WWDC 2020

As it’s less than a month to the virtual WWDC, it’s time for an Apple/WWDC wish list.

On the MacOS-next side of things:

  • AV1 support baked in (CoreVideo and wherever else it’s needed).
  • APFS idle-time dedup.
  • January’s ‘Pro’ mode rumours coming to fruition.
  • And it’s equal and opposite ‘super battery saver’ mode.
  • Time Machine revamp/APFS based time machine.
  • Internet Time Machine.
  • BetterTouchTool clone. The touch bar remains a very expensive white elephant, this may make it less of a failure for most.

On the iOS side:

  • Options for simultaneous multi lens pictures/video in default camera app.
  • Raw photos option in default camera app.
  • Option to replace default protocol handlers.
  • AV1 support.

Hardware wise:

Not in a million years but I still want:

  • Aperture 4 with local AI powered object recognition, smart photo manipulation/editing, multi drive support and highly configurable iCloud storage options.

Whisky Nights with Malton Whisky Society

If I can’t go out for a drink, then the drink will just have to come to me! And the drink in question was Malton Whisky Society’s (Ugh, a Facebook link!) Paul John Single Malt Whisky selection.

Now I do have to confess two things;

  1. Though I like a glass of whisky, I am by no means an expert.
  2. This is my first whisky from India.

The whiskys were delivered promptly in a sturdy, padded box containing five small vials. Each sealed with wax, the vials were easily decanted into glasses.

The five we tried were:

  1. Paul John – Brilliance. The first we tried. Caramel with a hint of orange. The aftertaste was a little rough.
  2. Paul John – Edited. Lightly smoked with a hint of brown sugar. Again, the aftertaste was a little rough.
  3. Paul John – Classic Select Cask. At 55.2%, the alcohol overwhelmed the taste. Adding a little water brought out dark fruits and oak – alas, at the expense of the mouthfeel.
  4. Paul John – Pedro Ximenez. Darks fruits and Christmas. Pleasant lingering aftertaste.
  5. Paul John – Oloroso Select Cask. Soft and deliciously Christmassy. Deeply more-ish. Excellent lingering aftertaste.

So what ranking would I give them? For me, it would have to be 5, 4, 2, 3, 1 with 5 and 4 the only ones I would seriously consider buying.

The actual tasting took about an hour and a half and was live-streamed on FacebookGeneral issues around Facebook aside, the platform worked quite well and we’re looking forward to doing the next one.

Screening Time

Alas, last week I had to take the Coronavirus test – in my case at the Poppleton Park and Ride site just north of York.

The Test

The actual procedure was fairly simple.

  • I registered and provided a number of personal details and the car registration.
  • After registration I received both a text message and an e-mail with links to a QR code. This was to be my unique identifier for this procedure.
  • After we initially drove into the park and Ride site we queued to pass an initial check-in portakabin. Our QR codes were then inspected. This was, I assume, to weed out anyone who shouldn’t be there. We were also asked not to take any pictures of the testing site for fellow patient privacy.
  • We then the queued to receive the testing pack. First, my QR code was scanned and then we were asked to ring a number displayed on a laminated piece of card. I then had my name checked and received instructions for the pack I was about to receive. This included an addendum to instruction 3 (see note for image four below). The testing pack was then thrown through an open rear window of the car.
  • My test pack contained the following:
    1. An instruction book (see below).
    2. A sheet of barcode stickers.
    3. A zip lock bag.
    4. A sealed swab.
    5. A vial of liquid.
    6. A sheet of absorbent material.
    7. A sealable bio-hazard bag.

I also received a small amount of tissue as I had not brought any.

  • We were then directed to a small parking area and instructed to reverse park. We were then told – via another laminate sheet – to complete the instructions provided and then to turn our headlights on to signal test completion. Should we have any issues, then we were to turn on our hazard lights.
  • The test itself was straight forward but unpleasant. I was required to swab my tonsils for 15 seconds (avoiding the tongue) and then to swab the back of my nose for a further 15 seconds. Whilst the later was merely uncomfortable, the former – the tonsil swab – actively made me retch.
  • I was then required to put the end of the swab in the vial of liquid and to break off any excess swab. This vial was then sealed and labeled with one of the barcode stickers.
  • The vial was the placed in the ziplock bag with the absorbent sheet. This was then placed in the bio-hazard bag. This bio-hazard bag was also labeled with a barcode sticker but not sealed.
  • We then signalled (via our headlights) that we had completed to test procedure. After some time, the steward on hand directed us that we should move out of our parking spot and join a final queue to deposit the test specimen.
  • At the deposit station we were again asked to ring a number to receive instructions. I was asked to hold up my ziplock bag to show that there was a bar code on the vial, to seal it in the bio-hazard bag and to show that there was also a barcode sticker on the outside of the biohazard bag. I was then asked to throw it into a plastic box where the attendant could tip it into wherever the tests were to be stored.
  • And then we were done and free to return home!

Whilst the swabbing part of the actual test was unpleasant, the remainder (registration, instructions, staff seen and spoken too) was competent and professional. The actual result was delivered via text message and e-mail after two days.

Notes

  • You need your phone and it must have credit – at several points you ring the various agent to receive your next instructions.
  • It takes a reasonable amount of time (we took almost two hours entrance to exit) and there are very limited toilet facilities. Go beforehand.
  • Try not to eat beforehand. Swabbing the back of your throat may make you retch.
  • Take extra tissues. The nasal swab element makes your nose run.

The Paperwork

Recent Films

Some notes on films and loosely film-shaped things that I’ve recently watched.

The Two Popes

From the Vatican’s New Media department comes… ‘The Two Popes’; a 125 minute explanation of how the infallibility of the Catholic Church turned out to be a little less infallible than initially thought. Ultimately, we find out that while the old Pope was old fashioned, dogmatic, and bad (and was conscripted by nazis as a boy), the new Pope is in touch, modern, and an all round good egg (who just so happened to choose to back murderous dictators as an adult). Like most of the Netflix Original movies, it has that odd TV/Film hybrid feel about how it was produced that I am yet to become comfortable with.

YMMV.

Batman

Brooding. Dark. And yet not just a little hammy. It’s Batman from 1989! Possibly the second best of the 90s (yes, I know…) superhero movies, it was a valiant attempt to move away from the campy, fun style of the Adam West show. Did it work? I’m not certain, but what I am certain of is that it was the best of the 90s run of Batman films.

Batman Returns

Blessed with additional ham, this is the difficult second album of the 90s Batman movies. While still quite clearly a Tim Burton Batman movie, it’s certainly the lesser of the two; pacing, characterisation and plot all leave something to be desired.

Batman Forever

Probably the worst of the 90s Batman movies, Batman Forever manages to sit uncomfortably between the brooding gothicness of the first two batman films and the camp fun of Batman And Robin without fully embracing either. Jim Carrey at his most irritating makes this one best to avoid.

Batman and Robin

The nipple-suited Batman movie and the final nail in the coffin of a franchise that had lost it’s way. Even further away from Burton’s gothic vision of Batman movies, this is a sad, seaside-out-of-season attempt at recreating the fun of the 60s TV show.

But at least Schwarzenegger appears to be having fun.

Jesus Christ Superstar

A Lloyd Webber adaptation, this time with just enough of an ‘Occupy’ makeover to make it seem edgy yet not too much that it scares the Mail readers. You either care for this kind of thing or you don’t. I didn’t.

Mary Queen of Scots

Wonderfully shot though the edit could – perhaps – have been a little tighter. Excluding the meeting, the plot is reasonably faithful to history however the characterisation and narrative perspective is oddly whiplash – it flips between strongly backing Mary against Elizabeth to strongly backing Elizabeth against Mary, seemingly at random and, occasionally, mid scene.

Also the lack of comma in the official title offends me.

Ocean’s Eleven

George Clooney being George Clooney having fun being George Clooney and having a slightly better time than we are. Inoffensive fodder possibly created to sell to the long haul airline industry. While it’s probably best compared to an average scone – the one with jam but no clotted cream – in a provincial art gallery cafe, it is a little hard to justify its existence.

Ocean’s Twelve

As above but with one more person.

Ocean’s Thirteen

As Ocean’s Eleven but with two more people.

Ocean’s 8

As Ocean’s Eleven but with Sandra Bullock and three less people but several more women.

Parasite

A fun black comedy who’s humour manages to transcend the subtitle barrier. A little weak in the last 10 minutes it is, never the less, certainly worth a watch and one I will be looking to re-view when it hits a streaming service.

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land

Some of the best post season 5 Red Dwarf going – though it does wear it’s long term future as two separately edited episodes rather heavily. If that seems like faint praise then you’d be correct.

Salt

A fairly by-the-numbers Angelina Jolie vehicle. I’s path from A to B is a little convoluted but not radical radical (for the genre) and that doesn’t stop it from being a suitable background accompaniment to a beer and a curry.

Zombieland

The better of the two Zombieland movies, this remains a fun little vehicle that hasn’t aged perceptibly in the past 10 years and, at only 88 minutes, doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.