// archives

Archive for March, 2009

Amazonclicks Reader’s Choice Award

My novel, Dusk Before the Dawn, won the AmazonClicks.com marchreadersmallReader’s Choice Award for March.

Full detail can be seen at the AmazonClicks web site.

Thanks very much to all who voted.

Olympic Gods assembled for Percy Jackson

Though I’d rather see Uma Thurman as Artemis, where she could employ her Kill Bill martial arts skills, this looks like an excellent cast.

Featuring Uma Thurman as Medusa and Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, Fox2000 has announced the actors playing the Olympic Gods in the forthcoming movie adaptation of The Lightning Thief, the first book in the PercyJackson and the Olympians series.

More details here.

Pidgin, or why 4 chat programs no longer suck my PC dry

Granted, my PC needs to be replaced (it is my trusty Sony Vaio that has been around the world with me for years)…but it was dragging, in some not-so-small part due to the number of IM/chat programs loaded on it. They all served a purpose, or different constituency:

  • Skype for international friends in Italy, London, Thailand and beyond;
  • Facebook chat for my kids and family;
  • SameTime to talk with partners (including IBM);
  • AIM to talk with other partners (including Cisco through a AIM/WebEx interface);logopidgin

At work, we’d been using Skype for development collaboration and support. But Skype lately has been sluggish and hanging; yes, I know it is free, but it was time to find something that worked better. My developers wanted to use jabber, but I needed to keep contact with the systems listed above.

Enter PIDGIN. I’d done some testing on it before, when we were integrating our secure transport/delivery mechanism into various platforms. I did not know if it would tackle all of these networks. (more…)

bookrev: Sunrise Tai Chi by Ramel Rones

Sunrise Tai Chi provides an introduction to Tai Chi Chuan, with easy to sunrisetaichiunderstand descriptions of the history and principles, plus visualizations to help with the hard-to-understand breathing/mental disciplines and a short “Sunrise Tai Chi Form” that should prove a quick learn for beginning and advanced students.

More advanced students will find benefit from the visualizations provided for focus and energy. The concepts of qi/chi and Eastern concepts of energy are difficult to grasp, especially when described in flowery languages that are unfamiliar. Mr. Rones (an advanced student of Dr. Yang, Jwing-ming, whose martial arts books are among the best I’ve read) provides a different perspective for these visualizations which should help all students look at energy flow in a different way.

The book is broken down into the following sections: (more…)

Amazon MP3s on Twitter

While we can argue whether Twitter is a “new social media” or not, one great amznmp3_biggergifthing about it is the Amazon MP3 twitter feed.

Amazon certainly seems to be trying to put a dent into iTunes dominance. Not only are they offering DRM free MP3′s, but their Amazon downloader puts the songs right in your iTunes (if you so choose).

You do not have to be a Twit or even a Twitter user to see the daily deals. Just go to http://twitter.com/amazonmp3 each day.

The daily deals are extraordinary. This month alone I have downloaded:

  • on 3/3 (the day the album came out) U2′s No Line on the Horizon for $3.99;
  • yesterday, John Coltrane’s The Ultimate Blue Train for $1.99;
  • today, Diana Ross & the Supremes’ 18-song Definitive Collection. Everyday price: $7.99 Today’s price: $1.99

Yes, an eclectic mix, but they feature different albums everyday. I’m going to ignore the feed for a few days before I personally re-stumulate the economy.

Watchmen – Book vs. Movie

Always, read the book first. The movies are often good, but the source material is almost always better. My review of the Watchmen book is here.

Read here for a good description of Alan Moore’s other works and how their stories were changed for the big screen (into the movies From Hell, Constantine and V for Vendetta).

Because of the director’s proclivity for spewing blood all over the screen (see 300),  I went into the film with the expectation that it would be gratuitously bloody. After watching, I thought the level of sex and gore was in line with the book (though my wife thought it was a bit much), and, as many have stated, I certainly would not take a child to see this movie.

Differences (with spoilers) between the book and the movie, which may or may not end up in the director’s cut: (more…)

1993 Silver Oak and a Special Occasion

My wife had purchased two magnums of 1993 Silver Oak Alexander Valley 1993 Silver Oak Alexander Valleyseveral years ago. One we gave to our friend Monte for his birthday, one she gave to me to save for a special occasion. (more…)

bookrev: Fool by Christopher Moore

With Lamb and Fool, Christopher Moore has now added his
Foolown unique set of background material to two of the English language’s most read stories: The Bible and the Works of William Shakespeare.

Fool retells the story of King Lear (with some Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays thrown in for good measure) from the perspective of Pocket, the court jester. Though foul mouthed and always looking for a quick ‘shag’, Pocket’s history is slowly revealed, and, of course, he is more than just a fool.

In this Moore book, while funny, the story is the thing. It still involves King Lear, going crazy and asking his three daughters how much they love and honor him. The two eldest (Goneril and Regan) lie their butts off, and the youngest (Cordelia, the one Pocket has not only been assigned to but is madly in love with) tells the truth. Her truth does not set well with the good mad King, and he banishes her away with a prince from France…much to Pocket’s dismay and anger. (more…)

The Demigod Files: Percy Jackson & The Olympians by Rick Riordan

While waiting for Riordan’s next Percy Jackson novel The Last Olympian, readers can get their Percy fix with this collection of short stories and percyfiles_fc3interviews. While short (133 pages excluding pictures, puzzles and a Last Olympian preview), the collection (called ‘auxiliary book’ on Mr. Riordan’s blog) features three short stories and five ‘interviews’ with some of Camp Half-Blood’s most famous campers.

The three short stories:

  • Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot – Percy helps Clarisse, when her half brothers, the demigods Phobos (fear) and Deimos (terror) take Ares chariot, which he had entrusted to Clarisse.
  • Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon – Beckendorf, from the Hephaestus house, and Percy are on the same side in a Camp Half-Blood capture-the-flag game. Beckendorf sees giant ants hauling off a bronze dragon head, made by Hephaestus house long ago to protect the Camp, and charges. Percy gets captured by Annabeth and Silena, who are on the other side of the game, allowing Beckendorf to get dragged into the giant ant hill. Annabeth, Percy and Silena (who has a thing for Beckendorf) decide to put the bronze dragon back together so they can resue Beckendorf. More Percy and Annabeth clumsy courtship in this story.
  • Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades – this is the longest of the three short stories, and it appears that it will be released on its own in the UK. Percy is reunited with Thalia and Nico, and the offspring of Poseidon, Zeus and Hades go on a quest to recover Hades stolen sword. The sword has one of Hades’ keys in the handle, which would allow the bearer to resurrect the dead from the Underworld…even Titans from Tarturus.


For the kids, there are puzzles at the end, and short interviews with the characters, plus pictures of the gods and half-bloods. An intro chapter from The Last Olympian is included, showing the Percy is going to get into trouble not only with Titans but with girls (Rachael and Annabeth).

Asteroid impact via Google Maps

With news of asteroid 2009 DD45 near-miss of the Earth, what better time for a tool that shows the impact implications? Carlos Labs has released Ground Zero, where you can pick your location and, by selecting the type of approxiamate devastation causer (pick from Asteroid impact to the nukes dropped during WWII) you’ll be shown a Google map of the destruction area.

Gives a new meaning to “mash-up”, don’t it?

Just remember, be prepared, and make sure your next living location is outside the blast zone! Click here for the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World.

Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo

Archives

%d bloggers like this: