and philosophy, an artistic haven or hotbed of political revolution and more, the diversity of 430 BCE Athens is difficult to put together. This largely stems from the fact that while one of the most famous cities from the era, it had already existed for thousands of years, constantly changing hands between rulers and societies, and would exist for thousands more before Ubisoft’s research teams could begin exploring it.

Continue reading…

15 Aug 17:36

Intel discloses another set of processor vulnerabilities

by Mallory Locklear
Intel disclosed another set of processor flaws today that could let attackers steal information stored on computers or third party clouds. Discovered by a number of researchers and reported to Intel in January, the vulnerability includes three variet...
14 Aug 05:59

DeepMind AI matches health experts at spotting eye diseases

by Nick Summers
DeepMind has successfully developed a system that can analyze retinal scans and spot symptoms of sight-threatening eye diseases. Today, the AI division -- owned by Google's parent company Alphabet -- published "early results" of a research project wi...
14 Aug 05:59

Dozens of kids hack election site replicas in just minutes

by Mallory Locklear
The Def Con hacker conference has been demonstrating how vulnerable voting machines are to hacks through its Voting Village, wherein adults are given the chance to compromise various models of voting devices. But this year, Def Con also let kids get...
13 Aug 05:44

‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Will be the Same Show on NBC, New Halloween Episode Confirmed [TCA 2018]

by Fred Topel

brooklyn nine-nine season 6

Brooklyn Nine-Nine may have gotten more press when it was cancelled than it had in five years of airing on the Fox network. When Fox pulled it from its Fall schedule, fans rallied to save the show. NBC stepped in. NBC Universal was already the producer of the show, so they gave it a midseason slot on their schedule. It was official: Brooklyn-Nine Nine would return for a sixth season.

NBC brought the cast and executive producer of Brooklyn Nine-Nine out for a Television Critics Association panel. Find out how the show will remain the same on a new network, what’s in store for Jake and the rest of the cew in the new season and how they plan to tackle more social issues.

New Network, Same Show

Executive producer and showrunner Dan Goor represented the creative team of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. While he’s still a ways off from beginning the new season, Goor assured fans it would be the same show on NBC.

“Yes, the mandate from NBC all along is we know this show, we love this show, that’s why we picked up this show, please keep making the same show,” Goor said. “In a lot of ways, I think it is the same type of show. I don’t want to say it’s the same show. I think it’s going to be even better this year. Definitely put that in. I’m doing The Secret. There are no substantive changes in terms of our approach to the show or anything else.”

This makes sense, but it’s still reassuring to confirm. Networks don’t usually rescue fan favorites to retool them. Scrubs stayed the same when it moved from NBC to ABC, so did The Mindy Project going from Fox to Hulu. So NBC knows what the fans like and they’re just giving it a new home.

The Halloween Heist Will Still Happen in the Spring

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s midseason time slot means it will air long after Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, all holidays that feature prominently in episodes. Goor said they wouldn’t let the late airing stop them from their Halloween traditions.

“I think we had a very good idea for how to do the Halloween Heist and we want to continue doing it,” Goor said. “They’re some of our favorite episodes to watch and also some of the hardest to write because of the twists and turns. We have a really good idea how to do it.”

Every Halloween, the Nine-Nine compete for the title of Ultimate Detective/Genius. We can still appreciate that if they air it in February.

Jake and Amy’s Married Life

Season 5 ended with the wedding of Jake (Andy Samberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero). Could you imagine if we never got to see their married life? The same sort of things they bicker about in the precinct will now plague their home lives.

“Mostly, I think really small detail oriented story lines about their finances, not happy with each other about what to spend on what,” Samberg said. “At the wedding ceremony, Holt says he’s excited to see their childish marriage. I think that’s going to be how it goes. They’ll maintain that same dynamic but it’ll be fun to explore it through the lens of marriage.”

Fumero had some ideas too.

“The day they combine their bank accounts is going to be a big day,” she said. “It’s going to be little stories like that that are going to be really fun to explore. What domestic life will they make new bets on and compete with?”

They Hope to Do a MeToo episode

The season 4 episode “Moo Moo” dealt with Terry (Terry Crews) getting racially profiled. Goor hopes to do another episode addressing socially relevant issues, if they can get the script right.

“Our challenge is to make them feel true to the show, be funny, but at the same time give weight to the issue and explore it in a fair way,” Goor said. “We definitely intend to continue doing that. We intend to go down the road of Rosa’s interaction with her parents and her journey coming out but there are other issues. I don’t want to say we’re going to do it unless we can figure it out, but we’re really interested in doing a MeToo storyline. It’s something we’re actively talking about in our writers room.”

Samberg vouched for the extra time such episodes take, so wanting to tackle a subject is not the final word.

“The ‘Moo Moo’ episode was something that took a really long time to be written in a way that was like yes, this is how the show wants to do this,” Samberg said. “There’s a ton of stuff like that that would be incredible to do but we’re not going to do it unless we have the right take that will do it justice.”

Gina Rodriguez is in Negotiations to Return

Gina Rodriguez guest starred on the fifth season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a potential love interest for Rosa. The show wants her back, but Rodriguez is the lead on The CW’s Jane the Virgin, so it’s complicated.

“We are in conversations with her,” Goor said. “We had a great time with her. I think she had a really good time on the show. She is the star of a television show and hugely successful in Hollywood. I am hopeful that we’ll be able to get her back in some capacity. We’re in talks is what I should say. We’re still early in the process of everything. She wants to come back and we want to have her.”

Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns next year on NBC.

The post ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Will be the Same Show on NBC, New Halloween Episode Confirmed [TCA 2018] appeared first on /Film.

12 Aug 07:37

Marvel Trying to Convince Disney to Re-Hire James Gunn for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’

by Ethan Anderton

Could Disney Rehire James Gunn

Another day, another detail regarding the uncertain status of director James Gunn and the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise that he shepherded to success. And this one at least has some semblance of hope.

There are currently “back channel conversations” happening between Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company as the comic book movie studio tries to convince the House of Mouse to hire back James Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Deadline has word on Marvel attempting to get Disney to rehire James Gunn, and it involves some kind of compromise. As for what that compromise might be, that remains unclear, but apparently the discussion came together in the wake of Guardians of the Galaxy cast members showing their support for the filmmaker. Perhaps yesterday’s news of other studios around Hollywood courting James Gunn for jobs if he should end up really being let go from the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise also had a hand in making these discussions happen.

So could Disney rehire James Gunn? It’s certainly a tricky situation for a company whose bread and butter is family friendly content. Obviously, James Gunn’s jokes from Twitter that prompted his firing were reprehensible and inappropriate. But Disney’s knee-jerk reaction to their reemergence, despite the fact that James Gunn apologized for his provocateur antics back in 2012, remains ill-advised and sets a dangerous precedent.

Franchise star Dave Bautista has gone so far as to express a desire to ask for a release from his contract if James Gunn isn’t brought back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. But are concerns like that and a push from Marvel Studios enough to convince a giant corporation like Disney to second guess their official decision from a few weeks ago?

The fact is that James Gunn made a mistake years ago. Some of the jokes in question were a decade old. But it was at a time in his career when he was aiming for provocative shock humor. He didn’t hurt anybody, he wasn’t involved in sexual misconduct, and he certainly doesn’t partake in any of the despicable acts he inappropriately joked about all those years ago. And if the rest of Hollywood is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, then Disney should reconsider. We’ll have to wait and see what they decide. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for good news.

The post Marvel Trying to Convince Disney to Re-Hire James Gunn for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ appeared first on /Film.

12 Aug 07:24

Future of ‘Star Trek 4’ in Doubt as Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth Depart Over Salary Negotiations

by Jacob Hall

Chris Pine Leaves Star Trek 4

Captain…we have a problem.

Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth have both walked away from Star Trek 4 following failed salary negotiations. Pine was going to reprise his role as Captain James T. Kirk for the fourth time. Hemsworth was going to return via time travel as Kirk’s father, who was introduced in the 2009 reboot’s memorable prologue. What happens next, especially since the rest of the cast is still on board, remains uncertain.

The Hollywood Reporter has the story, and it offers up a dark side to a franchise built upon hope and optimism. After all, money doesn’t exist in the utopian world created by Gene Roddenberry over 50 years ago…but it sure as hell exists right here and now, and Pine and Hemsworth felt they weren’t getting enough of it to step aboard the bridge again. Or rather, they felt Paramount was not honoring an existing deal.

According to THR, the actors and their reps “insist they have deals in place and that the studios are reneging on them, forcing them to take pay cuts as they try to budget a movie that is following a mediocre performer.” That mediocre performer is Star Trek Beyond, a very good movie that massively underperformed when it opened in 2016. That film grossed $343 million worldwide, but it cost $190 million. That’s not a great ratio when other franchise films regularly cross the $1 billion mark these days.

Still, it’s hard to blame Pine and Hemsworth for sticking to their guns and walking away if they’re not getting paid what they believe they should be paid. If you want to point fingers at someone, point them at Paramount.

So what does this mean for Star Trek 4? Well, Zoe SaldanaZachary QuintoKarl UrbanSimon Pegg and John Cho are all expected to close their deals and return as Uhura, Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, and Sulu, respectively. It’s possible that Kirk and his father could be recast. It’s also possible that Pine and Hemsworth return to the negotiating table and everything gets worked out. It’s also possible that they split the difference – cough up the cash for Pine since he’s the face of the rebooted franchise and recast his dearly departed dad with someone less expensive.

In any case, I’ll just come right out and say it: this flat-out sucks. I’ve been critical of the new Trek movies, but two of them have been winners, overcoming their flaws to reflect what makes this series so damn special. Pine did the impossible – he proved that someone else was capable of filling William Shatner’s boots. And Hemsworth’s entire career was built on his powerful scenes as George Kirk and seeing him return would have been a thrill. Then there’s the rest of the crew, played to perfection by a perfectly cast ensemble who give new life to beloved characters. I’d watch a Star Trek 4 starring everyone but Kirk, but would Paramount even consider making that?

It’s especially a bummer since Star Trek 4 was going to mark the first time a female director was going to steer a Trek movie. What does this mean for S.J. Clarkson? Will she stick around if things have to get retooled?

Anyway, it’s not like this spells the end of Star Trek. The recent series Star Trek: Discovery is returning for its second season next year and there’s a new TV show starring Patrick Stewart, reprising his role as Captain Picard, in the pipeline. And Pine has the Wonder Woman movies and Hemsworth has Thor and the rest of the cast are in high-demand. In the end, nothing and no one is irreparably damaged.

But still, it was a thrill to see Trek back on the big screen ever couple of years. I’ll cross my fingers and hope they can work this one out.

The post Future of ‘Star Trek 4’ in Doubt as Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth Depart Over Salary Negotiations appeared first on /Film.

12 Aug 07:22

Move Over, Porgs: Baby Nifflers Are Coming to ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

by Ethan Anderton

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Niffler

Star Wars: The Last Jedi introduced us to one of the most adorable creatures in pop culture with the little island-dwelling birds known as porgs. But when there’s a franchise with the title Fantastic Beasts, the battle for cutest fantasy creature isn’t an easy one, and that’s especially true with the inclusion of baby Nifflers in this fall’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Get a first look at these cute little thieves below.

Baby Nifflers in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Baby Niffler

The Niffler was one of the more mischievous creatures from the magical suitcase of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne). The little creatures are attracted to shiny objects, which makes them desirable for tracking down treasure. But it also makes them rather troublesome, as we saw in the first film when one of them ended up inside of jewelry shop, bringing some unwanted attention to the magizoologist.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Baby Niffler

As you can see in the concept art and first look image above, the baby Nifflers are super adorable, and they’re just as attracted to shiny objects as the full grown creatures, Plus, we get to see that there are varieties of Nifflers when it comes to the color of their fur. We’ll likely see several more baby Nifflers in the movie since Entertainment Weekly says Newt has to deal with a litter of newborns that are “wreaking havoc.”

The baby Nifflers aren’t the only new creatures on the scene either. Other magical animals we’ll discover include a Kelpie, described as some kind of underwater creatures that hails from Scotland which can be mounted and ridden. There’s also a Leucrotta, a moose-like creature with a massive mouth, and an Augurey, an owl-like creature whose cry is believed to foretell death. Perhaps that will make some kind of ominous prediction about one of our wizarding world characters.

Directed by David Yates from a script by J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald also stars Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Johnny Depp, Ezra Miller, Callum TurnerClaudia KimWilliam NadylamKevin GuthrieCarmen Ejogo, and Poppy Corby-Tuech.

Here is the synopsis to Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald:

At the end of the first film, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).  But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead.  Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens November 16, 2018.

The post Move Over, Porgs: Baby Nifflers Are Coming to ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ appeared first on /Film.

12 Aug 06:41

Tesla Troll and Short Doxed as Heavily Invested in Oil Industry

"Montana Skeptic," a Seeking Alpha contributor who some consider to be one of Tesla's biggest anonymous trolls and shorts, was recently doxed: his real identity is Lawrence Fossi, an investment manager who happens to be heavily invested in the oil industry. The critic has opted to stop writing about Tesla after CEO Elon Musk contacted his place of work and threatened to sue. Fossi has often pushed narratives about Tesla that have been proven to be completely wrong. For example, he predicted that Tesla would deliver fewer than 18,000 Model X's in 2016. Not only was he wrong by about 40%, but he claimed that the limitation would be demand when it was in fact production, which was limited during the first half of the year. Discussion
12 Aug 06:21

FCC Mistakes Angry Americans for Hacker DDoS Attack

The FCC has maintained a theory that the agency's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) was the victim of a hacker's DDoS attack during the Net Neutrality debate. Angry Americans seeking to have their voices heard on the issue of Net Neutrality, flooded the FCC's ECFS website with requests to comment on the volatile subject, but couldn't get through. Now we learn that it wasn't a DDoS attack at all. The government's computer system simply couldn't handle the amount of Americans seeking to be heard and crumbled. You can read Ajit Pai's statement here and Jessica Rosenworcel's statement here. Because it wasn't a hack, it seems that the comment-filing system, though recently revamped, needs yet another fresh coat of paint to handle the kind of volume it saw during the net neutrality repeal. Plans for that are underway, Pai wrote. The GAO investigation regarding fraud in the comment system will no doubt affect those plans. Discussion
12 Aug 06:14

DOOM Eternal: release date, news, trailers and Quakecon information

by Jordan King

Additional reporting by Andrew Hayward

If you thought the 2016 Doom reboot was over-the-top, then you haven’t seen anything yet. Id Software is back in action with Doom Eternal, which takes the modernized rendition of the first-person shooter classic and revs it up to an incredible degree—from more grotesque demons to demolish to even more deliciously violent takedowns and plenty more.

Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about DOOM: Eternal after the closer look we got at Quakecon, including all the latest news, release date, gameplay trailers and more!

Related: Best PS4 Games

DOOM Eternal – what is it?

Doom Eternal is the fifth main game in the legendary shooter series, but more notably, it’s the follow-up to the aforementioned modern revival. It takes that impressively well-honed approach, with its speedy and satisfyingly swift action, and seemingly amplifies it to a whole new level as the Doom Slayer hunts his ample prey through fiery, demon-infested locations on Earth.

The Doom Slayer was already suitably badass the last time around, but now he has some new tools and abilities to help make even quicker work of his prey. For example, he has a blade attached to his left arm that can be used to slash foes in half and rip out their organs (and stuff them into different openings, no less). He also has a grappling hook that uses enemies as an anchor, letting you swing from point to point by finding a new foe to penetrate. Along with some well-placed poles to swing off of, it adds more verticality to the experience.

Eternal also brings back some classic enemies from the pixel-packed originals, all reimagined for the modern era, and they’re gradually destructible: each will visibly deteriorate as you blast, pummel, and detonate them. And there are fresh weapons, as well, including some sort of phenomenal rune-engraved laser sword that appears at the tail end of the QuakeCon demo. There’s also a “Super Shotgun Meat Hook mod,” which we can’t wait to see in action.

The campaign action is mostly set across fiery hellscapes, but the QuakeCon demo also showed off some fabulous-looking new terrain, such as intricately-designed fantasy castle locales. The new idTech 7 engine allows for vastly more detail and geometry than before, which makes for vaster and more involved environments.

It’s a direct sequel to the 2016 reboot, something that is immediately obvious from the DOOM Marine himself and the denizens of demons hungry for bullets in the debut trailer. Mick Gordon has also returned to compose the soundtrack, ensuring we’ll have plenty of metal brilliance to rock out to while vanquishing evil.

Related: Upcoming Xbox One Games

DOOM Eternal release date – when is it coming out?

At the time or writing, Bethesda has confirmed that DOOM: Eternal is planned for a 2019 release.

Currently, launch is planned for PS4, Xbox One and PC in addition to the Nintendo Switch, with that port being handled by Panic Button, the company responsible for the Switch ports of both Wolfenstein II and the rebooted Doom.

DOOM Eternal Trailer – how does it look?

Want to see 25 minutes of Doom Eternal gameplay, fresh from Quakecon? We’ve got you covered.

Want to see the the official E3 teaser? Right this way!

DOOM Eternal Gameplay – How does it play?

No in-game footage has been shown thus far for DOOM: Eternal, with a more substantial debut to take place at QuakeCon in August. Considering the relatively small gap between Eternal and its predecessor, we imagine many of the same elements will return with a bunch of welcome refinements.

We expect the return of fast, frantic gunplay alongside glory kills and classic weapons ripe for experimentation. Time will tell whether the multiplayer mode will return, which received a lukewarm reception compared to the beloved campaign. One thing we’d love to see is the arcade mode implemented as a post-launched update available right away in DOOM: Eternal.

Doom Eternal multiplayer: What are invaders?

Here’s an interesting new twist for Doom Eternal: online players will now have the ability to take the role of demons and “invade” another player’s campaign. It’s a strictly optional feature, in case you prefer to slay solo, but that should add a fun new wrinkle to the Doom experience. It will also finally provide an opportunity to experience the game from the other side of the shotgun in a campaign scenario.

Doom Eternal will also offer a more traditional take on competitive multiplayer, although it’s not yet clear what that will look like. The last Doom’s multiplayer, developed with external partner Certain Affinity, was widely seen as weak compared to the strong solo campaign.

However, id Software tells Polygon that Doom Eternal will feature something entirely new, and that they’re developing the multiplayer component themselves. “It’s very Doom,” said creative director Hugo Martin. “It’s very good.”

We’ll surely find out more about the multiplayer experience and other elements of the game as Doom Eternal’s expected 2019 release nears.

Are you ready to slay demons in DOOM: Eternal? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews.

 

The post DOOM Eternal: release date, news, trailers and Quakecon information appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

11 Aug 17:14

Screens are killing your eyeballs, and now we know how

by Eleanor Cummins
Woman looking at phone in dark blue light health

The "blue screen of death" is taking on a whole new meaning.

A new study shows the process by which blue light can lead to eye disease like macular degeneration. How will the consumer technology industry respond?
10 Aug 21:30

Intel's first 'ruler' SSD holds 32TB

by Steve Dent
Intel has unsheathed its first "ruler" SSD, a bizarre device with a 12-inch long housing and colossal amount of storage. Intel created the new form factor last year to cram as much storage as possible into a "1U" server form factor, with optimal ther...
09 Aug 20:17

Panasonic's deodorizer freshens your shoes while you sleep

by Rachel England
In a world where self-driving cars are taking to the roads and computers are having casual conversations with salon receptionists, it's easy to forget that many companies are still working hard on solutions for low-tech, everyday problems. Smelly fee...
09 Aug 20:15

'Red Dead Redemption 2' trailer shows off a more ambitious sequel

by Timothy J. Seppala
After almost two years of teases and a few delays, we finally have our first look at how Red Dead Redemption 2 will actually play come October 26th. The gameplay trailer is directly in the vein of the videos Rockstar released in the lead-up to Grand...
09 Aug 06:23

I went to a quiet place to see A Quiet Place and it was intense

by Ced Yuen

If you’re looking for a quiet place, the best place on Earth is the anechoic chamber at Microsoft’s headquarters in Richmond, Washington. It’s a room padded to the extreme to insulate from outside noise, and to absorb echoes inside. 

Volume is measured in decibels. The sound of a jet engine taking off from 25 metres away is said to be about 150dB. The average library has background noise at about 40dB. The threshold of human hearing is 0dB. According to the Guinness World Records, Microsoft’s anechoic chamber reaches -20.35dB.

I didn’t get to go to Washington, but for the release of A Quiet Place on home turf, I was invited to the anechoic chamber in the engineering building at University College London. The room was initially built as a studio for recording speech for language research. It’s also used for hearing experiments and equipment testing.

Today, however, it was used to unnerve a curious AV journalist. Acoustic isolation is an important factor when it comes to the enjoyment of a film. An anechoic chamber appeared to be the best home cinema environment, but as I was soon to discover, there is such a thing as too much silence.

 The plan: stay in there for 10 minutes of total silence, and then watch the opening scene of A Quiet Place.

The chamber is essentially a box within a box. The outer box is lined with acoustic absorbers. The inner box sits on shock absorbers and is also made of sound-absorbing materials. I had to climb up some steps to get in.

The walls of the inner box are lined with wedges made of glass fibre. The wedges are shaped so that any sound produced inside the chamber will reflect into other wedges until it’s absorbed entirely. An engineer warned me against walking into them – apparently glass fibre can get into your skin and irritate.

The floor was a mesh grille suspended over more glass fibre wedges. Walking around made noise, so I sat down on the chair provided. The door was closed behind me.

Anechoic chamber

The effect was immediate. This chamber ‘only’ goes down to about -3dB, but that was enough to display what is meant by the term ‘deafening silence’. The first thing I noticed was a weird sensation in my ears, as though all the air had been sucked out of the room. In reality, this was just the disappearance of background noise.

Our ears are used to a degree of noise every day, and that puts pressure in them. With that gone, my ears felt depressurised. I imagine it’s a little like being in a vacuum. Indeed, NASA has used anechoic chambers to help astronauts prepare for the vacuum of space (I’m going to take this to mean I’ve had a mild form of astronaut training).

It’s remarkable how much noise we take for granted, or subconsciously tune out: the air conditioning in the office; the low rumble of the bus just down the road; the hum of fluorescent lighting. With all of that gone, I was acutely aware of how much noise the human body alone can make.

Anechoic chamber

My breathing, barely audible, was suddenly the loudest thing in the room. Every time I moved, I could hear my shirt pulling across my shoulders. It was chosen for the softness of its cotton, but here it sounded like I was sanding a table. I consider myself fairly healthy, but the sound of my bones grinding and clicking made me suspect otherwise.

Eventually I noticed a very faint hum. Later on I was told that it was probably very mild tinnitus. It’s likely that it’s always been there, and I’d never heard it before because it’s been masked by other noises.

And then there was my heartbeat. Even in such a quiet place I could barely hear it. I felt it, though – a low drum pounding with more force than I’d ever noticed day to day.

Anechoic chamber

It’s a strange, unnatural sensation but I grew to like it. After the initial disorientation, I found myself oddly calm. That probably says more about me than anything else  – I find loud, crowded spaces tiring and stressful, and I rarely leave the home without a set of noise-cancelling headphones.

Not everyone will feel the same way, however. On exiting the chamber I spoke to John Drever, Professor of Acoustic Ecology and Sound Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. He tells me reactions are very subjective.

“Some people are very chilled out; others get hyper-vigilant and anxious. We evolved in the world of noises. That’s how the human auditory system developed. You plonk someone in a space like that and the auditory system searches for background noise. It’s not used to it, and it can be quite unnerving.”

There’s a myth that spending half an hour in an anechoic chamber can drive a person mad. While that isn’t true, I can understand the sentiment. Especially for claustrophobes.

A Quiet Place

After my 10 minutes of silence, it was time for me to watch the opening chapter of A Quiet Place. The experience was… intense.

For those who haven’t seen it, A Quiet Place is a horror film set in a world where making noise can get you killed by monsters. There are plenty of totally silent scenes, which made the choice of venue very fitting.

As we’ve already established, the overwhelming silence of the chamber meant my breathing suddenly felt a lot more conspicuous. In certain scenes, as the characters held their breaths, I found myself doing the same. In a way, this is the very best place I could have come to watch this film.

It’s an intense movie to begin with, but I felt it was made all the more effective by the fact that I had no distractions to pull me out of suspended disbelief. The loudest thing in the room was me. I’d heard about the problems in the theatrical run of the movie, where the rustling of popcorn proved too distracting for customers. If you want to really get into a film, if you want to really benefit from the sound design, silence is key.

Not too much silence, mind. The extreme nature of the room’s sound absorption properties meant I heard a little too much from the little computer speakers that had been set up for me.

This level of clarity is usually reserved for product testers. I found myself hearing the flaws in the speakers, which an ordinary consumer in an ordinary environment isn’t supposed to hear.

Related: Best soundbars

A Quiet Place

I went into that chamber wondering whether it would be the ideal home cinema environment. It isn’t. It’s overkill. But there are things to be learned, which could benefit your home movie viewing experience.

Firstly, soft furnishings soak up noise. Pillows, rugs, thick curtains, canvas paintings – all help to make the room more inert. They stop sounds from bouncing around too much, and also reduce the amount of noise coming in.

You might even consider proper acoustic treatment. I’m not saying you need a room full of glass fibre wedges, but acoustic foam panels are easy enough to buy and install. If you have blank, parallel walls either side of your viewing position, those panels are ideal. Soundproofing is a good thing in moderation.

Also, get some proper speakers. The more clearly you can hear your speakers, the more apparent their flaws. If you’re going down the route of acoustic foam panelling in your home, you might not want to use tiny PC speakers.

That might not be enough, though. Professor Drever reminded me of domestic realities.

“You always have domestic noises to deal with. Maybe you don’t want to wake up the rest of the family, but you want to enjoy the stereo soundscape. If you really want to focus on the sound and find that isolated space, put on some noise-cancelling headphones.”

Anechoic chamber

Related: Best noise-cancelling headphones

The professor has a point. I use large speakers and I have acoustic foam, yet I’m endlessly aware of unwanted noise. I live near two construction sites, and even if no-one is working, I can hear the traffic. And I have a house rabbit, who likes to wait until a movie’s crucial moments to start rattling her water bottle.

Noise-cancelling headphones do address a huge chunk of everyday noise pollution, both inside and outside of the home.

They excel at handling low, constant sounds such as the rumble of traffic and that fan you put on to deal with the heatwave. They can turn a roaring plane engine into a whisper. They’re less effective against transient, high-pitched sounds such as sirens, but it’s better than nothing.

They’re also affordable, and portable – and there’s none of the pressure-related weirdness you experience in a deadly silent chamber.

To paraphrase French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre: hell is other people’s racket. Anything that can save you from that can only be a good thing. Just don’t overdo it.

A Quiet Place is available for digital download now, and on on disc from August 13.

The post I went to a quiet place to see A Quiet Place and it was intense appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

07 Aug 06:14

Selfie filters are driving new cosmetic surgery trends

by David Lumb
Roumen.ganeff

What da fuk is dis shit

Doctors have noticed a new trend: People want to change their body to look like their edited selfies. Specifically, they're referring to photos of themselves taken with apps like Snapchat and Facetune that apply filters to instantly touch-up their ap...
07 Aug 06:14

SpaceX relaunches the final Falcon 9 rocket design

by Mariella Moon
Tonight, SpaceX has launched a satellite to geostationary orbit, but that payload isn't what makes this mission special: it's the rocket itself. The private space corporation has reused a Block 5 booster for the first time, the same one it used to la...
06 Aug 05:34

Guardians' Dave Bautista Calls Working for Disney Nauseating Post James Gunn's Firing

by Lucy O'Brien

Guardians of the Galaxy's Dave Bautista has once again voiced his support for fired Guardians director James Gunn, saying that working for Disney is "pretty nauseating" after the incident.

Bautista, who plays Guardians of the Galaxy's Drax, said that he is legally obligated to return to Guardians, but the series without James Gunn is not what he signed up for.

"I will do what Im legally obligated to do but @Guardians without @JamesGunn is not what I signed up for," Bautista tweeted on Sunday when asked if he had a response for Disney. "GOTG w/o @JamesGunn just isn’t GOTG. Its also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis . That’s just how I feel."

Continue reading…

06 Aug 05:32

Wells Fargo says hundreds lost homes after computing 'error'

by Jon Fingas
Software mistakes are normally little more than inconveniences, but they had particularly serious consequences for some Wells Fargo customers. An SEC filing from the bank has revealed that a "calculation error" in its mortgage loan modification under...
05 Aug 21:36

The More Tom Cruise Runs, The Better His Movies Do, According to Science

by Hoai-Tran Bui

 

tom cruise running

Did you know that if Tom Cruise stops running, he dies? Well not exactly, but if he runs less, his movies do worse at the box office. Really. It’s science.

A study from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes have figured out that the amount that Cruise runs in his movies correlate with how good the movies are — and how well they do at the box office.

It began as an internet meme pointing out, Tom Cruise sure does run in movies a lot, doesn’t he? But then the actor went on to put it in his Twitter bio (“running in movies since 1981,” it proclaims) and videos compiling all of the scenes of Tom Cruise running hit the web.

Now, following the release of Cruise’s latest and most running-est movie yet, Mission Impossible: Fallout, Rotten Tomatoes has released a totally legitimate study proving that the more Cruise runs, the better his movies do. And by their painstaking methodology, you’d have to believe it was true.

In the report, which you can find here, Rotten Tomatoes compiled “every instance of Cruise’s running on screen, in seconds, and then calculated the distances ran by assuming he is clocking a six-minute mile (14.6 feet per second).” And what did they find? Well, movies featuring Cruise running more than 1,000 feet tended to have a higher Tomatometer average (71%) than the movies in which he runs less than that. And these statistics translate to box office revenue too — on average, these same movies had an average inflated international gross of $538 million.

This is compared to movies in which he doesn’t run at all (which only consist of the four films Magnolia, Lions for Lambs, Tropic Thunder, and Valkyrie) at an average of 63.5%, movies in which he runs 1 to 500 feet at 61.05%, and movies in which he runs 501 and 1,000 feet, which average out to 61.625%.

Hilariously, the 56-year-old star seems to be running more the older he gets — though Fallout hasn’t yet been factored into these results. Here are the 10 movies in which Cruise runs the most, according to Rotten Tomatoes:

  1. “Mission: Impossible III” — 3,212 feet
  2. “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” — 3,066 feet
  3. “War of the Worlds” — 1,752 feet
  4. “Minority Report” — 1,562 feet
  5. “The Firm” — 1,241 feet
  6. “Edge of Tomorrow” — 1,065 feet
  7. “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” — 1,051 feet
  8. “The Mummy” — 1,022 feet
  9. “Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation” — 1,007 feet
  10. “Vanilla Sky” — 832 feet

While there are a few outliers, this study seems to be pretty on the nose about what the audiences want: to see Tom Cruise run. His top three grossing movies with the most running and box office success include Mission: Impossible III (3,212 feet, $134 million), Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (3,066 feet, $209 million) and War of the Worlds (1,752 feet, $234 million).

Now, without further ado, let’s re-watch Tom Cruise run in all his movies.

The post The More Tom Cruise Runs, The Better His Movies Do, According to Science appeared first on /Film.

05 Aug 21:34

‘Cloak and Dagger’ Closes Out Its First Season By Cleverly Upending Expectations

by Monique Jones

Cloak and Dagger Season Finale Review

The season finale of Cloak & Dagger has come and gone, and I can honestly say that this show has been a blast to watch. Each week, the series seamlessly weaved New Orleans culture with Marvel’s comic book flair, creating something wholly unique to the Marvel TV universe. The trend continued this week with “Colony Collapse.” The big climax of the season was Roxxon’s valves erupting and putting New Orleans in danger. But, in true Cloak & Dagger fashion, it happened during Mardi Gras, one of New Orleans’ biggest holidays, and brings the African spiritual implications of the Divine Pairing to its head.

Even more interesting is that in order for Tandy and Tyrone to save society, everything must be flipped and turned around, which could create more chaos later on. But for right now, it’s what our superheroes need to do to save the world.  

The history of the Divine Pairing, turned on its head

Throughout the episode, we’re treated to Auntie Chantelle’s recount of New Orleans’ past and its relationship with the Divine Pairing. As she tells us (and as the episode visually tells us via flashback), every Divine Pairing has had to sacrifice one of its own. It’s expected that the new Divine Pairing, Tyrone and Tandy, will have to do the same – one will have to die in order to bring peace to New Orleans. Cleverly, we’re led to believe that in the midst of the Mardi Gras Terrors breakout, Tyrone will have to be the one to sacrifice himself. Each half of the Pairing designated for death usually have a mark of some kind on their arm, whether that’s a birthmark, needle marks, a black armband, or in Tyrone’s case, a huge gash.

For a millisecond, I was led to believe that Cloak and Dagger would follow in the path of so many other shows that have had black characters sacrifice themselves for the good of the world. In recent years, Sleepy Hollow and Into the Badlands have done this exact thing before, but they’re not alone. Countless other shows and films have done this – how else would the “black guy dies first” trope become a joke among movie fans? Or what about The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, which has killed off countless black people as sacrifices or for a cheap emotional pull? For a split second, I was concerned we’d have to see Tyrone die on screen, even if he’d somehow be brought back (we do have a second season to account for, after all).

However, I quickly remembered this show is run by Joe Pokaski from Underground. If anyone wouldn’t pull such a stunt, it’d be him. This show is in safe hands. And sure enough, Tyrone didn’t die and come back as a zombie (but someone else does!). Instead, we get a play on that aged trope.

Thanks to Evita, Tyrone and Tandy get a clue about what could be their fate. And after Tyrone gobbles up Connors and sends him into the Darkforce Dimension (which I will touch on later), Tyrone believes his ability to be where he needs to be means he’s the only one who can stop the Roxxon leak. He’s got the gash on his arm and everything, of course it should be him! But after he evaporates into the building and is attempting to shut down the core by himself, Tandy uses her daggers to break in, declaring that if he’s going to die, she’s going to die with him since this is both of their responsibilities. It would seem that Fate agreed, since she was knocked back into a steaming pipe, receiving her own mark, a burn on her arm. After realizing the Roxxon chemical looks just like their powers, they combine their forces and send the chemical into the atmosphere.

The reason they were able to save New Orleans without one of them dying has to do with that exact same chemical. The night the rig exploded, not only did countless people including Tandy’s dad die and Ivan Hess was forced into a catatonic state, but the chemical infused itself with Tandy and Tyrone. They were probably already meant to be the chosen ones, but the chemical altered their fates, making them not cows for slaughter, but a super duo who must stay together in order for their powers to work.

This is a clever rejiggering of the comic book canon, in which Tandy and Tyrone are experimented upon, gaining their powers through a scientist’s trial and error to make a new type of synthetic heroin. Even better, the entire episode is also a clever reworking of an old trope that does need to die a swift death.

Tyrone, hero on the run

Another topsy-turvy moment is that we began the series with Tandy living in the abandoned church and end with Tandy moving back in with her mother and Tyrone living in the church as a fugitive, framed for Fuch’s murder by Connors. Of course, by the end of the episode, Connors has been absorbed into Tyrone and is now floating somewhere in the Darkforce Dimension, so who knows if Tyrone has now been framed for Connors’ death as well. But it’s definitely a change from what we expected.

In a way, one could argue that perhaps having Tyrone on the run does buy into a little of the black guy needing to sacrifice something. That’s a fair statement and, if we’re going by the Cloak & Dagger mythos in which one person has to be sacrificed, Tyrone does end up sacrificing something – his freedom. But still, we are talking about Joe Pokaski, who knows all about how to handle a show with heavy social and racial themes. Tyrone will be vindicated at some point, but for now, he must lie low until true justice can be served. Hopefully, his parents figure out his powers and, more importantly, figure out a way to communicate with him.

In any case, Tandy moving into her mom’s home will be an interesting turn. If anything, I’d love to know if Tandy will reckon with her mom about her dad’s true abusive nature. It’s going to be a hard conversation, but it’s one we desperately need, and it’s one I wished we had gotten in the series. I guess we’ll just have to wait.

Mina, Connors, and O’Reilly

The stinger for the series is that O’Reilly, who we thought was killed by Connors, is actually alive! When Connors thought he’d gotten O’Reilly, Connors’ bullets also hit the Roxxon valve, hurting O’Reilly in the process. Instead of O’Reilly being merely dead, she has returned as Mayhem, and she is back for blood and vengeance!

According to the comic book lore, Mayhem is a superhero who can force her victims to tell the truth. But the only person I can see Mayhem going after is Connors. But Connors is now, effectively, dead. So who will she go after next season? Will she go after the entire New Orleans police force? Will she figure out who Connors was working for and how Tyrone’s name can be cleared? Questions that currently have no answers.

Also currently unanswered is Mina’s condition. Last we saw her, Mina and Tandy escaped into a bunker during the Mardi Gras Terrors fiasco. But Mina got touched by one of the Terrors, turning her into one of their kind. Terror Mina was just about to get Tandy before Tyrone evaporated into the bunker just in time to tase Mina into submission. But we don’t see how she recovered from her Terror state, if she recovered at all. Hopefully, she’s not one of the casualties of the day, since she just got back in touch with her father. But who knows; she could wind up like Mayhem and resurface as another superhero to join the Cloak and Dagger squad.

My biggest question from the episode is what will happen to Connors. My hope is that next season will finally give us a look at what the Darkforce Dimension is like for someone who isn’t welcome. We’ve seen what it’s like for those who can traverse it, like Tandy and Tyrone. But for someone like Connors, what happens? Is their reality like what Ivan experienced, reliving the same moment over and over again, or is it something even more hellish?

My guess is that it must be something even worse, since Tandy was able to put Scarborough into the Darkforce Dimension in her own way. Instead of absorbing him, she showed him how his biggest hope is actually is biggest fear. However, she didn’t take him out of the Dimension; she left him in, transforming him into a catatonic state similar to Ivan’s.

Whatever is going with Connors, though, we can be sure that it’s not pretty, and for what he’s done to Tyrone’s family, it’s much deserved.

The post ‘Cloak and Dagger’ Closes Out Its First Season By Cleverly Upending Expectations appeared first on /Film.

05 Aug 21:21

The Big Bang Theory: CBS in 'preliminary discussions' to renew sitcom

by Lynette Rice

CBS’ longest-running comedy may run even longer.

CBS Entertainment President Kelly Kahl told reporters Sunday that he has begun “preliminary discussions” to renew the sitcom for a 13th season.

That appeared to come as a surprise to executive producer Bill Prady, who tweeted “huh” to a headline about the news.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In 2017, the sitcom earned a two-season renewal that would take it through 2019. The show’s five originals stars — Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar — also renewed their contracts for at least two more seasons, his did Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik.

Earlier this year, executive producer Steve Holland was asked by EW if they were already planning for the possibility that season 12 — the one that launches Sept. 24 — would be the end. “We’ve talked about if next season is the end where we would like to leave these characters, so we have some general plans,” he said. “But we really haven’t sat down and done the nitty-gritty of talking about the specifics of what exactly needs to happen.”

05 Aug 12:29

Research suggests Uber makes cities more congested, despite UberPool

by Jon Porter

A new report has challenged Uber's claims that its service has a positive impact on congestion levels in US cities, arguing that the service encourages people to take a private car when they would have otherwise used public transport.

uber

The report (via the Washington Post) states that ‘Transportation Network Companies’ have doubled the use of for-hire ride services over the last half a decade and are still growing at a stunning rate.

However, while Uber would argue that this growth means that people are more likely to not own a car, this doesn’t actually appear to be the case. Car ownership is still on the rise in all large US cities, exceeding the rate of population growth, and the majority (60%) of journeys made through services like Uber actually replace public transport journeys rather than replacing journeys in a personal car.

This is true even of services like UberPool, which the report claims people use to replace public transport rather than private car usage.

Ultimately, the report concludes that offering decent public transportation is still a better way of reducing congestion in cities, despite the claims of ride-hailing services like Uber.

Congestion vs convenience

This is a US report, so there’s no way of knowing whether its findings apply in the UK. But it’s interesting to see Uber’s claims about its services, particularly UberPool, challenged.

After all, the service is very cheap, almost cheap enough in some instances to compete with public transportation options. Anecdotally, I haven’t bothered to take a night bus in years, opting instead to summon an Uber and deal with the slightly higher cost.

Sure, I don’t own a car, but living in central London makes car ownership an unreasonable prospect at the best of times.

But it’s difficult to know what the solution to this problem could be. Outright banning services like Uber seems extreme, but from looking at the numbers it’s hard to deny the impact services like it are having on traffic levels in the US.

Do you think services like Uber increase or lower the amount of traffic on the roads? Let us know @TrustedReviews. 

The post Research suggests Uber makes cities more congested, despite UberPool appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

05 Aug 08:31

Next Tesla update includes Atari classics played with the actual steering wheel

by Chris Smith
Roumen.ganeff

What could possibly go wrong

Pole Position for the Atari is coming to Tesla cars

It appears fun ‘Elon Musk Twitter’ is back, folks. After a few weeks of questionable social media posts, old Elon’s back to announcing cool new features for his fleet of Tesla electric vehicles.

After revealing a new ‘camper and party mode‘ is coming to the Model S, Model 3 and Model X cars, earlier this week, he’s now promising bloody Atari games will arrive in a forthcoming update. Version 9.0 of the Tesla software, which is rolling out in around four weeks, will include the classic games as an Easter egg. Musk didn’t announce a full list of games, but did drop a few hints.

In reply to a fellow Twitter user, Musk said he’s hoping Pole Position, Tempest and Missile Command will be available with the update. The driving game Pole Position (pictured) will even be playable using the Tesla’s steering wheel, Musk said.

He added: “Hoping to include last three in this release, with Pole Position linked to actual car steering wheel (while stationary tbc haha)”

The giant, tablet-like centre console touchscreen display will most likely play host to the beloved titles from gaming’s early days, although drivers will need to have the car in park in order to play them.

Related: Best cars from the Detroit Motor Show

Elsewhere Tesla V9.0 will introduce new Autopilot features, including a brand new interface. It is rumoured this overhaul will push Autopilot from a level 2 autonomous driver system to a level 3. Back in June Musk said these will be the first fully self-driving features.

As for that aforementioned party and camper mode, Musk said the feature will enable drivers to maintain air flow, temperature and some lights when the car is stationary. They’ll also be able to play music and power devices like smartphones (or even kettles) for more than 48 hours while the car is parked.

Do you ‘prefer fun new features’ Elon or ‘irate with Thai kid rescuers’ Elon? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

The post Next Tesla update includes Atari classics played with the actual steering wheel appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

05 Aug 08:29

The number of UK mobile phone calls has dropped for the first time ever

by Alan Martin
smartphonefront

Ofcom’s annual Communications Market report has just dropped, and it confirms something that anecdotally has felt true for a long time: people aren’t buying smartphones to make phone calls.

In fact, 2017 marked the first time that the number of mobile phone calls dropped, dipping by 1.7%, from a cumulative 151.2 billion minutes of outgoing calls in 2016, to 148.6 billion last year.

That’s still an awful lot of minutes, of course, and the report only refers to network voice calls, rather than those made via the likes of WhatsApp, Skype and Messenger.

Related: Best smartphone

The decline could also be temporary, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for SMS and MMS messages, which definitely seem to be a dying breed. In 2012, we cumulatively sent 150.8 billion of them – last year, that figure dropped to just 77.3 billion.

It doesn’t take a genius to see why people are still buying phones despite the declining interest in their traditional features: internet access. The latest report states that the average person now uses 1.9GB of data per month, up 600MB from 2016 and 1.7GB from 2012.

On average, British people use smartphones for two hours and 28 minutes per day – although this figure rises to three hours and 14 minutes for people aged 18 to 24. Time spent on the internet across devices averages out at 24 hours per week, although a fifth of the population spends more than 40 hours per week online.

Growing concern?

For those that argue that smartphone addiction is a real worry, there are some troubling admissions in the research – especially in the reported attitudes section.

Two-fifths of adults confess to looking at their phone as their last act before falling asleep and then within five minutes of waking up, for example. On average, people check their phone once every 12 minutes throughout the day.

Adults generally have a negative reaction to being unable to connect to the internet: 34% feel “cut off“, 29% feel “lost”, 24% feel like they’re “missing out”, 18% worry about not being reachable by contacts, and 17% find it generically “stressful”.

By contrast, only a small percentage of people find no internet access to be a positive, with 10% pleased by productivity gains and a further 10% describing the experience as “liberating”.

Read more: Best cheap mobile phones

43% believe they spend too much time online, while 54% think mobiles interrupt face-to-face conversations. Perhaps that’s why giants like Facebook and Apple are now counter-intuitively introducing features that let users place time limits on their products.

Despite this negativity, it’s hard to argue that people are generally at peace with their usage: 48% of adults called the smartphone their most treasured device, well ahead of TVs (28%) and laptops (10%).

Do you still use your phone for calls, or is that function long gone for you? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.

The post The number of UK mobile phone calls has dropped for the first time ever appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

05 Aug 08:27

Apple Music and Spotify are finally wiping out illegal downloads in the UK

by Chris Smith
MusicStreaming

Music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have almost halved illegal downloads in the last five years, according to a new survey.

In a YouGov poll of more than 4,000 UK adults, only 10% of Brits copped to downloading music from illegitimate sources. That’s compared to 18% when the same survey was carried out in 2013. Of those pirates, many of whom are using stream ripping services to acquire the tracks, 22% said they planned to go straight within the next five years.

The fall is naturally down to streaming services ‘filling the void’, as one respondent put it. A total of 44% of those surveyed said they’d only download the music illegally if it wasn’t available from legit sources.

However, the increased difficultly of finding illegal download sources is also contributing to the fall, with 35% of Brits surveyed claiming access was proving difficult these days.

Related: Spotify vs Apple Music

YouGov Associate Director Justin Marshall said in a statement: “While illegal downloads still present a significant challenge to the music industry, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Our research reveals a change in behaviour, with those that previously attained music by unlawful means now being enticed by the low costs and ease of use associated with streaming.

“Simply put, many don’t feel they need to go to the same lengths to acquire the music they want, now they have it at their fingertips. Whether or not streaming is what finally banishes illegal downloads remains to be seen, but there are encouraging signs.”

As to be expected, exclusive releases are a bone of contention for Brits using streaming services. More than half of the people surveyed expressed frustration with releases like Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s Everything is Love launching exclusively on Tidal.

Did the arrival of streaming services end your quest to access music from illegal sources? Share your story with us @TrusteReviews on Twitter.

The post Apple Music and Spotify are finally wiping out illegal downloads in the UK appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

05 Aug 08:00

DEMONS & WIZARDS Feat. JON SCHAFFER And HANSI KÜRSCH: First Show Of 2019 Confirmed

DEMONS & WIZARDS, the side project of ICED EARTH mainman Jon Schaffer and BLIND GUARDIAN singer Hansi Kürsch, is one of the confirmed acts for the 30th-anniversary edition of the Wacken Open Air festival, set to take place August 1-3, 2019 in Wacken, Germany. Also scheduled to appear are PARKWAY DRIVE, POWERWOLF, AIRBOURNE, ROSE TATTOO, WITHIN TEMPTATION, MESHUGGAH, KROKUS, DARK FUNERAL and AVATAR, with many more bands to be announced soon. Jon told Wacken TV about DEMONS & WIZARDS' return: "It has been a while. It's been about… well, since our last record came out, that was 2005. And since the last time we performed, that was 2000." Schaffer added that he and Kürsch are "very honored" to be performing at the 30th-anniversary installment of the festival. "It's a good pressure for Hansi and I, it's a good kind — it's the kind we like," he said. "We're very excited about it. "The thing is we wanted to continue the DEMONS & WIZARDS thing, but with ICED EARTH and BLIND GUARDIAN, we're very busy people," Jon continued. "And our schedules, it's just one of those times right now where the holes are lining up in the right way for us to be able to commit to shows next summer. So it's cool." This past spring, Schaffer told Metal Wani that he would be "really focused" on the songwriting process for DEMONS & WIZARDS' long-awaited third album "from August on through the rest of the year." He added: "I really need to be off and in that meditative state where I'm left alone and focused completely on music. If I've got all this stuff going on with the new [ICED EARTH] album cycle, which we are in, then it makes it hard for me to be productive in the best way for the product. I've talked to Hansi. He's, like, 'No pressure, dude.' The perfect timing for me is going to be at the end of this year. I expect that we will because once I get focused on something, it goes pretty quick. Hansi has his schedule opened up pretty much, so I think 2019 is realistic [for a new DEMONS & WIZARDS album]." Asked how he separates the writing process between ICED EARTH and DEMONS & WIZARDS, Jon said: "It's different because in ICED EARTH, when I'm writing a song by myself, I'm writing it with Stu [Block] or with Matt [Barlow] in the past, or whatever, it's worked in different ways. For me, when I'm working on a song with my lyrics, then I know at least what the theme or the title of the song is going to be, so that leads me in a direction in how I craft the music. I always want to make it so, that even without the vocals, somebody can close their eyes and really feel like they're on a journey of whatever that song might be about.,, With Hansi, it's a little different because a lot of that stuff gets decided later. It's really just about trying and coming up with cool musical arrangements that are what they are, then he adds his thing in." He continued: "It's just different because I don't write as much in DEMONS & WIZARDS as I do in ICED EARTH; it's a different thing. If we end up talking early in the process and he says, 'Hey, I've got this theme of a song.' That always helps me for sure. I can go 'Okay, I know where my target is.' I have to be passionate about whatever subject it is that we're going to write about in order to create the soundscape that is convincing for people, whether there's vocals or not. That's the icing on the cake, but the music still has to speak. It's a big deal. It's like the soundtrack of a movie. If you turn that off, you're not going to cry and you're not going to get scared. It's a giant thing when watching any kind of movies. It's the movements that happen at a subconscious level that people sometimes don't really understand. To me, if we're going for a specific subject matter, we got to try to put the listener on a journey that's as emotive and powerful as possible from an instrumental standpoint, then the lyrics and melodies are the icing on the cake." DEMONS & WIZARDS was launched in 1997 and has released two full-length albums so far: 2000's self-titled effort and 2005's "Touched By The Crimson King". The latter was partially based on the "The Dark Tower" series of books (written by Stephen King) in which the Crimson King is the main antagonist. "Touched By The Crimson King" was released in Japan in September 2005 with the following bonus tracks: "Lunar Lament", "Wicked Witch" (slow version) and "Spatial Architects". The CD also included the "Terror Train" video. The disc featured an appearance by HALFORD and SEBASTIAN BACH drummer Bobby Jarzombek. Schaffer said in a 2009 interview that he felt "Touched By The Crimson King" was a bit rushed and he was determined to do things differently next time around. "We had this window of opportunity where we had to get it done and we kind of let time dictate the schedule instead of our feelings, and that was probably a mistake," he explained. "I mean, I'm proud of that record and it sold killer and it's a good album, but I think Hansi and I are capable of a lot more, especially when we get back to the root reasons of why we did this thing together."