Category Archives: Serial

Questions for Tim

I read the GQ interview with Tim Cook and got to thinking, “What would I ask Tim if I happened to see him on the street, and he had a moment to talk?” Maybe he wouldn’t answer hard-hitting questions in the moment, but those are the most interesting to me.

Are services ruining the basic experience of Apple products? App Store ads seem bad.

Is the stock price really the best representation of company values, like leaving the world a better place, as your compensation? 

You know the story about Apple losing its soul. Is Apple today still leading with creativity, beauty, and purpose?

What more can be done about the scams and low quality apps in the App Store?

My Revised Episode IX

Opening Crawl

Kylo Ren has consolidated his power. He claimed the Sith Holocron previously possessed by Snoke. The knights of Ren have set up shop on Exegol.

Poe and Finn are recruiting for the Resistance, but their numbers increase slowly.

General Leia has continued the Jedi training that Rey sought from Luke. Rey’s lightsaber is irreparable, so she searches the galaxy for the materials to build a new one.

Changed Plot Points

Drop the Kylo bit at the beginning and jump to him arriving on Exegol with the Knights and seeing a vision that he must destroy Rey if she will not join him. Instead of a fleet of Star Destroyers conjured by Palpatine, there’s some other Sith power there.

Finn and Poe are picking up people who want to join the Resistance but are scared to or need to be vetted when they get the message from a First Order spy.

The lightsaber Rey uses should be Leia’s. We see the end of her search for one, and later realize that it is Leia’s: it’s the one she hid away when she relinquished her training.

Rose stays with the Resistance to train the new recruits. I think that’s a better reason and more empowering for her character than what she actually does in this movie.

Lando lives on Pasaana, having a good time since he and Luke did their mission there. He wasn’t sent a message from Leia, but discovers the team on his own.

There should be a line about the ancient Sith dagger having a new inscription.

Rather than being a Palpatine, I think it’s enough that Rey was left by her parents in an attempt to protect her from a force-sensitive recruiter. Then her conflict is over whether it was the Jedi or Sith who sent the recruiter (who killed her parents).

Instead of Palpatine calling the Imperial Legion General and sending the Star Destroyer to destroy Kijimi, the Knights of Ren exercise whatever power they found on Exegol and bombard the planet.

What’s the power of the Knights? Maybe together they can make force lightning. But Ren finds them weak because they have to team up. He wants Rey because he senses (then on Pasaana sees) that Rey can do it alone. Without Palpatine, the First Order fleet must be amassing on Exegol instead of a new fleet conjured out of nothing.

Does This Work?

I don’t know, but I like it because I came up with it. It’s what I would change to avoid the parts of this movie that I find problematic or unbelievable.

Oh, and I can’t stand the use of Skywalker in the title, so maybe call it “The Power of the Dark Side” instead.

The Rise of Skywalker

I had high expectations for the movies in this trilogy, so the first viewing was disappointing. The same wasn’t true for the stories (Rogue One and Solo). I got over that, and these are great, but I still have quibbles.

First, bad title. It’s not paid off until the coda at the end and doesn’t fit the pattern. Palpatine has a line about the last stand of rebellion that I think would have made a better title, though I don’t think any of the past episodes had their titles in dialogue.

The pattern breaking bothered me in other ways as well. The opening scene was too unlike any other. I appreciated seeing the back story of how Kylo got the navigation device, but maybe it could have been one of a series of shorts on Disney Plus instead. We never saw how Luke’s lightsaber came to be in the possession of Maz or how it made its way from the end of the last movie in two halves to the beginning of this one, so those could be shorts also. And how did Palpatine go from falling down the interior of the Death Star to Exagol?

I don’t like the ever growing powers of the force. Why should these characters have abilities that we’ve never seen before? The diad argument is pretty weak. Pulling ships out of the sky and lightning disabling the fleet both make sense as extensions of what we’ve seen in the past. But Luke’s ghost catching the thrown lightsaber, healing, and whatever Palpatine does to suck life out of Kylo and Rey I find strain credulity.

The stakes of the trilogy films has always included the fate of the galaxy, but the scope has been limited to a small number of planets visited in each film. This episode blows that away. I understand that the story called for the characters to be separated each time a new planet appeared, and I loved Babu Frick, but maybe that planet and the Threepio memory subplot could have been cut.

This was a long movie with a ton of action packed in and I can’t help but think that removing some of the story elements would have given everything more time to breathe. A little bit more editing would have made this a better conclusion to the epic saga.

Film score draft

If I were on The Incomparable’s film score draft, here’s the lists that I would have worked from:

Top List

  • Tron: Legacy
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Oblivion
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • Divergent
  • The Way, Way Back
  • The Space Between Us
  • The Circle

Honorable Mention

  1. Casino Royale
  2. The Social Network
  3. Back to the Future, Part 3
  4. Gladiator

Have I passed Peak Apple?

After today’s event, I’m not planning to buy any of the new Apple products. Marco Arment‘s line about Apple increasingly making products that “just aren’t for me” (probably uttered on ATP, since a quick search of his blog doesn’t reveal the phrase) came to mind.

I own a Series 0 Apple Watch that I bought mostly for the novelty. I still wear it every day, but the health and fitness improvements in the newer models do not appeal to me, so I’ll stick with the one I have.

I am one of the few who is not bothered by the remote on my Apple TV. Since I don’t have a 4K TV, I don’t see any appreciable difference I would gain by updating to the newest version, so I’ll pass on this device too.

I own and love iPhone SE, so the iPhones 8 hold no attraction. I am very interested in the iPhone X and would be willing to pay the high price tag, but the physical size is just too large for my taste. I’ll keep hoping that a revision to the smallest member of the iPhone family keeps pace with the top of the line models.

The iPad Air I bought on launch day has served me well. The Pro tier is well beyond my needs, and since the adjective-less iPad has similar specs, I could go on with the iPad I have, if only I had opted for more than 16GB of storage. That’s one constraint that is becoming too difficult to bear. There will most likely be a 10.5-inch iPad in my collection by the end of the year.

Even my MacBook Pro from 2009 soldiers on with no prospect for replacement in the future, though that’s mostly because it’s disused in favor of the Mac my work provides me for use there and my iPad at home.

Maybe this all adds up to a problem for Apple. Or maybe it’s just a sign of maturity that I’m not chasing after every new, amazing, magical device Apple releases.

Thoughts on Today’s  Watch Event

Why did Jeff Williams get the job of introducing ResearchKit?
What’s the story with Toyota and CarPlay?
I noticed the new typeface on the MacBook keyboard by the two-story “a” on the command key.
What did all the wireless technology icons shown around MacBook mean?
That MacBook latch recess looks awfully sharp.
Why are they still selling MacBook Air? Is it just a run-off of stock (with a little spec boost)?
What if I didn’t want to use Pay with my watch? Is there a way to cancel an accidental transaction?
Is Apple saying “yes” to too many things with all these Kits?

Why I Might Want an  Watch

Glances: Weather, Now Playing, Incoming Calls
Move goals and Stand reminder
Pay, Passbook and Hotel room (requires broader support)
I like the black finishes and the my favorite band in the black link bracelet.