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EXCLUSIVE 54 offer flexibleworking initiatives

first_imgEXCLUSIVE: More than half (54%) of respondents offer flexible-working initiatives, according to the Employee Benefits/Xerox HR Services Benefits research 2016, published in June 2016.Among the other lifestyle benefits offered by respondents’ organisations, 48% provide additional annual leave for life events or in recognition of long service, and 31% offer enhanced parental leave. However, just 11% of respondents offer emergency childcare, 8% provide emergency eldercare support, and only 1% of respondents provide non-emergency eldercare.Discounts and offers are also a popular feature in employers’ benefit offerings, with 41% of respondents giving staff access to retail and leisure discounts, 28% to retail and leisure vouchers, and a third (34%) offering dining cards.The number of respondents that include these benefits in their core benefits package for all staff has risen over the last two years; the Employee Benefits Benefits research 2014, published in May 2014, found that 26% of respondents provided retail and leisure discounts as a core benefit for all staff, and even fewer offered retail and leisure vouchers (11%) or dining cards (7%) as a core benefit for the whole workforce. This could perhaps reflect the growing popularity of benefits that can be used on a day-to-day basis, providing visible savings to staff while costing employers relatively little.last_img read more

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40 believe workplace stress could be reduced if organisations recruited more staff

first_imgJust under half (40%) of respondents believe that stress in the workplace could be lowered if employers hired more people, according to research by MetLife Employee Benefits.The Building resilience in the workplace report, which surveyed 1,052 full time employees over the age of 18, also found that 46% of respondents believe their organisation has not recruited enough staff since the economic downturn.The research also found:50% of respondents have access to a range of wellbeing benefits, including medical care, gym memberships, counselling services and flexible working hours.42% of respondents find that their organisation helps staff to deal with work pressure and stress.31% of respondents feel that employers help new recruits understand the pressures involved in their job role.20% of respondents have access to an employee assistance programme (EAP), which offers telephone or online counselling.Tom Gaynor (pictured), employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: “Recruiting more staff is a major investment and potentially risky but there are actions employers can take to help the employees they already have without huge investment.“Employees need to feel supported and the evidence is that employers recognise the issue and are trying to provide that support to their workforce but are not getting the message across.“Increasingly, group risk providers are building wellness programmes into their propositions which can help prevent stress. Providers are also helping employers with the crucial issue of communication and ensuring staff are aware there is support.”last_img read more

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Women in their 50s earn £8504 a year less than men

first_imgWomen in their 50s who work full time earn £8,504 a year less than a man working full time, according to research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).Its analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, also found that an 18-21 year-old woman who works full time earns £1,395 a year less on average than male colleagues, with this figure jumping to £1,944 for women aged 22-29 years old, and £3,034 once a female employee reaches her 30s.Women working full time in their 40s experience a 21% pay gap, earning £7,234 a year less on average than their male counterparts. When women reach their 60s, the average pay gap is £6,321 a year.Frances O’Grady, general secretary at the TUC, said: “Having children has starkly different effects on men’s and women’s pay, with women earning less after having kids, and men earning more. Far more needs to be done to help mums get back into decent, well-paid jobs after they have kids, and to encourage dads to take on their share of caring responsibilities.”last_img read more

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BNP Paribas and Sage shortlisted for most engaging benefits proposition

first_imgBNP Paribas and Sage are among the organisations shortlisted in the most engaging benefits proposition category at the Employee Benefits Awards 2017.The award, sponsored by Personal Group, recognises an employer that has used benefits within its wider strategy to engage employees with the organisation.The full category shortlist is:BNP Paribas, Spectrum: Right For YouOxford Bus (Entered by Personal Group)Sage, Sage Rewards (Entered by Thomsons Online Benefits)TalkTalk Group, My Benefits (Entered by Capita Employee Benefits)The winners will be announced at the Employee Benefits Awards and Summer Party on 9 June 2017 at the Artillery Garden at the HAC, London.See the full shortlist.For more information and to reserve your seats.last_img read more

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2 diamond rings stolen in Plantation man remains at large

first_imgPLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) – Two diamond rings were stolen from a jewelry store at a Plantation mall, and the man continues to be at large.Surveillance video showed a man posing as a customer and looking at diamond rings that were shown to him by a sales clerk. This took place at Zale’s in the Westfield Broward Mall, on Nov. 14, at around 10:30 a.m.According to officials, the man snatched both diamond rings before fleeing the store. He was seen getting into the passenger seat of a sky blue Ford Taurus.If you have any information on this jewelry heist, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Female protesters across US head to Washington for Womens March

first_imgWASHINGTON (WSVN) – Hundreds in the U.S., including South Floridians, are flying to our nation’s capital to participate in a massive women’s protest march.Across the country, women have packed their bags and boarded planes or buses to head to Washington, D.C. in order to deliver a message about women’s and human rights.“We’re not getting a government that is going to be responsible to the citizenry the way they should,” said Myra Weaver, who is planning to attend march.Sharon Rosonow hopes the march will be a peaceful one. “I don’t want any fighting. I just want a fabulous rally and march,” she said, “and for them to recognize we have rights.”Some 50,000 women are expected to turn out in the nation’s capital, which would match the women’s strike for equality in 1970. While that march was about equality in the workforce, some said the issues for this protest, including climate change, healthcare and reproductive rights, are too diverse to be effective.“The Women’s March is a gesture of our commitment,” said Laura Kleinhenz.Wendy Withers, who is planning to attend the march, said this is the only way her voice will be heard. “We don’t know what else to do at this point,” she said. “The vote doesn’t count. The popular vote doesn’t count. Then we have to show up in person.” Several women in Los Angeles, a group from Michigan and a teacher from Missouri said they hope that by joining together, Washington will in fact listen.“It’s a really unique time in history, so being able to be a part of that and feeling like when you’re with a group that big, your voice is even stronger,” said Kristi Meyer.It is estimated that about two million women will participate in Sister Women’s marches in cities around the globe.Officials in Portland, Oregon, where protesters have been rioting since the November election, are preparing for the worst. “We’re going to draw some hard lines when it comes to protecting personal property and fighting against violence,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.For most women, however, the goal is to have a peaceful gathering with a powerful message. “I’m not going because I am pro or anti Donald Trump,” said one woman. “I am going because I want this incoming administration to know that women’s rights matter.”The march is expected to be huge, and the city is ready for it. Police are prepared and are expecting to close down roadways. The metro will be in service early to get to a concert for the event and then march.For a map to the 616 Global Sister Marches, including three in South Florida, visit this link: https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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Memo Raises Legal Questions With Alaska Budget Language

first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A legislative attorney says language in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal giving his budget office discretion to transfer money within departments raises legal and constitutional questions. The memo was requested and released by Sen. Bill Wielechowski (wil-uh-KOW’-ski), a Democratic member of the Senate Finance Committee. The budget language in question states that at the budget office’s discretion, it could transfer funding between items in a department. Linda Bruce, in a memo, writes that a court is unlikely to find that the language is legally permissible or constitutional. She notes that the Legislature has the power of appropriation. Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow says the state Department of Law has not raised concerns with the language.last_img read more

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Manager Vs Mayor Itll Be Up For The Voters To Decide

first_imgRepresentative Ben Carpenter of Nikiski: “When does it stop? Well, I can tell you it stops when we as individuals put what’s better for our form of government ahead of our personal and political views are.”  Smalley: “It’s not uncommon 12 of 19 boroughs in the state have a manager form of government. I’ve worked in both as an elected official, and a manager form. Both have benefits and drawbacks as well, but this is an opportunity for it to be considered.”  Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough approved an ordinance to move forward with asking the voters if they would prefer more of a borough management style instead of the current mayor style. If passed by the voters the ordinance states that the mayor would still be elected borough-wide, but would no longer be chief administrator. The ordinance faced public criticism at the meeting, many of whom wanted to see a transition plan before being faced with the vote. Duane from Kenai: “This ordinance is just a bad execution of another good idea, I will wager with anyone of you that it will fail. Why? because you don’t’ have a plan.” center_img The question will go on the fall ballot for voters to decide on October 1. Wilma from Nikiski: “I voted for Charlie Pierce for Borough Mayor, I didn’t vote for a manager. We don’t need a Borough Manager and that’s a fact.” The ordinance passed in a close 5 to 4 vote at the assembly meeting on Tuesday. The ordinance was introduced by Assemblywoman Kelly Cooper, and Assemblyman Hal Smalley.last_img read more

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Small Publishers and Marketing Services

first_imgFor some publishers, acquiring their way into marketing services (in March, Penton bought online marketing firm EyeTraffic Media) may be the best option. Referencing the development of Meredith Integrated Marketing, Tom Stein, president and founder of b-to-b agency Stein Rogan + Partners, said it was based on six acquisitions and that former Meredith National Media group president Jack Griffin told him, “If we decided to do this in-house, we’d still be just talking about it.” However, most smaller publishers don’t have the war chest for six marketing acquisitions (or spending $350 million on a digital agency the way Hearst did for iCrossing). For them, entering marketing services requires a mix of in-house development and strategic partnering. Last week, Northstar Travel Media announced a marketing solutions division based around two internal staffers (a VP of marketing solutions in former TravelAge West publisher Michelle Rosenberg and a dedicated project manager), and a strategic tech partner in Decision Counsel to execute programs. American Business Media’s annual meeting this year took a single theme approach, focusing on the opportunity for b-to-b publishers to offer marketing services. While the core of marketing services is based on many things publishers already offer (content, data, lead gen), it’s also a different business with longer sales cycles, potentially lower margins, and a different sales and editorial mentality. It’s the latest example of publishers “chasing new money in a hurry,” according to Mitch Rouda, president of e-media at Farm Journal Media. Stage 1: Status quo—no projects. Customers should be addressed with best practices and industry trends. Stage 2: Discovery—the customer knows they need a project but isn’t sure what to do. Here, white papers and Webinars are applicable. Stage 3: Vendor selection. Here Summit presents customer testimonials, assessment tools in which prospects can enter data and increasing use of video. “For our market, they want to see the machines in action, says Newcorn. Stage 4: Short list. Vendor comparison charts. “Here, they need something downloadable,” says Newcorn. “A chart indicates they’re pretty far down the path. A boardroom PowerPoint is something junior execs can show to more senior, maybe less tech savvy execs.” The Summit proposal package includes a kick-off meeting with the content creators, written analysis and recommendations and a 12-month road map. “Now that we have the infrastructure to produce custom packages, now we have to look at how we sell it,” says Newcorn. Summit Media also debuted a new dedicated custom media group (“custom” is increasingly becoming a dirty word that marketing can’t relate too—hence the rise of “marketing solutions.”) with seven full-time people and multiple freelancers. “What’s interesting is [clients] want our expertise as content producers, not our audience,” said Dave Newcorn, vice president of digital and custom media. center_img Many of the services now falling under the umbrella of “marketing solutions” have previously been offered as value-added. “We need to change the nature of free with things like copywriting, consulting, white papers and surveys,” says Newcorn. “We charged one client $7,500 to put together a survey and send it. In any other kind of work, that’s consulting.” Summit came up with a price calculator that deducts hard costs but also incentivizes salespeople to sell high. Part of getting the new custom group off the ground was a “lunch & learn” campaign in which Newcorn and his group visited 108 customers in 15 cities, explaining the concept of lead nurturing. The publisher also did research identifying four stages of the buying process and what solutions to offer. They include:last_img read more

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Updated TEN Shutters Surfing Magazine

first_img While Surfer and Surfing had a shared sales staff, the two titles maintained separate editors. Just how many editors will be brought over from Surfing remains unclear, but Garrett describes the staff going forward as “a strong blend of members of both teams.” TEN: The Enthusiast Network confirmed this week that Surfing — which chronicled surf culture since its first monthly edition went to press in December 1964 — will cease to exist as a distinct brand, its print edition shuttered and its digital assets folded into fellow TEN title (and longtime competitor) Surfer. “Surfer was the logical brand to put everything into as we go forward; it’s always served a larger audience,” Garrett tells Folio:. “But we’re bringing over a lot of the great editorial concepts from Surfing, including some of the key members of the staff, to really round out Surfer moving forward.” After 53 years, Surfing magazine is paddling off into the sunset. “The advertising market in traditional publishing is contracting, especially in areas where your’e dealing with younger demographics,” TEN CEO Scott Dickey tells Folio:. “The idea that brands were going to support multiple titles within a vertical doesn’t make sense anymore. This is a natural contraction of the surf publishing industry. It doesn’t mean those dollars are going away, they’re just going into other distribution channels and other media. That’s where we’re investing.” In an all-too-common refrain reverberating throughout the magazine business, TEN cited consolidation and a pivot toward digital media as the answer to changing demands from consumers and advertisers, preferring to stake its claim on the older and more widely read Surfer, which Norb Garrett, EVP/GM of TEN’s sports and entertainment portfolio, called “the lifelong bible of the sport.” “We’re putting more resources and manpower on creating content in areas where consumers clearly are consuming more — in video, in social, in digital,” adds Garrett. “It is, no doubt, a manifestation of that strategy, and an ongoing one. Experiential events is another channel where we see a lot of opportunity. We’ve got a few really great events that were with Surfing that we can expand and grow.” The news of Surfing’s closure prompted an outpouring of social media consternation from professional and amateur surfers alike, as well as this somewhat bizarre-but-passionate Beachgrit.com eulogy for “the brave little magazine.” Surfline.com’s interview with “surf historian” (and former Surfer editor) Matt Warshaw provides some further insight into Surfing’s lasting impact on the sport and culture it covered for decades. The announcement comes as TEN — which also publishes titles like Motor Trend, Hot Rod, and SLAM, among others — aggressively reinvents itself as a digital-first enthusiast media company, with a particular focus on video content. Its nascent but recently rebranded video production arm, StudioTEN, has grown into a 50-employee operation with a 30,000-square-foot Los Angeles studio. The company claims an overall audience of 162 million —of which its print magazines account for just 3 percent — and 27 million monthly video views on its branded YouTube channels alone. Founded by Dick Graham, then-editor of the short-lived Petersen’s Surfing, and photographer Leroy Grannis in 1964, the upstart Surfing soon established itself as a formidable competitor to the more well-established Surfer, a rivalry that persisted even after both titles gained a common owner in Primedia, in 2001. Both magazines were sold, along with the rest of Primedia’s action sports portfolio, to Source Interlink in 2007, and both survived that company’s 2014 bankruptcy and subsequent rebirth as TEN. This story was updated on January 26, 2017 at 3:50 pm.last_img read more

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Purdue Air Force Lab to Partner on Technology Commercialization

first_imgThe Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Purdue Research Foundation last week signed an agreement to boost technology commercialization.The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization signed a similar agreement with Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane Division, Ind., in 2014 that showcases both organizations’ intellectual property with the goal of promoting the transfer of innovations to the public.“We already have a robust research and development program, but the agreement with Purdue will enable us to capitalize on the successful proven approaches used by Purdue to efficiently and effectively commercialize advanced technology products at an even faster rate,” Bill Harrison, director of the AFRL Small Business office, said in a news release.“In addition, we will be able to tap into Purdue’s established entrepreneurial activities including educational and mentoring opportunities and its entrepreneurs-in-residence program,” Harrison saidThe agreement calls for AFRL and Purdue to retain independent ownership of their relative intellectual property, but Air Force intellectual property will be marketed alongside Purdue’s innovations through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, which is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation.“The goals of this agreement include implementing our established technology translation processes and to expand the commercialization channels for Purdue and the Air Force Research Laboratory,” said Chad Pittman, vice president of the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.“Because we share so many similar disciplines and industries, the successful marketing and commercialization methods we utilize will fit well with the innovations and technologies that the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed and patented,” Pittman said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

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Navy Utility Reach Deal to Build Solar Array at Georgia Marine Corps

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR The Navy signed a real estate outgrant with Georgia Power to develop a 31-megawatt (alternating current) solar generation facility on 150 acres at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, officials announced this week.The $75 million project, which will consist of ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, will deliver energy to the utility’s grid. Groundbreaking is expected this spring; the company plans to bring the facility online in less than a year, according to a news release.The array underscores the southwestern Georgia installation’s commitment to energy security, said Marine Corps Col. James Carroll III, commanding officer of MCLB Albany. The installation currently is slated to become a net zero energy installation with the construction of a biomass plant expected to start this summer.“Through our recent adoption of cutting-edge technologies, to include landfill gas-to-electric generators and ground source heat pumps, and our current effort to construct a biomass steam-fed electric generator, we are on track to achieve ‘net zero’ status well ahead of the secretary of the Navy mandate,” Carroll said. “This project with Georgia Power will add to the base’s energy security and diversify the area’s power supply, making the grid and all who rely on it more resilient,” he said.The project represents Georgia Power’s second at a Navy base; the utility broke ground last year on a 30-megawatt solar plant at Submarine Base Kings Bay.last_img read more

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Backstreet Boys Talk GRAMMY Museum Experience Millennium Legacy Touring

first_img Twitter NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Apr 18, 2019 – 2:26 pm Backstreet Boys On New Exhibit, ‘Millennium,’ More https://twitter.com/GRAMMYMuseum/status/1116445887855767559 Facebook As they unveil the interactive ‘Backstreet Boys: The Experience’ exhibit, we go behind the scenes with the GRAMMY-nominated boy band to look back on their 26 years together Ana YglesiasGRAMMYs Apr 18, 2019 – 3:10 pm On April 8, the Backstreet Boys visited the GRAMMY Museum for a very special evening; the preview night of the newest exhibit there, Backstreet Boys: The Experience. AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell all played a part in making the exhibit happen, sorting through old wardrobe trunks to choose which iconic ’90s and ’00s looks to put on display and sifting through the countless fan photos and homemade memorabilia they’ve been gifted over their 26-year career. Email We went behind the scenes with the GRAMMY-nominated group right after they explored the newly set up exhibit for the first time, as they reflected on who BSB is today, their legacy, having fun in Las Vegas and their excitement for the DNA World Tour. Or, as McLean put it, their “biggest tour in 18 years,” in support of 2019’s DNA.”I think [The Experience] is gonna surprise a lot of people, bring back a lot of memories…if you’re a fan, this plays homage to you,” Carter told us about the new exhibit. “[There’s] a lot of things you can interact with, but just really cool things that remind people who the Backstreet Boys are and where we’ve come from, so it’s a cool experience.” Backstreet Boys On New Exhibit, ‘Millennium,’ More backstreet-boys-talk-grammy-museum-experience-millennium-legacy-touring Backstreet Boys Talk GRAMMY Museum “Experience,” ‘Millennium’ Legacy & Touring News Speaking of looking back, the group also discussed the 20th anniversary of their record-breaking album Millennium, which was the best-selling album of 1999.”Millennium is probably, to this day, one of the biggest album’s we’ve ever had. I think if we weren’t on the map by that time in most people’s eyes and ears, we were definitely at that point,” Dorough said. “I think that itself is what’s continued the legacy of the Backstreet Boys.”Backstreet Boys: The Experience is currently on display at the GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles until Sept. 2. Learn how and when to have your special BSB experience on the Museum’s website.LANY Is The Modern, Thoughtful Pop Group The World Needs Right NowRead morelast_img read more

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AllOne Health Opens New Clinic In Wilmington

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — AllOne Health is excited to have moved their occupational health clinic from Woburn to Wilmington in early June. Their new clinic is located in a beautifully customized and redesigned space located at 200 Ballardvale Street, Suite 301.With the ability to remain in this new location for 12-years, AllOne Health’s commitment to maintaining and strengthening its Occupational Health Center of Excellence in the region has never been stronger.Located 8 miles north of its previous Woburn Clinic location off Route 93, the new location offers easy highway access and a newly redesigned space to continue providing excellent service.The services offered at the new clinic include:Asbestos ExamBlood DrawDOT ExaminationDrug and Alcohol testingFitness for Duty ExamFlu ImmunizationForklift Preplacement ExamHepatitis AHepatitis BHoist/Crane Operator ExamLead/Deleading ExamMedical Surveillance ExamMMR – ImmunizationPolio VaccinePreplacement Exam or Company ExamRespirator CertificationRespirator Fit TestingTDAPTetanus – DiphtheriaT-Spot, Tuberculosis/TB screenTyphoid VaccinationVaricella VaccineYellow Fever Vaccine(NOTE: The above press release is from AllOne Health.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, June 3, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Monday, July 8, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”last_img read more

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What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On September 16

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington Farmers Market will be open this Sunday, September 16, 2018, from 10am to 1pm, on the Swain Green, across from the Town Common, at 140 Middlesex Avenue.September 16 Farmers Market Lineup:Vendors:Arrowhead FarmBeads By BarbaraDeano’s PastaEJ’s Fresh Frozen Pizza / Grab & GoGaouette FarmGrace GranolaJessy Cate’s CupcakesPurple Carrot BreadRed AntlerSeafood ExpressSusan Anton LMTSquare Inch FarmTewksbury HoneyAdditional Attractions:Balloons with YarrowCub Scout Pack 126Chickens at the Kids TableLive Music with Anne Sandstrom & John LorentzLike Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWhat To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On September 1In “Community”What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On Sunday, September 8In “Community”What To Expect At The Wilmington Farmers Market On August 11In “Community”last_img read more

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All the coolest gadgets at CES 2019 Day 1 The 359 Ep

first_img Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? • 0 See All Voice recognition LG Samsung Verizon Apple All the cool new gadgets at CES 2019 Tech Industry 85 Photos Subscribe: iTunes | RSS | Google Play | FeedBurner | SoundCloud |TuneIn | Stitcher Post a comment Sep 1 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors CES 2019 The Daily Chargecenter_img Now playing: Watch this: Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it 14:39 LG’s rollable TV, 5G, Google stand out early at CES 2019… Share your voice CES 2019: Every story so far: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show. CES 2019 schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect. Apple Tags We are back and at CES this week. On this podcast, we talk about: Verizon reveals first 5G phone. LG shows off its rollable TV.Apple makes an unexpected splash at CES. Samsung pushes its Bixby smart assistant in robots and home appliances.The 3:59 gives you bite-size news and analysis about the top stories of the day, brought to you by the CNET News team in New York and producer Bryan VanGelder. Check out the extended shows on YouTube. Also, don’t forget to rate and review the podcast on iTunes. LG’s rollable TV, 5G, Google stand out early at CES 2019 (The 3:59, Ep. 505) Your browser does not support the audio element. reading • All the coolest gadgets at CES 2019, Day 1 (The 3:59, Ep. 505)last_img read more

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Why AR is going to give you superpowers in the future

first_imgThe HoloLens 2 reboots augmented reality for Microsoft. It’s got a new fit, larger field of view and adds detailed hand and eye tracking. But one thing it’s still not is a consumer device.Alex Kipman is a Microsoft technical fellow and inventor of the Kinect and the HoloLens. During a visit to Microsoft’s Redmond campus to try the HoloLens 2 before its debut, we were able to talk to Kipman about his vision for where computing is headed, what HoloLens is becoming and how far away we are from a future where everyday people are actually wearing advanced AR headsets.To Kipman, and Microsoft, a headset like the HoloLens is one of many devices in which sensors will digest the world with AI. As Kipman says, on a headset, it’s the HoloLens. In a home, it’s a smart camera. On a car or drone, it’s an autonomous vehicle. This time, HoloLens 2 aims to connect its AR experiences in the cloud to other devices, including iOS and Android, and feel more like a work tool than ever. Jun 29 • Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Why you shouldn’t rush to buy a 5G phone 18 Photos 0 Now playing: Watch this: 4:54 Wearable Tech Inside Microsoft’s HoloLens development lab Microsoft HoloLens 2: A first dive into the future of… 53 Photos How much of these technologies is the general consumer going to see in the short term?I have no interest in overhyping, and having a bunch of people think these things are consumer products. And then … get to the trough of disillusionment when people are like, “my God, I’m not using this instead of a PC, instead of a phone, instead of a television.” These devices need to be more comfortable, they need to become more immersive and ultimately they need to have more value-to-price ratio. There is a threshold in the journey where there is enough immersion, enough comfort, enough out-of-box value, where I’ll be happy to announce a consumer product. This is not it.How far are we?That’s impossible me to go guess per se. … I think humans are terrible predictors of time. In enterprise, in first-line worker scenarios, we’re finding great value where this stuff is transformative. Now, to be clear, if I can take the highest watermark, the single best product that exists in this space today and it’s still “not ready for consumers,” you guys can be the judges of everybody else’s product in this space. Now playing: Watch this: May 13 • Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: Every spec compared Share your voice What do you think the killer apps will be?I think communication … essentially defines a secular trend in computing. As it turns out, more often than not, it’s the innovation in the communication stack that changes things. Snail mail to real mail, real mail to messaging, to text messaging, to Snapchatting people. It’s like going from a still to a video to a teleportation. Like, my daughter being able to teleport to play with her cousins in Brazil, as a parent. Me not having to travel around the world to visit all my partners. How much would I love that? If you guys could be having this level of present experience, and you’re in New York, and you guys are in San Francisco and still it’s this immersive, with me in Redmond? It’s not hard to imagine presence as a killer experience for mixed-reality devices.As for monitor replacement … think about you sitting in front of your PC for “n” number of hours a day. This can be immersive and comfortable. Would you go spend this much money, to put this [the HoloLens] on your head with a keyboard and mouse versus buying a 30-inch, $500 monitor? Probably not, so we do try to focus a lot on things that you simply cannot do otherwise. Done right, we will all live in a world very soon where we will interface and interact and instinctually manipulate technology ubiquitously through our days, and you’re not going to be interfacing through monitors.In terms of eye tracking, what challenges or opportunities do you see?I think ultimately the quest here goes back to having our AI understand people, places and things. You want to get as much signal in that conversation as possible. If you’re going to teleport somewhere, I want to be able to know what you’re doing, and have that level of understanding so I can really teleport you. I still want your facial expressions to go through it. That’s something that I am very excited about, the eyes and the emotion of your eyes — there is so much signal there for us to mine to create more immersive and more comfortable experiences.I do think a lot about security of these devices. We’re going to have state-of-the-art iris recognition, the single most secure biometric system with iris recognition through HoloLens, that allows me to get all of that data securely, all of my comfort information, all of my customization. And then lastly, is the idea that we can close the loop. I know at any point in time, where is the device, in relation to your eyes, as we’re starting to form the hologram. Without that signal, I may or may not be getting the image correctly. Which means your eyes and your brain are doing all of the math for everything that I get wrong. Which is what translates into fatigue at the end of the day. We’re able to load most of that math on the device and adjust the hologram as you’re moving, to create sharper, more immersive holograms in the experience. Jul 9 • Killer cameras and battery life might meet their match in the Note 10 Post a comment reading • Why AR is going to give you ‘superpowers’ in the future The creator of HoloLens 2 discusses its future One thing that sets apart your tech versus others in the field is not having any physical control at all, using hands. Is a controller or haptics ever going to happen?100 percent, we love haptics. We started this journey 11 years ago with input. Kinect was about having sensors on the edge that observed environment to understand people, places and things. We went from Kinect input innovation to HoloLens, input plus output. The last one is having these things in my world exchange energy. Having zeros and ones, that transact into photons, actually transact into energy so I can push a hologram, and it pushes me back with equal force. So I can hold the hologram and I can feel the temperature of a hologram. We can call that haptic feedback. Much more sophisticated than how you traditionally would think about [it], but another level of immersion. The minute that I throw a hologram to you and you can catch it and it pushes you back … ooh, immersion just took one crank forward. The minute that I’m holding a hologram and there’s temperature to it, it changes the level of immersion and believability of the experience.Now although that’s absolutely in our dreams, we also believe that humans are tool builders. I would not want my doctor to operate on me without tools, just with their bare hands, anymore than I’d like to eat my food tonight without a fork and a knife. We don’t have any dogma on, “You cannot have something in your hands.” As a matter of fact, in our virtual reality handsets, you’re holding things in your hands: tools, controllers. That device could work here, but I don’t know if you guys have seen that one, it has lights. All you see is the lights over the hologram. It’s not that great of an experience. It’s super easy for us to go create a version of that that goes in IR, so you don’t see the light. It’s absolutely also in our roadmap to think about holding things in the hand. Not just things we create. What if I am a person with a real physical hammer? We’re holding a coffee cup and I still want to touch my hologram?Trying on the HoloLens 2. James Martin/CNET How long are you spending right now using HoloLens each day?Several hours a day is the short answer. We actually designed HoloLens on HoloLens. Wearing HoloLens and looking at the model in 3D is a much more visceral way of being able to understand space and creation on it. But look, when I’m in meetings, I’m not wearing a HoloLens. There are plenty of times when I’m in my office, and I’m using my keyboard, mouse and my PC monitor to do any number of things. But I do wear the device several hours a day and so do most people on the team.What’s the one thing that kept bugging you while making the HoloLens 2?It’s everything. I have a dream that one day there’s only gonna be one problem that keeps us up at night. We count HoloLens in miracles. You know, we can’t have double-digit miracles in any given product cycle. That’s how we kind of size how much innovation or issues we’re going to pack into one release. This carbon fiber enclosure is a huge issue. It’s there so that we can essentially make the device much more comfortable and much more stable. But shipping carbon fiber that doesn’t look like carbon fiber … was incredibly hard, is still incredibly hard, has tons of issues. Inventing a new display engine: that was a huge miracle. The innovation in the lenses, to the vapor chamber in the back, to the fit system, and making the fit system extensible for enterprises, so you can put it under a hard hat, any number of things. That’s just the hardware. The manufacturing, building at scale, at yield? A whole different set of issues. Getting articulated hand tracking to feel instinctual. Getting eye tracking to work over glasses. How do you create this platform from edge to cloud? To staying up at night and saying, “Oh my God, how do we take all of this and make it open?” If you do it wrong, we’re gonna have to live with some of these decisions for the next decade-plus.If you solve all the problems, what’s the dream end state you want?My dream state is I walk on an airplane, man, and every single person on that airplane is wearing our product. That’s not this product, by the way, It’s probably not the next one either. But, ultimately, the goal is these things transform humans, they empower people and organizations to do things they just plainly were not able to do before, they allow us to displace space and time on a daily basis as if we were born instinctually with those superpowers. It’s a work of a lifetime, but certainly I can’t think of anything else better to do with my life. • Tags Augmented reality (AR) Microsoft Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 pulls us further into an augmented reality 8:35 See All 13 Photos Kinect started with consumers, on the Xbox. Do you ever think of revisiting that route for the HoloLens?Look, like everything in life, you learn. I am incredibly proud, obviously, of the work we did with Kinect, and I think Kinect transformed the world. But, look, people in the living room don’t want to stand up and play games … they want to lean back and enjoy and want the precision of a controller in their hands. We didn’t find as much signal in the living room for entertainment with devices like Kinect at the time. But you know, go look today at an Alexa. What are those things doing? They’re recognizing people, they’re recognizing speech. They’re doing a lot of the things that Kinect was doing in 2010. So, obviously, there’s space in people’s homes for devices like Kinect, that recognize people, that recognize the objects in it and understand the context of who you are. But we’re finding way more signal with Kinect in enterprise workloads. They don’t tend to go through a proxy PC. Which is why we then end-of-lifed Kinect for Windows, and we now just launched Azure Kinect, which is of course still tetherable to a PC but also connects directly as an IoT appliance to our cloud.Where’s mixed reality going in the next five years or so, and what part does Microsoft play?I’m not going to guess five years, to be honest with you. Let me say for the duration of this product, let’s say more in the one to two category … I think all the successful ones will be enterprise-bound, primarily first-line worker scenarios, and increasing over time to knowledge worker scenarios. So I’ll give you the prediction for the next two years. Next two years, these are still enterprise-bound. Mobile World Congress 2019 The 51 best VR games But when will that magic augmented world become something for the rest of us?An edited version of our conversation plus a video interview with Kipman are below, from when CNET spoke to him January 31, 2019.  Mobile World Congress 2019 Jun 1 • The Nubia Alpha looks like either a house arrest bracelet or Batman’s phonelast_img read more

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Apple TV Plus Bird Bird team up for Sesame Workshop show Helpsters

first_img $169 Tags 97 Photos Aug 29 • New iPhones, Apple Watch and more: Apple’s September event preview Mentioned Above Apple TV 4K (32GB) Now playing: Watch this: $179 Apple Share your voice TV and Movies $179 See All Aug 26 • Every Apple TV Plus show announced so far See It Crutchfield See It Review • Apple TV 4K review: The best TV streamer keeps getting better Aug 30 • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: Price, specs and features we expect on Sept. 10 “Sesame Workshop will draw on their 50 years of expertise creating children’s programming to produce live-action and animated series, and to develop a puppet series,” Apple said. While Sesame Street is one of the organization’s most famous productions, it is not a part of the Apple agreement. The new Sesame Workshop show is just one in a flurry of Apple show unveilings and partnerships spanning the gamut from a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories to a wide-ranging deal with media mogul Oprah Winfrey.  Apple’s Sesame Workshop move shows it is intent on offering a wide range of programming for all ages.  Be sure to check out everything Apple announced at the event.   Originally published June 20, 2018.  Update, March 25, 2019, 12:06 p.m. PT: Adds official announcement.  Preview • Apple TV 4K: New $179 Apple streamer adds HDR, better gamingcenter_img 0 Apple Event CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple reading • Apple TV Plus, Bird Bird team up for Sesame Workshop show Helpsters 2:47 It’s showtime for Apple’s streaming service See it Apple TV 4K Aug 30 • Apple will launch iPhone 11 on Sept. 10 in Cupertino Best Buy Big Bird and a friend showed up on the Apple Event stage to announce a new show. Video screenshot by CNET The most colorful celebrity cameo at Apple’s Monday “show time” event belonged to Big Bird, the friendly oversized muppet of Sesame Street fame. Big Bird came to introduce Helpsters, a children’s show for Apple’s new TV Plus streaming video service. The big yellow fellow had a muppet friend named Cody along to help. Cody will stat in the show, which will focus on teaching coding skills to preschoolers. Apple announced in June 2018 it had given a multi-series order to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit media organization behind the famed Sesame Street children’s show. Big Bird wants to help your kids learn to code on Helpsters Post a comment See It Apple Event • $179last_img read more

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Avengers Endgame and every MCU movie ranked

first_img When the credits ran I sank back in my chair in complete awe of what I’d just experienced. Hours later, I’m still reeling. Everything works here. The cameos, the humor, the battles, the story. I cannot wait to watch it again. Best moment: I won’t spoil it here, of course, but the best moment in this film is something I’d been waiting to see since these movies started to connect. It’s such a glorious moment of pure comic book fan bliss. Problem is, there are at least five of these moments in this film, so good luck guessing which it is.  Avengers: Endgame is a thrilling sequel to every MCU… Now playing: Watch this: 4:23 However, the final fight between Hulk and The Abomination still holds up for its visceral, kinetic fun and inventiveness, and I still love the last shot (before the Tony Stark cameo) of Bruce with the glowing green eyes suggesting he’d achieved a level of control. Best moment: Hulk clapping his hands together with such force he essentially snuffs out an explosion that had started only a split second before. Thor (now) Marvel Studios 21. Thor Thor does a good job establishing the Norse god as a being that could exist in the same world as Iron Man. “Your ancestors called it magic and you call it science,” Thor says. “Where I come from, they are one and the same.” Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston turn in star-making performances. But the love story with Jane Foster and some of the sitcom-like humor (which doesn’t hold up well all these years later) keep this film from being truly great. Still, the Shakespearean family dynamic (especially between the two leads) and Anthony Hopkins as Odin hold it together long enough to make for an entertaining film with a surprising turn or two toward the end. It’s a classic redemption tale told well that never takes itself too seriously, but brings in enough weight to make most of the relationships believable. Best moment: After bringing the Frost Giants to Asgard to kill his father, Loki turns the tables on them at the last possible second. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)2010-IronMan2.jpg Marvel Studios 20. Iron Man 2 The best thing in Iron Man 2 is Robert Downey Jr. He’s just as charismatic as he was in the first movie. But this just feels like a late ’90s or early 2000s superhero movie. And not in a good way. The best moment from every Marvel Cinematic Universe… Tags 15 How to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the right order How to watch every Marvel movie in the perfect order 3:41 Which ones will endure? Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame is out, and it’s perfect — and the perfect ending to “Book One” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s also made all of the money at the box office. So, how does it compare with all 21 other MCU movies from Marvel Studios? Is it the best Avengers movie? The best comic book movie ever? Keep reading to find out where it ranks for me. hulk Marvel Studios 22. The Incredible Hulk We’re going from worst to best, so we have to start somewhere. The Incredible Hulk isn’t a bad movie — in my opinion no film on this list is bad. That said, it’s certainly not great. It failed to make the relationship between Bruce Banner and Betty Ross worth caring about and was devoid of much of the humor the MCU is now known for. It feels like a movie that was at first made independent of the MCU and then had MCU ties grafted onto it. Now playing: Watch this:center_img The film takes some far-fetched leaps of logic (the solution to the arc reactor problem comes off as kind of silly) and many of the narrative decisions don’t come from character motivations, but instead feel like they’re shoehorned in to fit where the filmmakers wanted the movie to end. Still, the performances are great across the board and the action is entertaining. I’m just glad Marvel was able to learn from a lot of the mistakes it made in these early days. Best moment: Iron Man and War Machine teaming up to destroy a bunch of robots. Simple, effective and fun. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)thor-the-dark-world Marvel Studios 19. Thor: The Dark World The biggest problem with The Dark World is that it services Loki better than it does Thor. As a result, Thor, is one of the movie’s least interesting characters. He’s trumped only by Malekith — Marvel’s dullest villain ever — in his inability to make the audience care about his needs and wants. Still, Tom Hiddleston is completely dialed in here as Loki and is easily the most engaging character of the bunch. The production design is great and the Asgardian world building is cool. There are also some awesome and inventive action sequences. It’s just too bad that Thor the character gets lost along the way. Thankfully, that all changed with Ragnarok. Best moment: In his battle with Malekith, Thor is teleported from Earth to an entirely different planet without his trusty hammer, Mjolnir. The weapon (which always comes to him when he beckons it) beelines it out of Earth’s atmosphere on a course to meet the mighty Asgardian light-years away. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 18. Captain America: The First Avenger This was the first MCU film to get the love story right (before Marvel realized it didn’t need a love story in each movie). The mutual respect and adoration between Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter that organically grew as the story progressed was something few films (superhero or otherwise) nail as well as this one does. Chris Evans’ earnest portrayal of the self-sacrificing guy who just doesn’t know when to quit only works as well as it does because Hayley Atwell’s Peggy is a real person with her own arc. She isn’t at all marginalized and isn’t there to motivate the hero. To the script’s credit, their characters operate almost equally narratively, elevating the film way above lesser “love interest” fare. The action is fine compared with what we’ve seen since, but it’s still entertaining in an homage-y kind of way. Best moment: Steve doesn’t hesitate one second to jump on a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers. One of the best acts of self-sacrifice I’ve ever seen in a movie. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)foto1.jpg Marvel Studios 17. Ant-Man Ant-Man may be the MCU movie I was the least excited about (I only saw it three times in the theater). I was never a huge fan of the character in the comics and there was nothing in the trailers that gave me cause to feel differently. A few years removed, it’s still great, but better MCU movies have sent it barreling down the list. Paul Rudd is perfect as Ant-Man, and the movie does a great job showcasing his powers, heroism, needs and wants, making you care about why he becomes a hero. I love this movie still and the Falcon cameo is one of the best hero versus hero fights ever in a film. Luis also is one of the movie’s high points. Best moment: The training montage that culminates with an actual mission to break into Avengers HQ is incredibly well-edited and fun! Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 16. Iron Man Director Jon Favreau set the bar high with the first outing of everyone’s favorite genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist. And because this is where it all began, the film will always have a special place in my heart. Upon subsequent viewings, however, it becomes clear the first half of the movie is far better than the second, which suffers from a few too many superhero movie tropes (the villain has the same powers and Iron Man isn’t fighting at full strength for the finale), but I’d watch Tony Stark invent stuff in his garage for eight hours if I could. Iron Man is still a fun movie, but Marvel has gotten so much better. Best moment: The entire opening scene, ending with the title card. It immediately gets you invested in Tony Stark and his story. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)iron-man-3 15. Iron Man 3 This is the best Iron Man movie, thanks to a sharp, hilarious script and strong character work. With Tony Stark out of the armor for most of the running time, the film really has time to dig deep into what really makes this guy so compelling. The villains are credible and threatening and the final fight with Aldrich Killian is still great. The movie also does a good job of making the audience think it’s going one direction only to turn a cliche or trope on its ear, with mostly hilarious results. Not everyone appreciated “the twist,” but I did. It made me confront how quickly I bought into the prepackaged obvious villain instead of the real threat. Best moment: The midair rescue of Air Force One is spectacular because it’s an actual real-life stunt and still one of the more cleverly heroic action sequences you’ll see anywhere. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 14. Ant-Man and the Wasp This is first and foremost a comedy, with action thrown in. Not a Ragnarok-style spectacle comedy, but a much more grounded movie that never takes itself too seriously.   The action scenes, especially the San Francisco car chase involving Ant-Man, Wasp and Ghost are really inventive and fun, but the film is always about the characters. I love how Scott continues to make big mistakes for the right reasons and how Hope comes into her own as a full-fledged badass superhero.  Best moment: Agent Woo explains the Sokovia Accords to Cassie. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)avengers-assemble.jpg Marvel Studios 13. The Avengers Imagine living in a reality where this didn’t work. Where all the pieces failed to come together in such a rousing, entertaining way. Despite all the problems in this world, if there’s one thing I’m grateful for it’s that The Avengers exists in the same universe I do. I don’t really know why it works as well as it does. The Avengers is incredibly fun to watch. It’s not a perfect film — the first third is shaky but the rest of the film easily makes up for it. While the novelty of watching characters from different franchises interact in the same movie has waned, the interactions still feel right and are entertaining as hell. Best moment: The single tracking shot of superhero teamwork bliss I thought I’d never live to see captured in live-action. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) Marvel’s three-hour love letter to MCU fans tops Infinity War 3:14 Our spoiler-free Avengers: Endgame review TV and Movies Comments 26 Photos Now playing: Watch this: 12. Guardians of the Galaxy Great characters you immediately care about, interacting with one another in fun ways, coupled with well-directed action with a copious amount of heart thrown in — that’s why Guardians is so good. From the late title card reveal to the final dance-off, the movie strongly establishes its tone and doesn’t deviate for over two hours. The fact that people actually watched this movie and came to care about a talking raccoon and a walking tree is a testament to the skills of Marvel, director James Gunn, the writers and actors. Best moment: To dilute the overwhelming power and pain caused by an infinity stone, the team hold hands in a touching act of self sacrifice.   Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)spider-man-homecoming Marvel Studios 11. Spider-Man: Homecoming Spider-Man 2 is one of the best superhero movies ever made and that train sequence is one of the most memorable action scenes ever put on film. From an action standpoint, nothing in “Homecoming” stands up to that train sequence and yet, Homecoming is easily the better movie of the two. There’s a realness to the characters, the relationships and the world that really inspires the most grounded MCU film so far, but thankfully the spectacle keeps pace and is almost as satisfying as the character interactions. It’s also really, really funny.   Best moment: Trapped under a couple tons of debris, Peter Parker transforms from scared teenage boy into the Spider-Man. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 10. Doctor Strange Doctor Strange was the best single character origin movie the Marvel Studios had made when it was released. Sure, the humor is hit or miss. But great acting, spectacular visual effects and attention to detail (the movie never lets us forget the heavy price Strange pays for choosing to be a sorcerer) elevate this to something much greater than the sum of its parts. Doctor Strange proves that magic and sorcerers can work in the MCU by flipping a few movie tropes on their heads and having an abundance of really cool ideas. Best moment: Strange forces Dormammu to kill him over and over and over again until the demon can’t take the endless monotony of it all and gives the Doctor what he wants: a bargain. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)cropcaptainmarvelteam Marvel Studios 9. Captain Marvel I love Carol Danvers. She is unlike any hero in the MCU before her. She’s sarcastic like some other heroes are, but her wit and sarcasm are less defense mechanisms than just organic parts of her confidence and personality. She just likes to eff with people sometimes. She’s great. The movie has a ’90s film look — think Terminator 2, but with an indie tone. There’s a raw and real moment when Carol, after discovering a clue that what she’s been told about her history might be false, speaks to Jude Law’s character. Brie Larson plays it perfectly as a person who is trying to once again accept the lie she’s been told even though her instincts are telling her she’s being played. It’s those moments, along with the humor, action and effects that make this something truly different in the MCU. Best moment: After listening to the blackbox recording at Maria’s house, Carol has a crisis of self. She isn’t who she thought she was and it’s her best friend, Maria who reminds her of what she really is. Powerful. Preorder on AmazonPreorder on Amazon (with Bonus Features)the-avengers-age-of-ultron Marvel Studios 8. Avengers: Age of Ultron Age of Ultron asks some interesting questions of its heroes. Why do they do this? How long can they continue doing this? It goes deeper with the characters than previous movies. While the first film is one of the best examples of a purely fun blockbuster, Ultron is a completely different beast. It takes more narrative chances and as a result (at least from a character standpoint) has bigger payoffs. Age of Ultron isn’t The Avengers, and thankfully it isn’t trying to be. It’s something much more interesting, thought provoking and (dare I say it) profound. Not everyone gets an interesting arc (sorry, Thor) but pretty much every Avenger is confronted with intriguing character challenges that are handled in an elegant way. Best moment: “The Vision, Iron Man and Thor shoot Ultron with their beams!!” is the way I would describe my favorite moment in this film if I were 8 years old. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 There’s a scene at the end of this movie that absolutely wrecks me. It’s the funeral scene that Cat Stevens’ Father and Son plays over. As I watched it unfold I was surprised by just how heavily it was affecting me. It’s a beautiful sequence and it’s the moment I realized I was watching one of the best MCU movies. There’s so much character depth here it’s almost staggering. Story arcs are interwoven between multiple characters and every scene and every line seems to have meaning behind it. And I’m not even going to go into the amazing effects, editing, action scenes and acting. If you thought the filmmakers used ’70s and ’80s pop music effectively in the first movie, this is another level. The first Guardians had catchier tunes, but the ones in the sequel have much more meaning. Again, the movie is all about how its characters relate to one another. By the last shot in the film, there were tears running down my face. As the onscreen characters realized what they’d lost, the path they’d chosen and what it meant for their opportunity for redemption, I was in awe at the movie’s staggering accomplishment. Best moment: The whole sequence that begins with Father and Son is payoff after payoff and completely wrecks me. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)captain-america-the-winter-soldier Marvel Studios 6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Winter Soldier is Three Days of the Condor mixed with The Raid, with a little Heat and Return of the Jedi thrown in. If you never thought Captain America was an interesting character, this was the first film to have a legit shot at changing your mind. The movie takes some bold actions and its ramifications can still be felt years later in the MCU. We also get much more time with Natasha Romanov and Nick Fury, going much deeper with those characters than before. The script is taut with enough surprises, texture and detail to surprise even the harshest superhero movie critic. And until Civil War, the action set pieces were the best we’d seen in the MCU. Best moment: The highway battle, culminating in a fight between Steve and the Winter Soldier, is one of the best action scenes in any movie ever. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 5. Captain America: Civil War The third Captain America movie, Civil War, takes the pure popcorn fun of the first Avengers movie, adds the grittiness of The Winter Soldier and bathes it in the character depth of Age of Ultron. I got everything I wanted from this movie. Black Panther and Spider-Man are perfectly represented and woven seamlessly into the central conflict. But what really surprised me was just how affecting it was. There were several times I found myself getting emotional at some of the character choices — from Natasha flying to London just so Steve wouldn’t be alone at a distressing time to Cap’s confession to Tony near the climax. The movie takes everything that’s come before in the MCU and uses that baggage to make an even better film than would have been possible otherwise. Because of this movie I’ve not been able to watch any of the previous films in the same way. It really does change everything and I love it for that. Best moment: The airport fight is a comic book superhero fight scene come to life. Not just in the action, but maybe even more in the characterization and banter. It had never before been done as well as it was here. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)null Marvel Studios 4. Black Panther I’m going to be honest, it took me four viewings of Black Panther before I fell in love with it. It took me that long to realize what a multilayered and brilliant work it is. Nearly every aspect is top-notch — writing, acting, set design, editing and costumes. But most important are the characters. You could easily make an awesome Okoye, Shuri, Nakia or M’Baku movie. It’s Erik Killmonger, though, and his effect on T’Challa that truly made this movie sit head and shoulders above the rest. And I love most of the films on this list! There’s so much richness here. So much to unpack. This is Marvel Studios at its most mature. How ironic that it was its youngest director that brought it to fruition. Amazing. Best moment: Killmonger’s dream. This is the best scene in the MCU so far. Everything about it, from the acting and writing to the music, editing and even the set design, is perfect. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)nullSeven years ago, who would have guessed these two would be the most charming and funniest characters in the series.  Marvel Studios 3. Thor: Ragnarok To say this is the best Thor movie isn’t saying enough. Thor: Ragnarok feels like when your favorite comic gets a new creative team and they have a different interpretation of the character. That doesn’t always work, but it absolutely works here. It’s funny, it’s weird, it’s creative and it’s completely entertaining. Best moment: After fully embracing his power, Thor jumps into a horde of undead as The Immigrant Song reprises. It’s definitely the most metal thing ever in a Marvel movie. Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features) 2. Avengers: Infinity War This is the first movie ever which, to get the most out of its narrative, absolutely requires you to have seen at least most of the 18 movies in the series that preceded it. That’s not a criticism, but I think one of the movie’s biggest strengths. As the culmination of this series of movies that has spanned over 10 years, and it only gets better if you’re more familiar with the huge amount of characters in the film. Still, even if you have only a passing familiarity with these series, there’s still enough comedy, spectacle and suspense to sate your summer movie blockbuster hunger. And a fairly straightforward plot means it’s unlikely you’ll get too lost. Best moment: Thor’s entrance into Wakanda is such a ridiculously earned moment. It was also the greatest fist-pumping moment of the entire MCU so far.  Rent/Buy on AmazonRent/Buy on Amazon (with Bonus Features)nullHmmm, who’s missing from this shot? Marvel Studios 1. Avengers: Endgame I’ve never seen a pop culture phenomenon end as perfectly as Avengers: Endgame. As a bookend to 11 years of superhero movies, I’m not sure if it could have been done better. For me it brings to mind the final episode of The Wire or Return of the King. There’s just so much emotional payoff I was literally spent after watching it.  Share your voice Captain Marvel Black Panther Stan Lee Marvel Thor Captain America Amazon Iron Man The Hulk The Avengerslast_img read more

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TurboTax HR Block tried to hide free tax filing tools lawsuit alleges

first_img Comments Share your voice Got free, if you can find it. That’s how a current lawsuit might characterize the situation. Kimberly White/Getty Images Tax preparation companies H&R Block and Intuit, which makes TurboTax, were sued Monday for allegedly making their free tax filing tools hard to find.Taxpayers with incomes below $66,000 are eligible to file their taxes for free as part of a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and Intuit, H&R Block and other companies. Under the agreement, the IRS has agreed not to make online tax filing free as long as the tax-preparation companies provide the service.Still, only 3% of Americans reportedly file their taxes for free every year, and locating those services can be difficult.Last month, ProPublica reported that searches for terms like “irs free file taxes” directed people to paid versions of Intuit’s service. Free options were tough to pin down, according to the report.In the suit, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said TurboTax and H&R Block have used “deceptive and misleading advertising and design schemes” to lead taxpayers to unnecessarily purchasing their products. He added that the companies have “for years defrauded the lowest earning 70 percent of American taxpayers … by actively undermining public access to the IRS’ ‘Free File’ program.”For years, Intuit and H&R Block have lobbied to block the IRS from building its own free online tax filing system because it would compete with their products, according to ProPublica. Congress members have reportedly pushed to keep the IRS from providing free online filing.”Any suggestion that Intuit does not support the IRS Free File Program is flat wrong,” said TurboTax spokesman Rick Heineman. “We stand behind our actions as being both appropriate and consistent with our values.”An H&R Block representative said the company has “helped millions of Americans” with its free tax filing options, adding that use of its Free File program grew 8% this tax season.You can read the lawsuits against Intuit and H&R Block below:Intuit lawsuit by jonathan_skillings on ScribdH&R Block lawsuit by jonathan_skillings on Scribd Softwarecenter_img Tags 7last_img read more

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