Lifestyle

Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch: A Discussion

Read this article or not, it’s your decision 😉

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If you’re into watching movies and TV shows about science fiction, chances are you’ve already heard of or seen the show Black Mirror and its latest episode/movie/game called Bandersnatch. It’s available to stream on Netflix and watching it gives the audience a unique experience in a way that doesn’t follow a linear way of storytelling.

Instead, it gives you the power to choose (using your TV’s remote control, laptop, or smartphone) and decide what happens next in the story. In short, there are many directions the narrative can branch out to and every choice affects what will happen later on.


It’s not the first time a story has been told in this approach, but the implementation in an online streaming service and how the events unfold throughout the episode goes beyond the norm in so many levels. If you’ve seen Bandersnatch, we’re sure there’s a lot you want to talk about. And so do we! This article is a discussion on what we liked and didn’t like.

Of course, there will be spoilers throughout. If you haven’t seen the episode, you may stop reading and watch it first. Or you can just continue on and join in on the fun. All up to you. It’s not like someone from the future is controlling your decisions, right?

Were there any expectations before watching Black Mirror‘s Bandersnatch?

Dan: I have to admit that I was hyped for Bandersnatch. It became sort of a tradition for me to binge watch a new season Black Mirror during the holidays. So, when the news broke about an interactive Black Mirror film, I had high expectations. I expected it to be more complex, but I think it was just enough.

Rodneil: When I played the first three hours of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human,my initial thought was that it felt like binging a Netflix series with more involvement from you as the audience. In that regard, I expected Bandersnatch to feel like a game, and it did.

Kevin: I expected it to be a dark, heavy episode since it’s what Black Mirror excels at. As for the interactive experience, I’ve recently tried out Netflix’s Minecraft Story Mode and had a taste of how the system works so I already had an idea of how things will go.

What was your first ending?

Dan: I took the initial offer immediately… It wasn’t done in good judgment. 👀

Rodneil: Same with Dan, haha. My gut said to not take the offer but logically, it felt like a reasonable option. After choosing this “wrong path,” I followed my gut the rest of the way.

Kevin: I took the prescription pills prescribed by my shrink (I’d like to think I’m obedient that way) instead of flushing them down the toilet which resulted in getting a 2/5 stars rating of my game. I went for a different timeline, of course, and corrected that.

Did you make good decisions throughout the story?

Dan: Not really. Instead of thoroughly thinking about which option I choose, I always had the thought that I can repeat and amend a mistake. Also, I thought of it as a video game wherein I have to make sure I explore everything before jumping to the next level.

Kevin: I didn’t want to “shout at dad” let alone “kill dad.” So those decisions led me to a dead end. Then I remembered this is Black Mirror and it probably wanted me to go for a darker path. It did, haha!

Rodneil: I’m not sure about good but I did go with what I thought was the smarter or weirder option.

Do you think your decisions reflect your personality?

Dan: It should. Although, I think I wasn’t properly watching it the first time, so my first choices should not be counted.

Rodneil: For the second ending I got, I would say it did. My usual approach in choose-your-adventure games is to not think too much about my choices and just go with my gut.

Kevin: It did. And as I said earlier, some of those choices led me to a dead end. Others made things more interesting like taking on the therapist Street Fighter style. That was fun to watch.

What was your favorite part from the episode?

Dan: I’d say my favorite part was one of the proper endings where the young Stefan went with her Mommy and they got into the train accident. It was just a flashback, but it affected the current timeline of adult Stefan and he died while sitting on a chair inside his doctor’s office. Being part of the Black Mirror franchise, I find this ending to be the best as it embraces the series’ suspenseful and dark atmosphere.

Kevin: There were actually a lot for me. The conspiracy theories Colin delivered while they were tripping on LSD was so convincing thanks to his acting.

The path where you choose to explain Netflix to Stefan, for me, was just so surreal since I could imagine myself telling someone from the 80s that I’m controlling a fictional character on a TV show. I bet hearing that from someone from the future would totally sound insane — and for us living in the present, it is the reality.

Also, that part when Stefan says something about making the audience think they have free will to choose but in reality, it’s still Stefan giving the scenarios and where they’re heading. It pretty much applies to us, too, thinking we have control over the entire episode when there’s actually a flowchart of things that dictate what we can and cannot do.

Lastly, I’d say I was blown away by how meta the episode can become. One ending goes to follow Colin’s daughter who is now adapting Bandersnatch for Netflix. We see her planning the choices for the actual episode and we’re given one last time to dictate what she does next. Eventually, she destroys her computer which then makes the show nonexistent. Brilliant.

Rodneil: Man, I agree with everything Kevin listed. I enjoyed Colin’s entire “free will” monologue and how meta it was when you’re asked to explain Netflix to Stefan.

Is there anything that you didn’t like about the story or experience?

Dan: As I have mentioned earlier, I was expecting a more in-depth viewer involvement. There were decisions made by the protagonist that I wished I was given the chance to choose. Also, it was not the strongest Black Mirror story. But, overall, Bandersnatch is a showcase of online entertainment. It may not be the most original, but the concept was put to good use.

Rodneil: Nothing in particular. I wasn’t expecting much coming into it. In fact, I didn’t expect the story to be good at all, but after watching, I thought it was a perfect first offering for this kind of format.

Kevin: Dan and I share the same sentiments on the episode not having the strongest story. I mentioned that I expected something heavy before watching it and though some of the endings were indeed dark, it’s not Black-Mirror-Season-One-Episode-One dark that will leave you dumbfounded by the end. I understand that they concentrated more on the interactive part and they did a fantastic job in its entirety.

Will this interactive technology change or affect how we watch movies and TV series in the future?

Dan: A big yes. Like with interactive books, however, it’s not for everyone and it’s not applicable to all titles. I’d love to see a couple of interactive films on Netflix every now and then, especially on the big screen. The genre of Black Mirror is perfect for interactive content, and maybe some other horror or suspense stories. Stretching this out to a series will take a lot of resources, but it’ll be grand.

Rodneil: It will change in that I think other streaming channels and even platforms like YouTube and Facebook will try to integrate this feature. It might be one way to curb piracy. I imagine it will be extremely hard to duplicate this experience. If more good titles make use of this interactive kind of viewing then more people might be enticed to actually pay for streaming services. We’re a long way away from that but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Kevin: Of course. It has that element that you’re responsible for what happens to the character — whether something good happens to them or you get them killed. It has a different, more personal impact. Also, what Dan and Rodneil said.

Accessories

9 gifts to enhance your kid’s multiple intelligence

There are more ways to learn!

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Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Every kid has its own potential. As grown-ups, we excel in different fields simply because we are smart in different ways. In Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are eight types of intelligence which are a big factor in how a kid learns.

Simply put, learning isn’t limited to school and there isn’t a single style of learning. The way your children play, interact and behave strongly shows how they learn differently, and what kind of field they will excel in.


Here are gift ideas for any occasion that you can get your children based on their intelligence:

For the word smart

Photo by Kindle

Kids exhibiting high linguistic intelligence are typically good at reading and writing. They’re also great storytellers and showcases strong memorization skills.

Help them enhance their verbal and written skills by giving them a Kindle Unlimited subscription, offering over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks. These can be easily accessed using your Kindle device, or through Kindle reading apps on your tablets or smartphones.

For the number smart

Photo by Square Off

Some kids are great at reasoning and critical thinking. Additionally, these are the kids that are great at logic, abstract, and numbers. In Gardner’s terms, these are the kids with logical-mathematical intelligence.

Let them polish their strategic and critical thinking by giving them an electronic chessboard, such as Square Off’s Chess Set.

For the picture smart

Photo by LEGO

Visual-spatial intelligence revolves around the ability to visualize and think through images. Kids exhibiting this style of learning are highly imaginative and creative, often they set on career paths related to arts and multimedia.

Hone their creativity by giving them a LEGO set, maybe The Rexcelsior ones? 

For the body smart

Photo from Amazon

There are kids who have higher energy compared to his/her peers. Most of them can’t sit still and would rather move around. Their learning style is a bit different, which requires them to use their bodies or observe someone’s movement. Kids like these exhibit bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Gift them a badminton racket and let them play to their heart’s content.

For the music smart

Photo by The ONE

If your kid recognizes sounds with ease, he/she probably exhibits strong musical intelligence. In other words, they have a good ear for music, and they can easily learn songs and melodies. Most of the time, they’re also gifted at singing, composing, and playing an instrument.

Support their talent by getting them a smart keyboard like The ONE’s Light Keyboard, which has keys that light up with sheet music, video lessons, and games when connected with The ONE Smart Piano app.

For the people smart

Photo by Amazon

Nowadays, technology makes it difficult for people to connect with someone. We’ve developed a culture where everyone would rather look down on screens than interact with the people they’re with. But there are kids who enjoy talking to people, and these are kids with high interpersonal intelligence.

Highlight the importance of engaging with people real-time and how fun it could be. Gift them a board game like Scrabble.

For the self smart

Some kids are more attuned to their self and have a far better understanding than their parents do. These are kids with high intrapersonal intelligence, and they are adept in figuring themselves out and knowing what they want.

Help them explore their inner selves by giving them a journal to write their thoughts down.

For the nature smart

Kids with naturalist intelligence are natural-born explorers, who know how to enjoy and appreciate nature. They love the great outdoors and they would thrive in activities that involve discovering the wonders of nature.

Next time you’re traveling with your family, instead of arcades and malls, bring them to a zoo or a botanical garden, like the Flower Dome and Cloud Forest in Singapore.

For the life smart

There are highly sensitive kids who have the capacity to tackle deep questions, and in Gardner’s theory, these are the kids who have existential intelligence. They ponder about human existence and they have a lot of questions about life (and even death).

Allow your children to be curious. Give them a book that makes them think and ask questions (and possible get answers), such as Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

What other gift ideas do you recommend for children? Sounds off in the comments below.

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Enterprise

These are the best cities for women entrepreneurs to thrive

Singapore ranks third in Asia Pacific, behind Sydney and Melbourne

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At the 10th annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit in Singapore, Dell announced findings of the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, ranking 50 global cities on their ability to foster growth for women entrepreneurs. Dell ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs, and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs to help improve support for women entrepreneurs and the overall economy.

Building on 10 years of research on women entrepreneurs, Dell partnered with IHS Markit to research and rank 50 cities on five important characteristics, including access to Capital, Technology, Talent, Culture and Markets.


The San Francisco Bay Area outranked New York for the No. 1 spot this year, mostly due to the city being one of the best places for women to gain access to capital. It also moved from 6th place to 2nd place in Culture, showing that the number of role models and public dialogue around eliminating the “bro culture” is making an impact.

Lack of funding, high cost of living, low representation of women in leadership roles and the lack of government-led policies that support women entrepreneurs were among the barriers globally.

Cities in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are improving alongside all other cities globally, but still have a long way to go. Singapore, one of the only three cities from Southeast Asia to make it to the top 50, saw the highest improvement in the Talent pillar, as it benefitted from increasing its top school and business school rankings, as well as its pool of professionals needed to help scale businesses.

APAC cities mainly fell behind in the pillars for Culture and Markets. Despite making the top 50, Singapore’s Culture score was relatively low due to fewer female role models or leaders, although it’s still more advanced than majority of its neighbors in addressing gender parity issues.

Singapore ranks only No. 47 globally for the Markets pillar, because of the high cost of living in the city despite the lack of accelerators and relatively few female board members.

The WE Cities Index serves as a diagnostic tool to advise policy-makers on how to better support women in business.

“By arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs, we can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses by removing financial, cultural and political barriers,” says Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies.

The same way US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in her landmark cases that gender discrimination hurts men and women alike, Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu also emphasized at the summit that it’s not only women who want a better work life balance; men also want to be able to spend more time with their families.

This is where technology comes in. Technology, as a gender-neutral enabler, helps drive progress in gender equality by creating a level playing field, says Amit Midha, President of Asia Pacific & Japan, Global Digital Cities at Dell Technologies. It’s important to empower and invest in women not just because it’s been proven time and again that women help economies grow, but also because doing so benefits men and society as a whole.

SEE ALSO: Inspiring quotes from Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit 2019

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Apps

FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns

Taking social media by storm

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FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.

Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.


Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp

Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.

After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!

Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.

You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?

Is our security compromised?

FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.

A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.

Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.

FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.

At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.

 

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