Interesting Links for 25-07-2017

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Interesting Links for 24-07-2017

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:08 pm
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Yes, it's time for a grumpy book review.  www.amazon.com/Vulture-Private-Life-Unloved-Bird/dp/1611689716/ref=sr_1_1 

Turkey Vultures are an everyday sight here.  The birds are elegant fliers, soaring through the sky, with very little motion.  They play; yes, they do.  Watching them glide around our big snag, across the meadow, dipping low before they ascend just above our fence line, trying not to flap, is the kind of thing country mice like me do instead of watching television.  Much more entertaining.  Even though I've been vomited on a few times, back when I was involved in wildlife rehab, I still love the species.  Plus, they do important work, cleaning up carcasses.  So, when I heard a podcast about this book, I requested it immediately from the library.

The book is supposed to be about vultures, and it is to a degree, but really, it's about this woman, her unborn baby, her perfect husband, all of her friends, her travels to see the vultures, writing exercises about a vulture family, and side trips into vultures in myth and legend.  I'm over a third of the way through it and have yet to learn anything new about the birds.  It's past my "toss or continue" limit, so it goes back on Tuesday, unloved.


The state of Augmented Reality

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:27 pm
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Five years ago I had a disagreement with a friend over whether this article was being overly pessimistic about augmented reality and whether we'd have "hard" AR soon.

Five years later, and this is the state of the art:


Which is, I totally admit, a very neat tech demo. But it's not "there" yet. The FOV is too small, and you can see the real world through it. Although, to be fair, most of the time the real world isn't _that_ distracting, you're definitely not going to be able to "see Victorian gas lamps in place of normal lights" or "have a real Coke can that you want to turn into an AR Pepsi can by drawing a Pepsi logo over the Coke logo".

Ah well, I'll make a note to come back in five years time and see where we are then!

Interesting Links for 22-07-2017

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

Visit, movie and books

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:53 pm
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[personal profile] aome
Life continues apace, nothing really that exciting going on. I did spend the day in PA on Wed, attending two TKD classes and visiting a friend. This was both good, and concerning. )

Otherwise, it's been steadily hotter and hotter all week, reaching about 96F/35.5C yesterday, and only slightly better today. I skipped exercise class last night because it was still about 100F/37C with the humidity, and even in the shade, exercising outside just didn't seem like the smartest move. On the other hand, our neighbors have been very generous with their pool, and I took the kids over twice this week for some cooling relief. The two youngest kittens (sibs) were spayed/neutered yesterday. I get that the cats are her children, but the amount of worrying Karen does when something like this comes up (from isolating them so they don't eat before surgery, to worrying if the vet techs are giving them enough love, to thinking something might be wrong with the girl kitty because she wasn't hungry right after surgery) is enough to drive me batshit. Oh, and she called me in the middle of the day today to ask how they were doing. Thankfully, they're both pretty much normal at this point.

This morning, Will and I took Two to see the new Spiderman: Homecoming movie. Overall view: I liked it, but didn't love it. But I think that has more to do with where this Spiderman is in his life than as a comment on the movie as a whole - it was definitely done well, but... )

In books, I finished reading Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, which [personal profile] hamsterwoman gave me for my birthday. I'm now re-reading it to Two, because of some of the LGBT themes in the story ) The first part of the book takes awhile to get going, with a lot of worldbuilding and character establishing going on, but I'm only really noticing that when I'm re-reading it aloud to Two. When I was reading it for myself, it didn't really bother me. Of course, some of the "plot twists" in the story you could see coming from a mile away, but that was ok, too. Anyway, I enjoyed the book and will be on the lookout for the sequel, which will seem to be Bells' story. Thank you again, [personal profile] hamsterwoman!

And speaking of reading aloud to Two, we finished reading the second Apollo book by Riordan, The Dark Prophecy. Not too much to say there except that it was typical Riordan in that it blended mythology, adventure and smart-ass humor. Apollo is finally starting to be less of an ass, a trend that I hope we continue to see in the next book, whenever that comes out. Apollo starting all the chapters with a haiku is pretty amusing, too. Anyway, we liked it.

Currently reading Raven Boys #2: The Dream Thieves. Still at the beginning, but I'm enjoying it.

Other than that, it's the usual: prodding kids to do homework, being followed around by Two every moment, chores, errands, exercise, worrying a lot about an flister friend, and trying to sneak in some time for myself now and then. An exciting life.

Interesting Links for 21-07-2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
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Jul. 20th, 2017 09:54 pm
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I think we ought to rename our place, call it "Gravel Bar," because there sure is a lot of gravel.  Expensive gravel, gravel trucked in from elsewhere in five yard increments, and gravel that's got to be most boring gray color ever.  Shovel, rake, and tractor moving said gravel from its various piles to other, smaller piles, which require the shovel and rake.  There is a good possibility that we're done with this particular phase of gravel-moving, but there's still a small possibility that we might have to buy one more load of path fines. 

Projects, they're what we're all about. 

Landscaping continues, maybe this is the year that the garden garage gets its doors and battens, and then there are the projects 2.0 that get spun out of the current ones.  The goal is to get this place to a state where it doesn't demand so much of our time, backs, and knees.  It's a good goal, a noble goal, but it's a moving target kinda goal. 

Review: Kingdomino

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:46 pm
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When I saw that it had won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres I took a look at Kingdomino. On discovering that it was only £15, and that games could be played in about 15 minutes I decided to pick up a copy.

So far I've played games with both [personal profile] swampers and [personal profile] danieldwilliam and both of them picked it up quickly and enjoyed playing it.

It's based (surprisingly enough) on the idea behind dominoes - or, at least, the part of dominoes where you have tiles with two ends and need to match them against each other. In this case the different ends are different terrains (grass, mountain, etc), and you score by forming areas of the same terrain*. Each turn you have to make a judgement between going for the tiles that score the highest, versus going for lower-scoring tiles which allow you make the first move the next turn.

I enjoyed it, and I'm definitely taking it on holiday. If you're looking for a filler game then it'll do a great job of that.



*It's a bit more complex than that, but not a lot.

Interesting Links for 20-07-2017

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
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I posted yesterday about the media using "X defends against accusations" as a way of making you think that there are widespread attacks on them.

47 people clicked through to that post from Facebook. 5 from Twitter.

The 5 from Twitter all did so within an hour of the post going up.

The 47 from Facebook did so over the course of the following 12 hours (19 of them within an hour, but then an ongoing curve downwards).

Which indicates to me that Facebook does a pretty good job of knowing when something is interesting to my friends, and keeping it "active" for a while, whereas Twitter sweeps it away near-instantly, and unless it really grabs people it's gone.

And looking at my overall referrer stats, Facebook gets between three and six times the number of clicks that Twitter does.

(Just had a look at my actual LJ statistics too - yesterday I had 145 readers, of which 100-ish were reading via their friends-page and 45 were going direct to my posts/journal. Sadly I don't get the same info from DW, but Google Analytics tells me that 78 people visited that post on DW.)

Interesting Links for 19-07-2017

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
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I've seen this twice in the last week - a newspaper talking about the BBC "defending" the new Doctor Who choice against "angry fans". And then this morning the Game of Thrones director "defends" the Ed Sheeran cameo.

And both times I'm left wondering how many people were actually attacking. Was half of the population of Who-dom out attacking this choice? Or was it actually about 1% of them being noisy enough on Twitter that the newspapers could manufacture a story out of it?

Similarly, I suspect that the vast majority of people don't really care if Ed Sheeran pops up for 10 seconds in the show, does a perfectly average acting job for his two lines, and is never seen again. But that's not a story. And the way to make it a story is to not mention how many people are upset at something trivial, and leave things vague enough that it _could_ be the case that half the population of the country are waving pitchforks outside the studios, rather than seven people having a rant on Twitter.

Interesting Links for 18-07-2017

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Interesting Links for 17-07-2017

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Photobucket has turned all of the photos on my wedding post into "Please update your account to share these photos" images, unless I pay them hundreds of dollars.

I have literally no idea how idea how to feel about this.

(Other than grim amusement)

Aaah, the modern world...

Interesting Links for 16-07-2017

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm

Birthday and camp, Part II

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:41 pm
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For MiniPlu's official birthday, last Thurs (13 Jul), she had one request: for me to take her and a couple of friends to the beach. Beach, lunch, and dinner - the good, the bad and the ugly )

So, kind of a mixed bag for MiniPlu's birthday, but hopefully the positives outweighed the negatives for her.

One thing that was weird, though: Twice - both on the way to the beach and on the way to dinner - Google maps decided, about 3/4 of the way to the destination, to randomly *change* the destination and start giving me directions that made no sense. Fortunately, both times we pinged onto that and pulled over to see what the heck Maps thought it was doing, and discovered the problem, but still - I have no idea why it was doing that. For the beach trip, the diversion was fairly minor - it tried directing me to a nearby town that was further inland, but not *that* far off track. On the way to dinner, however, Maps suddenly thought I wanted to go to ... Norfolk, VA. I have no idea why.

Friday night we drove up to Springfield, MA, where we stayed overnight so we'd be poised to pick up Two from camp by 10am on Saturday. Yet ANOTHER long road trip, whee, plus some camp stories )

So, anyway, kidlet is back, which is both good and stressful. We dumped the entire cloth-based contents of his duffle into the washing machine as soon as we got home, so at least that's already done.

For those who may have missed it, I posted MiniPlu's birthday and throwback pics at LJ here. You will need to be logged into LJ to see them.
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Jane and I went to see it this afternoon, after a nice walk along the Water of Leith from Slateford to Colinton.

It was, basically, a solidly fun romp. Pretty much exactly what I'd want from a superhero movie. Silly in the right places, dramatic in others, some great actors involved (It was a real pleasure to see Michael Keaton growl at people), and some fun action scenes.

I didn't see the Andrew Garfield movies, but I definitely enjoyed this more than the Tobey Maguire ones. (Which I really liked bits of, but even the second one only really grabbed me for Alfred Molina and felt quite flawed).
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