Book reviews for April 2017

Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy #2) by Jason  Matthews

Palace of Treason (Red Sparrow Trilogy #2) by Jason Matthews



Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1) by Jason  Matthews

Red Sparrow (Red Sparrow Trilogy #1) by Jason Matthews


Reasonable spy thriller, strangely has a recipe at the end of each chapter which cuts through any tension. You end up wondering what snack in each chapter is going to be featured at the end. Ruins the pacing. Doesn't work as a cookbook either as the recipes omit quantities and cooking time and instead just touch on ingredients and rough technique.


(Related: As a courtesy; Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service; The Harvard Business Review Fallacy)

(You might also like: OAuth; Like Debate?; Pacifica)

(All Book Reviews)

Search Me!

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

It's a week of dealing with thrilling product deprecations for me. Over the weekend I abandoned CodePlex. Over the past couple of evenings I've ripped out Google Custom Search (they've discontinued their Site Search product and I've never liked Custom Search and I'm now worried that it will be next for the chop). I looked at various open source options but after a bit of poking around decided to just write my own search engine. After about two hours the first version is now live.

(Related: StackOverflow DevDays; The Secret Diary of a Xamarin Android Developer, Aged 48 1/3; Google search-for-your-own-verified-sites Console)

(You might also like: Not a Private Key; Sunset #8; Google PageSpeed Insights hates Google Analytics)

(All Etc Posts)

CodePlex Shutdown: Shapefile, Orb, StackHash and Blogger2BlogML Migration

Updated on Wednesday, August 4, 2021

CodePlex Shutdown: Shapefile, Orb, StackHash and Blogger2BlogML Migration

Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on CodePlex. I've hosted various projects there over the years and have just finished migrating everything over to GitHub which looks like it just might have a future:

  • blogger2blogml - Migrate blogger format blogs to BlogML.
  • orb - Controller library for Ambient Orb devices.
  • shapefile - parse the ESRI Shapefile format.
  • stackhash - full client for downloading and debugging Windows Error Reporting (WER) crash dumps.

(Related: ESRI Shapefile Reader in .NET; Google Spreadsheets API and Column Names; Upgrading to BlogEngine.NET 2.5)

(You might also like: Timelapse of three Starlink Trains; Lake Merritt; Loose Lips...)

(All Code Posts)

The Harvard Business Review Fallacy

A typical Harvard Business Review two by two grid where it's easy to guess the good quadrant

Every Harvard Business Review article worth it’s salt boils some complex problem down to a two by two grid. Usually something like awesomeness and profitability:

Being non-profitable and not awesome is no fun. Awesomeness without profitability might work for some organizations. Being profitable but not awesome for others. But the place to be is awesome and profitable!

With this bracing insight the authors will cherry pick some companies that match the upper-right hand quadrant and tediously stretch their turpid insight out to book length.

In reality this is a false dilemma (or technically a false tetralemma, but that’s an awkward phrase so I prefer the HBR fallacy instead).

My favorite example is Pascal’s Wager. This is a typical HBR two by two grid based on belief in God and the existence of God.

  1. Don’t believe / No God, you’re fine (meh).

  2. Don’t believe / God, go to Hell (infinite punishment).

  3. Believe / No God, you’re fine (meh).

  4. Believe / God, go to Heaven (infinite reward).

You only have one rational choice here says Pascal.

There is a lot wrong with this argument, but the wrongest thing is the HBR fallacy. There are infinitely many possible Gods with infinitely many good and bad outcomes. You might be living in a universe where the only God is the God of the Thargoids. The one real God might send you to Heaven only if you kill a gopher every Wednesday.

Nobody is going to open any doors and show you any goats.

(Related: I Love Email; Sod Searle And Sod His Sodding Room; Was there ever any doubt that I would eventually write this post?)

(You might also like: Snowy Egrets at Marshall's Beach; Limantour Spit; Timelapse of three Starlink Trains)

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The end of Facebook

Updated on Sunday, April 25, 2021

Holy shit I just finished Facebook. Didn't think that was possible. It was passably tolerable while it lasted but I guess I need to find something else now...

So I'm not on Facebook any more, but while I was, just one time, I reached the end:

Add Friends to See More Stories: You'll have more stories in News Feed if you add more friends.

Holy shit I just finished Facebook. Didn't think that was possible. It was passably tolerable while it lasted but I guess I need to find something else now...

I imagine a product manager got fired every time that message was shown.

(Related: Got It; I didn't think I'd ever fall for fake news on Facebook; I Love Email)

(You might also like: Lizard; Great Horned Owlets; Out of Office Hours)

(All Etc Posts)

Excessive Book Reviews

Updated on Sunday, May 3, 2020

You know how you're debugging and comment out that return statement that stops book reviews from being posted more than once a month so you can get to the bottom of a problem without constantly deleting posts? And then you get distracted and push a new version of the blog software with that return statement still commented out? Thankfully that task is only scheduled to run every four hours. Sorry.

(Related: Migrating from Blogger to BlogEngine.NET; Disqust; Monitor page index status with Google Sheets, Apps Script and the Google Search Console API)

(You might also like: News: When should web designers use modal overlays?; Angel Island Perimeter Road; Wave Organ)

(All Book Reviews)

Book reviews for March 2017

UnHappenings by Edward Aubry

UnHappenings by Edward Aubry



Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff



(Related: #Resist; Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service; Nonfiction)

(You might also like: Winter Solstice 2019; San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures; Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's Beach)

(All Book Reviews)

News: When should web designers use modal overlays?

Updated on Sunday, March 13, 2022

When should web designers use modal overlays?

"OK, yes, there are times when modals make sense (compose new tweet comes to mind), but if the web has a bigger annoyance than this (apart, possibly, from autoplay video), I don't know what it is."

Please enjoy the irony of trying to read this article on a mobile phone while the text shifts crazily around the page to make room for the autoplay video ad.

(Related: Doing news right with Feedly and Google News; Get ITHCWY By Email; Capture DropCam (Nest Cam) frames to Google Drive)

(You might also like: Get ITHCWY By Email; News: Wisdom teeth removal is rarely necessary; Coronavirus Hikes: Done)

(All Etc Posts)

Cataract Creek

Updated on Friday, August 20, 2021

Cataract Creek

Cataract Creek on Mount Tamalpais in Marin, California (long exposure photo).

(Related: Rapids; San Pedro Valley Park Waterfall Loop; Bald Mountain, Vista and Meadow Trails Loop (Sugarloaf Ridge State Park))

(You might also like: Marshall's Beach; Stars over Lake Tahoe; Hill 88)

(Recent Photos)

Vernal Equinox 2017

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