This year’s Google I/O has just concluded and there are a number of announcements and demos that people of the modern world should know about. If you haven’t watched the keynote, here’s a brief summary of what happened earlier.
Indeed, the most important announcement at Google I/O 2018 was the official introduction of Android P beta. Version 9.0 of Google’s mobile operating system doesn’t have a dessert name yet, so we’re still waiting for that.
Android P looks a lot cleaner now compared to its earlier developer preview release. The beta is now available to a number of Android OEMs (not only Pixel phones) and introduces us to navigational gestures. The traditional three navigation buttons are now replaced by iPhone X-like swipes to work well with borderless phones. You can also track how you’re spending time with your phone through the new Dashboard.
Six new Google Assistant voices
Google Assistant won’t just sound more natural, but it’ll also sound different soon. Users will get to choose from six additional voices in the upcoming update. The original Assistant voice “Holly” will soon have friends, and that includes celebrity John Legend.
One of the impressive demos from the keynote was the recording of Google Assistant calling a hair salon. Google Assistant made an appointment through a voice call and the lady from the other line didn’t even notice that she’s talking to a computer. The conversation sounded just like two humans talking to each other with no hint of a robotic voice.
Check out the demo here.
A smarter Gmail that finishes your drafts
The Smart Reply feature is pretty helpful in suggesting quick responses and now Gmail can also help you draft emails from scratch. Well, it’s not like Gmail will do the work for you (but I think we’re getting there), but the new feature will make suggestions for completing sentences as you’re typing. This feature is coming very soon to all Gmail users.
Google Maps becomes more social
We don’t just open Google Maps to ask for directions, we also use it to find related info around us. Maps is starting to shape up like Yelp and Foursquare with its new dedicated tab for following what’s trending in your area and planning where to eat next.
In addition, augmented reality is coming to Maps. If 2D directions aren’t helping you find your way around, AR will now help you with turn-by-turn directions with the use of AI and Street View data.
AI now curates Google News
Google News is the latest platform to be managed by AI. Using artificial intelligence, Google News can now analyze all the content published to the web at any moment. It’ll be able to spot the ones you might be interested in and puts them right at your fingertips. It’ll also deliver other related news for further reading.
New features on Google Photos
Google Photos has become more powerful. It doesn’t only conveniently back up your photos to the cloud, it can now also edit them to separate subjects from the background. It’s much like how the Pixel 2 phones can shoot portrait photos without the use of a secondary camera thanks to the help of machine learning. Plus, it’ll be able to colorize your old photos, even if they’re shot in monochrome.
Improved Google Lens
The copy-paste feature on computers is revolutionary. It’s really convenient (sometimes too convenient) to simply copy what’s already written and paste it where you need it to be. This feature is not exclusive to copying digital texts anymore because Google Lens can now copy an actual written text and paste it into a text field on your smartphone.
Shopping is also getting an upgrade through Google Lens with the introduction of “style match” which scans what the camera sees and helps you buy it from online stores.
How I Upgraded My Smart Home with SwitchBot
Out of the ordinary smart home solutions
Ever since moving into my new place at the start of this year, I’ve been on the look out for more ways to make my apartment smart. Watch this video as I walk you through these out of the ordinary solutions from SwitchBot.
These products might not seem like a big deal individually but watch them come together. Let’s start with a HUB Mini. You’ll need this so the devices can talk to each other and so that you can use voice controls. The SwitchBot Meter is for measuring both room temperature and humidity. The SwitchBot Bot is a handy dandy button presser. The SwitchBot Humidifier does as its name implies. The Switch Bot Remote is a programmable button. Finally, the SwitchBot Curtain is for automatically opening and closing your curtains.
Try SwitchBot on Prime Day! Get 30% off http://my.gadgetmat.ch/SwitchBotPD (excluding SwitchBot Motion Sensor, SwitchBot Contact Sensor and SwitchBot Indoor Cam) on June 21, 00:00 PT to June 22, 23:59 PT
Trese: The story behind the dubbing
What the process was like
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
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.
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.
— Netflix Philippines (@Netflix_PH) June 17, 2021
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.
5 timeless gifts you can give to a dad anytime of the year
For your dad, your friend who became a dad, or any ‘dad’ in your life
Dads don’t get a lot of spotlight, probably because a lot of us suffer from daddy issues. But for those who have a loving relationship, or those who just started repairing theirs — giving your dad a thoughtful gift might be a way to strengthen the connection.
Here are five timeless gifts you can give to your dad, your friend who just became a dad, or if there’s any ‘daddy’ in your life.
In the era of connected life, going out without a power bank is like going out without a wallet. Even though most gadgets nowadays have strong battery lives, it’s always practical to have a backup.
And dads love being prepared at any costs, making it the perfect gift that’s versatile to every need — whether it’s for their smartphone, wireless earbuds, portable speakers, or a mini-fan. Shop here.
Just because they’re getting old, doesn’t mean they should forget how to groom themselves. Teach them to be like a fine wine — they should get better as they age, and they should even look more dapper to keep up with the times. (Hello, matching father and son outfits?).
Anyhoo, an electric shaver will suffice — giving them a clean, shaved look that will help them look presentable wherever they are. Shop here.
Leather Wallet Phone Case
For so many years, dads kept us protected in different ways. Now that we have a chance to give back, why not help them protect their essentials through a leather wallet phone case?
Mujjo’s, for example, speaks convenience and efficiency, without forsaking style. Its cardholder can carry up to three cards, and the case comes in a durable yet gorgeous leather design producing a beautiful patina over time. Shop here and use coupon #dad for 15 percent off all products (valid through June 21st).
Men love cordless drills. Not because they love drilling somebody else, but because it gives them the power to build and repair things.
In a way, it’s also one of the most useful and practical gifts that you can give, since the household can use it in different situations. Shop here.
Our dads sometimes forget that health is wealth. Give them the gift of health through a treadmill, so you can encourage them to live an active and fit lifestyle to prevent diseases that come with age.
Running a few miles can help them live longer, so you all can bond and make more memories together. Shop here.
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