Black Mirror trailer

The trailer for Black Mirror season 5 seems mainly to exist to remind us that having access to some of Netflix’s money allows the show to cast bigger names and keep the standard of special effects up to scratch: no attempt to let us in on what any of the stories are about. Charlie Brooker seems to know what he’s doing thus far, so let’s see what sort of nightmares he’s going to share with us this time round.

I’d love to see them deliver a season of relatively upbeat tales in the vein of San Junipero, just to see how that’d feel, but I’m not going to hold my breath…

[Edited to add: ask, and ye shall receive… JR 23 May 2019]

[Via Slate]

Cap’s PR

Somewhere down the line I do hope Disney find the time – in between building up whichever cosmic-scale threat is going to close out Phase Six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – to fill in some of the gaps in the story they’ve shown us so far.

Tell me this fanfic about life as Steve Rogers’ publicist wouldn’t work well as at least a short set in the wake of the Battle of New York, when the world has just seen Steve Rogers being the hero his nation needed:

[…] Eva lived in fear of the day a reporter thought to get Steve’s opinion about abortion. Or, God and all the angels forbid, gun control.

She breathed a sigh of relief when he was invited to speak at an anti-bullying conference; what could be more of a crowd-pleaser than siding against bullies? The sigh was short-lived, however. Steve kept to his prepared remarks for about a sentence and a half, and then spent the rest of his allotted time railing about the need for better protections for LGBT kids.

“How is this a hard job?” Yumi said that weekend over drinks. So many drinks. “C’mon, Steve Rogers, he’s such a boy scout.”

“Oh god,” Eva muttered, rubbing her temples, “don’t get him started on the Boy Scouts.” […]

I know Chris Evans claims to be done with the role, and Avengers: Endgame gave his character a send-off that worked pretty well, but come on: this is an open goal, surely?

[Via jwz]

40 years of Aliens

Just before 20th Century Fox was swallowed up by Disney, they celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of their own greatest franchises with six Alien 40th Anniversary Short Films.

I doubt the Xenomorphs are going to be showing up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe any time soon, but that’s OK: they’ve done a fine job of making humanity’s corner of the galaxy a nasty, brutish place to live and die in. I can pass on seeing how Captain Marvel and friends would cope with a gaggle of facehuggers coming for them.1

[Via jwz]

Killing IE6

Settle down and enjoy a little bit of history:

The bittersweet consequence of YouTube’s incredible growth is that so many stories will be lost underneath all of the layers of new paint. This is why I wanted to tell the story of how, ten years ago, a small team of web developers conspired to kill IE6 from inside YouTube and got away with it. […]

There’s totally an argument to be made that this was the sort of underhanded flexing of corporate muscles by unaccountable employees of major corporations that we’ll all look back on and regret one day when we’re required to browse Web 6.0 over our 6G internet connection while logged in with our FreedomID, so that the Secretary of State for Homeland Security can ensure that we’re not abusing our freedom by looking at unreliable online content that might knock our ResponsibleConsumer status down to PotentialSubversive.

But first, a couple of generations of web developers would like to give these folks a medal.

[Via @SwiftOnSecurity]

ArchiveBox

ArchiveBox looks like something I’m going to have to find the time to look into:

ArchiveBox takes a list of website URLs you want to archive, and creates a local, static, browsable HTML clone of the content from those websites (it saves HTML, JS, media files, PDFs, images and more)

You can use it to preserve access to websites you care about by storing them locally offline. ArchiveBox imports lists of URLs, renders the pages in a headless, autheticated, user-scriptable browser, and then archives the content in multiple redundant common formats (HTML, PDF, PNG, WARC) that will last long after the originals disappear off the internet. It automatically extracts assets and media from pages and saves them in easily-accessible folders, with out-of-the-box support for extracting git repositories, audio, video, subtitles, images, PDFs, and more.

I currently pay to have my Pinboard account archive pages I bookmark, but as a matter of principle I like the concept of having a toolset that enables me to have the ability to save and browse local copies of stuff. 1 I currently tend to grab stuff I think I’ll want to read and refer to later and either chuck the URL at Pinboard or else use Evernote’s ability to grab a page’s content and file it away safely, but it’d be nice to have another option for accessing stuff that caught my eye open to me.

[Via Four short links]

Tactical Evaluation

An essential read as the Marvel fan base prepares for Avengers: Endgame, courtesy of The Angry Staff Officer:

The world is blessed that Steve Rogers never made it past captain. The Battle of Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War is a master class in how not to use an infantry battalion. However, from his failure, we can extract some fundamental lessons[…]

[On Steve Rogers’ willingness to send his vehicular support away before battle was joined…] It is true that the transport craft were unarmoured and open-topped. If fighting an adversary with strong anti-armour or indirect fire capabilities, sending them away would be reasonable. However, the Thanosian forces lacked this entirely. Their troops were incapable of using ranged weapons, or indeed, higher brain functions. They traveled on foot and bit the opposition to death.

Captain Roger’s disregard for vehicles is perhaps excusable as being on brand for a career light infantry officer. […]

Excellent, level headed work.1 The thing is, I’m not sure any of the Avengers are terribly good generals: not unless it’s revealed at the end that everything has transpired according to Doctor Strange’s grand strategic plan.

[RT via Charlie Stross]

Der Applll

So, do we file a high-profile article like this one under “Affectionate mockery” or “Fukng Hll pple, neveer mindd getting Oprh n stge, SN’T IITT TIIMEE YOU SORTD TTHIS KYBOAAARD OUTT!”

Keeyboarrd 101: Mostt lapttops havee keeys tthatt usee a scissorr-swittch meechanism tto prreess down. Sincee tthee ttwo intteerrlocking pieecees arree rreelattiveely ttall, tthee keeys havee morree “ttrraveel.”

[Via The Tao of Mac]

The OA reviewed

A couple of weeks ago I finally got round to watching the first season of Netflix’s The OA. I was well aware that it got a mixed-but-respectful response from reviewers at the time, and I’d always had in on my list of shows to catch up with some day. I’ve since enjoyed various reviews of the first season, but this one is by far the one that chimed with me most, partly because the reviewer makes a connection with a very different big budget swing-and-miss that I love:

[The OA…] is a swing and a miss on a colossal level, but oh, what a swing. Both Jupiter Ascending and The OA share a thread of DNA, a plot that you just know, at one point, made complete crystalline sense to somebody, but somewhere down the line (or more likely, when morning came) the smudges on the glass became apparent. They are filled with lines of dialogue that could sound profound or heartwarming if you don’t think about them too long, but I’m to distracted imagining the writer nodding and smirking at his computer screen. They forgo rational characters for convenient or dramatic plot developments, and cohesion for spectacle.

The thing is, I adore what the Wachowski siblings do and, slightly against my better judgement, I loved The OA too. They established a strange mood and stuck with it, and ended up with something seriously compelling even if reason didn’t get much of a look-in at times.

I’m intrigued to see what they do with the imminent second season of The OA. I do hope they don’t react to the response to that first season by suddenly trying to explain themselves. More saving the world via the medium of interpretive dance, I say. Swing away!

WhosePassword?

Turns out that coming up with strong passwords is less simple than mere humans can comprehend:

For too many people, moving the digits around in some variation of Patriots69Lover is their idea of a strong password. So you might expect something complicated like” “ji32k7au4a83” would be a great password. But according to the data breach repository Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), it shows up more often than one might expect. […]

Turns out there’s a good reason for that.1

[Via Pixel Envy]