Sunday, November 30, 2008
The first part of the novel reminded me of "A Canticle for Leibowitz". Scientist-monks, preserving knowledge while the rest of the world collapses. Anathem is much more than that, though. There's an action story where scientists save the world, embedded in dense discussions of heavyweight science. Which is great for a geek like me, but I think it'd probably scare off casual (=normal people) readers.
Narrated by Erasmus, one of the scientist-monks, he begins the story acting as an amanuensis (a bit like a note-keeper) to Fraa Orolo, his mentor. He also ends the story as an amanuensis, but in a different way, after making a thrilling journey through Stephenson's well-crafted world.
Awesome stuff. Wait for it to come out in paperback, even better as e-book, or make sure you have private health care that covers the extensive spine damage from carrying it.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Two: running faster makes me slower. I was trying to speed up a little on this run, doing the same distance as I ran on Monday, but just a little bit faster. I must have gone a bit too fast, because I had to stop and walk after about 9 minutes, something I haven't had to do for a few weeks. To improve my speed I think I need to monitor my pace via the trailguru thing as I'm running, and make sure that I'm only increasing it slightly. Altogether this run took me about a minute longer than Monday, although without the GPS data I can't really tell how much faster I was running in the first half or how much slower it made me in the second half.
UPDATE: I don't think it was the mist. The 2.2 firmware update borked the GPS temporarily, I think. A reboot (hold down home and sleep) sorted it out.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
It also generates a load of statistics: how long you ran for, average speed, pace, etc.
Very cool. The site is also a lot easier to use than MapMyRun, which I found really confusing. I tried to delete my mapmyrun account this morning, and it took ages to find the tiny little link. Clicking that link just popped up a javscript alert that said "Click on contact us page to request a removal of your account". Request a removal? Twats.
Anyway. This morning I ran for 16 minutes, a distance of 2.61km at a pace of 6mins/km. I need to work on going a bit faster, I think.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
"In The Garden Of Iden", by Kage Baker, is the first volume in what looks to be an infinite series of novels about The Company - a standard, sf-style, shadowy entity whose own operatives know little about. Except these operatives are immortals, made so by time-travelling scientists, living through the past collecting rarities for sale in the future. Did I mention this is a historical romance set in Elizabethan England?
It's a good read, funny, exciting. Not bad for free.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
The first couple of chapters are aimed at the small, one-man-band, startup dev team. They cover source control, development environments, that sort of thing. The last four or five chapters are the meaty parts, covering caching, identifying bottlenecks, layering your application to improve flexibility, monitoring and defining apis. The focus is definitely on open-source tools, which is good, but he does cover some of the more common paid-for alternatives when needed. He also gives you some useful rules for working out what to choose, in terms of hardware and software.
There's some good stuff in here, that outweighs the less-relevant (to me) chapters.
"Orphans Of Chaos", another Tor freebook, written by A. Pervert, starts off pretty well as a Famous Five find out they are Ancient Gods trapped in a boarding school. Things start getting a bit weird when the heroine (whose exact age is unknown but varies between 14 and 20, depending on how pervy the author was feeling at the time) decides she loves being dominated by men, tied up, spanked, etc. But it's all ok, because the plot reveals that she was made this way by one of the naughty mythical supporting characters.
Promising plot ruined by dodgy perviness.
Of course I read it all.
Knee integrity: 100 per cent, sir. Mid-leg articulatory zone is at full combat readiness status. We are green for go, do you copy? Shutting up now, sir.