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Skylanders comes to Netflix

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“Skylanders Academy,” the first production by Activision Blizzard Studios—its newly created television and film studio, will premiere later this year on Netflix.

”Over the last five years, millions of families around the world have welcomed Skylanders characters into their homes. Now, they’ll be able to watch their favorite characters come to life on Netflix,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “We couldn’t have found a better home for ‘Skylanders Academy’ and look forward to sharing our extraordinary characters with Netflix audiences around the world.”

The series follows the heroic adventures of the Skylanders team, a group of heroes with unique elemental skills and personalities who travel the vast Skylands universe, protecting it from evil-doers and showing the next wave of Academy cadets how to do things the “Skylander way.” Created by Toys For Bob, the $3 billion Skylanders franchise has sold through more than 250 million toys since pioneering the toys-to-life category in 2011, and earlier this month Activision revealed Skylanders Imaginators™, the latest innovation in the franchise.

“‘Skylanders Academy’ gives us the opportunity to approach narrative storytelling with the same level of quality and excellence that millions of Skylanders fans have come to expect from the game,” said Activision Blizzard Studios Co-President Stacey Sher. “We’re inspired by our fans’ excitement for these characters and have worked hard to bring these characters to life with stories our fans will love.”

Activision Blizzard launched its studio last year to create original content based on the company’s intellectual property, and “Skylanders Academy” is the first production by Sher and studio Co-President Nick van Dyk. The two-season Netflix partnership is another important step in Activision Blizzard’s strategy of enhancing its franchises and broadening their appeal.

Produced under the supervision of showrunner Eric Rogers (“Futurama”), “Skylanders Academy” features the voices of Justin Long (“Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Ask Me Anything”) as Spyro, Ashley Tisdale (“Phineas and Ferb,” “High School Musical”) as Stealth Elf, Jonathan Banks (“Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul”) as Eruptor and Norm MacDonald (“Saturday Night Live”) as Glumshanks. Additional voice talent includes The Diamond Minecart, Susan Sarandon, Daniel Wu, Parker Posey, James Hetfield, Catherine O’Hara, Bobcat Goldthwait, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jonny Rees, Harland Williams and Richard Horvitz.

Sher and van Dyk are joined by Sander Schwartz, the Emmy award-winning producer of animated hits including “The Batman,” “The Aquabats! Super Show!” and “Justice League: The New Frontier,” as the show’s executive producers. “Skylanders Academy” is animated by the internationally acclaimed TeamTO studio in France.

“Activision Blizzard Studios’ enviable mission is to work with our extraordinary portfolio of franchise intellectual property and bring it to broader audiences on new platforms,” said van Dyk. “We’re excited to reach this strategic partnership and for the future of ‘Skylanders Academy.'”

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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