October 7th, 2011

books

Good stuff bad stuff

So "Firestorm", the 6th "Destroyermen" book by Taylor Anderson, came out on tuesday, yay! Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be out on Audible yet, boo! However it turns out that the author is doing a book release tour, and he's stopping by our local B&N tomorrow, so i can go see him in person and get a signed copy, and unless things have changed since the last book it ought to be a paperback, yay! Of course in order to read it that way i'd have to finish up "A Dance With Dragons" which i've been slowly slogging through and am only about halfway done with right now =P

Next week is two awesome things. Vernor Vinge's "Children of the Sky", his new sequel to "A Fire Upon the Deep", is going to be out! I have no idea when or if Audible will be carrying that one. They added most of the Vinge stuff to their catalog between when the last book came out and now, so no saying how quick they'll be on the uptake for this one. I'm curious how the book is going to work out though. Without spoiling things too much, it seems like in order for the large scale issues to have been resolved that at the bare minimum at least 100 years will have had to pass. Even for the longish lifespans (or perhaps "mindspans"?) of the aliens the story is supposed to be taking part on it doesn't seem like any of the original characters will be alive at that point. (With a singular possible exception?) Alternately he could try to find a way to work around the external problem in a very unexpected way while some of the original characters are around to provide a little more continuity. It will be interesting to see which way he goes.

Okay, the next part got kind of long, so i'm moving it to a separate post...
Replicants (BGC)

Galaxy Nexus Prime Whatever

First the really bad stuff part, next week Samsung and Google were supposed to have a press conference about the next Nexus phone. Unfortunately just after i'd finished writing most of this i discovered a widely spread rumor that the event has been canceled =P But regardless, the phone and the Ice Cream Sandwich update are still coming out at _some_ point, so even if the event isn't happening next week this is still relevant.

The good news in this case is that if i've done the math right, by this point the amount i've saved going with T-Mobile's non-subscription plan has more than made up for difference from getting an unlocked Nexus One rather than a subsidized one. The first downside is that it seems pretty certain at this point that the new Nexus is going to have pure software buttons. I think the semi-software buttons on the Nexus One were a mistake (they have caused persistent problems for me) and this is totally a step in the "wrong wrong, absolutely brimming over with wrongability" direction. Soft or semi-soft buttons are too easy to accidentally hit while trying to do other stuff, and that's without the occasional problem where the screen goes wonky and thinks you're touching it offset from where you actually are (both my Nexus One and shelleycat's Droid demonstrate this behaviour from time to time) or locks up and refuses to recognize touches to the main screen at all. And overall i really want a few extra hardware buttons to allow me to manipulate the phone without turning the screen on at all. I do this all the time with the volume rocker, but i also want "pause", "play", "forward" and "back" buttons as well to use while listening to music or audiobooks.

The other big problem is it's not certain which carriers are going to get the phone. The most current rumor i've heard is that Verizon is going to have temporary exclusivity for the first couple months. I've been very happy with T-Mobile, but they may or may not get absorbed into AT&T, depending on how the various FTC inquiries and court cases go. I liked the theory of having a GSM phone that i could use in other countries, even though that never actually happened in practice, but i'm not too fond of AT&T. I'm not especially fond of Verizon either, though they'd still be better than AT&T, despite the GSM/CDMA thing. Sprint was my old company and i was kind of meh about them. Their online interface sucked when i left them in... early 2010 i guess (somehow it seems longer.) I had multiple issues with trying to get my account re-registered when i got a new phone after my ancient one got busted, which doesn't seem like it ought to have been a problem for them. I switched to T-Mobile because they were cheaper, but they've also seemed more competent and friendly than Sprint ever was.

So i'd love to stick with T-Mobile if the merger isn't actually going to go through, but if i get a new phone with T-Mobile now and the merger does happen i'd have to either ditch the phone or live with AT&T. Otherwise i've got to decided between Verizon and Sprint (since it seems unlikely MetroPCS or anything like that is going to get any of the really cool new Ice Cream Sandwich phones.) In that sense maybe it would be good if Verizon gets some exclusivity on the front end. It wouldn't kill me to stick with my Nexus One for a few more months, and maybe by that point the situation with T-Mobile and AT&T will be a little more clear.
Eye on you

Also...

I've just activated the Google+ part of my Donaithnen gmail account, and you can find it here.

I added a couple people to my Circles, but don't consider the choices indicative of anything. I just didn't want this new profile to mirror the old one too quickly. I'll gradually add more people (and may delete some people from the old one since i don't really post anything there) but anyone who wants to friend the new one go ahead and i'll add you back right away :)

At least to start it will mainly be used for mirroring LJ posts, since a lot less people seem to check LJ than they used to =P Again over time i may start doing more original content over there, which may or may not get mirrored over here.

Of course the wheels may all come off this if Google gets pissed off at me on account of the #nymwars and tries to make me "fix" it. If i can't convince them that using this name in a half-dozen different places makes it legitimate then i'll just have to disable the damn thing =P