Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Jordan Vogt-Roberts to Helm Netflix’s Live-Action Gundam Movie

(Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)Jordan Vogt-Roberts to helm Netflix’s live-action Gundam movieIt has been four years since the successful release of Kong: Skull Island, and now director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has finally found his next big project with Legendary. Vogt-Roberts has officially signed on to direct the studio’s first-ever live-action feature film version of Gundam for Netflix, which will be based on the universe of Sunrise’s iconic Japanese robot franchise.This marks Legendary and Netflix’s latest collaboration together, the two companies previously worked on films such as 2016’s Spectral and last year’s Enola Holmes as well as shows like Lost in Space and Pacific Rim: The Black. They are also currently working on the anime series adaptation of Skull Island and Tom Raider.RELATED: Netflix’s Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Series Wraps Production!Plot details for the Netflix film are being kept under wraps but the original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted. The battles in the story, in which the characters pilot robots known as mobile suits, are wildly popular. The Gundam universe is replete with numerous storylines of love and conflict along with the popular Gundam battles, in which the characters operate robot suits called Mobile Suits.The live-action Gundam film will be penned by Brian K Vaughan. It will be produced by Vogt-Roberts with Vaughan set as executive producer. Legendary’s Cale Boyter will oversee the project along with the Sunrise creative team. The project was actually first announced in 2018 at the Anime Expo.RELATED: Sony & Netflix Ink First-Pay Streaming Licensing DealCreated by Hajime Yatate and Yoshiyuki Tomino, the franchise first started in 1979 with the TV series titled Mobile Suit Gundam. The massively popular Mecha anime and science fiction media franchise is Sunrise’s multi-billion-dollar property that has spawned a multi-platform universe encompassing televised anime, manga, animated films, video games, plastic models, toys, and novels among other media. Gundam continues to dominate Bandai Namco’s earnings almost forty years after its inception.
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    Engadget Podcast: WTF are NFTs?

    This week, Cherlynn and Devindra dive into the wild world of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, with Engadget Senior Editor Dan Cooper. What do they mean for the future of art and commerce? And should you care about them at all? Also, we chat about Microsoft’s finalized Bethesda acquisition, as well as Facebook’s push to dismiss its latest antitrust charges. Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News! Subscribe! Topics Video livestream [embedded content] CreditsHosts: Devindra Hardawar and Cherlynn LowGuest: Dan CooperProducer: Ben EllmanMusic: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

    Microsoft's advanced cybersecurity tech comes in a large number of countries now

    With upcoming national elections in five European countries, Microsoft is making some of the more advanced features of its AccountGuard service available to additional groups and individuals at no additional cost. AccountGuard is a program Microsoft offers to people and organizations at higher risk of being targeted by hackers. Typically that has meant politicians, but near the start of the pandemic, the company made the tool available to healthcare workers and humanitarian organizations at no cost. In practice, the service provides notifications from Microsoft when the company detects an attack and guidance on how to stop it. As part of today's expansion, Microsoft is making the service's enterprise-grade identity and access management features available to all AccountGuard members in '31' democracies at no additional cost. Some of those more advanced features include multi-factor authentication and single sign-on service. The company trialed a similar expansion ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, providing political campaigns and parties access to those features. Microsoft also plans to provide up to 25,000 YubiKeys to AccountGuard customers. Depending on the size of the organization, the company will have multiple free keys on offer. The expansion is timely for a couple of reasons. With national elections coming up in the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Estonia and the Czech Republic, Microsoft hopes to protect them from disinformation campaigns. It also was only last year that Russian state-sponsored hackers pulled off the SolarWinds attack. The US government is still sorting through all the damage left by the hack, and even Microsoft wasn't left unscathed.

    The only real Cortana-powered speaker is approximately to reduce Cortana

    Harman Kardon's Invoke was the first speaker to use Microsoft's Cortana speaker, and as it later turned out, also the last. In 2020, Microsoft said it would end consumer support for Cortana on iOS, Android and Invoke by early 2021 and use the AI assistant exclusively for business apps like Microsoft 365. That day has now come, as Harman Kardon has announced that it will soon release a software update that disables Cortana and turns the Invoke into a regular Bluetooth speaker, Thurott has reported.  The update will arrive tomorrow, so in a FAQ, Harman Kardon advised owners to leave the speaker "connected to the internet and kept online overnight between 2 AM and 5 AM local time." The update will end after June 30th, 2021, but the Samsung-owned company noted that "Cortana service... will end in the coming months regardless of whether you receive the update." The Invoke was a very good smart speaker when it arrived in 2017, with excellent sound quality and device compatibility, though Cortana's lack of skills was a weak point. Harmon Karman noted that it had no choice in the matter as it was Microsoft's decision to end support. When the software giant first announced that it would remove Cortana from Invoke, it did offer buyers a $50 gift card as an olive branch, however. Microsoft will soon end Cortana support on its own Surface headphones, too. 

    Microsoft will offer you AMD CPUs across its Surface Laptop 4 lineup reportedly

    Since 2019, Microsoft has offered a 15-inch version of the Surface Laptop 3 that you can configure with an AMD processor. And now it looks like the company plans to offer that same option to people who want the 13.5-inch model. According to a report from WinFuture spotted by Windows Central, Microsoft will release the Surface Laptop 4 in April and you’ll have AMD and Intel processor options in both 13.5-inch and 15-inch sizes. The company will reportedly offer “Surface Edition” variants of the Ryzen 5 4680U and Ryzen 7 4980U. That’s an improvement on the 3580U and 3780U currently available with the Surface Laptop 3, but a step below the 5000 series chips AMD announced at the start of the year. Meanwhile, those who want an Intel processor will be able to choose between the Core i5 1145G7 and Core i7 1185G7. Both of those come from Intel’s latest 11th generation Tiger Lake series. It also looks like the only way you’ll be able to configure the Surface Laptop 4 with either 32GB of RAM or 1TB of internal storage will be to buy one of the Intel models as the maximum with the AMD variants is reportedly 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Beyond that, it doesn’t look like the Surface Laptop will get many other upgrades. According to the spec sheet WinFuture shared, both models will keep their current 2256 x 1504 and 2496 x 1664 resolution displays and they’ll ship with the same mix of ports. Of course, that’s assuming WinFuture’s information is accurate. Thankfully, it doesn't seem like we'll have to wait long to see what Microsoft has up its sleeve.

    Xbox test brings Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser to consoles

    You might finally have a good reason to use the web browser on your console for more than the bare necessities. The Verge reports that Microsoft has started testing a version of its Chromium-based Edge browser on the Xbox One and Series X/S. Participate in the Alpha Skip-Ahead testing ring and you'll get a web experience that's more in line with the modern era, including better compatibility and syncing with Edge across multiple platforms. This version is unsurprisingly buggy and doesn't include mouse or keyboard support. And while this theoretically enables access to Google Stadia, we wouldn't count on reliable access to that or other intensive web apps just yet. It may take a while before there's a more polished version of the new Edge for Xbox. When it is ready, though, the new browser could make a better case for buying an Xbox if web surfing matters to you. Right now, the PlayStation 5 doesn't even have an easily accessible web browser (you have to rely on tricks to use it at all). While that could change, a Chromium-based Xbox browser could give Microsoft a comfortable head start.

    Microsoft launches a cross-platform password autofill feature

    Microsoft has rolled out a big update for its Authenticator app, which gives it the capability to automatically fill log ins with your usernames and passwords. The tech giant has launched a new autofill feature that works across devices and platforms, and it’s bringing it to iOS and Android devices through its Authenticator app. That means you’ll be able to access all the credentials you’ve stored on Edge under your Microsoft account on mobile — you just need to go to Authenticator’s Passwords tab and log in first. After Authenticator is done syncing, it’ll offer to autofill your password when you open an app or visit a website, so long as you’ve saved your login for them. Simplify and secure your life with Microsoft’s autofill solution for passwords https://t.co/mOyPwWhsjX pic.twitter.com/FMcQ7Z9nTm — Windows Blogs (@windowsblog) February 5, 2021 Microsoft has also introduced an autofill extension for Google’s browser, in case you primarily save your passwords on Edge but want to use them on Chrome. The feature works just like Chrome’s built-in autofill feature, and you’ll even be able to edit or delete your logins within Chrome instead of having to go through Edge first. If you’ll recall, the company released a preview of these features back in December, but they’re now officially available. In addition to launching cross—platform autofill capabilities, Microsoft’s Authenticator update gives the app the power to import passwords from Chrome, some popular password managers and from CSV files. The company says it’s safe to use the app as a password manager of sorts, since Authenticator requires multi-factor authentication. Your credentials will also be encrypted. Further, you’ll have to use your biometric information or type in your PIN first before Authenticator autofills any app or website you visit.

    On April 13th microsoft will uninstall its old Edge browser from Windows PCs

    It may have taken Microsoft the better part of a decade to get people off of Internet Explorer, but the company has a more decisive retirement plan for the previous version of its Edge browser. On April 13th, Microsoft will release a cumulative monthly security patch that will remove the legacy version of Edge from Windows 10 computers and install the new Chromium-based one, the company announced on Friday.   The version of Edge Microsoft is uninstalling is the one that launched alongside Windows 10. It uses the company’s own EdgeHTML rendering engine. In 2019, the company announced it was rebuilding the browser from the ground up to take advantage of Google’s Chromium software. In June of last year, Microsoft started rolling it out through a Windows update. Two months later, Microsoft announced it wouldn’t issue any additional security updates for Legacy Edge after March 9th, 2021. If you already have the Chromium version of Edge installed on your computer, the update will only remove the legacy one. So for most people, who have either already moved on or switched to another browser, they probably won’t notice a change.  

    Microsoft outlines recent Edge browser improvements

    Sponsored Links Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images In a new post on the Microsoft Edge blog, the browser’s Principal PM Lead Kim Denny has outlined how the company made it faster and more efficient over the past few months. To help users perform their tasks as quickly as possible, the team rolled out Profile-Guided Optimizations (PGOs) in Edge 81 Stable Channel and Link-Time Optimizations (LTOs) in Edge 83 back in March. PGOs prioritize the most important parts of the code, while LTOs optimize memory usage. The two techniques apparently improved Edge’s speed by as much as 13 percent compared to previous versions, based on Speedometer 2.0 benchmark. Microsoft also introduced improvements to the browser’s scroll animation and enhanced how scrolling looks, feels and reacts to your touch in general back in April. Denny says those changes make Edge feel smoother and more responsive. The Edge team is also continuing to work on reducing the amount of memory and CPU power the browser needs. The Windows 10 May 2020 Update, for instance, reduces the browser’s memory usage by up to 27 percent based on the tech giant’s internal tests. Finally, Microsoft shrunk Edge’s size by half over the past year so that it doesn’t take up too much storage on your device. Microsoft’s Edge browser recently overtook Firefox as the most popular Chrome alternative, according to NetMarketshare stats. Chrome still has the lion’s share of the market with over a 70 percent share, and Firefox isn’t that far behind, but Microsoft’s contender has been slowly gaining popularity. In this article: Microsoft, Edge, browser, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 171 Shares Share Tweet Share

    How 'Microsoft Flight Simulator' became a 'living game' with Azure AI

    Microsoft Flight Simulator is a triumph, one that fully captures the meditative experience of soaring through the clouds. But to bring the game to life, Microsoft and developer Asobo Studio needed more than an upgraded graphics engine to make its planes look more realistic. They needed a way to let you believably fly anywhere on the planet, with true-to-life topography and 3D models for almost everything you see, something that's especially difficult in dense cities. [embedded content] A task like that would be practically impossible to accomplish by hand. But it's the sort of large-scale data processing that Microsoft's Azure AI was built for. The company was able to push 2.5 petabytes worth of Bing Maps satellite photo data through Azure machine learning to construct the virtual world of Flight Simulator. You could say it's really the cloud that brings the game to life. Azure also helps to model real-time weather. (That's how some players were able to chase recent hurricanes.) The franchise's hardcore fans were eager to more realism in a new title,according to Jorg Neumann, Microsoft's head of Flight Simulator. Specifically, they asked for visual flight rules (VFR). "It basically means the pilot can orient themselves by just looking out the window," Neumann said. "And in order to do that, the planet below needs to look extraordinarily close to reality. So that was the mission." Microsoft After a bit of investigation, Neumann realized that Bing Maps' data set essentially covered the entire planet. The only problem? It was all in 2D. After using some of that data to build a flyable 3D version of Seattle, Neumann turned to the Azure team to craft a machine learning method for converting the entire planet into a giant 3D model. "AI has just tremendously grown in the last few years," said Eric Boyd, CVP of Azure AI, in an interview. "It's really driven by the massive amounts of data that are now available, combined with the massive amounts of compute that exist in the cloud ... The results you can see are really pretty spectacular where you can come up with algorithms that now look at literally every square kilometer of the planet to identify the individual trees, grass and water, and then use that to build 3D models." Azure's integration goes beyond the shape of the world. It also powers the flight controller voices using AI Speech Generation technology, which sound almost indistinguishable from humans. It's so natural that many players may think Microsoft is relying solely on voice actors. Since the company began exploring ways to bring Azure AI into the game in 2016, the capabilities of machine learning have also evolved dramatically, according to Boyd. ”The AI algorithm space has really grown in the last several years,” he said. “And so vision algorithms, which is what's heavily used to identify all these different trees and buildings and classify them exactly, those have come a tremendous way." Since it leans so heavily on the cloud, Flight Simulator is a "living game" in the truest sense, Neumann said. All of the machine learning algorithms the game relies on will steadily improve over time, as the company irons out bugs and optimizes the engine. (And perhaps becomes more aware of potential issues, like the typo that created a 212-story tower in Melbourne.)  But he points out the algorithms can only be as good as the source data, so Microsoft is working harder to refine that as well. Microsoft Image credit: Microsoft "Right now we have a bunch of planes flying overhead on the Northern Hemisphere because there's no clouds, so we're giving we're getting new satellite and aerial data," Neumann said. "We're going to process all that data with machine learning, and we'll have a 'world update.' We're going to have world updates every two months or so, is the plan. We're picking a region of Earth and putting some focus on it." The first of those updates is aimed at Japan and will launch on September 28th, but Microsoft is also planning to look at areas of the world where private pilots aren't nearly as prevalent, like South America and Africa. Neumann hopes that exploring those untapped areas may make more people interested in flight simulation in general, and perhaps even spark a love for real-world aviation. That's partially why he's so focused on capturing realism wherever possible. Take the weather: The game breaks the planet's atmosphere into 250 million boxes, where it can track things like temperature and wind direction in real-time. That means you're guaranteed to have a different flight experience every time you play. Neumann is particularly excited to see how the game will change during winter, when there's snow in the sky and entirely new types of weather patterns. Flight Simulator's reliance on Azure will only grow stronger, especially if Microsoft stars bringing in more data from sources like satellites that track wildfires, or planes monitoring wind turbulence. "Yes we can have that data, but how do we use it?" Neumann said. "How do we get it to people? That's why this whole stack for me is fascinating and it enables experiences like this, but it's really just the beginning of what we're seeing." In this article: Microsoft, Azure, Azure AI, machine learning, Flight Simulator, news, gaming, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 176 Shares Share Tweet Share

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