Book reviews for October 2013

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18) by Lee Child

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18) by Lee Child

4/5

Exactly what you'd expect from Reacher. It's a solid thriller and totally on form.

 

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Fortune Cookies for Android

Fortune Cookies for Android

Fortune is now available on Google Play. It's an Android version of the UNIX fortune program and will send a random fortune cookie to your notification area at 8ish every morning.

ZoneInfo Update (tzdata for .NET)

ZoneInfo Update (tzdata for .NET)

I've used the ZoneInfo (PublicDomain.ZoneInfo) project from CodePlex for quite a few years, especially in Catfood Earth. The project had rusted a little so I emailed the author (Mark Rodrigues) and he was kind enough to add me as a developer. I've just updated ZoneInfo with some of the local changes I'd made and a variety of patches from the CodePlex community. It now works with the latest IANA tzdata file, at least for the test cases I can run. Let me know if I missed something (and thanks Mark for letting me contribute back to this very helpful project).

Moon, Sutro Tower (from Bernal Heights)

Moon, Sutro Tower (from Bernal Heights)

I really want to just blame Boehner...

I really want to just blame Boehner...

...but if you can't keep a Government open the consequence should be an election and not a stalemate.

Staying Chrome?

Staying Chrome?

I've been using my Samsung Chromebook at work for around ten months now. It's not my main computer but it's a meeting survival powerhouse for email, instant messaging and note taking. The battery lasts approximately forever, it boots immediately and the decent keyboard and trackpad are just miles ahead of fumbling around on a tablet.

There are two problems for me with the Chrome universe. One will probably get fixed, one could be a deal breaker.

The first issue is VPN support. Apparently we use some sort of old, fiddly Cisco VPN that ChromeOS simply won't talk to. I filed Issue 261241 in the Chromium bug tracker and hopefully it will get fixed soon. If you're struggling with the same thing please star the bug report.

I can work around the VPN problem by using LogMeIn or Chrome Remote Desktop. But I can't live long without Skype. Actually I'd be perfectly happy to never use Skype again but my company runs on about fifty thousand Skype chats. I used Imo.IM for a while but they were forced to drop Skype support. Right now I'm using IM+ which as far as I'm aware is the only working Skype option for a Chromebook (please tell me if I'm wrong) but it's buggy and can't restore a connection between sessions. I either need to find a way to kill Skype at work or wait for (or write) a better web-only client.

Probably worth sticking it out, Gartner reports a 8.6% fall in PC sales but predicts Chromebooks growing to over 12 million units by 2016.

(Previously, Previously)

(Image by he4rtofcourage, CC).

Memo to future: How to reassemble Kate’s cot

cot-step1

The long bolts with plastic washers attach to the head and foot of the cot (1). These are easier to screw in using a drill with a hex bit. Put the four smallest bolts through the holes (2) before attaching the sides or you’ll be taking the sides off again. These will be used to attach the mattress spring.

cot-step2

Cams go in the head and foot (1), smallest bolts as described above (2).

cot-step3

Now just attach the sides with the medium bolts and then the mattress spring using the wing nuts.

cot-step4

Missing one of the medium bolts? It’s in this bag somewhere. When asking Kate to help by putting bolts in a bag remember to be very, very specific about which bag next time. The rest of the hardware is in a Ziploc in a side pocket.

Catfood Earth 3.20

Catfood Earth 3.20

Catfood Earth 3.20 for Windows is now available for download. This update fixes a change in the feed address for the earthquakes layer. I've also switched to using the new NASA Black Marble night-time image and 3.20 includes the latest time zone and political border data.

Earth for Android has been updated to 1.30. This includes the new Black Marble image.

Immature Gmail Exploit

Immature Gmail Exploit

The Gmail Android client helpfully puts the first letter of the name of the person who emailed you in a big block at the left of the mail list (I guess if you have Google Plus friends you probably get a photo instead). But it's pretty easy to change the from name in your email client and trivial to do this programmatically.

Tips... spell your message backwards and use a different subject line for each email so they don't get grouped together.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate

I Thought He Came With You
Robert Ellison's blog.

Going Chrome

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