Monday, November 28, 2022

Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers of London 2 – Moon over Soho

I didn’t like the first book in this series, but this one is better. The first half of book 2 had a more cynical, ‘detective noir’, ‘hard-boiled detective’ flavor, and I like that. The second half of the book was more in line with the first installment. Still, overall an enjoyable read, and an improvement. Maybe it’s all the jazz references that did it for me?

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Monday, November 21, 2022

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - Aurora Cycle 1 - Aurora Rising

Review.

Third Person Present Tense, Young Adult SF.

Most books in the YA category tend to be Fantasy, but this is an SF trilogy with some interesting aspects, and it's fairly well written.

There are some not-entirely-believable scenes, but it ain't bad, and the character interaction is fun.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

TP-Link Deco M4 - Review / Bufferbloat / Reset

Review.

Of course, one should carefully consider the amount of trust one places in a Chinese company like TP-Link. In general, their hard and software seem to be reasonable for the price point, but privacy is a bit of a thing these days...

Anyway, in case you would decide to buy a mesh Wifi network, TP-Link has a cheap(er) product called the Deco M4. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

F*ck*ng W*rkg*v*rs (en overheden) - Thuiswerken... of niet?

Column. Dutch.

Op je werkdag mag je niet thuiswerken, maar op je vrije dag wel?

Heeft dan niemand iets geleerd van de Corona golf? Nadat we een tijdje thuis mochten werken... nee, thuis moesten werken, is het eindelijk weer tijd om op kantoor te verschijnen. En dus staan we lekker collectief weer in de file.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Scott Baron - The Clockwork Chimera 1 - Daisy's Run

Review

Daisy's part of a limited crew, on their way to earth. But the closer she gets, the more she starts distrusting her fellow shipmates. What doesn't help is her distrust of artificial limbs and cyborg implants, something which all her shipmates have...

Monday, November 7, 2022

Netflix - Outside the Wire (2021)

Review.

What could have been an interesting movie is nothing but your typical over-the-top robot-gone-bad military-are-good direct-to-video.

It's a pity, because some of the CGI is pretty good, and the movie does contain some very interesting elements. It's just that it doesn't work.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Home Server / WallX / TouchPortal / Power Saving Kludge

Upfront: this is a bit of a kludge, and I'll be looking for a better option, as soon as I can find one. But it thought me things...

Anyway, with the ever-increasing price of electricity, I was wondering if I could not simply switch off my home server upon command. In the past, I used a timed-out, which worked fine, but there are other users in my household, and they're not always computer-savvy.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Claudia Grey - Defy the Stars

Review.

It's another SF / Romance (it's almost hard to find non-romance novels these days) which is a bit more SF than romance. Yet another first-person present-tense novel, and that's probably the reason why I read it. The story itself wasn't that special.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Plonker

Writing.

Nine: "Have you done formatting before?"

Mathieu: "No."

Nine: "No... You've never done formatting before?"

Mathieu: "No, never."

Nine: "Fuck me."

Monday, October 24, 2022

Cinda Williams Chima - The Seven Realms - The Demon King / The Exiled Queen / ...

Review.

Romance / fantasy, but not overly 'soggy'... most of the time. Still, the core story is good, and that's what it's all about.

I've already reviewed book 1 and books 2, 3 and 4 are in the same style, same vein, same quality. Wat makes this series interesting is the different take on magic. What's missing is more history on what happened before what happened before this story. Yeah, that's a double before...

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Dark Crystal / The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Review.

An absolute classic. If you have never seen it, then go and watch this movie. Jim Henson (of Muppet fame) created it... and in its own way, it has stood the test of time.

There's a great prequel to it called The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance which unfortunately was canceled after a single season, in spite of good reviews. And still, I suggest you go and watch it. It's absolutely worth your time.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Repairing a Makita 6010D Cordless Drill

The Makita 6010D was first released in 1978 or so, and it was a game changer. At one time I owned two, but I can't recall what happened to the second one 😒

I still own one, which I must have bought close to forty (!) years ago. Unfortunately, the power switch was starting to misbehave (pieces of the plastic broke off) and the unit became unusable. But... throwing away good tools is against my nature.

Time to repair...

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Contour Jog Shuttle Pro V1 / Hitfilm Express / Windows 11

Soft and hardware is sometimes made obsolete even when it still functions perfectly. If you're not stubborn, you're going to pay extra...

I like Hitfilm Express and I own an (older) Jog Shuttle Pro. They worked fine on my previous setup, so why not bring them over into this new Windows 11 era? Right...

Friday, September 30, 2022

Microsoft (Windows 11) Designers are Idiots - Rubbish on the Drag Bar

They are.

Microsoft just proudly proclaimed their latest version of Windows has a more seamless integration of Android apps inside the Windows environment, because Android apps can now finally place their own crap on the dragbar.

And they're proud of it?!?

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Amazon Publishing Notes - E-book vs. Print-on-demand - (Nett) revenue

Of course my take might be wrong, outdated, or I might have used the wrong sources.

Decide for yourself...

Monday, September 26, 2022

Stephen R. Donaldson - The Gap into Conflict / ...

Review.

Donaldson goes to space. And adds some abuse for good measure.

I'm doing a re-read, after finally picking up number 4. (I never finished this series, even though number 5 has been in my bookcase for ages.) I'm halfway book 1 now, and find it just as average as I remembered.

The later books should be better if memory serves me well. I'll find out soon...

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Monitor Cable Soup - (Mini) HDMI / DVI-A / DVI-D / Dual Link DVI-I / DisplayPort / VGA / Thunderbolt / USB-C

Not all displays are created equally.

With screens and video cards from different years you may end up with some weird combinations... and not all combinations work.


Monday, September 19, 2022

HBO Max – Raised by Wolves

Review.

I’m not to sure if this is good or bad. It’s a bid of sci-fi with some bodily horror thrown in, and some of the graphics are below par. I also wonder where they want to take this.

Not impressed… yet.

And yet...

Friday, September 16, 2022

Argus Monitor - Software Fan Speed Control

If you're suffering from a whining CPU fan (speeding up and down all the time) and you're sure you have the right BIOS, then the only thing left to do is either install a hard- or software fan controller. I tried the free Fan Control but it kept asking for a username / password with admin rights.

Argus Monitor only asks for elevation once during installation, but doesn't ask anymore after that. More important, it can monitor temperatures and average multiple sources over, for example, 10 seconds, and that is exactly what I needed. Argus Monitor isn't free though.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Windows 11 (Virtual Drive service) eating up a drive letter

Windows 11.

Sometimes Windows 11 spontaneously gobbles up a drive letter, especially after adding an additional drive to your machine. There's no obvious way to recover that drive letter.

It turns out it's the virtual drive service that spontaneously decides to stop working, but only so after stealing your drive letter.

Monday, September 12, 2022

D&D - 5e in NL - Toch een inleiding? (Dutch)

Dutch. (5e in NL)

Wat moet je weten voordat je de regels in duikt?

Weet je, eigenlijk zijn de regels helemaal niet belangrijk... In principe zou je ook zonder regels kunnen spelen... uiteindelijk is het allemaal alleen maar 'make believe'. En toch hebben we regels, maar waarom dan?

Erik Schubach – Fixit

A short sci-fi story on a (literal) down-below engineer, fixing her robots, serving the higher-ups that live above.

It’s actually a fun, well written story, so I looked for more stories by Schubach. Most of it is tagged as ‘F/F fantasy romance’ with a couple of ‘LGBT’ notes sprinkled left and right. That sometimes causes me pause...

Saturday, September 10, 2022

D&D - 5e in NL - Reactions & Opportunity Attacks (Dutch)

Dutch. (5e in NL)

Naast de reguliere geplande acties tijdens je beurt, kun je ook akties daarbuiten doen, als reactie op de acties van iemand anders.

Per ronde mag je 1 reactie nemen.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Potatoes!

Found this on the Internet. Silly, little, fun game, which shows how hard it is to be a halfling...

(Click image to enlarge)

Source:

https://twitter.com/deathbybadger/status/1567425842526945280


 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Projecting / (Mira)casting to Windows 11

Windows 11.

Sometimes Miracast hides under a different moniker. My Samsung Android tablet calls it Smartview (which is a pretty dumb name.) Often Miracast fails, regardless of its name.

I doubt MicroSoft will ever fix this, which is a petty for professional users, who could add a tablet and a pen for some quick notes and drawings. See here.

Casting TO the PC was never quite reliable, and it's even worse in Windows 11. The following work around seems to do the trick (or at least it does for me, 90% of the time).

TouchPortal 3.1 now supports OBS 28.

 

TouchPortal 3.1 now supports OBS 28.

You no longer need to download and install the websocket, but you need to enable it inside OBS 28, and make sure the port is set properly in both TouchPortal and OBS 28 (default 4455)

Windows Security Alert - Without a Reason

Windows 11.

Well, it has a reason... It just won't show what the reason is 😒

After a fresh install, you may end up with a warning sign on the Windows Security tray, for no apparent reason. So, you double click the warning, and go through all your security options... and nothing shows. And the warning doesn't tell you what's going on.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Adam Wright - Harbinger PI 3 - Dark Magic

Review.

After restoring most of his memory Alec Harbinger triggers a wave of zombies, then brings his team (friends? co-conspirators? vague acquaintances?)  to fight some human and not-so-human monsters from taking over the world.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Migrating the Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas

Remember this thing? 20-odd years ago, when CD-roms were still a thing, TSR released all the 2nd edition Forgotten Realms maps as a disc plus viewer. The viewer sucked (even then) but having those maps is a dream for RPG players.

Of course, getting it to install these days is a bit of a hassle, but (fortunately) you DON'T have to install it... maybe.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Upgrading Asrock AB350 Pro4 - 1600X to 3600 - BIOS & CPU

A friend donated a Ryzen 5 3600 CPU from his dead PC. Should I upgrade my own machine? Perhaps not.

But I'm still going to do it 😁

Friday, September 2, 2022

D&D - 5e in NL - Surprise, Rounds & Actions (Dutch)

Dutch. (5e in NL)

Een deel van het spel draait om combat rounds, waarin de spelers en hun tegenstanders met elkaar vechten en schade aan elkaar uitdelen.

1. Bepaal wie er verrast is
2. Bepaal wie waar staat
3. Bepaal initiative
4. Speel de eerste ronde (waarbij karakters surprised kunnen zijn)
5. Speel de rest van het gevecht ronde na ronde

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Wallpaper - La Sagrada Familia

If you've never been there... then just go. The place is amazing. And so is Barcelona as a whole. I've visited the Sagrada Familia back in 2000, when they were still building slowly and expected it to never be ready. I returned 20 years later, with my twenty-ish daughters, and found out the local government had a change of plans and mostly finished it.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Bella Forrest - Harley Merlin - Series

Review.

The problem with Bella Forrest is that she is, now and again, ‘over-inspired’ by other series. The ‘point-system’ seems to be lifted straight from Harry Potter, and there are other elements that seem… too unoriginal. There’s also a a hint of Mary Sue, and the third book is so driven by love affairs that the story suffers from it.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Site & Blog Updates

English

Made some updates to the layout of the site. Minor stuff but I think it looks just a tad slicker. Also removed some stuff from the topics list and modified the landing pages.

Dutch

De layout van de site is een klein beetje aangepast, en de Nederlandstalige D&D pagina's hebben een update gehad. Ook heb ik de labels wat opgeschoond en de landing pages aangepast.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

6e... Dungeons & Dragons Coming Full Circle

Column.

6E is upon us. Or One D&D, although there's still little to be found on the WOTC page. Nevertheless... we go full cycle again.

1st edition players didn't need their 2nd edition... 2nd edition didn't need 3e. Nobody needed 4e 😁 though everyone (except 4e players) liked 5e. And now, we get 6e... 5.5e... 5.1e... I mean, One D&D.

I think the guys of Penny Arcade said it so well twelve years ago...

Monday, August 15, 2022

HBO Max - DMZ

Review.

Rosario Dawson is becoming one of my favourite actresses. She played ‘the nurse’ in the Netflix' Marvel series, an older Ahsoka in The Mandalorian (and she’s great!) and Zee in the DMZ miniseries.

Zee's a mother who lost her son years earlier, in an alternate reality where the US has been torn in two. Good stuff, more emotionally driven than simplistic action, though at first glance you wouldn't say so.

Anna Stephens - Godblind 1 - Godblind

Review.

The gods will walk the earth. Quite literal. A more realistic fantasy (is there such a thing) about a kingdom that struggles to fight ‘The Dark Lady’. A former slave escapes the baddies and teams up with the goodies, but not all goodies are good.

No, this isn’t Raymond Feist, but come to think of it… there are some similarities. It’s well written, but I lost interest near the end. Not sure if I’m going to look for book two or not…

Monday, August 8, 2022

Django Wexler - Wells of Sorcery 3 - Siege of Rage and Ruin

Review.

Ah, good stuff. The final book of the trilogy. Isoka and her princess / lover return to Isoka’s home city Kanzhoka to rescue Isoka’s sister Tori.

What they find is a city set on fire, with the rebels led by nobody but Tori. More first person present tense YA action fantasy with a slice of romance, but not excessively so.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Balabolka settings

Writing.

Balabolka is a simple TTS (Text To Speech) tool that can help authors with proofreading and editing their work. Word has such a feature build in, but if you use Google Docs or another editor / word processor you might want to use something like Balabolka.

I have set up Balabolka in such a way that it monitors my clipboard. When I do a larger copy / paste it will start reading my text.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Wallpaper - Lost in Translation

This is one of those wallpapers that only means something to me (and a few former employees of a data center company in Amsterdam). We had a couple of LAN parties at the time (this is around the end of the last century 😉 ) and played a lot of Red Alert 2 online. Our clan name was Lost In Translation, or LiT. We never got anywhere 😅 but I still have the logo as a wallpaper.

(Click image to enlarge.)


Alex Sheppard - Dark Universe - The Last Stryker / First Covenant / Final Resistance

Review.

Alex Sheppard (https://www.facebook.com/authoralexsheppard/) hasn't been very active since 2018, or so it seems after visiting his / her facebook page. Then again, neither am I 😉

However, this post isn't about productivity, but about this book / series. Let's start with the verdict: nah.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Django Wexler - The Forbidden Library - The Forbidden Library / The Mad Apprentice / ...

Review.

Django Wexler is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. After the Wells of Sorcery series (I still have to add the review of book 3) this was yet another interesting series.

The concept is simple and will appeal to all fantasy readers: magic is real, and can be retrieved from books. Wizards are very adapt readers with lots of experience (we call them 'the old readers'). They all have shape shifting libraries, and get their powers from reading books.

Are you hooked yet?

Friday, July 22, 2022

SqueezeBox - Adding radio stations to SqueezeBox LMS

I haven't been able to find a good explanation (and there might be a better way to do it) so here's what I do...

It seems the current radio function is connected to TuneIn, so that's what I'll use. It should be possible to use other services but I'm still struggling there. In the SqueezeBox client you can enter URLs directly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Connect and configure a Steam Controller

Gaming.

It's not a popular controller, but hey, if you have one, why not (try to) use it?

These steps are based upon the text on the Valve homepage yet slightly adjusted for clarification.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Kodi v19.3 on Android / Windows - Path to media

Want to use your Nvidia Shield or Google Chromecast with Google TV (what a horrible name) to play back files from a home (Windows) server using Kodi?

On Android you cannot browse SMB shared drives, and you have to specify them by hand using their IP address.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Brandon Sanderson - Mistborn 1 - The Final Empire

Review.

Brandon Sanderson has become a well-known and popular author, and yet I've read little by his hand. In fact, only Skyward, I believe, and that one was a little underwhelming.

He's better known for the Mistborn series, and yes. The first book The Final Empire is definitely better than Skyward.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Update on Ziggo and Bufferbloat

Ziggo increased their bandwidth again (and their pricing, let's not go there) so I checked my QoS based anti-bufferbloat recipe again. Results: it still works 😊 

Internet en Ziggo - meer betalen voor meer snelheid... welke je niet nodig hebt

Ziggo kondigde een (kleine) snelheidsverhoging aan. En bij Ziggo betekent dat simpelweg dat de prijzen ook verhoogd gaan worden. En uiteraard, daar hoefden we niet lang op te wachten...

Monday, July 11, 2022

Anne Ursu - The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

Review.

Each book that starts with a 'school' or 'academy' threatens to become yet another Harry Potter clone. That indeed was my first worry when I started reading this one.

The second fear I had was the contra-'misogynistic' bend of the story. Don't get me wrong, misogyny has no place in this world, and unfortunately there are still many examples of such behavior in today's society.