Political momentum to keep a ban on cellphone calls during flights gained momentum Monday as lawmakers said it would be crazy to allow them.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) became the second lawmaker after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to offer legislation to keep the ban in place.
“Let’s face it, airplane cabins are by nature noisy, crowded, and confined,” said Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “For those few hours in the air with 150 other people, it’s just common sense that we all keep our personal lives to ourselves and stay off the phone.”
Actually I understand that some liberals go along with this idea. I’m in a unique situation, being in solo medical practice, where being able to handle calls even if on a long flight would be a considerable convenience to me. I’ll just wear ear plugs during the rest of the flight.
On a related topic, I was really happy when I flew recently that I could keep a tablet on the entire flight. As it was only a brief flight I didn’t bother to pay for internet access, but I would have if it was longer. Previously I would typically bring along a paperback to read during the period when electronic devices were banned and I couldn’t read off a tablet.
In August I reported on a sextortion plot against Miss Teen USA. Rather than give into extortion, with threats to release nude photos taken through her webcam, Cassidy Wolf went on several television shows to warn people about this threat from hackers who take control of webcams on laptops. In the previous post I noted that the FBI was investigating. The FBI has found the webcam spy, who turned out to be a classmate of the victim. Ars Technica described how he was caught and Reuters reported on her reaction.
One aspect of post 9/11 surveillance which civil libertarians have objected to is the prohibition against disclosing requests for information, adding to the secrecy of these programs. Cory Doctorow has discussed a possible way to get out information when the NSA or other government agencies seek information, going back to an idea a librarian had in reaction to the portions of the Patriot Act which prohibited librarians from telling the subject about an information request:
In 2004, American librarians recoiled at the FBI’s demands to rummage through their patrons’ reading habits and use them to infer terroristic intent, and at the FBI’s gag orders preventing librarians from telling their patrons when the police had come snooping.
Jessamyn West, a radical librarian, conceived of a brilliant solution, a sign on the wall of her library reading “THE FBI HAS NOT BEEN HERE (watch very closely for the removal of this sign).” After all, she reasoned, if the law prohibited her from telling people that the FBI had been in, that wasn’t the same as her not not telling people the FBI hadn’t been in, right?
I was reminded of this last week on a call with Nico Sell, one of the organisers of the annual security conference Defcon (whose founder, Jeff Moss, told the NSA that it would not be welcome at this year’s event). Nico wanted me to act as an adviser to her company Wickr, which provides a platform for private messaging. I asked her what she would do in the event that she got a Lavabit-style order to pervert her software’s security.
She explained that her company had committed to publishing regular transparency reports, modelled on those used by companies like Google, with one important difference. Google’s reports do not give the tally of secret orders served on it by governments, because doing so would be illegal. Sell has yet to receive a secret order, so she can legally report in each transparency report: “Wickr has received zero secret orders from law enforcement and spy agencies. Watch closely for this notice to disappear.” When the day came that her service had been served by the NSA, she could provide an alert to attentive users (and, more realistically, journalists) who would spread the word. Wickr is designed so that it knows nothing about its users’ communications, so an NSA order would presumably leave its utility intact, but notice that the service had been subjected to an order would be a useful signal to users of other, related services.
This gave me an idea for a more general service: a dead man’s switch to help fight back in the war on security. This service would allow you to register a URL by requesting a message from it, appending your own public key to it and posting it to that URL.
Once you’re registered, you tell the dead man’s switch how often you plan on notifying it that you have not received a secret order, expressed in hours. Thereafter, the service sits there, quietly sending a random number to you at your specified interval, which you sign and send back as a “No secret orders yet” message. If you miss an update, it publishes that fact to an RSS feed.
Such a service would lend itself to lots of interesting applications. Muck-raking journalists could subscribe to the raw feed, looking for the names of prominent services that had missed their nothing-to-see-here deadlines. Security-minded toolsmiths could provide programmes that looked through your browser history and compared it with the URLs registered with the service and alert you if any of the sites you visit ever show up in the list of possibly-compromised sites.
This won’t help for another type of snooping which has been discovered recently–accessing smart phone data. The NSA can discover the data on the smartphones of suspected terrorists, and perhaps also view the nude pictures on celebrities’ smart phones before they leak to the press.
Google names each Android operating system with the name of a dessert in ascending alphabetical order. Previously Android 4.4 was scheduled to be named Key Lime Pie but today Google announced that instead it will be named KitKat. The Verge has the story behind the decision for this delicious partnership:
There’s no exchange of money involved, but there is a significant promotional element: 50 million KitKat bars in 19 countries will have prominent Android branding and offer buyers the chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet and Google Play gift cards. All those wrappers started production two months ago in secret so they would be ready for the promotion; not even Google employees knew about the new name. “We kept calling the name Key Lime Pie internally and even when we referred to it with partners,” Lagerling told the BBC. Adding to the air of intrigue, Nestle is commemorating the partnership with 500 specially-produced KitKats in the shape of the Android logo that the company claims took “weeks” to create in “a secret location in Europe.”
But secret meetings in Barcelona and commemorative chocolates aside, the deal did have some wrinkles. Nestle owns and control the KitKat brand throughout the world, but Hershey’s licenses the brand and manufactures the candy in the United States — obviously a key market for Google and Android. As the deal began to take shape with Nestle, Google also had to reach out to Hershey’s and work out an arrangement. And while sources say the final deal is entirely between Google and Nestle, Hershey’s KitKats and new KitKat minis in the United States will indeed carry the Android logo and giveaway information.
So why the name change? A Google spokesperson tells The Verge that KitKats have long been Android engineering head Hiroshi Lockheimer’s favorite candy bar — his Gmail avatar was a KitKat icon several years ago. At one point in 2010, the Android team even decorated Lockheimer’s entire office door with KitKats, pictured here. Given the wide variety of new wrappers and branding that will appear on KitKats throughout the world, it appears that another opportunity will soon be well at hand.
Well, I do like KitKats more than Key Lime Pie so I’m fine with the change. I had wished for a very slight difference under J, instead of jelly bean. Approaching the 50th Anniversary year of Doctor Who I had thought the obvious choice for J would be jelly bellies. That would also go along with the start-up animation on my rooted Galaxy Nexus: The TARDIS flying in the time vortex.
Now that K is settled we can start looking forward to L. I suspect lime is out. Will it be lemon drops, lollipop, licorice, or something else?
If you check out street view on Google Maps at Earlham Green, Greater London Nr5 8DQ, United Kingdom you will see a blue police call box on the left side of the street. Place the mouse near it and then click on the double lines which will appear. This will allow you to enter the TARDIS. You will find that it is smaller on the outside than on the inside. Once inside you will be able to move around the control room. Unfortunately you cannot go further inside the TARDIS but I assume Google Maps will be working on extending their coverage of interior spaces.
Arrow show runner Mark Guggenheim discussed introducing The Flash on Arrow:
“I feel like I’m just following Bilson and DeMeo. Whatever they do, I seem to follow in their footsteps,” Guggenheim laughed. The writer told CBR that from comics to TV, the goal of the “Arrow” production team is to expand out the DC Universe while keeping the tone and feel of their show its own unique story platform.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to help be a part of expanding the DC Universe,” he said. “I think one of the big thing that appeals to me about comics in general is the idea of the shared universe. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do that in television, and growing up one of the things I enjoyed was the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ and ‘The Bionic Woman’ and the way those two shows would interact with each other. We’re at least a season away from ‘Arrow’ interacting with ‘The Flash,” but the potential for that is really exciting for me.”
Kreisberg, who serves as Guggenheim’s show running partner on “Arrow,” will develop Barry Allen’s character in writing each of those three episodes this season on “Arrow,” and Guggenheim said that is all part of a masterplan that stretches back before their recent run of announcements. “Andrew is taking the lead on ‘The Flash.’ This has been in the works for a while and had been in the works since before Comic-Con. But we made the decision, as these things are announced in a rollout, to take a strategy where we’d announce Black Canary, Bronze Tiger and Brother Blood at Comic-Con. We felt like, ‘That’s a lot for Comic-Con. Let’s save something back for when T.C.A. comes around.’ I want to disabuse anyone of the notion that we decided to do Flash after Comic-Con. We’re just capable of keeping secrets every now and again.”
And overall, the writer wanted to stress that an additional superhero – and one with some more super powers – won’t change the core of what “Arrow” is. In fact, Guggenheim leaned on a comparison with DC’s main competitor to explain how each series will develop over time. “I think a lot of people are justified in asking ‘What does this mean for Arrow in terms of its tone?’ And my answer is that the trick that we have – and this is a challenge we’ve discusses a lot and have an awareness of how to face it head on – is the fact that ‘Arrow’ is like ‘Iron Man’ where ‘The Flash’ will be ‘The Hulk.’ And just as ‘The Hulk’ coming out did not change the tone of the Iron Man movies, ‘The Flash’ will not change the tone of ‘Arrow.’ We’re very cognizant of what ‘Arrow’ is all about, and I think the Marvel movies demonstrate that each piece of a universe can have its own feel. ‘Thor’ is consistent with the tone of Thor while ‘Captain America’ is consistent with the tone of Captain America’s character. ‘Arrow’s’ tone will remain consistent much in the same way, and we are looking forward to expanding our canvass a bit. And judging from the announcement, I think the fans are looking forward to it as well.”
While Barry Allen will be on Arrow for a few episodes, he will not have his superpowers, at least not at the start. Despite not having true superpowers, Arrow does feel like a superhero show, including having the common problem of the hero being just too powerful. I just watched the first season of the show over the past week and found it to be entertaining as long as you ignore the multiple implausible aspects. On Arrow, a person with bow and arrows can easily defeat multiple people with guns. This includes not only Oliver Queen, but two other characters who use the same weapon. Oliver Queen does have fighting skills beyond this weapon. He also has an amazing ability to disappear. Typically when he is surrounded inside a closed area and anyone else would be captured, he gets away with no difficulty or even on-screen explanation. Arrow is not up to the quality of the most impressive new genre shows of the season on regular cable and broadcast television ( such as The Americans, Orphan Black, and Hannibal) but still worth watching.
There were aspects of the writing style of Arrow which makes me confident they will do a good job of gradually introducing characters. Rather than quickly giving an origin and then moving on to the main story, Arrow had flashbacks over the entire season to the island where Oliver Queen was stranded for five years and learned his skills. Rather than immediately introduce the sidekick and those who knew his secret identity, characters were gradually brought into Oliver Queen’s inner circle.
There are also a couple of reasons for Doctor Who fans to watch. John Barrowman is a recurring character all season and Alex Kingston was on a few episodes. I was hoping for the two to interact but that did not occur. Incidentally, most Barrowman fans probably know that Torchwood is an anagram with the same letters as Doctor Who. By coincidence, the name of the television show he appeared in last season is also in Barrowman’s name.
More on crossover characters from other DC comics here.
The Mandarin appears in this deleted scene from Iron Man 3.
I’m glad to see Under the Dome turn more to the mystery of the dome, not that I’m all that confident of a satisfactory resolution. Apparently when they say “the monarch will be crowned” they are speaking of an actual monarch within the small dome. I have read that one of the major differences between recent episodes and the book has been that Big Jim and Junior work together in the book. Last week’s episode may signal a reconciliation between the two.
Last week’s episode of True Blood contained the battle which we might have expected for the season finale. There are still questions. Will Sookie keep her promise to become Warlow’s vampire bride? (I bet she does not). Is the war between humans and vampires now over, or just beginning? Will those vampires who indirectly fed on ferry blood continue to be able to be out in daylight? Is Bill now returning to his normal self? Considering how poor recent seasons of the show had become, it is a good sign that, despite some ongoing problems, the show is now able to maintain interest in such questions.
Homeland writers revealed information on their plans during season two. I’ve been questioning since the end of season one how long they could plausibly continue to have Brody around. The writers may have been thinking the same thing:
Though the show’s creators already copped to plotting an untimely end for Lewis’ character way back in season one, that is until more merciful voices at Showtime prevailed, Gordon admitted that, going into season two, the writers intended to send Brody to the chopping block yet again, and were once more persuaded otherwise by the network. “We had sketched out this plan in the early parts of season two which called for Brody’s demise, which may have been premature, and they asked us to reconsider,” which Gordon credits as “the happy accident of having very good partners.”
If it seemed like a sudden reversal for Carrie to have decided not to leave the country with Brody, it was also a reversal of the writers’ plans:
According to Steihm, who has since left Homeland to run FX drama TheBridge, the writers all wanted Carrie (ClaireDanes) to go with Brody across the border in the season two finale instead of returning to the CIA. In fact, in the first draft, she did. After much debate, they ultimately decided it was more in character for Carrie to stay and carry out her mission with the Agency after helping Brody escape safely to an underground network.
Besides being a great show, Orange Is The New Black has supported science over religious fundamentalism, such as in the scene above with partial transcript below:
Piper: I can’t pretend to believe in something I don’t, and I don’t [believe in this]… I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be kind of an asshole. I cannot get behind some Supreme Being who weighs in on the Tony awards while a million people get whacked by machetes. I don’t believe a billion Indians are going to hell. I don’t think that we get cancer to learn life lessons. And I don’t believe people die young because God needs another angel. I think it’s just bullshit. And on some level, I think we all know that.
There are a number of reports, along with a denial, that Laura Prepon will be leaving Orange is The New Black to work on a new show. If true, this would leave a major hole in the show. The reports claiming this do say that Prepon will still be present at the start of the season to tie up Alex’s storyline and she will be written out in a way which would allow her to return.
Two of the top television shows premiering in 2013, Orphan Black and Orange Is The New Black, have been combined in this mash-up giving us Orphan Is The New Black.
Fake Sherlock will be going to England in their opening episode. Maybe they will meet the “real” Holmes and Watson of Sherlock. (Ok, probably not). More news on the second season of Elementaryhere.
We expect The Newsroom to mix in major news stories with each episode. Last week they included plot elements reminiscent of other real events from The Today Show botching the editing on George Zimmerman’s 911 tape to the real life release of nude photos from Oliva Munn’s phone. The manner in which World Net Daily reported a rumor without any fact checking also is based on reality, along with being an excellent commentary on the unreliability of WND and the entire right wing noise machine.
William Shatner joins those arguing that Star Trek belongs on television in this interview:
Karl Urban, from the new Star Trek films said that “Star Trek, as envisioned, was about space exploration. And it would be really wonderful to harness the spirit of that and apply it to the next film”. Is that something that you would like to see? A greater focus on discovery in these films.
Shatner: I’m not goona second guess JJ Abrams, he’s a great director and he’s so talented. But I’ll tell you that I am going to the Lowell Observatory in a couple of weeks to deliver a speech that I wrote about Star Trek and its capacity to stir the imaginations of young people.
The idea is, that so many people’s lives have been touched by the imagination of Star Trek and children’s imaginations are so vital to the rest of their lives that… this is an aspect of Star Trek that I’m focused on.
Now let me ask you, trying to bring in new viewers, new younger viewers to expose that world to young kids and teenagers alike and really spur that imagination — is a TV show a more viable vehicle for that? Is it sad that we don’t have something like that right now, a Star Trek TV show that could really seize on the exploration part of the thing that the original series and Next Generation, that those things did?
Shatner: You know, I think you’re right. Because, JJ Abrams has found the key to getting a large audience into the movie theater, and that’s the ride. So you get a lot of the CGI effects, which is the epic movie making aspect of today, whereas in Cecile B. Demille’s time, you had to use real people. Now you don’t need to use real people and you can have infinity for God’s sake.
That’s in order to get you into the theater, because the majesty of the movie is shown by the large screen. But when you get into the small screen, you need stories… entertaining, interesting, vital stories that have a philosophy and also have an excitement about them, so that the viewer stays with it, but recieves the philosophy as a byproduct. Those were the best of Star Trek, those kinds of stories. And that kind of thing, there is always room for that. That kind of imaginative approach that stirs young people into wanting to be connected with science.
Placing more of our gadgets on the web provides many conveniences. Unfortunately they also make it easier for hackers to invade our privacy. This ranges from taking control of devices ranging from smart cars to baby monitors. Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA, was the target of a sextortion plot in which hackers took nude photos of her over the webcam on her laptop computer and threatened to post them on line. Rather than giving into this extortion, Wolf has been going on television publicizing this problem, hopefully protecting others from the same invasions of their privacy:
Recently crowned Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf has been making the rounds on news programs talking not only about her beauty pageant win but something far more insidious. It seems that before being crowned, a hacker took control of the 19-year old’s webcam and attempted to blackmail her.
Wolf told TODAY.com that she first became aware of the intrusion four months ago, when Facebook warned her of an attempted login in a different state. This was quickly followed by an email from the hacker, claiming to have nude photos of Wolf taken with her webcam. Wolf was in high school at the time.
In interviews, Wolf said that she had no idea that she was being watched and that the light on her webcam was never lit.
Hopefully by now everyone who uses Google Reader is ready for its close. In case you are procrastinating, here’s how to do it quickly.
There are many choices of programs out there. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I’d suggest getting into one program and you can always change later. Feedly has been improving tremendously over the fast couple of months, duplicating much of the look and feel of Google Reader for those who desire to customize it this way. It is also pretty easy to sign in with your Google account and have the feeds imported (provided you don’t wait too long). Feedly has apps for Android and iPhone. This allows users to read feeds on a pc, tablet, or phone and have it all synchronized. Feedly is also free. While I would be willing to pay if the quality was better, I figure it is better to get set up with a free service and then shop around in the future.
Feedly is working with other programmers to provide more options. This includes additional programs for Android and iPhone which will synchronize with the new Feedly cloud. For Android, gReader already works with Feedly and D7 Reader is working with Feedly. Both come in free and paid versions.
While Feedly has been rushing to upgrade to satisfy Google Reader users, there are still a number of functions they say they are working on which aren’t completed. This includes exporting feeds in case you decide you want to use a different program. While not essential if you use Feedly until they add an export function, I would suggest using Google Takeout to save your data.
Digg Reader just went live, also with the ability to import from Google Reader. At quick glance it looks like a potential replacement but it only has an iPhone and not an Android version. AOL Reader is currently in beta, available by invitation. They offer the ability to sign in with your Google account, but this might not do any good unless they open up the service quickly. Several other programs are around. A Google search for Google Reader Replacements should provide more information.
Airline passengers irritated at having to turn off their devices could soon see some reprieve, with regulators set to allow wider use of gadgets in flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, allowing passengers leeway during taxiing and even takeoffs and landings, according to industry officials and draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to the agency.
For fliers, the new rules would likely mean an end to familiar admonitions to turn off and stow all electronic devices. Cellphone calls are expected to remain off limits, however. The draft doesn’t make any recommendations regarding phone use because the FAA didn’t authorize the panel to delve into that particularly controversial area.
Details are still being debated by the group and inside the FAA and could change. Still, the draft report reflects a consensus that the existing rules, essentially unchanged since the 1960s, have been overtaken by dramatic changes in technology and passenger expectations.
There are many, many things I don’t like about airline travel. This won’t do anything about most, but at least two problems might be eliminated. While I normally use an ebook reader for traveling, I have to carry one physical book for the ascending and descending legs of flights. (From where I live, it almost always takes two flights to get anywhere, so this time can really add up). Secondly, on occasions I’ve started watching a movie or a run of TV shows on a tablet and have to turn it off with a few minutes to go.
If any of this really placed a plane at risk, obviously I could do without ebook readers and tablets. However, as pilots often use an iPad during flight, it is doubtful anyone really thinks this would be an issue. Surveys have also found that almost one third of fliers admit to failing to turn off their gadgets. I’ve found that on rare occasions I’ve put a gadget away, inadvertently forgetting to power down. So far, no signs that it has done any harm.
“During a Senate hearing yesterday, Senator John McCain said it was too hard to always have to update apps on his iPhone. No one has the heart to tell him the device he was holding was a garage door opener.” –Conan O’Brien
While Rand Paul’s filibuster has attracted more attention, there are many civil liberties matters which are likely to affect far more Americans than the risk of being targeted by a drone. There has been a tremendous amount of negative news on some civil liberties issues, such as reproductive rights in the red states, but there was a victory for civil liberties in a court decision regarding privacy when crossing the border. Homeland security has claimed a right to search the content of laptop computers and cell phones without any reason. Having material password protected has been enough to claim potential security risks. The searches of computers could also apply to personal information on cloud-based systems connected by software to one’s computer but not physically present.
The Ninth Circuit Appeals court has ruled that the protections of the Fourth Amendment do apply in these cases. Techdirt analyzed the decision:
In a somewhat surprising 9th Circuit ruling (en banc, or in front of the entire set of judges), the court ruled that the 4th Amendment does apply at the border, that agents do need to recognize there’s an expectation of privacy, and cannot do a search without reason. Furthermore, they noted that merely encrypting a file with a password is not enough to trigger suspicion. This is a huge ruling in favor of privacy rights.
The ruling is pretty careful to strike the right balance on the issues. It notes that a cursory review at the border is reasonable:
Officer Alvarado turned on the devices and opened and viewed image files while the Cottermans waited to enter the country. It was, in principle, akin to the search in Seljan, where we concluded that a suspicionless cursory scan of a package in international transit was not unreasonable. But going deeper raises more questions. Looking stuff over, no problem. Performing a forensic analysis? That goes too far and triggers the 4th Amendment. They note that the location of the search is meaningless to this analysis (the actual search happened 170 miles inside the country after the laptop was sent by border agents to somewhere else for analysis). So it’s still a border search, but that border search requires a 4th Amendment analysis, according to the court.
It is the comprehensive and intrusive nature of a forensic examination—not the location of the examination—that is the key factor triggering the requirement of reasonable suspicion here….
Notwithstanding a traveler’s diminished expectation of privacy at the border, the search is still measured against the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement, which considers the nature and scope of the search. Significantly, the Supreme Court has recognized that the “dignity and privacy interests of the person being searched” at the border will on occasion demand “some level of suspicion in the case of highly intrusive searches of the person.” Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. at 152. Likewise, the Court has explained that “some searches of property are so destructive,” “particularly offensive,” or overly intrusive in the manner in which they are carried out as to require particularized suspicion. Id. at 152, 154 n.2, 155–56; Montoya de Hernandez, 473 U.S. at 541. The Court has never defined the precise dimensions of a reasonable border search, instead pointing to the necessity of a case-by-case analysis….
The issue of cloud-based information was also addressed:
The court is equally worried about the fact that the device is often just a portal to cloud based services, and how a search of a device might lead to access to that data, even if it’s been snug and secure “in the cloud” the whole time, rather than crossing the border:
With the ubiquity of cloud computing, the government’s reach into private data becomes even more problematic.12 In the “cloud,” a user’s data, including the same kind of highly sensitive data one would have in “papers” at home, is held on remote servers rather than on the device itself. The digital device is a conduit to retrieving information from the cloud, akin to the key to a safe deposit box. Notably, although the virtual “safe deposit box” does not itself cross the border, it may appear as a seamless part of the digital device when presented at the border. With access to the cloud through forensic examination, a traveler’s cache is just a click away from the government.
It would also be safer to remove programs directly connecting to cloud-based services such as Dropbox when traveling, with the data still available by connecting over the internet. Uninstalling programs which make such services appear like another hard drive on a laptop would prevent the stored data from being as obvious to anyone inspecting a computer.
Here’s more Doctor Who news from Comic Com and elsewhere since last week’s report. Above is video of an interview with Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner. Den of Geek has posted a selection of comments from various interviews with them along with the cast:
On how much of a plot arc there will be in series 7:
Steven Moffat: “There’ll be something going on, yes. Last time we went for a very big arc, this is a much more lightly sketched one this time, but there is something yeah, to reward the one who watches it every week.”
Will the series 7 story arc continue between the two chunks of episodes?
SM: “There’s obviously the story of the Doctor saying goodbye to the Ponds and there’s obviously him saying hello to someone else, but wait and see, wait and see how we do that. I can’t say something else without giving everything away.”
On how Amy and Rory will re-join the show:
SM: “What you’ve seen is them leave the TARDIS. What you’ve seen is a decision, ‘let’s go and get on with our lives’. It’s not that they then move back in as it were, it’s a continued relationship with the Doctor. Something that’s always intrigued me about the Doctor, certainly in the old series you know, someone would leave the TARDIS and he’d never see them again, I mean, who does that? You’d go and visit.”
On Asylum of the Daleks:
SM: “You’ll be seeing more generations of Daleks than you’ve ever seen before”
Matt Smith: “My favourite Dalek is one from, I think it was the Troughton era, the sort of blue and white one. We had to draw in every Dalek that had ever been made around the world so we could fill a room full of Daleks, and it was sort of incredible. I think we’ve made them scary again in a way that perhaps we didn’t achieve in my first season, and that’s really exciting.”
Arthur Darvill: “They’re really, really scary in this one. They’re really, genuinely, brilliantly scary. That is such a great episode.”
Karen Gillan: “Asylum of the Daleks is such a great episode. And then we have four more, we have five, epic, movie-style episodes and we’re going to leave in the fifth one.”
On how the new companion changes the show’s dynamic:
SM: “It does, and in some ways having a new companion about is the biggest change, bigger than even changing the Doctor. It’s always about how their life is changed because of that, so yes, it does give a new dynamic, it’s brilliant and brings out a very new side to him, pretty much a different Doctor really.”
MS: “The show remains the show. The Doctors come and go, the companions come and go, that’s the nature of the beast, that is what happens. By its very nature it’s a show that regenerates itself so you’ve got to move with that and you’ve got to go with the times. Of course we will miss Karen and Arthur, they’re great friends of mine, but Jenna’s doing a wonderful job, she’s a wonderful actress, very dedicated and I think Steven’s writing her in a very interesting way, in a very different way to Amy Pond.”
On the thinking behind the Doctor’s new costume:
SM: “Well that is plot-driven, so the reason is… he goes through stuff.”
Caroline Skinner: “It kind of just works, you’ll see next year.”
MS: “Weirdly enough, when I started I always wanted a sort of purple-y coat, but they felt it was too much like the Joker, and I liked it being a bit longer to the leg. It’s still tweed. I always thought that the costume would evolve year after year. I’m absolutely part of those conversations, we have a wonderful costume designer who comes in and does great work, you know, different hats every year, it’s fun to keep it moving.”
On plans for the 50th anniversary episode:
SM: “We know what we’re doing, but we’ll tell you when the time is right. Every time when you sit down in meetings about the next episode of Doctor Who, it’s the same size of challenge, because they’re always different, they’re always huge. So we set ourselves the task of never making an ordinary episode, they all have to be exceptional.”
On the rumoured big-screen Doctor Who movie:
MS: “I don’t know. There’s talk of it. I think David Yates was attached to do something. For my money, whoever is playing the Doctor should be in the movie. I don’t think there should be two Doctors. I think it would take four or five years to get something like that off the ground, and I don’t anticipate that I’ll be playing the Doctor then. […] I think they should get Steven to write it because he’s the best.”
The video above has more from Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. The two also say the Weeping Angels have become even more scary.
Sci-Fi Storm reports that Moffat might reveal the Doctor’s real name:
At Comic-Con he said of the Doctor, “He never gives his name. Other Time Lords do, but he doesn’t. Clearly the question is tremendously important… And only I know why! We actually find out the truth.” When pressed on whether he really knew the Doctor’s name, he said, “Yes… You’ll see.”
THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ | A rather revealing trailer – which was met with excitement and audible gasps by the assembled press – proved that the Season 2 finale’s respite of happiness will be short-lived. Major financial woes will plague the Earl of Grantham and his family – Maggie Smith’s Countess remarks that an aristocrat with no money is as useful as a glass hammer – while Mary and Matthew are in the midst of wedding planning. But will the big celebration actually take place? The two are already arguing. Elsewhere, a new footman enters the downstairs world and former chauffeur Branson (now the husband of Lady Sybil) elicits some strong reactions at a family dinner. Plus, one of his old cohorts doesn’t want to dress him!
A WHOLE NEW WORLD | “This season is about the recovery from the war,” previewed creator Julian Fellowes. “There were those few years where people were trying to decide [if] the world was going to go back? Is it going to be the same as it was before? Was the future going to be completely different? That’s the theme of the [season].”
CORA THE EXPLORER | One person on the grand estate is more prepared for the changing world coming in Season 3 than any other. The introduction of Cora’s mother, Martha (played by Shirley MacLaine), “reminds us that Cora’s upbringing was not the same as Robert’s,” explained Fellowes. “Cora is less afraid of the future than Robert is. She’s much less afraid of change. She’s less afraid of expressing that. … If anyone understands the world that’s coming, it’s Cora.”
GREAT DAMES | MacLaine admitted that she was not a fan of the show before she was cast. But she overhead the hairdressers at her Malibu salon chatting away about it and went to them for scoop on Martha. Joining the series “was an extraordinary experience for me in stamina and work ethic,” she said, recalling long shoots in the rain and wind while wearing her formal attire. As for whether she and Dame Maggie Smith – whose characters went head-to-head with pointed barbs in the sneak peek – knew each other before the show, the actress joked, “We were lovers in another life.”
WELCOME TO AMERICA | Now that Mary’s decided to brave it out in England, the show will not be traveling across the pond. Instead, “we have chosen the other route and brought America to us [with MacLaine's character],” said Fellowes.
SEE YOU NEXT DECADE? | Don’t look for Downton to jump to the 1930s anytime soon. Fellowes intends to continue “moving pretty slowly through the 1920s” because he finds the transitional period “very interesting.” For one, it allows him to explore major events of the time such as “the impact on this family [by] the Irish problems.” So where will it all wrap up? “We could end with the Wall Street crash and have Robert playing the ukelele,” joked the creator.
The three-breasted hooker from Total Recall remains in the remake, and she was seen at Comic Com, played by Kaitlyn Leeb.
An unlimited data plan should be exactly that–unlimited. Instead cell phone companies often use the word unlimited to sell plans but don’t really mean it. For example, AT&T has been throttling down the speed of phones, even if not using very much data compared to limited plans. The phones still work, but they cannot be used to stream video, and web browsing becomes very slow.
Matt Spaccarelli sued AT&T, complaining that his phone was throttled after using only 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data during a billing cycle. In contrast, people purchasing a tiered plan for the same price Spaccarelli paid at $30 would get 3 gigabytes of data. Spaccarelli was awarded $850. Unfortunately AT&T’s small print prevents class action suits so each customer in his situation will have to sue individually.
The announcement of Amazon’s plans to sell the Kindle Fire at only $199 created hopes of an inexpensive yet useful Android tablet becoming available. The hopes did come true, but not from Amazon. While the Fire has many problems, which Amazon is promising to fix, the real bargain in Android tablets came from Barnes& Noble. The Nook comes with both more internal memory than the Fire plus allows use of internal memory cards to expand this further.It’s benefits are well worth the price which is $50 higher.
Both the Fire and Nook are being sold at loses in the hopes of promoting additional sales. While I greatly prefer the Nook, I actually spend many times more money as a member of Amazon Prime than I do at Barnes & Noble. I have been using a black and white Nook as my main eb0ok reader for the last several months because, wanting to avoid being limited to any one company’s device, I found that it is easy to side load ebooks from any source onto the Nook (using Calibre to convert to epub format if necessary). It didn’t take long to find that downloading an Android program with the browser provided access to a hidden menu option to allow side loading of programs from outside sources to the Nook. I quickly added the Amazon Market, as well as the Amazon programs to play the free Prime videos and all the music in Amazon’s cloud where I have unlimited storage. (The increase in storage for the year came with the purchase of a single album at the cost of $1.)
This already provided an Android device capable of handling my material from Amazon and other sources far better than the Kindle Fire was capable of. I also added many other programs, including ones from the Android Market and ones copies from my Droid. I added a custom launcher, and found a program to ensure that my launcher loads instead of the stock Barnes & Noble one. The built-in browser is ok, but it is an even more powerful (and fast) browser after adding Dolphin.
This was all done quickly without rooting the Nook Tablet. It is possible to have a useful Android tablet with rooting, but rooting provides far more. Rooting was necessary to add all of Google’s material, including their Market, and to add custom keyboards, making this a full Android tablet. Amazon did set their video player so that it will not stream free Prime movies on a rooted device. I’m not sure why as someone’s goal was to try to capture the videos I would think this would be far easier to accomplish when playing on a pc as opposed to a small tablet. Regardless, there are two ways around this. The videos will play in the browser regardless of whether the tablet is rooted, and the program OTA RootKeeper, which is available on the Market will temporarily unroot an Android device. Netflix and Hulu Plus work well, regardless of whether it is rooted. HBO GO isn’t working, but I believe that is a common problem with all Honeycomb devices. I’ve read claims that getting this to work is a high priority at Barnes & Nobel
It takes a little work to download and install these programs, many of which can be found through the xda developers forum, but it is well worth the effort if you desire a powerful Android tablet for only $250.
Business Insider reports that the Xoom is a flop with only 100,000 selling so far. Personally I’d wait longer before buying any tablet because I expect more powerful, less expensive ones to be out in the next several months. That’s the advantage of an open system, but also means it will take longer for a lot of people to buy one. However, if it is a flop, they could always sell it at a loss and I’d pick up a cheap one now.