Thursday, June 16, 2016

Christopher Moore Quick Review

So far as I can tell, the biggest problem with Christopher Moore is that his books are all checked out from the library and I have to wait a while to get another one.  I read A Dirty Job a few months ago, then Practical Demonkeeping, and just finished Secondhand Souls.  They're all hilarious.  There's too much cussing (I think this about every book I read now which is a pretty good sign that I'm getting old and also want to be able to enjoy stories with my kids) and meandering plots, but they always make me laugh out loud.  He also has clever eye-catching titles.  I picked his books up originally because I saw the cover for The Stupidest Angel.  It was all checked out on the library website, but I check out what was available and plan to work my way through pretty much all of his books now.  Some of the characters' can be racially insensitive and others can be minstrelly at times, but it's never so bad I want to put the book down.  It's also fun to see how the littlest set piece becomes important later on (Chekov's gun law is followed).  I highly recommend reading everything he's putting down. 

Nobody reads this stuff so I'm not going to fix the random thought order above.  Instead I'm going to eat some blueberries.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Liferay 6.2GA6 Clustering Bug

An upgrade to a clustered liferay portal failed to work and just dumped this error to the logs:
java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: net.sf.ehcache.util.ClassLoaderUtil.getStandardClassLoader
It did not work right until I upgraded ehcache-jgroupsreplication.jar to deal with EHC-1116 .  I don't think the patch is in the recent ehcache releases yet (it's not in the release notes for 2.10.1 or 2.8.8), but just building the trunk of the jgroupsreplication subproject worked for me.  That subproject code seems very stable anyways.  That patch which just went in in February 2016 was the only change since 2014.  Not very risky and with Maven it ran the unit tests when it built anyways.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Artemis Fowl Quick Review

Eoin Colfer (said to be pronounced "Owen Colfer", instead of as the sound a modem trying to eat a bullfrog would make) wrote a fairly decent Hitchhiker's Guide sequel so I've been reading his modern pulp series "Artemis Fowl".  They are very good and brisk.  The audiobooks are well produced (there seem to be two versions of every book and I have been listening to the ones read by Nathaniel Parker).  The written books have some curiously paragraphed dialog, but nothing that makes it too hard to understand which character is speaking.  They are exciting while still managing to refrain from "and then!" storytelling, a feat largely accomplished by the multiple viewpoints around pivotal events which are presented sequentially though they occur simultaneously in the fictional world.  This moderates the pace a bit but also has the effect of letting cliffhangers dangle longer so suspense actually builds.  Sometimes the adventures approach the level of shooting fish in a barrel, but not often.  The main character's strengths and those of his allies are extreme and grow as the series progresses, but this is balanced by increasing their handicaps every so often.  For example, Artemis develops a conscience.  The superhuman Butler ages.  Technology blinks out at inopportune moments.  Nothing feels either forced or inevitable which is key to keeping readers interested.

I recommend the audiobooks over the written editions.  The voices are worth the extra time.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Nexus 5x Quick Review

This is a large phone.  Very large.  I have already dropped it twice while trying to use it with one hand out of habit.  I will probably never jog with this phone and I don't think it will fit in my light belt.  Other than that, it's exactly like my first gen Moto X so far as I can tell.  And none of my old chargers are compatible with the USB-c cable.  The one really nice thing and the whole reason I bought it though is that it has better reception mostly thanks to having support for T-Mobile's band 12 LTE signal.  I get a signal on the Ting GSM SIM card in my basement now that I didn't get with the Moto X or the 3rd gen Moto G (which I returned).  That's worth giving up on getting a phone I can comfortably use with one hand.  Also, they replaced double-twist to launch the camera with double clicking the power button.

If they made a handheld size Nexus phone, I would sell this one in a heartbeat.  In the meantime, it's an ok compromise.

Also, the google flip case is way too expensive, and the only generic one I could find that puts the phone to sleep when you close it hasn't arrived yet.