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Why Elon Musk won't drive more Canadians to use Signal as WhatsApp changes policy – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

PBS’ ‘Masterpiece’ marks 50th year with challenges ahead

LOS ANGELES — As PBS’ “Masterpiece” marks its 50th anniversary Sunday, the drama and mystery showcase could rest on its reputation built with acclaimed programs including “I, Claudius” and “Elizabeth R” and polished anew by surprising pop-culture hits “Sherlock” and “Downton Abbey.”But “Masterpiece” executive producer Susanne Simpson says it’s positioned to thrive as it addresses the challenges posed by a changing media industry and increased calls for diversity.“’Masterpiece’ is important to the PBS system. Our viewers expect us to keep finding the best” in TV, Simpson said, even as competition from commercial platforms increases.With more streaming services and other outlets gobbling up programs, including the British-made dramas that are a “Masterpiece” staple, the public TV program is becoming more aggressive in the marketplace, Simpson said.She joined the series nearly 14 years ago and became its executive producer in 2019, only the fourth since “Masterpiece” debuted Jan. 10, 1971, with the miniseries “The First Churchills.”“We are investing earlier and we’re co-producing earlier on projects, so we’re in a position to be able to put development money into scripts,” Simpson said. “I have probably 15 projects sitting in my inbox, and I’m going to have to make a decision quickly on one of those because there is so much competition for those projects.”When “Masterpiece” was under executive producer Rebecca Eaton in the mid-1980s, she “used to be able to sit back” and mull her choice of U.K.-produced shows, Simpson said.As unlikely as it seems in the age of Netflix’s celebrated “The Crown” and its new multiethnic sensation “Bridgerton,” U.S. networks used to avoid British drama “because the general feeling was nobody could understand the accent,” Eaton recalled. Worse yet, they thought it sounded too high-brow for Americans.But in 1985, there was suddenly “somebody else in the game” besides PBS and the A&E channel, said Eaton, now executive producer at large for “Masterpiece.”“HBO pounced on doing ‘Elizabeth I’ with Helen Mirren, which was a very rude shock because we considered rather comfortably that we owned Elizabeth I,” she said. “Masterpiece” had aired “Elizabeth R,” the 1972 miniseries with Glenda Jackson as the monarch, a perceived stake that HBO blithely ignored.“Masterpiece” can’t compete with Netflix- or HBO-sized budgets, Simpson said, relying on corporate sponsors Viking and Raymond James and big and small viewer donations (specific figures were not provided). But she said it makes the most of its relationships with producers such as Colin Callender, whose “All Creatures Great and Small” reboot kicks off the new “Masterpiece” season Sunday.The Public Broadcasting Service also ensures that its programming is reaching viewers, especially younger ones, where and how they watch TV, which increasingly is anywhere but on a stuck-to-the-wall screen. While PBS may be viewed primarily as a traditional broadcaster, its programs (and educational initiatives) are available online.“Masterpiece” streams on PBS.org and the PBS Video app to an audience that skews younger than its broadcast viewership, with nearly 40 per cent under the age of 55, according to PBS.The showcase also is responding to the growing call for inclusivity in Hollywood screen projects, Simpson said. That would seem daunting when it comes to ethnic diversity, given that the series’ period dramas traditionally skew white, but she said it can and is being done.That requires the co-operation of British TV producers, whose industry has faced its own sharp criticism for long minimizing people of colour as actors and creators.“I’ve had some terrific, serious conversations in which it’s clear to me that our U.K. producers are as committed as we are” to adding diversity across the board, including in writing, directing and acting, Simpson said.Callender said the call for change is being heeded, even with “All Creatures Great and Small,” which is based on semiautobiographical books by a veterinarian practicing in a rural English community in the late 1930s.“The thrust of diversity meant several things,” Callender said, including making the female characters fully dimensional, casting actors with physical challenges and creating a role inspired by the story of the Black actor’s mother.“Masterpiece” is doing its own work, Simpson said. That includes taking an active role in fostering diversity in projects as they’re being developed, she said, and discovering authentic ways to reflect inclusivity in period dramas, among them 2019’s “Les Miserables” miniseries.David Oyelowo, the English-born Black actor who starred as the obsessed police inspector Javert, felt comfortable taking the role after he looked into 19th-century French history and found that there were Black police officers, Simpson recounted.“What I learned from him is that it’s really our obligation as the writers and the producers to look more deeply at history in terms of what people of colour were authentically, and to take more effort to find those stories,” she said.“The Long Song,” a three-part drama debuting Jan. 31 on “Masterpiece,” exemplifies what is hiding in plain sight. Based on Andrea Levy’s historical novel of the same name, a finalist for the prestigious Booker literary prize, it tells of a young Black woman’s life in the final years of slavery in Jamaica and its aftermath.Pandemic uncertainty brought it to “Masterpiece,” when taping on some of its U.K. shows paused last March and Simpson sought available programs as a safeguard. Already familiar with the late Levy’s work because “Masterpiece” had aired an adaptation of her “Small Island” novel in 2010, Simpson said she found “The Long Song” to be “powerful and moving.”Tamara Lawrance, who stars as the main character, said every generation believes “things are changing, things are different,” but sees a welcome energy in the British creative community that is building on the past.“I’m so proud of ‘The Long Song’ and being in a cast of people like that, of amazing older Black actors that I grew up watching,” Lawrance said.___Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

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Cyberpunk 2077 1.1 update released: patch notes, stability fixes, more – Polygon

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It’s no secret at this point that Cyberpunk 2077 launched with a plethora of bugs and performance issues, some more obvious than others, leading Sony to go so far as to remove the game from the PlayStation Store and offer refunds. Now, the first of CD Projekt Red’s planned post-launch updates has been released on all platforms.

Cyberpunk 2077’s version 1.1 patch is intended to fix bugs and make “various stability improvements,” as well as “lay the groundwork” for further updates to Cyberpunk 2077, the studio said on the game’s website. It also includes platform-specific changes, such as performance optimization of crowds on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5, and improvements to memory usage for character creation, mirrors, scanning, camera remote control, and menus on Xbox consoles.

The next patch, version 1.2, is expected to be “a larger, more significant update”; it is scheduled to debut in the coming weeks. (CD Projekt Red also released a version 1.04 hotfix a day after Cyberpunk 2077’s Dec. 17, 2020, release.)

Earlier this month, Marcin Iwiński, the founder and co-chief executive of CD Projekt Red parent company CD Projekt, gave a detailed apology for the launch quality of Cyberpunk 2077 on older consoles, as well as an explanation from inside the company on what went wrong and why. CD Projekt also published a post-launch support roadmap for the beleaguered RPG, promising multiple updates over the coming year, including free downloadable content.

You can read the full patch notes for the v1.1 update below.


Stability

Various stability improvements including:

  • Memory usage improvements in various systems within the game: characters, interactions, navigation, in-game videos (news, tv, etc.), foliage, laser effects, minimap, devices, AI, street traffic, environmental damage system, GPU-related, and more.
  • Various crash fixes (related to, among others, loading saves, game opening/closing and Point of No Return).

Quests/Open World

  • Fixed an issue where calls from Delamain would end immediately and seem like they cannot be picked up in Epistrophy.
  • Fixed an issue where players would not receive calls from Delamain when approaching relevant vehicles in Epistrophy.
  • Fixed an issue where the objective could get stuck on “Answer the call from Mr. Hands” in M’ap Tann Pèlen.
  • Fixed an issue where Judy could teleport underground in Pyramid Song.
  • Fixed an issue where it would be impossible to talk to Zen Master in Poem of The Atoms.
  • Fixed an issue where Takemura wouldn’t call in Down on the Street.
  • Fixed an issue where Jackie could disappear in The Pickup.
  • Fixed an issue where it could be impossible to get out of the car in The Beast in Me: The Big Race.
  • Fixed an issue where players could stop receiving calls and messages after moving too far away from A Day In The Life area.
  • Fixed an issue where opening the package wouldn’t update Space Oddity.
  • Retro-fixed the saves affected by a rare issue where speaking to Judy in Automatic Love would be impossible due to an invisible wall. The underlying issue is under investigation.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented players from collecting the reward in Gig: Freedom of the Press. The quest will auto-complete for those who could not collect the reward previously, and the reward will be provided automatically.
  • Fixed an issue where Delamain would remain silent throughout Epistrophy if the player initially refused to help him.

UI

  • Fixed an issue where prompt for exiting braindance could be missing.
  • Removed an invalid item from loot.

Visual

  • Fixed an issue where a grenade’s trajectory could be displayed in photo mode.
  • Fixed particles’ hue appearing pink when viewed close up.
  • Fixed cars spawning incorrectly in Reported Crime: Welcome to Night City.

Achievements

  • Fixed an issue where completing one of the assaults in progress in Santo Domingo would sometimes not contribute towards progression for The Jungle achievement, preventing its completion.

Miscellaneous

  • Addressed the issue responsible for saves getting oversized (related to the modifier indicating if the item is crafted), and trimmed the excess size from already existing saves (note: this won’t fix PC save files corrupted before 1.06 update).
  • Fixed an issue where input could stop registering upon opening the weapon wheel and performing an action.
  • Fixed an issue where the “Continue” button in the Main Menu could load an end game save.

PlayStation-specific

  • Performance optimization of crowds on PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5.
  • Various crash fixes on PlayStation 4.

Xbox-specific

  • Improved memory usage for character creation, mirrors, scanning, camera remote control, menus (inventory, map) on Xbox One, Xbox One X and Xbox One S.

PC-specific

  • It will now be possible to obtain achievements while in Steam offline mode. Note: Offline mode needs to be enabled before starting the game. This change does not work retroactively.
  • Addressed the game startup crashes related to loading cache on NVIDIA graphics cards.

Stadia-specific

  • Concert audio should no longer be inaudible in Never Fade Away.
  • Fixed corrupted textures on several melee weapons.
  • Tweaked default deadzone settings to be more responsive. Note: the change will not affect settings unless they’re set to default.

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M1 MacBook Pro Review: One Month Hands-On With Apple’s Hot New Laptop – Forbes

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I had been in desperate need of a laptop upgrade last year and finally decided to pull the trigger on the new M1 MacBook Pro. In November, my Forbes colleague Patrick Moorhead suggested you “might want to pass” on Apple’s new M1-powered MacBook Pro, pointing out potential issues like compatibility with third party software and peripherals. He did suggest that if you stick with Apple software, things should be fine. I’m an Apple software guy, so I was hoping I would be okay. I’ve been using M1 MacBook Pro all day, every day, as my primary work machine for over a month now. This is a review of the M1 MBP from that perspective — a daily-driver for someone who primarily uses Apple’s included software.

From where I sit, this is a pretty incredible laptop. I’m not going to focus on things like the keyboard, display, or ports. Those are knowns. This review is all about hands-on experience with Apple’s M1 processor.

The Decision to Upgrade

Let me make it clear upfront that I am not a “power” user. My job involves research, writing, plus editing photos and videos for web use. For my purposes, Apple software does the job — I spend 90% of my time in either Pages, Safari, Numbers, Preview, iMove or Photos.

For the past five years, I’ve been using a 13-inch MacBook Air (connected to an external monitor). In fact, my last three laptops have been MacBook Airs… I always upgrade them to get the best performance for as long as possible, so the latest was equipped with a dual-core Intel Core i7 processor. But it was struggling. Slow (especially with a lot of browser windows open), exporting video files took an excruciatingly long time, and the fan would fire up constantly, sometimes blowing like an airplane engine.

It was time for an upgrade. I was considering a 16-inch MacBook Pro, primarily because of the video card, minimum Core i7, and upgraded keyboard. Then came the M1 announcement in November. 

I decided to skip the MacBook Air this time, I held off on the 16-inch MacBook Pro and instead took a chance with the M1 MacBook Pro. I wanted the maximum cores available for video processing, plus a fan, so I didn’t go with the less expensive M1 MBA. I opted for an upgrade to 16GB of RAM to ensure the longest useful life possible. The new laptop took the better part of a month to arrive, but it made an immediate impression.

Impressive Performance

My initial impression of the M1 MBP was that it was snappy, but not screaming fast. I’d read early reviews that made it seem like the instant I launched an app it would be onscreen. That’s not quite the case. It is very fast, but even with Apple apps it does take a split second. The laptop wakes instantly, but booting still takes 30 seconds to the login screen. 

However, the M1 processor shows its power when you start giving it tasks to chew on. I can keep as many windows and apps open as I need. Video exporting was obviously a huge test and it passed that with flying colors. 

A seven minute 1080p iMovie video at high quality exported as an MP4 file by the MacBook Air took about 14 minutes. That was with all other applications shut down. About a minute into the export, fans were blowing at full blast. In contrast, that seven minute 1080p video exported by the M1 MBP at maximum “ProRes” quality took 66 seconds. No fan. And while iMovie was processing the video, I had Firefox, Numbers and Pages open, and was actively surfing in Safari. I also had Activity Monitor opened, and it showed iMovie GPU utilization during the export ranging from 36% to 47%.

Yes, this a bit of an apples to oranges comparison given that it’s a MacBook Air vs. a MacBook Pro, and five years apart, but it was still a pretty incredible performance. 

Speaking of Firefox, when I first used it the M1-native version wasn’t yet available. Rosetta 2 handled the app perfectly and after a slightly longer initial launch, I never would have known I wasn’t using a native app.

I use the laptop primarily as a desktop workstation, so I haven’t had the opportunity to really push the battery. However I did run on battery for a full day, from around 8am to after 11pm — including a three hour Zoom session — and it still showed about 20% of a charge left. That’s 14 hours of use and still some battery life remaining, so no complaints in that department.

Compatibility With Peripherals

I don’t use a ton of peripherals, but I have yet to run into an issue. I do plug into an OWC USB-C dock so I can easily access USB Type-A devices without requiring dongles. 

I’m connected to a 27-inch 4K BenQ multimedia monitor (reviewed here) as a second display. No problems there at any resolution, and the USB-C connection to the monitor also keeps the MBP charged. I use a Blue Yeti X microphone (connected to the OWC dock using USB) and it has been solid. I have used a range of external hard drives including a Western Digital USB-C external SSD, multiple USB Type-A drives from WD and Seagate, and thumb drives. I print over Wi-Fi to an HP Envy 7640. I have a DAS mechanical keyboard plugged in.

So far, I’ve encountered zero compatibility issues.

I’ve also had no problem with Bluetooth connectivity. I have seen reports of M1 Bluetooth issues, but I have not experienced any. I use a Logitech MX Master 3 Bluetooth mouse (no dongle) and it performs as expected. I’ve also used a number of Bluetooth headphones with the M1 MBP without any issues.

I Have Never Had the Fan Come On

In the entire month and a bit that I’ve been using the M1 MacBook Air, I have never had the fan come on. Not once. 

During several college football games, I had a three hour Zoom session with my father-in-law so we could watch together while socially distancing. The laptop ran Zoom and at the same time, I streamed the game from the MBP in full-screen maximum resolution on my external monitor. No fan. 

At one point I tried running the usual collection of Apple applications simultaneously, while exporting a ProRes file from iMove, and also streaming a collection of 720p, 1080p and 4K videos on 12 Safari tabs. Nothing. No slowdown whatsoever and no fan.

To be honest, I was starting to worry that maybe the fan was broken. However, even under a heavy load, I’ve never felt the laptop get overly warm. One of these days, I’m going to have to try to find the time for some gaming — that might do it…

M1 MacBook Pro Recommendation

In month+ I’ve spent with the M1 MacBook Pro — using it for work all day, five days a week and then some — I have been extremely happy with it. 

Typically, when I move from one laptop to a new one, it’s four or five years between models and the new one will seem noticeably faster. Not an Earth-shattering difference, but enough for a better user experience. This time around that difference isn’t just noticeable, it’s spectacular. The closest comparison I can come to is moving from a laptop equipped with a 5400rpm hard drive to one with an SSD — except in this case the performance gains are across the board, not just when booting or copying files.  

For $1,499 ($1299 plus $200 for 16GB of RAM), this M1 MacBook Pro is an easy recommendation for anyone who needs “lite” pro performance and works primarily with Apple software. If you’ll be using third party apps under Rosetta 2, you might want to check to see if anyone has tried them and what their experience is. 

If you need more horsepower, this was just the first release and what will be the entry level in MacBook Pro lineup. Stay tuned through 2021 for expected new models featuring even faster Apple chips, support for additional RAM, slick new form factors, and maybe even some additional ports.

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Microsoft is no longer increasing the cost of Xbox Live Gold – MobileSyrup

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In a surprise move, Microsoft has backpedalled on its original decision and will not increase Xbox Live Gold’s cost following significant backlash from gamers.

Below is the complete blog post from Microsoft regarding the decision (note that the prices below are in USD):

We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.

We’re turning this moment into an opportunity to bring Xbox Live more in line with how we see the player at the center of their experience. For free-to-play games, you will no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play those games on Xbox. We are working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.

If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.

Thank you.

In Canada, 1-month Gold subscriptions were set to go up to $12.99 from $11.99, 3-months was going to cost $34.99 up from $29.99 and 6-months would have cost $69.99 up from $44.99. Microsoft didn’t reveal pricing regarding 12-month subscriptions, though their current cost is $69.99, the same price as the new 6-month subscription price if the change went into effect.

The company also says that free-to-play games like Apex Legends and Fortnite will no longer require an Xbox Live Gold membership. Halo Infinite, one of the Xbox platform’s biggest upcoming titles, is set to feature a free-to-play multiplayer mode.

This brings Microsoft’s approach to online gaming with the Xbox in-line with Sony’s PlayStation consoles and Nintendo’s Switch given both platform’s don’t require a subscription to play free-to-play titles online. Microsoft says that it’s “working hard to deliver this change as soon as possible in the coming months.”

This is a great move by the company given the price hike made it seem like the tech giant was pushing gamers towards subscribing to its more expensive $16.99 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate service that includes Xbox Live Gold, access to all current and upcoming Microsoft first-party game releases (as well as numerous third-party titles) through Game Pass on Xbox and PC, EA’s video game subscription service EA Play and Xbox cloud gaming on Android (formerly called xCloud).

While Game Pass is a great deal, there are likely a lot of people out there that just want to continue subscribing to Xbox Live Gold and were upset by the price increase.

Source: Xbox

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