Entertainment

'Never Have I Ever' is back for season 3, and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

'Never Have I Ever' is back for season 3, and more weekend recs
Image: Netflix; FitXR; Knopf

This week is all about magic: “Light & Magic” on Disney+ takes us behind the scenes of Disney’s special effects unit; “The Swimmers” reminds us how magical life can be; and “Never Have I Ever,” Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy, invokes the magic of “Gilmore Girls,” but for Gen Z.

‘Never Have I Ever’

Mindy Kaling’s Netflix comedy “Never Have I Ever” is a bit like this Generation Z’s “Gilmore Girls”: It’s witty, sweet and acutely aware of what it means to grow up as a teenager today — which also means it’s more raunchy and a lot less white than Lorelai and Rory’s sheltered small-town world. The third season premieres on Netflix today, and if the critics are to be believed, it’s going to be brilliant.

A peek behind Disney’s magic

You won’t find any hard-hitting investigative journalism in “Light & Magic,” a six-part documentary about Disney’s special effects unit — Industrial Light & Magic — produced by Disney for Disney’s very own streaming service. Still, if you’re a “Star Wars” fan, VFX geek or even just interested in how some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters have been made, this is a great oral history about the most influential gang of movie magic wizards. Plus, watching the entire show gives you a great idea of how far Hollywood has come, all the way from the miniature models built for the first “Star Wars” to the virtual production sets of “The Mandalorian.”

Don’t give up on ‘The Swimmers’

Julie Otsuka’s “The Swimmers” is one of those novels that seems to be about nothing in particular, as it casually talks about the lives of a group of swimming pool attendees who have little in common but their shared love for laps. Then it zooms in on one of those swimmers and suddenly becomes about everything: life, aging, memories and the fragility of it all. I almost gave up on this book a few dozen pages in because it seemed too inconsequential, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. Because just like doing all those laps you set out to swim, it’s ultimately immensely rewarding.

FitXR is all fun and games — and exercise

Formerly known as BoxVR, FitXR has been a popular fitness app on the Quest for some time. Boxing is still a key part of the app’s workout regimen, but players can now also opt for dance or high-intensity interval training to get their blood pumping. This week, FitXR introduced a mobile companion app that helps you track and follow through on your workout goals, find new classes and even review detailed stats about past workouts. If that sounds like serious business, don’t worry: The VR workouts themselves are immersive and fun enough to make breaking a sweat feel like a game.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.

Enterprise

Microsoft’s new chief partner officer: 'Customers need help'

The new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program forces new certification requirements on the hundreds of thousands of partners that sell and support its products and services. Nicole Dezen says those changes now give customers “total clarity” into which ones are best suited to meet their cloud needs.

Nicole Dezen, Microsoft's chief partner officer, talked with Protocol last week about the company's announcement.

Photo: Microsoft

As Microsoft launches the biggest overhaul of its partner program today since 2010, its new chief partner officer says the changes will help enterprises and other customers more easily identify qualified partners that are the right fit to help with their cloud needs.

“All of our priorities, all of our design principles, are built with the customer in mind,” Nicole Dezen, Microsoft’s chief partner officer and corporate vice president of global partner solutions, told Protocol in an exclusive interview, her first since being appointed in July.

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Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Sponsored Content

Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Workplace

An IPO may soon be in Notion’s future

Notion COO Akshay Kothari says there’s room to grow, aided by a new CFO who knows how to take a company public.

Notion has hired its first chief financial officer: Rama Katkar.

Photo: Courtesy of Notion

It’s been a year since Notion’s triumphant $275 million funding round and $10 billion valuation. Since then the landscape for productivity startups trying to make it on their own has completely changed, especially for those pandemic darlings that flourished in the all-remote world.

As recession looms, companies looking to cut costs are less likely to spend money on tools outside of their Microsoft or Google workplace bundles. Enterprise platforms are bulking up and it could spell trouble for the productivity startups trying to unseat them. But Notion COO Akshay Kothari says the company is still aiming to build the next Microsoft, not be the next Microsoft. And in a move signaling a new chapter of maturity, Notion has hired its first chief financial officer: Rama Katkar, Instacart’s former VP of finance.

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Lizzy Lawrence

Lizzy Lawrence ( @LizzyLaw_) is a reporter at Protocol, covering tools and productivity in the workplace. She's a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where she studied sociology and international studies. She served as editor in chief of The Michigan Daily, her school's independent newspaper. She's based in D.C., and can be reached at llawrence@protocol.com.

Securing the Enterprise

Securing the enterprise

There’s no let-up in the surge of cyberattacks against businesses. But shutting down the hackers will require many enterprises to evolve their strategy.

In today’s enterprise, “identity and security are very merged.”

Illustration: iStock/Getty Images Plus; Protocol
the Protocol team
Protocol focuses on the people, power and politics of tech, with no agenda and just one goal: to arm decision-makers in tech, business and public policy with the unbiased, fact-based news and analysis they need to navigate a world in rapid change.
Fintech

How neobanks are helping consumers game credit scoring

The CFPB says it is closely monitoring secured credit cards offered by neobanks.

Regulators are scrutinizing neobanks' card offerings.

Photo: Oscar Wong/Moment/Getty Images

About one in six Americans has a credit score below 619, according to the CFPB. Another 23% have too thin a credit file to score or no file at all. That puts them in a credit trap: To build credit, these consumers need someone to give them a line of credit with which they can demonstrate good financial habits. But with scores that low, few lenders are prepared to offer them anything.

Neobanks say they can solve the problem through a new twist on secured credit cards. But regulators are already scrutinizing their offerings.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

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