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20
Feb

What’s on TV: ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ ‘Metal Gear’ and ‘Walking Dead’


As the Winter Olympics continue (expect plenty of speedskating, bobsled, hockey and freestyle skiing), we’re ready for the return of The Walking Dead. There’s also a new Metal Gear game out, Survive, and Thor: Ragnarok is ready for streaming from most video on-demand services (for good this time) if you need another hit of the MCU after Black Panther. Star Wars Rebels is back on Disney XD, and BET is airing a miniseries about the Death Row record label. On Netflix we can expect a second season of Marseille, as well as the premiere of Seven Seconds, a new show from the producers of The Killing. Look after the break to check out each day’s highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

Blu-ray & Games & Streaming

  • Thor: Ragnarok (VOD)
  • Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time
  • Mom and Dad
  • An Actor’s Revenge (Criterion)
  • The Hero (Criterion)
  • The Station (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • Old Man’s Journey (Switch)
  • Run Dorothy Run (PS4)
  • Tiles (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Symmetry (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Deadbolt (PS4)
  • Metal Gear Survive (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
  • Armored Warfare (PS4)
  • Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (Xbox One, PS4)
  • Space Hulk: Ascension (Xbox One)
  • Xenon Valkyrie+ (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Apex Construct (PS VR)
  • Abo Khashem (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Rad Rodgers: World One (PS4, Xbox One)
  • Layers of Fear: Legacy (Switch)
  • Typoman: Revised (Switch)
  • Fable Fortune (PC, Xbox One)
  • Past Cure (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
  • Toki Tori 2+ (Switch)

Monday

  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, CW, 8 PM
  • Big Brother, CBS, 8 PM
  • WWE Raw, USA, 8 PM
  • Warren Jeffs: Prophet of Evil, A&E, 9 PM
  • Star Wars Rebels (winter premiere), Disney XD, 9 PM
  • Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Alienist, TNT, 9 PM
  • American Dad, TBS, 10 PM
  • X Company (series premiere), Ovation, 10 PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11 PM

Tuesday

  • The Frankenstein Chronicles (S1 & S2), Netflix, 3 AM
  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • WWE Smackdown, USA, 8 PM
  • Black Lightning, CW, 9 PM
  • Inside West Coast Customs, Velocity, 9 PM
  • The Challenge, MTV, 9 PM
  • Baskets, FX, 10 PM
  • Drunk History, Comedy Central, 10 PM
  • Bellevue, WGN, 10 PM
  • The Death Row Chronicles (series premiere), BET, 10 & 11 PM
  • Undercover High, A&E, 10 PM
  • Hate Thy Neighbor, Viceland, 10 PM
  • The Detour, TBS, 10:30 PM
  • Another Period, Comedy Central, 10:30 PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11 PM

Wednesday

  • The Path, Hulu, 3 AM
  • Forgotten, Netflix, 3 AM
  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • The Magicians, Syfy, 9 PM
  • The Amazing Race (season finale), CBS, 9 PM
  • The Death Row Chronicles, BET, 10 & 11 PM
  • Channel Zero, Syfy, 10 PM
  • Slutever, Viceland, 10 PM
  • Catfish, MTV, 10 PM
  • Corporate, Comedy Central, 10 PM
  • Knightfall, History, 10 PM
  • Match Game, ABC, 10 PM
  • Waco, Paramount, 10 PM
  • Trixie & Katya Show, Viceland, 10:30 PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11 PM

Thursday

  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • The Death Row Chronicles (season finale), BET, 10 & 11 PM
  • Lip Sync Battle, Paramount, 10 PM
  • Portlandia, IFC, 10 PM
  • Thursday Night Darts, BBC America, 10 PM
  • Desus & Mero, Viceland, 11 PM

Friday

  • Breathe, Amazon Prime, 3 AM
  • Marseille (S2), Netflix, 3 AM
  • Mute, Netflix, 3 AM
  • Seven Seconds (S1), Netflix, 3 AM
  • Thunderbirds Are Go (S4), Amazon Prime, 3 AM
  • The Tick (season finale episodes 7 – 12), Amazon Prime, 3 AM
  • Ugly Delicious (series premiere), Netflix, 3 AM
  • Fly Guys, Facebook, 12 PM
  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • The Trade, Showtime, 9 PM
  • Strike Back, Cinemax, 10 PM
  • High Maintenance, HBO, 11 PM
  • Ali Siddiq: It’s Bigger Than These Bars, Comedy Central, 11 PM
  • 2 Dope Queens: Uzo Aduba (season finale), HBO, 11:30 PM
  • This is Not Happening, Comedy Central, 12 AM

Saturday

  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 8 PM
  • UFC on Fox, Fox, 8 PM
  • Notes From the Field, HBO, 8 PM
  • Thunder/Clippers, ABC, 8:30 PM
  • Planet Earth: Blue Planet II, BBC America, 9 PM
  • Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Showtime, 9 PM
  • Falling Water, USA, 10 PM

Sunday

  • The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale, Netflix, 3 AM
  • 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC, 7 PM
  • Fear Factor (season premiere), MTV, 7 PM
  • Big Brother (season finale), CBS, 8 PM
  • Our Cartoon President Showtime, 8 PM
  • Counterpart, Starz, 8 PM
  • The Walking Dead (winter premiere), AMC, 9 PM
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead (season premiere), Starz, 9 PM
  • Here and Now, HBO, 9 PM
  • Homeland, Showtime, 9 PM
  • The Radical Story of Patty Hearst (season finale), CNN, 9 PM
  • Victoria, PBS, 9 PM
  • Unsung: The Boys, BET, 9 PM
  • Talking Dead (season premiere), AMC, 10 PM
  • The Chi, Showtime, 10 PM
  • Divorce, HBO, 10 PM
  • A.P. Bio, NBC, 10:30 PM
  • Crashing, HBO, 10:30 PM
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO, 11 PM

[All times listed are in ET]

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20
Feb

Sony may launch an AI-powered taxi hailing system


Sony definitely isn’t the first name you think of when you’re looking for a ride, but that might change soon in its native Japan. Nikkei has learned that the tech heavyweight is leading an alliance of taxi companies (Checker Cab, Daiwa Motor Transportation, Green Cab, Hinomaru Kotsu and Kokusai Motorcars) in the creation of an AI-powered hailing platform. The algorithmic system would dispatch taxis more effectively by studying a host of conditions like traffic, weather and events. It might send a horde of drivers near the end of a concert, for instance.

There’s no word on when this would be ready, or whether Sony hopes to offer the service outside of Japan.

It may seem odd for Sony to chase after cabs when ridesharing services like Uber are quickly taking hold, but it doesn’t have much choice. Japan has a ban on using private cars for ride hailing services, which largely kills the ridesharing business model. This gives Sony a toehold in the transportation world without having to limit use to other countries, which could be helpful if and when self-driving cars become the norm.

As it is, there’s plenty of competitive pressure. Toyota just poured about $70 million into the app creator JapanTaxi, and it’s working on its own AI-centered taxi system. If Sony doesn’t get in early, it risks missing out on what could be a hot market.

Via: Reuters

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

20
Feb

Snapchat is selling more than just crappy merch


Weeks ago, Snap opened up an in-app Snapchat store to sell merch, which appeared to be an attempt to open up a new revenue stream. But it looks like it will offer more than just dancing hot dogs. During yesterday’s NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles, Snap held a concert that doubled as a sneaker drop for yet-unreleased Jordans.

Technically, fans couldn’t buy the shoes on site — they had to scan a QR code that then allowed them to purchase a pair of the AJ III Tinkers, which are slated to go on sale March 24th in Snapchat’s merch store. Sneakerheads are used to using apps to pick up shoes, so it makes some sense to lure them into using the in-app storefront. But it’s also a hint that Snap likely has more planned than just hot dog merch — and will probably roll the product releases in with other events that combine ephemeral events with e-commerce. And maybe also have a Snapchat filter tie-in, like so:

Introducing A/R Jordan.

That iconic ’88 dunk like you’ve never seen before. pic.twitter.com/V5Q0mttQpr

— Jordan (@Jumpman23) February 19, 2018

Source: Fast Company

20
Feb

PSVR’s rodent adventure ‘Moss’ arrives February 27th


PlayStation VR’s adorable murine tale Moss finally has a release date. Next Tuesday, February 27th, you’ll be able to guide the big-eared rodent Quill along her adventure on your PlayStation 4. When it debuted at E3 last year, developer Polyarc (made up, in part, of former Bungie and Rockstar Games alums) promised the mouse-scale adventure would be out by holiday, but the game was delayed until this spring. If you’re curious how it’ll play before you drop hard-earned cash, there’s a demo version available as part of the free PSVR demo disc on the PlayStation Network Store. Need more convincing? Maybe the new trailer below will do the trick.

Source: PlayStation Blog

20
Feb

Amazon backs Marie Curie biopic starring Rosamund Pike


Amazon’s latest Prime Video production won’t just rely on star power to reel you in — it should also appeal to science fans. The internet giant is teaming with France’s Studiocanal on Radioactive, a biopic covering the work and romance of pioneering radioactivity scientist Marie Curie (and by extension, Pierre Curie). Produced by Persepolis’ Marjane Satrapi, it’s the adaptation of Lauren Redniss’ graphic novel Radioactive and will star Gone Girl’s Rosamund Pike. The star of the show may be the science itself, however.

Satrapi notes that Radioactive will explore the discovery of radioactivity, including the Curies’ “humanist” approach and the long-term consequences (both good and bad) of exploiting its behavior. It might follow the path of movies like The Imitation Game, where science and technology are more than just backdrops for a typical drama.

Studiocanal will distribute the movie in Australia, France, Germany and New Zealand, while Amazon will take care of the rights everywhere else.

The movie has only just started production, so there’s no release date to work with. This is clearly part of Amazon’s strategy to swing for the fences and produce blockbuster hits, mind you. While Amazon isn’t necessarily expecting the award success of Imitation Game, it would likely be happy if Radioactive was mentioned in the same sentence.

Source: Variety

20
Feb

Chrome cleans up messy URLs when you share from your phone


Google keeps making the web easier to use with its Chrome browser, from filtering ads on the desktop to getting rid of pop-ups and redirects on Android. The company just made sharing messy URLs nicer, too, thanks to the latest version of Chrome on mobile, v64. Now when you grab a long, complicated web address, Chrome will trim off the unnecessary bits from the end. That way, you won’t muck up a chat with a whole bunch of personal tracking info at the end of an Amazon link, for example.

To get the new streamlined URL feature, you’ll need to use the Chrome Share menu, accessed via the three vertical dots at the top of your browser screen. Some links need the extra info to get you to the right position on a given page, though. If that’s the case, you can still copy URLs manually to share with your buddies.

Via: Android Police

Source: Google Play

20
Feb

Air Hogs’ Supernova packs motion controls in a kid-friendly drone


Toy drones have been cheap and plentiful over the past few years, but it’s really hard for new products to stand out from the pack when they need to keep the price down and can’t throw in premium features like a 4K camera. But that hasn’t stopped Spin Master from trying new things with its Air Hogs line: At this week’s Toy Fair, the company is debuting its first motion-controlled model, the Supernova. It’s not quite DJI’s Mavic Air, but it’s still got some sweet moves to show off in a more kid-friendly form factor.

The Air Hogs Supernova is a small quadcopter uncased in a light, spherical plastic cage open enough to allow the propellers to lift the toy, but enclosed enough to keep small fingers away from the spinning blades. It’s not entirely foolproof — at least once when I grabbed the sphere my fingers sunk in a little deep and hit the blades. It hurt for a few minutes, but didn’t leave any lasting damage.

It’s recommended for kids aged eight and up, which is a good age bracket to really understand and master all the movements needed to pilot the Supernova. It doesn’t come with a remote control and doesn’t connect to a phone — everything will be done through hand gestures. There are four tiny infrared sensors on the sphere and a laser sensor on the bottom, so you need to engage it at those points for a response.

Air Hogs Supernova drone

To engage the drone you lightly toss it away from you; throw it too hard and it might wander away. You can grab its attention by placing a hand in front of one of the sensors and it will try to stay near you. If you put a hand on both sides, it’ll spin in place.

The Supernova can also fly pretty high, but it will eventually come back down once the sensors realize there’s nothing nearby. It’s so light that it’s common for something like an air current to make the drone list a bit; in those cases a quick waggle of your hand near any of the sensors is a sign for the Supernova to correct its sense of direction. When it’s time to turn it off, you simply flip it over.

Air Hogs Supernova drone

The gestures seem simple enough at first, but my time playing with it at Toy Fair had me chasing it across the Spin Master booth, my frantic waving probably making things worse. A few times I watched the Supernova ascend into the rafters at the Javits, which is a little nerve-racking when you consider the drone has no remote. But it did eventually wander its way back down. It’s definitely one of those things you’re going to want to practice with at home first, lest you take it to a park and a stray gust of wind carries it away. The Supernova will be in stores this August for $40.

Check out the rest of our coverage from Toy Fair 2018 here.

20
Feb

How to watch Amazon Instant Video on Chromecast or Android TV


Google Chromecast’s simple press-and-stream ecosystem has garnered many fans. But, although the streaming device has built-in apps for just about anything you can stream, one of its only real omissions is the lack of support for Amazon Instant Video for streaming the best Amazon films and TV series.

Never fear: If you’re a Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra owner, you don’t need to buy a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick to get Amazon Instant Video on your television. In fact, you don’t need anything else at all. Here’s how to get Amazon’s best video content onto your TV without paying an extra dime.

What you’ll need

This guide assumes that you already use a Chromecast or Android TV device and have it connected to your television and local network. You’ll also need a computer connected to the same network. Either Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X is fine, but you’ll need to use Google’s Chrome browser. If you have a Chromebook or another device powered by Chrome OS, that’s also fine.

Set up the Chromecast extension

Turn on your computer and open Chrome. If you don’t already see a Chromecast icon at the top right corner, go to this address and download the official Google Cast extension from the Chrome Web Store. Click the blue button marked “Add to chrome,” then click “Add extension” in the pop-up window. After a few seconds, a Chromecast icon will appear in upper right-hand corner of your browser window.

Michael Crider/Digitial Trends

Click the “New” button, then select whether to automatically send Cast extension usage statistics to Google (checking or unchecking are both fine). Click “OK.” If your Chromecast or Android TV device is already set up, there are no extra steps to take — the extension will automatically detect any Cast-capable devices connected to your local network.

Start Casting

Now you’re ready to Cast. Navigate to Amazon Instant Video and select a movie or television show in your library, or if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, pick a video that’s included in Prime. Make sure your television is on and your Chromecast or Android TV device is connected. Click the Cast icon in the corner of your browser, then click on a Chromecast or Android TV device. Your tab’s video and audio will appear on your television. Click Play and you can sit back and enjoy your video on the big screen.

Michael Crider/Digitial Trends

The Cast button has a few options you might want to consider. Streaming quality is up to 1080p, but will be determined by the quality of your internet connection and speed of your Chromecast or Android TV Device. You mute or unmute the audio with the volume button, but there is no option to change the volume level — you’ll have to adjust it with your TV remote.

The Google Cast extension can cast any tab with any content, so almost any web video will work, not just the ones on Amazon. When you’re finished, simply close the tab or click the Cast icon and then “Stop casting” to end your session.

Disadvantages of browser casting

This solution will work to get Amazon Instant Video on your Chromecast or Android TV, but it’s less ideal than a dedicated app. For starters, the video quality tops out at 1080p, which is unfortunate since a lot of Amazon videos are available in 4K if your internet connection, TV, or streaming box supports it. And even at the lower resolution, the bitrate is considerably lower than you might be used to, resulting in more video artifacts, extra pixelation, lower-quality audio, and occasionally complete signal dropouts.

Michael Crider/Digitial Trends

Casting can also take a severe toll on a laptop battery, so you might want to keep your charging cable handy. If you’re using a desktop, this isn’t a problem, but it makes the video annoying to control if it’s in another room, as you can’t pause playback of seek out a specific section with your TV remote — everything has to be done in Chrome itself. (In this case, you might consider using Chrome Remote Desktop from your phone or tablet as a sort of makeshift remote.)

Hopefully, Amazon will add official Casting capabilities to its Android Instant Video app, and provide a real solution to Android TV as well … but that doesn’t seem likely right now. In the meantime, without an Amazon-compatible device like the a Fire TV, Roku Streaming Stick+, TiVo Bolt, smart TV, Blu-Ray player, or game console, streaming tabs in Chrome is your best bet.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Become a master caster with these Google Chromecast tips and tricks
  • How to mirror your smartphone or tablet on your TV
  • Google is yanking YouTube from Amazon Fire TV and Echo Show
  • More than a screenshot: Learn how to record the screen on an Android device
  • Check out 25 of the best Android Wear apps for your smartwatch


20
Feb

Scientists have figured out how to make wood even stronger than steel


Lisa Sturm / EyeEm / Getty Images

Wood is a pretty awesome material, but it’s certainly lacking the strength and toughness of other materials such as the stronger metals. That could change, however, thanks to research coming out the University of Maryland, College Park, where engineers have found a way to make wood more than 10 times stronger than titanium alloys.

The results mean that everyone’s favorite tree-based material could be used as an alternative to the ultra-tough likes of steel while remaining significantly lighter. Faster growing softwoods like pine and balsa could also be treated to replace some of the applications which currently require slower growing but denser woods like teak.

“We [developed] a totally new densification technique by combining chemical modification and hot-pressing,” Liangbing Hu, the leader of the research team, told Digital Trends. “Our resulting densified wood features a highly dense and laminated structure with intertwined cell walls that are fully collapsed without gaps. Most of the densified wood consists of well-aligned cellulose nanofibres, which greatly enhance hydrogen bond formation among neighboring nanofibres. The mechanical performance of the resulting densified wood is more than one order of magnitude better than that of the natural wood.”

The chemical modification Hu refers to involves partially remove lignin, the organic polymer that forms an important structural material in plants, and hemicellulose, a component in plant cell walls. The densification technique was then completed by hot-pressing to a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.

To put the new material through its paces, the team tested its resilience to bullet-like projectiles by firing at it. While the projectile was able to completely pierce natural wood, in the case of the new reinforced wood material it only penetrated part of the way through.

“We are [currently] investigating its potential integrations into multiple applications which requires the material to meet the complete performance matrix,” Hu said, concerning the next step of the project. A University of Maryland startup called “Inventwood” has been created to help commercialize the university’s advanced wood technologies, including this one.

A research paper on the work, titled “Processing bulk natural wood into a high-performance structural material,” was recently published in the journal Nature.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Engineers just built the world’s tallest ice tower in China — here’s how
  • LinkedIn and Microsoft make it easier than ever to build a standout résumé
  • Porsche’s Panamera popular hybrids have battery makers struggling to keep up
  • Think inside the box with these tricked-out shipping container homes


20
Feb

Microsoft pulls list of limitations on ‘Always Connected’ Windows 10 PCs


If you were curious about the differences between Windows 10 PCs based on Intel and AMD processors, and those using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, Microsoft recently listed the limitations of Windows 10 apps and “experiences” on the latter. Since its discovery, Microsoft’s list no longer exists, except for cached versions you can find on third-party internet archives. Why the secrecy? Just look at the original Surface tablet.

Modern processors are mostly based on two different designs: One called “x86” introduced by Intel in 1978 that is also used by AMD in desktop and laptop processors, and one designed by ARM found in mobile-based processors manufactured by Qualcomm, Samsung, and Nvidia. Because these two designs are completely separate, Microsoft needs to fashion Windows for both. 

In 2012, Microsoft introduced the first Surface device packing an ARM-based Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and an operating system Microsoft dubbed as Windows RT. Microsoft designed the Surface for a mobile-first word obsessed over the iPad, but the device failed to gain traction because owners couldn’t run their traditional x86-based desktop software on the ARM-based tablet. 

Making matters worse, customers had to deal with the whole new Windows 8 touch-focused interface. Even more, they were forced to solely install apps from the Microsoft Store, which was in its early stages at the time and didn’t fully support cross-device “universal” apps. Support for Windows 8 RT ended in January 2016 followed by Windows 8.1 RT in January 2018. 

Fast forward to the end of 2017. Microsoft and Qualcomm teamed up for their “Always Connected” initiative: Windows 10 PCs with native 4G LTE connectivity and crazy-long battery life. Manufactured by Asus and HP, these laptops will be based on the Snapdragon 835 processor found in mobile devices. That means Microsoft is coming full circle and re-igniting the Windows on ARM market. 

To the company’s defense, its “universal” multi-device app platform has matured over the last five years or so. You can install Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Word, Skype, and other apps on multiple devices, whether they rely on x86-based processors by Intel and AMD, or ARM-based chips from Qualcomm and Samsung. But there are still limitations to Microsoft’s version of Windows 10 for ARM-based devices, as seen in the company’s recently pulled list. 

Here is a simple breakdown, some of which pertain to developers but still trickle down to the end-user experience: 

  • Always Connected devices only support 64-bit drivers designed for the ARM architecture (ARM64). 
  • 64-bit apps developed for Intel- and AMD-based machines won’t run on these PCs. 
  • If a game or app relies on a version of OpenGL later than v1.1, they won’t work on these PCs. The same holds true for apps and games that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL, and/or “anti-cheat” drivers. 
  • Apps that load non-native Windows 10 components may fail/crash or simply not load. 
  • Apps assuming that all ARM-based devices are running a mobile version of Windows may render a user interface for smartphones, render the screen in the wrong orientation, or fail to start. 
  • Virtual machines using Hyper-V for ARM-based devices will not run. 

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Xiaomi, Samsung may offer Snapdragon-based ‘Always Connected’ Windows 10 PCs
  • Leaked benchmarks for new Windows 10 laptops show meager performance
  • Tune in here for Qualcomm’s December 5 Snapdragon Technology Summit keynote
  • Super-efficient Windows laptops powered by Qualcomm phone chips are here
  • Qualcomm is working on patches to address Meltdown and Spectre flaws


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