More than 10,000 people witnessed in real time how the beloved love team of the movie “One More Chance” went on Instagram Live last week. Movie actors John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo melted hearts while they flirted with each other, taking back their fans to a time when these two ruled the box office.
Unfortunately, this exchange was scripted, even if it looked extremely genuine. The IG live session was titled “Love Team” and was written and directed by Antoinette Jadaone and co-produced by Erwin Romulo, Philbert Dy and Dan Villegas.
The “Love Team” started out with Bea using her Instagram account and connected with a person whose IG handle was “dumpsitegallery.” Fans were surprised when it was Cruz who was at the other end of the conversation. It started out with greetings and people were expressing on the comments section how they gushed over the seemingly spontaneous reunion, which turned out to be scripted after all.
After recalling how they met and how long they have been friends, the couple then proceeded to a far more serious conversation about the situation in the Philippines. John Lloyd was worried about how he would raise his son, Elias, in an environment where people are trapped because of the coronavirus pandemic and how violence would not be an ideal setup to raise a child.
After the intense discussion between the two, they went back to satisfy their fans’ cravings by being sweet again. The icing on the cake for those who grew up with the on-screen couple was when Cruz serenaded Alonzo. The comments exploded, but more skeptical viewers were already questioning the authenticity of the broadcast.
They then told each other how much their friendship means. The “I miss you” portion allowed fans to go even crazier as it activated emotional nostalgia. The IG Live ended after Elias entered the room and Bea waved to him.
While some caught on the ruse, it is still highly commendable for all those involved in the production of this IG Live as it shows that there are filmmakers who want to experiment on how they can still produce in a time of isolation from one another.
The technology that is now available that enables artists to be more creative in their content. YouTube and TikTok has already challenged content creators to be entertaining and think out of the box. Jadaone and the producers have responded to this challenge in using digital media to give fans something to be excited about in a time of depression and separation from each other.
We don’t have to give up. We just need to look for alternatives in how we can tell stories and make people engaged with our ideas and concepts. The time to evolve movie making is now.
Twitter: Monitoring service does not violate surveillance ban
Twitter said Tuesday a service that monitors tweets for police, alerting them to brewing social justice protests and more, does not break the platform’s ban on being used for surveillance.
Twitter defended letting the service, Dataminr, tap into the flow of public tweets to send alerts to police or other government agencies about plans for protests or civil disobedience, such as those involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Twitter prohibits the use of our developer services for surveillance purposes. Period,” a spokesman for the San Francisco-based company said in reply to an AFP inquiry.
“We see a societal benefit in public Twitter data being used for news alerting, first responder support, and disaster relief.”
The stance provokes a debate as to what exactly constitutes surveillance.
Dataminr is a social media-monitoring service that uses artificial intelligence to comb platforms such as Twitter for user-determined keywords.
In recent months, Dataminr has provided government clients with alerts that include Twitter handles of those posting messages about protest plans or where activists are blocking streets, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cited seeing email copies of alerts.
A Dataminr service called First Alert “notifies first responders about critical events as they’re happening, minimizing response time and enabling them to act quickly and confidently,” according to a post at the company’s website.
First Alert relies on public tweets and was built with input from Twitter. Controls were built in to comply with a Twitter policy against surveillance, according to the social media platform.
Twitter said it does not prohibit alerting information about what is happening that can be gleaned from public tweets.
Protests and discussions about the Black Lives Matter movement are major topics on Twitter.
Threat alerts that can keep people out of danger or help support first responders can focus on specific locations, such as parks or schools, and what is happening, according to Twitter.
Twitter said it has audited Dataminr’s suite of products and found no violation of its ban on surveillance.
“We proactively enforce our policies to ensure customers are in compliance and will continue to do so,” the Twitter spokesman said.
“We consistently hold ourselves accountable to rigorous standards, including third-party audits of key products and services like Dataminr.”
Gates see worst recession yet
Bill and Melinda Gates have released their latest Goalkeepers Report which tracks progress being achieved on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) being pushed by the United Nations.
While they expected 2020 to bring even more improvements from an “amazing” 2019, the Gates said the coronavirus disease 2019 changed the landscape tremendously.
“After 20 years of stunning advances toward global goals to improve health and reduce poverty, the pandemic stopped progress in its tracks,” they said.
“For low and middle-income countries, COVID-19 has set back economies, health systems, and food systems by several years — and in some cases a decade,” they added.
In this year’s report, the spouse surveyed the damage and discussed how to start reversing it.
They said the reversal will not happen overnight and that it will take a coordinated global effort. Nonetheless, they said getting back on track to meet the SDG goals is doable.
The Gates said the virus is hurting people of color the most in America as many of them get sick and die at higher rates than white people.
“According to the US Census Bureau, 23 percent of white Americans said they were not confident they could make rent in August, a frightening enough statistic. Among Black and Latin Americans, though, the number was double that: 46 percent didn’t think they could pay for the roof over their head,” the report said.
But the “widest-ranging catastrophe,” according to the Gates, is economic in nature and it has hit every single nation in the world regardless of the actual cross-border spread of the virus.
Even with the US$18 trillion spent in International Monetary Fund projects designed to stimulate economies around the world, the Gates predicted the global economy will shed US$12 trillion by the end of next year.
“That amount of money is impossible to fathom. Historical comparisons help: For example, in terms of global gross domestic product (GDP) loss, this is the worst recession since the end of World War II, when war production stopped in an instant, one entire continent and parts of another were destroyed, and 3 percent of the world’s pre-war population was dead,” they said.
“In those same terms, the COVID-19 financial loss is twice as great as the “Great Recession” of 2008. The last time these many countries were in recession at once was in 1870, literally two lifetimes ago.”
The Gates said in the report that only the expenditures by some well-off countries on emergency stimulus and social protection projects have kept the “absolute worst from happening.”
“But these countries are not randomly determined. They are countries wealthy enough to raise billions and trillions by borrowing huge amounts and expanding the money supply,” they said.
However, they warned there are limits to what poorer countries can do to stimulate their respective economies.
“On average, the economies of sub-Saharan African countries grew faster than the rest of the world every single year between 2000 and 2015, but sub-Saharan Africa is still the lowest-income region in the world,” they said.
Getting back on track, the Gates said means forging a strong coalition of businesses, government and development banks, saying the “entire international financing system must come together to mount a global response equal to the challenge.”
“But before the world can really begin to address the damage this set of mutually exacerbating catastrophes has caused, we need to stop the inciting one: the pandemic that is currently getting worse, not better, in many countries,” they said.
“We cannot rebuild health systems, economic systems, educational systems, and food systems — to say nothing of making them better than they were when this year began — until the virus that is tearing them all down is under control.”
Read the complete Goalkeepers’ Report here:
Google borrows Apple’s strategy
SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Google said Monday it plans to start enforcing a rule requiring Android apps in its Play Store to use its payment system, which takes a 30 percent cut of transactions.
“We have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” product management vice president Sameer Samat said in a blog post.
People with smartphones or tablets powered by Google-backed Android software are free to get apps from online venues other than the Play Store run by the internet giant.
Google has always required apps offered on the Play Store’s virtual shelves to use its payment system, which takes an industry-standard 30 percent commission — the same as Apple does in its App Store for iOS-powered mobile devices.
Unlike Apple, however, Google has been lax about enforcing the rule.
Google said the policy applies to fewer than 3 percent of developers with apps in the Play Store.
“We only collect a service fee if the developer charges users to download their app or they sell in-app digital items, and we think that is fair,” Samat said.
Changes coming to the next version of Android, due out next year, will make it easier for people to use other app stores while watching out for user safety, according to Samat.
“Even if a developer and Google do not agree on business terms the developer can still distribute on the Android platform,” Samat said.
“This is why Fortnite, for example, is available directly from Epic’s store or from other app stores including Samsung’s Galaxy App store.”
Apple and Google in August pulled video game sensation Fortnite from their mobile app shops after its maker, Epic Games, released an update that dodges revenue-sharing with the tech titans.
The latest version of Fortnite contains a payment system that lets player transactions bypass Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play, preventing the firms from collecting their typical cut.
Epic quickly filed a federal lawsuit against Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of wielding monopoly power.
The suit said Epic is not seeking favorable treatment, but is asking the court to order Apple to change its commission structure for all developers.
Apple said Fortnite was pulled after “Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store guidelines that are applied equally to every developer and designed to keep the store safe for our users.”
Canon’s imagePRESS impresses
Canon yesterday announced the launch of the imagePRESS C165, offering a high-productivity output of 65 pages per minute (ppm) when producing A4 documents in landscape mode.
Requiring a small installation area similar to that of an office multi-function device, the imagePRESS C165 enhances production efficiency for sales promotion, such as pamphlets, posters and business cards.
Kazuhiro Ozawa, Canon Marketing Philippines Inc, president and CEO, said the printer is built with versatility in mind for office and commercial printing.
The paper cassette of the imagePRESS C165 features an internal guide mechanism that maintains a uniform paper position.
It also controls paper delivery speed to prevent the misalignment of letters, regardless of paper size or type during high-volume printing.
Offering high front and back registration accuracy, the printer effectively produces high-quality deliverables such as double-sided flyers.
Compatible too with long paper up to 1,300 mm, the imagePRESS C165 facilitates the printing of elongated output such as POP (point of purchase) signage for retail outlets, posters, 6-fold A4 pamphlets and book covers.
The unit also supports thick paper up to 350 g/m2.
Vivo Y20i’s gaming specs leaked
Over the past few months, vivo has released a slew of smartphones with innovative technology that caters to the demands of current lifestyles.
With the prominence of mobile gaming in today’s environment, vivo is set to release the vivo Y20i, an entry-level smartphone expected to pack powerful gaming technology inside a lightweight body.
The latest addition to the Y-series is rumored to contain 64GB ROM + 4GB RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 Processor which will enable ultra-smooth user experience, high-graphics processing, and dynamic performance.
This will supposedly be powered by a long-lasting 5000mAh battery and will be equipped with the latest rapid cooling technology.
The Android 10-powered smartphone is also said to contain a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which will allow for a more comfortable hold and maximization of its impressive 6.51-inch HD Halo FullView screen, plus an unhampered view of its magnificent rear design.
Besides a fingerprint scanner, the vivo Y20i will reportedly contain FaceView Unlock technology for convenient phone unlocking.
The vivo Y20i will come with an AI portrait camera that will enhance images captured by its rumored AI Dual Camera consisting of 13MP Main and 2MP Bokeh lens.
TikTok gets reprieve as judge halts Trump download ban
TikTok won a last-minute reprieve late Sunday as a US federal judge halted enforcement of a politically charged ban ordered by the Trump administration on downloads of the popular video app, hours before it was set to take effect.
District Judge Carl Nichols issued a temporary injunction at the request of TikTok, which the White House has called a national security threat stemming from its Chinese parent firm’s links to the Beijing government.
The opinion was sealed, so no reason for the decision was released in a brief order by the court in Washington.
The Trump administration order sought to ban new downloads of the app from midnight (0400 GMT Monday) but would allow use of TikTok until November 12, when all usage would be blocked. The judge denied TikTok’s request to suspend the November 12 ban.
The decision represents a temporary win for TikTok, which has 100 million US users. But the court has yet to consider the merits of the legal arguments on whether the social platform should remain available to Americans.
TikTok has argued that even a temporary ban would be devastating and cause the company irreparable harm by stunting its growth and hurting its commercial reputation.
For the injunction, Nichols heard arguments on the free-speech and national security implications of the Trump ban on the Chinese-owned app in a rare Sunday telephone hearing.
TikTok lawyer John Hall said a ban would be “punitive” and close off a public forum used by tens of millions of Americans.
In a written brief filed ahead of the hearing, TikTok lawyers said the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” and “would undermine data security” by blocking updates and fixes to the app used by some 100 million Americans.
The company also said the ban was unnecessary because negotiations were already underway to restructure the ownership of TikTok to address national security issues raised by the administration.
Government lawyers argued the president has a right to take national security actions, and said the ban was needed because of TikTok’s links to the Chinese government through its parent firm ByteDance.
A government brief called ByteDance “a mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist Party and said it was “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging.”
“The president determined that (China’s) ability to control this data presented an unacceptable threat to the United States’s national security and foreign policy,” the government argued in its filing.
An amicus brief filed by Netchoice, a trade group which includes Google, Facebook and Twitter, said a ban could have important implications for the global internet.
“The government’s actions are unprecedented in scope,” the group said in its filing.
A ban would “also create a dangerous precedent” for the open internet, the brief said.
“The prohibition on any use of TikTok code by US developers for any purpose is effectively a ban on the building blocks of digital free expression.”
The trade group said a TikTok ban may be cited by China or other countries “as justification for banning or restricting the activities of US internet businesses, including US-based social media platforms.”
Earlier this month, Trump cited national security concerns and issued orders to ban both TikTok and the popular Chinese app WeChat, which has been put on hold in a separate court case in California.
But the TikTok order stops short of a full ban until November 12, giving parent firm ByteDance time to conclude a deal to transfer ownership of the app.
A tentative deal unveiled last weekend would make Silicon Valley giant Oracle the technology partner for TikTok and a stakeholder in a new entity to be known as TikTok Global.
It was unclear if the deal would be approved by Beijing, where some consider the US move an unjustified appropriation of Chinese technology.
ET, where are you?
The trip from Earth will take 160 days, then Photon will launch the probe into Venus’ clouds, where it will take readings as it falls, without a parachute, at almost 25,000 miles per hour.
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Can a small American aerospace company get to Venus before NASA returns to our superheated planetary neighbor? That’s what Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, is hoping as he sets his sights on launching a low-cost probe in 2023.
Over the past decade, his company has become very good at putting satellites into orbit — and his dream of taking the next step, an interplanetary mission, has received a shot of adrenaline recently with the surprising discovery of a gas linked to living organisms in Venus’s corrosive, sulfuric atmosphere.
“What we’re looking for on Mars is signs of previous life,” Beck explains. “Whereas Venus, it’s signs of potential life now.”
With its hellish landscape, Venus has been largely neglected by the major space agencies since the 1980s in favor of the Solar System’s more distant bodies. Dozens of missions have notably been sent to Mars seeking signs of ancient microbes, representing extra-terrestrial (ET) life.
But the discovery by Earth-based radio telescopes of a gas called phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere, reported on 14 September, sparked a new wave of enthusiasm among scientists who had for years defended the hypothesis that tiny organisms could live in the planet’s clouds.
Phosphine isn’t definitive proof of ET life. But it is possible its presence is linked to living organisms, as it is on our planet. The finding led NASA to declare it was time to once more prioritize Venus.
Beck, however, has always been in the pro-Venus camp, and for two years has been contemplating sending an entirely privately-funded probe there, he said.
He calculated, with the help of a PhD student, that a small satellite called “Photon” that Rocket Lab developed in-house could be adapted into a spacecraft for an interplanetary voyage.
Such bids have historically been the domain of national space agencies, given the enormous costs involved — but Beck thinks he has developed a budget solution.
Rocket Lab’s specialty is sending small satellites into Earth orbit with its small 18-meter high rocket — a highly lucrative market in recent years as demand for microsatellites has exploded. The company’s Venus probe will be very small, weighing around 80 pounds and just a foot in diameter.
The trip from Earth will take 160 days, then Photon will launch the probe into Venus’ clouds, where it will take readings as it falls, without a parachute, at almost 25,000 miles per hour.
The probe will have between just 270 and 300 seconds to analyze an atmosphere that is almost a hundred times denser than Earth’s before it disintegrates or crashes on the planet’s fiery surface, where temperatures are hot enough to melt lead (900 degrees Fahrenheit, or 480 degrees Celsius).
The adventure is the latest chapter in a new era of space exploration fuelled not by governments but by individual curiosity and ambition, one that so far has been best symbolized by Elon Musk, the iconoclastic founder of SpaceX.
SpaceX revolutionized the sector through its reusable rockets that have now sent astronauts to the International Space Station, and has its sights set on colonizing Mars.
NASA is no longer afraid to subcontract missions to privateers, and Rocket Lab will be paid $10 million to send a microsatellite into lunar orbit in 2021. As for Venus, Beck would like to offer his services to NASA.
Marella water disinfectant system launched
In a bid to keep offices and other facilities clean as the country tries to cope up with the coronavirus pandemic, a new disinfection system that does not use harsh chemicals was launched at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig,
The system marketed by JP Marzan Project Ventures Inc. uses Marella water, an electrolyzed hypochlorous acid made from pure salt and water, sprayed using two misting devices.
The mixture boasts of a 99.99 percent disinfection capability against viruses that could not be disinfected by alcohol, while being safe in areas with humans and animals, said the company through supervisor Yusuke Kondo.
Yusuke said the Marella water solution is more effective compared to ordinary disinfectants.
“Most disinfectants used here in the Philippines contain sodium hydrochloride and other chemicals that could endanger health,” Yusuke said.
“So, we researched how to make disinfectants safer for people to use, which became Marella Water,” he added.
The system was employed in disinfecting the Fukudaya Restaurant at BGC.
Drone cams keep homes safe
The future of security takes flight next year.
Science fiction movies of killer drones autonomously buzzing overhead have come closer to reality with Amazon subsidiary Ring’s launch of a drone that flies inside your home or office to do security checks.
Recording footage at multiple vantage points as it hovers, the Ring Always Home Cam is not your run-of-the-mill closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera because it flies indoors on flight paths pre-programmed by the user.
When not flying, the drone lands and gets itself charged on a dock that automatically blocks the camera to maintain privacy, unlike CCTV units that are always open and, if so abled, recording.
The flying cam was among the new products and services launched virtually by Amazon middle of the week, including new variants of Echo and Echo Show, the latest Ring security cameras for cars and its video game streaming service Luna.
Amazon acquired Ring in 2018 and the latter has since then come up with a slew of products catering to the smart security market that allows people to check on their homes while away.
So, what’s the point of a flying camera?
According to Ring founder Jamie Siminoff, the Always Home Cam will allow users to forgo the installation of several CCTV cameras as the drone cam can go whichever part of the house needs surveillance at the moment.
The drone is connected to the company’s smart home security system called Ring Alarm which, if it detects suspicious activities, can send the flying cam to check “what’s happening.”
The Ring system is Amazon’s entry into the smart IoT (Internet of Things) sector seen to automate many human activities through technology, smart products, artificial intelligence and self-learning machines.
As for privacy concerns inherent in security systems, Ring has decided to work closely with police departments in investigating crimes, while assuring against the hijacking of data feed like videos.
Siminoff assured the flying drone will only record while in flight as it moves through a house.
“It cannot be manually controlled, ensuring that it will only record and see what is important to you,” Siminoff added. The drone cam will sell for $250 next year.