April 2005

Jordan: New Spring

I can’t believe I’m admitting to reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Let alone reading New Spring, a friggin’ prequel to the ten novels already published.

Well, my name is Ilya, and I’m a fantasy reader.

There, I’ve said it. Yes, I’m a fantasy reader, though I hope my reading list shows that I don’t read fantasy exclusively. In fact, about a year and a half ago, I found that I couldn’t stomach most fantasy novels. Ever since, I’ve half-joked that “real literature” has ruined me for fantasy.

But back to Jordan. New Spring felt nicely familiar, like visiting Grandma’s. I can’t help it: I liked it.

I am a little miffed, though, that Jordan is writing prequels instead finishing off the Wheel of Time series. I’d like to finish that and be over with it.

There is only one fantasy series that I’d ever recommend non-fantasy junkies to read: George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (the fourth book is still under progress).

Ilya

Vonnegut: The Sirens of Titan

Unlike most Vonnegut novels, I actually had a hard time getting into The Sirens of Titan. Maybe it was because it is one of his early works, maybe because it was a British edition, which was set in a horrible Bodoni-style font.

I managed to finish The Sirens (no feat at all, of course, I always finish the books I start), and it was okay. Not as good as Galapagos (a low book of Vonnegut’s — despite the deeply resonant ideas it revolved around), but better than Vonnegut’s early short stories collected in Welcome to the Monkey House.

Ilya


Using javascript to clear links to the current page

Jonathan Snook, web designer extraordinaire, has written a javascript to clear links that lead to the current page. Such a simple, clever idea. Why didn’t anyone else think of that?

Ilya

The twenty percent policy

There’s been some talk about how innovative Google is in allowing its engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects. Turns out, Toshiba was already doing this in the 70s. The Japanese electric typewriter — no small achievement — was developed as such a personal project.

Ilya

Proximity

Proximity is addicting. By what logic are the numbers presented?

Ilya

I wasn’t wrong, I was just using creative pronunciation

PBS has 100 examples from The Big Book Of Beastly Mispronunciations: The Complete Opinionated Guide For The Careful Speaker by Charles Harrington Elster.

Ilya

Individual-i

Individual-iBruce Schneier’s Individual-i is a symbol for personal liberty.

Ilya

And from the heavens shall rain

The end of the world if God is a juggler.

Ilya

Strandbeest

Theo Jansen is the father of strandbeest. From Mark Hurst’s interview:

Q - Will these creatures live on in some fashion?

They can do it in two ways. They might live on the beach; the guy who works for me, he’s quite young, and he knows how to build them now. Maybe after I’m dead he can keep the beach animals alive, and he could get a pupil as well, and maybe it could go on for some generations.

But it would take several generations to make the beach animals truly independent from us. Today, every five minutes I have to do something to repair them again. But that’s longer than it was before; it used to be a few seconds. Storms, especially, are terrible for these beasts, but they’re surviving them better now. There must be a point where this period could go to weeks, or months even. They’ll need a way to repair themselves, and to multiply. They do that already a bit, but I have to help them very much doing that.

Ilya

Blocking prefetching

To block Firefox’s prefetching (if you don’t want it to mess up your web statistics), trap HTTP request headers reading “X-moz: prefetch” and return a 404 error.

Ilya
  • O’Reilly’s CodeZoo rates and distributes free software components.


  • GIMPshop is GIMP with the user interface tweaked to resemble Photoshop’s. This is such good news.


Why weblogs work, in four words

Tufte’s goal in his work: “Simple design, intense content.” If I had to describe in four words why the weblog format works, these would be the ones.

Ilya
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Beared souls

caught together