The logo of the Apple company, which plans to ties it executive bonuses to social and environmental values SAN FRANCISCO – Apple is making environmental and social values factors it will weigh when calculating bonuses for top executives, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday. The change taking effect this year is intended to motivate Apple executives “to meet exceptionally high standards of values-driven leadership in addition to delivering strong financial results,” the Silicon Valley technology titan said in proxy documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Financial targets and thresholds for executive bonuses at Apple will not change, the iPhone maker said. “Beginning in 2021, an environmental, social, and governance modifier based on Apple Values and other key community initiatives will be incorporated into our annual cash incentive program,” Apple said in the filing. Living up to Apple’s stated values regarding sustainable energy, workplace diversity and other environmental and social issues will be among factors considered when deciding
Night & day Cyberpunk 2077 is a great game — depending on what you’re playing on Almost eight years and three different release dates later, the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is finally out. There’s no doubt that gamers all over the globe have spent hours upon hours in Night City, and perhaps there are those who are still going. However, your experience in this dystopian RPG will be very different depending on what you’re playing on — and when I say “very different”, I mean the difference is a deal-breaker. THE PLOT You take on the role of V, a merc for hire in a megacity known as Night City. V’s background will depend entirely on you as you get to choose from three “lifepaths”: Nomad, Streetkid or Corpo. But whichever you choose, V will end up taking on a job with fellow merc Jackie that results in having the consciousness of rocker/terrorist Johnny Silverhand, played by the breathtaking Keanu Reeves, in their head. It’s not necessarily a great thing sharing mental space with a long-dead rockstar, but Johnny has some unfinished business, and V has no choice but to go along. THE GAMEPLAY & GRAPHICS
The year of ‘Rona meant a lot of changes in the way we do things hence the term “new normal”, and Geekdom wasn’t left unscathed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was all bad. There are things we enjoyed watching this year with all the time we had on our hands and fan events that we “attended” right in the comfort of our own home that we wouldn’t be able to normally attend. At the same time, there were some things that sadly suffered because of the pandemic and a certain something that fell flat despite all the hype. Here’s the winners and losers of 2020 in geek. LOSER Cyberpunk 2077 Slick marketing and well-curated gameplay footage made us all hype for Cyberpunk 2077 with more than eight million pre-orders. We waited anxiously and patiently as the release dates got moved back, and now that it’s out, we realise that it would have been better if it was delayed again. There’s a full review of the game in this issue so I won’t spend too much time on it, but with CD Projekt Red’s shadiness in keeping gameplay of console versions away from the public, the inevitable backlash and
Begun in 2019, a program meant to protect the elderly population, which is susceptible to fraud, has shown some significant results. Called BankSafe, the program…
Local tech that shows off ingenuity amid a crisis
This pandemic has revealed a lot of things. For starters, booze is apparently a necessity and we were this close to rioting on the streets when it seemed like the ban wasn’t about to be lifted. People who didn’t give a crap about others were exposed but thankfully that was overshadowed by news of people helping out and being kind, decent human beings. We’ve realised just how much we rely on those who deliver our food, how much we miss travelling and whether we like to admit it or not, we actually miss going to work. To top this, the ingenuity of people has also been revealed and a bunch of new innovations have been created to help out as we try and recover from this life-altering state. This week, we’ve got innovations from Thailand that have sprung up in response to Corona time.
Encountering fake news on social media is as common as encountering a bus driver that has a death wish in Bangkok. The spreading of false information is never acceptable, especially in a world that’s trying to recover from a pandemic. When the virus hit the country hard, a local IT company named 5Lab saw that false reports were spreading quicker than the virus in Thailand. They decided to remedy this by developing a Covid Tracker, an interactive map of Thailand that displays the location of the reported cases and a link to their sources to ensure that it’s credible. It also lists the number of reported cases and also shows any fake news that’s being spread around. The update called “5Lab Market” lists restaurants that have reopened so you can help local businesses near you. Restaurants owners can add their places to the map too.
Ever since the pandemic started, one of the challenges frontliners have faced is the shortage of necessary equipment like face masks. Now that everyone is required to wear them, they’re bound to be in shorter supply. Thankfully, a few people have got together to remedy it. Now bear with me as this will probably be a mouthful: the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital, the National Research Council of Thailand Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, the Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences and Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology have teamed up to make “WIN-Masks” aka “Washable Innovative Nano-Masks”. We won’t get into the discussion of whether the name’s second word is self-aggrandising but it can’t be denied that this is a very welcome invention. Of course, naysayers will say that washable masks are nothing new and you can buy them from anywhere, but these are made by the combined work of the people from all those institutions (which I won’t repeat because I don’t want to hurt my fingers) which makes these masks reliable. That makes all the difference especially when it’s doctors, nurses and other medical staff who will make use of them.
(Photo: Mahidol University)
If you’re working from home, video meetings have probably been the bane of your work existence for the past few weeks. It has its positives and negatives though you have to agree that being able to go on a meeting while still wearing shorts is a pretty liberating experience. Video calls make working during quarantine pretty convenient so Clicknic makes use of that but this time in terms of healthcare. Download the app and register. Once you do, you can list out any symptoms you may have and the app will put you in touch with a doctor via video call so you can consult with them. At the same time, the app is also linked to the messenger service Skootar so any meds that may be prescribed to you can be delivered to your doorstep. The app also has a Covid screening option. Answer a couple of simple questions, list any symptoms you think you may have, upload a photo of yourself and then you can get a consultation. You get a check-up and meds all from your phone and in the comfort of your home.
App available on Google Play and App Store
A similar app like Clicknic is the Chula Care app. The app helps patients of Chulalongkorn Hospital get all the info they need right on their phone like location of facilities or any appointments they’ve made with doctors. Plus, it also enables patients to pay online so that there’s no more waiting to pay at the counter. However, one of the features of the app that definitely helps in times when isolation is key is that medicines prescribed to patients can be delivered via mail. No need to leave the house and you don’t have to worry about foregoing your medication.
It’s great to see that incidences where people have been helping others out greatly surpass incidences where people just don’t give a crap about others. There are still people out there who are in need of help and support, no matter how small, and if you’re looking for a way to contribute, Infoaid may be the best place to start. The website has broken down the needs of hospitals and groups of people who are at risk in an easy-to-use interface. Whether it’s face masks, canned goods, instant noodles or face shields, the site gives you a rundown of the equipment or goods that are running low so you can donate things that they desperately need. For example, as of the writing of this article, the needed number of face shields for hospitals has nearly been met but no one has donated any masks yet, which are also listed as needed. Donating is pretty simple: there’s a number you can contact so you can coordinate with Infoaid about your donation. For hospitals, you can inform them which one you’d like to donate to.
It’s true that those of us versed in the cautionary tales of AI like Terminator or Westworld are wary of the impending uprising of the robots, which were man-made. I think it’s safe to say though that we’re still at least a good decade away before Dolores tries to take over our world, and robots these days are helping us rather than plotting our extinction. Robotic inventions from Chula and Thammasat have sprung up in response to the pandemic and have made lives easier for healthcare workers. Chula has “ninja robots”, originally used to monitor patients who suffer from strokes, which can communicate with patients and take their temperatures, which puts healthcare workers at less risk. Thammasat’s robot which they’ve affectionately named “Tham-Robot” may be simple and not look as flashy: what it basically does is shuttle medical equipment and meds around the hospital. Despite that, it still greatly lessens any sort of personal interaction and therefore, also lessens the risk of infection. We can rest easy that robots are on our side — for now. That is, until the T-800 comes out from a time-space electro-ball rupture of some kind.
(Photos: Somchai Poomlard)
(Photos: Thammasat University)
THAI STAY HOME MILES EXCHANGE
Staying at home is a drag for those who are dying to be out and about. However, Thai Airways is giving you a good reason to stay at home. What they’re doing is simple and straightforward: you stay home and they’ll give you free miles. Download the app, register your Royal Orchid Plus membership, input your address and then for every four hours you stay at home, they’ll reward you a mile. The app can be searched and downloaded on the App Store for iOS users but for some strange reason, the app is not on Google Play for Android users so you’ll have to use the link above to download it. The campaign ends on May 23 for Android and May 26 for iOS so there are a few more weeks for you to start collecting some free miles with possibly the least possible effort in the history of airline miles. If you’re like the majority of people who want to travel once this is all over then this is definitely something you want to avail.
(Photo: Thai Airways )
Welcome to the nth week of quarantine! The good news is we’re still here. The bad news is “here” is getting a little too boring for our tastes. Oh, the joys of being able to café hop along Thong Lor, watch a movie in a cinema or maybe just stroll mindlessly around Siam.
We’ll probably all jump at the chance to do something — anything — outside once this is all done but for the foreseeable future, we are all stuck in the confines of our homes. However, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you’re getting a little stir-crazy and boredom is setting in, Guru has a couple of suggestions to keep you occupied. Whether it’s gaming your days and nights away or listening to hours on end of sublime classical music, we’ve got you covered.
What better way to spend your days stuck at home than gaming? Unless you’ve got the dough to spend, you may be stuck with the games you already have. Thankfully, there are titles out there you can get without having to spend a single satang.
PS4’s “Play at Home” Initiative
If you’re a PS4 owner, PlayStation announced the “Play At Home” initiative to make life in quarantine a little easier. They’ve made two titles free to download: Journey, an indie adventure game that puts you in the middle of a desert which you can explore, and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which has the first three titles of the critically-acclaimed franchise. You’re getting four games for free. The games are available to download until May 5 and unlike the free games you download through the PS Plus service where you need an active subscription to play the games, these titles are yours for keeps. Check the PlayStation Store to see the titles.
Call of Duty: Warzone
PC, PS4, Xbox One
The latest entry to the battle royale genre and arguably the most popular one out there, Call Of Duty: Warzone gives you straight up military mayhem in the city of Verdansk as you and your friends battle it out to remain the last squad standing. Of course, you can choose to go as a team of three, two, or just go at it alone. The appeal of Warzone seems to be that it has simplified battle royale so if you’re new and you haven’t really played BRs before then this is a good place to start. Of course, players who own Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare or who buy the Battle Pass get extra visual perks, but having a decked-out M4 doesn’t matter if you don’t shoot it well.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Apex Legends is yet another BR that’s great for newcomers to the genre. This one is a set in a sci-fi/fantasy world and has a selection of characters, each with their own special skills and powers that you can use to help you achieve victory. Mastering each character’s powers will take some time though, but other than that, the objective remains the same: kill everyone else and stay alive.
PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Of course, I have to include Fortnite on this list. Unlike COD and Apex, Fortnite also has a building aspect that you need to learn. Watching kids who are basically Fortnite veterans playing on PC is a sight to behold. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up being an expert yourself once this whole quarantine thing is over.
PC, PS4, Xbox One
I realise that the past three games have all been BRs, but it makes sense because you can play round after round with basically no end in sight. However, if you’re looking for a free-to-play game in a different genre, Destiny 2’s monster and loot-filled planets will probably be a good alternative. While there is a retail version of Destiny 2 that you can buy, the free-to-play version actually offers up a very good chunk of the game as well as some content found in its expansions. Time to get raiding, Guardian.
Be honest: how many shows have you binged since quarantine was imposed? While you can go ahead and watch the tried and tested, there may be some shows and movies you may not be aware are available on certain streaming sites or other avenues where you can watch movies.
Thai Film Archive
Tired of the usual streaming sites? You can now watch classic Thai films on the Thai Film Archive’s YouTube channel (bit.ly/2RQJEeG). There, you’ll find a special Covid-19 playlist that has a lot to offer, from old hit movies, like Ai Tui, to documentaries, like the one about the Bangkok Flood in 1942. Besides films, the Thai Film Archive’s museum has an online series called “Thai Film Museum at a distance”, that’s conducted on Google Art & Culture, featuring museum staff who will give you virtual reality tours of movie exhibition from the past. Each tour only lasts a couple of minutes. Stay tuned to the museum’s FB page (fb.com/ThaiFilmMuseum) for the latest updates. For anyone who prefers reading, the Thai Film Archive has gathered articles about old Thai films, which you can find in the link (bit.ly/2VnyhgL). The best thing about all these services is that anyone can access them for free.
The IT Crowd
This quirky British TV show follows the hilarious antics of the demeaned IT Department of Reynholm Industries. Seriously, if you need a good laugh or a dozen, binge this right now.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film is available on Netflix, ready for you to start questioning whether technology will ultimately be the end of us all.
The Breakfast Club
Continuing with classics, bring it back down to Earth with the film that arguably started the teen angst genre. Detention for these misfits brings about some hilarious and deep revelations.
This was the movie that made the California valley girl iconic all thanks to Alicia Silverstone’s performance. It also stars Paul Rudd who looks pretty much the same as he does now. Just make sure you RSVP if you’re gonna watch so no one’s totally buggin’.
HBO Go has a number of TV shows whose first seasons are free to watch.
Bill Hader stars as Barry, a hitman who wants to get out of the game because he has suddenly found his true passion: acting.
Five guys try to make it big in the tech capital of the world, Silicon Valley, by kicking off their own start-up company and inventing a new app. But things just get more complicated after that.
The critically-acclaimed show follows Tony Soprano as he tries to live in two completely opposite worlds: being a family man and being the leader of a mob family.
Museum Siam has a number of virtual exhibitions, that cover a number of different topics. These include the story of how Bangkok became the metropolis it is today and an exhibition about how we are eating “rotten food”. These exhibitions aren’t just recent ones either. The oldest one is from 2012 so it’s the perfect opportunity to view them if you didn’t get to in person or revisit them if you did. The exhibitions are also viewable via your mobile phone.
The St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonia
If you’re looking to transform your living room into a concert hall, you’re in luck. The St. Petersburg Academic Philharmonia, one of the oldest music societies in Russia, has a variety of performances available on their website, all of which are set to fill your homes with beautiful symphonies and thundering orchestrations. I don’t think you’ll find yourself lacking — each video is over an hour long! So enjoy all the classical music to your heart’s content.
ArtAble — World Down Syndrome Day 2020
Photographer Surachai Saengsuwan took a number of heartwarming and fun photos to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day, which was on March 21. The photos revolve around the theme “ArtAble”, which conveys the message that those with Down’s syndrome are still able to be creative and artistic much like everyone else. The photos can be viewed in a digital exhibition where you can walk around in a virtual gallery and view the photos. There aren’t that many photos but each of them is a dose of positivity that brings a smile that all of us could use.
BEC-Tero Radio has launched a podcast with programmes that centre around office workers. Every day there’s a different programme that tackles a different topic. For example, The Shrink is released on Mondays and tackles mental health. Live Without Pay is about budgeting and saving, which is released every second and fourth Thursday of the month. These are just a few of the things that Hudi Podcast tackles. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple, Podbean, Soundcloud and on the BEC-Tero Radio YouTube and DailyMotion channel.
Some Good News
If you haven’t heard of Some Good News yet, it’s probably because you have been too busy bingeing or napping. Some Good News is a “news network” started by John Krasinski, who’s known for having starred in The Office and A Quiet Place, that pretty much does what its name says: report good news. It’s only been four episodes in but during that time this low-budget, made-from home show has become a beacon of positivity for many. It’s also managed to do some cool stuff like bring back the original Broadway cast of Hamilton to do a surprise performance for a fan, have Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt report the weather, feature a report from astronauts up on the International Space Station and hold a virtual prom for the Class of 2020, with guest stars like Chance the Rapper, Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers.
One World: Together At Home Special
This historic special event last Saturday was a virtual concert in celebration of the frontliners fighting the pandemic. A vast number of stars from the entertainment industry participated, like Michael Bublé, Jessie J, Ellen DeGeneres, Luis Fonsi, Sam Smith, John Legend, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Lady Gaga, who was one of the people that made the event possible. There was a digital special, which was streamed on many platforms, and a televised special that was broadcasted and streamed, which was also hosted by three late-night hosts: the two Jimmys, Fallon and Kimmel, and Stephen Colbert. If you missed this special show because it was broadcasted early on Sunday morning in Thailand, fret not. The entire eight-hour show is available to watch on the Global Citizen YouTube page.