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Doctor Who: World Enough and Time review

Ars Technica - 5 hours 2 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC)

This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: World Enough and Time. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:45pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Season 10 of Doctor Who has been incredibly lopsided—floating in and out of decent stories, while teasing us with a subtle Missy narrative that is finally, tantalisingly coming to full fruition in World Enough and Time. It's just a shame that the engines have been on reverse thrust a little too often over the past few weeks.

There have been some good standalone episodes and an excellent opening to a deeply disappointing trilogy. The popular sci-fi-on-a-shoestring-budget drama has also failed to bring an instant hit with any of the new monsters introduced over the last 10 weeks: too much cheap CGI in the absence of made-you-look, made-you-jump detail, perhaps with the exception of Knock Knock and its quirky use of 3D surround sound. And while lead performances have been one of the highlights—particularly with the introduction of Bill, played by Pearl Mackie—some of the flimsier scripts have made the series feel like a washout.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

UK Parliament gets hit by hackers - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 9:01pm
Some members' remote email access is cut off as part of efforts to secure the computer network against a cyberattack.

'Flawless': 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' earning social media raves - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 8:45pm
With great power comes great reviews: Lucky folks who received an early peek at the film are praising it as one of Spidey's best.

Sorry iPhone, you’re not the only great dual-camera phone - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 8:34pm
The iPhone 7 Plus has Portrait Mode, but so does the OnePlus 5.

'Looking for Leia' film shines light on Star Wars fangirls - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 8:02pm
Annalise Ophelian talks about her crowdfunded documentary, which asks women inspired by Star Wars about their love for a galaxy far, far away.

If you’re into high-end headphones, this amp is for you - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 7:47pm
If you’re the kind of person who owns more than one high-end headphone, the Rogue Audio RH-5 is the amp for you.

Technics SL-1200GR turntable, for DJs or audiophiles or both? - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 5:47pm
The Technics SL-1200GR may look like a DJ turntable, but it’s also a superb turntable for everybody else.

Is Uber 2.0 now possible after CEO’s departure? - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 5:27pm
Uber may get a fresh start after Travis Kalanick's resignation this week. But any new CEO needs to own up to the company's past -- and watch out for the old one's continued involvement.

Single-player modding returns to GTA V after publisher takedown

Ars Technica - June 24, 2017 - 5:00pm

Enlarge / This image represents Take-Two saying "Well, I guess, there's nothing illegal here after all. Never mind that legal threat." (credit: Take-Two Interactive)

When popular Grand Theft Auto V modding tool OpenIV was taken down by a cease-and-desist request from publisher Take-Two earlier this month, the fan reaction was fast and blistering. Players bombarded Grand Theft Auto V with thousands of negative reviews on Steam, and over 77,000 people signed an online petition demanding the tool be restored.

Apparently, those gamers' cries have been heard loud and clear. As of yesterday evening, OpenIV is once again being updated and distributed by its creators.

While publisher Take-Two has been going after cheating tools in GTA Online of late, developer Rockstar long ago said it wouldn't go after Grand Theft Auto V players for using single-player mods. That's why Take-Two's sudden legal threat against the single-player-focused OpenIV earlier this month was a bit surprising, to say the least.

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A 'cutting-edge' Confederate death trap inspired today's sub - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 4:54pm
From CNET Magazine: The H.L. Hunley was the first sub to sink an enemy ship. It was also a playbook on how not to design a submarine.

Roundup: The best “escape room” games for a breakout party

Ars Technica - June 24, 2017 - 3:00pm

Enlarge / Some typical escape room components—plus a "Chrono Decoder"—from Escape Room: The Game. (credit: Spinmaster)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at—and let us know what you think.

I don't know CPR. I can't tie a tourniquet. But I can work my way out of a locked, puzzle-stuffed room in 60 minutes or less.

I've been honing this vital skill over the last year as the current mania for physical "escape rooms" has made its way to the tabletop. In an escape room, a team of players works together to solve codes and puzzles that will eventually provide a means of escape. Usually this requires organizing a group, traveling to a physical location, and paying a significant per-person fee.

Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Persona 3’s ending made me appreciate all of life’s little endings

Ars Technica - June 24, 2017 - 3:00pm

Enlarge / It's hard to tell from this promo image, but this game is a poignant meditation on friendship and death.

It was easier for me to walk away from Persona 3 than I expected. The game about nine friends and a dog—which celebrates its tenth anniversary in the States this year—follows a similar arc to most role-playing games. That means the gang of plucky young people ultimately saves the world. Yet its 21st century characters and setting made Persona 3 far more relatable and endearing to me than the high-flying heroes of Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger. It helps, too, that this was the series' first game to sport a now-signature blend of dating sim and turn-based dungeon crawling.

Playing Persona 3, I felt I was experiencing the first game designed to let me take my time. Whether that meant meeting up with a friend for kendo practice or hanging out with a couple of elderly used booksellers, there was nearly always something more digestible, recognizable, and less world-shatteringly urgent to do than fighting gods and monsters. It's the kind of stuff that let me inhabit a game's world for a bit rather than simply tour through it. Tearing up specters and saving the Earth from supernatural threats is fun, but it’s a bit harder to relate to in a way that feels like my real life.

By the end of the game, I was nearly as attached to the city of Iwatodai and its inhabitants as I've ever been to a real place. The downside is that this made it that much harder to eventually say goodbye to those virtual sights I saw and friends I made along the way. What made that goodbye easier was a special, quiet message before the closing credits—one that reminds me how to accept the end of comfort and friendship even today.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Our favorite summer blockbusters of all time - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 2:00pm
Each week we take a poll around the office to see what makes our colleagues tick. This week we asked which are the best summer blockbusters ever and why.

'Prisoners of Gravity': Hey, TV Sci-Fi Can Have Ideas After All

Wired - June 24, 2017 - 2:00pm
On this week's episode of the 'Geek's Guide to the Galaxy' podcast the creators of the science fiction show look back on its legacy.

Instagram 'Favorites' list lets you control who sees your pics - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 1:18pm
Not everything on Instagram is worth sharing to the world.

Cannabis World Congress lights up New York - CNET - News - June 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
Just how much tech does it take to get to the center of the emerging marijuana market? We found out at the fourth annual Cannabis World Congress in New York City.

Obama Failed to Punish Russian Hacking, and Other Security News This Week

Wired - June 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
Every Saturday we round up the biggest cybersecurity news of the week.

Honda's Self-Driving Approach Starts With the Acura NSX Supercar

Wired - June 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
The NSX relies on the kind of innovation that will help Honda cruise into the self-driving future.

Petnet SmartFeeder: Feed your cat or dog remotely using your smartphone

ZDnet News - June 24, 2017 - 10:30am
Feed your four-legged friend right from your iPhone or Android phone.

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