2011.02.01

io9; WTF Did You Do?

io9, WTF happened to your nice interface?!?
io9’s new, terrible facelift
io9 is one of my favorite geek scifi sources of news and tidbits. I go there at least once a week which is a lot for me, surpassed only by Google News.

But they’ve changed their interface. Now it’s not only ugly, but useless. WTF, io9? This facelift is TERRIBLE! You can make a “feature” article in other ways, and you can list the other articles better than a narrow column that doesn’t even resize to fit a page properly. Change is good, yes, but if you need a bloody manual to explain the interface then you have already FAILED. If you want the page to load faster, dump all the Flash banner crap and limit the article count to a reasonable 10 or 20 instead of the 50 or so that it was before. Please put the old one back or you’ll lose at least one avid fan and reader.

I’m a huge not-fan of large gatherings but I just might have to go to this io9 meetup and complain in person.

PS: Your “classic view” is broken.
PPS: If you look at the picture closely you’ll see a few tabs… Yep, that’s research for the new blog, interest in picking up Stargate: Atlantis, the io9 meetup and research of location shooting. Fun!

3 Comments | Catergorized: grrr  technology

2011.01.31

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – NK Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - NK Jemisin
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – NK Jemisin
I’ve just finished1 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, first book in The Inheritance Trilogy, by NK Jemisin. I hope she doesn’t mind me avoiding the dots in the initials of her name.

I loved the book, though at times I found myself wandering through some of the imagery of how the gods perceive the universe, or how mortals attempt to describe them. Not that they were bad descriptions; I just prefer more “earthly” things.2 I had a few issues with the plot, too. Not in the sense that I didn’t understand where things were going, but what motivated certain characters at specific points. Jemisin makes it clear that the characters understand these changes, but I didn’t get it at times. Despite these, because they minor in the context of the book and didn’t detract from my reading enough to make me want to stop, I loved the story and I’m looking forward to more of the series, to see how things turn out.

Our story follows Yeine, a young woman who is related (grand-daughter) to the world-ruling Arameri clan. They rule because during the god war Itempas, god of light, order and law, made that clan his representatives in the world. He has given them his imprisoned brother Nahadoth, god of dark, chaos and change, as a weapon. Itempas has killed their sister to do this. Yeine is out to understand and avenge her mother’s murder and becomes embroiled in the politics of inheritance. In the process, and despite the dire circumstances, she discovers how to free the world of Itempas’ iron rule. I don’t really want to give anything else about the story because I don’t want to give anything away.

I need to implement some sort of ratings system, but I think that will come with the new website (which I’m 90% sure of doing now, eventually). For now I’ll just say, four stars out of five.

1: Some people think I read pretty fast, and I guess I do compared to many. The bar will always be that of my Mom, though, who could read three books a day and remember details from the books.
2: I hated Dune for this reason, and the fact that Frank Herbert pounded the reader over the head with religious iconography and description. If I wanted all that I would read real-world religious texts, which tend to do a better job of it.

Comments Off on The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – NK Jemisin | Catergorized: books

2011.01.29

Electric Motorcycles

As we slowly run out of oil (either literally or by way of cost) there has been a greatly increased amount of interest in electric vehicles. The car industry has been variously innovative (like the Chevy Volt, Honda FCX Clarity, Subaru R1e and the sporty Tesla Motors) to cynical (all but Tesla still pump out gas guzzlers, including a few SUVs). There hasn’t been a lot of focus on electric motorcycles, however, at least not in the larger press.

My friend Josh was out and about with his brother recently, and visited Scuderia West where they are now selling the Brammo Enertia, an all electric motorcycle. After talking about it I wanted to look a bit more into how practical electric motorcycles are and, after reading some specs from Brammo, Zero Motorcycles and Native, and my conclusion is these things aren’t ready. At least they aren’t ready as marketed.
Read the rest of this entry…

2 Comments | Catergorized: motorcycle  technology

2011.01.27

Brand New Site?

I’ve been thinking for a while that I might start a brand new blog. Not that I would delete this one, but I’d simply leave it online (commenting off) for “archival” purposes.

There are a couple reason for this. The first is that from and administrative POV things have finally gotten out of hand. The site runs on WordPress (and previously Blosxom) and I started when WP was still on version 1. I built my own theme based on my Blosxom template and imported the entries. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done. Themes in WP can be tricky, and I’ve been trying to upgrade mine with each significant release to include features, but it’s been a pain in the ass. Now I’m looking at what WP3 has to offer and I realize that there’s just no way I will be able to effectively upgrade my theme.

Another desire is to start working on a fresh site with my wife, Rosa. Both of us have dropped off Facebook (she did it quite a bit before I did) and we still like to communicate with the outside world, especially since our family and friends are scattered over several continents.

So we’re going to do it. We’re trying to come up with a name for the site and looking at various themes we could use. There are a load of great pre-built themes but I’m especially interested in Sandbox, Toolbox and JustCSS. These are barebones themes that you can customize and are something I was sorely missing when I built my own theme for this site from scratch. We’re also thinking of something along the lines of Magazine Basic and Platform because we like their layout.

Any other ideas?

2 Comments | Catergorized: family  friends  life  technology

2011.01.26

Feed – Mira Grant

Feed - Mira Grant
Feed – Mira Grant
Previously I had used some application or other on Facebook to keep track of the books I had read. It was, in many respects, quite convenient for me to do this as I could essentially just announce to the world, “Hey! I just read this!” At the same time I didn’t bother saying anything about whether I liked the book or not aside from rating it.

Now that I’ve dropped out of FB (and, to be honest, I had stopped using that book app a while beforehand) I am back to using my blog. My much neglected site. Poor baby, I’m back.

I missed out writing about the first couple books I’d read this year and I’ll just start with this one. Feed, by Mira Grant (AKA: Seanan McGuire). This is a zombie book and as such I was thinking it might be horror. It is not. Don’t get me wrong, there are some scary tense moments, but at its heart this is a story about a bunch of bloggers who are invited to cover a Presidential election and uncover a conspiracy to undermine everyone’s freedoms. It just happens to take place in a near future where there are zombies. The zombies are the result of two different and wonderful medical advances: the cure for the common cold and the cure for cancer. The problem happened when these two cures combined, and thus the zombie problem.

Feed is all about the characters. Sure, there is a lot of exposition in spots, but it fits with the truth-seeking news blogger and main character, Georgia Mason. We follow her and her brother, Shuan (Shuan of the Dead?), on their adventures to uncover the truth at any cost. It’s an excellent read that gets better and better as it moves along, though in a couple spots had repeating phrasing and exposition. The end… Quite satisfying. There are more emotional reactions to the ending but I don’t want to give anything away.

Feed is part of a trilogy (still being written) and I can’t wait for the rest to come out, but this one stands on its own, and stands out well.

3 Comments | Catergorized: books

2011.01.24

I Left Facebook

Well, I’ve deactivated my account on Facebook. Why? For a whole host of reasons too long to really go into, but which can be summarized thus:

1: It doesn’t actually enhance my social life.
2: Vicariously following my “friends” doesn’t enhance my relationship with them.
3: Facebook has some serious privacy issues, and that’s not all.
4: My personal life is my own, and doesn’t need to be complicated by a site that feels so impersonal.

Each one of those points could be an entire essay. Note that many of these same reasons apply to why I never got into many of the other “social” media trends except Twitter, and that was purely to get me some free software; huzzah!

It was great when they had Scrabulous but since then I’ve hardly used it. I rarely checked on friend’s profiles, never used any of their games, and pretty much only followed the news feed, which was almost useless since it posted people’s updates that I didn’t care to follow and removed the ability to customize it. After a while I stopped checking that even. Upon a wild occasion I would post my own status update. I think the last ones were wishing folks a Happy XMas (which I could do here) and posting pictures from the wedding, which I did post here. So why don’t I just do what I’m doing here, where the only privacy concerns are the ones I make myself, where you can read what you want (or not!), and live my life by arranging to meet people in person that I can and calling or sending an email to the people I can’t? No reason.

So, that’s all for now. Maybe (maybe!) someday I’ll return but in the meantime I’m going to make a concerted effort to update this site a bit more. I know, I’ve been saying that for a long time, but I’m hoping that this time it actually sticks.

In the meantime, I know in this “modern” and “social” environment that it’s kind of shocking to some if they see their “friend” suddenly not on their “list” and feel put out. I hope you find this page and realize it’s nothing personal against you. This is just something I wanted to do. We can still be friends in the real world.

2 Comments | Catergorized: friends  geek  life  technology  thoughts

2011.01.14

Font Fetish?

When I first started using a computer I developed something of a fetish for collecting fonts. It’s a strange thing, because I never actually used them for anything; I just liked looking at the design of them. Eventually I stopped, the collection vanished along with the rest of my 3.5 inch floppy disk collections, and I moved on to other things which in the course of time I’ve also dropped.

1557CiviliteGranjonStill, in my current job I do the purchasing of all of our fonts so occasionally I’ll run across a font or, less commonly, a foundry that I simply love. I currently have a font-crush on Gilles Le Corre… I’ve been dorking around with his 1557 Civilite Granjon font and have been simply astounded at the quality and features. Click on the image to take a look. Sure it’s just an old-style handwriting, but it’s amazing. For an easy way to view all (?) of his fonts go here. I love that he tries to faithfully digitize and modernize classical writing styles… I want his whole collection!

Comments Off on Font Fetish? | Catergorized: books  geek

2011.01.05

Completed Stargate SG-1

Rosa and I have just finished watching the complete Stargate SG-1 series, including the movies. I think she deserves her official status as a geek conferred in a ceremony of some sort. This is something I didn’t think I would ever do and it’s strangely satisfying to think that we’ve watched 10 season, back to back, over the span of a bit over a year.

Next up: Stargate Atlantis and, eventually, Stargate Universe. I think we’ll wait a little bit, though. Rosa wants to watch some “real” shows first, and by “real” she means not science fiction or fantasy. Just for a bit.

1 Comment | Catergorized: family  geek  life  movies  tv

2011.01.01

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year Everyone! May 2011 be even better than 2010!

Comments Off on Happy New Year 2011 | Catergorized: life

2010.12.29

Best of Bootie 2010

The Best of Bootie 2010 is now online. Go get it!

Comments Off on Best of Bootie 2010 | Catergorized: audio