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Showing posts from March, 2013

Book Review: "Divine Misfortune" by A. Lee Martinez

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Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you could actually talk to the gods? I have, and that's why I read "Divine Misfortune", the story of how two ordinary people change their life with the contractual inclusion of Luka, the God of Luck and Fortune.

I am a fan of A. Lee Martinez other books, because I like how he creates worlds. This book proves to be no exception; Mr. Martinez presents the reader with a believable world in which anyone can log into Pantheon.com and find their own god or goddess. The author assembles the relationships between humans and gods or gods and gods, the quirky legality of the follower/god contract, and the discussions about the problems with living eternally into a book that is both funny and thoughtful.

I like how the gods have the same problems as the humans in terms of learning how to be better people, handling break-ups, and moving on after a crisis. Gods simply …

Devil's Advocate: Support North Korea

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With all the rhetoric flying around about North Korea these days, I think it's time to look at more than just our side of the story.  So, playing devil's advocate, I now throw my support behind North Korea and their efforts to be a nuclear nation.

For the past fifty years, North Korea survived in the shadow of tens of thousands of American military units in South Korea, including about 30,000 troops right now.  Instead of a peace treaty, North Korea settled for an armistice even though the people there want a real peace treaty.  When they try to advance themselves technologically to protect themselves from the aggressive language and gestures of the West, the US uses the UN as a newspaper to hit North Korea on the head, like an errant puppy.

North Korea wants respect from the rest of the world and they want the right to determine their own fate.  How is that any different from the rest of us?

The United States has detonated over 1,000 nuclear bombs, but then has hissy fits …

Book Review: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After all the hype, the movie, and the discussion about the series, I finally read "The Hunger Games", and much to my surprise, I discovered that I like this book.

I like the future portrayed here - a central government that continually punishes the outlying provinces, called Districts, for their rebellion years ago. I also like the subtle romantic plot and the interactions between characters. But most of all, I like Katniss.

The reader sees and understands this world through the eyes and thoughts of Katniss, and the author uses her both as a believable storyteller and as a protagonist. I love how Ms. Collins uses Katniss' thoughts to give the reader information about the world, but in a believable way. No information dumps here. I also love how Katniss transforms internally throughout the games, playing along to save her district and sister but still rebelling against the cruelty of it all.

I look forward …

Netiquette Primer: Tell Your Own Story

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I like hearing a good story or two, as do most folk.  But just like real life, when you are writing online you need to remember to tell your own story.

I cannot stress the importance of this.  Unless you have been asked to help disseminate information on someone's behalf, such as the status of a person in surgery, what you post needs to be about you, your actions, your thoughts, your opinions, and your behaviors.  Yes, you can mention other people, but only in relation to you.

While in real life, telling another person's story is considered gossip, the consequence online is more severe.  Every time a name is mentioned online, that person's digital footprint grows.  So if you gossip online, you not only expand your digital footprint but also the other person's digital footprint.  Parents are particularly bad at this, as we tend to want to either brag about our kids' latest accomplishments or get sympathy for their latest growing stage (such as the terrible twos).  …

Book Review: "Frost Burned" by Patricia Briggs

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Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Patricia Briggs released "Frost Burned", the seventh book in the Mercedes Thompson-Hauptman series, Tuesday of this week. I read the entire book that day, and I'm still flying high from happiness.

The book begins with Mercy taking Jesse, her new step-daughter, out Black Friday shopping at midnight. They get into a car accident, try to call for a ride, and discover that the wolf pack has been kidnapped. From there, Mercy runs around trying to keep Jesse safe, find and rescue Adam and the pack, unravel the mystery of why the bad guys kidnapped her pack, and clean blood out of the back seat of the local Vampire Queen's Mercedes AMG that Mercy "borrowed".

Ms. Briggs pulled this story together well, with a logical twist to the ending, believable character development for all the major players, and excellent supporting characters. Ben, the London wolf with a seriously messed up childhood, gets to play he…

Netiquette Primer: Part 2

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Second Rule:  Don't abuse the caps-lock key, the bold function, or the italics function. Text typed in either a large font or in all capital letters is the equivalent of yelling or screaming at a person.  Bold works to bring emphasis to a word or sentence, but becomes shouting if your entire comment is in bold.  Italics become hard to read if too many words are in italics.

Remember, moderation is the key to emphasizing your text.
Third rule:  Stick to the topic of conversation. I cannot tell you how many times I've been involved in an online conversation when someone butts in and begins to rant about something other than what we're discussing.  First, while I like a well-thought out rant, I prefer if people join a conversation instead of just ranting.  Second, if you have such a strong opinion about a topic, write a blog post or begin your own conversation thread.  But it's rude to hijack someone else's thread for your conversation.
Fourth rule:  The Internet is f…

Freaky Friday News: March 1, 2013

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It's been awhile, but here is your Freaky Friday News for the first day of March.

Microsoft Mania In a manner similar to last year, Microsoft's cloud service, Azure, went down about two weeks ago, all its services off-line in a most peculiar way.  But while the cause for last year's outage was simple carelessness on Microsoft's part... who am I kidding?  They were careless again.

Last year, Microsoft forgot to re-register the domain name for Azure.  This year, Microsoft forgot to renew their SSL certificate for the website. (Note: An SSL certificate is needed to create secure connections between two parties online.) The best part is that Microsoft is its own certificate authority, so they didn't even need to interact with a third party.  They only needed to renew their own certificate. *bangs head against the wall*

And this month will be no better, as the EU announced that they will be fining Microsoft for not following a court order to provide their European cust…