Sunday, February 12, 2012

Awesome Stuff I Enjoy

This is yet another week that I haven't got much done writing-wise. I had planned on this week being FebruWriMo, with all the attendant NaNoWriMo type word-frenzyness. Frenziness. Whatever. Point being, that hasn't happened. I say "happened", as though their was some sort of mystical waiting-and-hoping process here. Truth is, I have not done the work, because I have chosen to spend my time on other pusrsuits. Mea culpa.

Just like last week, I'm not particularly keen on beating up on myself for my lapses. I've tried guilting myself into accomplishing more, and it doesn't work (for me anyway, might be a wonderful tool for you.) Instead, I'm going to spend some time talking about some of the awesomeness I've been consuming lately.

First up--Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. I just stated listenin to this on audiobook yesterday. I'm only about a third in, so this isn't a full endorsement, but so far, so awesome. I have enjoyed Doctorow's short fiction in the past, most notoably on Starship Sofa (great podcast for SF fans, BTW). One thing I've picked up on about his work though is that his endings are often meh. I'm really hoping he works harder on the ending of this book, since it's novel length and all, because I'm really digging the story. Good stuff. I'm planning on checking out some of his other novels now, because I am liking this one so much.

In the same vein, I just finished listening to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. This book was really good as well. The writing was not as polished, definitely reading like a first novel. The characters and plot were decent but nothing amazing. The 80's nostalgia was absolutely outstanding, and the whole reason to read what would be an otherwise average book. If you grew up playing Atari 2600 and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, this is the book for you. Plus, Wheaton does a great job with the reading, so I definitely recommend the audiobook version over the text version.

I'vebeen watching a ton of the old Mega Man cartoon with my son lately. For no comprehensible reason, he is absolutely in love with it. It took him all of two or three days to start singing along with the theme song, and the show is now the only thing he wants to watch. I find it to be a good dose of cheesy, retro fun. It's not really well-animated, the plots are thin, and on and on. It does feel true to the early entries in the videogames series, at least enough to satisisfy me. Despite it's flaws, I quite like it.

On the subject of robots, I just had the chance to watch Real Steel. As an exercise in Hollywood unreality, it was pitch-perfect. Except for the incredibly silly yet undeniably fun robot-boxing theme, it could have been any estranged-father/son-triumphantly-reconcile movie ever made. Totally forgettable, but worth watching exactly once to see the robots beat the tar out of each other. SF geeks who need quibbling details like control schemes that make sense, tech that is in any way plausible, or even such minor details as fully developed characters need not apply.

I've been spending a huge amount of time on another sort of robot, an Android, if you will. The tablet that gave me so much grief trying to do a blog on the soft keyboard the other day has proven itself to be a compelling gaming machine. I have had many late nights lately, lying in bed playing Triple Town, Base Defense HD, and various and sundry other games. Between the stuff that is available for free on the Android Market, and Amazon's free-app-of-the-day, I have yet to spend any money on software. But my tablet (Iconia A500) is very close to replacing my laptop, already. As the software development sector matures over the next few years, I don't see any reason it won't.

I do really wish I could dual-boot Ubuntu on my tablet. One thing I really don't like about Android is how much stuff the OS tries to hide from the end-user. The insistence of manufacturers on trying to keep consumers from having root access to their own machines in furtherence of this is annoying as well. I haven't rooted my A500 yet because the process looks like a pain, but I am sure I will sooner or later. I really wish Acer hadn't made it such a nuisance in the first place; that attitude is very customer-unfriendly. Even so, I do really like the tablet. Full-sized USB port for the win.

I can't think of anything else, so I guess I am done for the week. See you next time

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