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By TheophileEscargot (Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 08:02:27 AM EST) Reading, Watching, Consumerism, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Black Powder War". Watching: "W". Consumerism. Web.

What I'm Reading
Finished Black Powder War by Naomi Novik. Third in the Temeraire series: Napoleonic War with dragons.

Liked this one. Has a lot more action than the last one: this time Lawrence and the crew journey overland from China to Istanbul, and after some adventures keep going to fight with the Prussians against the Corsican Monster. Pretty light stuff but highly entertaining.

What I'm Watching
Saw W at the cinema. Fairly sympathetic comedy-drama about the life of the noted president.

Impersonations are a bit variable, though Brolin seems uncannily accurate as Dubya. Pretty good for a politics junkie, as you get to see the soundbites and evens of the last few years recapitulated on screen.

Not hilariously funny, though there are a few good moments and good lines.

Overall, fairly interesting, but if you can't stand the man or aren't interested in the subject, would probably be a bit boring.

Review, review.

Bought the G1 Googlephone. Mixed feelings about it.

Positive: The capacitive touchscreen and the Android UI are very nice: extremely easy to use, especially by the generally crappy standards of smartphones. There's even a separate click-drag-knob-thing you can use if you don't like getting fingerprints on the screen. Web-browsing is very good as you'd expect. Has built-in interfaces to Google Maps and YouTube: the mapping is very slick. Works as a USB storage device, you can just plug it in and drag and drop stuff. To load music you just copy the MP3s there. Haven't tried it with any non-ID3-tagged stuff yet though.

Negative: battery life seems pretty poor if you're doing anything much with it. Especially if you switch on GPS: that seems to suck the battery dry in no time. Was pretty nifty to see my location ping up on Google Maps though. However when I tried it in on the South Bank in London, it suddenly decided I was somewhere near Marseilles in France. It wouldn't connect to my Bluetooth folding keyboard, which was a bit of drag, as I'd hoped that would be an advantage over the Iphone. Camera is terrible: no flash, some pictures come out dark, and you have to hold it painfully still.

Mixed. The slide-out QWERTY keyboard seems a bit flimsy, and while it's fine for texting, wouldn't like to do much serious blogging on it. There's a Market button that lets you download apps from the Google-approved list. It's a very slick install: tells you what permissions the app has, and if you install it downloads in the background and is instantly available. However, the apps available are pretty crude an amateurish so far: disappointed by the lack of a decent e-book reader.

The notorious Shell bug is still there, though they're apparently rolling out fixes.

Overall, probably a bit early for mainstream use: you'd be better off waiting for more apps, accessories and bug-fixes. If you want a web-phone right now and have an Apple allergy, maybe worth a look.

Not sure if I should have got the Iphone instead. It's probably a more rational decision in terms of technology since it's more mature, but the wankery attitude and artificial attempts to make it difficult to buy put me off.

Reg review.

Update [2008-11-12 14:12:54 by TheophileEscargot]:Just checked and it does indeed play Oggs! OK, that's worth it then.

Pics. Where science equipment goes to die (article). Atlantic city 1908. Miniature art. Falling/jumping people.

Articles. The Industrial Vagina. Doctors cannot prevent alcoholism. Chinese-Americans not model minority, face glass ceiling.

Misc. Google predicts flu. Pilot approved for HBO A Song of Ice and Fire TV series.

< le sigh | I fail it. >
Powder burns | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
WIPO by Herring (4.00 / 2) #1 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:20:05 AM EST
CP/M Mobile.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

I've had a think about this by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:54:46 AM EST
And I can see how it would work.

To send a text:
PIP <phone number> <text file>

To play a music file:
PIP AUD1: <mp3 file>

etc. Just like real CP/M

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Bah by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:45:24 AM EST
You can run a Linux command line on the G1... no need to go back to the dark ages.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Iphone by Imperial Mince (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:34:16 AM EST
Using my iphone intermittently through the day gives me < 12 hours before it cries about the battery being low. Assited GPS is cool though.
This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
Song of Ice and Fire by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:40:56 AM EST
I dread that.  The only positive I can think of is that it gives George R. R. Martin extra cash.  With the amount of material, they'd need about 30 episodes a book to do it justice.  I don't see that happening.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
I think there's a lot of room for cutting though by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:51:14 AM EST
It has a lot of intertwined storylines, and in the last book GRRM just decided to defer half of them till the next volume. I think they'd have to just concentrate on a couple of the storylines.

Offhand, I can't think of any attempt to turn epic fantasy novels into TV series, so it's hard to say whether it will work. Budget problems might just make it look silly. Or TV may just not be the right medium for epic.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Maybe by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:26:55 AM EST
Part of it is I am feeling very let down in retrospect by "Rome", which, while not exactly epic fantasy, was a sprawling epic.  I loved the characters and the setting and even the writing but was vastly disappointed that they took something they easily could have gotten ten seasons out of and crammed it into one.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
he should stop fucking around by garlic (4.00 / 2) #6 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:21:04 AM EST
with card games and board games and tv shows and get back to writing the books.

[ Parent ]
He very obviously can't by Imperial Mince (4.00 / 1) #10 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:59:05 PM EST
I, for one, welcome our new Jordanian overlord.

This space reserved for whining like a little bitch and being sanctimonious.
[ Parent ]
What? by nightflameblue (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 10:34:40 AM EST
Why did no one tell me there's an entire subgenre of Dragon included alt histories out there?

For the first time in a long time, I've got books worth seeking out on my list that aren't "educational."

The google flu thing made quite a few rounds... by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 01:43:48 AM EST work, especially considering a lot of people here have used and read this guy's research before.... however he seems a bit sore about the whole issue. He's certainly not the only researcher/epidemiologist using search trends to predict epidemics.

While the google flu trends are interesting I always thought them a bit too far removed from indentified cases to be a quality indicator of flu trends, using the same line of research this should point towards massive outbreaks of H5N1 in 2004, 2005 and 2006 while as far as I know the number of confirmed outbreaks are still rather small (small in the pandemic sense).

-- The revolution will not be televised.
Powder burns | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback