Category Archives: Reading

Tile Tracking with Lego Minifig shown to scale

Tile Bluetooth Tracker – Quick Review

I recently stumbled on a clutch of Tile Bluetooth trackers in an airport departure lounge. I’d just disappeared down a Bluetooth LE devices security rabbit hole and was using the RamBLE app to discover what was about (who knew there were so many Samsung Smart TVs around?). I’ve been aware of the Tile and it’s companion app  for a while. As they didn’t work with Android until recently, I had resisted purchase. With a imminent family holiday to a large European theme park with a child with a history of legging it; I purchased a pack of four Tiles for £50.

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How blogging ruined Star Trek.

Writing for me is a thing which I’ve barely scratched the surface. However, understanding more about what makes “good” and “bad” writing is definitely having an effect on how I perceive things which I would have previously enjoyed without question.

Case in point; The Long War by Terry Pratchett/Steven Baxter which is the follow-up to the The Long Earth; a story about how the barriers between realities are suddenly and permanently dropped, leading to a mass-migration of mankind across unpopulated worlds.  The story is moved on a number of years, but a number of plot points in the first book are trampled over and several new are introduced about with the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. To the point when the big twist finally occurs, it’s cannot be a surprise to anyone given numerous and clumsy references to in the preceding chapters.  The characterisation of several non-humans is terrible, right out of 50’s Scifi and not in a good way, honestly some of the characters in my kid’s books are better developed.

A further revelation came last night; Star Trek Voyager (which is now available on Lovefilm, Amazon UK’s streaming video service) is in fact rubbish. I’ve previously watched Voyager on Terrestrial TV, but having exhausted LF’s Sci-Fi catalogue I couldn’t resist; however I got about three episodes in before I realised that the script relies far-too-much on the Last-minute technological arse-pull; magically inventing something previously referred to as the saviour from a seemingly impossible situation.  Sadly real life, even in the future doesn’t work like that. I never noticed this in a TV Show which I’ve previously enjoyed, but now it stick  out like a sore thumb. I may have been able to forgive this deep in the doldrums of a fifth series, but Episode 3? Surely the writing discipline should have been at its peak?

If nothing else, it’ll serve as a reminder of “things not to do” in writing, and no doubt I’ll still watch Star Trek and buy the next Pratchett book when it comes out, although I suspect I’ll enjoy it a little less.

Short Review – “The Arse First method of Technical Blogging” by Greg Ferro

Well I’ve just finished Greg’s book on blogging, in short it’s very good.  Certainly it gave me insight into why some things have worked better than others.  It provides a great intro to the subject and lots of more intermediate/advanced advice.  Without giving too much away, It’s validated my decision to use an off-the-shelf blogging package (Posterus and now WordPress) and made me think harder about some aspects of my writing, i.e. intros, titling etc, and not to worry about things like SEO.  The biggest insight came with the development of ideas; a couple of things I have done recently I now realise I’ve tried to express three or four different ideas in the space of 500 words and I need to cut that down to one or two.

The point is made several times that there is more than one way of doing things; if you follow the recipe in the book to closely IMO  you’ll end up with a lot of very similar and not that interesting to read posts.  My “Free-form Jazz” style of writing is perhaps the other end of the scale. I’m aware that I still need a lot of work on my writing discipline (which in moderation, is a good thing) and this book has/will definitely help.

In short a good read and the advice is definitely worth the asking price, as if you had to ask.

Once again you can find the book on Lean Pub, “The Arse First method of Technical Blogging” by Greg Ferro

Current Reading – Arse First Method of Technical Blogging

As if my current list of things to do simultaneously wasn’t long enough, I’ve just started reading Arse First Method of Technical Blogging by the PacketPushers King-pin Greg Ferro. Good so far; hope to finish it this weekend. Helpfully provided in PDF and MOBI format so I can read on the Kindle and on my desktop.

You can find it HERE.