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At its best, new Last Jedi making-of film is a touching tribute to old Star Wars

Ars Technica - March 13, 2018 - 2:27pm

Enlarge / Three of the main characters in The Director and The Jedi. (credit: Disney / Anthony Wonkie / SXSW)

Warning: The Director and The Jedi is a film about the making of The Last Jedi, therefore this review contains potential spoilers for the most recent Star Wars film.

AUSTIN, Texas—It may come with resources you can’t find anywhere else, but helming a Star Wars film is no walk in the park. To start, it involves sky-high expectations, continent-spanning production schedules, and perhaps unrivaled levels of fan obsession (including possible Russian social accounts lobbying for General Hux to live, seriously). The House of Mouse now also looms over everything, inevitably demanding a certain box office bottom line.

That’s a daunting task for even the most established of Hollywood creators—but it’s especially herculean for a relatively unknown filmmaker. And that evidently made Rian Johnson’s intergalactic debut with The Last Jedi the perfect opportunity for a full-length behind-the-scenes documentary, The Director and the Jedi.

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VW will build Sedric, this self-driving concept pod - Roadshow - News - March 13, 2018 - 2:17pm
One of the world's largest automakers will actually build this electric shuttle pod concept car.

Former Google X bloke's startup unveils 'self flying' electric air taxi

The Register - March 13, 2018 - 2:04pm
Kitty Hawk is also personally backed by Larry Page

A “self-flying” electric air taxi, as built by a startup backed by Google moneybags Larry Page, has reportedly been undergoing flight tests in New Zealand.…

The $199 Fitbit Versa is the company’s new “mass-appeal” smartwatch

Ars Technica - March 13, 2018 - 2:00pm

Valentina Palladino

A new Fitbit smartwatch is ready to keep last year's Ionic company in the device family lineup. Today, Fitbit announced the new Versa smartwatch, a thin-and-light metal wearable that runs on Fitbit OS. The longtime king of fitness devices knew it needed to expand into the smartwatch category, and it started that evolution last year with the debut of the $299 Ionic. But the Ionic ultimately replaced the Fitbit Surge, which was the most high-tech and comprehensive fitness watch the company made at the time. Not everyone needs such a powerful device, and that's where the new Versa comes in—it's a smartwatch that mixes smart functions with important fitness features to (hopefully) reach a wider audience than the Ionic.

In the short time I had with the new Fitbit Versa, I was struck at how light it is. While Fitbit didn't provide the exact weight of the Versa, the company did note that the Versa is its lightest device to date. The Versa is quite comfortable to wear, but it also doesn't feel flimsy thanks to its all-metal, rounded-square case. Its case comes in black, gray, and rose gold colorways, as well as special graphite and rose gold editions that come with two band options instead of one. Like other smartwatches, the Versa is compatible with a number of silicone, leather, woven, and metal bands made by Fitbit.

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You Can’t See 'Ready Player One' Yet, But With VR You Can Dance in It

Wired - March 13, 2018 - 2:00pm
TheWaveVR has spent the past year refining its live-performance nightclub mechanics. Now it's got a blockbuster new environment.

VW confirms 16 EV plants by 2022, plans to build Sedric pod concept - Roadshow - News - March 13, 2018 - 1:58pm
German automaker has signed $25 billion in battery contracts and will shortly launch a new EV model "virtually every month."

TSA accused of searching domestic travelers’ devices with no warrant

Ars Technica - March 13, 2018 - 1:35pm

Enlarge / A Transportation Security Administration baggage screener inspects an electronics device as a man is screened in the background at the international terminal of San Francisco International Airport August 5, 2003 in San Francisco, California. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sued the Transportation Security Administration, alleging that the agency has improperly withheld documents and other materials that would shed light on warrantless searches of digital devices at airports prior to purely domestic flights.

This lawsuit, which is meant to compel the TSA to fully respond to a Freedom of Information Act request, is related to another lawsuit (Alasaad v. Duke) brought by the ACLU to better understand such searches that happen when Americans return home from abroad.

"The federal government’s policies on searching the phones, laptops, and tablets of domestic air passengers remain shrouded in secrecy," said Vasudha Talla, staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, in a Monday statement.

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Keep Calm and Carillion: Outsourcers seek image rebrand after UK construction firm crash

The Register - March 13, 2018 - 1:31pm
'Cos the garden was soooo rosy before that

Outsourcers are anxious their hard-earned reputations are being besmirched by the recent collapse of Brit multinational construction firm Carillion, so much so their representative organisation is seeking a drastic image rebrand.…

Skin Motion app turns my tattoo into sound waves - CNET - News - March 13, 2018 - 1:00pm
A new app uses augmented reality to turn pictures into sound right on your body. CNET sound engineer Bryan VanGelder got a tattoo specially to try it out.

'Westworld' at SXSW: The Perfect Allegory For Austin in March

Wired - March 13, 2018 - 1:00pm
An uneasy relationship between residents and visitors who think they have permission to do whatever they like? Sounds familiar.

Please Stop Building Houses Exactly Where Wildfires Start

Wired - March 13, 2018 - 1:00pm
Every fire scientist knows the place where houses meet the wild is dangerous. But people keep putting more houses there.

8 Features We Expect in the Best Android Phones of 2018

Wired - March 13, 2018 - 1:00pm
2018 is looking a wee bit notchy for smartphones. We explore all the Android and hardware trends coming to phones this year.

Finland government buys a slice of Nokia

The Register - March 13, 2018 - 12:59pm
Moomins and Lordi on the board? It's in the national interest!

The Finnish government has snapped up 3.3 per cent of Nokia Corporation in a bid to shore up national ownership.…

Which programming languages pay best, most popular? Developers' top choices

ZDnet News - March 13, 2018 - 12:57pm
Stack Overflow's annual survey shows Android developer language Kotlin has soared in popularity.

UN: Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar

BBC Technology News - March 13, 2018 - 12:56pm
A probe into human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar holds Facebook to account.

Speeding up Continuous Deployment? Act fast to save big

The Register - March 13, 2018 - 12:31pm
Final countdown for CLL18 early bird tickets

If you want to get up to speed on the key ideas changing software development and deployment AND dive deep on the technologies most important to you, grab your early bird tickets for Continuous Lifecycle London while you can.…

Anker Zolo Liberty Plus review - CNET - Reviews - March 13, 2018 - 12:15pm
At their early-bird price of $99, the Anker Zolo Liberty Plus was a good deal. But a price hike makes them less attractive.'s shift to AWS: It's squeezy-bum time for small cloud pushers

The Register - March 13, 2018 - 12:15pm
But do they really need to worry?

Analysis is investing more and more taxpayer cash on Amazon Web Services, with spend through the G-Cloud digital marketplace growing eight fold year-on-year to £16m in 2017.…

Asus ROG Strix Hero Edition (GL503VM) review - CNET - Reviews - March 13, 2018 - 12:00pm
This Hero's marketing may be what's "optimized" for MOBA, but it's still a solid all-around gaming laptop.

Galaxy S9: Should you upgrade? - CNET - News - March 13, 2018 - 12:00pm
No matter which Galaxy you own, we'll give you our best advice.

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