News Hightech

Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat could launch in March

Apple may be close to launching another one of the numerous products it teased last year. Sources talking to both MacOtakara and the Apple Post have claimed that the company's AirPower wireless charging mat should ship sometime in late March, about...

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Dropbox's IPO filing reveals 500M users but a $1 billion deficit

In a move reminiscent of Snap's IPO journey, Bloomberg sources claimed last month that Dropbox had quietly filed to become a public company. Suspicious hires last year had tipped their hand, and we waited to see what would happen for a company valued...

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1Password now lets you see if your password has been leaked

If you have a 1Password membership, you can now check to see if your passwords have been compromised by data breaches and leaked on the internet. It's just a proof of concept feature for now, but 1Password says that in future releases, it will be add...

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HTC confirms layoffs as it combines VR and smartphone divisions

It's been an interesting few months for HTC. Google bought the team responsible for Pixel phones last year for $1.1 billion. The president of HTC's smartphone operations just resigned, claiming a "personal career plan" for the move. Now, the remainin...

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The best smart speakers for music fans

If you're a music fan, the first wave of smart speakers was probably a disappointment. While Alexa and Google Assistant have definitively proven they have a place in the home, the first Echo and Google Home devices were unimpressive when it came to a...

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Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat could launch in March

Apple may be close to launching another one of the numerous products it teased last year. Sources talking to both MacOtakara and the Apple Post have claimed that the company's AirPower wireless charging mat should ship sometime in late March, about...

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Video games

Alicia Vikander On Reinventing The Role Of Lara Croft

Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft in the newest cinematic adaptation of the Tomb Raider series. Following in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s movies, Vikander is assuming the role of a very different kind of Lara Croft based on the more recent Tomb Raider titles. More survivalist than action hero, Vikander's Croft is more at home with a bow and arrow than dual pistols. We got a chance to sit down with her ahead of the movie's March release and talk about the long history of the character. How did you feel about getting the Lara Croft role? Have you played the games before? Vikander: I have! I was probably around 10-ish when I probably walked in – I didn't have a PlayStation at home, very sadly – and I walked into my friend's house and I remember that I saw the screen of the TV and I had never seen a female protagonist in a video game. I was really curious and I asked those older boys in that family if I could get a chance to play. I think I got to Peru and then there were some wolves and I just freaked out and didn't get to play more, but I did play the Anniversary version later on in my teens when that came out. Then I played the rebooted games before I started to do the film and realized then how time-consuming it is, but mostly ... when I grew up, I was a big computer games fan, a lot of point-and-click games like Broken Sword and Monkey Island, things like that. I was very aware of Lara and also due to Angelina Jolie and her films. We're talking about four different Lara Crofts here – the original, the reboot, Angelina Jolie's, and yours, as well. What do you think connects all of them? I think it's a wonderful character that has been with us for like 22 years. She's become a great role model and I love the fact that she's been able to take such a big place as a female character in the gaming world and in cinema. I think there's definitely room for this character to evolve, and it felt like it came out in '96, and I think it reflects a strong woman with the same kind of essence still as a smart, very curious, feisty, vulnerable woman. It's almost like she has changed due to how society has changed, she has become more a woman of now, of the time. The Lara Croft in the new movie is more of an urban explorer than the traditional heiress... Yeah, she hasn't been on an adventure yet. For your Lara Croft specifically, how did you consider what way you should approach the character or did you want to hew as close to the game as possible? It's probably the biggest nerve I've had of taking on this part, which has also been my inspiration, of wanting to give people who love this character and who have been following her for all these years to feel like it's the essence of her. Then I think, I know myself, you do want to get something new. It's like, "Why another film?" You want to see a new perspective and I love that it was an origin story, that this is much more of a girl set in a reality maybe even closer to our world. I was 20 when I came to London with my roommates. I enjoyed that she was a very physical being and showed ways that were plausible that she became the kind of survivor that she turns out to be in the film. I love that we got to see the sort of steps of her becoming the action hero we know her to be. If you have a character that you love, if you get the chance to see them grow up in a coming-of-age story, then you get so many more levels and perspectives of the character that you love. The original Lara Croft was kind of a lone wolf in her adventures, the reboot Lara is somewhat defined by her relationships with other characters. Oh, you think? She has the relationship with her father that's kind of driving her in the film. Yeah, but that she had already in the original. In the beginning of the film, it's more that thing of how she doesn't know what happened, it's more difficult for her to mourn. I don't know if I agree that her character is defined by other characters in the film. I think she is, when I first read about her, I thought she was a very strong character by herself. She does have relationships, which is the difference when you get more time to tell the story around her, then you do have time to see what her world is like. When you actually look at somebody's world you always find the elements of the people surrounding you. They're both fiercely independent, but it does seem like the reboot Lara has more of an attachment to other people than the original did, who was kind of defined by her tragedy versus being driven by hope. Oh, that's good, I like that. It's nice that you say hope now we have more possibility to explore things like that. I love the fact that she's always been put through quite harsh times, dear Lara, and yet she always managed to pick herself up. I think that kind of stubbornness and excitement and capability to always see things from the good side and always stand up again, are very much the essence of her, too. The movie kind of echoes Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with the missing father and the forbidden land, how do you feel Lara Croft compares to Indiana Jones? I grew up with those films, I love adventure films, so this of course – I got the chance to go on to the most gorgeous built sets, which made me feel like a kid, like temples and tombs. So of course it's kind of similar, it's an adventure genre, but then I think it's important to try and make something that is its own and fresh. I feel like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft as characters are quite different. Hopefully we'll be taking quite different journeys due to that. The original Lara Croft from twenty years ago was a product of her time and was marketed with a heavy emphasis on her sexuality. The current Lara Croft by contrast focuses on her survival skills above all else. Why do you think that has changed? I think that is due to society changing. I think it's just different. If you were to walk out and ask any young girl or boy, man or woman, really what they find attractive and sexy, it would be very different today than what it was twenty years ago. The view on people and ladies in general is just different. I think that's why the rebooted game, it's just my thought, but maybe that's why it came about. You have this character that has been so groundbreaking and has such a cool essence that a lot of people have already, from the beginning, just seen that and now they've brought that character with them into our time. I think that's the difference. Let's say you have carte blanche to make your own Tomb Raider game. How would you go about making it your ideal title in the series? How I would go about doing one myself? I think when I played the last two games, I loved them because of the focus on the story. That's why I was drawn in to my point-and-click games when I was young. I love leaving reality behind and just kind of getting absorbed into adventures where I dreamt being able to go to myself. So I would be fine really trying to continue what they've done and make it a lot about the writing. Then from there you can put in the great action beats and thrills, but I think it all comes down to having the essence of a good story meaning everything.   Tomb Raider releases in theaters on March 16. Square-Enix has announced a new Tomb Raider game to be revealed later this year.

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Overwatch League Team Florida Mayhem Honoring Parkland Shooting Victims

It is understandable that the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida hits close to the Overwatch League team from Florida, so the team is honoring the victims and helping to raise money while participating in the league. The team tweeted out a message of support yesterday, stating that they will be wearing patches during their games that represent the Stoneman Douglas High School. They also tweeted out links for raising money for victims, such as GoFundMe and a Sun Sentinel aggregate of fundraising links.  "The Florida Mayhem players will come to the stage this week wearing patches honoring the community of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High following last week's horrible event," the statement starts. "Everyone in our organization has been touched by the impact of the act and the strength of those affected, and as proud representatives of Florida we wish to demonstrate our support and promote continued positive outreach by the larger Overwatch population." The next Florida Mayhem game is Saturday, February 24 against the Philadelphia Fusion.

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My Little Pony-Inspired Fighting Game Bucks Into Early Access

Back in early 2013, a group of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fans were developing a "non-profit, voluntary" fighting game featuring the equine stars from the cartoon television show. However, Hasbro came knocking with a cease-and-desist letter that put an end to the project. Rather than shelving it entirely, the Mane6 team received a lot of support, which included Friendship is Magic's creator Lauren Faust. She offered her services to develop a new premise and completely original characters in her iconic style. After a couple years of world building, the addition of new characters, and meticulous fine-tuning, Mane6 reintroduced the world to its original fan game as Them's Fightin' Herds, which went on to garner over half a million dollars from 10,513 backers during its 2015 Indiegogo campaign. It has since been in a private backer's beta, but was publicly put into early access on Steam as of February 22. (Please visit the site to view this media) Them's Fightin' Herds boasts a pixelated multiplayer lobby with customizable avatars, including costumes from other fighting series like Blazblue and Guilty Gear if you own specific titles from the franchises in your Steam library.  A story mode is currently in development that will have episodes focusing on individual ungulates. The Early Access version of the game provides access to "local and online multiplayer PvP modes, a cooperative PvE mode, as well as a single-player arcade mode and Target challenge mode." The single-player episodes will be added later on for free for those who purchase the game at its permanent price tag of $14.99. [Source: Mane6 on Twitter via Polygon]   Our TakeI don't mind admitting that I used to be a big fan of Friendship is Magic a few years ago. I've fallen off the brony bandwagon, but I still admire the television show for its great writing, humor, and animation. That being said, I remember being so disappointed about Mane6's fan game being shut down. It's encouraging to see that the team never gave up on bringing their vision to life with Them's Fightin' Herds, which looks promising on its own merit with a robust lore, dynamic score, and meticulous animation.

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What The Heck Is This? Episode 19

We cover a lot of big, well-known games here at Game Informer. Thanks to these efforts, you (hopefully) know all about the next big franchise, or the highly-anticipated new game from that notable indie developer What about those random games that fly under the radar? The one among the dozens that release every day on Steam? Or that Xbox One game with the weird title? This new video series is an attempt to highlight those games – for better or worse. We see these type of games all of the time. The game that we look at and say, "What the heck is that?" This is our chance to play them and decide, on the spot, if we want to keep playing them, or move on to to something different. In episode 19, we play a vulgar platformer featuring the voice of Duke Nukem, Jon St. John, in Rad Rodgers: World One. We also play a Tacoma-like space station exploration game with The Station. (Please visit the site to view this media) Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 |Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13 | Episode 14 | Episode 15 | Episode 16 | Episode 17 | Episode 18 | Episode 19

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Is Metro Exodus More Or Less “Hardcore” Than Last Light?

With Game Informer's new cover story on Metro Exodus, we dive into a ton of new details about the upcoming sequel from 4A Games. The Metro games can be challenging, and in the past have appealed to an audience that prefers a more "hardcore" edge to their games like limited ammo and an oppressive atmosphere. With the new game embracing player freedom and ratcheting up the crafting mechanics, we wanted to better understand how the developers are framing this experience. Who is it for, exactly? Watch our interview with creative director Andriy "Prof" Prokhorov and executive producer Jon Bloch to learn what they think about Metro Exodus' audience. Watch the interview below to learn more about the experience you can expect while playing Metro Exodus. (Please visit the site to view this media) For more on Metro Exodus, be sure to check out our coverage by clicking on the banner below.

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Alicia Vikander On Reinventing The Role Of Lara Croft

Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft in the newest cinematic adaptation of the Tomb Raider series. Following in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie in the early 2000s movies, Vikander is assuming the role of a very different kind of Lara Croft based on the more recent Tomb Raider titles. More survivalist than action hero, Vikander's Croft is more at home with a bow and arrow than dual pistols. We got a chance to sit down with her ahead of the movie's March release and talk about the long history of the character. How did you feel about getting the Lara Croft role? Have you played the games before? Vikander: I have! I was probably around 10-ish when I probably walked in – I didn't have a PlayStation at home, very sadly – and I walked into my friend's house and I remember that I saw the screen of the TV and I had never seen a female protagonist in a video game. I was really curious and I asked those older boys in that family if I could get a chance to play. I think I got to Peru and then there were some wolves and I just freaked out and didn't get to play more, but I did play the Anniversary version later on in my teens when that came out. Then I played the rebooted games before I started to do the film and realized then how time-consuming it is, but mostly ... when I grew up, I was a big computer games fan, a lot of point-and-click games like Broken Sword and Monkey Island, things like that. I was very aware of Lara and also due to Angelina Jolie and her films. We're talking about four different Lara Crofts here – the original, the reboot, Angelina Jolie's, and yours, as well. What do you think connects all of them? I think it's a wonderful character that has been with us for like 22 years. She's become a great role model and I love the fact that she's been able to take such a big place as a female character in the gaming world and in cinema. I think there's definitely room for this character to evolve, and it felt like it came out in '96, and I think it reflects a strong woman with the same kind of essence still as a smart, very curious, feisty, vulnerable woman. It's almost like she has changed due to how society has changed, she has become more a woman of now, of the time. The Lara Croft in the new movie is more of an urban explorer than the traditional heiress... Yeah, she hasn't been on an adventure yet. For your Lara Croft specifically, how did you consider what way you should approach the character or did you want to hew as close to the game as possible? It's probably the biggest nerve I've had of taking on this part, which has also been my inspiration, of wanting to give people who love this character and who have been following her for all these years to feel like it's the essence of her. Then I think, I know myself, you do want to get something new. It's like, "Why another film?" You want to see a new perspective and I love that it was an origin story, that this is much more of a girl set in a reality maybe even closer to our world. I was 20 when I came to London with my roommates. I enjoyed that she was a very physical being and showed ways that were plausible that she became the kind of survivor that she turns out to be in the film. I love that we got to see the sort of steps of her becoming the action hero we know her to be. If you have a character that you love, if you get the chance to see them grow up in a coming-of-age story, then you get so many more levels and perspectives of the character that you love. The original Lara Croft was kind of a lone wolf in her adventures, the reboot Lara is somewhat defined by her relationships with other characters. Oh, you think? She has the relationship with her father that's kind of driving her in the film. Yeah, but that she had already in the original. In the beginning of the film, it's more that thing of how she doesn't know what happened, it's more difficult for her to mourn. I don't know if I agree that her character is defined by other characters in the film. I think she is, when I first read about her, I thought she was a very strong character by herself. She does have relationships, which is the difference when you get more time to tell the story around her, then you do have time to see what her world is like. When you actually look at somebody's world you always find the elements of the people surrounding you. They're both fiercely independent, but it does seem like the reboot Lara has more of an attachment to other people than the original did, who was kind of defined by her tragedy versus being driven by hope. Oh, that's good, I like that. It's nice that you say hope now we have more possibility to explore things like that. I love the fact that she's always been put through quite harsh times, dear Lara, and yet she always managed to pick herself up. I think that kind of stubbornness and excitement and capability to always see things from the good side and always stand up again, are very much the essence of her, too. The movie kind of echoes Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with the missing father and the forbidden land, how do you feel Lara Croft compares to Indiana Jones? I grew up with those films, I love adventure films, so this of course – I got the chance to go on to the most gorgeous built sets, which made me feel like a kid, like temples and tombs. So of course it's kind of similar, it's an adventure genre, but then I think it's important to try and make something that is its own and fresh. I feel like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft as characters are quite different. Hopefully we'll be taking quite different journeys due to that. The original Lara Croft from twenty years ago was a product of her time and was marketed with a heavy emphasis on her sexuality. The current Lara Croft by contrast focuses on her survival skills above all else. Why do you think that has changed? I think that is due to society changing. I think it's just different. If you were to walk out and ask any young girl or boy, man or woman, really what they find attractive and sexy, it would be very different today than what it was twenty years ago. The view on people and ladies in general is just different. I think that's why the rebooted game, it's just my thought, but maybe that's why it came about. You have this character that has been so groundbreaking and has such a cool essence that a lot of people have already, from the beginning, just seen that and now they've brought that character with them into our time. I think that's the difference. Let's say you have carte blanche to make your own Tomb Raider game. How would you go about making it your ideal title in the series? How I would go about doing one myself? I think when I played the last two games, I loved them because of the focus on the story. That's why I was drawn in to my point-and-click games when I was young. I love leaving reality behind and just kind of getting absorbed into adventures where I dreamt being able to go to myself. So I would be fine really trying to continue what they've done and make it a lot about the writing. Then from there you can put in the great action beats and thrills, but I think it all comes down to having the essence of a good story meaning everything.   Tomb Raider releases in theaters on March 16. Square-Enix has announced a new Tomb Raider game to be revealed later this year.

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News in brief

The business of war: Russian mercenaries in Syria

A paramilitary chief who serves as a contact for Russians who want to become mercenaries in Syria discusses the grim business of making war for profit. He spoke to FRANCE 24 only on condition of anonymity.

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French prime minister unveils new deradicalisation programme

The French government unveiled new deradicalisation plans on Friday, including isolating extremists within prisons and opening centres dedicated to reintegrating former radicals into society.

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EU doubles Sahel force funding amid urgent appeal from African leaders

European leaders on Friday doubled their funding for a force tackling jihadists in the Sahel, but African leaders warned the money must come quickly if it is to be effective.

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Scandal-hit Australian deputy PM resigns

Australia's scandal-hit deputy leader Barnaby Joyce announced Friday he was quitting and moving to the backbench amid claims of sexual harassment and controversy over an affair with a now-pregnant former aide.

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'Never Again': The students pushing for US gun control

Many of the students who survived a horrific February 14 high school shooting in Florida have become activists demanding changes to US gun laws. Their campaign could well mark a turning point for an issue that has left previous generations at a partisan impasse. FRANCE 24 went to meet some of the leaders of this growing movement.

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The business of war: Russian mercenaries in Syria

A paramilitary chief who serves as a contact for Russians who want to become mercenaries in Syria discusses the grim business of making war for profit. He spoke to FRANCE 24 only on condition of anonymity.

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Sport

Canadian men's hockey team couldn't match German consistency, work ethic

It seemed like such a certainty Canada would clash with the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the gold-medal final. But nobody told the Germans they were supposed to roll over. They showed they were worthy of advancing to the semifinals with their 4-3 overtime win over Sweden, and proved themselves once again against Canada.

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Kelsey Serwa accepted the risks to reap the Olympic reward

With three knee surgeries documented on a massive medical chart, Serwa fully accepts the risks that come with ripping down an Olympic ski cross course. On Friday, the bionic woman – already dealing with arthritis at age 28 – rocketed over the finish line in first to seize Canada's 10th gold medal at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

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What to watch today at the Olympics: Feb. 23-24

Canada's Max Parrot and Mark McMorris compete for their second snowboard medal in Pyeongchang in the men's big air final.

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Kevin Koe's team hits 'rock bottom' with bronze-game defeat

A day after their semifinal defeat to the United States, Koe and his Calgary rink lost Friday's Olympic bronze-medal game 7-5 to Switzerland, meaning Canada will leave the Winter Olympics without a medal in traditional curling for the first time ever.

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Alina Zagitova wins gold, but Kaetlyn Osmond shines brightest

Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova took home gold, but according to CBC Sports figure skating expert Pj Kwong, it was Canadian bronze medallist Kaetlyn Osmond who was the star of the show.

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Canadian men's hockey team couldn't match German consistency, work ethic

It seemed like such a certainty Canada would clash with the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the gold-medal final. But nobody told the Germans they were supposed to roll over. They showed they were worthy of advancing to the semifinals with their 4-3 overtime win over Sweden, and proved themselves once again against Canada.

Read more »



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