Ghost of Tsushima Finally Gets A Release Window; Set For Summer 2020

For those who still remember the name, Ghost of Tsushima was one of PlayStation’s most highly anticipated exclusives. The first we heard of it was during E3 last year, but it has since been dead silence since. During The Game Awards 2019, developer Sucker Punch Productions finally put out a new trailer, revealing its Summer 2020 release.
The trailer revealed very little that’s new. But of what little was shown, Ghost of Tsushima looks like what the old Tenchu games would look like if they were given the open world treatment. There’s a bit of Uncharted-esque traversing, as well as what appears to be stealth elements that precede combat.

Things in Ghost of Tsushima are as gritty as before, but rather than a samurai, the main character seems to be more of a ninja. He is even referred to as The Ghost in the new trailer. It’s not too big a shift, as there’s still plenty of combat to be had. And should the game be as the trailer shows, you should still have a choice of approaching your foes from the front, or stalking them from the shadows.
At any rate, we now know that Ghost of Tsushima will be out next year. That said, Summer 2020 is till a pretty large window. At the very least, barring any further delays, we can expect the game to be out between late June to the end of September.
(Source: PlayStation / YouTube)
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A Full-Spec Apple Mac Pro in Malaysia Costs More Than RM 230,000

Earlier this week, Apple has revealed the base price for its Mac Pro workstation in Malaysia which starts at RM 25,999 for the tower variant. At that time, the customization option on Apple Malaysia’s was not accessible but that has changed today.
Naturally, I made our way back to the website to configure a Mac Pro with maxed-out hardware options. By doing that, we ended up with a total bill of RM 231,608 which is quite hefty, to say the least.

So, how did we get from RM 25,999 and then shoot up all the way to RM 231,608? Well, here are the costs of the add-on components:
RM 30,800: 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W 28-core 56-thread processor
RM 110,000: 1.5TB DDR4 ECC RAM
RM 47,520: Two AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics cards
RM 6,160: 4TB solid state drive
RM 8,800: Apple Afterburner accelerator card
RM 1,760: Stainless steel frame with wheels
RM 569: Magic Mouse 2 + Magic Trackpad 2
If you add Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X into the list, the total would then become RM 233,707.80. Believe it or not, we don’t think that is the Mac Pro’s full maxed-out price tag since several hardware options are not yet available for it including 8TB solid state drive and dual AMD Radeon Pro W5700X card.

If you want to go even further, add a Pro Display XDR with nano-texture and a Pro Stand for it which would then bring the total cost to RM 264,205.80.
It is a well-known fact that the Mac Pro is aimed at professionals which is why it comes with plenty of powerful and expensive hardware. Then again, I would guess that you or your firm must be working on a very complex kind of work if you found yourself choosing every single add-on option in the list and agree to pay the 6-digit figure for your Mac Pro.
(Source: Apple Malaysia.)
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Ghost of Tsushima Finally Gets A Release Window; Set For Release In Summer 2020

For those who still remember the name, Ghost of Tsushima was one of PlayStation’s most highly anticipated exclusives. The first we heard of it was during E3 last year, but it has since been dead silence since. During The Game Awards 2019, developer Sucker Punch Productions finally put out a new trailer, revealing its Summer 2020 release.
The trailer revealed very little that’s new. But of what little was shown, Ghost of Tsushima looks like what the old Tenchu games would look like if they were given the open world treatment. There’s a bit of Uncharted-esque traversing, as well as what appears to be stealth elements that precede combat.

Things in Ghost of Tsushima are as gritty as before, but rather than a samurai, the main character seems to be more of a ninja. He is even referred to as The Ghost in the new trailer. It’s not too big a shift, as there’s still plenty of combat to be had. And should the game be as the trailer shows, you should still have a choice of approaching your foes from the front, or stalking them from the shadows.
At any rate, we now know that Ghost of Tsushima will be out next year. That said, Summer 2020 is till a pretty large window. At the very least, barring any further delays, we can expect the game to be out between late June to the end of September.
(Source: PlayStation / YouTube)
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This Is The New Xbox Series X: Features Custom AMD Chip, 4K 60FPS, Solid State Drive, and More

Back at E3 this year, Microsoft announced the first set of details regarding their next generation game console which has been code-named Project Scarlett. Scheduled for release towards the end of 2020, we thought that the company would reveal its actual name and design as we get closer to the release date.
As it turns out, we were off the mark. In fact, way off the mark as Microsoft decided to reveal the name and the actual console today during The Game Awards 2019.
Called the Xbox Series X, Microsoft claimed that it is the company’s fastest and most powerful console to date. While the console might seem like it meant to be positioned in vertical manner, the company pointed that it was also designed for horizontal position as well.

While the full technical details of the console have not yet been revealed by Microsoft, the company has stated that the chip is being powered by a custom chip from AMD that is based on Zen 2 and RDNA architecture. Microsoft also claimed that the Xbox Series X supports 4K resolution at 60 fps and able to be pushed further to 120 fps as well as 8K resolution.
Alongside a solid state drive, the console also comes packed with plenty of technical features such as Variable Refresh Rate, Variable Rate Shading, Auto Low Latency Mode, and Dynamic Latency Input. The company has a clip to demonstrate the potential capabilities of Xbox Series X with an in-game footage from the upcoming Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II:

Microsoft has also pointed out that the Xbox Series X will come with a new Xbox Wireless Controller which features a refined size and shape together with a Share button and a directional pad that is based on Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller. The console also apparently able to support thousands of older Xbox titles as well as all Xbox One accessories.

The only major detail missing from today’s announcement is the pricing for the console. With that, expect to hear more in-depth details regarding Xbox Series X as we progress closer to its release next year.
(Source: Microsoft.)
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Samsung: One Million Galaxy Fold Smartphones Sold Globally

Samsung says that is has sold one million units of its Galaxy Fold smartphone globally since its re-release in October this year. The statement was made by Young Sohn, President of Samsung Electronics, at the TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, Germany.
The sales numbers are a little surprising, especially when you consider that global sale estimates for the Galaxy Fold in the month of October were just half of the current sales figure. A figure that allowed Sohn to make the case that there were a million people who were willing to pay RM8388 for the phone.
Originally scheduled to release in May 2019, Samsung recalled the first iteration of the Galaxy Fold and postponed its launch. After several complaints and issues surrounding the device’s display began cropping up. It also didn’t help Samsung’s case when DIY site, iFixit, published a dissection of the phone that promptly showed why the phone’s display acted up the way it did (it’s been taken since then).

Fast forward to October this year, Samsung officially relaunched the new Galaxy Fold with its revamped hinge.
The Galaxy Fold isn’t the first smartphone that Samsung has been forced to recall. Many of you may remember the Galaxy Note7; launched back in 2016, Samsung recalled all existing units after several reports of the phone spontaneously combusting and billowing smoke poured in. In 2017, Samsung released the results from its investigations of the phone, stating that the fires were caused by two different battery defects.
(Source: TechCrunch)
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Google Adds Spam And Phishing SMS Detection In New Android Update

Google will be rolling out an update to Android that will offer users enhanced security for SMS messaging. The update will add features that could verify SMS from registered businesses and add real-time spam detection on Android devices.
This may not sound like a big deal, as most of us have moved on from using traditional SMS messaging. However, it is still an approach that businesses are relying on for sending important messages such as one-time passwords and account alerts.
These SMS messages are usually sent from a random number or from those not identifiable from known telcos, although companies will always identify themselves first in the message itself. However, phishing scams are known to take advantage of this in order to fool unsuspecting customers to give up valuable personal information.

With the new SMS verification system, messages received from a verified business will display the company name, logo, and a verification badge in the SMS’ thread. Businesses are required to sign up for Google’s Verified SMS in order to be filtered as a trusted source for users. With this, it’s highly likely that local businesses such as banks, telcos, and cinemas will have to register to Verified SMS when the update does roll out in Malaysia.
As for real-time spam detection – whenever Google suspects an SMS message may contain phishing motives or just garbage in general, the system will notify the user with a spam warning. From there, users can help improve the feature by reporting if certain messages are from legitimate businesses or are indeed spam.

This update is already available in several countries including the United States, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain and the UK. A global roll-out is expected to happen gradually.
(Source: Google.)
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Xiaomi Patent Depicts Popup Camera On Clamshell Foldable Phone

Last month, a Xiaomi patent showed up depicting a clamshell foldable phone. While the foldable nature of it makes it pretty impressive, it didn’t have any other standout feature. Now a new patent has been granted to the company, depicting a clamshell foldable phone with a popup camera module.
There looks to be three items on the popup module. Dutch site LetsGoDigital says that they are the camera itself, a flash, and another unknown sensor that could help with face detection.

The images from the patent also suggests that the rear camera setup also sits on the module that pops up when the front-facing camera is needed. Here, there are two cameras with a flash, as well as what looks like a dedicated screen for notifications. It’s unclear at this point if you can interact with this secondary display, or of it’s purely a visual indicator.
This is another patent by Xiaomi that deviates from the design of its working prototype. For those who don’t remember, the company showed off their own foldable phones that work much like the Huawei Mate X. But all that said, we haven’t heard much about that particular one since.
(Source: LetsGoDigital via Android Authority)
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Top 5 EPIC Netflix Series That You Need to Watch by the End of the Year

So you’re done with Game of Thrones and you’re now suffering from major withdrawals. You’re craving for another great series to catch. Like a heroin addict who desperately needs a fix, you don’t just want it, you need it or your body threatens to internally combust and disintegrate. So you turn on Netflix, but you’re spoilt for choice. “What do I watch?!?!” You scream into the ether. Don’t worry! We’ve got some suggestions for you. Below is a list of Netflix series that are engrossing, exciting and also pretty damn EPIC!
5. Stranger Things

You can’t discuss EPIC-ness without talking about the most popular show on Netflix. Stranger Things is great. Heck, it probably would’ve been a cultural phenomenon in the same vein as Game of Thrones if the episodes were released weekly as opposed to dropping all at once, but I digress. The series is a fantastic throwback to the 80s, particularly 80s adventure films like Indiana Jones, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Ghostbusters. The homages and nods are stylistic and abundant but they never feel superficial because at its core lies a great story with loads of heart and genuinely likeable characters. You come for the nostalgia, you stay for the storytelling.
The series is set in a small town in Indiana and follows a bunch of spunky kids played by charismatic actors who are in search of their missing friend, Will. The arrival of a young girl with superpowers makes the case all the more mysterious. In the hands of its showrunners/writers/directors, the Duffer Brothers, the highly energetic Stranger Things is equal parts funny, touching and haunting.
4. Sacred Games

Sacred Games is a sprawling and utterly fascinating Indian crime thriller created by Varun Grover based on Vikram Chandra’s best-selling novel of the same name. The opening moments of the series sees a big-time gangster by the name of Ganesh Gaitonde shoot himself in the head, but not before warning a police officer, Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) about a threat that will apparently lay Mumbai to waste. What exactly is that threat? How does a gangster fit into this? Why did he even warn this particular cop? Why did he kill himself? We discover the answers slowly, by alternating between past and present, gangster story and police investigation.
The characters are wonderfully written and the performances are brilliant all across the board. Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte have ample charisma but it is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who steals the show, delivering a magnetic, all-time great performance as the enigmatic gangster. Ganesh Gaitonde is both badass and vulnerable, evil yet charming. Season 2 expands the narrative even further and introduces us to an unholy cult lead by a false prophet with a Godlike complex. Some of it falls flat. It isn’t as tight as season one, probably because it’s missing the brilliant hands of Anurag Kasyap behind the camera. But as a whole, Sacred Games is still very much a fascinating watch.
3. Daredevil

There was a point in time, where the Daredevil character was seen as a complete joke by the mainstream audiences, no thanks to the 2003 film starring Ben Affleck. However, those days are long behind us. Netflix’s Daredevil is a magnificent beast that’s hard-hitting, blood-soaked and pulsating, filled with one EPIC action sequence after another. Every season tries to up itself in terms of fight choreography and photography. Season one has the brilliant one-take fight inspired by the Korean Oldboy that sees Daredevil fight a bunch of thugs in a corridor to rescue a little boy. Season 3’s heart-pounding prison break set-piece — also one-take — that’s 11 minutes long, is easily one of the most jaw-dropping pieces of action cinema this decade.
But Daredevil offers so much more than great action. It’s a crime drama that focuses on litigation, crime-solving and investigative journalism as much as it does the superheroism. Charlie Cox is great as a lawyer by day, vigilante by night, Matt Murdoch AKA Daredevil who operates in grey areas, and Vincent D’onofrio is a monstrous imposing presence as Kingpin. While the series has been cancelled after 3 seasons — along with the other Marvel Netflix shows — it still wraps everything up beautifully and ends on a high note.
2. Jessica Jones

This is a series that’s gripping right from its opening line: “New York may be the city that never sleeps, but it sure does sleep around.” Even more so than Daredevil, Jessica Jones is less about the superheroism and more about the human being behind the proverbial ‘mask’ (though, she doesn’t actually wear a mask in the series, nor her classic comic book costume). In fact, despite having superpowers, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) constantly rejects the notion that she’s a hero.
She’s a little bit of a recluse, a part-time assh*le, full-time drinker. She uses alcohol to numb the pain of her dark and cruel past. Jessica Jones is a slow burn feminist psychological thriller. At its core, this is a story of a rape victim trying to overcome her past traumas. The trauma is inflicted by Killgrave, the villain of the series played to perfection by David Tennant. Killgrave — a telepathic psychopath and a representation of odious toxic masculinity — is a villain so repulsive, you feel your gut fire up every time he pops up on screen.
1. Narcos

If you’re intrigued by the underbellies and the world of crime then the Netflix crime-drama Narcos is a must-watch. The first two seasons detail the EPIC rise of notorious Cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar in the late 80s and the astronomical efforts of American and Columbian law enforcement to take him and his syndicate down. Yes, yes, a lot of what transpires on the show is fictionalised, some would say to a laughable degree. But while it isn’t 100% factual, it always feels earnest. Every single episode, particularly in the first two seasons are utterly engrossing, mostly because the story is so mind-blowing — seriously, you’ll keep wondering “how did any of this happen in real life??” over and over again throughout — and it’s directed in such a way that you’re constantly at the edge of your seat.
But it’s Wagner Moura’s intoxicating performance as Pablo Escobar that makes the series oh so addictive! He oozes so much charisma, that you can’t help but feel for him, despite constantly rooting against him. The third season which happens after the death of Pablo and centres around the downfall of the Cali Cartel is equally alluring.
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*This post is brought to you by Yes 4G.
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Jumanji: The Next Level – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Thanks Malaysia For Film’s Massive Success

In the Jumanji: The Next Level box office piece that I penned a few days ago, I jokingly wrote the following:
Remember when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle made so much money in Malaysia that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson actually thanked us on Instagram for it? Well, it looks like Rocky might be whipping his phone out again real soon.
And what do you know, big buff Dwayne actually did it. In a video posted on his Facebook, the man who once called himself the Brahma Bull, thanked Malaysia for making Jumanji: The Next Level the biggest opening weekend in the history of Sony Pictures at the Malaysian box office.
I just want to take a moment and thank you guys so so much for making Jumanji [The Next Level] the biggest opening weekend in the history of Sony Pictures [in Malaysia], which is incredible. I love you guys so much and I thank you Malaysia so much.

At the Malaysian box office, not only is the Jumanji threequel the biggest opening of all time for Sony Pictures, it is also the biggest opening weekend in the month of December of all time. Keep in mind that films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Avatar were released in the month of December in various years too.
Last weekend, Jumanji: The Next Level was released in cinemas in 18 territories outside of the US, including China and Malaysia. The film raked in RM 19 million in Malaysia (approx $US 4.5 million) in its first four days of release.
In 2017, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, raked in over RM 54 million ($US 13 million) at the local box office. It’s now the fourth highest-grossing movie in Malaysia of all time, only behind Avengers: Endgame (RM 87 million; $US 21 million), Avengers: Infinity War (RM 71 million; $US 17 million) and Furious 7 (RM 60.6 million; $US 15.9 million). Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was also released in December 2017, got trounced by Welcome to the Jungle, grossing only RM 15.4 million ($US 3.7 million).
Jumanji: The Next Level is currently screening in Malaysian cinemas.
Click here to read my review.

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Grab Thailand Offers A Service That Let Other People Drive Your Car

Grab is a huge name not only in Malaysia but other countries within the Southeast Asia as well. Given the fact each market might have different needs, Grab does offer some services that are only available in certain markets and one of the recent examples is a service called GrabDriveYourCar.
Offered in Thailand since a few months ago, GrabDriveYourCar allows you to ask for a driver from Grab to drive your vehicle. Based on the promotion images that we’ve seen, it looks like Grab is targeting this service to those that love to have drink out sessions.

With a base price of THB 350 (~RM 48), there is an additional fee of THB 100 (~RM 14) for every 5km. It goes without saying that the driver that Grab provided for this service have went through proper training and the company has even provided special outfit to these drivers to make sure that customers can identify them properly.

It is not known whether Grab is going to offer such service in other market but in a way, this service might be helpful in curbing drunk driving. On another hand, some might not feel confident enough to let other people drive their vehicle but then again, it is better to be safe than sorry.
(Source: Grab Thailand. Image: Grab Thailand, Pantip.)
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