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Star Wars Confirms That Palpatine Was a Clone in The Rise of Skywalker

Heading into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, many of us weren’t too keen on the idea of Palpatine — who died in Return of the Jedi — making a return. However, we walked in with an open mind because hey, it all boils down to how the scriptwriter (in this case it’s Chris Terrio and JJ Abrams) and director (JJ Abrams) tells the story. Perhaps Palpatine would make a return ala Voldemort in Goblet of Fire? Maybe we would get an explanation that’s interesting and emotionally logical. Alas, neither happened.
We were just casually told in the opening credits that Palpatine has indeed risen from the dead (“the dead speak”), and weren’t provided with any explanation beyond that. While it was poorly executed and annoying, a lot of us just assumed that Palpatine had indeed mastered death. After all, in Revenge of the Sith, Emperor Palpatine did talk about a Sith legend, Darth Plagueis, who was so intuned with the dark side of the Force that he could prevent death.

However, in what is becoming a horrible pattern, we’ve received major information about a Star Wars movie from the extended canon. The Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker novelisation will only be hitting shelves in the middle of March, but excerpts from the novel are already making its rounds on the internet. One excerpt, in particular, confirms that the Emperor Palpatine we see in The Rise of Skywalker is in fact, a CLONE.
Excerpt via ScreenRant:
All the vials were empty of liquid save one, which was nearly depleted. Kylo peered closer. He’d seen this apparatus before, too, when he’d studied the Clone Wars as a boy. The liquid flowing into the living nightmare before him was fighting a losing battle to sustain the Emperor’s putrid flesh.
“What could you give me?” Kylo asked. Emperor Palpatine lived, after a fashion, and Kylo could feel in his very bones that this clone body sheltered the Emperor’s actual spirit. It was an imperfect vessel, though, unable to contain his immense power. It couldn’t last much longer.
Seriously? Why did JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio choose to leave this vital piece of information out of the movie? Was this even part of the script or is it just something author Rae Carson created for the novelisation to fill in the gaps?
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Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Arrives In Malaysia with a Price Tag of RM 599

True to the rumours, Samsung has launched the new Galaxy Buds+ alongside the Galaxy S20 series at its Unpacked event in San Francisco last month. Just hours after their global debut, the company has announced that the new earbuds as the pre-order gift for those who pre-ordered Galaxy S20+ or Galaxy S20 Ultra in Malaysia.
While they might look identical to their predecessors, the new Galaxy Buds+ offers a number of improvements including longer battery life of up to 11 hours for music playback or 7.5 hours of talk time. Users can double those battery life numbers through Galaxy Buds+ charging case which also supports Qi-based wireless charger.

The AKG-tuned earbuds also now feature dual dynamic drivers instead of just single dynamic driver in the original Galaxy Buds. The new model also features a total of three microphones for better voice capture.
In case you are not planning to get your hands on any of the new Galaxy S20 devices but still interesting to purchase the Galaxy Buds+, the new earbuds are available in Malaysia for RM 599. If you want to take a look at them personally before making any decision, try visiting a Samsung Experience Store near you.
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Google To Host Special Stadia Event Following GDC 2020 Postponement

As we all know, this year’s Game Developer Conference (GDC) has been delayed until summer this year, in light of the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak. In the case of Google, it appears the search engine will be hosting a separate event for itself called Google for Games Developer Summit, with its Stadia set to take centre stage.
According to 9to5Google, Google’s Developer Summit will now become a “digital experience”, which is just a fancy way of saying that these events will now be livestreamed. With a focus on Android-based games and cloud-based services. Naturally, this year’s summit will also include events revolving around the brand’s Stadia game streaming platform that kicked off last year.

Prior to the postponement of GDC 2020, Google’s sessions would have included the following:

Bringing Destiny to Stadia: A GDC Postmortem
Bringing Vulkan Graphics Into the Mainstream
Mastering Cloud Gaming: Tales from Stadia’s Launch
Bringing Google’s Machine Learning to Game Development
Super Charge Your Game’s Discoverability
The Journey of Bringing Our Unity Game to Stadia

As for its platform of delivery, Google will obviously be holding the livestream on YouTube. As for when exactly, the company hasn’t said. Considering how it had intended to kick things off with a keynote on 16 March, though, there is the possibility that Google may still stick to those dates.
(Source: 9to5Google via Hot Hardware)
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Black Shark 3: The Confirmed Details So Far

The Black Shark 3’s launch is steadily approaching soon in just a couple more days. Without a doubt, the company has released several teasers revealing some of the key specs of the upcoming gaming smartphone in order to build hype.
Confirmed features of the device includes a 120Hz 2K QHD display, a Snapdragon 865 chipset, and up to 16GB RAM. Power-wise, the standard Black Shark 3 packs a 4,720mAh battery while the Pro variant sports 5,000mAh. Both phones support 65W fast charging via USB-C, as well as a magnetic charging solution on its back.
image: Xiaomi via Weibo
Additionally, the upcoming smartphone is revealed to feature mechanical pop-up shoulder buttons on its right. These buttons will rise when in gaming mode and will sit flush in the phone’s edges when not in use. Other than that, the Black Shark 3 will also include a 3.5mm headphone jack.
image: Xiaomi via Weibo
While the company has not revealed any information on its camera setup just yet, a recently leaked live photo reveals a triple shooter setup on its rear. Rumours suggest that it may house a 64MP main camera, while it’s unclear to what the other two sensors may be.
image: Weibo
Besides the difference in battery capacity, it’s uncertain if there are other hardware variations between standard and Pro models, as well as the limited Tencent edition. Regardless, we’ll eventually find out more regarding the Black Shark 3 when it launches in China on 3 March 2020.
(Source: Weibo [1][2][3][4] / GSMArena.)
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GDC To Get Postponed To Later In The Year

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) was supposed to happen later in the year. Emphasis on “supposed”, because the organisers of the event have decided to postpone the event.
If you’re guessing that it has something to do with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you’d be right. It’s much like the case with the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 earlier in February.
Unlike with the MWC though, the organisers of the event intend to still hold the event later in the year. For now, the organisers “fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer”. The organisers will also be working with its partners to make plans to that effect.

Building up to this postponement was a number of big names, similar to MWC before this. Among the exhibitors that have decided to not be at the event were Activision Blizzard, Amazon, EA, Epic Games, Kojima Productions, Microsoft, and Unity.
For places with four seasons, summer starts on 21 June. When you think about it, it’s a season that’s already packed with other events happening. E3 especially, comes to mind. It’s interesting to see if there’s a gap in the calendar that allows GDC to squeeze in. And more importantly, will the other events during that time suffer the same fate as the GDC and the MWC this year.
(Source: GDC via The Verge Wired)
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Samsung Offers RM 400 Rebate For Galaxy S20 Series, In Exchange For Your Old Cameras

Aside from announcing the general release date of the Galaxy S20 series in Malaysia, Samsung has also revealed the list of freebies that the company will unleashed at the launch roadshow next week. Among them includes a limited amount of 50-inch 4K Smart UHD TV which is certainly quite enticing.
Interesting enough, Samsung has actually provided an alternative deal for those who prefer to obtain a discount on their brand new Galaxy S20 devices instead. Instead of the 4K TV, early bird customers at the Galaxy S20 launch roadshow can also opt for a RM 400 rebate by trading-in their old camera with Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+, or Galaxy S20 Ultra.

In case you are curious why Samsung has included a phone into the presentation slide in the main image above, this is because you can also come and trade-in a phone in exchange for the rebate. According to the roadshow’s FAQ document on Samsung’s official website, it has been stated that the “camera” that customers can trade in to obtain the rebate can be “any electronic device with a camera function“.
However, just like the 4K TV, this rebate will be only be available for the first 500 customers at the roadshow and here are the breakdown of how many customers can obtain it at each locations:
Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur: 220 units
Queensbay Mall, Penang: 120 units
Mid Valley Southkey, Johor Bahru: 80 units
Imago, Kota Kinabalu: 50 units
East Coast Mall: Kuantan: 30 units

On top of the rebate, the early bird customers will also receive a Wireless Charger Pad and are also eligible to redeem a 128GB microSD card from Samsung. Naturally, these freebies will be available on first come, first served basis even though they will be more of them than the RM 400 rebate or the free 4K TV.

For more information on the deals that are Samsung will be offering at the Galaxy S20 launch roadshows which will take place on 6 March, head on to Samsung Malaysia’s official website right here. But before that, do check out our recent Lowyat TV episode above to see our quick take on the latest flagship smartphone series from Samsung.
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Sabah Travel Ban Extend To South Korea

Last month, Sabah started blocking flights from China to the state. As you’d expect, this was due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Now, the state is extending that to South Korea as well. In addition to flights, the state will also be extending restrictions to travel to the state by land and sea as well.
Sabah State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong said that specifically, tourists with a travel history to South Korea within the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter the state. This includes flights transiting in the country.
There are two exceptions to this. The first is flights carrying Malaysian citizens. The other being indirect flights from South Korea that have transited elsewhere first.

In addition, Safar also advised South Korean nationals in the state to return before their visas expire. If it has already happened, Sabah will only allow a single extension of seven days.
The travel ban was in put in place in light of 17 deaths and 2931 other reported cases of COVID-19 in South Korea. It will be effective starting tomorrow, 1 March 2020.
According to Borneo Today, the Sarawak government made a similar decision yesterday. Like Sabah, Sarawak is also banning all foreign tourists with a recent travel history to South Korea from entering.
(Source: Borneo Today. Image: Wikipedia)
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OPPO Find X2 Design Revealed In Leaked Photos

Design of the OPPO Find X2 had been kept under wraps ever since its official announcement by VP Brian Shen in January. However, it seems that we may finally have a good look at the upcoming phone via a recent leak.
Alleged live photos of the standard variant of the Find X2 was uploaded by user Mutz1337 on Twitter. The images reveal that the phone sports a waterfall curved display with a tiny punch-hole camera cutout on its upper left. The handset also features a metallic faded green rear shell.

The #OPPOFindX2 looks so good😍Really excited for the launch pic.twitter.com/Y0Tx0EiOfT
— Sven (@Mutz1337) February 28, 2020

The Find X2’s also features a protruded rear triple camera setup featuring a Hybrid Zoom telephoto. The two other cameras are expected to be a 48MP main and a telephoto shooter. Additionally, on its right is the power/lock button, while the volume rockers are on its left.
The confirmed specs for the OPPO Find X2 include a 2K display with 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling. We’ll eventually find out more about the upcoming smartphone when it officially launches in Malaysia on 10 March 2020.
(Source: Mutz13377 via GSMArena.)
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Two Mysterious NVIDIA GPUs Appear On GeekBench

There have several rumours surrounding Ampere, NVIDIA’s alleged successor to its Turing GPU architecture that is on the current market, floating around the internet. Recently, it appears that the two unnamed NVIDIA GPUs have popped up GeekBeench, both with 7552 CUDA Cores and 6912 CUDA Cores, respectively.
To be precise, the GeekBench specifications don’t list down the CUDA core count for both GPUs, but rather the respective Compute Units (CU) for each model. For the uninitiated, though, CUDA cores are essentially the CU count multiplied by 64.
The first NVIDIA GPU, specifically, lists down an OpenCL score of 184096 points with 24GB of graphics memory clocked at 1.11GHz. Along with 118 Compute Units. One thing to note is that the Geekbench listing doesn’t specify what sort of memory format the GPU is running on. Seeing how the current both NVIDIA’s Turing and AMD’s Navi GPU architecture both run on GDDR6, it’s not wrong to deduce that the unnamed GPUs are doing the same.

Two Unknown Nvidia GPU
> 7552 Cuda cores (118 CUs)> 1.11GHz core clock> 24GB of memory
GB5 Compute score: 184096 (Open CL)https://t.co/rUFWACaxrg
> 6912 Cuda cores (108 CUs)> 1.01GHz core clock> 47GB of memory
GB5 Compute score: 141654 (Open CL)https://t.co/C1jnm3sZ0D pic.twitter.com/3JrW8LrnFj
— _rogame (@_rogame) February 28, 2020

As for the other GPU, it has a lower OpenCL score of 141654 points, as well as fewer CUDA cores at 6912 cores. However, the GPU seems to be running a whopping 47GB of graphics memory at a clockspeed of 1.01GHz.
At the moment, it’s unclear when NVIDIA intends to make the existence of these alleged GPUs public, considering its policy of not talking about unreleased and unfinished products. That said, GTC 2020 is just around the corner, so we’re kind of hoping we’ll get some sort of information about the GPUs then.
(Source; GeekBench [1] [2] via _rogame@Twitter, Videocardz)
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AirAsia X unlimited pass offers one year unlimited flights to Japan, Korea, Australia and China for RM499

AirAsia X is offering an unlimited pass to selected destinations for travel between 02 Mar 2020 till 02 Mar 2021. The unlimited travel pass is priced at RM499, and is only available for purchase before 7th of March 2020.
The pass can be purchased at https://www.airasia.com/deals/passes/airasia-unlimited-pass/offers/airasia-unlimited-pass
The terms and conditions are somewhat straight forward as AirAsia’s usual T&C’s go. The redemption does not include airport taxes and related fees. Flights with are eligible for redemption are only direct long haul flights with the D7 and XJ carried code, and excludes flights to Bali, Singapore, Jeddah and Fly-thru routes. Bookings need to be made at least 14 days before the departure date and no flight changes are allowed.
Developing story…
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