I kinda feel like we’re just too inured to the modern miracle that is SQLite. That a fully featured relational database supporting much of the SQL standard can be packaged up in less than 1MB of portable code is incredible. And they guarantee to support the current (open, portable) file format until 2050, which is why it is specifically supported by the Library of Congress!
Unexpected ipv6 benefit: upgrading Debian testing, NetworkManager package broke (I still don’t know how). Rebooted to a system with no network connectivity. Thanks to a hard wired dock, all I had to do was an “ip set [iface] up” and everything autoconfigured and I could access Google and the Debian package repos (for the curious, I just had to run
apt-get install --fix-broken).
A book billed as a thriller that explores a family as they come to grips with the disappearance of a child, the book defied my expectations, for good reasons and bad.
The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, who are taking a family vacation before their daughter leaves for college. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic.
Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion.
There’s no book in recent memory that I found as challenging to review as I’m finding this one. I think that’s because Descent tries to be two things at once: both a thriller, telling the story of the disappearance of Caitlyn, a high school senior and track star who is abducted while going for a run during a family vacation to the Colorado Rockies, and a deep character study of the family members–her father Grant, her mother Angela, and her brother Sean–and their lives, together and apart, as they grapple with the nightmare of a daughter and a sister who disappears without a trace. Each of these stories would, individually, be a gripping read. Unfortunately, I feel Mr. Johnston tried to do too much, and as a result, taken as a whole, nothing works as well as it could.
Of course, I still enjoyed the book very much, and was up way too late during the big climax. But, the more I thought about the book and talked about it to my wife, the more I couldn’t overlook the flaws in this debut novel.Continue reading...
For anyone making use of my RSS feeds, I made some changes to simplify the template while making some content formatting changes (e.g. inlining the feature image at the start of longer articles/reviews). I’ve also limited the main feed to 25 posts instead of 50, which seemed excessive. While I tested with an offline reader, I can’t guarantee things won’t break, so if they do, please let me know!
Someone recently asked me for pointers to good sock knitting lessons. Not a pattern. Lessons on how to really grok knitting socks. So I decided to try throwing something together, specifically for how I approach toe-up socks! Warning, this is definitely a first draft, so it’s very possible I’ll come back and update this post to fix things up…
So, way back in the before time, I decided to attempt to knit a pair of socks. Not one to do things the normal way, I opted for the toe-up lessons from Denise Powell on the now defunct socknitters.com. The thing that really attracted me to toe-up was the idea that I could just try socks on as I went rather than trying to nail the sizing up front, something that, as a not very confident knitter, I didn’t think I had a hope in heck of getting right.
Now, many years later, I can’t imagine knitting socks any other way. Toe-up just feels inherently intuitive to me (though, admittedly, it isn’t without its downsides, as most patterns are set up for cuff-down socks, which means you’ve gotta do extra work to reverse them).
In part, I think this is because of Powell’s approach to teaching sock knitting, which did away with teaching the reader to follow a rote pattern, but instead focused on the structural elements of socks and how you knit each component. This gave the reader a much more fundamental understanding of sock construction, thereby helping the knitter build that necessary intuition that allows for later improvisation.
Well, I decided to take a crack at writing a new set of lessons inspired by Denise’s work and my own experiences both knitting socks and teaching others to do the same. I hope this is useful to aspiring sock knitters out there!Continue reading...
Apparently my new pattern is to read a whole series, then post a review only after the last book is done. So here I am, at it again, this time posting my thoughts about Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners, and the final book, Calamity.
When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned Prof, his closest ally, into a dangerous enemy.
David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. . . .
But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.
First, a quick disclosure: while the book metadata I’ve included with this post implies I read this book, that is a lie! In fact, my wife and I listened to the audiobooks together, knocking down the first two during our trip to see the 2023 annular eclipse, and then finishing the last one in our livingroom.
Additionally, as I mentioned in the post summary, I didn’t get around to writing down my thoughts about the first two books as we finished them, so like my review of The Nexus trilogy, this review is based on my overall thoughts after finishing the last book, Calamity.
And since these reviews are mainly for Future Brett as he tries to remember what he thought about these books, I’ll just say: sorry buddy. I’ll do my best, here, but I make no guarantees.Continue reading...
This is short review of the whole Nexus trilogy by Ramez Naam, though given I didn’t get around to writing notes or reviews for the first two books, these are my reflections after finishing Apex.
Global unrest spreads through the US, China, and beyond. Secrets and lies set off shockwaves of anger, rippling from mind to mind. Riot police battle neurally-linked protestors. Armies are mobilized. Political orders fall. Nexus-driven revolution is in here.
Against this backdrop, a new breed of post-human children are growing into their powers. And a once-dead scientist, driven mad by her torture, is closing in on her plans to seize planet's electronic systems, and re-forge everything in her image.
A new Apex species is here. The world will never be the same.
Unlike my wife, writing reviews for books isn’t something I automatically think of doing. But I always regret not doing it because, years later, they help remind my poor, addled brain what I thought about a book or series. My memory, it’s not great!
So, here I am at the end of The Nexus Trilogy, and I’m gonna try to write a (brief? I dunno, we’ll see!) review of Apex particularly but the whole series in general. We’ll see how this goes.Continue reading...
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