Bad App Icon, Disney

Disney is extending the experience for their theme park guests beyond phone reservations and paper park maps. They are moving purposefully this year into their “NextGen” initiative where guests can do a number of things from their smartphones including making meal reservations and managing FastPass reservations.

The app that does this (or, soon will…) is called the My Disney Experience. And here’s the iPhone icon for the app.


Anyone else feeling what I’m feeling?  That this is a really ugly icon.

The Mickey Mouse shape is quite well-chosen, as this design marks the RFID-based keyless entry to the parks and at many attraction entrances. Thus, the phone icon supports the physical locations where guests will leverage this next-generation experiences. But unfortunately that Mickey logo isn’t the only thing on the icon.

Why is there that awkwardly-placed Disney banner on the icon? Who would be confused that this app wasn’t from Disney? Their most famous corporate spokesperson is right on the icon! Who is going to say “where is that Disney app? I see the Mickey Mouse one but where is the Disney one?” Nobody, right?  You didn’t see Apple put their logo on top of the original “iPod” app on the original iPhone. Why would Disney think that they needed to put their name on icon?

The text-description for the app says “Disney World” so why not leave the Mickey logo alone? Because Disney puts that corporate banner on many of their apps as some sort of consistent branding strategy. This is corporate synergy at it’s worst. That Disney banner is just plain ugly.

Fearless Oscar Predictions 2013

Here are my annual Academy Awards picks. My prediction for the winner is noted in bold below. After the ceremony I’ll update with the actual winners.

This year, there appear to be three “locks” (Daniel Day-Lewis, Anne Hathaway, “Skyfall” / Adele) so if you’re going to wager these would be your best options even with low odds.  I kind of wanted to go out on a limb for Naomi Watts but none of the Oscar prognosticators are picking her so I’m going with Jennifer Lawrence who is a safer bet.

Update: I got 20/24 this year, even though there was a tie in one category and I incredibly didn’t get either of them. Should have been 21/24 but I just couldn’t bet against Skyfall for Best Cinematography in case it actually won.

Best Motion Picture

  • Argo
  • Amour
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Django Unchained
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Achievement in Directing

  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Michael Haneke, Amour
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Denzel Washington, Flight
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible
  • Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
  • Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Sally Field, Lincoln

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

Original Screenplay

  • Amour, Michael Haneke
  • Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
  • Flight, John Gatins
  • Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
  • Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

Adapted Screenplay

  • Argo, Chris Terrio
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
  • Life of Pi, David Magee
  • Lincoln, Tony Kushner
  • Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  • Amour (Austria)
  • No (Chile)
  • War Witch (Canada)
  • Kontiki (Norway)

Original Score

  • Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
  • Argo, Alexandre Desplat
  • Life of Pi, Mychael Danna
  • Lincoln, John Williams
  • Skyfall, Thomas Newman

Original Song

  • “Before My Time,” J. Ralph; Chasing Ice
  • “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy and Seth McFarlane; Ted
  • “Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; Life of Pi
  • “Skyfall,” Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; Skyfall
  • “Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; Les Misérables

Achievement in Production Direction

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln

Achievement in Cinematography

  • Anna Karenina, Seamus McGarvey
  • Django Unchained, Robert Richardson
  • Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
  • Lincoln, Janusz Kaminski
  • Skyfall, Roger Deakins

Achievement in Costume Design

  • Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
  • Les Misérables, Paco Delgado
  • Lincoln, Joanna Johnston
  • Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka
  • Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

Best Documentary Feature

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching for a Sugar Man

Best Documentary Short Subject

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Achievement in Film Editing

  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Achievement in Makeup & Hairstyling

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables

Best Animated Short Film

  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  • Paperman

Best Live-Action Short Film

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow
  • Henry

Achievement in Sound Editing

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Achievement in Sound Mixing

  • Argo
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Achievement in Visual Effects

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Marvel’s The Avengers
  • Prometheus
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

The First Great Song of 2013

depeche_mode_-_heavenAs someone who’s musical appreciation came of age in the 1980s, Depeche Mode was a key “elective” in my courseware. Not truly a “core competency” course like The Beatles or even Chuck Berry. But still very, very important.

Over the years, I’ve continued to follow the band and since my wife Julie is also a big fan so we’ve attended most the concert tours over the past twenty years. And in the last decade the band has continued to put out good material. Though, truth be told, lead singer Dave Gahan’s two solo albums were better than the last couple DM albums. And not by a close margin either.

In any case, Depeche Mode is back with another album in March and according to the band it should remind fans of Violator (1990) and Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993). Well, if the Delta Machine album is anything like the lead single “Heaven” we will be in great shape. Because, “Heaven” is easily the best DM song in a decade. Clearly similar to the best of the group’s mid-tempo ballads, the song has a clean sound that most definitely sounds more like classic DM than some of the recent “noise” filled albums.  The video below is pretty outstanding, too.