Phew. Definitely need a three day weekend right now: feeling very abraded by the chaos that is work.
Latest joy was discovering because a certain piece of data is supposed to change at a greater level of granularity than normal, we can't rely on the existing code to set it (which it does nicely and automatically). So, I have to write a new code to do the same job.
Now you remember the "XML" that I was supposed to output, that turned out to be non-standard pseudo-XML? The way that I output this new data is that I put in a certain tag, then write binary data to the file for a bit, then put in an end tag.
Good way to move data around?
What I'm Not Watching
I know I've complained about not getting very far with reading lately, but I've fallen even further behind with the TV. I've got three unwatched episodes of The Shield on tape (or hard drive), plus one Six Feet Under. I abandoned Malcolm in the Middle this series after the BBC started showing an episode every weekday. I know in theory I could save them up, but that takes even more organization and energy and discipline. And lots of organized tapes.
Can't imagine watching the same show every day. I'm just not going to be in the right mood to watch it.
What I'm Downloading
Missed taping a couple of episodes of The Shield, so trying to download them. Is it just me, just these episodes or has Suprnova really gone to shit? Download rates on the torrents seem OK for the first couple of hours, but then drop to between 2 and 8 KB/s. I blame hit-and-runners.
King of Cups
My cheapo digital camera is playing up. I suspect water damage. Anyway, before my last clear-up of the controversial cups, I took a photo:
See, it's hardly a big deal.
The wall cartoon is here. Come to think of it, that seems to have annoyed at least one person as well.
What I'm Listening To
Audio books. Pretty much despairing of getting them in sequence, the latest audiobook I got is a Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin, The Fortune of War. Excellent so far, though the exposition at the start where he explains all the dramatic things that happened in the last book is inevitably annoying, since after a brisk round up of adventures with ice-mountains, mutinies, ship-taking, intrigues and romances you go straight back to a round of dissections, shipboard politics and Maturin's ill-advised attempts to play cricket.
Fortunately, the ship soon blows up and we're back on to shipwreck, cannibalism and a treacherous revolt by those perfidious Americans. Hopefully Captain Aubrey will sort them out in short order. It shouldn't take long: apparently the Americans have no ships of the line, and their frigates are absurdly heavy and over-gunned.
On my latest voyage to the library, I espied the preceding and succeeding books in paper format, which I cut out as prizes. Might have to finish the audio book first though, otherwise things could get confusing.
What I'm Reading
Finally got my way to the end of Ancient Light by Mary Gentle. (sequel to Golden Witchbreed). It was a struggle, but definitely worth it for the superb ending.
The first book was a pretty standard "wander round the strange planet" job, but this one is a lot more ambitious, as the Pan-Oceania Corporation starts to take an interest in the planet Orthe and its technological relics. It's a lot more plausible than usual, with the Company characters actually being realistically drawn people rather than evil stereotypes, making an effort to minimize the damage they do. The local politics are also realistic, with rival nations taking different attitudes to the offworlders.
I think the realistic complexity is one of the best features of both books. Usually authors love to simplify: desert planet, forest planet, feudal planet. There might be a couple of rival nations, but there's usually one or two convenient Supreme Rulers; and of course a single Earth Government.
In Gentle's future, Earth is still divided into similar power blocs to today, though the corporations are relatively more powerful. Orthe is also divided, and the different groups interact without much common purpose.
Be warned though: the ending is not exactly cheerful. Gentle describes a steadily deteriorating situation, leading inevitably to disaster as the outside universe disturbs the fragile stability of Orthe, despite the best efforts of the characters to contain it. Mary Gentle claims to still get hate mail about the ending, and certainly some amazon reviewers are unhappy bunnies about it.
Stolen from Metafilter: Fuck it: nice game.
Stolen from pHatidic on K5: Beware Wikipedia: "It's not the online version of an established, well-researched traditional encyclopedia. Instead, Wikipedia is a do-it-yourself encyclopedia, without any credentials." More on the debate here.
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