Between Unity’s new tech demo, “Enemies,” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” getting a video-on-demand release, we’re not planning on leaving the couch this weekend. In that case, might as well get comfy, lie down and spill your guts to Eliza, the therapist chatbot that was recently honored with a Peabody Award.
Watch ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ on the couch, as God intended
Didn’t catch the latest Spidey movie in theaters? Or maybe you did, but you really want to watch it again in the comfort of your own home? Now’s your chance: The movie became available on iTunes, Google Play and a bunch of other video-on-demand stores in recent days; you can buy it for $19.99.
Tell Eliza your problems
Joseph Weizenbaum’s pioneering chatbot has fascinated, enraged and amused people for decades. Playing the role of a therapist, Eliza is both very inquisitive and obviously limited in her understanding of what we tell her. And yet, we can’t help but engage. We try to trip her up, get her to say something funny, swear at her or even confide in her. This week, Eliza was honored with a Peabody Award for Digital and Interactive Storytelling, which is as good of a reason as any to chat with her a bit. I highly recommend the online version hosted by Masswerk.at, which allows you to experience Eliza in an old-school terminal interface.
Keep the kids occupied with Netflix Jr. magazine
Netflix has been on a quest to become its own best media partner for quite some time. The company launched a print magazine, podcasts, newsletters and more, all doing journalism-ish things while also advertising Netflix movies and shows. The latest addition to this is the Netflix Jr. magazine, a print magazine for the preschool to early primary school crowd. Think Highlights High Five, with every page featuring characters from Netflix shows. There are puzzles, mazes, activities and even recipes (“Cocomelon” toast, anyone?). Netflix clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here, but the magazine should still be fun for little ones, especially if they’re into shows like “Ask the StoryBots” or “Ada Twist, Scientist.” A subscription to the print version of the Netflix Jr. magazine is free, and the magazine is also available as a free digital download.
Unity’s ‘Enemies’ shows off its tech
Game engines have improved a lot over the years, and there’s no better way of keeping track of visual fidelity improvements than Unity’s tech demos. Its latest looks like a high-end Hollywood visual effects production, but it’s all been rendered in real time. To add to the wow factor, it’s worth reading this Twitter thread from the tech and rendering lead on Unity’s demo team, which explores all the intricacies of the short film in detail.
SiriusXM botched the Stitcher acquisition. Here’s how.
With the $325 million acquisition of Stitcher, SiriusXM also got its hands on the podcast network Earwolf. Insiders told The Verge that the acquisition didn’t exactly go over as expected. This story is a worthwhile read and another proof point that monetizing content with small but engaged audiences is hard.
A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.