Print Story And the hammers batter down your door
Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 01:07:48 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching, Me, Consumerism (all tags)
Reading: "The Raj at War", "The Stone Sky". Watching. Consumerism. Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The Raj at War by Yasmin Khan. A "people's history" of India and Pakistan during WW2. It uses letters, journals and interviews with ordinary people as sources; combining them with accounts of what the more famous people were up to. It covers a lot but has a focus on the relationship between WW2 and indepence

It's a fairly short book on a very big topic. It leaves you wanting more information on a lot of things which could fill books on their own right. The battles fought by Indian troops could easily be a book: there are a few chapters on the battle of Keren where the first Indians got VCs in a close fought back and forth mountaintop struggle with Italian troops in Africa. At the time Imperial propaganda said "it is possible that history may mark this as one of the decisive battles of the world. It is a battle honour which aqll units, British and Indian alike, will treasure with particular pride in centuries to come". In practice after the war an Indian Indepedent saw little to celebrate in a battle for their old master, and the British largely rewrote the war into a story of a plucky Island Standing Alone, conveniently forgetting the millions of Commonwealth troops.

The Bengal Famine of 1943 could also be a book in its own right. The destruction of boats, failure to anticipate problems and then endless stalling and refusal of requests for help caused a vast number of avoidable deaths. It also seems another case where individuals are important as the new Viceroy Archibald Wavell at least made more attempts than his successor. In an early example of burying bad news, the official report on the famine was carefully released on VE Day. The accounts of armed guards repelling starving people from trains full of food at places where they were forced to slow are pretty haunting.

The war caused severe disruptions. The Japanese threatened invasion and actually occupied the Andaman Island so air defences had to be put in place, and boats around the coasts were forcibly destroyed (another big contributor to the Bengal Famine). India was a staging route for the war for Burma and South East Asia: the "Man a Mile" road was constructed with great hardship. There was severe economic disruption with rising prices. Unlike in Britain where the war was funded largely by bonds, India bought those bonds by raising taxes. There were also a lot of allegedly oluntaray contributions to the "War Fund" that were in practice extracted by force: the Raj actively punished those who would not contribute. Many in the Indian diaspora fell under Japanese rule and were affected or inspired by it. Indian troops served all over the world, and made up a large fraction of the merchant navy. Draconian laws gave the Raj extreme powers, and collective punishment was used against rebels, protesters and the indepedence movement.

Midway through the war the British imprisoned Congress en masse, believing that would end resistance to the war. The reverse happened: the young were far more anti-war and the more populist "Quit India" movement encouraged resistance and sabotage. A new generation of activists like Aruna Asaf Ali went into hiding.

Opinions on the war were divided across India. The princes generally supported the war, believing that they would be rewarded for their loyalty afterwards, and tried to supply troops and money. Some prospered in the war, from businessmen with contracts to farmers who found military pay much better than subsitence farming. The demands of the war meant that Britain had to end its policy of keeping manufacturing in Britain: they allowed Indian entrepeneurs to start ship and plane building. Manye thought that the struggle against fascism was an urgent priority. Others saw the war as an external struggle India had been dragged into. Others saw the Japanese as potentially better than the British.

The war certainly increased the pressure for Independence. It was a lot harder to believe in British caring or competence afterwards. Many Indians had been exposed to a wider world, either serving abroad, interacting with American troops in India, or inspired by the Japanese.

Overall, a fascinating book, though it only scratches the surface of complicated topics.

What I'm Reading 2
The Stone Sky by N. K. Jeminisin. Final volume of the "Broken Earth" trilogy set in a tectonically unstable world where certain people can control geology. I loved this series and I thought this brought things to a satisfying conclusion. Things fit together neatly, though perhaps a bit predictably.

Overall though I think this series lives up to its reputation. The complexity of the characters and the level of invention and world-building make it one of the best series I've read in years.

Well worth reading. Be aware that it's a single continuing story which absolutely has to be read in order.

What I'm Watching
Saw Atomic Blonde. A female agent is sent to Berlin just before the fall of the Berlin War who fights to retrieve information. Found this very fun to watch: lots of Eighties nostalgia with a great soundtrack, some very good action scenes like the stairwell fight in a Eastern apartment block. Thought the ending was a bit of a letdown as they try to cram too many twists in: suspect there's been some meddling or changing of minds there. Overall though worth a look.

Consumerism
Bought a second hand Kindle Paperwhite. I was very reluctant to get into ebooks at first as I fear the monopoly power of Amazon. But I've ended up doing most of my reading on my phone for the convenience. On holiday I really wanted to be able to read without worrying about using up the battery, so I've given in to the inevitable.

I like it a lot. Easy to use, easy to read, battery lasts, has an internal light so I can read in the night. Doesn't have any functions outside reading (and buying books) which is a bonus.

I've been getting concerned about being always online, so now I'm trying to park my phone after dinner time every day and just read books, no Internet. I can wait till the next morning to find out what horrible things have been said and done in those few hours. Have kept it up for a week or so and feel generally better.

Me
Have finished the weight loss programme, now trying to get a bit fitter by taking up some running again. I gave up last time with knee pain so this time I'm trying to be ultra-cautious: bought decent shoes, do all the stretches, have been ramping up speeds and distances very gradually. So far it seems to be working: little pain which has receded instead of getting worse.

I'm running every two days in the morning for a couple of weeks. I do the first part of the 5BX exercises (running has always been an acceptable substitute for the second part), then some running, then the dumb-bells. Feeling fitter already: can much more easily keep up with the toddler when he dashes away. My last run was 7.27km at 5:28 minutes per kilometer: not astounding speeds or distances but hopefully doing me some good.

Links
Socioeconomics. Six global banks join forces to create digital currency, Central Banks Can’t Ignore the Cryptocurrency Boom. British farms learn to work with fewer seasonal migrants. Portugal and austerity.

Sci/Tech. The Myth of The 30 IQ Point "Communication Range". How Online Filter Bubbles Are Making Parents Of Autistic Children Targets For Fake "Cures" The tech of "Terminator 2": we interviewed some peopleAn Oral History. Leaving massive juice peel pile in a national park.

Politics. Alt-Right Operatives Behind Fake Antifa Accounts. A Most American Terrorist: The Making of Dylann Roof

Random. Words: Fugleman. French naming convention for dogs. I’m Sick Of Busting My Ass Doing Neo-Nazi Stuff Only To Have Some Masked Antifa Dweebs Get Credit As The Real Fascists.

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And the hammers batter down your door | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I've been trying to want a reader by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 04:08:51 AM EST
For a while I had one and it was great, but only for reading novels or other things meant to be consumed end-to-end. But 90%+ of my reading is for edification (and reference) purposes, and the process there is so back-and-forth that I print papers or data sheets or whatever and I bind them with paperclips so I can pull the pages out and have the information available side-by-side when needed.

Kindle also cleverly avoids giving you wifi. I assume this is so you'll buy books instead of just loading whatever you want off your NAS or whatever. I would seriously consider buying one for reading papers (where back-tracking isn't usually more than a page or so) if only it had wifi. Prices: aren't Amazon's a bit high? They're rarely substantially lower, and sometimes they're higher than the printed books (usually on technical material—baffling, per above.) All I've got is: something something Ayn Rand.

The tragedy is I'd read more novels if I had a reader. I can barely justify buying books anymore, due to space, so I try to keep it restricted to stuff that has high utility per kilogram. I've allowed myself a few novels though.

P.S. big ups for clickhole.

Chill out, snowflake.

NAS or whatever by clover kicker (4.00 / 2) #3 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 07:14:39 AM EST
> I assume this is so you'll buy books instead of just loading whatever you want off your NAS or whatever.

Highly recommended ---> https://calibre-ebook.com/

Will convert between e-book formats and PDF, plug the Kindle into the USB and upload by the dozen!

[ Parent ]
Thanks! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 01:01:26 AM EST
Looks useful.
--
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 ]
Even the least expensive kindle has wi-fi by lm (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 08:03:21 AM EST
Go up to the Paperwhite and it has wi-fi + free 3g.

They have long have a service offering a special email account for every registered kindle where you can email a book in a non kindle format and they convert it and you download it onto your kindle over wi-fi or 3g.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
The ones I looked at by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 04:24:20 PM EST
had comments bemoaning the absence of wifi. idk, might look again.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
The first generation kindles by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 01:01:07 AM EST
Let you surf the Web, or at least the part of it that would render. Later generations don't. They all let you download/buy books over wifi, and some models let you download/buy over 3G. They're probably bemoaning that they can't surf the web over Wifi anymore.
--
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 ]
Ah by dark nowhere (4.00 / 2) #12 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 01:13:54 AM EST
that probably prevents me from doing what I want then. I want to be able to find a pdf/similar on the web somewhere and have it on the reader almost immediately (ideally via qr scanner or browser plugin.) I'd settle for some interruption, but when it comes to messing with cables I feel like we're not farther ahead than when I had a Jetbook.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
I believe you can do that ... by lm (4.00 / 2) #15 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 10:08:30 AM EST
... just not from the kindle. Email the pdf from any device to the converter address you get when you register your kindle and your kindle should pull it down almost immediately.

See: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201974220


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
That by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 12:54:58 PM EST
is more like it. Not a fan of the round-trip via Amazon, but it's understandable.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
I was a bit wrong by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #25 Sun Sep 10, 2017 at 03:24:35 AM EST
Turns out there's an "Experimental Browser" buried in the options on the home screen. It lets you browse bits of the Web, but not everything.
--
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 ]
Oddly enough by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #16 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 12:48:54 PM EST
Because of this Humble Bundle I had a sudden need to transfer a bunch of ebooks.

This is for a Kindle Fire, but I am sure PaperWhite's work in a similar fashion.  "Email to this address" works fine, though emailing 30mb+ files is annoying.

Transferring .mobi files like I do videos also works just fine.  I use the "ES File System" app to view/launch the files.  (Maybe there's a better way?)   I use the iOS "Android File Transfer" app to send the files over USB.  (From the Mac App store, no clue about Windows.)

(Note that when I first got the thing, I immediately put the Google Android Store on it.  I've had the device a year and had no issues.

I don't have a PaperWhite, so don't know if some of those steps won't work there.
---
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
That's an impessive bundle by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 01:53:28 PM EST
I can't do tablets. Not sure why, but I've read more books on my DS Lite than on any tablet/phone. I'd go in for an MS Courier if Gates hadn't killed it off for not doing Outlook. The ASUS Eee Note was almost great, but it was bulky, slow, and buggy.

I bring it up because I am kind of frustrated that you can get a decent reader, but past that it goes to hell. The Courier and Eee Note were meant to do all the book-like functions (including notebook, sketchbook, and even scrap-book) and the hardware was designed to support those use-cases. I'd rather not kill trees or waste space, so a good version of one of those devices would set me up.

A tablet is too general in the sense that you can do anything badly (i.e. typing, drawing, etc.) so the value-add goes very negative when you have a few specific needs. Idk what the screen is like, but I couldn't read on the tablets/phones I've had.

Anyway, it seems like the email-to-device stuff works on the PaperWhite also, making it... well, it's under consideration once again.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I understand by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 02:45:07 PM EST
These are literally the first technical books I've put on the device.

My corporate masters have a device that looks incredible.  e-Ink at some ungodly resolution at 8.5"/11" with primo notetaking/sketch capabilities.  It's in the neighborhood of $10k and meant only for corporate customers.

I am an ereader early adopter.  First novel I read on a device was on the original palm pilot

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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
$10k sounds like fashion by dark nowhere (4.00 / 1) #20 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 04:12:40 PM EST
That said, if they put $10k of actual utility I wanted in one and made it fit in a large pocket, I would honestly buy one this week, assuming it checked out. But I don't think I could come up with enough features I'd want in a single device. Like does the display run at 240hz so execs can watch cat videos?

Jokes aside, I can see how it could work at that level. You give them solid tools, the workflow improves. It costs $10k because you'll pay it and be better for having done so (and someone who won't do better with it will buy it anyway because "that's how they do it at $Megacorp.") Hook that stuff up to the right kind of groupware ($10k a seat better buy you a nice SLA on feature requests) and you'll have a high-level work organization win.

Chill out, snowflake.

[ Parent ]
Get the caliber ebook manager software. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #21 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 06:01:22 PM EST
Yeah, you need a USB cable, but it does lots of conversions and all the syncing.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I have a Fire by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #6 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 11:51:50 AM EST
I got one of these when it was on sale.  I find it just about perfect for my purposes.  It doesn't have the battery life that a PaperWhite would, but I still get roughly a week's worth of train reading on it, so that's good enough.

When I bought it, I had a bunch of books from the Google Play store.  Though obviously this tablet is heavily Amazon driven, getting the Play store and my books on it was simple.

I've never put books directly on, but I'm sure it's easy, because this device's secondary use is as a video player when I travel.  I typically rip a bunch of CDs, copy them to the tablet, then watch them with VNC.  (This is the chief reason I got it instead of the PaperWhite.)

I only read narrative stuff on it though, not software engineering books.  But I've gone over to the eReader so hard that I know get somewhat annoyed when I have to read a physical book.

To me, the best (or maybe worst) feature is the ease of transactions.  Being able to see a friend on social media rave about something and having it available to read in under a minute is nice...
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
I also got a Fire, since I was traveling a lot by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Sep 05, 2017 at 03:12:28 PM EST
and it made carrying books a lot easier than trying to stuff dead tree books in an overflowing backpack.

I started with an HD 6, and moved up to an HD 8, fifth generation.

It's nice to be able to check work email in three minutes without having to boot up a laptop, then check social media, then go back to a book.


[ Parent ]
Kindle by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 07:11:57 AM EST
"It is nicer to have 1 book with you than a Kindle. It is nice to have a Kindle with you than 10 books" - some dude on the internet

The Paperwhite has a really nice screen too.

> I was very reluctant to get into ebooks at first as I fear the monopoly power of Amazon.

I've had decent luck with the Pirate Bay for ebooks.

At some point when your kid is older you're going to be frequently stuck at i.e. swimming lessons and you're going to put a lot of miles on that Kindle.


Two extremely useful links for book readers. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 11:15:16 AM EST
Calibre for managing books acquired outside the Amazon walled garden, and Gutenberg for acquiring free books. Several publishers will sell drm free ebooks on their websites.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Cheers by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 01:02:05 AM EST
I'm going to try getting some Gutenberg stuff on there sometime.
--
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 ]
There's also standard ebooks by darkbrown (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 08:12:49 AM EST
https://standardebooks.org they're reformatting some of the gutenberg books, making them more readable

[ Parent ]
I bought a Kindle a few years ago by Herring (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Sep 03, 2017 at 05:23:31 PM EST
because I just don't have physical space for more books.

I'm put a few non-Amazon things on there which are public domain. It works well and only having to charge it occasionally is nice.

People still give me paper books and I tend to put off reading them because of the hassle. I need to fix this.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Kindle by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Sep 04, 2017 at 09:19:34 AM EST
Not wrong to be leery of Amazon's market power but it's a very good device. I was getting headaches from reading phone / tablet too much, they went away. Not a gizmo guy, I held off a long time.

Outside of huge metros like London or countries with an Amazon equivalent ebooks are a godsend for anything slightly obscure too.

Iambic Web Certified

There are still non-Amazon ebook readers by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #23 Wed Sep 06, 2017 at 10:26:51 AM EST
Although they are sadly far between. I really liked my Kobo, and the Sony that preceded it. Actually, I still love the Sony but it doesn't have a backlight which makes reading in bed more awkward.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
hmm by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #24 Thu Sep 07, 2017 at 12:51:04 PM EST
Once the battery on my color nook died, I haven't bothered to replace it thanks to a superior android tablet. I doubt that would be the case if it had e-ink or otherwise long battery life.

Newegg doesn't seem to stock any non-kindle e-readers (oddly enough, Amazon stocks KOBO, but I simply searched for KOBO, there weren't good options for "tablet with e-ink". Presumably the rest of the market has conceded that to Kindle.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Meh. No point in a color ebook reader. by ObviousTroll (4.00 / 1) #26 Mon Sep 11, 2017 at 12:43:41 PM EST
But yeah, for all the screams a few years ago that Apple was engaged in monopoly ebook pricing, there's really only one vendor for ebook readers today.

An Angry and Flatulent Pig, Trying to Tie Balloon Animals
[ Parent ]
And the hammers batter down your door | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback