Larry Hosken: New

Book Report: Maps To The Other Side (The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer)

Maps to the Other Side is a memoir. If you're looking for straight up cartography, you won't find it. But if you're looking for a community organizer, organic farmer, mental health activist… you're in luck.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-23T13:41:36

Sometimes, New Comic Day means buying new comics.

And sometimes it means Erik Larsen is hanging out at Isotope showing some so-new-it's-not-yet-for-sale big Savage Dragon art.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-23T02:48:52

Book Report: The Maze of Games

The Maze of Games is a puzzle extravaganza: about 52 puzzles leading up to four meta-puzzles leading up to another meta, along with some bonus puzzles. The variety was fun; and on those few occasions when "variety" meant that there was a puzzle of a type I don't enjoy, the meta-puzzles forgave me and let me go on with partial data. (Well, the four meta-puzzles along the way. The biiiig meta-puzzle at the end, uhm, I haven't made any progress on that. Maybe that one requires complete data; I looked at it a while and put it down.)

(I signed up for this book as a Kickstarter. At about the same time, I also signed up for another Kickstarter, the Year of Puzzles. That project periodically sends out puzzles. It's also leading up to a meta-puzzle. But I probably won't even try that meta-puzzle. I printed out and solved those puzzles as they came in, over the course of months… and now those printouts are scattered. It was pretty nice that the Maze of Games arrived as a big book; it forced me to keep everything together. Hmm, maybe I should wait for the Year of Puzzles to finish, and then do it all at once so I don't lose track of my notes again. Anyhow: book form factor, handy.)

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-21T12:44:55

Link: Video: How 1000s of Devs Can Work on the Same Code and Understand Each Other

If your organization doesn't use C++, you might be surprised that this talk about Google's C++ Style Guide could be relevant. But very little of it gets into C++. It's mostly about coming up with a set of rules, each of which is "worth it." It's easy to come up with an arbitrary set of rules, but coming up with a credible set of rules that are worth following… that takes a change of attitude, but it's worth it.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-20T13:27:03

Over-engineered Walks a year later: Munzee

I still play Munzee, in which folks post the GPS coordinates of barcode stickers, and I go find and scan those bar codes. Since you only get credit for scanning any particular Munzee once, it gives me an excuse to visit new places. On Sundays when another system suggests that I walk someplace with slow Sunday bus service, I'm likely to head out in search of some Munzees instead.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-19T00:05:39

Book Report: Inside the Red Mansion

This is sort of an investigation of Lai Changxing, a Chinese smuggler tycoon from a few years back. By the time you're done, you've explored corruption in modern Chinese life. There might not be a way to become a tycoon in China except through corruption. When it was convenient for officials to take money from Lai, they did. Later, when it was no longer convenient, they screamed for his head. Meanwhile a service economy thrives, providing luxuries to the rich, with the assumption that the customers are crooks. When Mao wanted influence in the cities, he dealt with gangsters. When the mainland wanted to get Hong Kong under control, they dealt with gangsters. Payoffs are everywhere.

This makes the book sound grim and strident. But really, it's wander-ish and exploratory. In many places, it's funny.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-17T12:47:14

Over-Engineered Walks a Year Later: randomized deck from index cards

I still let some written-on index cards figure out my walking route to work each morning. If my route doesn't bring me to the correct block, then I take the last card, cross out its number, and write in a new one. By now, most of the cards have their numbers changed.

Partly as a side effect of these new numbers, the deck's suggested route tends to meander more now. I find myself "cheating." I peek ahead at the next few cards: if the deck tells me to walk around three sides of a block, I might shortcut the meander. If the deck tells me to walk all the way around a block, I probably just stay put.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-16T13:17:17

Book Report: Flash Boys

It's about high-speed trading; including shady deals by brokerage houses with high-speed traders. If you're setting up a stock market, some folks will pay to get early access to information about trades; with this early knowledge, they have an edge in choosing which trades to make. It's about trying to set up a market that doesn't favor high-speed traders so much, and why that's a good thing.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-15T12:56:49

Over-Engineered Walks a Year Later: Geocache Vicinity

When I want to get out from behind the computer and go for a walk and don't want to choose the route myself, I still do this: Choose a geocache that I haven't visited yet that's a little further away than the geocaches I have visited. From there, go to the nearest unvisited geocache, and then go to the nearest unvisited geocache to that and so on. Don't actually try to find the geocaches; that would just distract from the walking.

I do it less often, though. A year ago, I pointed out that I sometimes put off these walks because the algorithm might say: this time, my walk starts on Angel Island; so I'd better plan my day around getting there. Nowadays, the system picks out starting spots about 24km from my apartment. San Pablo, San Leandro, Foster City. If the system wants to send me to Marin County or south of Pacifica, it's more than 1.5 hours away by public transit. That's too much time on the bus; I skip those. Instead I allow only spots more accessible by public transit; but many of those take too long to get to on Sunday bus schedules; so I only take these walks on Saturdays now. Thus: less often.

I'm guessing I'll only keep using this system for another few months: eventually, it will only pick far-far-away places: maybe there will be a last couple of in-transit-range walks that start in Orinda or nearabouts, and then it will be time to abandon this system. (Or perhaps restart it, perhaps altered.)

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-15T02:12:48

Book Report: The Routes of Man

Better than a road trip, it's several road trips. Pirated lumber, mountainous roads, "the AIDS highway" years later, a Chinese road rally club, an ambulance in Lagos, … This book explores some pretty interested territory.

Permalink
& Comments

2014-10-12T23:38:44

Updates:

Tags

Archives:
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Feed