Category Archives: Technology

Technology

How to have a pop culture hit like La La Land and Rae Sremmurd

What are the ingredients of a smash movie or track in 2017? Embrace nostalgia, follow the superstars, and piggy-back on the social networks …

How do you make a hit? This is the question I have posed to dozens of entertainment executives, pop-culture historians and academics over the past few years. Some of them claimed to know. Others maintained that such knowledge was impossible. But the most interesting things I learned weren’t the variables of some mythic formula, but rather how the shifting rules of cultural popularity are a window into the way the world works, and how it is changing.

If the media revolution of the past generation could be summed up in one word, it would be “more”. The number of opportunities for artists and creators has soared as the internet opened new markets around the world and made possible new media, such as self-published ebooks, and technology, such as ever-cheaper cameras and video-editing software. But the sheer supply of creativity has made breakout success more difficult in just about every industry. In 2000, more than 90% of new television shows survived to year two; today, 50% of shows are cancelled before their second birthday. Despite the surge in new films – which have increased by a factor of seven since the early 80s – Americans bought 200m fewer movie tickets in 2016 than in 2002. Little surprise, then, that we are living in a heyday of flops: 27 of the 30 biggest box-office bombs in Hollywood history have come out since 2005.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Internet, Technology | Comments Off on How to have a pop culture hit like La La Land and Rae Sremmurd

Lightning Earbuds With Built-in Charging Make Avoiding Wireless Slightly Easier

After the initial outrage of Apple removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 died down, users not wanting to go wireless soon realized that using the phone’s Lightning port meant they could no longer charge while listening to music. Pioneer’s new Rayz Plus earbuds include a simple solution to that problem, but…

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in Apple, News, Technology | Comments Off on Lightning Earbuds With Built-in Charging Make Avoiding Wireless Slightly Easier

IMDb shuts down its message boards

The Internet Movie Database says its message boards are ‘no longer providing a positive, useful experience’ for the majority of its 250 million monthly users

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is shutting down its message boards, the organisation has announced.

In a statement on its website, the IMDb said it had “concluded that IMDb’s message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide”, and that the decision was “based on data and traffic”.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Internet, Technology | Comments Off on IMDb shuts down its message boards

10 Incredible Robots That Are Inspiring Us to Build the First Artificial Human

We’re not yet capable of building humanoid robots that are indistinguishable from biological humans, but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying. Here are 10 real robots that are helping us achieve this futuristic milestone.

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on 10 Incredible Robots That Are Inspiring Us to Build the First Artificial Human

Ghost in the system: has technology ruined horror films?

Well-dwelling Samara gets streamed in Rings, an HD reboot of The Ring, yet the genre has shown that a tech update doesn’t always lead to more scares

Nearly 12 years after The Ring Two – and 15 years after The Ring and 19 years after Ringu, the original Japanese horror movie that inspired it – Rings opens in theaters this Friday. The producers, Walter F Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, have stuck around for all three American versions, but there are no holdovers from the cast and crew – no Naomi Watts, no Gore Verbinski (director of The Ring) or Hideo Nakata (director of Ringu and The Ring Two), no Ehren Kruger (screenwriter of both the first and second Americanizations). In terms of continuity, it feels like a game of telephone where the line has been severed completely and we’re not even hearing gibberish on the other end. We need to be reminded why, exactly, The Ring was so scary in the first place.

Related: In praise of Resident Evil: the horror stalwart that refuses to die

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Ghost in the system: has technology ruined horror films?

Kal Penn raises $800,000 for Syrian refugees after receiving racist tweet

Star of Harold and Kumar films – and son of Indian immigrants to the US – was spurred to fundraise for a humanitarian charity by racial abuse

Kal Penn, the actor best known for his roles in the medical TV show House and the Harold and Kumar film series, has so far raised over $800,000 (£635,000) for Syrian refugees in response to a racist tweet he received.

Penn set up a fundraising page on Crowdrise to raise money for International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian and relief charity that, among other activities, has launched an emergency appeal to help refugees in the US. Penn’s page is entitled Donating to Syrian Refugees in the Name of the Dude Who Said I Don’t Belong in America, and the actor has reproduced a tweet containing the text “… because you don’t belong in this country you fucking joke”.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Kal Penn raises $800,000 for Syrian refugees after receiving racist tweet

Split still No 1 at US box office as A Dog’s Purpose scampers into second

James McAvoy’s bravura turn helped M Night Shyamalan’s film hold the top spot, while A Dog’s Purpose dodged controversy and Resident Evil crept in

M Night Shyamalan’s revival as a commercial force was underlined by the figures for his multiple-personality thriller Split’s second week at the US box office: it held on to the No 1 spot with an estimated $26.3m (£20.9m) for a total of $77.9m (£62.1m), well ahead of second-placed family movie A Dog’s Purpose, which managed $18.4m (£14.6m).

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Split still No 1 at US box office as A Dog’s Purpose scampers into second

Everything Trump Fucked Up in Science and Technology This Week

It’s amazing to think that we’ve all been alive for a thousand years, our bodies swept by a burning wind into nothing but dust and a lingering scream. Except we haven’t—it’s just the end of the first week of the Trump administration, and a disconcertingly large number of horrible things have already happened.

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on Everything Trump Fucked Up in Science and Technology This Week

USB-C Power Meter Helps You Spot Counterfeit Accessories Before They Fry Your Gadgets

The promise of USB-C is great: One cable to connect all of your devices, laptops, tablets, smartphone. Unfortunately it comes with the big caveat that you might end up damaging your gear if you cheap out on a USB-C cable. But Satechi’s new Type-C Power Meter makes it easy to tell if your USB-C gadgets are at risk of…

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on USB-C Power Meter Helps You Spot Counterfeit Accessories Before They Fry Your Gadgets

Why It Matters That Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By an AI

We’re at the halfway point of the epic 20-day, 150,000-hand “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence” Texas Hold’em Poker tournament, and a machine named Libratus is trouncing a quartet of professional human players. Should the machine maintain its substantial lead—currently at $701,242—it will be considered a major…

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on Why It Matters That Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By an AI

UK box office still in love with Oscars darling La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s musical paean to Hollywood outshines James McAvoy in Split and Vin Diesel’s return as action hero Xander Cage

Each awards season, the market typically anoints one runaway box-office winner that captures the imagination of audiences, with notable examples from the last decade being The King’s Speech (2011) and Slumdog Millionaire (2009). Last year, that film was The Revenant – a 156-minute survival ordeal that hardly looked a commercial slam-dunk on paper, but which achieved a muscular £23.4m by the end of its UK run.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on UK box office still in love with Oscars darling La La Land

Kristen Stewart co-authors research paper on ‘pioneering’ film technique

Twilight star among three authors of paper explaining how ‘neural style transfer’ method was put to use in her directorial debut, the 17-minute short Come Swim

Twilight and Personal Shopper Kristen Stewart has co-authored a research paper on “neural style transfer”, an arcane technique that uses artificial intelligence to reconfigure an image in the style of another.

Written with Bhautik J Joshi, a research engineer at Adobe, and producer David Shapiro, Stewart’s paper is related to work done on her short film directing debut Come Swim, which received its world premiere at the Sundance film festival on Thursday. Called Bringing Impressionism to Life with Neural Style Transfer in Come Swim, the paper was submitted on Wednesday on Cornell University library’s open-access arXiv.org website, an online repository for scientific research papers.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Kristen Stewart co-authors research paper on ‘pioneering’ film technique

Patrick Stewart to voice poo emoji in The Emoji Movie

The acclaimed Shakespearean actor will take on the role of a pile of excrement in a new animated comedyPatrick Stewart is set to voice the poo emoji in animated adventure The Emoji Movie. Related: Ready for their smiley face close ups: which emoticons … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Patrick Stewart to voice poo emoji in The Emoji Movie

This UV-Light Controlled Adhesive Could Help Ordinary Humans Become Spiderman

In the future, we’re all going to be Spiderman. At least, those of us who can afford super-sticky light-controlled wall-climbing spider boots.

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on This UV-Light Controlled Adhesive Could Help Ordinary Humans Become Spiderman

Rogue One’s CGI resurrection tech: how ‘ghosting’ will change Hollywood

Peter Cushing-style reappearances might soon be used to solve all kinds of problems, from Ben Affleck’s discomfort in the Batsuit to Benedict Cumberbatch’s busy schedule

It’s already possible to be in two places at once in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Benedict Cumberbatch proved during several out-of-body experiences in last year’s Doctor Strange. So the New York Post story that the Sherlock star has been replaced by a body double for the shooting of scenes as the sorcerer supreme in the forthcoming MCU instalment Avengers: Infinity War Part One should come as no shock. Moreover, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story having shown you don’t even need to be alive to star in a new movie, we should hardly be surprised that an actor no longer has to be on set to get involved in a shoot.

Disney has denied that Cumberbatch’s performance will be superimposed over that of Broadway thesp Aaron Lazar, just as the late Peter Cushing’s features blanketed those of Holby City actor Guy Henry for Grand Moff Tarkin’s return in Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One. But the Post’s story reveals the brave new and rather scary world of ghosted performances that we now live in.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Technology | Comments Off on Rogue One’s CGI resurrection tech: how ‘ghosting’ will change Hollywood

Ebay’s Founder Is Giving Away $10 Million to Support AI That Is Good and Not Evil

For the most part, artificial intelligence these days is pretty sweet. Whether you want to set a timer with your voice, play a game of chess with a computer or just put a Minion’s head on Superman’s body, AI can help you achieve your goal. Of course, that same power can be used for things that are not so sweet, like,…

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on Ebay’s Founder Is Giving Away $10 Million to Support AI That Is Good and Not Evil

Norway Is Killing FM Radio Tomorrow

On Wednesday, Norway will become the first country in the world to start shutting down its national FM radio network in favor of digital radio. Norwegians have had years to prepare, but the move is still catching many off guard. Read more… Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on Norway Is Killing FM Radio Tomorrow

Donald Trump calls Meryl Streep ‘over-rated’ after Golden Globes speech

President-elect denies on Twitter he intended to mock disabled reporter after Streep criticism, and calls her a ‘Hillary flunky’

Donald Trump has responded on Twitter to Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech, calling her an “overrated actress” and a “Hillary flunky”.

In her acceptance speech for the Golden Globes Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award, Streep said she was “stunned” when Trump appeared to mock a disabled reporter, Serge F Kovaleski, at a press conference.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Internet, Technology | Comments Off on Donald Trump calls Meryl Streep ‘over-rated’ after Golden Globes speech

The Game Boy’s Being Brought Back From the Dead With Some Awesome Upgrades

Though there were several iterations and updates to Nintendo’s insanely popular handheld gaming system, the Game Boy was officially retired just over a decade ago. And while Nintendo has no plans to revive the portable console, a company called Retro-Bit is stepping up to bring the Game Boy back from the dead.

Read more…


Continue reading

Posted in News, Technology | Comments Off on The Game Boy’s Being Brought Back From the Dead With Some Awesome Upgrades

Zero Days review – Alex Gibney’s chilling cyberwar doc

Cyber attacks, warns Gibney, are not just ‘hacking’ but a complete offensive capability – and a new form of geopolitical dysfunction

The title of Alex Gibney’s new documentary about cyberwar has something apocalyptic about it: a digital version of the Book of Revelations, perhaps. It’s actually a technical term relating to malware developed in the last decade by the US and Israeli security services. Analysts nicknamed it “Stuxnet”, though the intelligence officers themselves gave their baby the creepy codename “Olympic Games”.

Continue reading…
Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Internet, Technology | Comments Off on Zero Days review – Alex Gibney’s chilling cyberwar doc