谷歌自动翻译 》

YouTube backtracks after Pokemon 'child abuse' ban
Google backtracks after 'mistakenly' deleting YouTubers for 'sexual content involving minors'.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 18 Feb 2019 | 11:39 am

Alibaba is the force behind hit Chinese Communist Party app: sources
A Chinese government propaganda app that recently became a huge hit was developed by Alibaba, two people at the company told Reuters, at a time when the nation's tech firms are under global scrutiny over their ties to Beijing.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 10:29 am

Germany bans Wirecard 'shorting' as prosecutors probe FT journalist
Germany's financial watchdog has banned "short" selling of Wirecard shares due to volatility in the payments firm's stock following reports in the Financial Times which are now the subject of an investigation by German authorities.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 8:52 am

Germany consults industry about blockchain potential
Germany has opened a consultation process on how to tap into the potential of blockchain technology ahead of presenting a strategy by the summer, government sources said on Monday.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 8:47 am

Facebook broke rules, should be regulated: UK lawmakers
Facebook intentionally breached data privacy and competition law and should, along with other big tech companies, be subject to a new regulator to protect democracy and citizens' rights, British lawmakers said on Monday.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 8:39 am

Uber agrees to pay VAT in Egypt: tax chief
Uber has agreed to pay value-added tax on its services in Egypt, Egyptian officials said on Monday, a move that may help resolve a long-simmering feud with traditional taxi drivers.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 8:07 am

YouTube aids flat earth conspiracy theorists, research suggests
The ranks of people who believe the Earth is flat are being helped by YouTube, suggests a US study.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 18 Feb 2019 | 7:38 am

Britain does not support total Huawei network ban: sources
British security officials do not support a full ban of Huawei from national telecoms networks despite U.S. allegations the Chinese firm and its products could be used by Beijing for spying, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 7:31 am

Britain's FT says allegations over Wirecard reporting are false
Britain's Financial Times rejected as "baseless and false" any allegations accusing the newspaper or its reporters of market manipulation or unethical reporting in relation to German payments company Wirecard.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 7:28 am

Australian political parties hit by 'state actor' hack, PM says
The "sophisticated" activity follows an intrusion on parliamentary servers, PM Scott Morrison says.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 18 Feb 2019 | 7:02 am

Facebook says it is 'open to meaningful regulation'
Facebook is "open to meaningful regulation", it said on Monday after British lawmakers said that big technology companies should be subject to a compulsory code of ethics to tackle the spread of fake news and abuse of users' data.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 6:56 am

Britain's 5G network security review ongoing: PM May's spokesman
Britain's review of its 5G network resilience is still ongoing, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday after the Financial Times reported that security chiefs had concluded they could manage any risks arising from Huawei's involvement.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 6:51 am

Pulwama attack: Google searches 'hijacked' to link Pakistan flag to toilet paper
The results are believed to be the work of Indian protesters responding to the 14 February Kashmir attack.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 18 Feb 2019 | 6:48 am

Huawei risk can be managed, say UK cyber-security chiefs
UK intelligence chiefs reportedly conclude the Chinese tech giant Huawei can bid for telecoms projects.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 18 Feb 2019 | 6:45 am

German prosecutor probing FT journalist over Wirecard: report
German authorities have opened an investigation into a Financial Times journalist over reports about German payments firm Wirecard, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said.

Source: Reuters: Technology News | 18 Feb 2019 | 5:53 am

How we made the effects on Solo: A Star Wars Story
Visual effects supervisor Julian Foddy explains how they helped make the film.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 17 Feb 2019 | 8:01 pm

Facebook needs regulation as Zuckerberg 'fails' - UK MPs
The House of Commons publishes its report into fake news with some strong criticism of Facebook.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 17 Feb 2019 | 7:39 pm

Quadriga: The cryptocurrency exchange that lost $135m
When Quadriga's founder died he left behind a mystery: what happened to millions in cryptocurrency?

Source: BBC News - Technology | 16 Feb 2019 | 7:41 pm

PewDiePie: Roblox lifts ban after social media backlash
Online multiplayer game Roblox has reinstated PewDiePie after banning the YouTuber for using his name.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 15 Feb 2019 | 11:30 am

Ad code 'slows down' browsing speeds
The code putting ads on webpages can stop pages loading by seconds, finds analysis of millions of sites.

Source: BBC News - Technology | 15 Feb 2019 | 7:42 am

Your iPhone’s Contacts App Is More Powerful Than You Realize. Here Are 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of It

You’re not the only one who silently laments spending time searching through the Contacts app on your iPhone or other iOS device, hunting for that one person you barely remember yet need to get in touch with for whatever reason. It only gets worse when you realize their information is either incorrect, outdated, or not where you thought you saved it.

Whether you’re looking for a co-worker, a client, an acquaintance, or a long-lost friend you bumped into at a party, it’s helpful to keep who’s who in order in your Contacts app. And you just might find that the Contacts app is far more powerful when you take the time to get the most out of it. Here’s how.

Add more contact info

Filling out contact information beyond a person’s name, email, and phone number might seem like overkill, but doing so can make Siri a more powerful tool when it comes to connecting with people. By entering people’s addresses, nicknames, phone numbers, and what kind of relationship you have with them, you can ask Siri to do things like “call my brother” or “tell my teddy bear I’m running late.”

Adding contacts’ address info also makes it easier to see how long it’ll take to get to your friends house by asking Siri instead of searching in your Maps app, or worse, asking your friend to remind you for the millionth time.

Organize your contacts into groups

Got a book club group you’ve got to text? Can’t remember all of their names? That’s where grouping contacts comes in. iPhone users can manage their grouped contacts either in iCloud or via the Contacts app on the Mac using the Groups feature, which syncs across your devices. Groups are perfect for sending messages to multiple co-workers, family members, or your weekly Fortnite squad all at once, without worry of accidental exclusion.

Select a default contacts list

Whether you depend on Apple, Google, or your work’s email server to store your contacts, make sure they’re all in the same place. For that, picking a default contacts list is a lifesaver, and will help you mitigate problems like duplicate names, outdated entries, and general location disorder in your Contacts app.

In your iPhone’s Settings app, hit the Contacts section, then select Default Account. If you’ve got multiple accounts added to your iPhone, selecting a default will send every future contact you add to the account of your choice. You can also exclude the contacts section of the accounts stored on your iPhone by selecting each account and unchecking the Contacts icon.

Make yourself a contacts card worth sharing

While you most certainly have a contact entry for yourself in your digital address book, chances are it has sensitive info you’d rather not hand off to someone you just met. Information like contacts, relationship connections, and addresses are usually private, so don’t fret if you’re hesitant about giving it away. Instead, make a contact card to share with new acquaintances specifically designed for winning friends and influencing people.

In your Contacts app, make a new entry filled with fewer, and more public-friendly, details — you may only want to share your work number or your personal number, for instance, and you may or may not want to share your social media handles. If you really want to make an impression, write a description of your first meeting in your contact’s notes area before you send it, ensuring neither of you forget your beginnings. And don’t forget to add a photo. To share your contact card or that of a friend, find it in your iPhone’s Contacts app, scroll to the bottom, and select Share Contact. You can AirDrop your contact card, too.

Use your Mac’s Contacts app to get organized instead

The Contacts app in macOS offers another route when it comes to sharing your contact info without divulging sensitive content. In the Contacts app, visit Preferences, and select vCard. There you can enable a “private me card,” which lets you pick and choose which bits of information you want to share and what you want to hide. While it’s a great solution to fixing the issue on a Mac, enabling a private me card will not hide your sensitive contact info if shared via your iPhone or other iOS device.

Source: Tech – TIME | 15 Feb 2019 | 6:00 am

Google Gets a Little Buggy With Its Valentine’s Day Doodle

Thursday’s Google Doodle celebrates Valentine’s Day 2019 and “the universal, undeniable power of love.”

In America, 250 million roses will be sent to loved ones, an estimated 10,408 children will be conceived and countless boxes of chocolates scoffed. But love, says Google, “comes in all shapes and sizes—or even species!”

Today’s featured animation shows two enamored worms slither up next to one another to form the shape of a heart, then ladybugs and spiders repeat the trick, creating love-hearts out of a partially eaten leaf and a freshly spun web.

And the doodle is backed up by cold, hard science. Ladybugs are indeed capable of love, though they’re also known for their promiscuity, and some male spiders fall in love so hard that they shrivel up and die after copulation. Worms, meanwhile, are living proof that love is blind.

The Doodle itself prompted users from around the world to share the love:

But it’s not such a rosy picture elsewhere. In Japan, where 13 same-sex couples have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the country’s rejection of same-sex marriage. And in India, female students at a college in Delhi have demanded an end to a Valentine’s Day ritual that sees male students hang condoms filled with water from a tree and pray to “curvaceous goddesses” in the hope that it will help them lose their virginity.

Source: Tech – TIME | 14 Feb 2019 | 8:49 am

NASA’s Opportunity Rover Declared Dead After Record-Breaking 15 Years on Mars

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — NASA’s Opportunity, the Mars rover that was built to operate for just three months but kept going and going, rolling across the rocky red soil, was pronounced dead Wednesday, 15 years after it landed on the planet.

The six-wheeled vehicle that helped gather critical evidence that ancient Mars might have been hospitable to life was remarkably spry up until eight months ago, when it was finally doomed by a ferocious dust storm.

Flight controllers tried numerous times to make contact, and sent one final series of recovery commands Tuesday night, along with one last wake-up song, Billie Holiday’s “I’ll Be Seeing You,” in a somber exercise that brought tears to team members’ eyes. There was no response from space, only silence.

Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA’s science missions, broke the news at what amounted to a funeral at the space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, announcing the demise of “our beloved Opportunity.”

“This is a hard day,” project manager John Callas said at an auditorium packed with hundreds of current and former members of the team that oversaw Opportunity and its long-deceased identical twin, Spirit. “Even though it’s a machine and we’re saying goodbye, it’s still very hard and very poignant, but we had to do that. We came to that point.”

The two slow-moving, golf cart-size rovers landed on opposite sides of the planet in 2004 for a mission meant to last 90 sols, or Mars days, which are 39 minutes longer than Earth days.

In the end, Opportunity outlived its twin by eight years and set endurance and distance records that could stand for decades. Trundling along until communication ceased last June, Opportunity roamed a record 28 miles (45 kilometers) and worked longer than any other lander in the history of space exploration.

Opportunity was a robotic geologist, equipped with cameras and instruments at the end of a mechanical arm for analyzing rocks and soil. Its greatest achievement was discovering, along with Spirit, evidence that ancient Mars had water flowing on its surface and might have been capable of sustaining microbial life.

Project scientist Matthew Golombek said these rover missions are meant to help answer an “almost theological” question: Does life form wherever conditions are just right, or “are we really, really lucky?”

The twin vehicles also pioneered a way of exploring the surface of other planets, said Lori Glaze, acting director of planetary science for NASA.

She said the rovers gave us “the ability to actually roll right up to the rocks that we want to see. Roll up to them, be able to look at them up close with a microscopic imager, bang on them a little bit, shake them up, scratch them a little bit, take the measurements, understand what the chemistry is of those rocks and then say, ‘Oh, that was interesting. Now I want to go over there.'”

Opportunity was exploring Mars’ Perseverance Valley, fittingly, when the fiercest dust storm in decades hit and contact was lost. The storm was so intense that it darkened the sky for months, preventing sunlight from reaching the rover’s solar panels.

When the sky finally cleared, Opportunity remained silent, its internal clock possibly so scrambled that it no longer knew when to sleep or wake up to receive commands. Flight controllers sent more than 1,000 recovery commands, all in vain.

With project costs reaching about $500,000 a month, NASA decided there was no point in continuing.

Callas said the last-ditch attempt to make contact the night before was a sad moment, with tears and a smattering of applause when the operations team signed off. He said the team members didn’t even bother waiting around to see if word came back from space — they knew it was hopeless.

Scientists consider this the end of an era, now that Opportunity and Spirit are both gone.

Opportunity was the fifth of eight spacecraft to successfully land on Mars, all belonging to NASA. Only two are still working: the nuclear-powered Curiosity rover, prowling around since 2012, and the recently arrived InSight, which just this week placed a heat-sensing, self-hammering probe on the dusty red surface to burrow into the planet like a mole.

Three more landers — from the U.S., China and Europe — are due to launch next year.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the overriding goal is to search for evidence of past or even present microbial life at Mars and find suitable locations to send astronauts, perhaps in the 2030s.

“While it is sad that we move from one mission to the next, it’s really all part of one big objective,” he said.

Source: Tech – TIME | 13 Feb 2019 | 2:24 pm

Twitter’s CEO Gives the Company a ‘C’ for ‘Tech Responsibility’

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted Tuesday that Silicon Valley companies are not doing enough to combat abuse and misinformation online, and gave his social media platform a ‘C’ for “tech responsibility.”

Writing in an interview on Twitter with Kara Swisher, co-founder of tech news site Recode, Dorsey said his company has shifted the onus of dealing with abuse onto the victims, which he called a “huge fail.” He was then asked to grade Twitter on what Swisher dubbed “tech responsibility.”

When pressed to name specific problems with Twitter and outline concrete steps taken to fix them, Dorsey said “physical safety” and offline ramifications were top priorities.

Swisher pushed back, saying that Dorsey and other Silicon Valley leaders deserve an ‘F’.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have come under intense scrutiny for cyberbullying, fake news and bot accounts. Twitter has been accused of spreading false information, and U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia used social media to meddle in the 2016 election.

In the course of Tuesday’s interview, Dorsey also touched on company’s lack of diversity and the need to address the global ramifications of Twitter’s shortcomings. Dorsey said he dislikes the how Twitter incentivizes “outrage, fast takes, short term thinking, echo chambers, and fragmented conversation.”

To read the full interview, click here.

Source: Tech – TIME | 12 Feb 2019 | 11:04 pm

Google’s New Tool Tells You if Your Password Has Been Hacked

Change your passwords often? Of course not — you’re too busy logging in safely and securely, after all. But for the well-intentioned majority of us too busy procrastinating to update their insecure passwords, there’s help from Google in the form of a new Chrome web browser extension called Google Password Checkup.

Google Chrome already has built-in password management support, meaning you can generate, store, and update your usernames and passwords using Chrome itself — just head to your Settings page and hit the Passwords box. Google Password Checkup functions as a helpful second layer of security, telling you when your passwords have been compromised, and reminding you to change them before it’s too late. To figure out which passwords are secure, Google keeps an encrypted database of passwords known to be compromised, and compares it to your own credentials (which it also encrypts). The actual comparison is done locally, in the Password Checkup extension, so no personal information is transmitted during the checkup process. If it finds a match, the extension will suggest you change your password immediately.


You don’t have to do much to benefit from the extension, either. “Whenever you sign in to a site, Password Checkup will trigger a warning if the username and password you use is one of over 4 billion credentials that Google knows to be unsafe,” said Google in its announcement post. From there you can either create a new password full of random characters — with Google’s help — or ignore the reminder until something terrible happens to your online account.

If you think an extension will save you from the ills of bad online security habits, you’re greatly mistaken. While Google’s Password Checkup will fix your login information, it can’t protect you from data breaches in the first place. For that, you’ll need to adopt better security habits, including changing your password periodically and enabling two-factor authentication on your accounts to add yet another layer of protection.

To install Google’s Password Checkup tool, you can click here or navigate to Chrome’s Extensions page, where you’ll find it alongside thousands of other Chrome extensions.

Source: Tech – TIME | 12 Feb 2019 | 5:26 pm

The Men Behind GPS Just Won a Prestigious Engineering Prize. Not on the Prize List: a Woman

It’s an innovation that allows you to pinpoint your earthly location with just the phone in your pocket; it helps drivers navigate tricky routes, and it can even direct rescuers to stricken people in disaster zones. But Dr. Bradford Parkinson wasn’t able to use his brainchild, GPS, to stop himself getting lost in London, he quipped on Tuesday, as he and three others were named winners of the £1 million ($1.29m) Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

The prestigious prize has been awarded every two years since 2013 to engineers responsible for innovations that benefit all of humanity. This year’s chosen technology, which stands for Global Positioning System, joins other far-reaching winners including the Internet and the cellphone camera. James Spilker, Hugo Fruehauf, and Richard Schwartz were also named for their contributions.

But the announcement on Tuesday steered the judging panel directly into a controversy, as it became clear that this year’s winners were all male — and that, after four biannual awards, one of the world’s highest-profile and most valuable prizes for engineering has still not been awarded to a woman.

Worse still, a female mathematician did help shape the technology that led to GPS. Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon, the CEO of Stemettes, a company that encourages girls to take up STEM subjects, pointed out the contribution of Dr. Gladys West, who developed algorithms used by satellites to map the shape of the Earth, a breakthrough which was essential to the success of the GPS project. “I’m gutted and I’m disappointed,” Imafidon told TIME on Tuesday.

West was hailed as a “hidden figure” and inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers hall of fame in 2018, after her story began to receive greater attention in the press. Her recognition came at a time of wider mainstream understanding of how the achievements of women and people of color are often written out of history and systematically ignored by official bodies.

The judges did consider West for the award, the chairman of the judging panel, Christopher Snowden, told TIME. But they eventually decided against it because she didn’t make a “fundamental” contribution to GPS technology, he said. “She made immense contributions in some of the algorithmic work, but it wasn’t related to the actual fundamentals,” Snowden said. “You can’t give everybody a prize. So you have to look for those who really were the leaders and the key contributors to this. And that’s what we did in this particular case.”

But that answer, Imafidon said, exposed the marginalizing structures that first keep women and minorities away from STEM fields, and then sweep their achievements under the rug when they overcome great odds to succeed. “I am gutted that they did not see fit to take this opportunity to recognize the varied achievements of different people involved in the GPS project, on what sounds like a technicality,” she said. “You set the rules.”

“This is just another example of women being written out of history,” she continued. “Live, in front of us, in 2019. It’s unbelievable.”

For their parts, the recipients of the prize were clear that GPS was not the achievement of four men alone. “It’s a recognition of scores of engineers that actually made it possible,” said Parkinson, the chief architect. “Like so many things in our civilization, it is building on technologies and pieces that are gathered together in a new and exciting way.”

GPS is “a pioneering innovation which, for the first time, enabled free, immediate access to accurate position and timing information around the world,” the Prize’s awarding body said in a statement.

Parkinson, often called the “Father of GPS,” was joined at the London ceremony by Spilker, Fruehauf, and Schwartz. All expressed a mixture of gratefulness and bafflement that their work from the 1970s and 80s was being awarded a prize in 2019. “It’s the weirdest thing ever to be recognized for something that you did 40 years ago,” said Schwartz, who designed the satellites which broadcast GPS signals down to Earth. “How many other technologies are 40 years old, and not old?”

The sense of wonder that a technology over four decades old could continue to be the foundation for new and innovative uses today — like ride sharing and even banking systems — was picked up on by the panel presenting the award, too.

Part of the reason GPS has become such an influential technology is its accessibility: Parkinson, the chief architect, was adamant from day one that access to GPS wouldn’t be restricted to the U.S. military, which initially funded the project. “At some point I decreed that there was going to be a civil signal,” he said. “I never asked whether we could do that.”

But that civil signal — which any user around the world can access without having to ask the U.S. military — also means that companies can do whatever they like with the technology. As one of the winners put it on Tuesday, “you can’t separate the good from the bad.”

The designers of GPS had warnings about potential misuses of the technology, for example the tracking of users by big tech companies like Google and Facebook. “That’s people misusing it, that kinda stuff,” said Schwartz, one of the winners.

When tech companies hide their uses of GPS tracking behind lengthy terms and conditions, Parkinson tells TIME, that’s when GPS can be a tool for bad. “The difficulty is, it’s a checkbox and you don’t know what the implications are,” he said. “If it were explained and you said yes, fair enough. But I worry that the check box alone doesn’t tell you what the implication is.”

The “Father of GPS” went on: “I think there ought to be some kind of universal check mark on your cell phone that says, I don’t want anyone to track me, period.”

Source: Tech – TIME | 12 Feb 2019 | 1:13 pm

Apex Legends, EA’s Fortnite Competitor, Could Help it Survive the Video Game Battle

Source: Tech – TIME | 11 Feb 2019 | 11:51 am

‘Tinder for Cows’ Is Now a Thing, and British Farmers Are Using it to Breed Cattle

Source: Tech – TIME | 11 Feb 2019 | 11:43 am

Reddit Users Rally Against Chinese Censorship After $300 Million Funding Round

As news that Chinese company Tencent will invest $150 million in Reddit ricocheted across the popular aggregation website, Redditors expressed fears about censorship — and shared a lot of Winnie the Pooh and Tiananmen Square pictures.

The deal with Tencent, a holding company which specializes in technology, is reportedly part of Reddit’s plan to raise $300 million to support the company’s operations, according to a report released Tuesday by TechCrunch. Reddit, which boasts 330 million active users and bills itself as the “Front Page of the Internet,” is inaccessible in China.

Update: Reddit confirmed the deal Monday morning, saying that it raised $300 million in a funding round led by Tencent and joined by several of the site’s existing investors. The deal gives Reddit a market valuation of $3 billion. The company did not offer further comment about the funding round.

Most of the backlash has been in the form of a number of posts to one of the site’s most popular groups, r/pics, which has over 20 million subscribers. Redditors have written that they feared the site, which is famously a bastion of free speech (with some exceptions) and the home of many niche communities, could end up facing censorship as is seen in China. There, the government blocks references to the bloody 1989 massacre in the Beijing square, as well as images that are more subtly subversive, such as the iconic and lovable Disney bear.

Since the deal was first reported five days ago, numerous Reddit users posted threads and memes criticizing the investment, arguing that it would cause Reddit to clamp down on freedom of expression outside of China. One post, which included the iconic image of a single man stopping a tank in Tiananmen Square, was by far the most popular post of the week and “up-voted” more than 200,000 times.

Some Reddit users posted Winnie the Pooh as an example of how arbitrary Chinese censors could be.

Winnie the Pooh has been an outlaw in China since 2017. The Chinese government appeared to tire of Chinese social media sharing an image of the cartoon bear walking with Tigger compared to a photo of Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama.

“Reddit is now funded by Chinese investors, so let’s remember that President Xi Jinping is so insecure in a meme that he banned Winnie the Pooh nationwide,” wrote Redditor kproxurworld.

Reddit is now funded by Chinese investors, so let’s remember that President Xi Jinping is so insecure in a meme that he banned Winnie the Pooh nationwide. from r/pics


Others also posted the iconic image of a man standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.

“Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of ‘Tank Man’ at Tienanmen [sic] Square before our new glorious overlords decide we cannot post it anymore,” wrote user FreeSpeechWarrior.

Given that reddit just took a $150 million investment from a Chinese censorship powerhouse, I thought it would be nice to post this picture of “Tank Man” at Tienanmen Square before our new glorious overlords decide we cannot post it anymore. from r/pics


However, other users pointed out that Reddit is huge, and a $150 million purchase is not a controlling share in the company, which was valued at $2.7 billion at the time of the sale, according to Tech Crunch.

“A lot of people seem to think it’s a majority buy out for some reason,” wrote user Lunariel.

China has previously been very willing to censor western companies for referencing Winnie the Pooh. Last year, the country blocked HBO’s website after a segment of an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver mocked China’s ban on Winnie the Pooh and censorship in the country overall.

Chinese censors’ aversion to Winnie has also been blamed for the embargo of the live-action Winnie the Pooh film Christopher Robin last summer, although it might have been just a regular victim of China’s cap on foreign films. China only allows in about 40 foreign films annually.

Source: Tech – TIME | 10 Feb 2019 | 1:11 pm

Review: ‘Kingdom Hearts 3’ Is a Series Finale That’s Too Little, Too Late

Kingdom Hearts 3, available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, feels like a game that hasn’t really grown up. Yes, it definitely is the desperately awaited sequel to 2005’s Kingdom Hearts 2, a title garnering critical acclaim and more than one re-release. It’s also the same action-packed adventure game that lets you take a peek into the visually delightful worlds of various Disney characters while you dish out magic and mayhem of all sorts. But Kingdom Hearts 3, through its subpar plot delivery and frustrating combat, disappoints in a way that is not surprising. It’s a game that, as one of many with a strong emotional bond to the series, gives you what you wanted, even if it is a decade or so late. But whether you still want it is the real question.

The twelfth entry in the franchise’s 17-year run, Kingdom Hearts 3 is the conclusion to what is planned to be the first of a series of stories set in the Kingdom Hearts universe. In it, you reprise your role as the sword-adjacent Keyblade wielder Sora, and are sent on a mission — along with allies like Riku, Goofy, and Donald Duck — to regain your lost powers in order to protect the titular Kingdom Hearts from radicalist Keyblade wielder and primary antagonist Master Xehanort.

Given the release schedule of prequels, sequels, and spin-off titles in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, as well as the in-story timeline involving body swapping, identical characters, shared souls, memory loss, and time travel, describing the story in detail is challenging to say the least. Kingdom Hearts 3 might take place after Kingdom Hearts 2, but the multitude of games in between the two do the heavy lifting in terms of setting the stage. That means fans of the first and second game will be guaranteed a plot that makes little sense before viewing at least one YouTube explainer.

Unfortunately, even being up to speed on the story can’t save Kingdom Hearts 3 from its own presentation. It’s a story-driven game, and cutscenes are prolific. As you advance after each battle, you’ll encounter more often than not stilted dialogue, drawn out cutscenes, and an uneven pacing symptomatic of a tale stretched far too thin. In a game so dependent on dialogue to advance the plot, I was taken aback by how dull the script actually was, and sighed in relief when conversations between tertiary characters finally ended. It’s an unfortunate flaw considering how gorgeous it all is.

Genuinely interesting themes about the soul and existence were given as much importance as generic platitudes about fate, friendship, and the forces of darkness. I’m all for the hero’s journey, especially one with anime-inspired storylines, but the game’s continued reliance on characters’ repetitive explanations isn’t engaging or informative in a way that guides new players, nor does it respect the intelligence of gamers old enough to remember playing the previous titles, ostensibly the target audience for this conclusion.

At the start of Kingdom Hearts 3, you’ll venture forth to various Disney worlds, piloting your way to each in your trusty “Gummi Ship,” a craft you build and use to fight enemies on your way there. It’s a fun diversion, and makes exploring the cosmos on your way to your next destination feel like its own reward.


Whether you love or hate the game’s catalog of Disney worlds to visit, they are all presented beautifully, and offer varying challenges, minigames, and mechanics. But they also share an unfortunate feature, despite the impressive visuals: emptiness. More than one character’s arc left me feeling like I was missing something, even though there was nothing left with which to interact.

Exploration, mainly to collect items used for cooking or fabricating more powerful weapons, isn’t enticing enough to shake the feeling I was walking through long-abandoned lands. In one world, where one might expect to find a bustling, creature-populated city, there are virtually no signs of life. In another, where you must rescue citizens from danger, the townspeople seem oddly relaxed, seemingly unaware of the disaster unfolding around them. Oh, and don’t expect to see any cameo appearances from your favorite Final Fantasy characters, either.

As far as fighting on the ground goes, you’ve got options. Combat is exciting and fast-paced, pitting you against multiple enemies at a time. The Keyblades acquired by protecting the Disney worlds from darkness grant you new powers and flashy attacks, letting you change up your fighting style whenever you wish. Equipping your weapons, abilities, and ensuring Donald and Goofy are well-stocked with items to keep you alive will increase your chance for success, and gives the game a more strategic element that can change the way you approach each battle.

Your special moves and combo attacks are the dopamine hit Kingdom Hearts 3 delivers best. Big boss fights, each appropriately styled according to their Disney world, are rewarding and challenging, especially if you’re unprepared. Along with your Keyblades, you can cast spells, summon Disney characters to temporarily fight alongside you, and use magic to dazzle with finishing moves resembling actual Disney theme parks rides. The feeling of freedom to experiment with your tactics in battle only grows, especially in the later half of the game when you’ve unlocked more abilities and have more Keyblades from which to choose.

But the game’s combat also shows its age, feeling like a knockoff of its predecessor. While that might sound like a plus, it neglects to improve faults from the previous title, and still leaves you fiddling with menus during battle, wrestling with camera angles and cursing issues that have been resolved in similar titles for years. Newer additions to the gameplay mechanics, including the ballet-like Flowmotion, are too unreliable to use during fights, and only further expose the barrenness of the worlds. It feels like a step back from the responsive controls and lofty standards set by recently released titles like God of War or Marvel’s Spider-Man.

Kingdom Hearts 3 sure does its best to pull out all the stops, giving players enough minigames, collectibles, and flashy moves to keep you feeling like you’re kicking butt and taking names. Great visuals and a decent strategy element underneath add up to an enjoyable experience as long as you can overlook the story’s bland writing and finicky combat issues. Whether or not the conclusion of this particular storyline satisfies fans of the series, it at least closes the book on Sora’s journey, and certainly gives everyone what they asked for: more Riku.

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