Tag Archives: books

A drafty winter’s night

I haven’t written anything in ages, mostly because whatever I want to share, I just post it on Twitter. But I felt a dire need to express myself and write about… well, various things – and I need more than 140 characters for that. So yeah, here’s what’s up (and some of what I thought was hip in 2013.).

The seemingly spontaneous first paragraph

I’m writing this with help of the fantastic WordPress Front-End Editor plugin (which is going end up in WP Core, eventually – looking forward to it). It’s much easier to concentrate on writing when all you have in front of your eyes is the final version of the “product”, visually speaking. I’ve never gotten used to the full-screen variant of the WP editor, but this works just great for me.
When the plugin is completed, it’s going to be almost as gorgeous as Medium’s content editor.

“Somethingness Two”

I’ve modified my WordPress theme a bit, and I’m currently really satisfied with the look and feel of the website (which I haven’t been in a long time).

I’ve had a really hard time finding the right font, because most of them look like sh*t when font smoothing/clear type is off. I’m shortsighted, I wear eyeglasses, and I have astigmatism – reading with font smoothing turned on is a pain for me. So, after going through all (and I mean all of them) Google and TypeKit serif fonts, I’ve narrowed it down to three that looked pleasant to my eyes: Vollkorn, Volkhov and PT Serif. Initially, I went with Vollkorn: although it’s a lovely font, it doesn’t look that great in bold. Volkhov was my second choice, but after numerous comparisons I decided that I like PT Serif just a smidge better. For headings, I chose Lato; I think it complements PT Serif quite nicely.

Reads and Readability

And this font talk has now reminded me: I’ve asked the folks at Readability if they could offer some standard font in their options, for people like me. I hope they will, because in this age of information overload, I couldn’t live without a tool like Readability. I’m especially fond of its “Export to EPUB” feature, which makes it possible for me to easily transfer to and read all those saved for later articles on my Nook. Here’s a list of some of my favorite articles from the past few months.

On to reads…

I’ve finally read “Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes. It’s a book written in form of a report diary of a man called Charlie Gordon. His reports start a few weeks before he is scheduled to undergo an experimental surgery which should  increase his (very low) IQ. I really can’t tell you much more about the plot without spoiling it, but trust me: this book is one remarkable journey. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading it and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.

“The making of Karateka” is another great book I’ve read this year. It’s also written  in form of a diary, but this one is not fictional: it’s a collection of Jordan Mechner‘s diary entries from 1982-1984, while he was working on his game “Karateka”. The game received rave reviews and sold over 500 000 copies world-wide. While you may have never heard of “Karateka”, I’m sure you’ve heard of the game he made next, “Prince of Persia”.

If you’re fond of the Alien universe and don’t mind reading movie scripts, you won’t be disappointed by a fan-written script by Anil Jacob Kunnel, titled “Alien Planet“. I’ll steal the logline from the forum I found the download link on: “Following the events of Alien: Resurrection, Ellen Ripley is aboard an exploration vessel heading toward the Xenomorph homeworld, where she and the rest of the crew must struggle to survive.” It’s an exciting read, very well written and I wouldn’t mind a bit if it had been made into a movie. AvPGalaxy has a review of the script.

To conclude the reading list: I’m currently reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. I find it a bit difficult to follow at times because of the 1800’s language and some very long sentences, but it’s also way more interesting than I thought it would be.

Obsessed with moving pictures

To keep things short(er), I’ll just link you up with a list of movies I’ve found most enjoyable in 2013 (!important: some of them were released in 2012!)

On the series front, there were a few new shows I stuck to, some of them excellent (The Wrong Mans, The Fall, Broadchurch, Orphan Black), some surprisingly good (The Blacklist, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Sleepy Hollow) and some that are better than average and might improve in time (Almost Human). In semi-particular order, yesteryear’s favorites remain: Person of Interest, Castle, Psych, Awkward, Arrow, Big Bang Theory, The Neighbors, Supernatural, Grimm, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Continuum, and a guilty pleasure above all guilty pleasures: Revolution. I recently started watching Parks and Recreation and it has quickly become one of my all-time favorites.

Fringe and Breaking Bad both ended in 2013., unfortunately. Both Walters will be missed. I just hope there’s more good stuff where they came from.

I don’t feel like writing about music (at this moment)…

…but, please, do take a listen to these two beautiful, haunting soundtracks: The Grey (Marc Streitenfeld) and Monsters (Jon Hopkins). They are not that recent, but they are my favorites and I listen to them often.

That’s it for this blog post. Need fulfilled, I guess. I think I’ll write more soon; about music and audio libraries for composers, maybe about web stuff, or about awesomeness of WDTV Live assisted by Plex.

Happy New Year ;)

22 days later

A lot has happened in the past three weeks.

  • In Real Life ™ : I bought an Tascam HD-P2 portable audio recorder (more accurately, it is my parents’ final investment in me). It’s a great piece of hardware, believe me. You can visit Tascam’s website for more info, but here are some of the key features: records up to 192KHz/24bit stereo on Compact Flash cards, 2 XLR mic inputs, 1x stereo line input/1xoutput (cinch), built-in limiter, timecode and video clock input, digital (coax) in/out, firewire, PS/2 keyboard input, can be DC/Firewire/battery (8xAA) powered. I’ve had it for two weeks now, but I’ve done only a couple of tests since I didn’t have a proper microphone to test with. Now I’ve borrowed two Shure’s: SM57 and Prologue 14L and we’ll see how it goes in the next couple of days.
    I’m currently playing keyboards (Korg Polysix, woot!) in a band with a couple of friends and we’ve recorded two of our practicing sessions with those mics linked — it sounds excellent. I’ll try to remember to do a mini-review of HD-P2 soon, since I haven’t found any (reviews) on the net and people seem to be looking for it.
  • Internet-wise, the biggest surprise for me was Blue Security’s announcement that they’re backing out and giving up the battle against spammers. Couple of days ago, they even advised their users to uninstall the Blue Frog software because spammers might try to use it against them. In the end, it all introduces us to a new kid on the block — it seems that P2P networks can be used to fight spam, with Blue Security’s project SourceForged. It’s called Black Frog (aka Okopipi).
  • In the gaming world, there was Nintendo Wii, effortlessly destroying all competition. After the announced name change, all seemed to go uphill for Nintendo — the name got accepted pretty quick, the controller kicks ass in every possible way, there will be plenty of games available for the console at its launch, and it’s going to cost a mere ~$200. People waited for hours at E3 just so they could play with it.
    And what about PS3? The announced $600 (for the premium version) price tag doesn’t look that attractive at first, but if you consider the hardware you’re getting for that money — it’s too cheap, really. A couple of game screenshots that I’ve seen look very promising, the pre-installed Linux is definitely a plus, there’s the Blu-ray drive (who needs HD-DVD anyway?), a 60GB hard disk, Wi-Fi, MS/SD/MMC/CF cards reader, USB, wireless controller (with, err…some motion and tilt sensitivity), nice and easy to use interface (similar to the one on PSP), HDMI, 1080p — it’s a perfect home multimedia system. And also a gaming console. Not such a bad deal after all, huh? That is, unless you live in the U.K. where the price won’t be $600, but £425 (~$800) . And probably €600 anywhere else in Europe. I never understood the laws and taxes in these cases, but, for example, to me it seems awfully wrong that I could buy a PSP for $195 in Japan almost a year ago, and here in Croatia the price is still over $300.
  • Joan of Arcadia
    That’s just another great show that got canned last year because… I think the reason was that the average age of viewers was — 54? How is that possible? It’s practically a teen show, and one of best educational series I’ve ever seen. So how come the percentage of young people who watched it was so low? I really don’t know, but I think it’s sad.
    Wanna know what else is sad? : “Charmed” is still on air. “OC” too. And many more crappy TV shows. Yes, we all have different tastes so I won’t go on, but JoA was just one of those shows that I thought would last for a while, because it talked about God in a non-religious way, it wasn’t a catholic/jewish/muslim/buddhist/whatever propaganda, it didn’t force anything — it was simply about choices and faith. And it was good.
  • I’ve watched the pilot episode (“War zone”) of “Crusade” (Babylon 5 sequel from 1999) last night. The series got cancelled even before the whole first season aired in full. And for a good reason: this pilot was probably one of the most embarrassing moments in TV history. I’m a really tolerant person, but I couldn’t force myself to watch another episode.So, that blurb above, I wrote it before reading the following text on series’ IMDB page:
    The show was canceled before it even aired. It was not canceled because it was bad, but because TNT made it bad. They did eventually air it, but totally out of order. If you ignore “War Zone” and watch the other 12, it’s a great show. The show clearly has an arc, and it was about to begin when the show was canceled. Hopefully the SCI-FI channel will pick it up in the future and continue this great series.
    I might give it a chance yet, 6.9 score on IMDB equals to that of Joan of Arcadia. It better be worth it.
  • Deftones are coming to play in Zagreb on June 27th. Oh, it’s going to be a beautiful day and I can hardly wait for it :D Reminder to self: go buy the ticket already.
    I’ve been listening to Chino’s “Team Sleep” for the past 2-3 days. It seemed a bit “shallow” at first glance, but there’s a couple of tracks that I really began to love. It’s a good one, in the end..
  • Four Eyed Monsters intrigue me. Go pay a visit to their website and watch the video podcasts.
  • I’ve finished reading Bukowski‘s “Notes of a dirty old man“. I loved it.