Reviews for May 2023

Updated on Saturday, May 27, 2023



Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves

Review:Movies:Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves

Exactly what you'd expect. Fairly funny mostly good spirited quest adventure that is over-reliant on one gizmo that makes this more like Portal: The Movie.



It was clearly the weekend for AI children. After The Artifice Girl I decided I needed to watch M3gan, a horror take on the same sort of topic. The Artifice Girl is thoughtful and quietly disturbing, M3gan has a traditional horror vibe and explores the topic of turning childcare over to technology a little bit before just jumping to killing people. The robot is very very creepy which is good but also you wonder why anyone would trust the thing in the first place.

Polite Socity

Review:Movies:Polite Socity

Polite Society is a pleasantly bonkers tale of a girl trying to save her sister from a semi-arranged marriage in a British Pakistani community.

The Artifice Girl

Review:Movies:The Artifice Girl

The Artifice Girl looks like a three act play turned into a movie. It follows the evolution of an AI girl who was accidentally developed to ensnare online predators. The first act is hugely compelling and the second two can't quite hit the same level, but it's definitely worth watching.


Where's My Love

I wonder how much of the rise in depression can be chalked up to this one painful but beautiful SYML track? It's melancholy just listening but the video provides maximum bleakness.


I'm Not a Monster Series 1

I listened to this the wrong way round, starting with the second series on Shamima Begum. The first is the story of Sam Sally and probably due to having listened to the second series so recently it failed to grab my attention in the same way. It's not exactly the same story, but just how many women ran off to join Islamic State only to discover it wasn't a super empowering society?

The Coldest Case in Laramie

Review:Podcasts:The Coldest Case in Laramie

There really should be some naming convention for investigative podcasts that indicates if the case was cracked or not. This is one of the many disappointments that leaves you none the wiser. The highlight is some real insight into just how manipulative the police can be when forcing a confession. Regardless of the crime or level of guilt you really want a lawyer in the room with you.

The Political Party

For UK politics The Political Party has got the goods. Matt Forde interviews anyone who is anybody and quite a few fascinating people who aren't. Even though his politics are not subtle he draws great stories and insights from across the political spectrum. The live shows usually start with some stand-up as well. One of my favorite shows each week.


Mrs. Davis

Review:TV:Mrs. Davis

In Mrs. Davis a nun tries to kill a powerful Artificial Intelligence. This involves finding the Holy Grail and at one point the Grail is in a sperm whale. I really wanted to like it, and while it started off well it got somehow worse with each episode and the whimsy outweighed anything else that might have been going on. Not worth the time.

Perry Mason Season 2

Review:TV:Perry Mason Season 2

I never watched the original, but Perry Mason on HBO is a fun trip to an alternative reality LA in the 30's.

Star Trek Picard Season 3

Review:TV:Star Trek Picard Season 3

For Season 3 Picard stops showing us retirement projects and reunites the crew of Star Trek Next Generation to fight the Borg and some Shapeshifters in a cunning plan to overthrow The Federation that somehow only affects The Youth. I'm all for it. This was the Star Trek cast that probably had the best chemistry and it's amazing to see them together again. The plot just takes a very long time to get going and the final battle involves thousands of starfleet ships that can't quite overpower one aged space dock. Worth it for some quality Worf and Data lines though.

The Bay Season 4

The Bay, from ITV via Britbox in the US is a police procedural set in Morecambe Bay. Although it centers around the family liaison officer it's still a very standard but entertaining whodunit.

The Night Agent

Review:TV:The Night Agent

I wasn't expecting too much from The Night Agent. It presents as a formulaic network FBI drama, but its sense of humour is far darker and it has a real edge to it. Based on a book so I'm going to go out on a limb and say any future seasons will be trash.

(All images included with ITHCWY reviews are the property of their respective owners and are used to illustrate reviews only.)

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Hold It

Please, Do Not Pour Liquids Down Waterless Urinal

Google Pixel 6 Pro 7mm f1.9 1/120s ISO1333

I don't know what to do: Please, Do Not Pour Liquids Down Waterless Urinal.

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Give your stupid niche kids app a useful name please!

[    ]

I loved Qntm's There Is No Antimemetics Division:

"An antimeme is an idea with self-censoring properties; an idea which, by its intrinsic nature, discourages or prevents people from spreading it."

Important antimemes in my life are other parent's names and all of the fucking single use apps I'm plagued with. My kids in particular have at least one app for every aspect of their lives.

Let's say I need to know where a soccer game is. The location is hidden in an app, and for the life of me I can't remember which one.

Eventually I remember it's LeagueApps, because TeamSnap is the other kid due to some San Francisco soccer schism on a par with what material to put on the pitch (I had to vote on TWO ballot measures on this subject).

Feeling inordinately proud of myself and like I have a few years left before 24-hour nursing care I search my phone for LeagueApps and it's NOT FUCKING THERE. Because they called the app 'Play'. Not LeagueApps Play, just Play.

App developers, if you're not Gmail how about including a little more context? Like 'LeagueApps Play - where is the soccer game?' or 'Toddle - your kids homework' or 'Procare - did you remember to sign your kid in'.

They won't, but next time I'm looking I'll at least be able to Google this post.

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Catfood WebCamSaver 3.31

Updated on Saturday, June 3, 2023



In 1994 Prince Charles promised to be a defender of faith rather than the faith. The BBC has some disturbing news on his coronation plans:

"Despite changes designed to reflect other faiths, the three oaths the King will take and form the heart of the service remain unchanged, including the promise to maintain "the Protestant Reformed Religion"

Less than half of the UK now claim to be Christian. An established religion is as much of an embarrassing relic as the monarchy itself. This is disappointing, but the shocker is that we're being asked to pledge allegiance:

"The order of service will read: "All who so desire, in the Abbey, and elsewhere, say together: I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."

Modern democracy or Game of Thrones? I personally refuse to bend the fucking knee. At least with his mother there was a polite pretense that the allegiance worked the other way round.

Let's disestablish the Church of England, kick out the lords and elect an upper chamber (or establish legislative service) and re-join the EU as a humble republic.

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Shipping a website in a day with Generative AI

Can you tell me a story about a shop?

It usually takes me a few weeks to get a new website up and running. Last weekend I tried an experiment with Cloudflare Pages and generative AI.

I have wanted to find an excuse to test Pages for a while. It's a pretty awesome product. I'm not doing anything too fancy with it - I have a local generator app that creates the pages for my site. Committing to the right branch in git automatically deploys to Cloudflare's edge network. It seems to do the right thing with all the file types I've thrown at it so far. My only complaint at this point is that it doesn't handle subdirectories. Everything needs to hang off the root unless you want to write some code. I think this is possible with Cloudflare Workers but that's for another day.

The generative piece is automatically writing content for review and publication. For each generated page I'm creating a prompt to write the post, and then another prompt to summarize it for meta descriptions and referencing it from other pages. I also create an embedding to use for interlinking related posts. Finally I create a third prompt to gin up an appropriate image. The site generator stitches these together into HTML and as soon as I commit, the updates are live.

The site is not yet a work of art, and there is plenty to optimize and add, but the basic thing was working in a few hours. It's all ridiculously cheap as well. I'm more than a little frightened for Google given how much of this must be going on right now. And then the next generation of LLMs will be trained on the garbage produced by the current crop.

My super rapid site is called Shop Stories, collecting / dreaming takes of ecommerce heroics. I'll report back if anyone goes there.

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code, ml

Blogging on reMarkable

Updated on Sunday, April 30, 2023


Crossed a small thing off the bucket list today.

I've used a reMarkable paper tablet for a few years. It's a distraction free eInk writing device with a long battery life and no app store. At least half of productivity is getting stuff out of your head. The reMarkable excels at this without the risk of losing anything.

My dream was always to blog from written notes but the handwriting recognition isn't good enough. Or maybe my handwriting is just too bad. I probably could have got into medical school on that basis alone.

reMarkable recently released a keyboard case and I just got my preorder. With a few small changes to handle its HTML email format I'm up and running. There is still no app support, but you can send email and happily that's been how I post to my blog for over a decade.

It won't work for everything but it's great to have a new option.

So far the only thing I'm missing is a spell checker. Not my strong point so any typos are reMarkable's fault. Hopefully this will be added in a future update.

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3D Printing a Window Mount for a Google Nest Indoor Wired Gen 2 Camera

3D Printing a Window Mount for a Google Nest Indoor Wired Gen 2 Camera

Having sworn off Google Nest I just ended up with two more cameras. I didn't pay for them. Google has announced that the original DropCam units are no longer supported. Rather than just knife me in the kidneys like the rest of the smart home industry they provided free replacements.

I stick these in a window looking out. I learned this the hard way after a Nest Outdoor was immediately cut from its secure wiring and stolen. And then a second one. The police thought this was hilarious and whoever stole them is/are now enjoying worthless lumps of plastic. The DropCam was nicely designed to clip out of its mount and into whatever accessory grabbed your fancy. The Google Nest Cam Indoor Wired Gen 2 (snappy name) has a heavy and barely articulated base that makes it worthless for many applications. It also doesn't look like it will detach.

There doesn't seem to be any elegant solution here so I came up with a brutal one.

Step 1: Hacksaw. Just cut off that base as close to the camera as possible.

Step 2: A chute to introduce the camera to the window at a reasonable angle and block indoor reflections. This gets attached to the window with strong double sided tape.

Here's the OpenSCAD code for the window mount:

There is also an STL file on thingiverse.

One more horrible hack to confess to. My filament kept getting tangled while printing this. I have it on an under-counter spool and I think it's just too loose so the printer pulls out more slack than it needs and then gets in a mess. Seems like it should be a common problem but all the advice I could find was worthless. I wrapped the spool with kitchen towel until I created some friction but with enough give that the 3D printer could ingest the filament. There is probably a better answer with a more expensive spool that has some tension built in, but this was enough to get the part to print for me.

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Milky Way Rises over South Lake Tahoe

Milky Way Rises over South Lake Tahoe

Timelapse of the Milky Way rising, shot from South Lake Tahoe, California. This shows two consecutive nights from slightly different perspectives. In the first segment the bright lights at the bottom right hand of the frame are cars descending from Echo Summit on highway 50.

5,998 frames total at 4k 60fps shot on a Sony A7C / 20mm, f1.8, 5s, ISO 1600. Post processed in LRTimelapse, Adobe Lightroom, Filmstro Pro and DaVinci Resolve Studio.

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Tree with Lichen

Tree with Lichen

SONY ILCE-7C 20mm f22.0 1/30s ISO250

A tree with lichen at Echo Summit on Highway 50 in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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