Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Quote of the Moment

"The Internet, God bless it, doesn't really specialize in nuance." —John Green

The State of the 'Blog 2014

Oh boy. I don't really consider 2014 a good year for the 'blog. Very little original content to begin with, and not much else period. My main shortage came from a continued disinterest in the news, which of course means I have nothing to say about the news. Green tech also remains slow, though a surprising amount has come to maturity, with LEDs leading the way, and solar slowly making in-roads, but still no replacement for batteries (supercapacitors are still slowly making progress), and little in the way of anything else that caught my attention.

In positive news, I did add the new "apocalyptical" tag, so we will see where I can go with that in the new year. Bookworming still seems a good fit, even if I'm the only one that uses it. Really, all I have to do is knock myself out of my malaise, and things could be off to the races again. Which begs the question of how to do that.

I have the capability now to record video games, and even live stream in low quality. I have the "pure fiction" tag just sitting there waiting to be populated with more RPG/gaming stuff. "Programming" remains my white whale of writing tasks, and one I should chase more often. So it's not like there is a shortage of stuff I could be writing. As always it remains a question of time and energy. 2014 left me with little of either to spare. Early signs for 2015 are not looking promising, so no promises.

As usual, if there is something from my categories you want to see more of, just ask and I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bookworming: 2014 Summary

It's cliche to say that I can't believe the year is coming to an end already, but that's the way I feel. Let's look back at this year's reads:

My rating scale:
* I didn't care for it.
** Meh
*** Good for those who like that sort of thing.
**** Just plain good, likely to be read again some time.
***** Destined to be a personal favorite, likely to be read over and over again.

*****
Skin Game, Jim Butcher
The Peripheral, William Gibson

****
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan
Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft, Joe Hill
Locke and Key, Vol. 2: Head Games, Joe Hill

***
Divergent, Veronica Roth
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
The Color of Magic, Terry Prachett
Red Storm Rising, Tom Clancy
Revenant, Kat Richardson
Footprints in the Sand, Mary Jane Clark

**
The Te of Piglet, Benjamin Hoff
Shadowmarch, Tad Williams
Welcome to Mars, Ken Hollings
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

*
The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark

Seventeen books this year, a half-dozen higher than last year, and above one a month. Attribute that to my shorter commute.

Looking back over the scores, it was a fairly poor year of choices on my part. Highlights included the reliably fun Butcher and atmospheric wordsmith Gibson. Zealot was good in a year that really showed that I'm not involved in a Bible study group anymore, though whether my pastors would be pleased that I enjoyed it I am not so sure.

And finally, I'll note that I also post these reviews on Goodreads, if you prefer that platform.

Bookworming: The Lost Years

The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark, *
This one has too many characters with no development, behavior that police would never tolerate (we're talking Cabot Cove levels of interference here), some supposed sexual tension that didn't ever rise beyond awkward, and an idiot bad guy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On the Final Passing of Dr. Dobb's

Back in the days when magazines about computer programming were a thing that existed, there was only one I was interested in reading: Dr. Dobb's Journal. It was full of code, and technical subjects, and witty writing about code and technical subjects. I learned quite a few bits (no pun intended) of technique and knowledge from DDJ back in my early years learning about and being a programmer. I undoubtedly owe some of what I am now to the work they did then.

I will admit I stopped reading DDJ years ago. Computers got more complex; low level programming content was slowly taken over by library overviews and process articles. The speed of the web, and the explosion of programming's footprint ate all the magazines' lunches. But I haven't forgotten how I used to feel looking into those pages and thinking that maybe I could be that good someday.

I don't know if I am that good now. I'm too close to the subject to be able to tell. It did inspire me to keep trying to write about programming, which gave me an even bigger respect for those who do it well. Code can be such a dry, technical subject, and yet DDJ managed to be at its best informative, inspiring, and humorous.

The magazine itself has been out of print for many years now. Today we learned that the website carrying on the name will stop producing content at the end of the year. The programming world will carry on of course, but we shouldn't forget the value of Running Light Without Overbyte.