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Also known as "Phil starts reading too many books at once month".

The only things I actually finished this month:
  • Word Puppets (Mary Robinette Kowal): too long since I finished this, struggling to remember very much about this short story collection other than that I enjoyed most of it.
  • Elite: Dangerous Role Playing Game (Spidermind Games): I kickstarted this after they got copyright bullied earlier in the year. Haven't got round to running a game yet, but hopefully will do in the New Year.
Still reading Gridlinked (zero progress made) and The Three-Body Problem (some progress made) from October, but also now reading Echoes of Earth (good progress being made on the train during various work trips to Manchester) and New Views on an Old Planet which was the recommended reading for my 1A Geology course but I never read at the time. However, inspired by the Blue Planet II episode on "The Deep" (van Andel was the first person to see mid-ocean ridges forming new crust in person) and as it's available for about £3 on eBay, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

Coding-wise, I rewrote the "automatic loading" feature of Fuse to be more friendly if you've got additional hardware available (techie details here) and made some games load quicker.

Photography-wise, I got tagged in the "seven days, seven black and white photos of your daily life" meme on Facebook. You can see what I came up with on Flickr.

December will be spent trying to finish more books than I start, but I may not actually get too much done due to the fantastic Advent of Code being back again.

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July's reading:
  • Heretics of Dune (Frank Herbert): felt like a novel which was written mostly because anything with "Dune" in the title and "Herbert" as an author is a license to print money; the Scattering has happened, but now we need something new now that Leto has gone. Better than God Emperor (which isn't saying much), but still doesn't really hold a candle to the original book. I may read Chapterhouse Dune one day, but I'm unlikely to spend any time with the Brian Herbert books.
  • Conservation of Shadows (Yoon Ha Lee): for the first half of this short story collection, I was really enjoying being pushed out of my typical hard sci-fi into something a bit different: still sci-fi, but a lot of stuff on the power of words and pictures (and a lot of betrayal). My the end, I was starting to think that the power of words and pictures was perhaps a little bit overdone, and maybe it was time for a different theme. Enough there that I'll probably read the rapidly becoming famous Ninefox Gambit at some point.
  • The Cloud Roads (Martha Wells): incomplete, and unlikely to be finished. The thinks-he's-the-last-of-his-shapeshifter-race suddenly discovers he's not the last of his race after all. Just didn't grab me enough in the first couple of chapters to make me think it would be worth continuing.
  • The Salt Roads (Nalo Hopkinson): if you don't like one set of roads, try another. A strange book, just too "literarture-y" for my simple tastes as it follows the stories of three oppressed African women across three time periods - but just never really seemed to go anywhere or come to any real conclusions. Or maybe I'm just a philistine, who knows?
August's reading will include Inventors at Work, The Bread We Eat In Dreams, Moving Mars and probably a whole load more as I'm spending a week away with no Internet :-)

July's coding:
  • z80trace: a simple tool to visualize instruction flow on a processor. Potentially interesting, but needs some work.
  • DivMMC emulation for Fuse - pretty much working, but needs tidying up.
  • Work-wise, some data science for our driver identification patent and some embedded C coding for a client project. Scaring the rest of the team with pointers :-)

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jorallan

October 2018

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