Peter Watts breaks the bad news to us:
A couple of months ago, its creators announced that Counterpart is dead after a mere two seasons. It just couldn’t attract enough viewers, out of all the people on two Earths. And I think that’s a shame; Counterpart was more than just SF for people who hate SF.
The first season of Counterpart got a Region 1 Blu-ray release, but that seems to be it for now.
I was looking forward to seeing J K Simmons being great in a great piece of speculative fiction, but being an old person who grew up with a TV world where US shows frequently took a couple of seasons to be picked up by a terrestrial broadcaster in the UK I took it that for a good-but-not-a-smash-hit show like this I just needed to be patient.
I guess that if I really wanted to see Counterpart I’d look to BitTorrent, but dammit I don’t want to pirate content just because this era of capitalism demands that the players only consider making shows worthwhile if those shows have a decent prospect of turning out to be megahits that generate megareturns on their investment.
I want my Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism, and I want it now!
Good advice, doomed to be wasted on folks who just want a quick, easy solution that lets them move on to the next item on their To Do list…
I cringe when I hear self-proclaimed experts implore everyone to “use a password manager for all your passwords” and “turn on two-factor authentication for every site that offers it.” As most of us who perform user research in security quickly learn, advice that may protect one individual may harm another. Each person uses technology differently, has a unique set of skills, and faces different risks.
…because who wants to spend time thinking about all this stuff:
In this article, I’ll start by examining the benefits and risks of using a password manager. It’s hard to overstate the importance of protecting the data in your password manager, and having a recovery strategy for that data, so I’ll cover that next. I’ll then present a low-risk approach to experimenting with using a password manager, which will help you understand the tough choices you’ll need to make before using it for your most-important passwords. I’ll close with a handy list of the most important decisions you’ll need to make when using a password manager.
Visiting the comment thread on the Bruce Schneier post to see just how many different ways a bunch of (presumably) bright people can devise to avoid using a password manager in favour of their own home-brewed solutions.
[Via Schneier on Security]
Having caught up with the last episode of the latest series of Black Mirror, I was amused to learn that Nine Inch Nails were jumping on the marketing bandwagon, after an episode where a (real life) Pop Princess was repurposing a couple of their songs:
Head like a hole!
I’m on a roll!
Riding so high!
ACHIEVIN’ MY GOALS!
The episode felt really strange, starting as a slice of life from a distinctly average teenage girl a couple of years on from the death of her mother but then veering into pure Disney Channel TV adventure movie stuff as our teen hero and her older sister ended up teaming up and helping to bust a major criminal conspiracy that was preventing Miley Cyrus from fully expressing her love for Nine Inch Nails on stage.
It’s been an odd season of Black Mirror. After the Black Museum visit that closed season 4, it feels as if they want to shift to less bleak – dare I say “happy?”- endings, but are ending up exploring the themes underpinning their chosen stories more superficially than usual. Our two old friends getting diverted by the temptations of transgressive virtual sex in Striking Vipers X discussed how different sex feels as a man and a woman but as far as we can see never took the obvious step of switching avatar genders to find out in-game (or if they did, no mention was made of the attempt.) Our grieving taxi driver in Smithereens was never destined for a happy ending, admittedly, and I did like the way they left open the question of whether the grieving mother found resolution once he got her access to her daughter’s social media posts. Then in the last episode we find a Disneyesque teen adventure.
[Via EmpressCallipygos commenting at FanFare]
Rui Carmo is, rightly, a little less optimistic than most of the Apple-focused commentariat about the notion that Apple forking iOS to create an iPad-specific variant marks a new era for the iPad:
I have a profoundly different take on what “work” means than Federico-like one of my friends said the other day, there is a lot more to the “work” that we do than, say, wrangling Markdown documents.
The crunch will come when Apple find themselves needing to make a change to the fundamentals of how iPadOS works – like, say, removing or hugely relaxing the 10-minute limit on how long apps are allowed to run in the background (except for media players and suchlike) before iOS kills them in order to let an iPad work more like a real computer would. I’m sure they’ll start with a bunch of easy wins like that, but at some point they’ll find themselves having to make harder choices and we shall see what happens then.
I’m not saying they can’t do it – they certainly can – just that when the first iPadOS is still in beta it’s a bit early to assume that Apple will do the right thing, especially if that right thing also has an impact on the user experience on Apple’s most important product.
Owen Hatherley reminds us that the Spomeniks weren’t created just to be concrete clickbait: remembering what they were commemorating matters too:
What Spomenik and the like forgets, Pupovac insists, is not only the scale of what happened here – “Yugoslavia was the fourth highest country in Europe in terms of civilian casualties” during the Second World War, and was also, along with Greece, the only country with a resistance movement – the multi-ethnic, Communist-dominated Partisans – that was large and strong enough to liberate the country almost without help from the Allies. The federal Yugoslavia that came out of this broke with Stalin and the USSR in 1948, and instituted a “self-management socialism” of extreme complexity and decentralisation. This is what disappears in the Spomenik photos – as she puts it, “our lived historical experience of a revolution becomes only a cultural artefact”. Sekulic argues that “a better way to engage with these monuments would be to use them as a tool do re-connect to the near past in which as a society we did not see space only as a commodity”.
Which is a bit of a problem when the current government in the region is less inclined to think kindly of the politics of that era which inspired the monuments in the first place and would very possibly be happy to see them crumble.
I’m more than a little in awe of some of the pieces of work laid out in Explaining Code using ASCII Art.
Fine work by all involved.
[Via Accidental Tech Podcast]
Positively the only good thing about recent political developments in the UK is that they’re going to give Marina Hyde tons of new material:
[…] Arguably this morning’s most amusing development was Helen Grant resigning as Tory vice-chair to openly support Dominic Raab. Is this the same Dominic Raab who resigned in protest at a Brexit deal he himself negotiated as Brexit secretary, and who is bizarrely being talked up as a strong candidate? Righto. It was Swift (Jonathan) who warned: “It is the folly of too many to mistake the echo of a London coffee-house for the voice of the kingdom.” And it was Swift (Taylor) who said: “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” I don’t want to come over all Mystic Meg, but I am seeing a nightmarish news story in Dominic Raab’s future that will curtail any bid in fairly short order. […]
Any non-UK readers wondering who Dominic Raab is should comfort themselves with the thought that three years ago none of us on this side of the Atlantic knew either, and three years from now he’ll be lucky to be the punchline in a “Name the Brexit Secretary who succeeded David Davis in the role?” quiz question.
It’s almost as if they heard me: trailers for the three episodes of the forthcoming series of _Black Mirror_ are out.
So, not much sign of a turn towards the upbeat so far. I live in hope…
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]
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?