Random Updates

RoyalRoad

I find myself quite enjoying the works of Neven Iliev, which can be found on RoyalRoad.com where he goes by the username of Exterminatus.

When I read for fun, I fly through novels. I read the Belgeriad series in one sitting, which is barely over 1,700 pages in paperback. Granted, it was a long sitting, around fourteen hours. I spent a nice solid week enraptured with Iliev’s “Everybody Loves Large Chests” universe, and I can’t wait for more Audible releases of the series.

Signal Boost: a professor’s response to complaints about wearing a #BlackLivesMatter shirt

I’m signal boosting this because I think there are a few brilliant points the professor makes, and I would really like to know who s/he is so I can kudos them properly.

Unformatted text is below for those needing TTS or screen reader. The source is:

Law professor’s response to BLM shirt complaint.

Flat-File (Spreadsheet style) versus Relational Databases

I see the question coming up more and more of when to switch from something like Excel to something more like Access or a more fully fledged database server like MS SQL Server for data storage. So, here are a few things I find useful to consider when deciding between a relational database (RDB) driven versus a spreadsheet driven tracker:

Review: Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis Identity Crisis by Kevin J. Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The concept of this novella makes for some interesting thought poking. The introduction to the Fictionwise publication notes that the novella was developed into a full novel called “Hopscotch”. While the short story was entertaining, the concept wasn’t to my taste enough to go look up the longer piece.

Essentially, you have a world advanced enough to transfer between bodies all the mental parts that make us uniquely ourselves – memories along with personality, all that. You have a protagonist who makes a living by body swapping with people who want to get out of a bad experience – surgery, exercise, etc. And you have a client with less than perfect morals. What could go wrong?

On (Proofing) Writing

David Farland (of Runelords fame) sends out Daily Writing Kicks, and one of his recent ones was a pretty big plug for a site called Grammarly. His guest’s theme for the post was on automated proofreaders, which once you get passed the Microsoft Office tragedy can be pretty nifty. However, the grammar check can only help so much, and if you happen to have a problem with your composition more than your grammar, or maybe you’re not at native fluency for the language you’re writing in, then often what you write is a far cry from what you thought you wrote.

That’s why having your work read back to you can be so gosh darned useful. If you’re writing in Microsoft Word (and a number of other Microsoft productivity apps), you can access the built-in voice reader. If you’re working with something that can save a textual PDF (not an image of the page, but the selectable text), you can use Adobe Reader’s “Read Out Loud” feature.

But sometimes you just want to save a voice clip off to listen to later. Balabolka is a pretty nifty free client for that.

thought for the day: the story of data

Data are like words. Alone, their meanings are muted and confusing. Strung together, data points become information. Like a free standing sentence, information on its own can be misleading. Information combined with more information creates knowledge, the paragraphs where you start to understand what those strung together “words” really mean. And when knowledges collide, you get wisdom, the big picture, the fulcrum and the pivot point through which you can move worlds.

My former colleges and I, when I worked as a Data Specialist, were tasked with making sense of what a “Data Specialist” actually did in the company. I don’t remember who first came up with the idea of equating data and words, but it’s stuck with me. The thought above is my own phrasing, and I’ll likely keep changing the wording, but the essentials I think have developed pretty well.