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24Sep/170

What we’re watching: ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ and ‘The Night of’

'Marvel's The Defenders'


Mat Smith
Bureau Chief, UK

If you've seen all the other shows that have fed into Defenders, this Marvel team-up isn't going to change how you feel about each of the protagonists. Jessica Jones gets nearly all the good quips, aside from Madame Gao (an imperious old woman that scared the crap out of heroes and villains alike in those other Netflix shows), and even uses a car to ram a resurrected ninja/love interest. Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, is still petulant, myopic and just ugh — if anything, it's good to have human punchbag for everyone else to riff off. Other heroes "forget" his mystical title, despite the fact that Rand says it to anyone and everyone who'll listen. I hoped they'd at least offer some highlights to the Fist, but he's still the weakest part.

The story mostly centers around Daredevil and the Iron Fist, and there are several surprises in the last half of the eight episodes to keep things interesting. Luke Cage seems to take a backseat: He's all voice of reason and stoic calm most of the time. (This is funny to me because in the old comics, it was usually the other way around, as Fist would tell Cage to not take it all so seriously. Then again, Cage also wore a golden tiara thing, so, you know, maybe things are better this way.)

Once I'd finished it all, and believe me, I binged like a lot of viewers, I felt a little underwhelmed. It's not that it was bad, it's just that perhaps my expectations were too high. Despite being like an Indie Avengers supergroup, I didn't feel like any of the heroes evolved much during this team-up run, and the threat didn't ramp up as much as I'd hoped it would, barring a four-on-four match-up in the final few episodes. The group thing works fine; it's just that some of the solo artists do better work on their own.

'The Night of'


Billy Steele
Senior News Editor

If you're looking for something to fill the void left by True Detective and remedy the disappointment of the second season, HBO's latest crime thriller will do the trick. The Night Of is set in NYC and chronicles one really bad night out for Nazir Khan. What starts out as relatively innocent sneaking out and taking his father's cab to go to a party, ends up with him being accused of a murder he doesn't remember committing. Well, mostly because of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol he consumed.

Riz Ahmed is spectacular in the lead role as Khan. He adapts from being a sheltered college student to becoming a murder suspect whose new home is Rikers Island. In fact, Ahmed just won a well-deserved Emmy for the character. Along the way, fellow inmate Freddy Knight, played by Michael K Williams of The Wire fame, takes Naz under his wing. In exchange for protection in prison, Naz has to do some illicit activities to repay the debt. And of course, that creates a whole other set of issues.

John Turturro is also outstanding in the role of John Stone, a lawyer that hangs out around police stations looking for clients. Stone thinks this is another open-and-shut case where he can get paid to convince his client to take a plea deal. And because it's a high-profile murder case, he'll earn much more than his usual fee. During the course of the show, it's amazing to watch Stone's change of heart towards Naz while dealing with his own personal struggles -- all of which culminates in the attorney's epic closing argument.

The best part? It's only eight episodes, which means it's easily bingeable in a weekend -- if you're as determined as I was. The shorter season also kept the pace moving along at a good clip, and the show never felt like it was dragging or filling time like some 13-episode series tend to do. What's more, The Night Of works so well as a one-season show. While there have been rumblings about a second installment, I'd be perfectly fine with HBO keeping this to one season. Unless of course, Turturro comes back as John Stone -- then I might be convinced to change my tune.

'The Man from Nowhere'


Richard Lawler
Senior News Editor

If you, like me, have a leaning towards classic action flicks from a few decades ago, then Korean movies can fill the hole left by current Hollywood movies that rely too heavily on quick camera cuts and CGI. A few you should check out include I Saw the Devil, No Tears for the Dead and, my favorite, The Man from Nowhere.

This 2010 release lived up to its title, suddenly appearing and instantly becoming one of my favorite movies. It fills its two-hour runtime with a visceral, close-up brand of violence all paced to match the way we learn about its main character's backstory. A mysterious pawnshop loner turns out to be a former special-forces operative, who deliberately chews through a crime syndicate that has kidnapped a little girl he befriended. It's not the most original plotline, but the mix of story and action is perfect, and star Won Bin -- who I hope will return to action movies someday as he is sorely missed -- pulls off every bit of subtle emoting necessary to carry the role.

It closes with an action scene that I won't spoil but can honestly say is a favorite along with anything seen in either The Raid movie. Emotional stakes combined with excellent choreography and cinematography take it to another level and should earn this flick a spot on your shelf.

"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/23/video-irl-august-2017/

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24Sep/170

DHS finally reveals the states Russia hacked during the elections

Senator Mark R. Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "Its unacceptable that it took almost a year after the election to notify states that their elections systems were targeted, but I'm relieved that DHS has acted upon our numerous requests and is finally informing the top elections officials in all 21 affected states that Russian hackers tried to breach their systems in the run up to the 2016 election." The states affected by the hacking attempts include Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington.

According to Homeland Security, the attackers only got into the systems of a handful of states despite targeting almost two dozen. In some cases, like in Illinois, the attackers altered voters' records and got away with their sensitive details, but investigators didn't find any evidence that they tampered with actual voting machines. Office of Intelligence and Analysis Cyber Division acting director Samuel Liles once said, however, that the attackers might not have altered vote counts, because their real purpose was to look for vulnerabilities to exploit.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/23/homeland-security-russia-hacking-elections/

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24Sep/170

Watch the NFL’s London game at 9:30AM Eastern

Yahoo is also streaming the other London games, including the Dolphins versus the Saints on October 1st, Cardinals versus Rams on October 22nd and Browns versus Vikings on October 29th.

The web giant definitely doesn't have a lock on NFL game streams -- there's been a fierce battle for the rights to air regular season matches. Between this and Amazon's deal, though, there will be a surprising amount you can watch without paying for a dedicated streaming service or (gasp) a TV package.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/23/nfl-london-game-livestream/

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24Sep/170

Hurricane Maria wreaks havoc on Arecibo radio telescope

To make matters worse, the situation is dire for on-site staff. The National Science Foundation understands that team members have generators, a water well and food for a week, but the roads may be impassable for days.

The hurricane compounds what was already a difficult period for the observatory. The NSF doesn't believe it can keep funding Arecibo itself, and has been looking for partners who could shoulder the burden. Now, the telescope's future is even more in doubt. While it sounds like repairs are feasible, can the NSF or any potential allies justify funding those repairs? It wouldn't be as simple as shutting down Arecibo (there are environmental considerations), so its fate is very much in limbo. The only certainty is that Puerto Rico needs help right now -- please consider donating to a relief fund if you can.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/23/hurricane-maria-damages-arecibo-radio-telescope/

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24Sep/170

‘Super Mario Run’ update breathes life into Nintendo’s mobile plans

You'd be forgiven for wondering what was happening with Super Mario Run. After a flurry of activity in its first few months, things have mostly quieted down. However, Nintendo is about to spark a bit of life into its signature mobile game. It's releasing an update on September 29th that adds some (frankly needed) variety. You can play as Daisy, for instance. There's a new world (World Star) with new gameplay elements, and a Remix 10 game mode that randomizes parts of 10 levels for a fast, perpetually fresh experience. You can also listen to your own music while you play, and your character will even don headphones to reflect that you're not listening to the usual Super Mario themes.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/23/super-mario-run-september-29-update/

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24Sep/170

Uber is ready to cut a deal to get its London license back

Times insiders claim that Transportation for London is encouraged by the warmer stance and says that it's open to talks. It's not certain how close Uber and TfL are to actually sitting down and talking, but this is clearly the first step. There's no secret as to what changes Uber is likely to make, at least. In Denmark, Uber had talked about guaranteed benefits like paid sick time -- it may promise better conditions for drivers.

The conciliatory attitude isn't completely unheard of, but it does suggest that Uber's change of leadership might be having an effect on the company's once antagonistic approach. After all, new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi suggested that Uber was paying the price for its historical behavior -- it's hard to imagine the previous management saying it earned any kind of punishment. While Uber doesn't have that much of a choice if it wants to return to such an important market (TfL has the upper hand here), it's notable that Uber is changing its tone more quickly than it has in the past.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/24/uber-ready-to-make-concessions-for-london-taxi-license/

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23Sep/170

Apple Watch Series 3 first look: So far, no LTE problems

At its launch event, Apple said the crystal housing for the heart rate sensor is just "two sheets of paper" thicker than last year's Series 2. The difference is subtle -- the crystal pressed into my wrist a little more noticeably than before, but not enough to get worked up over. The weight hasn't changed much, which is pretty impressive, considering the stuff Apple had to squeeze inside to make the cellular connections work.

The more I thought about it, the less sense the cellular Series 3's red dot makes. I'm told it serves no technical purpose; it's just there to add a fun little splash of color, and serve as a reminder that this watch can indeed make phone calls. Whether or not Apple intended it, the visual metaphor is apt: The dot looks like the red notification indicator that pops up on-screen, a subtle, persistent suggestion that the Series 3 is always connected to the rest of your world. That said, the dot straight-up clashes with certain Watch bands. Yeesh.

After that, it was time to actually use the thing. I killed Bluetooth on the iPhone and waited for about 10 seconds until the Watch transitioned to... WiFi. Oops. I'd need to be outside for the rest of this process. It took about 35 seconds for the Watch to acquire an LTE signal, and when messages started rolling in, I was honestly a little surprised by how easily I could manage them all. Unlike other reviewers, I haven't noticed any hiccups in network performance so far, but I'll keep my eyes peeled.

The constant throbbing of notifications rolling in gets old quickly, but so far, the excellent voice recognition was tremendous in helping me get back to everyone. I've always liked the idea of "scribbling" out letters with my finger to respond to incoming messages, but the process of figuring out what letter you've drawn takes just a tick more time. Voice recognition is the way to go, even if I looked like sort of a doofus using it.

Ditto for talking into the Watch, but at least it sounded pretty good, or so said the people I was chatting with. Of the four friends I called using the Watch, three of them had no idea I was talking into my wrist. Still, as far as the built-in speaker goes, you're going to want a decent set of Bluetooth earbuds to get the best audio quality on your end. I should also mention that I didn't notice the widely reported issue where the Series 3 tries to latch on to open WiFi networks it shouldn't. That's probably because I'm kind of anal about what WiFi network settings I actually keep saved on MacBook and iPhone; I generally clear out everything but my home and work configurations. I'm going to be a little more lax about this, though, and see what happens from there. Moving on.

Using Siri was also a pleasant surprise -- it typically gets a bad rap, but my experience so far has been great. It very quickly got to the point where I could ditch the precise pronunciation I reserve for virtual assistants and just talk like myself. There was one moment when I was walking around downtown Manhattan and Siri failed to connect, but she's otherwise turning out to be the Series 3's MVP. The other contender for that title is the updated chipset inside; it makes the Series 3 much more capable. Switching between apps (accessible using the flat side button) was the smoothest experience I've had yet on an Apple Watch.

I kept up with work for about four hours, and while my co-workers could probably tell I wasn't quite as responsive as usual, I was still managing to get things done. It was getting pretty late at this point, so I decided to wind down my night with a leisurely run along the East River, using the GPS to track my route. The Watch seemed to do a fine job here, except that it basically obliterated what was left of my battery life. After six hours, the Watch was down to 10 percent and dipped into Power Reserve mode.

So far, the Series 3 has been a mixed bag. The big performance gains mean it's much more pleasant to actually use, but most people don't need what amounts to a second, more limited phone lashed to their wrists. I'm going to keep testing the Series 3 for a few more days, so stay tuned for our full review.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/22/apple-watch-series-3-first-look/

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23Sep/170

HTC gives Vive developers all app revenue for the rest of 2017

The developer promotion will end on December 31st, HTC says. It's hard to say how much revenue apps could generate during that time, as HTC keeps such info under wraps. It's no doubt hoping that developers will lower their prices a bit, in turn driving hardware sales. "The holiday is the most important time for developers, and we want to show our appreciation for them," HTC Viveport VR's Rikard Steiber told Venture Beat.

The Vive VR headset was one of HTC's lone financial bright spots last year, and the company recently said sales are still going just fine. Nevertheless, it's reportedly being outsold by the PlayStation VR, probably because Sony's PS4 brand is much better known by the gaming public. As such, Sony has arguably the best VR games for its platforms as developers go where the money is.

HTC is banking on the social experience of VR Arcades (credit: ©HLenie)

HTC will also share more hourly revenue with VR arcade operators, giving them 70 percent instead of 50 percent as before. The company's Viveport Arcade system, its licensing platform enabling titles to be played in public spaces, is in trial with 700 titles and 50 operators around the globe.

The Taiwanese firm also unveiled the Viveport Scene SDK that lets developers create new effects to entice potential buyers to try out apps or games. Developers can also build "VR Previews," or movies that run on Vive headsets to show customers what a game is like to play.

HTC recently launched a monthly $6.99 subscription service, and unveiled a new standalone headset that works via the cloud rather than a PC (in China only for now). Now that it has an extra billion in the bank, it's trying a lot of things to push the Vive platform out to more consumers, and the next year or two will crucial for the Vive and VR in general.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/22/htc-vive-developers-viveport-arcade-revenue/

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23Sep/170

The iPhone 8’s glass back costs way more to repair than the front

A number of Apple employees have told AppleInsider that the back glass isn't covered under screen repair and is instead qualified as "other damage," the fee for which is $99. This is likely because removing the glass back is markedly more difficult than swapping out a screen. Unlike the front glass, the back glass is glued in really well, requiring much more effort to remove. AppleCare+ allows for two incidents of accidental damage, after which your repair price jumps up to $349 for the iPhone 8 and $399 for the Plus for anything other than a screen repair.

So be careful with that iPhone 8. Between higher AppleCare+ costs and higher damage repair fees, that new phone could turn out to be much pricier than you bargained for.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/22/iphone-8-glass-back-costs-more-to-repair/

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23Sep/170

Mercedes-Benz spends $1 billion to make EVs at Alabama plant

Like most auto makers these days, Mercedes-Benz is investing in electric vehicles in a big way. The Daimler-owned company is fast-tracking all of its models to an electric future by 2022. It has also been showing off a slate of EV models, like the Generation EQ concept car, slated for production in 2019, an art deco-inspired, 20-foot-long Cabriolet and an adorably small Smart Vision EQ. It's looking at infrastructure, too, giving money to help support quick-charging tech made by Israeli startup StoreDot. Now Mercedes-Benz' parent company, Daimler AG, has plans to invest an $1billion in an Alabama factory to make sure it can make fully electric vehicles and battery packs here in the US.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/22/mercedes-benz-1-billion-evs-alabama-plant/

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