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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline May 25, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books.
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Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline is a nice little novel which has generated a lot of talk in the blogosphere among people younger than myself—those who were teenagers in the late eighties, I suspect. This navel-gazing into the solipsistic past doesn’t do much for me as I am from the wrong era but the novel itself, when stripped of egregious references to pop culture, it is actually a strange kind of action tale taking place mostly in the dystopian (of course) future.  The action is largely game puzzles solved in a competition in a VR space that has kind of subsumed the real world, but there’s some real-world danger and people meeting in meatspace as well.

Yep, a standard, formulaic quest-type action novel.  Why the blogosphere love? One, Ernest Cline’s use of dialogue and description.  He’s no slacker and it shows. Two (and I think this resonates with everyone who has “read” it), it’s read in the audiobook by Wil Wheaton.

Wil made it for me.  His reading is just about perfect in nuance, pace and sardonic timing.  His acting chops have only gotten much better with age (although really, he wasn’t given much to work with as Wesley Crusher now, was he?).1

Anyway, I enjoyed it during my commute (I should mention than I’m behind in writing about books since renovating my house but Fear Not! I shall catch up eventually) last year when I still did commute. Wil has also read Redshirts by John Scalzi and another Ernest Cline novel Armada, which I just started.  Don’t worry; I will review them both eventually.2

I do recommend this as your usual scifi stuff.  Popcorn need not be a bad thing, after all. It’s not all Neal Stephenson, is it?


1 No.  He wasn’t. I give him full credit for quitting; that took some cajones for a kid in the meat grinder of television.

2 Be afraid.

Time Sink May 25, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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Why you should leave this page, and never use the Web again.

I Like Giraffes And All, But Really May 23, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Uncategorizable.
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AmqaIyE - Imgur

Software QA May 22, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Geek Stuff.
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Guard your PIN.

Maker Faire lock picking May 22, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Geek Stuff, Toys.
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I spent most of yesterday helping young people learn how to pick locks teaching young people to walk through walls with prestidigitation. I forgot how easy it is to pick locks, but the young people reminded me and it was quite fun. The Open Organization of Lockpickers or TOOOL sponsored this event, provided locks and cylinders and tools and the sort of spiritual guidance that any lockpicker needs, especially the sage advice to never pick any locks but ones you own and never to pick a lock that you depend on because you can destroy it. Afterwards there was a lovely dinner with the genteel companionship of genius because most of these TOOOL guys are really bright and have been at this a long time. It was great fun and I look forward to doing it again next year perhaps.


Sorry about the strange wording; I dictated that mess on the way to Maker Faire Sunday morning.  Google’s voice recognition still needs some work.

My Enemies are Vanquished May 19, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Uncategorizable, Uncategorized.
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I promised no more posting until my enemies were vanquished, and I mostly kept my word.  I can tell because readership has dropped precipitously in the last year. Now my house is (mostly) finished and I started a contract job helping rescue some semiconductor company documents, our stuff is moved to a lovely house in the Frozen North and my feet don’t hurt so much.  Along the way my wife and I both lost our fathers and I developed sciatica bad enough to require an emergency room visit which gave me pneumonia requiring a second emergency room visit.  I discovered some really lovely people work in hospitals (it’s a pity I don’t remember the second visit. Pneumonia does that, apparently). I also discovered that my wife has a real talent for project management, that my relatives and in-laws are kind and generous, and that my friends come through in a pinch.

Thank you all.

We will resume our faithful coverage of strange Stuff I Like including science, technology, all things geeky and some things humorous, especially if your idea of humorous is anything like mine (probably not).  Basically, whatever I am thinking about for half an hour at lunchtime.

Lex Luthor’s Successor May 18, 2016

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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A Wannabe Supervillain Built His Own Thermite Cannon

Colin Furze has a new toy. It’s a thermite cannon, or maybe a thermite grenade launcher. As a first prototype, it is excellent; as a R&D guy I have to tell  him that users are not going to be satisfied with so bulky and heavy a weapon.  He needs some engineers to optimize for manufacturing as well.  Still, it is a very satisfying proof of concept.

See, this is the sort of thing I want to do when I retire.