TIME Football

Johnny Manziel Apologies to Browns Fans After Troubled Rookie Season

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland on Dec. 14, 2014.
Tony Dejak—AP Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland on Dec. 14, 2014.

Quarterback says he wants to focus on football in coming months

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has apologized to his team and his fans, saying he let them down in his difficult rookie season. In a statement released Friday, Manziel acknowledged that he had disappointed many people close to him and said he planned to work hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect. “I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say,” he said in the statement.

In January Manziel entered rehab at Caron, a treatment center in Pennsylvania that specializes in drug and alcohol issues. The decision followed a rookie season in which he performed poorly on the field and was involved in a number of off-the-field incidents involving drinking and partying. “I also understand there’s a lot of curiosity about this but anyone who has a friend or family member that’s been through things like this knows it’s an ongoing process,” he said, referring to his stint in rehab. “I’m going to continue to ask folks to try to respect my privacy as I determine to what degree I am comfortable talking about a subject which I consider very personal.”

Manziel is expected to rejoin Browns team practices next week. “I look forward to seeing my teammates next week and focusing on football and my desire to be the best possible player, teammate, and man that I can be,” he said.

Read next: Why NFL Players Are So Likely to Declare Bankruptcy

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TIME public health

California Measles Outbreak Is Over, Health Officials Say

No new cases related to the outbreak have been reported in 42 days

A measles outbreak that infected 131 Californians has ended, the state’s Department of Public Health said Friday.

The outbreak, which began in December at Disneyland, infected people ranging from 6 weeks to 70 years old, sending 19% of them to the hospital. No new cases related to the outbreak have been reported in 42 days, officials said.

“Having this measles outbreak behind us is a significant accomplishment,” Gil Chavez, California’s state epidemiologist, said during a press call. “Measles can be very serious with devastating consequences.”

Health officials believe a tourist brought measles to Disney’s Anaheim, Calif. theme parks in December, eventually infecting 42 people at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The disease then spread to a number of students, teachers, health care workers and other Californians. No deaths were reported.

At least 56 of the people who contracted measles during the outbreak had not been vaccinated, according to Chavez (the vaccination status of 38% of those who were infected is unknown). He encouraged unvaccinated people to get the measles vaccine “to protect themselves, to protect their loved ones and to protect the community at large.”

TIME Innovation

This Is How Tech Will Totally Change Our Lives by 2025

Get ready to sell your own data and use algorithms on the job

The ever-increasing hunger for data will fundamentally change the way we live our lives over the next decade. That’s according to a new report by the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit think tank that has released a set of five predictions for the ways tech will change the future.

Personal data will continue to be shared, bought and sold at an ever-quickening pace, perhaps with more benefits to consumers. In the future, people might be able to personally sell info about their shopping habits or health activities to retailers or pharmaceutical companies, according the report. The Internet of Things is also expected to continue to expand, with predictions that everything from cars to coffee cups will be connected to the Internet by 2025.

Increasingly sophisticated algorithms will help workers in knowledge fields such as law and medicine navigate large bundles of information. Automation could either enhance these jobs or replace them outright, depending on how different professional fields advance.

Multisensory digital communications will also become more common in the future. The Apple Watch, which sends notifications via a wrist tap and allows users to transfer the rhythm of their heartbeat to other watches, offers a peek at the way senses aside from sight and sound may be used to communicate.

Finally, privacy tools and technology will likely improve in response to the vast amounts of data that users are constantly sending and receiving from the cloud. Striking a balance between leveraging data to increase efficiency and protecting the privacy rights of individual users will be an ongoing tension in the coming years.

TIME Media

Forget TV — This Is the Best Streaming Service for Movies

HBO vs. Netflix vs. Amazon Prime vs. Hulu Plus

In the ongoing hubbub about online streaming services replacing traditional television, it’s easy to forget that these digital platforms are also home to a massive number of movies. Netflix, after all, began as an alternative to Blockbuster for renting DVDs, and HBO was known for showing recently released films before it became the home of gangsters and dragons.

For the movie buffs out there, we’ve combed the offerings of HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus to see which has the best film library. We’re trying to assess quality rather than quantity, so we’ve ranked the four services in three different categories: recent blockbusters, all-time classics and independent films.

These stats only reflect a snapshot of the different platofrms’ offerings as they stood on April 14, 2015. Streaming services are constantly swapping movies in and out as licensing contracts expire and new ones are struck. However, the data provides a good general perspective on which services are best for different types of films.

Recent Hits

HBO has a clear advantage when it comes to showing recent, popular films. Almost a quarter of the 50 top-grossing movies of 2013 and 2014 are currently available on its streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now, including The Lego Movie and X-Men: Days of Future Past. The standings are even more lopsided if you only consider 2014—HBO has 12 of the 50 highest-grossing movies from that year currently streaming, while Netflix has two and the other services have none.

HBO is trouncing its competitors here because it has several long-term deals with movie studios for the right to show films during the so-called “pay-TV window.” That’s a period of around eight months after a film’s theatrical release when it hits premium cable channels but isn’t yet being played on broadcast TV or basic cable. Netflix’s first major pay-TV window deal with Disney begins in 2016, at which point the streaming service’s movie library should improve significantly. However, HBO still has deals with sister company Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.

All-Time Classics

Some people use movie streaming services as a way to rewatch old favorites or view culturally important films they’ve never seen. On this front, Netflix is the best service available, if we use the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 American films of all time as a proxy.

Thanks to the vastness of its library (and the affordability of nabbing licensing rights to old movies compared to newer ones), Netflix is a pretty good place to watch classic films. Hulu Plus is also a solid option thanks to its licensing deal to host the entire Criterion Collection, a selection of more than 800 classic films including Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and The Gold Rush. You’ll have to be patient to watch old movies on HBO, which has a limited selection and focuses mostly on newly released films.

Independent Films

Again, the vastness of Netflix’s library gives it an advantage here. The service has almost a third of the 30 highest-grossing independent movies of 2013 and 2014. Still, the other services have some notable exclusives, with HBO carrying Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is the highest-grossing film of the lot, and Amazon featuring both The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers.

TIME Internet

Mark Zuckerberg Defends His Latest Initiative

Critics say his Internet.org project violates net neutrality principles

Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to deliver free Internet to the world has come under fire.

The Facebook CEO wrote a post on Friday defending Internet.org, an ambitious plan to bring Internet access to under-connected parts of the world. Critics say the initiative unfairly disadvantages websites that are not part of Internet.org, which offers some content for free.

“To give more people access to the Internet, it is useful to offer some service for free,” Zuckerberg said. “If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all.”

In places like India, Facebook has partnered with mobile operators to offer access to certain websites, like news sites, job boards and Facebook itself, without the need for a data plan.

The Times of India, a large media group in the country, has withdrawn its job board and some other sites from Internet.org and is urging competitors like BBC to do the same.

 

TIME Media

Verizon Is Making it Easier to Pay for Only the Channels You Actually Want

New bundles let customers pick and choose channels

Verizon is trying to upend the traditional pay-TV model by letting its customers have more control over exactly which channels they purchase.

The telco giant, which serves about 5 million pay-TV customers through its FiOS fiber-optic service, will begin selling a slimmed-down channel package on Sunday. Customers start with a basic package of channels like ABC, Fox, CNN and more. They can then add genre-specific “channel packs,” including a sports pack featuring ESPN, a kids pack featuring Nickelodeon and an entertainment pack featuring TNT, among others.

The basic plan will cost $55 for the mandatory channels (about 35 total) and two channel packs. Additional packs will cost $10 each and can be switched monthly. Verizon will also continue to offer various TV bundles that include Internet access or phone service.

The move comes as competitors like Dish Network are already offering cheaper, slimmed-down cable bundles. Sling TV and HBO are offering content without the need for a cable subscription at all. Apple is also rumored to be working on a smaller cable bundle that would stream channels over the Internet and cost $30 to $40 per month.

 

TIME movies

Tom Hardy Used ‘Sesame Street’ To Prepare for ‘Child 44’

BRITAIN-ENTERTAINMENT-CINEMA-CHILD 44
Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images British actor Tom Hardy poses for photographers on the red carpet ahead of the UK premiere of "Child 44" in central London on April 16, 2015.

Tom Hardy used unlikely inspiration for his new role

Tom Hardy tapped an unlikely source to get ready to play a Russian secret agent: the Count from Sesame Street.

The British actor stars as a Russian agent on the trail of serial killer murdering small boys during the end of the Stalin era of the Soviet Union in Child 44. At the film’s London premiere, Hardy quipped that he watched Sesame Street to prepare for the role. “The Count speaks just like it,” he said.

Some reviewers have criticized the overwrought Russian accents in the thriller, which stars mostly British and American actors. The movie was banned from Russian movie theaters this week because the country’s culture ministry deemed it “historically inaccurate.”

[Variety]

TIME apps

Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

Google Handwriting
Google Google Handwriting

New app works in languages as varied as English, Chinese and Hindi

If you’re tired of pecking at minuscule letters on virtual keyboards, Google has the app for you.

The company has unveiled a new handwriting keyboard for Android devices that will convert your chicken-scratch into typed-out words. The app, called Google Handwriting Input, can replace your device’s stock keyboard and be used for texting, web browsing and other basic phone features.

A brief hands-on showed that the app was surprisingly good at recognizing a variety of different handwriting styles in English, even if the script was sloppy and the last few letters in a word were bunched at the edge of the screen. Adding punctuation marks is also easy, and you can even recreate many emojis by scribbling them out as old-fashioned emoticons.

The only area where the app seemed to struggle was cursive—print seems to be the way to go for the greatest level of accuracy. The app has earned 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Google Play store, indicating that most users are finding the app highly functional.

Google says the new keyboard supports 82 languages and believes it will be most useful for ideographic languages like Chinese, which are often constrained to a single dialect on traditional keyboards.

TIME Smartphones

You Can Now Find Your Lost Phone by Googling It

Inside A Samsung Electronics Co. Digital Store Ahead Of Fourth-Quarter Results
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A visitor tries out a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy Note 4 smartphone at the company's d'light flagship store in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

It only works for Android users

Next time you lose your phone, a simple Google search may be able to find it.

Google announced Wednesday a new phone-finding feature for Android users tied to its search engine. Simply type “find my phone” into the Google search bar, and the results will show a map with the last known location of your phone. You can also choose to ring the phone from this page to make it easier to find — say, if it’s lost under the couch.

The feature works on the desktop and with the Google search app. Just make sure you’re signed into the same Google account on your phone and on your desktop to enable the option.

Read next: Google Has a New Handwriting Keyboard and It Actually Works

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TIME Television

Netflix Makes Daredevil Accessible to the Blind After Complaints

Netflix Marvel's Daredevil

Show about blind lawyer was initially difficult for blind to enjoy

Netflix is planning to make its shows more accessible to the blind following complaints from customers. The issue came to a head because Daredevil, a new Netflix show about a blind lawyer with superpowers, didn’t initially include audio descriptions, which are spoken explanations for actions occurring onscreen.

On Tuesday Netflix changed course, writing in a blog post that it plans to add audio descriptions to Daredevil and other Netflix original series like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. Other shows and movies that are not original to Netflix will get the feature later.

Robert Kingett, who leads a group calling for improved accessibility features on Netflix, told The Washington Post that he’d like to see the streaming service include the audio descriptions already available on the DVD version of movies and TV shows in the future.

[Washington Post]

 

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