Skip to main content

The Sound of Audio Formats

Amusing that in the same week that I post a criticism of software patents, the final patents on the MP3 format expired. Some people are characterising this as the “death” of MP3, which is just nuts.

In fact, far from being dead, it can finally come to life, as Marco Arment makes clear.

Software patents: they’re what needs to die.

In other software-and-the-law news, here’s a story about a case of alleged GPL violation coming to court. The judge so far seems to have made a good decision, by stating that the existence of the GPL and the defendant company’s use of the software does mean there was a contract in place.

Landmark European Court Case Could Curtail Freedoms of British Dual Nationals

The Home Office refused his application on the grounds that she could not rely on her EU freedom of movement rights, which include the right to bring in a family member, as she was a British national as well as an EU national.

Does this legal case mean that British citizens automatically have fewer rights than EU citizens in general?  If that’s the case then we should be leaving the UK, not the EU.

Space Suits You

Back to form, then, with Doctor Who season 10 episode 4, “Oxygen.” Jamie Mathieson has written some good episodes before, and he keeps up the standard here. A tale of capitalism red in tooth and claw, it reminds us at times of “Silence in the Library,” and also of Duncan Jones’s Moon.1

It’s a “monster of the week” episode, but the monster is capitalism. This season so far has been surprisingly political. Well, maybe not surprisingly. These are politically-charged times, and science fiction is nothing if not of its time.

There are no particularly egregious pieces of nonsense here, either. Why the suit’s force-field helmets are OK inside the station but not enough outside isn’t really explained, but the real reason is so the actors don’t have to wear helmets for the whole episode, so that’s all right.

Oh, one thing: they’re on a space station: what are they mining? I mean, for copper, but in what? We have to assume it’s asteroids, but they could just have said.

The really interesting stuff is what we might call the “arc” material (if we are harking back to our Babylon 5 days). The shades are back, but only because The Doctor is blind now. Can he fix it by regenerating, maybe? Or by doing a partial regeneration, like Ten? And more about the vault and The Doctor’s oath. Nardole fears what would happen “if that door opens.” But we saw it open last week, so things are not quite as Nardole thinks, at least.

And the very last scene in the “Next Time…” Yes!


  1. Which is a great film that you should see at once if you haven’t already. 

What’s worse: putting ransonware on NHS computers, or underfunding the NHS so it can’t afford to upgrade IT infrastructure?

Just changed Micro.blog to use Wordpress “Status” posts instead of “Asides”. This has meant close to (but not quite) a reinstallation.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine was on fire tonight. Still managed to be hilarious while treating a very serious subject with respect.

No prosecutions to be brought in Tory election misspending case. Coverup by the CPS? Seems unlikely, but these are unlikely times.

Wood and Puzzles

Well, I suppose they couldn’t sustain the excellence forever. I mean, there’s bound to be the odd weaker episode, right? “Knock Knock”, Doctor Who season 10 episode 3 is certainly that. I have to say it’s the weakest episode we’ve seen so far this season.

This is largely because it doesn’t make much sense. Alien bugs turning people to wood? And back again? Well, I guess it’s no more preposterous than many things we’ve seen, but you need to have some semblance of a rationale, and this had none.

Plus it had less of what has really been making this season great: the Doctor/Bill interaction.

Still, it had an interesting season-arc-related ending, with the Doctor taking Mexican food into the Mysterious Vault to share with whoever is in there. And we now it is a “who:” they were playing the piano. And they eat, presumably.

I think there are two possibilities:

  1. Since The Doctor mentioned regeneration, and we know he’s going to regenerate this season, it’s something to with that. Like a future version of himself, for reasons to be explained.
  2. As I said before, it’s The Master, or Missy, since we saw both the latter and the John Simm version of the former in the season trailer. That would be plausible but weird.
  3. Or, and this occurred to me just tonight: what if it’s Susan? His granddaughter from right back at the beginning? Her photograph was on his desk in the first episode… but that’s just fanciful, and why would he have her in a vault?

New theme on my site. Independent Publisher wasn’t behaving quite how I wanted, especially with microblog posts. So I’m trying Minnow, with thanks to @colinwalker for the suggestion.