October 20, 2010

Zero History; William Gibson

First thoughts: not sure if I'm enjoying his elliptical sentences (and paragraphs) anymore. And his focus on fashion minutiae comes across as aristocratic putrefaction. Or maybe incisiveness? I enjoy revisiting these characters (viz. Hollis Henry and Hubertus Bigend) though.

Continue reading "Zero History; William Gibson"
posted by sstrader at 12:43 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

The Girl Who Played with Fire; Stieg Larsson

More action than the first. Larsson continues his odd stylistic sallies into dray, page-long descriptions. Dragon Tattoo had a lengthy list of the specs on Salander's new PC (ca 2002). Played with Fire has the furniture acquired from her trip to IKEA. LC sent me this article from Apartment Therapy with the passage in question+pics of her IKEA swag. The comments were fun. Also noticed that every character seemed oversexed in the first half of this book. Am I missing some theme? Last ~150 pages were riveting action/suspense. I'd seen the movie but there was much added here.

Continue reading "The Girl Who Played with Fire; Stieg Larsson"
posted by sstrader at 12:28 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

October 19, 2010

My first Android app

I just published my first Android app to the Android Market. It's an idea I had a year or so ago and, after getting my new HTC Incredible a few months ago, finally got the opportunity to write it. It's called ::Argot and it's a tool to bookmark locations to revisit them later. I had the idea during last year's Cabbage Town Chomp and Stomp. It was packed as usual and after wandering around I could never find my way back to where friends were camped out. The v1.0 is pretty basic, but I plan on adding features and creating a more robust premium version to maybe sell for a buck.

I've been very happy with the development tools for Eclipse and there's a strong community of developers and code samples on the internet. I was seldom stumped with a problem for very long. It felt good to get back to application development after doing primarily web development for so many years.

After the updates to Argot, I'll probably create a front-end for RadioWave. I've been listening to streaming stations in the car, and it would be nice to "dial" through their schedules to find something to listen to.

posted by sstrader at 8:13 PM in Programming | tagged android, argot, mobile development | permalink

October 17, 2010

Where was I?

We took a trip to Boston Thursday September 23rd through that Sunday, prompted by Lisa and Natalie's 1/2 marathon in Hollis, NH (the Applefest Half!) and the fact that the last/only other time were were there was back in January 2000.

Continue reading "Where was I?"
posted by sstrader at 6:15 PM in Where was I? | permalink

October 8, 2010

PediaPress book for our Thailand trip

We're going to Thailand next year (got a great deal) so I put together a Wikipedia/PediaPress book for our trip:

Thailand book

Not sure how valuable my knowledge of Bangkok taken from The Windup Girl will be. Some friends took the trip a year or so ago and had a great time but warned that the heat will be far beyond what the American South has to offer. We had the option to tack on either Ankor Wat or Phuket. Beaches won out over Hindu temples.

posted by sstrader at 1:52 PM in Personal | tagged pediapress, thailand, the windup girl | permalink

October 3, 2010

Offsite data backup options

Two years ago, I reviewed offsite backup options for our home network and chose Data Deposit Box (now KineticD) primarily for their Win2k and network mapping support. A year ago, I upgraded my home machines, got rid of the old OSes, and upgraded my web server to Ubuntu. With those changes in, it's time to compare my new options for backup. DDB's most serious limitation is cost/MB, and moving to a new service will finally make it affordable to backup our digital pics and my home recordings to something other than CDR.

I'm trying out CrashPlan after hearing about them during a Basement Coders podcast (advertising works?!). Their pricing across multiple computers is comparable to/better than Carbonite and Mozy. They can't access network shares (DDB's greatest benefit) but their version for Linux eliminates my need for that. Their binary install is full-featured, if a bit confusing at first, and their web site gives you access to all versions of your files.

posted by sstrader at 6:40 PM in Home Network & Gadgets | permalink

October 2, 2010

Random thoughts an hour into watching the documentary The Corporation and watching it to the end

(based on notes taken during)

  • Are ads more powerful now or are children adapting better? The movie suggest the former, but the continuum of 20th century history does not.
  • David Foster Wallace (and others') expression of consumerist ennui relates to the idea that children are indoctrinated to be consumers against their natural disposition. That capitalist/consumerist impulse is detrimental to us as we grow older and manifests dissatisfaction as we wonder why we have this compulsion to purchase. I love buying books and music.
  • In the documentary, Noam Chomsky is sitting in for Theodore Adorno to prove that Adorno was correct in arguing that capitalism corrupted us via consumerism.
  • Corporate philanthropy is often/always connected to corporate tax benefits. How much more could we have done with the money if we didn't sink 90+% of the money into corporate tax write-offs?
  • I laughed at the concept of Disney-mediated neighborhoods until I considered that it's exactly what those afraid of "modern society" based on a false nostalgia would want.
  • Regarding the idea that corporations mediate all of our interactions: Facebook scares me even more.
  • In 1980, Warren Berger was the deciding vote in the judgment to allow life forms to be patented. He felt that it was not an important decision. Again, I'm reminded of The Windup Girl. The Berger decision will be the moment in time that is most remembered as when corporations were given primacy over life.
  • Canada does not allow bovine growth hormone. The film stated that it was because of traces of Prosilac in milk, but it was actually because it was detrimental to the health of the cows.
  • Bolivians fought back successfully against corporate control of the water system.
  • At many points in this documentary, individuals point out that democratic governments have no power over multi-national corporations. At the start of the Gulf oil spill, Hugo Chavez said the exact same thing. (can't find citation)
  • Many right-leaning groups long for anger at the government to get so strong that an armed, patriotic revolution happens. Other countries have had such armed revolutions directed against corporate control. World trade protesters sometimes become violent and are castigated for it. Isn't that the same?
  • It was refreshing to see dispassionate, thoughtful, and reflective comments from Chomsky, Zinn, Moore, and Klein. Michael Moore's revelation tyeing his auto-worker roots to global warming was interesting.
  • Ultimately hopeful.
  • The first industrial revolution is not working. It is flawed. It is unsustainable. - Ray Anderson