Tuesday, April 13, 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

    Google says Chrome 89 was created to save load and memory faster

    Google has discussed how Chrome version 89 has improved the browser's memory usage and loading times on Mac, Windows and Android in a new post on the Chromium blog. The tech giant says the browser is now smarter when it comes to using and discarding memory across platforms — for instance, it now discards memory that the foreground tab is not actively using, such as big images that you've already scrolled past. In addition, the update is also shrinking the browser's memory footprint in background tabs for macOS, which Chrome has already been doing on other platforms for a while now. For macOS, in particular, Google is seeing up to eight percent in memory savings and up to 65 percent in improvement on Apple Energy Impact score for tabs in the background. Those translate to a cooler Mac with quieter fans. Chrome 89 now also uses PartitionAlloc, the company's own advanced memory allocator, everywhere on Android and 64-bit Windows. Thanks to that change, it has improved browser responsiveness by up to 9 percent, and it's seeing up to 22 percent in memory savings on Windows. The Chrome team says new Play and Android capabilities allowed it to repackage the browser for fewer crashes and that it rebuilt the browser to be more stable for newer Android devices. It has also introduced a feature called "Freeze-Dried Tabs" to make starting up Chrome on Android up to 13 percent faster. Freeze-Dried Tabs work by saving a lightweight version of your tabs — it's around the size of a screenshot, but it still supports scrolling and zooming, and it keeps links clickable. The screenshot-like tabs show up when you first fire up Chrome and while the actual tabs are loading in the background, so you can see pages load faster than before. [embedded content]

    Verizon's 5G Home Internet arrives in 10 new locations

    Verizon (owner of Engadget's parent company Verizon Media) has expanded its 5G Home Internet service's availability, launching it in 10 new cities this month. Starting on March 18th, the service will roll out to parts of Cleveland, OH; Las Vegas, NV; Louisville, KY; Omaha, NE and San Diego, CA. A few days after that, on March 25th, the service will also be available in parts of Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Hartford, CT; Kansas City, MO and Salt Lake City, UT. The carrier launched its 5G Home internet service back in 2018, promising typical download speeds of around 300 Mbps and max speeds of up to 1 Gbps with no data caps. As the name implies, it doesn't need a cable or fiber hookup, just the company's "Internet Gateway" device that customers can set up on their own. It was only available in five cities for quite some time, because Verizon pushed back its broader rollout to wait for more powerful equipment to come in. The service costs $50 a month for current customers with eligible mobile plans or $70 a month for non-Verizon customers.  Verizon has also recently announced winning between 140 and 200 megahertz of C-Band spectrum in every available market from the latest FCC auction. That'll allow the company to expand its 5G Ultra Wideband's availability, though only those with premium unlimited plans will be able to access C-Band's faster speeds.

    Jeep's Wagoneer lineup is packed with touchscreens and technology

    Last seen in 1993, Jeep's Wagoneer is back and big in every sense of the word — including the amount of technology found inside. The classic large luxury SUV brand (which surely inspired the Simpson's "Canyonero") has multiple touchscreens, support for both Apple and Android entertainment systems and even video streaming via Amazon's Fire TV. The big daddy Grand Wagoneer packs up to no less than four touch displays to fill out that enormous dash. That includes a 12.3-inch digital dash cluster, along with a 12-inch infotainment system. The latter uses the latest version of Chrysler/Jeep's Uconnect 5, and also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Sitting directly below that is a 10.3-inch display that lets you control the climate and seats. (On the regular Wagoneer, you get smaller 10.3- and 10.1-inch displays for the digital dash and infotainment display, respectively.) Stellantis Those are just for the driver — the front passenger gets their own (optional) 10.3-inch touchscreen that allows them to watch movies, monitor the vehicle and more. Rear passengers get a pair of matching 10.1-inch displays, also optional. All three of those screens let passengers control navigation and media, monitor the external cameras, and play your own content via the aforementioned Android Auto/Apple CarPlay or Uconnect. As we detailed last week, you can also stream video using Amazon's Fire TV for Auto with Alexa, giving passengers access to Amazon's library of Prime Video shows. You'll also be able to play games, use apps and access Alexa on the road through Fire TV for Auto. The rest of the interior is a lux as you'd expect in such an SUV, equipped with what Jeep calls an "American premium" design (the word "American" appears no less than 32 times in the Wagoneer press release). You're coddled with wood, aluminum and leather throughout and the Grand Wagoneer has 24-way adjustable power seats, with lumbar support and memory settings. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer offer 94.2 and 116.7 cubic feet of storage space, respectively. Pricing starts at just under $60,000, but to get all the tech bells and whistles, you'll pay up to $105,995 for the Grand Wagoneer Series III.

    Pakistan bans TikTok for hosting &#039 again;obscene' content

    Tiktok users in Pakistan won't be able to access the app yet again after the Peshawar High Court issued an order to ban the short-form video sharing platform in the country. According to Al Jazeera, Ary News TV and other local news outlets, the court made the ruling during a hearing into a petition against the app. TikTok had around 33 million users in Pakistan (out of a total of 100 million users) as of last month, App Annie told TechCrunch. After receiving the order from the court, Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) published a statement on Twitter confirming that it has issued directions to service providers "to immediately block access to the TikTok App" in compliance.  In respectful compliance to the orders of the Peshawar High Court, PTA has issued directions to the service providers to immediately block access to the TikTok App. During the hearing of a case today, the PHC has ordered for the blocking of App. — PTA (@PTAofficialpk) March 11, 2021 Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan said TikTok videos "are peddling vulgarity in society," Ary News TV wrote, and that the platform hosts unethical and immoral content. He also decided that the app should remain blocked until TikTok cooperates with authorities after PTA told the court that it approached the company to have "objectionable and indecent" content removed to no avail. In a statement sent to Al Jazeera, a spokesperson defended the platform and its moderation practices: "TikTok is built upon the foundation of creative expression, with strong safeguards in place to keep inappropriate content off the platform. In Pakistan we have grown our local-language moderation team, and have mechanisms to report and remove content in violation of our community guidelines. We look forward to continuing to serve the millions of TikTok users and creators in Pakistan who have found a home for creativity and fun." This isn't the first time the app was banned in the country, which recently rolled out digital laws that give regulators the power to censor content. As Financial Times notes, the new laws require companies to remove offensive content, including ones that threaten the "integrity, security and defense of Pakistan." The first time TikTok was banned was before the new laws came out, though, after authorities decided that it hosted "immoral and indecent" videos. That said, PTA lifted the ban a few days later after TikTok promised to moderate clips according to Pakistani "societal norms" and laws. 

    Has been connected to a Handspring Visor for reasons uknown twitter

    In a curiosity that appeals to all seven people who still have a working Handspring Visor PDA, Gizmodo points out that developer Jorge Cohen has worked out a solution bringing Twitter to the PalmOS device via its HotSync cradle. Sure it's "kinda buggy," but like watching Tenet on a Game Boy Advance, some issues can slide considering it's running on a device released back in 1999. How old is the Visor? Within a year of Engadget's launch, we were already writing articles about the "old" device back in 2005. Still kinda buggy, and tweeting/liking/etc still WIP, but I’m pretty happy with it. — Jorge (@JorgeWritesCode) March 10, 2021 The like/retweet counters are janky I think the desktop part is messing up the database, but should be easy to fix. Anything with an emoji looks bad, I’ll probably create a custom font with the most used emojis and do the text drawing manually. — Jorge (@JorgeWritesCode) March 10, 2021 The Visor appeared as a spinoff of the Palm family way before social media sites connected the world and even before WiFi or cellular connections were a standard feature. While modems were available as a hardware option that plugged into the device's expansion slot as a backpack, it was built for an offline world — I'd download the day's news stories on mine before I left for class in the morning and not get any more updates until I returned in the evening. In the year 2000, that still worked as a way to stay well ahead on the day's news without being tied to a radio or TV. Now the blessing/curse of real-time information flow has invaded even this monochrome device, proving that nothing can stay pure forever and giving me a reason to figure out where I put the handheld's dock. Unfortunately, this madman won't stop there — the MessagePad 120 and Apple Newton are next.

    Spotify's shared playlist queue feature expands to Polestar 2 vehicles

    Last year, Spotify started beta testing Group Sessions. It's a feature that allows up to six people to share control over the music playing in the background of a physical or virtual get-together. Those involved can queue up songs, podcasts and playlists, as well as skip tracks they don't like. In an expansion spotted by The Verge, you can now take advantage of Group Sessions in the first (and currently only) Android Automotive car, the Polestar 2. Once a driver starts a session, everyone else in the car can join by scanning the Spotify code that appears on the Polestar 2's front display. One important limitation is that only those with Spotify Premium accounts can join, so not just anyone can hijack your playlist and turn a fun road trip into an exercise in patience. The driver can also revoke access at any time because, as Polestar correctly points out, "passengers aren't always right."

    YouTube has pulled 30,000 videos to make false claims about COVID-19 vaccines

    YouTube has pulled 30,000 videos for sharing misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, Axios reports. Details on the takedowns come six months after the company first updated its policies to address misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines. Prior to October, YouTube had more general coronavirus misinformation policies, but those didn’t specifically address vaccines. The company has taken down more than 800,000 videos for spreading coronavirus misinformation since last February, according to Axios. But as vaccine availability has increased, the issue of vaccine misinformation has become more urgent for platforms. Facebook and Twitter have also expanded their policies to combat misinformation about the vaccines in recent months. But unlike Facebook, which announced plans to curb misinformation about all vaccines, YouTube’s policies only address a specific subset of claims about the COVID-19 vaccines that contradict official guidance from the World Health Organization and other authorities. 

    Lyft and uber develop a shared database of drivers banned for assault

    Uber and Lyft will work together to share information on US drivers and delivery people accused of physical and sexual assault to ensure those individuals are banned on both platforms, the two companies announced on Thursday in separate blog posts. HireRight, a company that specializes in conducting background checks, will oversee the Industry Sharing Safety Program database. Other transportation and delivery companies in the US will have the chance to contribute and access the database as long as they adhere to the same data accuracy and privacy policies that Uber and Lyft must follow. "We want to share this information with each other and hopefully in the near future with other companies, so that our peers in this space can be informed and make decisions for their own platforms to keep those platforms safe," Jennifer Brandenburger, Lyft's head of policy development, told NBC News. The database won't include information on victims. Additionally, the incident that landed a driver in the database will fall in broad categories. Creating a joint database of physical and sexual abusers is a major step for the two companies. Both Uber and Lyft have been frequently and consistently criticized for doing too little to protect their passengers, particularly if they're women, from predatory drivers. When Uber published its first safety report in 2019, the company revealed it had received nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse reports between 2017 and 2018. In 2019, 14 unnamed women sued Lyft, alleging the company had failed to run adequate background checks on its drivers. Finding a way to share the identities of contractors whom it had removed from its platform was one of the actions Uber said it would take in its safety report.

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