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      Lee Pace’s Brother Day is front and center in first teaser for Foundation S2 / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 17:43

    Apple TV+ has dropped a teaser for the second season of its epic sci-fi series, Foundation .

    It has been too long since we binged all 10 episodes of Apple TV's 2021 epic sci-fi series Foundation , loosely adapted from Isaac Asimov's hugely influential Foundation series of novels. We're finally getting a second season this summer, announced with the release of the first teaser.

    (Some spoilers for S1 below.)

    As I wrote in my review , Asimov's Foundation series is notoriously difficult to adapt to the screen. The author admitted that he wrote strictly for the printed page, and he always refused invitations to adapt his work for film or TV. But Asimov was more than happy to let others adapt his work to a new medium, and he was wise enough to expect that there would—and should—be significant departures from the print version. That's just what showrunner David S. Goyer ( Dark Knight trilogy, Da Vinci's Demons) set out to do with Foundation , describing it as more of a remix than a direct adaptation. Reviews of S1 were mixed, but I personally found the first season to be:

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      Disney+ and Hulu to unite in a single app this year / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 17:07

    Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER

    Enlarge (credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+ )

    Disney+ plus Hulu equals Disnulu?

    Someone may or may not come up with a better name than that, but by the end of 2023, there will be a new streaming app combining the libraries of Disney+ and Hulu, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed during an earnings call last night.

    Iger clarified that customers will still be able to sign up for Disney+ or Hulu only—or ESPN+ only, for that matter. However, the new app will bring a "one-app experience" in the US with Disney+ and Hulu's selection of movies and TV shows.

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      Rumors and retail listings point to the return of actual mid-range GPUs / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 16:44 · 1 minute

    Nvidia's RTX 4080 and 4070 could finally be getting some more reasonably priced relatives.

    Enlarge / Nvidia's RTX 4080 and 4070 could finally be getting some more reasonably priced relatives. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

    There are two kinds of GPUs you can buy right now if you want to build or upgrade a gaming PC: affordable but old ones and new but expensive ones. Both Nvidia and AMD have been leaning on older products, sometimes with price cuts, to fill the very large gaps in the middle and low ends of their current lineups. But a slowly building buzz of rumors and leaks suggests things should change before long.

    A source speaking to VideoCardz dot com says there are three GeForce RTX 4060-series GPUs coming in the next couple of months, starting with an 8GB version of the 4060 Ti that could be announced as soon as next week and released by the end of the month. A 16GB version of the 4060 Ti and an 8GB version of the 4060 could be announced at the same time but launch at some point in July (Nvidia used the same simultaneous-announcement, staggered-release strategy for the 4090 and 4080 series).

    It's not surprising that the 4060 Ti looks like a big step down from the recently released RTX 4070 —4,352 CUDA cores instead of 5,888, a 128-bit memory bus instead of 192-bit, 8GB instead of 12GB. But it also looks less-than-promising as a step up from 2020's RTX 3060 Ti, which used a 256-bit memory bus, 4,864 CUDA cores, and the same amount of RAM. Extra cache memory, higher clock speeds, and the updated Ada Lovelace architecture should all make the 4060 Ti faster than the 3060 Ti in the end, but it may not be a huge generational leap.

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      The Asus ROG Ally beats the Steam Deck at all but the most important things / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 14:00 · 2 minutes

    Asus ROG Ally held in one hand, on a porch

    Enlarge / With the advent of the Asus ROG Ally, you can take Windows gaming anywhere! Should you? That is a good question. (credit: Kevin Purdy)

    Geralt of Rivia looked good, moved smoothly, and responded swiftly to commands. There was just one problem: He was constantly sucker-punching the villagers of White Orchard. Over and over again, he raised his fists against tavern keepers, kids running in the street, and detachments of Nilfgaardian soldiers. That last one begat a brutal death. Sometimes, right after taking an unprovoked swing, the camera would furiously spin around my white-haired avatar, making me feel like I, too, had caught one in the head.

    Specs at a glance: Asus ROG Ally
    Display 7-inch IPS panel: 1920×1080, 120 Hz, 7 ms, 500 nits, 100% sRGB, FreeSync, Gorilla Glass Victus/DXC
    OS Windows 11 (Home)
    CPU AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme (Zen 4, 8 core, 24M cache, 5.10 Ghz, 9-30 W (as reviewed)
    RAM 16 GB LPDDR5 6400 MHz
    GPU AMD Radeon RDNA3, 4 GB RAM (as reviewed)
    Storage M.2 NVME 2230 Gen4x4, 512 GB (as reviewed)
    Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
    Battery 40 Wh
    Ports ROG XG interface, USB-C (3.2 Gen2, DPI 1.4), 3.5 mm audio, Micro SD
    Size 11×4.3×0.8 in. (280×111×21 mm)
    Weight 1.34 lbs (608 g)
    Price as reviewed $700 (plus mini dock)

    I played the latest version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Asus' new ROG Ally handheld gaming PC ($700, available June 13, preorders start today) as a personal benchmark. Having completed the game three times previously (Xbox/PC/Switch, Yennefer/Triss/neither), I was looking to spot differences on this emerging platform. Asus' new device can run The Witcher 3 —and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey , Forza Horizon 5 , and Hitman 3 —more powerfully than the Steam Deck or almost any other "portable" device around, minus questionably portable gaming laptops. The device runs Windows, so it has fewer game compatibility issues than Valve's Steam Deck (however admirably far that system has advanced). What would make The Witcher or any other playthrough different on the Ally, a Switch-sized device that boasts 7–13 times the power of that platform ? "Random violence" wasn't the answer I expected, so I dug in.

    My first thought was that the thumb sticks could be the problem, as they seem to have bigger dead zones and feel less sturdy than the ones on the Steam Deck. Or maybe it was pre-release video hardware reacting to a game known for uneven performance . I updated everything I could, recalibrated the sticks, and double-checked my in-game settings. I played the same build of the game on a Steam Deck with Windows loaded, in the same location, but couldn't recreate the problem.

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      “Smoke archaeology” reveals early humans were visiting Nerja Caves 41,000 years ago / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 10 May, 2023 - 16:41 · 1 minute

    María Medina of the University of Cordoba working in the Navarro Cave, Malaga, Spain

    Enlarge / María Medina of the University of Cordoba working in the Navarro Cave, Malaga, Spain. (credit: University of Cordoba)

    For over a decade, Maria Medina, an archaeologist affiliated with the University of Cordoba, has been conducting research on what she terms "smoke archaeology": trying to reconstruct Europe's prehistoric past by analyzing the remnants of torches, fire, and smoke in French and Spanish caves. Her latest discovery is that humans regularly visited the Caves of Nerja as far back as 41,000 years ago, a good 10,000 years earlier than previously believed, according to a recent paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    As we've reported previously , there are nearly 350 prehistoric caves in France and Spain alone, and they include the oldest cave painting yet known: a red hand stencil in Maltravieso Cave in Caceres, Spain, likely drawn by a Neanderthal some 64,000 years ago. The Caves of Nerja are located in Malaga, Spain, and boast their own paintings believed to date back 42,000 years.

    The caves were discovered in 1959 by a group of five friends who gained access via a narrow sinkhole dubbed "La Mina"—one of two natural entrances, with a third created the following year to enable better access for tourists.

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      Amazon will stop hogging all its original series and movies / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 9 May, 2023 - 18:26

    Eddie Murphy sitting on a throne in Coming 2 America

    Enlarge / Coming 2 America may be coming to a platform besides Prime Video. (credit: Amazon Studios)

    Following its acquisition of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM) film studio, Amazon is launching the Amazon MGM Studios Distribution unit, which will be responsible for distributing Amazon original movies and TV shows, including the massive library it got through MGM.

    In March 2022, Amazon closed its $8.5 billion purchase of MGM, giving it power over 4,000 movies, including 12 Angry Men , Creed , Robocop , Rocky , and Stargate and 17,000 TV shows, including The Handmaid's Tale , which has been a hit for Hulu, and Fargo , which has aired on FX, plus upcoming releases.

    Amazon MGM Studios Distribution will also seek to distribute Amazon original content previously limited to Amazon Prime Video, including the Coming 2 America movie and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel TV show.

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      Doom II RPG is what it says on the label, and it’s ready for PC 13 years later / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 9 May, 2023 - 17:00 · 1 minute

    Chainsaw held up by player character

    Enlarge / Doom II RPG isn't exactly like Doom , but you can't accuse it of lacking chainsaws. (credit: id Software)

    "Mobile games" were something else entirely in 2005, a time in which Windows Mobile was a viable platform, the only Apple phone was a Motorola ROKR , and none of them had a shot at running Doom , let alone its sequel. That's why id Software made Doom RPG , the weirdest official Doom game that is also still a bit fun. A group of fans known as GEC.Inc ported that game to modern PCs, and they've finally gotten around to its sequel.

    Doom II RPG , the iOS version from 2009, is playable the same way Doom RPG was: with an understanding that you, a person in 2023, will somehow have access to the original, potentially still copyrighted assets of the game. The instructions lead you through setting up OpenAL , then loading in an .ipa iOS file (the Internet Archive has a copy). You can use a touchscreen, most modern game controllers, or just your keyboard and mouse. You'll then get to play a Doom II that's not quite like what you're thinking of when you think of Doom II.

    How does it play? A bit awkwardly, unless you're used to the turn-based, grid-moving, RNG-dominated RPGs of earlier eras. With each turn, you can move in one of four directions, attack with a weapon, or perform some other action, like ripping a toilet fixture off the wall for later throwing (if you're strong enough). If you end up face to face with an imp, there's not much else to do except trade blows, hoping the random hit/miss mechanics are in your favor or that you have enough health packs or snacks to hold out.

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      Nintendo, ticked by Zelda leaks, does a DMCA run on Switch emulation tools / ArsTechnica · Monday, 8 May, 2023 - 17:18 · 1 minute

    Princess Zelda holding a Master Sword

    Enlarge / Tools with great potential often require great effort to unlock. In Zelda games, that usually means a number of Heart Containers. In the emulation underground, you need title keys, shader caches, hotfixes, and a willingness to download from some sketchy sites. (credit: Nintendo/YouTube)

    Perhaps woken by news of its next premier first-party title already looking really impressive on emulators , Nintendo has moved to take down key tools for emulating and unlocking Switch consoles, including one that lets Switch owners grab keys from their own device.

    Simon Aarons maintained a forked repository of Lockpick , a tool (along with Lockpick_RCM ) that grabbed the encryption keys from a Nintendo Switch and allowed it to run officially licensed games. Aarons tweeted on Thursday night that Nintendo had issued DMCA takedown requests to GitHub, asking Lockpick, Lockpick_RCM, and nearly 80 forks and derivations to be taken down under section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act , which largely makes illegal the circumvention of technological protection measures that safeguard copyrighted material.

    Nintendo's takedown request (RTF file) notes that the Switch contains "multiple technological protection measures" that allow the Switch to play only "legitimate Nintendo video game files." Lockpick tools, combined with a modified Switch, let users grab the cryptographic keys from their own Switch and use them on "systems without Nintendo's Console TPMs" to play "pirated versions of Nintendo's copyright-protected game software." GitHub typically allows repositories with DMCA strikes filed against them to remain open while their maintainers argue their case.

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      Trinity Test is front and center in trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer / ArsTechnica · Monday, 8 May, 2023 - 16:02 · 1 minute

    Cillian Murphy plays the "father of the atomic bomb" in Christopher Nolan's new film Oppenheimer .

    Universal Studios has released another trailer for Christopher Nolan 's forthcoming film Oppenheimer , which is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Cillian Murphy stars as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, marking the sixth time Murphy has worked with Nolan. Universal Pictures describes the film as "an epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it."

    Industry watchers will note that this is the first film Nolan has made without partnering with Warner Bros. since 2002's Insomnia . Chalk the falling out to the impact of the COViD-19 pandemic on Hollywood, notably Warner Bros.'s controversial decision to release all its 2021 films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. The studio followed this strategy for Nolan's 2020 sci-fi thriller Tenet , which grossed just $365 million worldwide against its $200 million budget. While this technically made Tenet the fifth biggest film of 2020, by industry standards, it was a box office failure.

    Nolan was deeply unhappy with this arrangement, particularly since the studio hadn't conferred with him prior to making the decision about Tenet . So when he decided to write and direct Oppenheimer , the director approached several other studios about partnering with him on the project, eventually signing on with Universal.

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