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A Life Less Analog Entertainment

Cookie Monster: C is for cookie, change, and creativity

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You know that All That Matters is a special event when the world-famous muppet Cookie Monster is one of the keynote speakers.

Branded is holding Asia’s leading entertainment industry conference 100 percent online this year from Sept. 14-18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All That Matters has turned this challenge into an opportunity to embrace change and display even more creativity. Going virtual has enabled All That Matters to bring together a diverse — and unconventional — lineup of speakers. These include Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and Elmo, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, rapper Chuck D, and playwright David Mamet.

“We may be physically distant and far from each other. But we all are connected through our hearts. Just like how me and you are connected right now. Me video call and talk to my friends and make sure they all are doing fine during this lockdown,” Cookie Monster told Branded Co-Founder and CEO Jasper Donat during his session.

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A Life Less Analog Entertainment Technology

Netflix BLACKPINK documentary to ‘Light Up the Sky’

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BLACKPINK is the revolution. And the revolution is going global with the first Netflix K-pop original documentary, “BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky”.

This certainly has been a momentous year for the popular K-pop girl group, which has been making history time and again. Not only are they coming out with their first full album in South Korea on Oct. 2, but they also debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Ice Cream“, their collaboration with international pop star Selena Gomez. This is a career-best rank for BLACKPINK, and also makes them the first K-pop girl group to enter the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, they are making history again with the Netflix BLACKPINK documentary, which comes out on Oct. 14.

“The K-pop phenomenon has been sweeping the globe and BLACKPINK has arguably become the most recognizable and most popular girl group in the world,” said Netflix VP for Documentary Features Adam Del Deo in a press statement.

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A Life Less Analog Entertainment Technology

‘Ice Cream’ dance video, fansign event via ZEPETO app

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of “Ice Cream“, the highly anticipated collaboration between the popular K-pop girl group  BLACKPINK and international pop star Selena Gomez that was released on Aug. 28. BLACKPINK fans (more popularly known as BLINKS), however, were surprised when an “Ice Cream” dance performance video also came out after the music video.

This wasn’t the usual dance performance video K-pop fans are used to, however, but instead a virtual one created using the South Korean 3D avatar social network ZEPETO.

BLINKS were even more shocked when it turned out that the “Ice Cream” dance video included an avatar of Selena, dancing in all her animated glory with Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Remote work to encourage diversity, says VMWare SVP

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As businesses embrace remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work-from-home (WFH) policies will not only transform the workplace, but also have a significant impact on society.

I’ve mentioned before that employees already see WFH as the new normal. This expectation has profound implications for the way we work and live in the post-pandemic world.

According to VMWare SVP and Chief Customer Experience Officer Sumit Dhawan, adopting a remote-first work policy could lead to more diversity in the workplace and allow companies to better leverage talent.

“There are certain constraints that are put in place for talent. You sometimes are not able to find the best talent for the job because you put the requirements and constraints for how someone needs to be in a certain place,” Dhawan said in response to my question.

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A Life Less Analog Science

COVID-19 and climate change: Every day is Earth Day

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(Editor’s note: A different version of this article on COVID-19 and climate change was originally published on TessDrive.com. Reposted with permission.)

It’s a tough time for all of us as we cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s even tougher for children.

As the father of a teenage girl who is entering college this year, I’m proud of how she has shown resilience in the face of all these changes. It’s not easy for this batch of students. They are the first batch to experience attending a virtual high school graduation ceremony.

Instead of enjoying the summer break, they have been cooped up in their homes. And now they won’t even experience a “normal” college life as they will reach this milestone virtually – at least for this year.

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A Life Less Analog Entertainment Gaming Technology

Gamers and K-pop fans already living in virtual world

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Gamers and K-pop fans have been living in the virtual world for many years now. Decades, in fact, in the case of gamers. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.

In last week’s column piece, I talked about how geeks are inheriting the earth. Today, I’m going to point out that this new world we’re inheriting is an increasingly virtual one. There is no going back to the pre-COVID world. The digital transformation of the world is here to stay, and this will have a profound impact on human society, changing the way we work and play.

The thing is, gamers and K-pop fans are already way ahead of most of humanity. Embracing virtual currency and purchasing virtual items is already second nature to them. Since I’m both a gamer and a K-pop fan — specifically a Blink (BLACKPINK fan) and Monbebe (MONSTA X fan) — I can attest that the virtual world is very real.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Impact Hackathon: Why the geeks shall inherit the earth

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The COVID-19 pandemic is the asteroid that will finally make the dinosaurs extinct. And by dinosaurs I mean individuals and companies who still refuse to embrace digital. I truly believe this. Which is why I’m happy that Impact Hub Manila (IHM) is bringing back Impact Hackathon to create genuine change in society. This year’s Impact Hackathon will be held virtually on Aug. 17-21. It aims to reboot the economy through inclusive digital innovations in five verticals. These include climate change, education, food and agriculture, health and wellness, and smart cities.

Only those who are still in denial think that things will “go back to normal”. The COVID-19 pandemic is the end of the world as we know it. It is a turning point in human history that has accelerated digital transformation. So don’t listen to the dinosaurs. Don’t listen to the defenders of the status quo who want to go back to doing the same things. Instead of using this disruption as an opportunity to build a better post-pandemic world. Not just the new normal, but a better normal.

“I am very optimistic and I truly believe that technology is the great enabler. It has completely democratized a lot of things that we’re doing,” IHM Founder and CEO Ces Rondario said in response to a question from Digital Life Asia in the press briefing.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Edusuite platform keeps schools running amid pandemic

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As I’ve previously mentioned in this column, education is very dear to my heart. That’s why I was happy to learn that Philippine startup Edusuite aims to help improve the educational system here with its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered school management system for
K-12 to college. This allows schools to focus less on administration and more on education.

Now, I’m a techno-optimist and a big believer in AI. I love Edusuite’s vision of having AI co-manage the school together with human administrators. Otherwise, as Edusuite Co-founder and President Niel Dagondon pointed out at the press briefing on July 29, you are using software but still just manually administering the school. But how challenging is it to get school officials to adopt this mindset and allow AI to co-manage?

“I have to admit that it’s not going to be a fast process. Sometimes we launch Edusuite with a school and it takes them sometimes as much as two years to enable all the features that Edusuite has. And what we did is to make it in a way that we can turn off the AI-specific features one by one. So if a school does not trust the system to do the AI at the start, they’ll be able to do the planning their way. For example, if they don’t want the student advising module to automatically advise the student, they can just turn it off and have someone on the backend manually approve each time a student would take a certain number of subjects. So it’s not going to be automatic, that as soon as they implement Edusuite, all the AI features are turned on,” Dagondon said.

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A Life Less Analog Entertainment Geek Culture

‘Doom Patrol’: We are all misfits living in a world on fire

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Late to the party, but I finally finished Season 1 of “Doom Patrol” and the first three episodes of Season 2. And I absolutely love this TV show.

Even though I’m a comic book geek, I wasn’t really familiar with this team of misfits from DC Comics. I only read a few issues from Grant Morrison’s run, which I liked, but that was it.

In a way, I’m glad I don’t really know the comic book incarnations of these characters. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them with fresh eyes, without a lot of comic book baggage. Though I do recognize some Easter eggs. Plus the Morrison run influenced the show, after all, though it has reimagined these characters and created a fascinating world of its own.

I will only tackle Season 1 in this column piece, and will try to minimize the spoilers. If you haven’t seen the show, I advise you to just get through the first episode or two. You definitely have to get used to the absurdity and dark humor. “Doom Patrol” is a batshit crazy series that will defy your expectations of what a superhero show should be. And I absolutely love it because of this.

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A Life Less Analog Technology

Twitter hack: Crypto scam hijacks verified accounts

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The Twitter hack is insane. We really are living in a cyberpunk world — as if we needed more proof. Thousands of dollars have already been stolen in a massive #CryptoForHealth cryptocurrency scam that has hijacked several high-profile verified accounts.

The hacked accounts read like a Who’s Who of Twitter A-listers with the blue verified badge. The Twitter hack took over high-profile accounts, including Apple, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet.

“Apple, Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Bill Gates were among the accounts compromised in a broadly targeted hack that remained mysterious hours after taking place. Those accounts and many others posted a message promoting the address of a bitcoin wallet with the claim that the amount of any payments made to the address would be doubled and sent back — a known cryptocurrency scam technique.

“In the hours following the initial scam posts, Kim Kardashian West, Jeff Bezos, Barack Obama, Wiz Khalifa, Warren Buffett, YouTuber MrBeast, Wendy’s, Uber, CashApp and Mike Bloomberg also posted the cryptocurrency scam.”