Overall, my hopes were dashed, like a ship against rocks. My faith in Doctor Who shattered. Could I bear to watch the rest of the series? If I didn’t want to write more reviews, then no… No, I couldn’t. But I will. Because I love writing about my favourite show, the show that has been ruined by not one, but two Executive Producers in a row now. Thanks very much.
What a disaster. And this is still probably going to be one of the better ones of the season.
I’ve made the first major change to the typography here since the site relaunched using Second Crack. Previously, the site used Helvetica for its body text. I think it looked great like this, but I wanted something more distinctive. To that end, I’ve taken a cue from Instapaper. Instapaper is my favorite way of reading anything, and the 4.1 version brought with it a gorgeous selection of fonts. A few days ago, I replaced the font for block quotes with Tisa, not initially connecting it with Instapaper. As soon as I realized, I turned to Instapaper for inspiration for the body font as well. My favorite reading font in Instapaper is Ideal Sans, and that’s the one I’ve chosen to implement here.
It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s distinctive, easy to read, and I think it’s a definite step up.
Moffat seems to be spinning the show into his own personal vision… You know how I’d see myself if I were in his position? As a steward of the show. The curator of a British institution. Moffat on the other hand seems to be treating Doctor Who as his personal pet project. Anything he wants, he gets… And if we don’t like it? Tough. It’s his baby. But you see… It’s not. He needs to respect the show and it’s history - not to defile it, and still get cheered on as he disgraces the show more and more.
I’m not going to lie; I haven’t even been able to finish this episode yet. I may add thoughts to this post once I have, but I doubt it. The very thought of watching more of this makes me too depressed.
I think the solution is having a lot of alcohol, but not too much alcohol.
I watched it again from the beginning. I don’t believe I’m about to say this, but… it was good. Or at least it was miles better than Asylum of the Daleks. Chris Chibnall took a shitty concept that was rammed down his throat by Steven Moffat and turned it into something as solid as he could.
The directing hurt it. The concept hurt it. Murray Gold hurt it possibly more than anything else, because he was still there even when the episode got going. But if you’re able to look past all that, it was solid. It was worth watching, and there was a lot in there that I really enjoyed. The Doctor got to be the Doctor for once.
I watched A Town Called Mercy last night. It was good—perhaps even great.
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was perhaps a 6.5 out of 10. A Town Called Mercy was quite possibly a 9. It actually felt like Doctor Who almost the whole way through. There was no elaborate setup for the Doctor or his companions, they simply arrived somewhere and were peripherally involved in a situation that was already going on without them. Matt Smith got to be proper Angry Doctor—he even handled a gun and came close to killing. Even the gimmicks, like the pre-titles sequence where the man identifies the remaining victim as “the Doctor,” defied expectations—they didn’t mean our Doctor.
I expected the worst from this one, and was pleasantly surprised. None of it was too melodramatic, and there was a (usually sorely lacking) sense of realism throughout the whole story. I also appreciated that the story stood by itself. I thought the story was very true to the classic series—an alien war criminal on the run, trying to hide his identity in order to reform himself. It felt like something that could have come straight out of the classic series.
Toby Whithouse now has two outstanding episodes under his belt from the past year—this and The God Complex. He really seems to have a feel for the type of stories that classic Doctor Who gave us.
Once again, the weakest link was Murray Gold and his gimmicky Western music. The music was bad enough to be genuinely distracting. The scene where the Marshall dies, for example—Murray Gold’s over-the-top music killed the otherwise somber scene.
The obnoxious voiceovers at the beginning and end also let the episode down somewhat. I got really annoyed when the voiceover at the end drowned out the TARDIS takeoff. It could have just been a nice, standard departure, but no, they had to kill it.
But I’m learning that you have to boil these new series episodes down to their core and look past the inescapable modern influences like Murray Gold’s music, the directing, and the sometimes obnoxious framing of episodes through rapid-fire setups or annoying voiceovers.
If I have time, I’ll do an edit of this one similar to the one I did for The God Complex, except on a smaller scale. A couple of music edits, a better intro, and ending the episode after the TARDIS takes off (with no voiceovers to detract from its sheer, perfect simplicity).
Design is not a haphazard journey to find and absorb every new and mildly interesting feature, trend, or trick. Great design is the relentless pursuit of creating a cohesive, contemporary product, be it a painting, a building, or a smartphone. To design great consumer electronics, companies must choose whether to incorporate this feature or that, usually at the expense of size, weight, battery life, materials, and other factors that matter. You can’t change one without affecting one or more of the others.
Good perspective on design. I strongly maintain that design is about choice and compromise; not about including all things to please all people.
It’s a pain in the butt for some, a serious problem for others (though I question anyone depending on free consumer services for anything mission critical). Like many of you, I sure am glad Google makes a decent mobile version of maps.google.com, especially since I use public transit (one of the things Apple’s Maps [doesn’t] cover yet) a fair amount in Chicago. But what if there was no other way for Apple to go with Maps?
I’ve been using iOS 6 since the first developer beta, and I think Maps has been just fine. The loss of public transit directions was irritating, but I had apps to fall back on that I was already regularly using. However a close friend of mine is seriously handicapped by this omission, and is none too happy about it. I do think, however, that Apple had good reason to go this route, whether their hand was forced by Google or for another reason. I’m not saying they get a pass, but I think the choice was likely the only one that made sense to them.
The simple truth is that they need to get this out into the open before it can be significantly improved. Waiting another year in beta probably wouldn’t have given them half the data that they’ve already gotten since iOS 6 officially launched yesterday. Remember, Google Maps was young once too, and had exactly the same problems with inaccurate data and missing functionality.
I’m actually glad Apple Maps doesn’t support transit directions yet. I’m not even that interested in seeing Apple tackle this problem, though I’m sure it’s on the to-do list. But if you ask 10 different commuters what they want out of a transit routing experience, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. Other people may want a very different experience from this, or integration with other services that I don’t need. Now we have access to making that choice.
This is a very important thing that a lot of people are forgetting, but it doesn’t help if there are no transit apps (or no reliable transit apps) available yet for your area. For example, the Washington DC metropolitan area (the transit system I rely on) only has one app so far that integrates with iOS 6. It happens to be the app I was using already, but the integration is less than stellar and it often gives me very unreliable bus results. Luckily I have my routine pretty much down to a science (and another app that provides me with bus times), but I can easily see how this is a problem for a lot of people.
Q: Then why did Apple kick Google Maps off the iOS platform? Wouldn’t Apple have been better off offering Google Maps even while it was building its own map app? Shouldn’t Apple have waited?
A: Waited for what? For Google to strengthen its chokehold on a key iOS service? Apple has recognized the significance of mobile mapping and acquired several mapping companies, IP assets and talent in the last few years. Mapping is indeed one of the hardest of mobile services, involving physical terrestrial and aerial surveying, data acquisition, correction, tile making and layer upon layer of contextual info married to underlying data, all optimized to serve often under trying network conditions. Unfortunately, like dialect recognition or speech synthesis (think Siri), mapping is one of those technologies that can’t be fully incubated in a lab for a few years and unleashed on several hundred million users in more than a 100 countries in a “mature” state. Thousands of reports from individuals around the world, for example, have helped Google correct countless mapping failures over the last half decade. Without this public exposure and help in the field, a mobile mapping solution like Apple’s stands no chance.
Anil is right about the bottom line though: the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade. Users shouldn’t (and won’t) give a rip about behind the scenes negotiations.
Difficult. The backlash over this has been far bigger than I anticipated, and if Apple doesn’t react, that’s going to be a problem. But what can they do? If Google has a Maps app ready and Apple is sitting on it, I think it’s pretty clear that the right choice is to push the app out as fast as possible. But, as Gruber points out, what if Google takes their sweet time, or never releases an iOS Maps app?
No sugar-coating here: The new iOS 6 Maps app really is worse than the old one. And it’s a bummer. But that’s reality! And now, an important way Apple can prove it’s the best mobile company in the world is by making its Maps experience the best, too.
Great summary of the situation. This too:
Now that we see just how crucial Google was to Apple’s Maps service, it seems even more important for Apple to make its own.
I’ll be honest. The EarPods are amazing. Like Cody Fink at MacStories, they’re the most comfortable pair of earbuds I’ve ever owned, and the comfort factor alone makes me think I’ll be replacing my portable Sennheisers with these. But the audio quality is amazing as well. After using over-ear headphones for the past several months, audio sounds so much louder, clearer, and bassier with the EarPods.
Those assertions make for strong narratives and good, meaty, angry articles. They’re forceful, and have the ring of truth. But to suggest that the only reason Apple would make this change is for the sake of forcing Google off of iOS — punishing users in the process, without a care or a caution — is naive and mistaken. Apple’s move away from Google’s maps isn’t about screwing users to make a corporate political point; it’s about trying to give iOS users a better maps experience in the long run.
That said, Apple still has many things in iOS that “require” Wi-Fi, like backing up to and restoring from iCloud or downloading apps larger than 50 MB. I know most people aren’t on unlimited data anymore, so maybe Apple’s trying to protect them from crazy overages, but I’d like to see a toggle in iOS that would allow anything to take place over LTE.