Rewatch – Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a 2008 animated Star Wars series, which takes place between Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. The series follows Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and his new Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, as they navigate all of the action and politics that come with a war lasting 3 years.

Joining our heroes is an impressive and ever-growing legion of supporting characters, but perhaps the most interesting are the clone troopers. Voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, many are given their own personality with slight vocal changes and various physical expressions. Perhaps the most iconic is Rex, who serves as Anakin’s second-in-command, and friend and mentor to Ahsoka. It’s hard to describe just how much justice this series did for the clones, but they really did. There are many who are just standard copies, but the show makes clear there some who strive for more individuality, and Dee Bradley Baker has his work cut out for him, sometimes leading whole episodes alone while voicing a variety of clones with slight differences.

Along with expanding the role of the clones, significant insight is presented not only as to how the Jedi train and operate, but also as to what the Force is and how it operates. A trio of episodes beginning with season 3’s Overlords expands on the mythology of the Force from the movies so much that it’s practically redefined entirely.

The show ran for 5 seasons, was picked up by Netflix who rescued its final canceled season, and then given yet-another final season by Disney+. 7 seasons in, is the show done? It’s anyone’s guess! But one thing is for sure, the animation improves dramatically every season.

If you’re new to Star Wars, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a great jumping on point. You’ll definitely want to check out the movies after, and I have a recommendation on the viewing order. Star Wars animation doesn’t end with Star Wars: The Clone Wars. There’s also Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance, both excellent as well. Ahsoka returns in Star Wars Rebels, and she makes her live action debut in season 2 of The Mandalorian. And, coming soon, don’t miss the continuation of Ahsoka’s story in her own series, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in his.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a fun and fulling ride from start to finish. You can stream Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, or buy all but the last season on Apple TV for $29.99 per season, so maybe just watch it on Disney+.

Rewatch: The Dresden Files

The Dresden Files is a 2007 supernatural detective series based on the book series of the same name. The series follows wizard Harry Dresden as he continues to get caught up in supernatural mysteries throughout Chicago, anything from finding a lost item to busting a necromancer’s life insurance fraud.

If you love noir-style detective stories and magic, this is a must-watch series! Narration throughout really makes things easy to follow, especially if you decide to just jump into the middle of the show or watch it out of order. There’s not much character growth, but the characters are all pretty much grown as it is, a benefit of jumping out of a well-established book series. The mystery starts, great characters resolve it, you have fun. What more could you ask for?

Paul Blackthorne stars as Harry Dresden, a talented wizard and noir-style detective type who works as a consultant for the police when they need a “difference perspective” on very unusual cases. Valerie Cruz stars as Lt. Murphy, the only police officer who can stand Harry, and thus often his only source of case work. Terrence Mann stars as Bob, the ghost of an ancient sorcerer cursed to spend eternity bound to his skull, and Harry’s teacher. Conrad Coates stars as Donald Morgan, one of the wizards in charge of policing other wizards, and one who isn’t particularly fond of Harry.

If you know the stories, the actors definitely don’t look the part, but they play their parts to perfection. If you go on to read the books, it’s easy to hear their voices delivering the lines, because they just are these characters. Blackthorne’s Dresden is sloppy, distracted, showy, and focussed and powerful when he needs to be. Cruz’s Murphy is curt, direct, and always focussed on the case at hand. Mann’s Bob is arrogant yet caring, a teacher anyone would be happy to have. Coates’s Morgan is the perfect mix of direct, powerful, and kind when he wants to be.

Sadly, the series only ran for 12 episodes before being canceled, which is a shame, because it’s an absolutely wonderful show to just sit back and relax with. Fortunately, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, and if you want more, you can always read the books.

You can stream the series for free on IMDB TV, or buy the whole series on Apple TV for just $9.99. If you’re looking for one episode to get you started, try “Soul Beneficiary,” but really they’re all great, and I hope you enjoy watching The Dresden Files as much as I do!

WordPress 5.8 Released

WordPress 5.8 has been released! Along with more editor improvements, this release introduces an entirely new widget interface with the ability to use blocks as widgets, new photo filters, the new Blog Pattern Directory, and drops support for Internet Explorer 11 (which Microsoft essentially replaced with their Edge browser roughly 5 years ago). For specifics, check out the changelog.

530 volunteers contributed to this release, and at the time of writing this, WordPress 5.8 has been out for just a bit over a day, and has already been downloaded 7,810,277 times!

All users can safely update from Dashboard -> Updates or download and update manually, though you should probably backup first just in case, unless you’re already using Jetpack Backup, which you really should be.

If you run into any problems, stop by the known issues first, and if it’s not covered there, please let us know in the support forums!

Earth Day, 2021

It’s Earth Day, a day to reflect on the planet we inhabit, the only one we can, and it’s a great day to start saving the environment for free, going carbon negative, donating to Trees for the Future, and taking even more action.

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, some of us are now immune, and the rest of us hopefully understand how to safely be outdoors by now. Without us for over a year, nature has begun to bounce back in some very impressive ways. Hopefully, as we begin to re-engage outdoors, we’ll keep that in mind.

If you can, try to spend some time outdoors today, and make sure you do it safely if you’re not already vaccinated. If you can’t be safely outdoors today, or you’d rather not, please enjoy this video.

Happy Belated 20th, Aqua!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A long time ago, this used to be a side-blog about my Apple news, the “Mac” part of MacManX.com. That usage may have dropped off over time, but the name never changed. To avoid further rambling (this post wasn’t planned in advance, can you tell?), a variety of posts like this one from MacStories reminded me that Mac OS X turned 20 this year, and that awoke a lot of memories, specifically about its interface.

mac os x aqua with cinema display

I don’t have any screenshots myself, like this one I’m shamelessly borrowing from that article or the one below shamelessly borrowed from Wikipedia, but as I am reminded of what Aqua was like 20 years ago, I really kind of miss it. Steve Jobs described it as “lickable,” and yeah, it was. These glossy buttons, those smooth windows, the opacity, that blue, and heck even the overall aesthetic of that era with the Cinema Display. Everything is just so clean now, and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we got out of Mac OS X 10.4‘s brushed metal phase, but part of me does miss the whimsy of that “lickable” interface.

mac os x public beta

I got my start on what is now Classic Mac OS, System 7 to be specific, and this totally redone interface was an exciting breath of fresh air. I stood in line for it! Who stands in line for OS releases anymore? Well, I guess no one these days, but the latest OS updates with their small design tweaks here and there will never compare to the massive whimsical overall of Aqua. Every step forward in that line was a few inches closer to something earth-shattering for younger me. I always enjoyed using my computer, but this made it fun!

That “lickable” interface is long-gone. Apple still uses “Aqua” as the name for macOS’s interface, and the incremental changes over the years didn’t bother me, but looking so far back, the Aqua of macOS today is just not the Aqua that excited me 20 years ago. So, happy belated birthday, Aqua! I miss you!

If you’re looking to reminisce a bit deeper, check out this collection of Macworld reviews, and this collection of Ars Technica reviews.