Lifestyle

6 awesome things that happened at Google I/O 2018

We’re living in the future!

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Google I/O happened yesterday, and if you’re not familiar with the event, all you need to know is that this is where a lot of Google announcements are made. Of course, there are run-of-the-mill stuff like Android P features or Google News improvements which are all great tech innovations. But, what really got me excited were the following things:

Google fixed the beer emoji

Hallelujah! After years of sending beer with floating foam on Friday nights and congratulatory situations, Google has finally found their way and fixed the emoji.

This move was done following the great cheeseburger controversy which Google CEO Sundar Pichai himself vowed to fix. Finally, we can live in a world where beer and cheeseburgers are properly represented by our emoji. 🍻

Tania and Ken just made everyone believe in true love

Okay, I have to be completely honest: I cried a little bit (again) as I was writing this article because I watched the video a second time. Take a look for yourself:

I’m sure the bottom line here is that technology improves lives… but can we please take a second to appreciate how grand, sweet, and amazing this love story is? They met through skydiving! Ken is also helping her develop tech that will help them (and others similarly situated) communicate! Not to mention, Tania just called Ken “the love of her life and partner in crime.” 😍

John Legend becomes a Google Assistant

A few days ago, this ad for Google Assistant featuring Chrissy Teigen and John Legend came out. It’s adorable!

Little did we know that it was a sign of things to come.

In the biggest plot twist ever, it was revealed that John Legend will be lending his voice to Google as an Assistant! Soon, we’ll all have the pleasure of hearing the award-winning singer’s voice every day.

I can totally see Chrissy celebrating the victory of being able to order John around anytime.

There will be six new voices in total and they will be available later this year.

Gmail will be able to read your mind

Well, not really, but it sort of seems like it.

Gmail’s new Smart Compose feature basically predicts what you’re about to say when typing out an email. It uses machine learning based on the stuff you’ve already typed previously and suggests possible phrases as you go. This is, in equal parts, amazing and creepy.

Now, if only your boyfriend can use machine learning to read your mind, life would be simpler. 🙄 This feature is rolling out to users this month.

Making people more polite, or at least they’ll be trained to be

Google announced a feature called Pretty Please where Google Assistant will actually reward polite user behavior with affirmations. This was designed so that children are trained to be more polite, but let’s be honest: A lot of adults need this, too.

Google Assistant just made an actual call and it was glorious

This was the most exciting scheduling call I had ever heard in my life.

Google Assistant calls up a salon and books a haircut appointment — and it sounded so human! There were no robotic pauses, no weird intonations, and no misunderstandings. Listen for yourself:

This is what the future sounds like: You could actually be talking to Google Assistant without realizing that you are!

Lifestyle

LEGO just made an adidas Superstar LEGO edition

The iconic sneaker in LEGO brick form

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We didn’t see this crossover coming, but here it is. The LEGO group has launched their own little spin on the adidas Superstar — part of the adidas Originals line.

It’s a buildable LEGO brick model that also maybe counts as part of your sneaker collection. The LEGO Superstar sneaker in adult sizing features a classic white and black leather construction

Just like the real thing, this LEGO version includes the iconic adidas Originals Superstar sneaker graphics, shell toe shape, trefoil logo and serrated 3 stripes mark.

The model measures over 12 cm high, 27 cm long and 9 cm wide and with a display stand and plaque. It was made for adidas diehard collectors as well as LEGO fans. You also get to choose whether you want the right or left shoe. And if you feel like splurging, might as well get a pair.

The set includes 17 extra LEGO elements so you can choose to build either the right-foot or left-foot sneaker. For extra realism, it even has shoelaces and comes in an authentic shoe box.

#RebuiltByOriginals

LEGO also tapped six creatives to give their own take on the adidas Superstar LEGO Edition. Each one put their own spin on the LEGO Edition sneaker and are encouraging you to do the same.

You can check out what sneakerheads Aida Kiraya (@afrokickz), Tom Yoo (@tommyoo23), Hanna Helsøe (@helsoe), Leta Sobierajski (@sobierajski), Nicolai Sclater (@ornamentalconifer) and Coffee Boy (@178kz_boy) came up with here.

Price and availability

The LEGO adidas Originals Superstar 10282 model launches on July 1st and will be exclusively available at LEGO Certified Stores, adidas Original Pavilion, Brand Centre Sunway Pyramid and adidas Malaysia Online.

It will then be available at LEGO Official Store on Lazada, Shopee, as well as major retailers and department stores in Malaysia in September.

The recommended retail price is MYR 449.90.

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Entertainment

Trese: The story behind the dubbing

What the process was like

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Trese
All images courtesy of Netflix

Much has been said about the dubbing work of the Netflix Animé series Trese. Everyone from showrunner Jay Oliva, Filipino voice talent Inka Magnaye, and that random Facebook friend you don’t really talk to anymore has weighed in.

We’re not going to get into details of what people have said. We’re sure there’s no shortage of that on social media. Rather, we’re here to explore what transpired in how the show came to be. Netflix arranged a media conference with the following key figures in the series:

  • Tanya Yuson — Series writer and co-producer
  • Wes Gleason — English cast and voice director
  • Rudolf Baldonado Jr. — Filipino voice director

English first 

Trese

The observation we made from our ‘What to expect’ article proved to be true. The whole series was indeed first dubbed in English and was then translated to Filipino and other languages later.

This was one of the many challenges that Baldonado Jr. had to deal with in translating the material to Filipino.

“What we got was already finished work. So the casting process for us is a little different because we had to consider who did the original first — what were the characters that they molded through their voices. And then, how the animators matched it with the visuals,” said the Filipino voice director.

“The Filipino dub had to be cast according to how they (English cast) started it.” 

There were also a few terms that didn’t exactly have a direct Tagalog translation. Baldonado Jr. cites the word “Underworld” which loosely translates to “Impyerno.” In the context of the series, “Impyerno” doesn’t exactly capture how “Underworld” was used as the place where all the monsters and ghouls came from.

This is also the reason why it’s primarily called the Filipino version. Because the team pulled from other languages in the country which fits the context of the words used in English better.

Does the Emissary give you an eerie feeling?

Working with Liza Soberano

Naturally, these same challenges applied to Liza Soberano who played Alexandra Trese in the Filipino version. Soberano was very much aware of her voice quality, tone, and twang according to Baldonado Jr.

“She knows where she’s coming from and she knows what she needs to work on,” said Baldonado Jr. “She was trying to focus on three things (voice, language skills in Filipino, and acting).”

Baldonado Jr., who is a 23-year veteran in the localization and voice dubbing industry, provided exercises for Soberano to address all these. The pair aimed for a voice with a lower register and one that sounded more stiff which, the voice director said, was in contrast with Soberano’s natural tone.

The voice director was very much aware of the criticisms online. But he remained cheerful and positive throughout the media conference. However, he lamented that he wished he had more time to polish the work with Soberano.

What’s up with all the accents? 

Noticeable in the English version is the variety of accents by the characters. Shay Mitchell, who played Alexandra Trese in the English dub, mostly maintained her American accent. But the rest of the cast added more to the mix. Series writer and co-producer Tanya Yuson and English voice director Wes Gleason said this was by design.

“The accents vary, I think, as we found a neutral, what we call ‘Manila accent’, but that’s because our melting pot is from different people with different backgrounds,” said Gleason.

“Some of their relatives or references might have been a little stronger with an accent or a little more in one region than the other. So, I think our show kind of shows that diversity, and hopefully in a good way,” he added.

Yuson backs up the melting pot analogy.

“It’ll be the first time an international audience would hear, on a wide platform, English spoken with that flavor,” said Yuson.

“It would be weirder to me if it’s in English language set in Manila and then you have, either it’s very American or British. The diversity for accents in Manila, anyway, is a lot… we wanted to present that in a way that’s also accessible to an international audience,” she added.

Strength behind a Filipino cast

The influence of the Filipino cast for the English version didn’t stop with just the accents. Everyone from Manny Jacinto (The Good Place) to Lou Diamond Philipps (La Bamba) pulled from stories from their relatives and loved ones about Philippine folklore involved to bring the characters to life.

Authenticity was the primary driving force in the casting decisions. That’s on top of the voices fitting the characters according to Gleason.

“A lot of the actors had familiarity with the folklore in the Philippines. They were coming in with tales of their mothers scaring them. The mananngals, the tiyanaks, the duwende, all these things. Everyone had their own little tale to tell.”

Gleason, who naturally had to do his research on the folklore, leaned on the casts’ experiences to help shape the voice direction.

“Anyone who had that background but was also giving us great options for the read, we gravitated towards them.”

A few more fun nuggets from the conference

Manny Jacinto, who plays Maliksi, may have initially read for Crispin and Basilio as hinted by Gleason.

“He (Jacinto) read for a different role that he was cast for. We heard his approach on one character, or characters — that’s not a spoiler — and hearing that just felt like this role was a better fit.”

Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) was very excited to be part of the cast even telling Gleason, “How can I not be a part of this? My mother would kill me if I’m not a part of this!”

Tanya Yuson said working with just six (6) episodes was pretty challenging. The ideal number of episodes could have gone anywhere from eight (8) to 22. However, they made sure that even with just six episodes, they could set-up the world and still have a satisfying ending.

Watch Trese on Netflix.

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Entertainment

Plunge into a dark world in Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

A thriller series based on Capcom’s beloved franchise

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Infinite Darkness

Resident Evil proved to be one of the most popular game franchises of all time, spanning different console generations. For over 25 years, Capcom produced some of the most jaw-dropping, horrifying game releases that shake people to their core. Just last May, they released Resident Evil: Village to a fanfare of everybody simping for Lady Dimitrescu.

Apart from the games, Resident Evil also received several television and movie adaptations, bringing the same horror to the big screen. From live-action movies to animated TV series, these provide a good amount of fan service to long-time fans of the games. For 2021, Capcom has a new series that I believe fans will also appreciate upon release in RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.

A series of unfortunate events

The world of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness still revolves around the whole zombie encounter-theme the games follow, but on a rather global scale. In the year 2000, U.S. special forces were sent to intervene in the ongoing civil war in the region of Penamstan. However, tragedy struck when the helicopter fell from the sky, and the special forces were annihilated. At least, that’s what they believe happened.

Fast forward to 2006, back in the United States, a hacking incident occurs within the White House. To avert more disaster, the government invited four agents to investigate but were met with strange circumstances. As it turns out, a horde of zombies infiltrates the building and the agents, along with the U.S. S.W.A.T. team, fight them off.

It’s an anime series that tackles a ton of mystery about the events of the past, and how they catch up in present time. In essence, the agents seek to unravel what truly happened that day in 2000, and how they could avert another disaster from happening.

A familiar face returns to the scene

Remember how I mentioned that there are four agents assigned to the investigation? Well, one of them is Leon S. Kennedy, one of the main playable characters in Resident Evil 2. In this series, he looks a bit older and wears a more formal attire than a police uniform. In an interview with Director Eiichiro Hasumi, he explained to me why they picked him in the first place.

According to him, Leon’s character provides a “lot of freedom to move around” in terms of the storytelling aspect. Compared to someone like Chris Redfield, for example, Leon’s character doesn’t necessarily tie him down to any specific roles or places in the story.

As seen in his character design, Leon looks a bit more tired — as if the youth in his aura was sucked out of him. Director Eiichiro notes that he is “in a slightly bitter position” compared to his younger self. How exactly will this version of Leon deal with the crisis of Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness? We’ll find out soon enough.

Managing your expectations a bit

So, what can you expect from RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness when it comes? For starters, it’s a fully animated TV series that Director Eiichiro hopes would be easily digestible for everyone. It’s a series that reveals everything slowly, and eases you in on what’s happening with every bit of new information.

Secondly, while I’ve already mentioned Leon’s presence, you will also see Claire Redfield, another protagonist from Resident Evil 2. In the series, she serves as a volunteer for TerraSave based in Penamstan, and even does her own set of investigations. Where these investigations will take her, you’ll have to find out on your own!

Finally, there will be zombies and zombie killing, like a lot of it. I mean, it’s par for the course for the games to have zombie killing, so the anime series should include it. As for the zombies they will be killing, again, you have to watch the series to find out.

RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness will arrive on Netflix on July 8, 2021.

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