What do you get when you take a great story, and add Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford? Ender’s Game. It has been a while in the making, so we will see if it lives up to my memory of the novels.
I would suggest you check it out. DRM doesn’t work. Knowing the pirate mentality, I can tell you, what they have already done is enough. You don’t need DRM. It just makes the web even stickier than it already is.
O’Reilly is having a sale today in honor of this event: Here is the linky
If you cannot tell, I am angry at the Post Office. I needed to get a passport for my daughter. Should be an easy thing, right? Simple even. Yeah. No.
Logically you would think that if you want to get a passport from the US Post Office all you have to do is go to the website and type in your postal code and it will spit out your local Post Office where you can get setup an appointment. You could even expect the phone number to work correctly too, right? Yeah, right.
So you call the number for several times that day, so you call the 800 number the Post Office provides, and it confirms that the data and numbers you were given already are correct. Continuing to call the number, you still get that busy signal. Leaving work early you go to the Post Office and wait in line. A long line. And then you are told that they have not handled passport applications for over year. They are going to update the Post Office Website soon. Don’t you think that when you stop taking passport applications you could do the update? One year later and you are not up to date? There was no way to find out the information you need unless you walk into the Post Office. Why have all the resources if they are out of date?
I know it was not the fault of the people that worked at that Post Office, but this is ridiculous. To top it all off I find out that the price of stamps has gone up to $.46.
How they can raise the cost in the face of the fact that they have been giving such bad customer service is beyond me. For example, last year I had a failed attempt at selling on eBay. I went into the Post Office and wanted one of their “If it fits, it ships” boxes to keep costs low. They don’t have any of them and they point me to the rack (which is almost bare) and tell me that is the best they have. There was absolutely no attempt at helping me. It put me off at the time, and becomes one more thing that makes me apathetic about the plight of the US Postal Worker. They complain about their jobs and their benefits, cry me a river. If they were to run like a real business instead of like a crappy bureaucracy they might get more love from us.
As far as I am concerned they are a failing business and need to really rethink how they are going to work if they want to survive. I am not sure they can survive since they have to change and so does most of our Legislative branch.
I will pay my $.46 per letter ten times per year and see how this all falls apart.
Ok, so many of you already know I have had a baby girl (and no that is not a picture of her), and I am still amazed at how much work they really are. That about sums up the last couple of months for me. It also lamely explains why the blog has been dead. My time and energy to be able to read and write have been limited to say the least.
Now that my daughter is for the most part sleeping thru the night and her bed time is early enough that I have time to do things in the evening. I have to say I thought I was ready for her arrival. I was ready for her to get here, just not to be here everyday. There is a great big difference between being tired and being tired from taking care of a baby. Friends had told me there was a difference, but until I experienced it I didn’t understand it.
Anyways, what that means is I get time to write more. YAY!
It has only taken 6 months, but I have finally gotten NerdKnow onto the WordPress platform. My old platform was BlogEngine.net. I didn’t change because there was anything particularly wrong with BlogEngine.net, it just was that functionality that is easy to install on WordPress is a much more manual on BlogEngine.net. Upgrades are very easy on WordPress (just a click of a button), and BlogEngine.net is a justified pain in the butt.
The short of it is we are on a new platform and I even changed web hosts (went to GoDaddy). So I am hoping to put more effort into NerdKnow and get back to some updates.
Microsoft Surface – the new tablet?
So today Microsoft announced a new tablet product called Surface. They are very late to this game and it will be very interesting to see if they can catch up let alone keep up. With all the hoop-la involved with an announcement like this here is a small sample of what is popping on the internet. They are obviously trying to cater to a younger hipper crowd with all the colors of the tablet and accessories.
Storified by Russ Tarvin · Tue, Jun 19 2012 02:10:23
So it looks as if MechWarrior Tactics is now going into the "Friends and family" closed beta phase. They are going to send out invites to people based on their subscription to their temporary forums. Not sure if that means all people or just a few. Either way sign up for a chance if you are interested.
Also note, this is not MechWarrior Online, which is the first person shooter, this is the recreation of the board game.
Both games are advertised as Free to play (F2P).
So I just took a reading speed test. I am in the 300’s and above average. I am not sure I could keep up the pace but I want to continue to try and improve.
One thing to note, this is an advertisement for an eReader from Staples. Consider yourself warned.
If you want post your score in the comments.
Source: Staples eReader Department
So this report comes in two days late, but good news is that I have lost another pound and I am back on track to continue losing weight. I even allowed myself two beers. I like that I don’t have to be that strict which would not work for me. What does work is the good food that my wife is still feeding me. As I have stated before having that support is crucial to making this work.
Diet is only one aspect of the total package that needs to be balanced in your life. There is a new website called Calm.com that you should check out. It is a site where you can pick your background and background noises and it takes a two minute meditation break so you can relax. Stress can destroy your body and mind fast. My wife was recently stressed out and her blood sugar was out of control and there was little she could do to control it. Stress is needed to deal with certain problems, but those problems are supposed to have been beaten down (fight) or left behind (flight). The body does not seem to be built for long term stress. We need to relieve or remove that stress so we can get healthy. Just my take on it all. What do you think?
Disclaimer: My reviews can sometimes spoil the plot, so if you are interested in reading this series, I would suggest you read it.
So the Jihad continues. Some of the most bloody fighting in human history is going on. Mercenaries are being slaughtered and planets are getting so destroyed they can no longer sustain life. There are few planets in the Battletech universe that are unaffected and the carnage continues in this update.
The opening story is the Manei Domini taking over the manufacturing world of Gibson in House Marik’s domain. The world offers little in the way of opposition and the Hand of the Master set up shop on this rock. This seems to be the start of the fracture inside the high command of the Word of Blake between Apollyon and St. Jamais, or the Manei Domini and the Blake Protectorate forces. In my opinion, this division helps cement the end of the Word of Blake as a faction in the Inner Sphere.
This book starts out as a captured report by the Word of Blake instead of a the normal INN report. INN then reports it (because the reader would not have access to it otherwise) and adds their details.
The Clans are in disarray because of their own internal strife going on. You can read a great deal more about that in The Wars of Reaving sourcebook that details what the Clans do to themselves. The Hell’s Horses and Ice Hellions have started to attack Inner Sphere Clans and are gaining ground right now.
House Marik continues to crumble and fracture. The major players like Regulus are torn between fighting the Word of Blake or defending. Every encounter they have with the Word leaves them with a bloody nose. This area just continues to fight amongst themselves and splinter. Smaller groups are doing what they can to stay out of the fight and also to protect themselves from pirates, Lyrans and Cappellans.
House Liao continues to struggle not only with their neighbors but with the Word. They were not targeted that hard by the Word, but HPG stations are not working and most of the technical expertise the Word “helped” them with regarding their warships has dried up. They continue to struggle just to fight off any invaders. Kali Liao, Chancellor Sun-Tzu’s sister, has created and now works with St. Jamais. She has two regiments of troops that are augmented similar to the Manei Domini.
House Kurita still has problems with Black Dragons, and asteroids seem to be falling oddly on all settlements. The Arkab settlements get hit hard with an asteroid, but the Cordinator did not respond quickly enough for the planet and it starts to foment rebellion. Relations with the Arkab don’t improve with a warship that arrives, delivers and ultimatum and then orbital bombards the cities. The people on planet don’t take to kindly to it and blow up the warship. Benjamin is lost to the Word, which is a huge blow to House Kurita as it is the capital of the Benjamin Military District and had many production facilities on it.
House Steiner is still fighting for Solaris, but wins out in the long run even though there was a good deal of the infighting amongst the stables. Tharkad is also retaken at heavy costs. The Democracy Now movement continues to cause issues and stir up trouble where ever it may be.
House Davion is holding its own but is in a huge battle with the Taurian Concordant. It is a huge conflict but it seems that they are focused on the Hansen Roughrider mercenary unit enough that no other troops are really needed in that area (since none can be spared). The Roughriders hold their own, but the planet and civilians themselves take the brunt of the damage as nukes are released by both sides. With the Periphery being what it is and the destruction going on out there, the Filtvel Coalition breaks off from House Davion and proclaims itself sovereign. And then starts bolstering its defense.
A major development happens in this timeframe. Kittery is freed by two person’s of interest, Devlin Stone and David Lear. Little is know about Devlin Stone. David Lear is the son of Duke Kai Allard-Liao thought dead, but fought alongside many in escaping prison and eventually overthrowing the Kittery government and other planets in the nearby systems. The Nova Cats eventually pack up some of their forces and show up on Kittery pledging their allegiance to Stone. This throws many people on their ears wondering why this Clan decided (due to some vision no less) throw in with a spheriod.
One other thing of note is that Comstar and Com Guard are removed from their protector capacity of Rasalhague planets, and Clan Ghost Bear assumes protector status of these worlds by incorporating them into the Ghost Bear Dominion.
Now this book ends with a cliff hanger with angered me, even though I could just go to the next book. There is a summit on Arc Royal, brought together to unite everyone against the Word (stop here if you don’t want it spoiled)…
So what happens is a bomb goes off and there are several key individuals in this buildings. Rhonda Snord gets killed. Several other high ranking people. Focht and Victor survive, but this does a great deal to fracture any kind of cohesive fighting force they could have forged at that time. Mainly the reason it fractures so badly is that the Clans had sent representatives to the meeting and afterwards they are hesitant to involve themselves. I personally didn’t like the cliff hanger, and thought it too pulpish for the Battletech universe.
FUTURE SPOILER, this is from the other books…. so don’t read any further unless you have read or don’t really care.
The main reason they do this is not only to have the stupid cliff hanger, but also to clear the way for a “true” leader like Devlin Stone. I completely understand why they didn’t have Victor lead this one again. If he does he becomes the Wesley Crusher of Battletech. What, another invasion from X, send in Victor, he will stop them at all costs. Just not the way you want your world to evolve. I just wish they didn’t do the devolution of Battletech and some of the social ideals that Devlin and David espouse. They write it, we read it. If I don’t like it, I will vote with my cash. So far, I have voted for everything they have done.
So as to this book, I felt this book was good. The cliff hanger was trite and I didn’t like it at all. Also this tended to drag in certain ways. Nothing direct, but it just seemed to be a meat grinder for me. Grinding up the Inner Sphere. You can see how the Word of Blake is slowly losing ground, but it is just super slow and everything is getting wrecked along the way. Just sad seeing the universe get so destroyed. Overall I would give this an 8 out of 10.
My breakdown of the book and its sections.
- Story of the taking of Gibson
- Mid years of the Jihad
- Stories of what was going on during those years
- Interspersed warchest campaigns between sections
- Rules Annex
- Special Manei Domini Rules, how to create them
- New vehicles
- Celestial Omnimech’s
- Record Sheets
Don’t forget to check out my Battletech Catalog page for more reviews.