The last time I wrote about Daniel Suarez’s book was nearly a decade ago (Influx), even though I revisit Daemon and Freedom TM every so often. I don’t consider myself a fan, but I do check on Daniel’s books periodically.
I guess I really missed Daniel’s writing, so it was time for a new book. I skipped over “Change Agent” and jumped to “Delta-V”; I guess I really wanted something “out of this world.” While half of the story is set on earth, the other half is set in space. I wish the author spent more story time in space, but missing all of the groundwork, struggles, training, and building relationships that got developed on earth is important to the rest of the story. Regardless, the space part came out a bit rushed and a bit superficial. While the story provides some thrilling and unexpected turns, those moments are slightly dull and short-lived.
Even though I have a couple of axes to grind, overall the story is good. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. I couldn’t let the book go; I just wanted to keep on going. One of the trademarks of Daniel’s SciFi is the proximity to not-so-far-away reality. Yes, it is still a plot of imagination and science fiction, but it is just close enough to contemporary technologies to give you the feel of near-future possibility, which, in turn, makes it feel more realistic. In addition, the author provides enough technical details to make technology feel real and not an abstract concept, such as “wormhole engines.” Reading the book makes me want to learn more about the science behind diving, planetary alignment, and space technologies, and in my book, the promotion of curiosity is a solid sign of the author’s good writing.
In a nutshell: +: Pleasant read +: Can’t put the book down +: Feels realistic due to proximity to contemporary technology +: Promotes curiosity towards described science and technology -: Some thrilling parts are slightly dull and short-lived =: Daniel keeps this traditional trademark of “near-future” SciFi with a good space story that is hard to put down.
A couple of weeks ago, my router (MikroTik hAP ac3) decided to quit, and I ended up needing a replacement as soon as possible. The MikroTik was a nice router; I don’t blame it for its early demise (I have reason to believe I might have misconfigured it). However, I wasn’t going to buy another MikroTik – it is just slightly more of a headache than I would like.
My initial idea was to go back to TP-Link or Linksys but only with OpenWRT firmware. However, a buddy of mine suggested going with the UniFi Dream Router. He uses UniFi equipment in his office, and it has proven to be better and more stable than MikroTik. Now, $200 for a router is a bit much, but then again, it is not out of the ordinary – some “gaming” routers are priced even higher. So, I figured I’d give it a go.
Now, I have a particular need for my router – it must be stable. I have about 14-16 devices online on average; I work from home and run my personal small server, so a stable network and internet are a must. My limited previous experience showed that some “home” routers are not very stable – network slowdowns, Wi-Fi devices sometimes disconnect, and some routers seem to need a hard reboot once per week. In this regard, MikroTik proved to be very stable (with a tiny caveat with my iPhone), until it wasn’t.
At this point, my benchmark is MikroTik, and even though the UniFi Dream Router has been running for only 2 weeks, it seems to be very good. The Dream Router costs twice as much as the hAP ac3, but it’s definitely worth it (so far). UniFi is a lot easier to configure; it has a very nice and easy-to-use web UI, graphs, stats, logs, and an overall solid feel. I know stability is not something that can be measured in 2 weeks, so let’s wait and see.
Now, as much as I would love to praise and hop around with the Dream Router, I have a couple of complaints. First and most annoying to me is the initial setup – here, UniFi must do something. On the initial setup, the Dream Router MUST have an internet connection; otherwise, you can’t set it up! In my case, it is impossible without having a backup router. I have a PPPoE configuration with a username and password to connect to the internet. So out of the box, the Dream Router can’t be set up with PPPoE configuration because it needs to connect to the internet to set itself up first. No internet => no Dream Router => no router => no internet… This is a horrible situation for a home/small office setting. The next complaint is still about the initial setup, which requires a mobile device – my question is why? Why do you need a mobile device to set up a router? What if you don’t have one? Or you have one but can’t install the UniFi app on it? Again, the Dream Router becomes a Dream Brick. I think UniFi needs to address those concerns.
Just a little step back to MikroTik, it doesn’t need the internet for the initial setup; however, if you reset it (via the button), then you must have an Ethernet cable and Winbox. Not the best idea, but in comparison to the UniFi Dream Router, you can get MikroTik going without the internet. But both still require Ethernet in the above scenarios.
Back to the Dream Router – as much as it is a router, it is more than that. The Dream Router has an SD card slot, willing and ready to connect UniFi cameras and other UniFi devices. I think it is a nice product integration, something that might bring additional business and let users integrate into the UniFi ecosystem. I can’t help but wonder if a standalone, single-purpose router (with WiFi) would have been a better and cheaper solution. I suspect that idea might not be very appealing from a business perspective, but I can’t shake the feeling that the Dream Router is some kind of gateway into the UniFi ecosystem.
At this point, that’s all of my complaints. So far, the Dream Router has been performing very well, but again, it’s only been a couple of weeks, so let’s wait and see.
I picked up the book because it is a prequel to Peter Hamilton’s Commonwealth Saga, and I love those books. “Misspent Youth” is a short story that takes place before rejuvenation and memory crystals. The story is well-written and pleasant, but that’s about it.
While I love most of the work done by Peter Hamilton, there are books that I don’t enjoy as much as others, and “Fallen Dragon” springs to mind. Unfortunately, “Misspent Youth” is added to the list today. The story feels more like futuristic romantic drama rather than science fiction, but that’s not the main issue. The primary problem is the lack of twists and plots. It feels like the story just lacks the punch.
I’m not sure where the author was going with the book. It doesn’t add or remove any value from the rest of the Commonwealth Saga, perhaps just slightly disappointing if you have expectations. But overall, if you go in without expectations, then you will enjoy it.
In a nutshell: +: Easy going +: Short +/-: No expectations, no disappointments -: Lacks twists and plots -: No punch to the story =: Nice short story, but that’s it.
Title: Misspent Youth Author: Peter Hamilton Cover:
I began using my MikroTik router three years ago, and yesterday, it started causing problems. The trouble initially emerged with the SMB protocol, as the router refused to route SMB traffic within the local network. After performing a hard reboot, SMB traffic started routing, but HTTP/HTTPS traffic through NAT to my server stopped routing. Another hard reboot resolved the HTTP traffic issue, but SMB and Remote Desktop traffic remained nonfunctional within the local network. However, after updating the software to version 6.49.10, the situation worsened. SMB and Remote Desktop traffic still couldn’t route, and on top of that, WinBox failed to connect to the router. Web and SSH access were unresponsive as well.
I’m not entirely sure about the root cause of these issues, but at least the internet connection is currently working. I must admit that I won’t be replacing my MikroTik router with another MikroTik device. The main reason is the learning curve and my familiarity with WinBox. Initially, I opted for MikroTik due to its affordability and reliability, both of which have served me well. The only drawback was that my iPhone occasionally experienced WiFi dropouts and took some time to reconnect. However, aside from that, all 14 devices constantly connected via WiFi worked smoothly. A lifespan of only three years is disappointing, but I assume the device might be defective or experiencing an issue that isn’t typical of MikroTik devices.
When I chose MikroTik, I had hoped to invest time in learning about networking and how to operate a MikroTik router. Unfortunately, I never found the time or interest to delve deeper into it. A friend helped with the initial router configuration, and I mostly left it as is, except for configuring some eye-catching traffic graphs. I still don’t have the time or motivation to learn more about it, given my other priorities. To be honest, I view the router as an appliance, and my next router will likely reflect that perspective.
I’ve been to Israel a couple of times, each time enjoying the country in different ways. In the last 75 years of Israel’s history, it has managed to build itself literally from the ground up – from a desert into a modern country. This achievement is quite commendable and hard to imagine, especially when some countries with much longer histories and larger resources haven’t managed as well.
On the other hand, over the last 75 years, its neighbors have prioritized violence, murder, and terror. Can you imagine living your entire life thinking only of killing your neighbor? They say “freedom fighters,” but the last election in Gaza was 18 years ago – is that freedom? 75 years of the same – hatred, violence, terror. Kids are taught to hate, teens to kill, and adults to support a system that leads nowhere. Yet, judging by the news, some people around the world think it’s a good idea.
I guess people on the streets want to see what they want to see, so let me tell you what I saw. The last time in Jerusalem, I was carelessly walking through the old market. There were a bunch of shops where Arabs were hustling. I was standing outside one shop, looking down the street. My eyes met the eyes of a kid who was standing outside yet another shop. He looked at me directly and made a throat-cutting gesture with his finger.
I decided to read through all the essays Paul Graham has written. The only issue is the format of the essays, which is web-based. I figured it will take me a while, and I prefer to read in ePub format since it is neatly laid out on my phone and remembers where I left off. Fortunately, I found a GitHub project where you can get Paul’s up-to-date essays in different formats and even find the code for a DIY solution.
Давно я не писал на русском языке, впрочем и не планировал писать, но из-за несложной череды событий я приобрел книгу Александра Невзорова – Искусство оскорблять.
Забавно читать его книгу и сравнивать его структуру речи и мыслей с видеозаписями на его YouTube-канале – он говорит, как пишет, и пишет, как говорит.
Я должен снять перед Александром шляпу и сказать: иронию критики тяжело пропустить, так как сам автор по сути является писателем и в какой-то степени влияет на культуру, при этом не лестно отзываясь о культуре, писателях и другом не научном сброде. Глебыч очень чётко и своевременно всегда отмечает, что он не учёный.
Крайне интересен и забавен его подход, в особенности с «доказательством» и использованием аналогий. Подход элегантен, забавен и местами щекочет мозг, но местами напрягает – «заход из далека» может занимать метры и километры, а в случаях с Глебычем и сотни километров.
На всем протяжении книги можно заметить тренд, и он не столько образовательный (хотя тут как посмотреть), сколько больше раскачиваемый – рассмотреть фундамент и отбойным молотком «проверить на прочность». По итогу автор конечно больше ломает, чем строит, хотя возможно в этом и смысл – если фундамент гнилой, то надо его вскрывать и перестраивать заново.
Книга приносит удовольствие, как изложением, так и содержанием, но подозреваю, что не всем она придётся по вкусу. Думаю, что нужно иметь хоть какой-то уровень свободы мысли и/или не принимать себя и реальность слишком серьезно, в прочем, как и себя самого.
Будучи студентом много лет назад, были курсы, которые весьма больно массажировали мозги, доставляя дискомфорт и местами боль. Бой был тяжелым и кропотливым, однако, “взяв высоту”, чувствовал себя победителем знаний человеческих. С этой книгой ощущения аналогичны, хотя и не такие интенсивные. Возможно, это именно то, чего автор и добивался.
In a nutshell: +: Легко и приятно читать +: Интересные темы для рассмотрения +: Написано элегантно и красиво, чувствуется врожденный писатель +: Примеры, анализ и обсуждения -/+: Доказательство по аналогии не самый убеждающий подход =: Книга забавная и дает возможность подумать и переоценить многие вещи. Отчасти она развивает разные домыслы и исторический флаф. Я думаю, что книга полезна, периодически нужно проверять фундамент на прочность.
Title: Искусство оскорблять Author: Александр Невзоров Cover:
After 8 years of working on the MacBook Pro 2012 model, it was time to switch to something more modern. There were a few reasons for switching to a new MacBook Pro, but the main one was the lack of power. The Intel i5 with 2 cores wasn’t cutting it anymore. Despite being on an outdated macOS, newer software and updates were becoming more demanding, while other software became absolute with no prospects for updates.
I consider myself lucky because I managed to avoid some of the worst ideas that Apple introduced in their laptops over the past few years, such as the butterfly keyboard, Touch Bar, and the lack of ports in the pro lineup. However, it seems that MacBook Pros have become more expensive. Additionally, it’s no longer possible to buy a modest laptop and upgrade the RAM and storage later when component prices drop. I purchased the base model of the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2023 with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. Based on my calculations, this laptop should serve me well for next 10 years, or so I hope, based on my previous experience. Nevertheless, it still feels a little strange to make the jump from the MacBook Pro 2012 to the MacBook Pro 2023.
Now, let’s address the obvious. The new MacBook Pro 2023 is faster, lighter, better, and overall more impressive, especially in audible area. However, it feels like I haven’t really changed laptops. The keyboard is slightly different, and the trackpad is bigger, but somehow it feels very similar to the old MacBook Pro. The finger position is the same, the controls are similar enough, and the feedback is familiar. It’s different, yet somehow the same, and I really like that. Speaking of the keyboard, the functional keys are bigger, and I think it’s a good idea. At the very least, I enjoy having larger keys. One noticeable improvement that I can’t ignore is the built-in speakers. The speakers are loud, really loud, to the point where it’s uncomfortable for me. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but yeah, the built-in speakers are too loud for me. Maybe I’m getting older and/or used to listening to quiet music on my Sony XM4 headphones. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t change the fact that the new MacBook Pro’s built-in speakers are very good and definitely a lot louder than those of my old MacBook Pro.
Software migration from macOS Mojave to macOS Ventura went surprisingly well. A few apps stopped working due to the unsupported OS, which I expected. You can only drag along old apps for so long before giving up, wrapping them in Docker or something similar and continuing to use them. Well, I haven’t gone that far, but I’m really considering the option. The new macOS doesn’t allow user data to be located in the root, and I’m guilty of doing so. Nonetheless, the data can be moved. However, I did encounter some challenges with the transition from iTunes to the new Music app. Previously, iTunes managed all my media, including audiobooks. Unfortunately, the “improved” Music app no longer takes care of audiobooks. After the migration, my audiobooks were conveniently forgotten, and I had to manually clean up and move them to the “Books” app. Another issue arose with the “Contacts” app. After the migration, it doubled its size and duplicated all contact cards. The management of contacts and cards has been rather poor for years, and it seems Apple is aware of the problem. As a result, the “Contacts” app now includes options like “Look for duplicates” and “Merge Selected Cards,” which saved my sanity. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of manually cleaning up duplicates and merging contacts before, and let me tell you, it’s no fun. One of my favorite features of the new macOS is “background sounds,” found under Accessibility -> Audio settings. This feature allows you to set up background noise while you work, which is awesome. I often play a quiet melody to help me focus, and now macOS provides the convenience.
The new MacBook Pro can support two external displays, which is awesome. Although I’m not sure when I’ll take advantage of this feature, as a single 34-inch display is sufficient for my needs. Interestingly, my old MacBook Pro was also able to handle a 34-inch display, so there doesn’t seem to be a significant advantage in this regard. However, the new MacBook Pro converts GarageBand files to MP3 about 3-4 times faster, even though the bouncing speed hasn’t changed significantly. It’s worth noting that I run my MacBook Pro in low power mode all the time. I prioritized low heat and low power consumption. Even in low power mode, the hardware is quite impressive. Everything is snappy, quick, and doesn’t seem to encounter any issues so far. I understand that over time, as hardware ages and software becomes more demanding, the laptop will start to slow down. I’ve been down this road many times before, but for now, I’m impressed.
Overall, I’m impressed with the laptop and very happy that Apple has returned to delivering proper pro-line hardware with power, ports, a simple keyboard, and no gimmicks. Everything feels very familiar, although there are some differences here and there. But overall, it feels like I haven’t really changed much; macOS has gained a few features and started working very fast. I don’t think I could ask for much more than that.