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By TheophileEscargot (Wed Aug 15, 2018 at 11:55:34 PM EST) Reading, MLP, Museums, Me (all tags)
Reading: "Revenant Gun","A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery","Dreams Before the Start of Time","Real-World Maintainable Software", "Compliance at Speed". Me. Museums. Web.

What I'm Reading
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee. Book 3 in Machineries of Empire trilogy. Seemed like an improvement on the lacklustre middle volume, had more events and a solid conclusion. Still didn't have the urgency and focus of the first volume. Unfortunately we seem to live in an age where single volumes are much less viable.

I liked the ending. Would have been nice to expand the setting and see a bit more of the universe than just officers on space vessels. The relationships felt a bit implausible to me, especially a sudden and unexpected love scene.

Overall a decent conclusion, but you'd get most of the value of the series if you just read the first volume.

Found it a bit annoying that you never seem to get an explanation for the massacre at Hellspin Fortress, you never seem to get either a logical or an emotional explanation for why this otherwise calculating character would do it.

What I'm Reading 2
A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery by Dane Cameron. Had this sitting around in my library for a while, by the time I got to read it I suspect half of it is obsolete. It's aimed at experienced developers who are moving into this technology which I liked: some introductions waste too much time explaining basic principles. He also points out the ways in which JavaScript differs from other languages and how you have to work differently around it.

What I'm Reading 3
Dreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock. Low-key science fiction novel that recently won the Arthur C. Clarke award. It takes a familiar idea, that of artificial wombs that can gestate babies without pregnancy, but follows it through in detail. It takes several linked families and follows them over three generations, starting from near the present day.

It's an interesting approach and quite daring to apply the usually female-gendered techniques of the Family Saga to science fiction. The characters and relationships are handled with a realism that's rare in science fiction, and it feels utterly believable the way the ideas are applied.

At first considered eccentric, "bottle babies" soon become the norm, with strangers on public transport scolding traditionally pregnant women for not providing the best environment.

I found it a little frustrating that we don't learn much else about how history has developed in this future world, but otherwise an excellent read.

What I'm Reading 4
Real-World Maintainable Software by Abraham Marin-Perez. Another one I'd had sitting in my library for a while. A shorter text, wouldn't really fill a whole book. Has good but pretty standard advice on how to write maintainable code. Nothing particularly new but the advice seems sensible. I liked the general rule of keeping the number of parameters in a function to four or fewer in general, bundling them up into a new class if you need more.

Doesn't really help with big codebases. One of the guidelines is to try to keep the whole size of a codebase to 150k lines or fewer, which isn't that helpful when you're work every day on a codebase of a few million lines.

What I'm Reading 5
Compliance at Speed by Mark Lustig. Similar to the above in that it's a short technical book but very disappointing: turgid, jargon-filled and with nothing that's not pretty standard.

Went to Germany for a week, mostly staying with my MiL out in the countryside. Managed to get a bit of a rest and get some reading done. Was very hot for a few days, up to about 35C, then thankfully cooled down with some rain. Felt a bit trapped by heat/rain/cantankerous kid and there's not a lot to do.

Went to Augsburg for a short trip which was nice for the variety, didn't get the chance to eat or drink much Bavarian food or beer though. Went to the museum of the Augsburger Puppenkiste (puppet theatre) which is kind of a cult thing in Germany but didn't mean much to me. I can see it would be fun in the same way I'd love to wander round a museum of all the Gerry Anderson puppets and models, but if you'd never watched Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet it wouldn't be so interesting.

There was also a local festival that was interesting, they do a kind of comedy boat race down a small stream.

Took a day off for myself before the family holiday. Was planning on doing some paperwork but felt my sanity demanded a day off. Went swimming in the outdoor pool in the morning: I sometimes go at lunchtime but it was great to just swim as long as I wanted without having to watch the clock for my limited time.

In the afternoon went to Tate Modern to see a couple of exhibitions. Saw the Picasso exhibition which focuses on one year in his life, 1932, though it cheats a little bit by adding some earlier works for comparison. Fantastic exhibition, with an amazing explosion of creativity there. Sculptures and some great paintings.

Also saw the Shape of Light photography exhibition, which has photographs from the last hundred years alongside other artworks related to them. This one was a bit more low-key but very thought-provoking.

Both well worth seeing.

Pics. Shed of the Year 2018 shortlist. Greatest movie capes.

Politics. Why The American Right Never Liked V.S. Naipaul. Britain's Populist Revolt. No-platforming on Twitter can work – and Baked Alaska proves it. Twitter is a powerful publisher. Twitter's Misguided Quest to Become a Forum for Everything:

Unlike a smaller community, to which admission is a choice that reflects your interests or needs or personality, Twitter has no shared identity beyond “people who want to use Twitter to post...

The platform can’t easily say what smaller intentional forums can: "We don’t want this here; you’re violating the spirit of our community; go away."

Sci/Tech. A Brief Guide to Neuro-Products. Mastodon anti-abuse features. Institutional archaeology.

Articles. Is Queen’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" Actually About Coming Out? Minimalist Magic: The Star Trek Look. To Boldly Go: the Hurried Evolution of Star Trek's Opening Narration. William Shatner's "Has Been". How Ethiopian runners train. Ancient Greeks, colour and race.

Unarmed Self-Defense From WWII. What would a heat-proof city look like?

< No good deed goes unpunished | o hai >
Might Again | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
Books 2 and 4 by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 12:13:29 AM EST
Re: book 2: I work in a building full of web developers, and if you told them you were going to use raw HTML5/JavaScript/Jquery, they'd look at you like you proposed hacking down the nearest tree to make a spear to eat dinner.  Everyone uses one or another app framework

Re: book 4: Seems like the industry is moving away from having one million line codebase to "microservices" and heavy uses of components/libraries.  My team of 8 controls 8-10 git repositories...our organization probably has on the order of a few hundred active repositories.  It isn't so easy on the client side, but when your services are each maybe 10k lines of Java (i.e. 1000 lines in a decent language) life is much easier even if you have a hundred of them.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

Frameworks by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 01:23:22 AM EST
Absolutely you need a framework, but you also need to understand what the framework is built on, or leaky abstractions will fuck you up somewhere.

Microservices: nice to start with, but not easy to migrate a massive monolith to...
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 ]
Oh I want to quote this out of context by iGrrrl (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Sep 07, 2018 at 10:40:28 AM EST
"Absolutely you need a framework, but you also need to understand what the framework is built on, or leaky abstractions will fuck you up somewhere."

Broadly applicable.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

[ Parent ]
We have large codebases by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 06:42:13 AM EST
But we work closer to the hardware, with most of our stuff in c++. Now that codebase is split into libraries and projects, so even out largest project is understandable by one person. But no one person can hold all of it in their heads.

The idea of refactoring so that methods with more than 4 parameters have those parameters in one class, or making the method a class member acting on class variables, has been around since the early days of c++. One of the first things I learned while teaching myself c++ a quarter century ago.

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

[ Parent ]
I'm a web dev by dev trash (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 06:35:13 PM EST
And yeah...jQuery?  plain JS?  At least HTML5 is still in use.

[ Parent ]
Bohemian Rhapsody... by ana (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 06:57:23 AM EST

Or get rabies. Also don't do that. --scrymarch

Greek and racial divides by lm (4.00 / 3) #6 Thu Aug 16, 2018 at 09:06:08 PM EST
So far as I can tell, and I haven't really studied the matter so don't take me too seriously, the only important distinction to the Greeks was speaking Greek. Everyone else was literally a barbarian, they sound like a babbling baby when they talk.

In the Anabasis, after being hired by Cyrus and witnessing his armies and portable throne, etc, the only thing Xenophon is impressed by is that he spoke Greek.

And if you ready comedies like Aristophanes' The Frogs, even Greeks are ordered by how well the speak Greek, perhaps not dissimilar to the way that English speaking people frequently look down on those with rural accents.

So linguistics mattered a whole lot. But most use of "race" was to the "race of men" to distinguish humanity from the gods or the animals, etc.

It's probably accurate to say that there was nothing even approaching the modern conception of race.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
A "Day Off" by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Aug 19, 2018 at 08:39:24 PM EST
I can't remember the last time I took a day off.  Every day I take off is done for a reason.  Family time or errands or something else.  It's something I would look into, but with my wife's broken arm it'll be a while before I have the freedom to do something like that. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Might Again | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)