Tech News Feed

An AI program voiced Darth Vader in ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ so James Earl Jones could finally retire

Engadget - Sat, 2022-09-24 16:15

After 45 years of voicing one of the most iconic characters in cinema history, James Earl Jones has said goodbye to Darth Vader. At 91, the legendary actor recently told Disney he was “looking into winding down this particular character.” That forced the company to ask itself how do you even replace Jones? The answer Disney eventually settled on, with the actor’s consent, involved an AI program.

If you’ve seen any of the recent Star Wars shows, you’ve heard the work of Respeecher. It’s a Ukrainian startup that uses archival recordings and a “proprietary AI algorithm” to create new dialogue featuring the voices of “performers from long ago.” In the case of Jones, the company worked with Lucasfilm to recreate his voice as it had sounded when film audiences first heard Darth Vader in 1977.

According to Vanity Fair, Jones had signed off on Disney using recordings of his voice and Respeecher’s software to “keep Vader alive.” Lucasfilm veteran Matthew Wood told the outlet that James guided the Sith Lord’s performance in Obi-Wan Kenobi, acting as “a benevolent godfather,” but it was ultimately the AI that gave Vader his voice in many of the scenes.

While there’s something to be said about preserving Vader’s voice, Disney’s decision to use an AI to do so is likely to add fuel to disagreements over how such technology should be used in creative fields. For instance, Getty Images recently banned AI-generated art over copyright concerns. With Jones, there's the possibility we could hear him voice Vader long after he passes away. 

'Oxenfree' is now free to download for Netflix subscribers

Engadget - Sat, 2022-09-24 15:23

More than six years after its PC debut and five years after arriving on iOS and Android, Netflix is making Oxenfree freely available to those with a subscription to its streaming service. Starting today, you can download the new "Netflix Edition" of the game from the iOS and Android app stores. New to this version of Oxenfree is expanded localization support. All told, you can now play the game with subtitles in more than 30 languages.  

Oxenfree joins Netflix's growing catalog of games but is particularly notable for being an in-house release. The company acquired Oxenfree developer Night School Studio last year. Despite what seems like little interest from subscribers, Netflix is moving forward with its gaming ambitions. The company will release Desta: The Memories Between, the latest project from Monument Valley developer Ustwo, on September 27th. It also teased that the critically acclaimed Kentucky Route Zero would "soon" be available for free as well. 

Apple TV Plus: Every New TV Show Arriving in September - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 15:02
Here's a complete list of shows coming in September.

'The Witcher: Blood Origin' debuts December 25th on Netflix

Engadget - Sat, 2022-09-24 14:16

The Witcher: Blood Origin, a prequel to Netflix's live-action adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's fantasy novel series, will debut on December 25th, the streamer announced today during its Tudum event. Netflix also revealed that English actress Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Starstruck) is part of the cast. Driver will narrate the events of the series and may even appear in The Witcher, which will return next summer. Driver said her character plays a pivotal part "in connecting Blood Origin's past with The Witcher's future."       

Gather your clan - The Witcher: Blood Origin is coming to Netflix this December.

— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) September 24, 2022

Set thousands of years before the story of Geralt and Ciri, Blood Origin will center on the Conjunction of the Spheres, the moment in the Witcher universe where humans, elves and monsters all come to inhabit the fantasy world of the series. Actress Michelle Yeoh stars as Scian, the elven protagonist of the tale. Originally slated to run six episodes, Blood Origin will instead be four episodes long. 

'They Cloned Tyrone' Teaser Puts Jamie Foxx, John Boyega in a Sci-Fi Mystery - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 14:15
A trio of friends try to solve a widespread conspiracy in the upcoming Netflix movie.

Vince Gilligan, 'Better Call Saul' Star Team for Apple TV Plus Show - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 14:10
Rhea Seehorn's excellent work on Better Call Saul is being rewarded.

'The Witcher' Season 3 Hits Netflix Next Summer - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 14:08
Prequel series Blood Origin arrives on Christmas day.

See the Super Creepy Netflix Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Watcher' - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 14:04
Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale star as a couple made to feel anything but welcome in their new neighborhood.

'Bridgerton' Prequel Reveals First Look at Young Queen Charlotte - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 13:21
A feisty Netflix first clip from the Shonda Rhimes spinoff series reveals a momentous first meeting.

Ask Slashdot: What High-End Smartphone Is Best For Privacy?

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-09-24 13:17
New submitter cj9er writes: Considering all the privacy issues in today's online climate (all the issues with Meta right now), what is the best high-end smartphone to select? Apple: No way they don't sell your data... Sure, they have privacy for third-party apps, but what about the data they collect from the phone itself? Consider what the revenue is on a single smartphone (say $150), how do you think they have all that cash on hand? Google: Yeah right, Pixel is probably collecting [data] 24/7 considering their main business is selling ads on Search. They have developed the Pixel line because they probably realized they were missing out on the direct collection of data from their own hardware (cut out the middle players using Android). Samsung: Their TVs even collect and sell data on you. I don't really understand the price premium on Galaxy phones anyways. I have kept my data and Wi-Fi turned off on my phones for years. Initially it was for battery reasons but now add in data collection. Ultimately, if we could turn off the GPS feature at will on our phones, maybe we could prevent all tracking (except for cellular triangulation). If we then think about safety, GPS is great and now with satellite-tracking on Apple phones, even better. But then what is going on behind the scenes 99.99% of the rest of the time when you don't require those options for safety reasons? What phone manufacturer can be trusted?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Darth Vader Voice Actor James Earl Jones Signals Retirement From Character - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 13:10
Disney and Lucasfilm are using AI to keep Jones' iconic Darth Vader voice alive.

In 'Enola Holmes 2' Trailer, Millie Bobby Brown's Back as Sherlock's Sis - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 13:07
Move over, Sherlock. The teen sleuth played by Millie Bobby Brown is ready for more mysteries and mischief.

Best Car Polish for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 13:00
Prep for a protective wax coating with our top car polish picks.

Artemis 1 won’t launch on September 27th due to Tropical Storm Ian

Engadget - Sat, 2022-09-24 12:26

NASA can’t seem to catch a break. After completing a successful fueling test of the Space Launch System on Wednesday, the agency had hoped to move forward with Artemis 1 on September 27th. Unfortunately, that date is no longer on the table due to Tropical Storm Ian.

The storm formed Friday night over the central Caribbean. According to The Washington Post, meteorologists expect Ian to become a hurricane by Sunday before hitting Cuba and then making its way to the Florida Gulf Coast. As of Saturday, it’s unclear where Ian will make landfall once it arrives on the mainland. There’s also uncertainty about just how strong of a storm the state should expect, but the current above-average warmth of ocean waters in the eastern Gulf Coast is not a good sign.

Thanks to our partners at @NOAA, @SpaceForceDoD, & @NHC_Atlantic and their high-quality forecasting, we're standing down from our Sept 27 #Artemis launch attempt. To protect our employees and the integrated stack, we will begin configuring the vehicle to roll back. (1/2)

— Jim Free (@JimFree) September 24, 2022

In anticipation of Ian becoming a hurricane, NASA has decided to prepare the SLS for a rollback to the safety of the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building. The agency will make a final decision on Sunday. If the forecast worsens, the rollback will begin on Sunday night or early Monday morning. The plan gives NASA the flexibility to move forward with another launch attempt if there’s a change in the weather situation.

If Artemis 1 can’t fly before October 3rd, the next earliest launch window opens on October 17th. A rollback to the VAB would mean NASA could also test the batteries of the rocket’s flight termination system. That would give NASA more flexibility around the October 17th to October 31st launch window.

Senators Introduce a Bill To Protect Open-Source Software

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-09-24 12:16
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the Washington Post: When researchers discovered a vulnerability in the ubiquitous open-source log4j system last year that could've affected hundreds of millions of devices, the executive branch snapped into action and major tech companies huddled with the White House. Now, leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are introducing legislation to help secure open-source software, first reported by The Cybersecurity 202. Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and top ranking Republican Rob Portman (Ohio) plan to hold a vote next week on the bill they're co-sponsoring. The Peters/Portman legislation would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop a way to evaluate and reduce risk in systems that rely on open-source software. Later, CISA would study how that framework could apply to critical infrastructure. The log4j "incident presented a serious threat to federal systems and critical infrastructure companies -- including banks, hospitals, and utilities -- that Americans rely on each and every day for essential services," Peters said in a written statement. "This common-sense, bipartisan legislation will help secure open source software and further fortify our cybersecurity defenses against cybercriminals and foreign adversaries who launch incessant attacks on networks across the nation." Here's how the Peters-Portman legislation works, as outlined in the report: - It directs CISA to hire open-source experts "to the greatest extent practicable." - It gives the agency a year to publish a framework on open-source code risk. A year later and periodically thereafter, CISA would perform an assessment of open-source code components that federal agencies commonly use. - Also, two years after publishing the initial framework, CISA would have to study whether it could be used in critical infrastructure outside the government and potentially work with one or more critical infrastructure sectors to voluntarily test the idea. - Other agencies would have roles as well, such as the Office of Management and Budget publishing guidance to federal chief information officers on secure use of open-source software.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

VW Gen Travel Concept Is Electric, Autonomous and Really Freakin' Cool - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-09-24 12:14
This autonomous concept envisions what long-distance travel could look like.

Watch Netflix’s Tudum fan event here at 1PM ET

Engadget - Sat, 2022-09-24 12:00

Netflix will host the second installment of its Tudum global fan event today. The stream will feature news, trailers and clips from more than 120 shows, movies, specials, documentaries and games. You'll be able to watch the event, which starts at 1PM ET, below. Netflix will also stream the event on its Twitter, Twitch and Facebook channels, as well as its YouTube channels around the world.

Among many, many other projects, Tudum will feature an update on season three of The Witcher, details on prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin, an appearance from the Squid Game cast and a Stranger Things blooper reel. In addition, Tudum will include news on The Crown, trailers for new seasons of Outer Banks and Manifest, a first peek at Jennifer Lopez's movie The Mother and an exclusive clip from Rian Johnson's follow-up to Knives Out, Glass Onion. There will also be a look at the Netflix version of Oxenfree — the company bought developer Night School Studio last year

This could be an important event for Netflix, which has had a fairly rough year. Its subscriber numbers dropped for the first time — it lost around 1.2 million subscribers in the first six months of 2022. Netflix has raised prices in several territories in recent months and it has a cheaper, ad-supported tier on the way. To both keep current subscribers on board and bring in newcomers, Netflix has to get folks excited about what it has to offer. Events like Tudum can help with that.

Microsoft Edge Found Serving Malicious Tech Support Scam Ads

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-09-24 11:15
AmiMoJo shares a report from Neowin: Anti-malware solutions maker Malwarebytes has recently uncovered a campaign which is serving tech support scams via malicious ads in Microsoft Edge's 'My Feed' section. They provided an image that shows a screenshot of a malvertising campaign where a fake browser locker page is displayed to dupe potential victims. The adware is smart in the way it operates as Malwarebytes has found that the malicious ad banner redirects only potential targets to the tech support scam page. Meanwhile bots, VPNs and geo-locations are shown the actual ad page powered by the Taboola ad network. The firm notes that the differentiation is made with a help of a base64-encoded JavaScript string. In the span of just 24 hours, Malwarebytes managed to collect over 200 different hostnames. Somewhat unsurprisingly perhaps, one of the associated domains is linked to an individual who appears to be the director of a software company operating in Delhi, India. You can find more details about this malvertising campaign on Malwarebytes' blog post about the topic.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.