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Microsoft’s five-year accessibility pledge begins with AI improvements for Office and more

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Big Tech’s efforts to improve accessibility are a work in progress. Microsoft, which has been around a lot longer than its counterparts, has been leveraging that experience in its bid to improve inclusivity across its products and workforce. In 2020, it offered insights into how it’s managed accessibility in the past, along with its first-ever report on disability representation. Now, it’s using some of that wisdom to plan for the next five years.

Today, Microsoft has announced a “technology-led” commitment to create more opportunities for disabled people. The strategy takes in its productivity software, AI datasets, retail presence and internal diversity statistics to build toward “a workplace that is more inclusive for people with disabilities.”

In terms of consumer-facing changes, Microsoft is launching “accessible by design” features in Microsoft 365. The options include a new background checker that can help fix content accessibility issues across the core Office apps and Outlook. While AI in Microsoft Word will detect and convert to heading styles for blind and low-vision readers. By utilizing artificial intelligence Microsoft is hoping to automate accessibility, so that one day it’s as straightforward as “spell check is today.”

Excel is also getting a new navigation pane designed for screen readers that can help people discover objects in spreadsheets. In keeping with the focus on comprehension, Microsoft is expanding Immersive Reader (originally designed for people with dyslexia and dysgraphia) to PowerPoint slides and notes. 

Not forgetting LinkedIn, the social network is adding auto-captioning for live broadcasts and launching captions for enterprise content and dark mode later this year. Finally, high-contrast mode in Teams can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live. This, according to Microsoft, will help to reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity with dark mode in Word.

Beyond consumers, Microsoft’s new educational and workforce initiatives are targeted at students and its own personnel. The company is releasing Reflect in Microsoft Teams, which offers support for social learning to help students with their emotional vocabulary. A Microsoft Reading Progress app is also in the pipeline to help teachers digitally test for reading fluency over time.

Internally, Microsoft will expand its disability representation survey to 45 additional countries and 90 percent of its workforce. In October, the company revealed that 6.1 percent of its US employees self-identified as having a disability.

On the data side, Microsoft is promising more partnerships with the disability and accessibility community worldwide, with details to be announced in the coming year. The company previously joined forces with Team Gleason to create an open dataset of pictures of people with ALS, designed to help in the development of better tools for eye or facial control of devices. In retail, Microsoft Stores is announcing ASL video call capability to connect deaf customers with dedicated support staff that can help them to shop for products.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-accessibility-pledge-ai-office-141527927.html

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What’s on TV this week: ‘Mass Effect,’ ‘Love, Death & Robots’ and ‘Castlevania’

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This week viewers can pick up some catalog titles in 4K, like Saw, as well as 20th Anniversary Edition versions of Shrek and the first Fast and the Furious movie. But the major launch this week is Bioware’s remastered version of the Mass Effect trilogy, now available across console generations and on PC, with improved graphics, gameplay and almost all of the content ever released for the games.

Otherwise, Netflix has the final season of Castlevania, as well as a new round of episodes in the Love Death & Robots anthology. HBO’s feature film release of the week is Those Who Wish Me Dead, and if you’re looking for something a little different then try Intergalactic, a sci-fi prison break series from the UK that’s streaming on Peacock. Look below to check out each day’s highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

Blu-ray, video on-demand & Games

  • Saw (4K)

  • Shrek (20th Anniversary Edition) (4K)

  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Criterion)

  • The Fast and the Furious (20th Anniversary Edition) (4K)

  • Drive

  • Land

  • The Marksman (VOD)

  • Together Together (VOD)

  • Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PlayStation, Xbox, PC)

  • Subnautica: Below Zero (PC, PlayStation, Xbox)

Tuesday

  • Money, Explained, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer (series premiere), PBS, 8 PM

  • The Flash, CW, 8 PM

  • NCIS, CBS, 8 PM

  • Black-ish, ABC, 9 PM

  • The Crime of the Century: Part 2, HBO, 9 PM

  • Supergirl (spring finale), CW, 9 PM

  • This is Us, NBC, 9 PM

  • Prodigal Son, Fox, 9 PM

  • Cruel Summer, Freeform, 10 PM

  • Big Sky, ABC, 10 PM

  • Mayans M.C. (season finale), FX, 10 PM

  • New Amsterdam, NBC, 10 PM

Wednesday

  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu, 3 AM

  • Clipped (series premiere), Discovery+, 3 AM

  • Oxygen, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Dance of the Forty One, Netflix, 3 AM

  • The Upshaws (S1), Netflix, 3 AM

  • Kung Fu, CW, 8 PM

  • AEW: Dynamite, TNT, 8 PM

  • Kids Say the Darndest Things, CBS, 8 PM

  • Chicago Med, NBC, 8 PM

  • The Goldbergs, ABC, 8 PM

  • The Masked Singer Fox, 8 PM

  • Kung Fu, CW, 8 PM

  • Home Economics, ABC, 8:30 PM

  • Nova, PBS, 9 PM

  • Nancy Drew, CW, 9 PM

  • Seal Team, CBS, 9 PM

  • Chicago Fire, NBC, 9 PM

  • Game of Talents, Fox, 9 PM

  • Chicago PD, NBC, 10 PM

  • S.W.A.T., CBS, 10 PM

  • A Million Little Things, ABC, 10 PM

  • Queen of the South, USA, 10 PM

  • Crank Yankers, Comedy Central, 10:30 PM

Thursday

  • Hacks (series premiere), HBO Max, 3 AM

  • Intergalactic (S1), Peacock, 3 AM

  • Castlevania (S4 – series finale), Netflix, 3 AM

  • Favorite Son, BET+, 3 AM

  • Legendary , HBO Max, 3 AM

  • Spy City, AMC+, 3 AM

  • The Big Shot with Bethenny, HBO Max, 3 AM

  • Cold Courage, AMC+, 3 AM

  • Fear the Walking Dead, AMC+, 3 AM

  • Tooning Out the News, Paramount+, 3 AM

  • Younger, Paramount+ / Hulu, 3 AM

  • Sesame Street, HBO Max, 3 AM

  • Manifest, NBC, 8 PM

  • Walker, CW, 8 PM

  • United States of Al, CBS, 8:30 PM

  • 144, ESPN, 9 PM

  • Law & Order: SVU, NBC, 9 PM

  • Mom (series finale), CBS, 9 PM

  • Legacies, CW, 9 PM

  • B Positive (season finale), CBS, 9:30 PM

  • Let’s Be Real, Fox, 9:30 PM

  • Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, Freeform, 10 PM

  • Dark Side of Football, Vice, 10 PM

  • Nightwatch, A&E, 10 PM

  • Clarice, CBS, 10 PM

Friday

  • Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Apple TV+, 3 AM

  • Love Death & Robots: Vol. 2, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Those Who Wish Me Dead, HBO Max, 3 AM

  • The Underground Railroad, Amazon Prime, 3 AM

  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (season premiere), Disney+, 3 AM

  • Halston (S1), Netflix, 3 AM

  • Ferry, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Move to Heaven (S1), Netflix, 3 AM

  • The Strange House, Netflix, 3 AM

  • The Woman in the Window, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Jungle Beat: The Movie, Netflix, 3 AM

  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Disney+, 3 AM

  • The Mighty Ducks, Disney+, 3 AM

  • The Blacklist, NBC, 8 PM

  • Charmed, CW, 8 PM

  • Pride (series premiere), FX, 8 PM

  • The Queen Carries On – A Gayle King Special, CBS, 8 PM

  • WWE SmackDown, Fox, 8 PM

  • Dynasty, CW, 9 PM

  • Blue Bloods (season finale), CBS, 9 PM

  • The Amber Ruffin Show, Peacock, 9 PM

  • Van Helsing, Syfy, 10 PM

  • A Black Lady Sketch Show, HBO, 11 PM

Saturday

  • Secrets on Sorority Row, Lifetime, 8 PM

  • China: Nature’s Ancient Kingdom, BBC America, 8 PM

  • SNL: Keegan-Michael Key / Olivia Rodrigo, NBC, 11:30 PM

Sunday

  • NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 400, FS1, 2 PM

  • Biography: Shawn Michaels, A&E, 8 PM

  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, CW, 8 PM

  • American Idol, ABC, 8 PM

  • The Equalizer, CBS, 8 PM

  • The Girlfriend Experience, Starz, 8 PM

  • Sorority Sister Killer, Lifetime, 8 PM

  • Top Gear (season finale), BBC America, 8 PM

  • The Simpsons, Fox, 8 PM

  • Uncensored: DMX, TV One, 10 PM

  • The Gloaming (season finale), Starz, 8:30 PM

  • The Great North, Fox, 8:30 PM

  • 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards, MTV, 9 PM

  • City on a Hill (season finale), Showtime, 9 PM

  • Batwoman, CW, 9 PM

  • The Nevers (season finale), HBO, 9 PM

  • Bob’s Burgers, Fox, 9 PM

  • The Gloaming, Starz, 9 PM

  • The Story of Late Night, CNN, 9 PM

  • NCIS: LA, CBS, 9 PM

  • Family Guy (season finale), Fox, 9:30 PM

  • Pose, FX, 10 PM

  • Good Girls, NBC, 10 PM

  • Couples Therapy (season finale), Showtime, 10 PM

  • NCIS: NO, CBS, 10 PM

  • The Rookie (season finale), ABC, 10 PM

  • Mare of Easttown, HBO, 10 PM

  • Ziwe, Showtime, 11 PM

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO, 11 PM

All times listed are ET.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/mass-effect-legendary-070354120.html

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Big Oil and its green ambitions could be about to get a serious reality check

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A cyclist passes oil silos at the Royal Dutch Shell Pernis refinery in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.

Peter Boer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

LONDON — The month of May promises to be a ground-breaking one for Big Oil.

Oil and gas majors on both sides of the Atlantic are preparing to hold their annual shareholder meetings in the coming weeks. It comes at a time when the world’s largest corporate emitters are under immense pressure to set short, medium and long-term emissions targets that are consistent with the Paris Agreement.

At present, not a single oil and gas company is aligned with Paris-consistent emission reduction targets or investment levels more than five years after the landmark climate accord was ratified by nearly 200 countries. The agreement is widely recognized as critically important to avoid an irreversible climate crisis.

Norway’s Equinor and U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips will hold their respective annual shareholder meetings on Tuesday. The annual general meetings of the U.K.’s BP and U.S. refiner Phillips 66 will take place on Wednesday, with U.S. oil major Chevron due to hold its AGM on May 26.

In a first for the industry, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will put its own net-zero transition plan to its shareholders on May 18. The so-called advisory vote, while non-binding, is likely to be closely monitored by those inside and outside the energy sector amid deepening concern about the industry’s stubborn dependency on fossil fuels.

Dutch group Follow This, a small activist investor with stakes in a number of Big Oil companies, is due to put forward a separate motion at Shell’s AGM, urging investors to leverage their agency and vote with them to compel the firm to urgently change course.

We are asking for shareholders to recognize the need for Shell’s climate targets to align with the Paris Agreement.

Mark van Baal

Founder of Follow This

A thorn in the side of energy majors in recent years, Follow This has also encouraged investors to vote against Shell’s transition strategy, describing the firm’s climate plan as “gravely inadequate.”

Shell did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by CNBC. However, it has previously rejected this notion, saying that “it is more important than ever for shareholders to understand and support our approach.”

“We are asking our shareholders to vote for an energy transition strategy that is designed to bring our energy products, our services, and our investments in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement and the global drive to combat climate change,” Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement last month.

‘Engagement is just talk without consequences’

Shell’s Energy Transition Strategy, published earlier this year, outlined the group’s plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. It aims to reduce net carbon emissions by between 6% to 8% by 2023 when compared to 2016 levels. The target jumps up to 20% by 2030, 45% by 2035, and 100% by 2050.

Shell has not committed to Paris-aligned targets for absolute emissions through to 2030, an omission that has not gone unnoticed by climate activists and investors.

“There is a lot at stake,” Mark van Baal, head of Follow This, told CNBC via telephone.

“Basically, the company is asking for a shareholder mandate for business as usual. We are asking for shareholders to recognize the need for Shell’s climate targets to align with the Paris Agreement,” he said.

Extinction Rebellion DC blocks 17th Street after dumping cow manure outside the White House on Earth Day to protest President Biden’s climate plan in Washington, April 22, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Reflecting on four previously unsuccessful attempts to encourage investors to vote for their climate resolutions at Shell’s AGMs, Follow This’ van Baal said he was confident a larger proportion of voters would back their proposal later this month.

In 2016, just 2.7% of investors supported Follow This’ climate motion at Shell’s AGM. However, by 2020, van Baal said this figure had climbed to 14.4%.

“I think the percentage of votes will grow again,” he said, arguing that a “growing minority” of voters had previously been enough to serve as a catalyst for change.

“We have now quite hard proof in Europe that oil majors only move when there’s engagement and voting. Engagement is just talk without consequences,” van Baal said.

Shell has said it will publish an update to its strategy every three years through to 2050. It will also seek an advisory vote on its progress toward its plans and targets every year from 2022.

‘A representation of where Shell is today’

Asset manager Sarasin & Partners said late last month that it plans to vote against Shell’s transition plan on May 18, saying “it is impossible to know” whether it is credible or economically feasible. Sarasin & Partners said it would support Follow This’ proposal.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, whose 82 members manage over £300 billion ($423 billion), also plan to oppose Shell’s climate strategy, Reuters reported.

Separately, the Methodist Church sold out of Shell over what it described to The Financial Times on April 30 as the firm’s “inadequate” response to the climate crisis.

However, another Shell investor, the Church of England’s Pension Board, is likely to support the firm’s climate plan later this month.

“We reached a view that it was appropriate to support the strategy to indicate that we want to see the company continue to develop its approach and recognizing that there are still areas that we would expect to see further disclosures on from the company in the coming years,” Adam Matthews, chief responsible investment officer of the Church of England Pensions Board, told CNBC.

“We are confident that the engagement and the dialogue that we have with the company to participate in that will sort of bear fruit as well,” he added.

When asked whether taking this approach would effectively serve to rubber stamp Shell’s own climate plans rather than encourage them to do more to tackle climate change, Matthews replied: “No, to be honest, I actually think it is quite the opposite.”

A Shell tanker truck delivers fuel to a gas station, operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc., in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“This is a representation of where Shell is today. It has set out clarity around the way it is approaching the transition for the first time, it has asked for an indication of support for that from its shareholder base and we are willing to provide that support, but with an acknowledgment that we would expect further evolution of that plan as a result of the dialogue that we are having with them.”

The CEPB has said that in light of the progress it believes Shell has made in recent years, it does not see a need to vote in favor of the climate resolution put forward by Follow This. The CEPB does, however, plan to support Follow This resolutions at other companies “where progress is not so obvious.”

In addition to the CEPB, Matthews is also co-lead on engagement with Shell for the Climate Action 100+ investor group, which represents investors with assets of around $54 trillion.

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Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/11/climate-big-oil-could-be-about-to-get-a-serious-reality-check.html

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Sony’s DualSense controller now works with Apple devices for PS5 remote play

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You’ll be able to use a DualSense controller to play PS5 games on Apple devices after you upgrade to the latest version of the PS Remote Play app for iOS. Sony has rolled out the ability for iPhones running iOS14.5 and iPads running iPadOS 14.5, giving you the the option to use a DualSense instead of an older DualShock controller if you want to. Even if you do choose to use the newer controller, though, you won’t be getting the full experience on remote play. 

According to The Verge and several PS5 players on Reddit, you’ll be able to enjoy games with adaptive triggers as they’re supposed to be played on an iOS device. The presence of haptics, however, can be pretty random. It seems to support basic rumbling haptic feedback, but not more advanced haptics for titles like Control. Seeing as tactile feedback can elevate the gameplay experience, its absence could make certain games less enjoyable than they would be with the feature. In addition, The Verge says DualSense’s built-in microphone, headphone jack and speakers also won’t work on remote play. 

Without proper haptic feedback and mic/speaker support, switching from a DualShock to a DualSense for won’t make a lot of difference. Still, you now at least have the option to use the newer controller with your iPhones and iPads, and Sony can still upgrade the app to make sure DualSense’s features are properly supported in the future.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/sony-dualsense-apple-ps5-remote-play-055129274.html

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Sony’s DualSense controller now works with Apple devices for PS5 remote play

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Published

on

You’ll be able to use a DualSense controller to play PS5 games on Apple devices after you upgrade to the latest version of the PS Remote Play app for iOS. Sony has rolled out the ability for iPhones running iOS14.5 and iPads running iPadOS 14.5, giving you the the option to use a DualSense instead of an older DualShock controller if you want to. Even if you do choose to use the newer controller, though, you won’t be getting the full experience on remote play. 

According to The Verge and several PS5 players on Reddit, you’ll be able to enjoy games with adaptive triggers as they’re supposed to be played on an iOS device. The presence of haptics, however, can be pretty random. It seems to support basic rumbling haptic feedback, but not more advanced haptics for titles like Control. Seeing as tactile feedback can elevate the gameplay experience, its absence could make certain games less enjoyable than they would be with the feature. In addition, The Verge says DualSense’s built-in microphone, headphone jack and speakers also won’t work on remote play. 

Without proper haptic feedback and mic/speaker support, switching from a DualShock to a DualSense for won’t make a lot of difference. Still, you now at least have the option to use the newer controller with your iPhones and iPads, and Sony can still upgrade the app to make sure DualSense’s features are properly supported in the future.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/sony-dualsense-apple-ps5-remote-play-055129274.html

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