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Darwin among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence
Darwin among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, Second Edition

Waterford: History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (The Irish County History & Society Series)
Waterford: History and Society - Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County (The Irish County History & Society Series)

Top Secret! (1984)
Top Secret! (1984)


Web Here
Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
June 19
Z-Wave network appears to have settled down, albeit not 100% the way I'd expected. I've installed two repeaters - one's an actual smart switch - but I think the steel framing in the house extension is messing with the radio propagation.

June 09
I think I watched Top Secret in the cinema, although given I'd have been 10 or 11 maybe I'm misremembering. In any case, it's not quite Airplane! levels of fun, but it does stick to the classic ZAZ recipe of "if you didn't like that joke there'll be another one along in a minute". And the background gags - like Nick, in the restaurant, being told he'll need to wear a jacket and tie, and they can provide one, and then the scene switches to Ms. Flammond in the foreground, and over her shoulder you can see Nick stripped to his underwear being measured up for a suit which a hotel staffer proceeds to stitch on a machine for him. It's not brilliant, but it is a lighthearted bit of fun.

June 05
In the last 30 minutes, my work mac has kernel panicked and my personal mac has had Terminal spontaneously die (taking all its open windows with it). Is this something triggered by WWDC to persuade me I need a new Mac?

May 31
Let's see how the BBC did with internet sensation "covfefe"
2017-05-31 08:38:00Trump typo: Covfefe mocked on internet
2017-05-31 09:57:53Trump typo: 'Covfefe' tweet mocked on internet
2017-05-31 12:29:54Trump typo: 'Covfefe' tweet mocked on internet
2017-05-31 16:02:28'Covfefe' Trump tweet mocked on internet
2017-05-31 16:02:28'Covfefe': Trump invents new word and melts internet
Your license fees at work, Britons!

May 26
Today I learned to ... rebuild my z-wave network from scratch. It's tedious (manually reset each device, then add to controller. Lather, rinse, repeat.)

May 23
Happy Significant Birthday, Big Brother!

May 20
Now that exams are done, we've started into Bosch Season 3, American Gods, and the new season of Doctor Who. All good so far.

May 18
I've finished reading all of Len Deighton's Samson books. It's arranged more or less as three trilogies plus a prequel, so ten books total. In the preface to the edition I read of book one (Berlin Game) he had much to say about plotting the character development over the course of a large number of books. Frankly, I can't say I saw much evidence of this: Bernard Samson starts out as a capricious ex-field agent, now effectively civil servant in the spy world, but still doing agent things; at the conclusion of 9 books, he's pretty much the same person. You find out more things about some of the characters, but the characters themselves don't actually develop.

Of the books themselves: they start out strong, but by the time I got to the end of the first trilogy I was getting a little tired of the protagonist who seems to wilfully work against his own best interests; his all-style, no-substance direct boss who seems to only get rewarded for his constant incompetence; and the fact that almost every woman who appears in the book is involved in an affair at some point or another; all of ths continues throughout the series. There are little tirades here and there in the text that seem to be Mr. Deighton himself using his books as a platform to air his chest on such weighty subjects as the cost of hairdressing and how much the result looks like you just tousled your hair. There's an amount of the writing that strikes me as realism, such as the petty politics and griding bureaucracy of the civil service, but to be honest I read thrillers as escapism, not as a reminder of the grim side of an office job. And then there are the multiple denouments: fine, it's a layered story, and Spy Sinker gives you the closest to a full telling of events, but it's all undercut by untrustworthy narrators who make you question how much of what you're being told is actually true in the book's universe. Which, again, bonus points for added realism, but really, if I'm getting an omnipotent narrator's view of the world, that should be the reliable one that sets everything into place. Otherwise you wind up with all this tension created by not knowing what exactly happened that never gets resolved. And you get to the end of the series with at least one contradiction / lie - who killed Thurkettle - and a handful of loose ends, such as the passing remark about the presence of a female Winter at the shooting of the Winter brothers. The prequel, Winter, would have been a nice place to tie that detail up, by the way, but it was left as if forgotten about.

The prequel is probably the strongest book in the entire series. It follows Peter and Paul Winter from their childhood at the turn of the century, through their engagement in the First World War, then their divergent paths in the Weimar period, and finally into and through World War Two. The rise of Hitler and the NSDAP is portrayed largely from Paul's perspective as associate, and then a key member of the organisation. Familiar faces from the rest of the series start to appear late in the book - as you'd expect. It's a historical tour-de-force, notwithstanding the placement of Paul as a key player in key events (e.g. making the Night of the Long Knives legal, figuring out how to make Hitler as Chancellor head of the army, etc.) and, as I said, the strongest in the whole series. It does have its flaws: more seemingly arbitrary infidelities and characters dispatched almost as footnotes ("oh yeah. She got killed by a random bomb."). On the whole, though, I think this is probably the best Deighton book I've read, and it does stand on its own, more or less.

May 17
SSD encryped and in the case. And boy howdy is there a performance boost.

May 16
SSD cloned from internal drive but still hanging off the side of the MacBook by a USB cable. I'm encrypting it at present, and when that's done I'll do the necessary case-opening surgery to install it, but already I'm noticing a distinct improvement in performance.