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November 2013

Random Stuff

The Day of The Doctor

What can I say? Fantastic!

Here’s to 50 brilliant, crazy, happy, sad and fun years in the making. My dad tells me stories about how he watched Doctor Who when he was a kid and then saw he pick it up in 2005. The longest running sci-fi television show turns 50 years old today. And I am a proud Whovian.


After watching the 50th anniversary special of the longest running sci-fi television show ever on SPACE in Canada, I mind was immediate satisfied but with a lot to ponder.

My predictions going into the anniversary special were that the Meta-crisis Doctor and Rose, who are trapped in another universe would somehow find their way out to stop Hurt from destroying Gallifrey. And somewhere near the end of the show, we’d see meta-crisis Tennant die as he cannot regenerate and this would put an end to that mystery.

It turns out that I could not have been more wrong.

Instead, we got the real and full return of the Tenth Doctor David Tennant. More specifically, the Tenth that has just come before “The End of Time Part 1”, where he mentions getting married to Queen Elizabeth I. The anniversary special saw that wedding come to pass.

It was also not Rose Tyler at all. It was the “moment”, the user interface of the red button planet destroying device taking on a form of someone the Doctor knew. In this case, it was the Bad Wolf. This works out nicely because when Hurt regenerates into Eccleston, it is possible that he still remembers the image of Rose and seeks her out. Much like how Matt Smith remembered the face of Clara and searched for her in the “Snowmen” episode.

But talk about disappointments, and there were very few. For me, the big one was the absence of the Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston. He was my favourite incarnation. Badass, charming and witty all at the same time. But it was well known that he would absolutely not be part of the show anymore. However, I guess was just hoping that he would spend 10 seconds to complete the Hurt regeneration scene with a good old “fantastic” line. Never happened as the camera cut away from Hurt’s face. I could only see his eyes and ears begin to change. I guess that’s the best we will get for that.

This leads to some important questions regarding regenerations.

Show runner and executive writer Steven Moffat on the regenerations: 

“Paul McGann turns into John Hurt so they’re not the same incarnation. He used up another regeneration and I expect he’ll be in trouble shortly – you can’t break rules laid down in the Deadly Assassin,” he teased.

So this means that all the Doctors are properly numbered, Eccleston is nine, Tennant is ten, Smith is eleven and Capaldi is twelve. However, those are the number of the Doctors. Moffat confirms that Hurt, although not a numbered Doctor, still counts as a regeneration used up by the Time Lord. That means that when Smith regenerates into Capaldi in the upcoming Christmas special, he will be using his final regeneration cycle. Are there ways around this? Possibly and probably. Remember when River Song gave up her “remaining lives” to save the Doctor? She was on her third incarnation meaning that she could have given him another nine? Or how about when the Sisterhood of Karn gave McGann the elixir that triggered the “War Doctor”? Did that give him infinite lives? Or how about when Capaldi goes to rescue Gallifrey? Will the Time Lords reward him with another set of twelve regenerations? Who knows…Who knows? *taps nose*

I thought John Hurt’s incarnation of the War Doctor was brilliant and perfect. He wasn’t an “evil” version of the Doctor, but a lonely and somewhat a bitter version after all the fighting and hardship he’s seen. He was serious, but still humorous. I loved when he kept making fun of Tennant and Smith’s Doctor and he seemed somewhat horrified that he will eventually become them one day. But he was correct, they have a screw driver and not a pistol. Why do they keep pointing it at their enemies? Are they trying to assemble a cabinet in front of them or what? Gold.

Seeing all of the Doctors in their TARDIS’ fixing a planet into a frozen slice of time was amazing. But seeing a future Doctor make his debut even before he regenerates was nuts. Personally, I am looking forwards to Peter Capaldi portraying the Time Lord. I think that he will be the “explorer” Doctor as he tries to find and rescue Gallifrey. It’s shown that Hurt wields a red sonic, but will Capaldi’s as well? I ask because we for a fact that a future Doctor gives his red sonic to River Song so that she can save the folks in the library in episode “Forest of the Dead” and “Silence in the Library”.

I believe that the curator played by Tom Baker in the National Museum at the end of the episode was indeed the Forth Doctor. Or a version of him from the Doctor’s future where he “retires”. This implies that he has many more lives to come and will eventually visit some of his old faces?

And with The Night of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor episodes, Steven Moffat has finally filled in the gaps between the classic and modern era Doctor Who shows. With Gallifrey saved and not destroyed, the Doctor doesn’t have a terrifying past to run away from anymore. But a home to run forwards to.

For all of their efforts, the Doctor Who team was awarded a Guinness world record for having the largest global simulcast ever. Congrats!

And to top it all off, the BBC immediately released a 10 second teaser for the Christmas special, in which we will see the last episode starting Matt Smith.




November 22, 2013

Jony Ive and Marc Newson Interviewed by Charlie Rose on CBS

Tesla’s Elon Musk is Fortune Businessman of the Year

In the magazine’s cover story, author Chris Anderson compares Musk with the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, in part for his persuasiveness. Here are a few excerpts from Fortune:

Anderson writes: “Jobs’ reputation for ‘reality distortion’ is well-documented. In his own way, Musk is equally persuasive, trusting his own internal logic and instincts in the face of intense pushback.”

Congrats Elon! You really do deserve it.

Microsoft Matches PS4 Sales with 1 Million Units Sold in Under 24 hours

But let’s make sure to put the numbers in perspective. Sony’s PlayStation 4 also sold over 1 million  units in 24 hours when it launched around a week ago. So far, the two console giants are neck and neck. However, there’s just one little detail Microsoft fails to mention in its PR: The Xbox One launched in a total of 13 countries, 11 more than the PlayStation 4.

I think that it’s fascinating to see how geography and how many markets you launch at make such a big difference. Microsoft must have known that sales would be lower than Sony well in advance. And so they decided to go to market in 15 countries versus just 2 for Sony. Regardless of this fact, I give both companies a big congratulations on their success with these two next-generation consoles. They are continuing to push the computational limits for gaming and prove that consoles are still awesome.


November 19, 2013

Why Sucks? Because They Hired Political Cronies, Not Internet Native Companies To Build It

It appears that the federal government basically handed this project over to the same crew of giant government contractors, who have a long history of screwed up giant IT projects, and almost no sense of the “internet native” world.

I honestly have no idea why Obama would hand over his “legacy” change to some unheard of IT company. He’s going to be remembered for this failure for a very long time. Millions of Americans are unable to sign up for health insurance. Many canceled their own plans in preparation for Obamacare, which they can’t even log into still. Obama will need to start from scratch and build a solid infrastructure of a website as important as this. He better have started already with a seasoned company.

A Conversation With Leander Kahney, Author of “Jony Ive”

One of his former colleagues, Clive Grinyer, who worked with him in London and is a big designer in his own right, said Jony Ive is more important to Apple than Jobs was. And obviously Jobs leaving Apple was a big blow and potentially devastating. But you know, if Jony Ive left Apple now, then the company would really be in trouble.

This statement says a lot about the important of Ive in the culture of Apple. And I pretty much agree with it.

Arcade Fire isn’t sorry for ‘dress code’ it issued to fans for concerts

The band had made similar sartorial demands before a show in Montreal in September and in London earlier this month, when NME reported that frontman Win Butler told the crowd: “To anyone who felt uncomfortable dressing up — I’m not sorry.”

I think people are being too serious and need to lighten up. Arcade Fire just want to have some fun with a unique twist. Why not play along? I will.


November 18, 2013

Games Definitely Don’t Harm Kids, Says Huge Study

The key findings that came out of the study included that exposure to video games from the age of five was shown to have no effect on behaviour, attention or emotional issues. Neither television nor video games caused attentional or emotional problems and there was no difference between boys and girls in the survey results.

End of story.

Ghost in the Cloud: Dealing with Data After Death

“By and large, the students, who are 18 to 23, look terrified,” he says. “The most pressing issue [with postmortem data ownership] is that no one really knows what to do with it, how it will be stored or for how long it will be stored. Standard Estate and Property Rights law could be used for passing the data along to next-of-kin, but there’s always the possibility that a person may not want their next-of-kin to see that data.”

It is kind of hard to think about. But it is a serious question for all of us to ponder about.

Google to Pay $17 Million to Settle States Safari Probe

The deal, announced Monday morning, ends a nearly two-year probe by the states into allegations that Google bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple Inc’s Safari Web browser by placing “cookies” into the browser.

The Safari Web browser used on iPhones and iPads automatically blocks third-party cookies, but Google altered the computer code of its cookies and was able to circumvent the blocks between June 2011 and February 2012, according to the states’ allegations.

Google caught being bad. $17 million is hardly anything to the “big G” though.