Monthly Archives: September 2011

Book Review – Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont

This is the third book in the Malazan world. The previous ones by Ian are Night of Knives and The Return of the Crimson Guard.

Beware, this post will/may contain spoilers.

I’m now roughly 41% through the book (reading it on my Kindle) and I must say that the writing style is fairly similar to the Stephen Erikson books. OK, there’s a bit of change in how the chapters are ordered with the books.

The plots centers around the continent of Fist (also called Korel).Supposedly they would all come together in the end as there aren’t any additional books planned after that would initially appear to be in the same series, but here’s where we might be mistaken. As this book is not directly after The Return of the Crimson Guard (supposedly a few year after, but not directly, there are some gaps). Some of the important characters are common between the books.

http://the-void.co.uk/book/interview-damn-contrarian-steven-erikson-conversation-094/ if you want to know what’s happening after the Malazan Empire, apparently there’s going to be books about the huge Toblakai Karsa Orlong!

Back to the Stonewielder. The Mael priest is now the Emperor and has managed to persuade some highly influential (and old) folks to join the cause to do something about the black stain on the Malazan empire: Korel. It appears that they’ve pretended to be Malaz but have in fact been running their own little empire. Not happy.

There’s also the famous Stormwall, which has been mentioned quite often previously in the books but not too much has been written about the setups and what happens there. I believe Traveller hung out there for a while but he escaped. One side-plot surrounds a few Crimson Guard survivors that are prisoners/defenders on the wall, there are also a few of the Crimson Guard that have been crossing an ice wasteland and later they all meet up for some nasty fighting. Good times.

Kyle with the “normal” name, (he was not a Malazan empire recruit) is quite funny. I mean a guy named Kyle kicking some ass just feels odd after dudes like Greymane, Paran, or Whiskeyjack.

I almost like this book more than the Steven Erikson books, but that I think is because they are different. There’s not as much poetry in them for one, but maybe also because the Crimson Guard are bad ass!

After this one I decided to give Erikson’s Crack Pot Trail a go, but this is one weird book. There is a narrator who is very present. At least in the beginning. This is one odd duck, but I suppose after so many books in normal ‘Malazan’ style this ought to be refreshing.

 

Windows 8 Developer Preview + VMWare Workstation

VMWare Workstation 8 is required (doesn’t work in 7).
The x64 version (without developer tools) installs just fine on my Win7 x64 Core i7 machine with virtualization enabled in BIOS.
Just disable the easy install bullcrap (you may have to remove the floppy drive).

Boots fine and logs on, can connect your Microsoft Live account to the computer. If you do connect it, you’ll get an e-mail to your Live e-mail asking if you did this and if you want to give this computer access to your account. Pretty integrated.

That’s how far I’ve gotten. Unsure if I’ll actually try anything more but it was nice to see that it works. Windows 7 has been so great to me (compared to 98, me, and xp) with very few problems that I doubt that I will upgrade for quite a while. Approaching 2 years, no reinstall yet and it’s still pretty quick. I suppose it all depends if Win8 is going to have some feature that I really do like/want.

If you just bring the mouse down to the right corner you get the start menu and a large clock, nice, no need to click. None of the apps worked (couldn’t click on them).
Looks nice and ‘streamlined’ or something, not too cluttered – nice.

NHL12

Got this for ps3 from verkkokauppa.com when it was released (yay, shipping from Åland = no taxes = lots cheaper games). Great if you live in Finland :)

Anyway, the game is pretty awesome (I haven’t played it since NHL ’94) but there are quite a lot of bugs that cause the game to freeze. For example they have this one mode where you use cards as players. Each card can only be used so many times. You use this to make a team and play tournaments, online, singleplayer whatever. Quite often when I play single player tournament the game freezes (often it sounds like the opponent hit the bar so it’s almost/probably goal). This causes a deduction of -1 in the player contracts and probably other nasty things that I haven’t bothered to check. It’s quite annoying anyway.

– Real NHL is starting soon! Too bad Kronwall got injured in Detroit, but I hope he gets back. Bertuzzi looks like he’s just getting better, see this shootout goal: http://video.redwings.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=124735&catid=-6

Science-Fiction Books

Been reading a bit, is nice to get to read something other than fibre channel :)

1.) The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

If you like Douglas Adams this should work for you too.
It’s quite old books (first one is from ’61) but the language does not feel archaic (like James Bond books for example). Slippery Jim is quite devious and goes through evil plots like some folks go through t-shirts. The book has a quite high tempo but sometimes I couldn’t see the logic/reasoning behind what DiGriz was doing, but maybe that is justified because he is ‘smart’, arrogant and a con-man in a universe where there are supposed to be none.
There’s a few of the books, the first one was quite short and it did feel like an introduction without starting when the main character was born but with jumping straight into the action.

2.)

Second one I’m on now is one about a Doctor at the “Hospital to end all hospitals”. Gigantic one in space somewhere that could accomodate people/species/aliens/whatever from everywhere. The series is called Sector General. First one is ‘Hospital Station’ which contains 5 shorter stories. I’ve only read the first one so far and it contains a bit of drama, not very interesting main character, yet.

The book so far has focused on Dr Mara’s treatment/feeding (basically not killing it) of a baby which could seem quite boring but honestly the baby/species is described in such detail and I just want to know more. Also older books (’60s and ’70s).

20110919 Update: Just finished the 5 short stories that constitute Sector General. Altogether quite pleasing and interesting stories. Will definitely give more of these a go in the future!

BCFP 16G : Post-Exam

OK, did the exam. Took 2.5 hours.

It felt like I was plowing through them pretty fast but after some 80-questions the speed dropped significantly and I started to have trouble focusing. Short unfocus/try to think about something else , stand up a bit helped. This test wasn’t as nerve-wrecking for me as the BCFA – maybe it had something to do with that I didn’t pay for this one.. (smålänningen i mig).

I realized last night that I hadn’t listened to the BCFP nutshell guide (the one with audio) so I quickly went through that and I believe it helped a bit, even though it’s for FOS 6.3 and 8G FC stuff. If you do this exam when it goes live, definitely do listen to the nutshell, maybe several times and don’t forget to click the ‘notes’ button on the slides, there’s more info there. It’s kind of a very sped up/condensed version of the whole material, but there’s some things that aren’t even mentioned that you’ll only find in the material. But it is free. It’s nice to have somebody read it out loud, maybe they phrase it a little different than you do (in the head) that is just what’s needed for you to understand it.

Also there are the simulations/labs in the material when you buy that’s really valuable.
For the BCFA they had virtual class rooms for this nutshell – looks like they might have changed this now and recorded it. One avenue less to ask questions.

Now the waiting begins. Two months until I get to know the results. Yikes!

Gotta find something else to occupy myself with now.. hmm..

Archiving? Buddhism? Apparently BCFD (fabric designer) is beta-tested in Dec/Jan. This would be the next logical step for me. Why not huh? =) Anybody has any ideas? Right now I just feel like getting myself into the next Malaz book by Ian C. Esslemont – Stormwielder, supposedly about Greymane!

BCFP – How to prepare for the exam

Until now I’ve been just reading the material, when there’s something unclear in the material I’ve looked it up in command reference guides, release notes, user guides or otherwise on the Intertubes.

This doesn’t really prepare you for the format the exam is in. I mean the exam is in questions and the answers are multiple-choice one. Unless you actively do it while reading this doesn’t put your brain in – answer-questions-mode(tm).

What I’ve done is make flash cards with the question on one side and the answer on the other side. You can put whatever you want of course, but for example ‘ what is the command to enable fcr ‘ or if you want something more theoretical how about ‘ what are the advantages with fcip compared to dark fibre extension’ ? Or the negatives? I have no idea what the questions were when I did the BCFA (I was just so happy I passed) but I hope this will prepare me somewhat for what might come.