Review: More remix than adaptation, Foundation is top-notch storytelling

How much you like the series may depend on whether you’re a stickler for staying faithful to the source material.

Isaac Asimov's hugely influential Foundation series of science fiction novels is notoriously difficult to adapt to the screen. The author himself admitted that he wrote strictly for the printed page, and he always refused invitations to adapt his work for film or TV. But Asimov was more than happy to let others adapt his work to a new medium, and he was wise enough to expect that there would—and should—be significant departures from the print version.

That's just what showrunner David S. Goyer (Dark Knight trilogy, Da Vinci's Demons) has done with Foundation, Apple TV+'s visually stunning, eminently bingeable new series. Goyer describes it as more of a remix than a direct adaptation, and to my taste, it is a smashing success in storytelling. This series respects Asimov's sweeping visionary ideas without lapsing into slavish reverence and over-pontification. That said, how much you like Goyer's vision might depend on how much of a stickler you are about remaining faithful to the source material.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

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The Surface Duo’s two-year-old Android OS will be updated sometime this year

Microsoft’s rocky introduction to Android continues with worst-in-class update speed.

If Microsoft wants to be taken seriously as an Android manufacturer, one of the things it will need to establish is a track record of reliable, on-time software updates. But as the company launches a second generation of the Surface Duo and the company's first Android phone turns a year old, so far Microsoft has failed to impress.

The Surface Duo 1 shipped in September 2020 with Android 10, which was a full year old at the time, and Android 11 had already launched. The hope was that Microsoft would quickly update the Duo to the latest version of Android, but that never happened. Today the device is still running Android 10, which is now two years old, and Android 12 is about to ship. Microsoft has finally broken its silence about Surface Duo 1 updates, and the company tells The Verge it plans to update the device to Android 11 "before the end of this year."

Assuming Microsoft follows through on its promise, the company's $1,400 flagship device will be updated from a two-year-old operating system to a one-year-old operating system. Microsoft committed to three years of updates, and it has been delivering monthly security updates. But this is still worst-in-class update support, especially for the price. Samsung usually rolls out Android to its latest flagship three months after Google's release, while OnePlus usually takes around a month—Microsoft's one-year timeframe is really bad.

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Waydroid could bring Android apps to Windows before Microsoft does

Waydroid is an open source tool that installs an Android image in a container on Linux devices in order to let you run Android apps on Linux phones or PCs. But you know what else runs Linux these days? Windows PCs, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). So Waydroid developer Erfan Abdi took […]

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Waydroid is an open source tool that installs an Android image in a container on Linux devices in order to let you run Android apps on Linux phones or PCs. But you know what else runs Linux these days? Windows PCs, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

So Waydroid developer Erfan Abdi took the next logical step and used Waydroid to install Android in a container running within Windows 10 by using WSL.

While Waydroid is very much a work in progress, it’s shown a lot of promise on smartphones in recent months, allowing users to install an Android 10-based version of LineageOS on phones running mobile Linux distributions such as Manjaro or openSUSE.

Since mobile Linux is still a pretty young platform, there aren’t nearly as many Linux apps designed for phones as there are Android apps, so this opens the door to running some Android apps and games on phones while using Linux as your primary operating system.

Running Android apps on a Windows PC is a bit of a different proposition. While it could open the door to using some mobile-only games (or apps like Clubhouse) on a desktop computer, it’s not like there’s any shortage of desktop-optimized apps, games, or websites. I imagine where something like Waydroid would really come in handy on Windows computers is Windows tablets – despite Microsoft’s best efforts to encourage developers to create apps specifically for touch-first devices like its Surface line of tablets, Windows has largely remained a keyboard and mouse operating system for decades.

And maybe that’s why Microsoft is also working to bring support for Android apps to Windows PCs. The company has been working on a Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) that will work much like WSL, allowing users to run Android apps on Windows computers either by downloading them from the Amazon Appstore or by sideloading them.

The Windows Subsystem for Android is coming to Windows 11 some time after the operating system launches next month – Microsoft says it’s not ready for the general public just yet. And that means that you might be able to use the third-party, open source Waydroid to run Android apps on Windows PCs before you can use WSA.

That said, Waydroid for WSL isn’t available for download just yet, and when it is released, it won’t support hardware-accelerated graphics which could make it a bit sluggish. So it’s not entirely clear at this point whether Waydroid will arrive before WSA or if it’ll be more or less usable when it does. But one key advantage? It’ll support Windows 10 and not just Windows 11.

Oh, one more fun tidbit – that screenshot of Android 10 running in a container on a Windows 10 system shown above? It’s actually cropped from Abdi’s original image, which shows that Windows 10 itself is running in a virtual machine on a Mac computer. In other words, the full image shows Android running inside a Linux container on a Windows system installed in a virtual machine on a Mac. That’s four different operating systems working together to allow Android apps to run on a Mac.

via @MishaalRahman

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Bitcoin outlawed in China as country bans all cryptocurrency transactions

Move comes as government seeks to limit fallout of looming real estate collapse.

China has cracked down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a bid to limit capital outflows.

Enlarge / China has cracked down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in a bid to limit capital outflows. (credit: Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock Editorial)

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies intensified today, with the country’s central bank announcing that all crypto-related transactions are illegal.

“There are legal risks for individuals and organizations participating in virtual currency and trading activities,” the People’s Bank of China said in a statement jointly issued with nine other government bodies. Even Chinese nationals working overseas weren’t exempt, with the government saying that they, too, would be “investigated according to the law,” according to a report in the Financial Times.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies dropped on the news. Currently, bitcoin was down 4.5 percent at the time of publication, and ethereum was down 7.5 percent.

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Windows 11 hits the Release Preview Insider channel as official release nears

Near-final preview release demonstrates how the upgrade will be offered to PCs.

The "official" Windows 11 update, complete with the UI that regular people will see, is now available in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders.

Enlarge / The "official" Windows 11 update, complete with the UI that regular people will see, is now available in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Yesterday, Microsoft released a near-final build of Windows 11 to Windows Insiders in the Release Preview channel, which (as the name implies) is generally the last stop for a major new Windows version ahead of its release to the general public. The official release date for Windows 11 is October 5, but Microsoft is planning to roll it out gradually over the next few months to prevent widespread problems.

The build number in the Release Preview channel is 22000.194, the same version released to the Beta channel on September 16.

While Beta- and Dev-channel builds of Windows 11 are simply downloaded and installed like regular Windows Updates, the version in the Release Preview channel gives you the same upgrade message that will be offered to the public when Microsoft offers the Windows 11 upgrade for their PCs. This includes a system notification that users can click through to learn more about Windows 11's new features and a special update message in Windows Update that will give you the opportunity to waive the Windows 11 upgrade and stay on Windows 10 (seen above).

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NASA seeks a new ride for astronauts to the Artemis launch pad

Among the options NASA is considering is modifying the Astrovan. This is the way.

NASA first began using the 1983-model Airstream for space shuttle missions in 1984.

Enlarge / NASA first began using the 1983-model Airstream for space shuttle missions in 1984. (credit: NASA)

NASA has asked industry for ideas to develop an "Artemis Crew Transportation Vehicle" that will take its astronauts from suit-up facilities to the launch pad on launch day.

The space agency, of course, has not launched its own astronauts on a NASA-built vehicle since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. From 1984 through the end of the shuttle era, the agency used a modified Airstream motor home, known as the "Astrovan," to ferry crews to the launch pad. This iconic vehicle had a shiny, silvery exterior but a fairly spartan interior. "The current vehicle's appeal is rooted in its tradition rather than its décor," the agency acknowledged in 2011.

Now, NASA is gearing up for a new era of deep space exploration, and it plans to launch four astronauts at a time inside the Orion spacecraft, on top of a Space Launch System rocket. The first human flights on these vehicles could occur in late 2023 or early 2024, NASA administrator Bill Nelson recently said.

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Daily Deals (9-24-2021)

Need to catch up on Star Trek: Lower Decks, Discovery, or Picard? Amazon Prime Channels is offering a 1-month subscription to Paramount+ for $1, which is just 10% of the usual price for an ad-free subscription. Meanwhile if you need something to watch it on, a bunch of Lenovo tablets are on sale this week […]

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Need to catch up on Star Trek: Lower Decks, Discovery, or Picard? Amazon Prime Channels is offering a 1-month subscription to Paramount+ for $1, which is just 10% of the usual price for an ad-free subscription.

Meanwhile if you need something to watch it on, a bunch of Lenovo tablets are on sale this week – including the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 tablet with a 10 inch display and detachable keyboard. Best Buy is selling it for $199, which is one of the lowest prices I’ve seen to date.

Here are some of the day’s best deals.

Tablets

Laptops

Other

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