Monthly Archives: August 2011

Microsoft Reader -dead

CLOSING THE BOOK Microsoft is discontinuing Microsoft Reader effective August 30, 2012, which includes download access of the Microsoft Reader application from the Microsoft Reader website. However, customers may continue to use and access the Microsoft Reader application and any .lit materials on their PCs or devices after the discontinuation on August 30, 2012. New content for purchase from retailers in the .lit format will be discontinued on November 8, 2011.

Now imagine this is itunes. Or kindle. Or anything that you bought that features digital rights management…

Via Bruce Sterling.

Book Review: Rule 34 by Charles Stross

Rule 34 and Halting State are breakneck police procedurals set 20 minutes into the future. Charlie Stross has made his authorial mark the imagining of plausible, realistic worlds that push the back of your skull into the wall. They are better written and more speculative than Daniel Suarez’s books set in the future now – but they also deal with harder material.

The plot is so ridiculous and yet perfectly put together that I can’t tell you because you’ll think it’s a crappy stupid idea. I keep typing oblique plot summaries and they all sound like the absolute worst book ideas. You’ll miss out on some really mind-blowing fun writing.

In the most abstract sense Rule 34  (named after the infamous pornography postulate) is a serial killer hunt and Halting State is a heist novel (named after a term in a mathematical problem that breaks the premise that the world is a solvable problem). The biggest criticism is that these are idea novels – you aren’t getting into serious emotional relationships with these characters. If you read a lot of Sci-Fi, you won’t notice, but if you read more literature you’ll probably be annoyed that the emphasis is always on the breathless action.

A fun punchy read and a good sign in someone who’s become a professional prognosticator. You should also check out Charlie Stross’s frequently updated blog, where he regularly bitches about how the future keeps happening and stealing plot points out from under him as he writes.

UpFuckr Released!

Version 0.2, code named “Good Enough” is now out.


What is it?

UpFuckr is an open source Android uploader for FuckFlickr.  FuckFlickr is open-source image gallery software that won’t narc you out.  You host it yourself and it keeps things simple and easy. It was created by the Free Art & Technology lab as an alternative to hosting your photos on a certain Yahoo-owned photo sharing site.

What are the features?

  • Share single or multiple photos from the Gallery
  • Share to a main folder on your FuckFlickr or choose a folder on your fuckflickr for each upload.
  • Create a new directory on your FuckFlickr site. You know, put in the name of the concert and then start taking pictures and uploading them there.
  • Shows each picture as it uploads. Nifty!

Continue reading UpFuckr Released!

Book Review: Bedpants and Bossywetting

I read “The Bedwetter” by Sarah Silverman within a few months of reading “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. I don’t read a lot of autobiography, but I like comics so I figured these would both be fun for beach and subway.

It is obvious that people are writing memoirs to cash in on current fame not as a reflection on a life fully lived. Have I told you to read “Between Silk and Cyanide” by Leo Marks? It’s the sort of thing you get when people have done great things and had a long time to think about their story. Reads much like a Feynman. These two comics are funny people, and they are funny now. They are in their fighting days and they are fighting now. Tina Fey’s 30 Rock is still airing. These books are necessarily a collection of anecdotes – the funniest things they remember as they got to the peak 1 of their careers.

Of those anecdotes, it seems like Tina Fey has a little more heart and thought behind it while Sarah seems more scattershot. I didn’t know much about either beyond a few examples of their recent work. They seem like fine people, at least from what they’ve told me about themselves… Hang on, that doesn’t seem to mean anything.

I do enjoy some autobiography – Halima Bashir’s “Tears of the Desert” was very good.

Now I’m off to read a little more about brain-damaged people with Oliver Sacks’s The Mind’s Eye.

  1. or maybe not even the peak. Who knows? They aren’t telling their story, just “Hey, here’s what I remember so far.”   (back)

Book Review: Move Underground by Nick Mamatas

In the darkness, Kerouac dreamed of cultists and the dread ovipositor of Lovecraft pushed into his ear, punching eggs softly into the fat membrane in his skull.

Years later, these dream children wormed forth through time into the deep voids of Nick Mamatas’s heart, wrapping their slimy tentacles around his ribs and working his arms. He made this.

It’s a book that tells of an america turning sick after the events of “On the Road” and the grim dreams of Lovecraft rotting it hollow. But it isn’t really much about Lovecraft, is it? The adventure is about the changes of the later years after adventure has dried up and withered.

It ends less than 200 pages later, in the only way it could and it is a warm, shining, genius masterwork. If he continues to produce work like this we will have to kill him so the other writers have something to do.