Author: Joey Alarilla

DigitalLifeAsia.com founder and editor-in-chief. Husband. Dad. Writer. Geek. Gamer. Bookworm. BLINK. Minimalist. Zen student. Pescatarian. Climate activist. Proudly Asian. He/him.
A Life Less Analog, Science

The Planetary Society: Take part in space exploration

Technology column header

While watching “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” as a kid, I never dreamed that one day I would become a member of the organization that the late Carl Sagan co-founded, The Planetary Society.

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” These words of wisdom from Sagan during the very first episode of “Cosmos” have inspired me all my life. That show was one of the reasons I fell in love with science, and developed a lifelong belief in technology for good. And I know that kid would be thrilled to know that while he didn’t end up becoming a scientist, he is still playing a role in space exploration as a member of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest and most effective space advocacy movement.

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Geek Culture

Ctrl-Alt-Destroy Season 1 Episode 1 review

In Ctrl-Alt-Destroy, a video game designer discovers that someone has stolen her game -- and used it to build a virtual world that might prevent the real one from being destroyed. Image credit: Realm
Image credit: Realm

Ctrl-Alt-Destroy
Season 1 Episode 1: “National Security Incident”
Written by Andrea Phillips, Maurice Broaddus, Jacqueline Koyanagi, and E.C. Myers
Art by Chris Koehler
Narrated by Summer Glau

In Ctrl-Alt-Destroy, a video game designer discovers that someone has stolen her game — and used it to build a virtual world that might prevent the real one from being destroyed.

Ctrl-Alt-Destroy is an original audio series from Realm, the awesomeness formerly known as Serial Box. I was never a fan of audiobooks until I discovered Serial Box and was blown away by their exclusive series, Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire. Realm has seamlessly combined the pleasure of reading the written word with the enjoyment of hearing a dramatization of the work, giving you the option to consume the content as an ebook or an audiobook slash podcast. Add to the excellent production values the talented Summer Glau of “Firefly” fame as narrator, and Ctrl-Alt-Destroy had me hooked from the start. It makes me glad I subscribed to Realm Unlimited. Spoilers ahead.

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Geek Culture

Realm: Serial Box rebrands, unveils free podcast strategy

Image credit: Screenshot of Realm iOS app
Image credit: Screenshot of Realm iOS app

If you’re a fan of the premium digital audio and reading platform Serial Box like me, the good news is that it has rebranded itself as Realm. Along with the sleek new look as part of the complete makeover, Realm is expanding its business model to offer original shows as free podcasts.

Realm now describes itself as “part podcast studio, part magical refuge”. With this shift, it has announced that some of its most popular titles will now be available for free as ad-supported podcasts on different platforms, such as Apple and Spotify. This includes “Orphan Black: The Next Chapte‪r‬”, the official continuation of the hit TV series, which is narrated by its Emmy award-winning star Tatiana Maslany herself.

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Entertainment, Geek Culture

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’: Awesome monsters, awful humans

Billed as the long-awaited face-off between two icons, "Godzilla vs. Kong" is an epic clash of titans that you will enjoy. Just ignore the dumb humans and even stupider dialogue. Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Billed as the long-awaited face-off between two icons, “Godzilla vs. Kong” is an epic clash of titans that you will enjoy. Just ignore the dumb humans and even stupider dialogue.

Sure, I know some critics hate “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but what I’ve learned in life is that you should watch a movie and decide for yourself. Different people have different tastes, and some critics seem to insist on looking for depth even in movies that don’t need it. It’s Godzilla. It’s Kong. Two titans trying to beat the crap out of each other. Does it really matter what their motivation is? And as par for the course for the US reboot of Godzilla and the MonsterVerse as a whole, the humans are the weakest links. We just have to accept that this shared universe is populated by dumb, annoying people saying and doing cringe-worthy things, and just focus on the real stars of the show: Godzilla and Kong. God help you if you concentrate on Bernie and Jia.

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Entertainment

‘Gone’ MV: Beautiful song, beautiful BLACKPINK Rosé

The "Gone" MV is out, and it's a stunning showcase of the beautiful vocals and visuals of BLACKPINK main vocalist Rosé. Image credit: Screenshot of 'Gone" MV on YouTube
Image credit: Screenshot of ‘Gone” MV on YouTube

The “Gone” music video (MV) is out, and it’s a stunning showcase of the beautiful vocals and visuals of BLACKPINK main vocalist Rosé.

“Gone”, the second track from Rosé’s solo debut album “R” after “On The Ground“, had won over fans when YG Entertainment posted a “Coming Soon” teaser of the track on YouTube on Jan. 26 without revealing its title. Rosé then performed a sneak preview of “Gone” on Jan. 31 at BLACKPINK’s first livestream concert, BLACKPINK: THE SHOW. At her solo stage, YG Entertainment first showed video footage of what was apparently a “Gone” MV, before switching to Rosé performing an acoustic version of the song on stage and revealing the title of the track.

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Technology

COMELEC spokesperson: Don’t just vent, register to vote

Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Spokesperson James Jimenez reminded the public to register to vote. Image credit: Vote Pilipinas
Image credit: Vote Pilipinas

Do you want change? Then don’t just vent on social media, but also register to vote. This was the reminder of Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Spokesperson James Jimenez at the Vote Pilipinas virtual townhall.

“The outcome that we got [in the Palawan plebiscite] was decided by the people who actually came to vote. And a lot of people forget this. People think that they can scream, they can shout on social media, and they’ve done their part. You haven’t. All you’ve done is tap angrily at your keyboard… It doesn’t change anything. I mean sure you get some people clapping. You get famous. You get retweeted, and that makes you sikat (famous) for five minutes. But did it change the problem that you saw? It doesn’t. Change in the way things are happens when you change the people who are in charge,” the COMELEC spokesperson said in response to a question by Digital Life Asia.

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A Life Less Analog, Technology

‘Life enabler’: Globe reinvents itself in age of COVID-19

Technology column header

“Globe is a life enabler. Not just a connectivity enabler.” This was emphasized by Globe Deputy Chief Commercial Officer Issa Guevarra-Cabreira at today’s Globe Innovation Fest.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ushering in the end of the world as we know it, we need more heroes. Heroes who don’t just make grand gestures, but ordinary people doing good every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives almost overnight. It has changed the way we view ourselves and our relationships, whether our connections to people or to companies. Now, more than ever, we demand brand authenticity, with caring as the new status symbol. As more of us embrace the digital lifestyle, we want to deal with brands that use technology for good and address not only our everyday needs, but also enable us to do heroic deeds for others. Which is why I found the first Globe Innovation Fest held this morning a very comprehensive and inspiring look at how Globe has reinvented its whole business to become a life enabler for all its customers.

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Gaming

Greener future for gaming as Razer unveils roadmap

Razer commits to a greener future.  Image credit: Razer

The new Razer Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore will be powered by renewable energy, just like its European office in Hamburg, Germany. Image credit: Razer

Who said gamers can’t band together for a greener future? Razer, the global lifestyle brand for gamers, has announced a long-term commitment to a 10-year environmental roadmap. New targets include the use of 100% renewable energy by 2025, all products to use recycled or recyclable materials by 2030, and being 100% carbon neutral by 2030.

“Through our #GoGreenWithRazer campaign led by our Sneki Snek mascot, the Razer community has been insanely supportive and passionate. Awareness of how we impact the environment is incredibly important. Hence, Razer has planned out a sustainability roadmap to continue fighting environmental and climate changes. We’re determined to make the world a better place for all of its citizens to game and live in,” said Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan in a press statement.

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Entertainment, Geek Culture

Snyder Cut: Did Cyborg save ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’?

After finishing the nearly four-hour-long “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”, which is streaming on HBO GO in the Philippines, I can say that the Snyder Cut is better than the mishmash that was the original “Justice League” movie that Joss Whedon delivered. Image credit: Screenshot of HBO GO site
Image credit: Screenshot of HBO GO site

After finishing the nearly four-hour-long “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”, which is streaming on HBO GO in the Philippines, I can say that the Snyder Cut is better than the mishmash that was the original “Justice League” movie that Joss Whedon delivered.

It’s still not to my taste, and the running time could definitely have been cut down. But even though I’m not a fan of Snyder, I prefer the Snyder Cut because it’s a singular vision instead of Whedon’s “Josstice League” which was part dark, part Marvel lite. You just have to watch “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” while accepting Snyder’s strengths and weaknesses. Snyder’s strength has always been spectacle instead of storytelling. He thinks in terms of set pieces — of moving from one cool, epic moment to the next. So when it comes to stunning visuals and larger-than-life characters, the Snyder Cut delivers. The story is secondary to him. And I do appreciate how Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, gets so much more screen time here, because he is the most interesting character who helps humanize this tale of gods at war.

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Science

Global Climate Strike: On ground, online and underwater

Today, March 19, climate activists are holding another Global Climate Strike to call on world leaders to stop making empty promises and take urgent climate action. Climate activist Shaama Sandooyea holds a placard reading: “Nou Reklam Lazistis Klimati” (Mauritian creole for “We Demand Climate Justice”). Image credit: © Tommy Trenchard / Greenpeace
Climate activist Shaama Sandooyea holds a placard reading: “Nou Reklam Lazistis Klimati” (Mauritian creole for “We Demand Climate Justice”). Image credit: © Tommy Trenchard / Greenpeace

Today, March 19, climate activists are holding another Global Climate Strike to call on world leaders to stop making empty promises and take urgent climate action.

Even prior to today’s strike, the world’s first underwater climate strike was held at the heart of the Indian Ocean by climate activist and Fridays for Future Mauritius Co-Founder Shaama Sandooyea. In the Philippines, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) held a protest this morning outside the Standard Chartered office in Makati City together with other climate action groups, including 350 Pilipinas and Kalikasan PNE. The climate activists called on Standard Chartered to divest from funding coal projects in the Philippines. Holding Standard Chartered accountable and calling upon it to stop “fueling the climate crisis” is one of the aims of today’s Global Climate Strike, whose official hashtags include #NoMoreEmptyPromises, #CleanUpStandardChartered, #RaiseYourStandards, and #FridaysForFuture.

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A Life Less Analog, Science

GEOP: Powering the renewable energy revolution in PH

Technology column header

In the face of the climate emergency, clean energy should be a no-brainer, and thanks to the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), we could make that happen in the Philippines.

“We think it’s a communication gap that needs to be addressed, and we laud organizations trying to bridge that gap. Because when we go to the customers, they actually don’t know that they can be part of the program. And it’s these small things that we do like this webinar and all. It’s aggressively reaching out and trying to communicate through learning sessions like this that will greatly help. I think that’s one of the many solutions, but I think that’s one gap that we’ve seen over the past few months. We continue to talk to customers and they’d comment, ‘A, meron pala nito (Oh, so this is available),” said First Gen Vice President for Power Marketing, Trading and Economics Carlos Vega in reply to my question.

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