TIME Companies

Amazon’s Kindle Convert Can Turn Your Books Into E-Books

Ditch the paper

Amazon has created a new tool that allows readers to turn their physical books into e-books, as the online retailer grows its digital reading options.

Kindle Convert, an application for Windows, turns print books into digital versions that work on Amazon’s Kindle software, TechCrunch reports. The program costs $19 and requires users to scan the pages of physical book at a computer scanner. The hardware can help Kindle users convert out-of-print and rare books into digital form, with the goal of preserving them and making them more accessible. Converted books can be viewed in adjustable font and employ dictionary lookup and Whispersync.

Amazon has been pushing its Kindle platform with an ever-increasing array of digital reading platforms, including an e-book library, self-publishing for textbooks and books, and free access to the Washington Post.

TIME viral

Watch This Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Parody ‘All About That Bass’

Daniel Cormier wants you to know he still loves Popeyes

“All About That Bass” parodies must be stopped — the song is already a parody of itself! — but apparently Daniel Cormier didn’t get TIME’s memo. He’s rebounding from a recent loss to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones with a version of Meghan Trainor’s inescapable smash that celebrates his love for all things chicken and cake.

The Popeyes shout-out might strike viewers as some subtle product placement (and maybe it is, since everything feels like a marketing hoax these days), but Cormier is a well-known Popeyes fan. Once, while dieting to make the light heavyweight division last year, he received a taunting box of Popeyes from opponent Dan Henderson. Mostly, though, the video is designed to promote the 7th annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards, which take place Wednesday.

TIME Television

Angela from Boy Meets World Is Headed to Girl Meets World

Boy Meets World Trina McGee
ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images Boy Meets World Cast, July 1998.

Shawn and Angela dated for several years in the original series

Trina McGee and Blake Clark, both veterans of the series Boy Meets World, are set to guest star on Disney Channel’s spin-off, Girl Meets World.

Both actors portrayed significant roles in the life of one of the original series main characters, Shawn Hunter (Rider Strong). McGee played Shawn’s girlfriend, Angela Moore, while Clarke portrayed Shawn’s father, Chet Hunter.

The actors will appear on a season two episode of Girl Meets World, along with Strong, EW confirmed. The episode is entitled “Girl Meets Hurricane,” Variety reported.

In the original series, Shawn and Angela dated for several years before breaking up before the end of the series. Chet passed away from a heart attack during season six, but returned several times through memories and as a “guide,” which is how he will appear on Girl Meets World.

The episode will be directed by William Russ, who played Cory’s father, Allen Matthews, on Boy Meets World.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Security

Sony Is Spending $15 Million to Deal With the Big Hack

But the studio was still profitable

Sony Pictures Entertainment said Wednesday that it’s set aside $15 million in the current quarter for costs associated with the devastating hack it suffered last year, but that it still earned a profit last quarter despite the fallout.

The disclosure came in an earnings statement, in which the studio reported earning income of $20 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31. After the attack, Sony hired the independent security contractor FireEye to assess the damage and help clean up its systems.

The hack, which U.S. officials have linked to North Korea, exposed embarrassing emails and other data, and was seen as retaliation for The Interview, which depicts a fictional assassination attempt against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Overall, the $15 million Sony is spending this quarter to deal with the cyberattack fallout is a proverbial drop in the earnings bucket: Sony Corp., the studio’s parent company, earned $737 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

MORE: Everything We Know About Sony, ‘The Interview’ and North Korea

TIME celebrities

Watch ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones Break a 1,000-Year-Old Weightlifting Record

You might get back pain just from watching him do it

Hafthór Björnsson—otherwise known as “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones—is living up to his nickname. He won the World’s Strongest Viking competition over the weekend, carrying a 30-foot, 1,433-pound log five steps, breaking a 1,000-year-old record in the process, according to IronMind.

Björnsson took to Instagram to celebrate his victory and explain the origins of the challenge: “The legend of the Icelander Orm Storulfsson says that he walked three steps with this MONSTER WOODEN LOG which weighs over 600kg’s/1320lbs! It took 50 mere mortals to help him placing it on his back! After he took his third step his back broke under the enormous pressure and he was never the same after that!”

With this victory under his belt, Björnsson says he’s setting his sights on the World’s Strongest Man competition. And much like a character in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy universe, Björnsson ended his Instagram speech with an epic war cry: “NOTHING CAN STOP ME!! NOTHING CAN BREAK ME!!”

World's Strongest Viking 2015

A photo posted by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (@thorbjornsson) on

Read next: The World’s Largest Shoe and 10 Other Odd Guinness World Records

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME movies

Kim Kardashian Saw Fifty Shades of Grey Before You

Her review: "OMG it's sooooo good!!!!!"

Kanye West probably doesn’t want to get dragged to see Fifty Shades of Grey on Valentine’s Day—the theater would be his Red Room of Pain, minus the pleasure—so his wife organized a girls’ night.

But since his wife is Kim Kardashian, a girls’ night doesn’t mean lying around on the couch eating ice cream in sweatpants. No, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star had an early, private screening of the upcoming erotic blockbuster for her gal pals on Tuesday night. When it comes to promoting a movie, few endorsements have as much bang for their buck as Kim tweeting her critical verdict—”OMG it’s sooooo good!!!!!”—to her 28.4 million Twitter followers.

TIME Television

Review: Fresh Off the Boat Has the Makings of an American Original

True to life or not, the sitcom based on chef Eddie Huang's memoir is a funny, smart comedy about the complexities of being different in America.

We live in the age of artistic authenticity, or at least of arguing about it. Was Selma true to LBJ? Was American Sniper true to the Iraq War? Was The Imitation Game true to Alan Turing’s experience as a gay man?

Now we have ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, based on a memoir by chef Eddie Huang, who has said the sitcom strays from his true experience, though he produces the show and ultimately gave it his conflicted endorsement. (Huang himself is known for challenging assumptions about cultural “authenticity” through his work; he founded Baohaus, a New York City restaurant whose menu has included traditional Taiwanese pork buns and Cheeto fried chicken.)

I don’t know how authentically Fresh represents Huang’s childhood. (Huang himself wrote a long, nuanced essay on the experience for New York magazine, and you should read it.) I don’t know if it authentically represents the Asian-American experience, more specifically the Chinese-American experience, more specifically the Taiwanese-American experience. I don’t know how authentically it represents the experience of being an immigrant’s child. (Well, a little—my mom came to small-town Michigan from Morocco in her 20s—but only very little.)

But one thing I do know is that Huang’s story itself is largely about questioning the idea that there is a single “authentic” form of any experience. In Fresh, we meet 11-year-old Eddie (Hudson Yang) as his family’s moving from Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando in 1995. He doesn’t fit in with his mostly white new classmates, yes, but he also doesn’t fit with either society’s or his parents’ expectations of what a young Asian-American kid should be. For one thing, he’s in love with rap music for its swagger and defiance: like Notorious B.I.G., he tells us in voice-over, he’s “just trying to get a little bit of respect in the game.”

Another thing I know: Fresh Off the Boat (premieres Feb. 4) is damn funny—but not only funny and not cheaply funny. Three episodes in, it’s the best broadcast comedy of the new season, a daring but good-hearted sitcom about the complexities of identity—about not only being different but also being different from the different.

Fresh immediately establishes a sense of place and stakes. The Huangs are taking a risk, moving to sunny, white Florida so that father Louis (Randall Park) can open a tchotchke-filled Western-style steakhouse (Cattleman’s Ranch, which everyone but Louis mistakes for a Golden Corral). Louis is relentlessly optimistic; mom Jessica (Constance Wu) is dubious and alienated among the rollerblading housewives and suburban American supermarkets. (“What is this store so excited about?” she wonders on a shopping trip.)

The Huang kids are more adaptable—well, two out of three are. Eddie briefly bonds with his new white classmates (over their love of Biggie) then is quickly shunned when he opens his lunch of pungent Chinese noodles. But his roughest conflict in the pilot comes with a black classmate, who doesn’t like being Eddie’s Friendship Plan B—”Oh, it didn’t go well? The white people didn’t welcome you with open arms?’’—and turns on him nastily: “You’re the one at the bottom now. It’s my turn, chink!”

It’s a stunning climax in a mostly light half-hour, and it feels like a mission statement. This is not going to be a show in which the stars “just happen to be Asian,” because it takes place in our world—20 years ago, but the world nonetheless—where nobody “just happens” to be anything.

Impeccable casting goes a long way toward pulling this off. Yang has immediate presence as Eddie, putting on a stoic, defensive scowl and wearing his Nas T-shirt like a coat of chain mail. But while this is very much Eddie’s show, the adults nearly steal it, particularly Wu, who gives a breakout performance.

Demanding, acerbic, ranging from passive-aggressive to aggressive-aggressive, Jessica would be an easy character to play as a simple “Tiger Mom” (a concept the voice-over references). But the comically agile Wu puts such spin on her line readings that she conveys much more about the character—her sense of humor, her vulnerability, her protectiveness. As Louis, Park is a counterpoint, but he’s more than the nice guy: they represent two sides of outsider life, assimilation vs. tradition, optimism vs. defensiveness, trust vs. guardedness.

Like the recent ABC comedies blackish and Cristela, Fresh shakes up the family-comedy format by focusing on a family of color, and it uses the specifics of the Huang family’s background to create a sense of place and point of view. But it also has something in common with recent ABC sitcoms like Suburgatory and even alien comedy The Neighbors—it’s an outsider comedy that gives us a new perspective on the majority. In the second episode, for instance, the NASCAR-obsessed neighbors try to explain the appeal of auto racing during a Daytona 500 party, and their mainstream culture ends up sounding as weird and alien as anything. This may be a fish-out-of-water story, but the joke is, mostly, on the water.

Producer Nahnatchka Khan (Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23) reportedly wrangled with Huang over the adaptation, but the result is a show with more voice after three episodes than most sitcoms have after three years. In the way of TV series like Freaks and Geeks, Fresh uses pop culture not just for reference humor or easy nostalgia but as a tool to develop character; Eddie’s attachment to O.G. ’90s rappers is not just a sight gag, it’s the way he projects a sense of self. The show has ideas, and it has a take.

It also has the burden of representation. Because there are so few series with Asian regulars—it’s the first Asian-American family sitcom since All-American Girl two decades[!] ago—Fresh is inevitably going to be scanned for stereotypes and generalizations. Seen through that frame, Jessica does sometimes evoke tiger-mom stereotypes, and Louis does recall pop-culture images of the nice, unthreatening Asian man. But they also recall a tradition of good-cop-bad-cop sitcom parents–say, Malcolm in the Middle‘s Lois and Hal–and at the same time, they feel like distinct, realized individuals.

(See, for instance, when Louis decides that he needs to hire a white greeter, played by Paul Scheer, to drum up business at Cattleman’s Ranch: the customers, he says, need to see a face that makes them say, “Oh, hello, white friend! I am comfortable! Nice, happy white face like Bill Pullman!” Is he accommodating? Does he want to be liked and accepted? Yes–but he’s also entirely aware and canny about how he’s being accommodating. He’s a small-businessman whose job is to solve problems–one of which is being a Taiwanese man selling cowboy food to white Floridians.)

That there aren’t more Asian, especially East Asian, stars on American TV is a problem–and, historically, an embarrassment. But it shouldn’t rope Fresh, a show that’s trying to tell a story about the messiness of multiculturalism, into responsible dullness. It’s to the credit of Khan, Huang and the rest of the team that–so far–it hasn’t.

I doubt any network sitcom is going to prove very true to Eddie Huang’s life, or any real person’s. But in a way, that may be fitting for a show whose themes are about combining authenticity with artifice–about how you get to Baohaus by way of Cattleman’s Ranch. “True” or not, Fresh Off the Boat could prove to be distinctive, funny and lasting–and yes, even important–if it stays true to itself.

TIME Music

Here Is the Sasquatch! 2015 Lineup

The crowd as HAIM performs during the Saquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater on May 25, 2014 in George, Washington
Tim Mosenfelder—Getty Images The crowd as HAIM performs during the Saquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater on May 25, 2014 in George, Washington

Kendrick Lamar, Sbtrkt and Tame Impala are among the highlights

Kendrick Lamar and Led Zeppelin veteran Robert Plant are headlining the 2015 Sasquatch! Music Festival, alongside Modest Mouse and Lana Del Rey, according to the official festival site.

Other highlights include Sbtrkt, The Decemberists, Glitch Mob, Tame Impala, Little Dragon, Of Monsters and Men, Schoolboy Q, The New Pornographers, The War on Drugs and Flume.

The annual concert series is held hosted at the Gorge Ampitheatre in Washington state.

Sasquatch! is also known for its comedy side-shows and this year’s list includes names like Doug Benson, Leslie Jones, Cameron Esposito and Pete Davidson.

Tickets will go on sale on Feb. 7 and a 4-day pass will cost $350. There are also more expensive options, topping out at $5,000 for a two-person “glamping” experience.

The festival starts on Friday, May 22 and finishes the following Monday.

TIME On Our Radar

See World Famous Photographs Recreated in a Studio

These artists have painstakingly recreated some of the world's most influential images

Variously described as “a sludgy image of the grey Rhine under grey skies” and as “vibrant, beautiful and memorable,” Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II was once the most expensive photograph ever sold, until it was surpassed in 2014. Auctioned off for $4.3 million in 2011, it was an image that quickly entered into the public lexicon and was one that often divided public opinion.

It is images such as this one that Switzerland-based artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger have painstakingly been recreating in their own studios — with store-bought models and some in-house DIY. Their photographs are playful, mocking even. And while we might laugh at a black cardboard Loch Ness Monster raising its head above plastic wrap water, seeing a facsimile of a burning World Trade Center, with pen-etched windows and cotton-wool smoke, is certainly jarring.

What is most striking, though, is how accurately they have recreated the originals. Their burning Hindenberg is as terrifying as the one in Sam Shere’s iconic 1937 image, and their recreation of Ludwig Wegmann’s shot of a hooded kidnapper during the 1972 Munich Massacre is equally chilling. But this very realism is framed by evidence that these are photographs of miniature models: we see rigs, overhead lighting and even rolls of masking tape on the floor. It is a move that seems to draw attention to the very artificiality of the pieces, reminding us that these are merely objects. Just like the original photographs.

Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger are artists based in Switzerland

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox


No Charges for Power Rangers Actor Ricardo Medina Jr. for the Moment

Actor Ricardo Medina Jr. participates in the 2012 Power Morphicon 3 held in Pasadena, Calif.
Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images Actor Ricardo Medina Jr. participates in the 2012 Power Morphicon 3 held in Pasadena, Calif.

But the D.A.'s office hasn't ruled out charges in the future, pending an investigation

Ricardo Medina Jr., the former Power Rangers actor accused of murdering his roommate, has not been charged with any crime and has been released from jail.

After a Tuesday court date, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office said Medina would not be charged because more evidence was needed, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“His case was rejected, pending further investigation,” said deputy Amber Smith.

The district attorney’s office will review the case and decide if they want to file charges, which they have not ruled out.

The 37-year-old Medina was arrested on Saturday for allegedly stabbing and killing his roommate Joshua Sutter, 36, with a sword.

After his release, Medina spoke with reporters and said, “I’m very, very, very sorry for what occurred. I’m very happy to be out of jail, and my heart goes out to the Sutter family.”

[Hollywood Reporter]

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