Boeing wants to take Pilots out of the cockpit. Fully autonomous plane on the way ? (Sofiane’s Editorial)

When Tesla introduced the self-driving mode in its line of cars, they called it “Autopilot”.  The “Autopilot” is term that is quite frequent in the aviation and it has been used in that field ever since. But the American manufacturer  is going even further, this time, Boeing wants to replace the pilot skills and makes its line of airplanes fully autonomous.

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Well, the technology is not yet ready for the primetime as Boeing is holding a briefing ahead of Paris Airshow to details its plan for the fully autonomous cruising plane for the cockpit free run entirely by computers. Existing autopilot technology will handle the taxing and take off process. And Boeing’s goal is to get the technology up to the strict aviation safety standards.

It is said that Boeing will go through a battery of simulations this summer with hopes of taking its tech to a real-life planes as early as next year.

However, what keep the manufacturer’s fear in check is pilot error is one of the leading causes of modern plane crashes. And Boeing knows its technology needs to be bulletproof for people to buy it.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Hotline Miami. A GTA 2 on-steroid

Apparently, there is a flood of classic DOS-like games that are available on GOG.com. And what’s the most striking is that all those games (Like Resonance) are old school games that resemble those we used to play back in the 90s: Monkey Island, Duke Nukem II or Wolfenstein3D to cite a few. And beside Resonance by Vince Twelve which really deserves awards, there is another game, unreleased at the time of this writing, which strikes me too. Its name is Hotline Miami and at the first sight, it looks like those an old classic we put it in a dust box and forget about it. And no. Hotline Miami is a 2012 video game developed by a joint-efforts between Dennation Digital & Devolver Digital

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There is a video available on YouTube which promotes the game. Hotline Miami uses the bird-eye view and is filled with super violence. Yes, you probably guess it. It’s like the old classic GTA (Grand Theft Auto) released on DOS back in 1997. And what’s is striking is Hotline Miami is close to those games released on Gameboy Advance in term of graphics.

In the official GOG.com, the game’s promise is all about violence and brutality. Taking place in an alternate 1989, you assume the role of an antihero who goes on murderous rampage against the shady underworld at the behest of voices on your answering machine. Soon you’ll find yourself struggling to get a grip of what is going on and why you are prone to these acts of violence.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Stephen King’s The Langoliers

Let me be straight here. I consider myself as a casual Stephen King’s fan. Not a big fan but a casual one. Some friends of mine from the states have a huge collection of King’s books. I do have myself an incredible collection of books, but some of them are written by Stephen King. Actually, the first book I stumbled upon was Christine, which was adapted into  motion picture by Halloween’s legend John Carpenter. I’ve also read The Running Man which was also adapted into a motion picture in 1987 and written by Steven E. DeSouza. And of course, The Lawnmower Man, another movie adaption from King that starred the then the relatively unknown Pierce Brosnan (before the James Bond’s Fame and Forture).

I almost forgot IT by Tommy Wallace that starred Stage legend Tim Curry. That poor little George getting his hand ripped off at the beginning of the novel.

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All the movies adapted I cited above were well received by the critics, especially The Running Man.

However, this article focuses on one particular TV movie I used to watch back in the 90s. It’s called The Langoliers. Released in 1995 and it was adapted from King’s Four Past Midnight. A collection of horror novellas.

On a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Boston, a commercial Boeing 767 goes through a time rift. Minutes later, ten passengers discover that the crew and the fellow passengers have disappeared, leaving the Seven Sixty Seven cruising on autopilot. Brian Engle, an off-duty pilot who is heading to his ex-wife funeral, takes control of the plane and lands it on an airport in Bangor, Maine. Engle and the remaining survivors will soon discover that the something strange waiting around the corner. The airport is empty.  There is no radio. No way to call the emergency. The beverages are tasteless and the gun has not explosive force to induce damage. Beside that they hears some strange noise from the distance.

The group theorizes that when they was asleep, the plane goes through a time rift and the only to way to get back to present is to go back through that time rift. In the novella, the rift appears an a Aurora Borealis.

It is revealed later that the strange noise that the group heard comes from what one of the novella’s character describes it as “The Langoliers”, floating spheres with Chainsaw-like teeth, which leave trails of black nothingness in their wake.  Engle manage to escape the monsters in the tick of time as the group watches the rest of the land below falling into a formless, black void.

Later one the characters proposes the idea that the Langoliers’ purpose is to clean up what’s left of the past by eating it.  The other characters realize that the trip through the rip has allowed them to come to terms with their regrets. Because they need to be asleep to survive the rip again, another passenger, Nick Hopewell, volunteers to fly the plane through, knowing that this will cost him his life. The cabin pressure is decreased and all but Nick, breathing through an emergency oxygen mask, fall into a deep sleep.

The survivors awaken, unharmed except for nosebleeds caused by the drop in air pressure. Seemingly, nothing has changed. The plane lands in a deserted Los Angeles. Concluding that now the time rift has brought them a short distance into the future, the group takes shelter against a wall to avoid the airport’s human traffic. A flash hits them and they find themselves in the present again.

As a viewer and a not-big-fan of Stephen King, I liked the movie a lot. It was quite enjoyable to watch. I wished if it was turned into a major motion picture with high caliber actors but it was all fine.  However many people out there would agree that the movie was by far the worst in King’s adaptation.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Make your screenplay vertical (Sofiane’s Editorial)

Writing a screenplay is a craft that occasionally rise up to the level of an art, the late screenwriter legend Syd Field once said. I love writing screenplays. I have been doing this since 2003 when I first stumbled upon RoboCop script written by Edward Neuimeier and Michael Miner. Since then, I have been collecting scripts around the internet and start reading them. From horror scripts to TV Shows. And what came next in my mind, why don’t try to write my own screenplay.  But back in the day, (I’m speaking about several years ago), I was not quite experienced. I would tag myself as hobbyist, willing to dive into his own world, create his own set of colorful characters and have them tormented in a conflict which would ended up with a resolution (sort of they got married and have children, you know, the happy ending in fairly tales). To me a script was just like a book or a novel made to be adapted for TV. So started writing some early drafts as if I was writing a book. An opening page would take three pages or four. So I ended up having a long crammed paragraphs with lot of actions. No white space.

Here I realized I was making a mistake.

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Simple. Easy to Read Title Page. Lot of White Space. No Compromise.

I will not dive too much into how to write a great screenplay but I’d like to focus on one particular aspect. How to make a screenplay vertical…

Remembering a quote from Charles Demmer on making the screenplay vertical :

“I once agreed to read a screenplay written by a novelist friend. The script’s first paragraph took over one page! When I tried to explain the rhetorical realities of screenwriting to him, he called me names I’d rather not repeat, accusing me of selling out to the literary imbeciles of Hollywood. His mistake was thinking that a screenplay is a literary document. It isn’t. It’s the blueprint for a movie. Put that word in caps: BLUEPRINT.”

You know this yourself. Remember your college days when you were cramming for an exam? What was easier to read, the long dense paragraph that took most of a book’s page — or the airy open text written in short paragraphs? The latter. This is because the eye could race down the page, in a kind of vertical reading style, rather than plodding across the page horizontally. For quick reading, for skimming, the page that invites vertical eye movement is far more friendly to the harried reader.

Now who is going to read your screenplay the first time around? A harried reader, believe me. Readers are over-worked and under-paid. Trust me, I’ve been one. They also get paid by the script. Does this invite a slow, careful reading? Of course not. Their job is to fill out a form about the story — called coverage — and the more quickly they can read a script, the happier they are. Screenplays that invite vertical reading are loved by readers. In contrast, text-dense scripts requiring horizontal reading start out with one or two strikes against them.

We in effect have directed the scene while at the same time opening it up vertically, adding white space, writing short paragraphs that are easily and quickly read.

Skilled screenwriters know that “white space” on the page is as important as correct format. In fact, a producer once showed me what he called “the white space test.” He picked up a random unread script from his desk. He held it out at arm’s length and flipped the pages. A dark cloud of heavy text density rushed by. “Too much writing,” he said. “Not enough white space.” He tossed the script, unread, into a box labeled “Return.”

Make sure your screenplay can be scanned and skimmed as easily as a blueprint. Open up your writing by using short paragraphs (I suggest five lines or less) and simple sentences, avoiding complex sentences and other wordy rhetorical devices. Keep it simple, stupid. Readers will love you for it — and when they love you, they pay more attention to your story.

Make your screenplays vertical. There’s no down side.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Meet the completely redesigned App Store for the iPhone — (courtesy: BGR)

This article originally appeared on BGR —

As expected, today’s WWDC 2017 keynote was absolutely loaded with announcements, from watchOS 4 to macOS High Sierra to a range of new Macs and MacBooks as well as iOS 11, but it’s not over yet. In the back half of the event on Monday, Apple announced a complete redesign for the App Store. Continue…

via Meet the completely redesigned App Store for the iPhone — BGR

Sofiane MEROUANI

Windows XP Final UX was kept secretive until the unveiling. (but they used “Mallard” Instead).

Here is an interesting blurb I found around the interweb. During the development of Microsoft Windows XP, the team responsible for the user interface was super cloak-and-dagger on how the final look of the UI would look alike. They wanted to make a splash for the upcoming E3 2001.

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On the other hand, the programmers who were setting up the infrastructure for visual styles needed to have something to test their code against. And something had to go out in the betas.

The visual styles team came up with two styles. In secret, they worked on Luna. In public, they worked on a “decoy” visual style called “Mallard”. (For non-English speakers: A mallard is a type of duck commonly used as the model for decoys.) The ruse was so successful that people were busy copying the decoy and porting it to their own systems. (So much for copyright protection.)

courtesy The Old New Thing.

Sofiane MEROUANI

GAME OVER! Steven E. DeSouza’s directional debut (Sofiane’s Editorial)

For many folks fond of actions pictures of the 80s and 90s, Steven E. DeSouza has established a name within the industry  as the screenwriting wunderkind of the Reagan and Bush eras. if you ever watched  Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hrs , the hands of Steve E. DeSouza were on them.

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During that time-frame, as a bona fide TV maker penning scripts of my favorite shows like Knight Rider in the early 80s to The Flintstones Family in the mid 90s, Steven E. DeSouza has amassed lot of credits to do what other screenwriters would only dream of, becoming a movie director.  Continue reading “GAME OVER! Steven E. DeSouza’s directional debut (Sofiane’s Editorial)”