Posts with «professional services» label

The first movie studio in space could be attached to the ISS in 2024

A module that hosts a film studio and sports arena could be connected to the International Space Station by December 2024. Space Entertainment Enterprise (SEE), which is co-producing a Tom Cruise movie that will partly be shot in space, is behind the project. If and when SEE-1 is up and running, it plans to host TV and film productions, as well as music events and some kind of sports, which can be filmed or livestreamed, according to Variety.

Axiom Space, which two years ago won a NASA contract to construct the first commercial ISS module, will build the station. All going well, SEE-1 will be connected to Axiom's arm of the ISS. Axiom Station is scheduled to split from the ISS in 2028 with SEE-1 still attached.

Whether SEE and Axiom can make good on their plan remains to be seen. SEE hasn't said how much the facility will cost, for one thing. It's currently planning a fundraising round.

Last year, a Russian crew shot a feature-length fiction film in space for the first time, beating Cruise and his director Doug Liman to the punch. That film, The Challenge, is expected to be released this year. Cruise and Liman, meanwhile, are expected to shoot their movie on the ISS later in 2022.

Peacock adds live local news channels to its streaming lineup

NBCUniversal's Peacock isn't going to let the live news from rivals like CBS go unanswered. The streaming service has added free, around-the-clock local news from NBC stations for all users. The broadcasts are initially available from stations in Boston (including the New England Cable Network), Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia. New York City and Los Angeles channels will be available in the "months ahead."

The platform already has live and on-demand news from NBC's self-branded services as well as Sky and Telemundo. You can also watch live entertainment TV from 11 local NBC stations, including those from cities in the news rollout.

The decision may have been an easy one to make. Airing existing news channels won't cost much more, and could help Peacock serve cord-cutters who may still want local events in between The Office marathons. There's also increasing competition. Live news is quickly becoming a selling point, including through Amazon's free app on Fire TV devices. The NBC stations could reduce the temptation to switch to other channels and services.

Apple Watch Series 7 models are up to 15 percent off at Amazon

If you've been waiting for a decent deal on an Apple Watch Series 7, now might be the time to take the leap. You can get up to $60 (as much as 15 percent) off the smartwatch at Amazon at the minute. The biggest discounts are on the green versions of both the GPS and cellular models. The 41mm GPS Apple Watch Series 7 has dropped from $399 to $339, while the cellular variant is down from $499 to $439 — an all-time low price for that model.

Buy Apple Watch Series 7 in green (GPS) at Amazon - $339Buy Apple Watch Series 7 in green (cellular) at Amazon - $439

We've seen the GPS version of the Apple Watch Series 7 drop to this price before. It dipped to $339 in late December, the lowest price we'd seen to date. Still, it's a good deal on a smartwatch to which we gave a score of 90 in our review. While sleep tracking might not be as robust as in say, a Fitibit, it's still arguably the best all-around smartwatch on the market, thanks to features like workout tracking, fast charging and deep integration with iOS.

Some variants of the GPS Apple Watch Series 7 are on sale, though with a slightly smaller reduction. The (Product) RED, black and blue versions are down to $349. Other cellular models are $50 off too. You can snag it in blue, white or black for $449.

Meanwhile, as was the case in a one-day sale on Woot last week and on Amazon earlier this month, you can snag a four-pack of AirTags for $94, which is five percent off the regular price. As with Tile trackers, the idea is to help you keep track of your things. Although Android users can see if an AirTag is nearby through a dedicated app, you'll need an iPhone to get the most out of the trackers.

Buy AirTags (four-pack) at Amazon - $94

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Amazon UK won't ban Visa credit cards on January 19th after all

Last November, Amazon notified customers that it would stop accepting Visa credit cards in the UK as of January 19th, 2022, blaming the high fees Visa charges for credit card transactions. Now, the company has backtracked on that, telling customers via email that it will continue accepting Visa cards, at least for the time being.

"The expected change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk will no longer take place on January 19," an Amazon spokesperson told Engadget. " We are working closely with Visa on a potential solution that will enable customers to continue using their Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk."

The dispute has been simmering for a while, with Amazon previously accusing Visa of charging high credit card transaction fees, and Visa saying that Amazon was "threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future." Both companies, global leaders of their respective industries, previously said that they were attempting to work towards a solution. 

Amazon didn't elaborate further on its statement but also didn't set another deadline — so presumably UK buyers will be able to use their Visa cards for the foreseeable future. 

'Baby Shark' is the first YouTube video to reach 10 billion views

No, you still can't escape "Baby Shark." Billboardreports Pinkfong's so-catchy-it-hurts children's song has become the first video to reach 10 billion views on YouTube. And no one is likely to catch it any time soon — Luis Fonsi's "Despacito" video, which "Baby Shark" overtook as the most popular video in November 2020, has managed 'just' 7.7 billion views as of this writing.

The 2016 tune's familiar (if very repetitive) hook is certainly part of its success, but it has also been helped by returning to popular culture over and over again. On top of celebrity covers from the likes of James Corden and Bebe Rexha, "Baby Shark" has also enjoyed a 2019 tour, a viral dance challenge, a spot in Just Dance 2020 and a Nickelodeon TV show that premiered in 2021. Simply put, Pinkfong has kept the track in the limelight where even breakout songs like "Despacito" have faded away.

Interest isn't likely to cool off in the immediate future. Nickelodeon has not only renewed its "Baby Shark" show, but promised a feature-length movie. There's even an NFT collection if you're determined to merge two internet trends. It could take a long while before another video pulls ahead, even with K-pop megastars routinely breaking ground in other areas.

FCC proposes stricter requirements for reporting data breaches

The Federal Communications Commission is the next US regulator hoping to hold companies more accountable for data breaches. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has shared a rulemaking proposal that would introduce stricter requirements for data breach reporting. Most notably, the new rules would require notifications for customers affected by "inadvertent" breaches — companies that leave data exposed would have to be just as communicative as victims of cyberattacks.

The requirements would also scrap a mandatory one-week waiting period for notifying customers. Carriers, meanwhile, would have to disclose reportable breaches to the FCC in addition to the FBI and Secret Service.

Rosenworcel argued the tougher rules were necessary to account for the "evolving nature" of breaches and the risks they posed to victims. People ought to be protected against larger and more frequent incidents, the FCC chair said — that is, regulations need to catch up with reality.

The FCC didn't say when the proposal might come up for a vote, although the FCC's next open meeting is slated for January 27th. There's no guarantee the Commission will greenlight the new requirements. It won't be surprising if the rulemaking moves forward, however. While companies are now more likely to disclose breaches, there have been multiple high-profile incidents where those firms took too long to alert customers or didn't notify them at all. The new measures could cut that wait time, giving people a better chance of securing their data and preventing fraud.

Amazon will face a second Alabama union vote in February

It's now clear when Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will vote in a mandatory second union election. As Motherboard's Lauren Kaori Gurley notes, the National Labor Relations Board has sent notice that employees at the BHM1 fulfillment center can start voting with secret mail ballots on February 4th, with the vote count beginning on March 28th. Anyone employed at the company from the first week of January 2022 onward is eligible to consider joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

The NLRB ordered the new vote after determining that Amazon interfered with the first union election in early 2021. The RWDSU filed 23 objections after the 1,798 to 738 "no" vote, accusing Amazon of installing an unapproved mailbox to intimidate staff as well as handing out anti-union material like badges and signs. After an investigation, the NLRB found that Amazon had a "flagrant disregard" for the mail voting process that made a fair election "impossible."

The RWDSU wasn't completely satisfied with the notice. In a statement, the organization claimed the NLRB's decision "fails to adequately prevent" Amazon from skewing the vote. Amazon, meanwhile, repeated its comment from November in response to Engadget's inquiries. It maintained that warehouse workers "overwhelmingly" voted against joining the union, and found it "disappointing" that the NLRB rejected the election.

As before, the stakes are high. A pro-union vote would give warehouse workers collective bargaining rights they could use to improve pay and working conditions — both frequent points of contention. Whatever the outcome, it's safe to presume the election will draw renewed scrutiny from politicians and stars who see it as a turning point for labor at the internet shopping giant.

'Horizon Forbidden West' has reportedly leaked a month before release

Horizon Forbidden West is one of the biggest PlayStation exclusives of the year. Just over a month before the action RPG arrives on February 18th, it appears an unfinished version of the game has leaked.

According to Video Games Chronicle, the build includes all the main Horizon Forbidden West content, though some art assets are missing. Screenshots and videos from what's said to be the PS4 version of the game emerged on social media on Monday. Many of those were later taken down from Twitter due to reports submitted by the copyright holder, which suggests the leak is legit.

Though it appears Sony Interactive Entertainment has clamped down on the leaks and the build doesn't seem to have popped up on filesharing sites, it's bound to be another frustrating incident for the company. Months before The Last of Us Part II was released, a large portion of the game, including cutscenes with major story spoilers, leaked online

So, if you're one of the many Horizon Zero Dawn fans who's looking forward to the sequel, it's best to tread very carefully on the internet for the next month or so. It might be worth muting certain keywords related to Horizon Forbidden West on social media or even installing browser extensions to help you steer clear of spoilers.

Walmart's InHome Delivery service will reach up to 30 million households in 2022

Walmart has big plans for its InHome delivery service in 2022, aiming to expand it from 6 million households to 30 million by the end of the year. To achieve that, it will hire more than 3,000 full-time associate delivery drivers and build out a fleet of all-electric delivery vans. 

The InHome service, which handles more than 160,000 items from 3,400 stores, first launched in 2019. Since then, it's been operating in select markets at a fee of $19.95 per month or $148 per year, a bit more than the $119 you pay for Amazon Prime membership. However, Walmart notes that tips for associates are built into the fee. 

Once signed up, you can order items from the Walmart app and select InHome as the preferred delivery method. Drivers can unlock the customer's door using a one-time access code, with a vest-worn camera recording the entire delivery. You can use your own smart lock or purchase one from InHome for $50. 

Walmart said that the new associate delivery driver position is full-time and includes benefits like medical, vision and dental insurance, 401K matching, paid time off and free college degrees. Drivers also get paid a $1.50/hour premium compared to other store workers. 

The company plans to equip those workers with a fleet of all-electric vans. It has yet to specify exactly which delivery vehicles it will use, though it has tested EV's used by GM's Cruise division and autonomous, electric box trucks employed by a startup called Gatik. Walmart said it will make InHome delivery service accessible to 30 million households by the end of the year, reaching around 70 percent of the US population. 

What to watch over the 2021 holidays

It's been a surprisingly solid year for television. Partially because many major film releases ended up hitting streaming services early. (Don't forget about Warner Bros. unprecedented decision to stream their releases on HBO Max when they hit theaters.) Film and TV productions that were delayed due to the pandemic in 2020 also managed to cross the finish line thanks to safer shooting schedules and vaccines. The result was a wealth of content for couch potatoes.

As you settle in for holiday celebrations, here are a few selections that you may have missed during the year. (And be sure to check out our recommendations from last year!)

Netflix

Arcane

I'll be honest: I didn't expect much from a League of Legends TV show. But Arcane surprised me with its well-written characters, wonderfully realized fantasy world and luscious animation. While there are some killer action sequences, what really makes Arcane work is its commitment to mature storytelling. Characters you love will die. Villains are never one-note and heroes are never perfect. It's not only a solid video game adaptation, it's one of the best TV shows to debut this year.

Midnight Mass

Religious-focused horror may seem more like anti-holiday programming, but that's not going to stop us from recommending Midnight Mass. The show is an exploration of dogma, fanaticism, our connection to the cosmos and another compelling series from the rising horror master Mike Flanagan. Unlike his previous haunted house entries (The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor), Midnight Mass focuses on a small island community off the coast of Massachusetts, the sort of place that has its own demons festering under the surface. I won't spoil what happens, but it's the sort of thing that fans of Stephen King will eat up.

Also on Netflix:

The Power of the Dog: Jane Campion returns to feature films with a hauntingly beautiful Western. Benedict Cumberbatch steals the show as a monstrous cowboy poisoned by the spell of toxic masculinity.

Voir: The latest Netflix project from director David Fincher is a series of visual essays about the power of cinema from some of the best critics and thinkers today.

Gabby's Dollhouse: An adorable cat-themed show about a young girl who goes on the occasional dollhouse adventure.

HBO Max

Hacks

A once-legendary comedian (Jean Smart) is forced to team up with a young, semi-cancelled writer (Hannah Einbinder) to whip her act into shape. Hilarity ensues. Hacks takes this simple sitcom premise and elevates it with Smart's ferocious performance. On the face of it, it's a story about two creative generations learning to coexist. But really, it's the story of lost people finding direction in each other. It's the sort of genius comedy and drama we'd expect from the folks behind Broad City.

Starstruck

A lost twenty-something (Rose Matafeo) accidentally has a one-night stand with a movie star (Nikesh Patel). Again, hilarity ensues. (HBO Max really has a knack for collecting great show premises!) Starstruck is the rare season of TV that you can easily binge all at once—it's just six twenty-two minute episodes. But I'd recommend taking your time. Matafeo is uproariously funny, but there's also a romantic undercurrent that makes you root for these crazy kids.

Also on HBO:

The White Lotus: Rich resort-goers vs. the people who are forced to cater to them. It's great to see another funny, yet deeply human, show from Mike White.

Search Party: This former TBS show (now an HBO Max original) is the best hipster murder mystery you'll ever see.

Succession: There are plenty of shows about rich blowhards these days, but Succession stands out as a sharply written dark comedy filled with characters you love to hate.

Hulu

Reservation Dogs

Stories about the everyday lives of Native Americans are far too rare, so it's refreshing to see a dramedy like Reservation Dogs. Set in a rural Oklahoma reservation, it follows a group of teenagers as they get into trouble, help their community, and pursue their dream of moving to the promised land of California. It's the first TV series to feature an entirely Indigenous crew of writers and directors (it was co-created by the ever-delightful Taiki Waititi), and it's a reminder of how the push for better on-screen representation can lead to fresh storytelling.

Also on Hulu:

Top of the Lake: If you're looking for a smart crime thriller, don't sleep on this Jane Campion series. It stars Elisabeth Moss as an Australian detective who, across two seasons, investigates cases focusing on missing and murdered women.

Y: The Last Man: The rare adaptation that manages to improve on its source material, Y is a compelling portrait of a world where almost every person with a Y chromosome dies, leaving women in charge.

Apple TV+

For All Mankind

One of the first Apple TV+ series has evolved from being a mildly intriguing alternative history tale — what if the Soviet Union landed on the Moon first? — to one of the best dramas ever made about space travel. My advice? Get past the rocky first two episodes to find the show's true genius: NASA's push to get more women, and eventually people of color, into space. If it miraculously lasts several seasons, I wouldn't be surprised if For All Mankind shows us how something like Star Trek's space-faring society could be formed.

Also on Apple TV+:

Dr. Brain: Apple's first Korean series, from visionary director Kim Jee-woon, explores the possibility of downloading and reliving someone else's memories. Strap in – it’s a lot.

Disney+

Hawkeye

Even if you're tired of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hawkeye is worth a watch simply because it's fun. Clint Barton has never been the most interesting Avenger, but he's fantastic as the foil to Kate Bishop, a plucky arrow-slinging protege. It may not reach the heights of Loki or Wandavision, but it's miles ahead of the supremely disappointing Falcon v. Winter Soldier.

Also on Disney+:

The Beatles: Get Back: An astounding fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring some previously unseen Beatles footage.

Star Wars: Visions: The anime spin on Star Wars I've always dreamed of.

Bluey: Hands down the best kids show on TV.

Other things to watch

Yellowjackets (Showtime): An elite girls' soccer team gets stranded in the woods after a plane crash. How did they manage to stay alive for over a year? Yellowjackets follows the surviving adults as they try to figure out who's digging into their traumatic past.

Star Trek Prodigy (Paramount+): What happens when a group of alien kids get their hands on an Enterprise starship? Something we’ve never seen in the Star Trek universe before: how people outside of the affluent Federation live. Prodigy features some genuinely fun characters and gorgeous animation in a kid-friendly package.