Yep, pretty sure this is all of it.
A film of Ready Player One, Ernest Cline's excellent sci-fi novel about a virtual reality treasure hunt that turns lethal, will be directed by the legendary filmmaker. Deadline reports on his first flick with Warner Bros. in 14 years.
With this news, a question arises about how they will bring a key element of the book’s virtual world to life for the big screen. After all, it seems imperative for the audience to feel like they were dropped into the middle of a video game.
That kind of technology is just becoming available, and if these guys implement that, this could change the face of cinema. The studio has been on the cutting edge of this kind of thing before, pushing the envelope with technology and visual effects with such films as The Lego Movie, Inception and The Matrix – all with great results. If anyone can pull it off again, it will be these guys.
RPO is about a dead VR mogul's fortune, concealed in a vast online world, and the kids desperate--not least because of their real-world poverty or other circumstances--to find it. The contradictions of utopia, reality, virtuality and mundanity are threaded throughout, but it's a fast-paced YA yarn too; read Mark's review for more.
I hope Spielberg shoots some straight-up cinema and skips the lure of extravagant 3D gimmicks, let alone actual VR. It's a timely story, but doesn't need to end up a thing of its time.
Book art: readyplayerone.com
Book art: readyplayerone.com
"Service dog fraud" is a thing, now. Qualified handlers are aggravated by the increase of people saying their dogs are service animals, allowing them entry to cool human-only places, when they are not.
Issues with both service dogs and ESAs highlight a disquiet amongst some Americans regarding increasingly strict rules controlling where animals are allowed.
"I think a lot of this could be resolved by having different legislation about animals being allowed in public transportation and perhaps in cafes and more public places," says Dunbar.
"Unfortunately it is going in the other direction, which is I why I think we are seeing so much abuse."
Angered by the lack of hot food provided for him late at night, he verbally abused and ultimately physically attacked a colleague and had to be pulled away. Read the rest
Read the rest
Based on analysis of personal attacks and other machine-learned elements of language, a research company figured out which subreddits are the most toxic, then charted that toxicity against supportiveness. The results reveal much about the cultish and casual nature of various subreddits--and, often, myths about what places are really so bad.
For example, while certain "usual suspects" proved to be highly toxic and (Edit: NOT) supportive--r/atheism and r/theredpill, for example--others failed to live up to their cultlike reputation. r/headphones, for example, turns out to be a fairly laid-back lounge rather than the formidable bastion of deranged audiophilia redditors seem to regard it as. Other extremes:
r/libertarian is notably supportive without toxicity, while r/relationships is notably toxic without the supportiveness its name promises.
Update: I misread the supportive axis on the chart! It's inverted. So, r/libertarian is nontoxic but unsupportive, etc.
And r/DIY is
neither supportive and [edit:NON] toxic--you can either follow the instructions or not. receive an abundance of helpful assistance from patient experts.
At the center of the chart, the PC Master Race. (Notably absent from the charts: toxic venues that are also supportive.)
Motherboard's Kaleigh Rogers explains the details and the algorithm used, and offers an interactive chart of bigotry to play with. Can you guess which is the most bigoted subreddit?
Read the rest
Here's Astro Teller, chief of Google's Glass project, on its failure:
"I'm amazed by how sensitively people responded to some of the privacy issues," Teller explains, expressing frustration about the backlash against Glass in public, given the prevalence of mobile video. "When someone walks into a bar wearing Glass... there are video cameras all over that bar recording everything." If it were around a year ago "they'd be Meerkatting," Teller joked.
"Society's issues about privacy are completely legitimate," Teller said. "I'm not making an apology for Google Glass. Google Glass did not move the needle... it was literally a rounding error on the number of cameras in your life."
It's not surprising that Google would hire someone possessed by a visionary disinterest in personal privacy, but it is surprising that he's so baffled by it. Look at that final, bathetic flash of frustration: other people are watching you, why are you angry at us doing it?
It's so insulated as to invite laughter. Oh, look, another well-off white fellow whose personal imperviousness denies him an appreciation of privacy's value! But this is a lesson in Google's general lack of self-awareness.
Its vision is of a world where where we share everything, and where it is the technological glue making such a world not only possible, but a good thing. So they hire visionaries to whom privacy is a trivial concern.
But right now, the things that make Google money are dependent on the value of privacy. It sells access to people, to information about them. It engineers environments where the edges of personal space are exposed. Then it applies heat to our privacy, and exploits the phase-change as it melts.
The result is paradoxical: Google hires people who already think in terms of Google as the social fabric of a high-tech future. But it should be hiring handmaidens of perception, people who know that getting there requires an adroit understanding of our relationship to privacy.
Facebook, funnily enough, has the same problem in reverse: it's ruthlessly adept at shaving away and monetizing the melting edge of personal privacy, but has no visible plan for survival after new technology makes social bonds too obvious to exploit (or moves them somewhere Facebook can't go)
The Blackwater of browsers is to get a new name, which you will immediately start using, completely forgetting the old one and all its negative connotations.
Tom Warren at The Verge:
Internet Explorer will still exist in some versions of Windows 10 mainly for enterprise compatibility, but the new Project Spartan will be named separately and will be the primary way for Windows 10 users to access the web. Microsoft has tried, unsuccessfully, to shake off the negative image of Internet Explorer over the past several years with a series of amusing campaigns mocking Internet Explorer 6. The ads didn't improve the situation, and Microsoft's former Internet Explorer chief left the company in December, signalling a new era for the browser.
I've thought about all the things that might be said, negative and positive alike, about this particular iceberg on the sea of computing misfortune. Internet Explorer was, on the one hand, the very worst of Microsoft at its worst: the embodiment of embrace, extend, extinguish, used ruthlessly to destroy an innovative competitor, a major source of standardization murk, and finally left to fester, a vile sore on the arse of web development, for years and years after it had served its purpose.
On the other hand, it was pretty great on Mac.
Farhad Manjoo reports on the recent demise of GigaOm, the tech news website founded by Om Malik. Though it roasted $30m before creditors shut it down, "digital media darlings" are unfazed.
Gigaom’s downfall does not offer easy lessons for media start-ups. Gigaom, pronounced Giga-ohm, was special, and not in a good way, according to more than half a dozen staffers and executives, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing nondisclosure agreements with the company. It was a company troubled by poor leadership, a history of spending beyond its means and an inattention to major problems that had dogged its businesses for years.
Just because everyone's gliding on thermals of burning money, doesn't mean they'll all crash in the same field.
Anoxia, heaven, or tall tales? Scientists are trying to pin down what happens to our consciousness on the edge of death. Read the rest
Read the rest
Charging by USB port means the end, for the new 12" MacBook, of MagSafe. Gravity is once again your enemy.
Police summoned by alarmed residents in Italy found that the suspected Islamist flag was, in fact, laundry that had fallen off a washing line. [Photo: Thelocal]