Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever
by Greg Cox (2011)

Reports of a genuine psychic healer, along with a simultaneous epidemic of mysterious illnesses, lead Myka and Pete on a hazardous investigation that stretches from a carnival sideshow back to the bloody history of the Civil War. But when Pete is infected with a deadly disease, Myka and the rest of the team, including Artie Nielsen and Claudia Donovan, must track down a pair of cursed gloves—before a madman unleashes a virulent plague upon America!
It’s a good read for fans of the show. You get a bit more insight into the characters and a more developed story. Recommended.


by Jeremy Robinson (2009)

Imagine a world where soldiers regenerate and continue fighting without pause, where suicide bombers live to strike again and again. This is the dream of Richard Ridley, founder of Manifold Genetics, and he has just discovered the key to eternal life: an ancient artifact buried beneath a Greek-inscribed stone in the Peruvian desert.

When Manifold steals the artifact and abducts archaeologist Dr. George Pierce, United States Special Forces Delta operator, Jack Sigler, callsign King, and his “Chess Team” —Queen, Knight, Rook, Bishop and their handler, Deep Blue—give chase. Formed under special order from President Duncan, they are the best of America’s Special Forces tasked with anti-terrorism missions that take them around the world against any threat, ancient, modern and at times, inhuman. With modern weapons, tough-as-nails tactics and keen intellects, they stand alone on the brink, facing the world’s most dangerous threats.

Another fast paced military thriller. This time the monsters just keep coming. It seems that most of the book was a action sequence with a short pause around the two-thirds mark. Keep ’em coming Jeremy. Recommended.




From Teleread Article

It’s been getting harder for me to read things on my phone and my laptop. I’ve caught myself squinting and holding the screen closer to my face. I’ve worried that my eyesight is starting to go.

These hurdles have made me grumpier over time, but what pushed me over the edge was when Google’s App Engine console — a page that, as a developer, I use daily — changed its text from legible to illegible. Text that was once crisp and dark was suddenly lightened to a pallid gray. Though age has indeed taken its toll on my eyesight, it turns out that I was suffering from a design trend.

There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.

Contrast Rebellion



Taskbar Location

Why does the Windows taskbar default to the bottom of the screen?

It didn’t always.

The original taskbar didn’t look at all like what you see today. It defaulted to the top of the screen.

It has been so long I forgot precisely what it looked like (I didn’t realize there was going to be a quiz ten years later), but this captures
the basic flavor, at least for the purpose of this discussion.
The point is that the bar took the form, not of buttons, but of tabs. Each tab corresponded to a running window, which melded into the tab. You switched window by clicking the corresponding tab.

You can see vestiges of this style in the TCS_BUTTONS style in the tab control. When we switched to the button-look for the taskbar, we still had a lot of switching code based on the tabs metaphor, and it was less work to add a button-look to the tab control than it was to rewrite all the switching code.

The tabbed look was abandoned for various reasons, one of which was what everybody else has already noticed: If you put the taskbar at the top of the screen, lots of windows end up sliding under it, because they assumed that the usable area of the screen began at (0,0). Other windows would “creep” up the screen because they used GetWindowPlacement to save their window position (which returns workspace coordinates, where (0,0) is the first usable pixel) but use SetWindowPos to restore it (which uses screen coordinates, where
(0,0) is the upper left pixel of the primary monitor).

There were too many apps that kept sliding under the top-docked taskbar so we had to abandon that idea and move it to the bottom.
It’s somewhat disheartening to observe that now, eight years later, apps still mess up their coordinate systems and keep sliding under a top-docked or left-docked taskbar.

Raymond Chen Sept 12, 2003


A Fall of Moondust
Arthur C. Clarke (1961)

A Fall of Moondust is a hard science fiction novel that was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel, it was the first science fiction novel selected to become a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book.

The plot is about a tour of the moon that has an accident, the cruiser becomes trapped beneath the surface of the moon. Most of the book concerns the rescue attempt. At each stage Clarke explains the science and engineering of the situation and the solutions. Despite a seemingly dry subject, it’s a compelling read.

Lewis 9.32

Lewis Series 9
32 “Magnum Opus”

(Originally Aired in UK 20 October 2015)

Lewis and Hathaway are called to investigate a body in some woodland. But realizing three more murders are to follow, the team must hurry to catch the killer, before they happen. Hathaway is struggling to cope with his father’s illness, as he begins his search to find out who he was before the dementia kicked in.

This is a better episode because it has a simpler storyline. But, as usual there is a twist late in the story to explain the motivations of the murderer. So better than before, but just very average.



Warm Sun

Like Warm Sun on Nekkid Bottoms
by Chuck Austen (2007)
(read in 2011)

A screwball comedy in the P.G. Wodehouse tradition. Without meaning to, Corky Wopplesdown has just gotten sexy lingerie model, Wisper Nuckeby, fired. To make things right he goes on a wild journey with a horny stripper, a repressed minister, a surprise fiancee and a comic collecting pervert to Nikkid Bottoms, a little village where the sun is warm, the people are nice, and the clothing is optional.

This ia a Screwball sex comedy for adults. Very funny, if a bit preaching near the end and wwwaaaayyyy too long. Should have been edited to around 100K words (it’s almost twice that).

What was interesting, and I didn’t know until this post was that Chuck is known for co-creating the animated TV series Tripping the Rift.

Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy Nation
by John Scalzi (2011)


This is a reboot of H. Beam Piper’s 1962 novel Little Fuzzy.

Authorized by the estate of H. Beam Piper, this was not intended to be a sequel, unlike the books by authors such as William Tuning and Ardath Mayhar. It was originally written as an exercise following negotiations regarding another Scalzi novel. Scalzi’s agent approached the Piper estate for permission to publish the novel. It uses the original plot and characters to tell an original story in a different continuity. Scalzi, a fan of Piper’s work, said that he aimed to make the story approachable to readers unfamiliar with the original while directing fans to Piper’s books.

This is one of Scalzi’s better novels, having read the original it’s easy to see the parallels and joins. Even if you haven’t read the original, this stands on its own as a good read.

Heris Serrano

Heris Serrano
(The Serrano Legacy #1-3)
by Elizabeth Moon (2002)

Fleet officer Heris Serrano came from a family of Fleet officers, so when a lying superior forced her to resign, life lost all meaning. To pay the bills, she became Captain of a rich old lady’s interstellar luxury yacht, adding insult to injury. But Cecelia, the rich old lady, had more brains than most admirals Heris had known, and before it was all over, Heris would have a chance to rejoin her beloved space navy — if she could manage to stop an invading armada.

My Review:
Starts of OK, but by the end it becomes slow and dull. Could do with a good editor to tighten the pacing.



by Jeremy Robinson (2013)
with Sean Ellis

When a raid on an insurgent safehouse leads to a clue to decoding one of the world’s greatest mysteries, the Voynich manuscript, which reveals a recipe for creating the ultimate biological weapon of mass destruction, Delta operator Jack Sigler must forge a new black ops team to avert catastrophe. While bullets fly, he recruits a group of deadly warriors with dangerous secrets, assigning each member a chess piece callsign and dubbing them Chess Team. But nothing is what it seems…and no one can be trusted.

As the search for the truth about the manuscript moves across Asia and into the darkest reaches of human history, Chess Team must battle enemies beyond comprehension—nightmare creatures of myth and perverse creations of science—to preserve a secret as old as life itself. In 2009, bestselling novelist Jeremy Robinson launched the adventures of Jack Sigler and Chess Team. Now, learn how it all began in this full length novel!

Witness Chess Team’s beginning as King, Queen, Bishop, Rook, Knight and the elusive Deep Blue come together to form the only military force smart enough and dangerous enough to face the world’s most deadly, most high tech and most monstrous threats.

This is the first book of the series I have read although it was written as a prequel after the first in the series (2009). It came in a storybundle deal last year. It’s everything I expected from Robinson, but this time even more action and pacing. Perhaps it’s  his collaboration with Ellis that makes this novel different. Here the genre is military action with a bit of history and pseudo-science thrown in. Not as good as his own books where you get a lot more science fiction. Still, a recommended read,