Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bringing back up to date

Not a lot has happened recently, so I really haven't felt like blogging. Football seems to the major source of my blogging material. The other one is reviewing stuff I have read, watched, or otherwise used. This will be a couple of half-assed reviews for a couple of things.

Book: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein

The sequel to Number of the Beast, which I didn't really care for, but I found this one more enjoyable than the Beast. Still not on par for some of his other works however. Again we find ourselves with a bit of Author Masturbation, where he has included many of his past favorite characters, however we do get introduced to a very strong male lead character that is very interesting if not similar to his other leads in previous books. The plot starts out pretty straight forward as a murder mystery and then twists and turns like a snake into a hero story. I won't give away the ending, but heck, I re-read the ending twice and still didn't know what happened. If you like Number of the Beast, you will like this one. For me, I still like Starship, Stranger, and Mistress much more.

Book: Fast Second: How Smart Companies Bypass Radical Innovation to Enter and Dominate New Markets by Constantinos C. Markides , Paul A. Geroski
Pretty good business book to read, but with a few caveats. Most of these style books (innovation centric) will tend to have lots of case studies and talk about the hypothesis as to how some companies made it and others didn't. This book didn't have any case studies. Instead, it looked historically at which companies innovated and came up with a new product idea, and which companies had staying power. I know that sounds like case studies, but this felt more like a history lesson to me. The hypothesis put forth is that companies that innovate on the product and create the product are never the companies that succeed. The companies that succeed are the ones that are able to efficiently deploy these product ideas to the market. The authors go on to talk about companies that specialize in bring products to a market are never good at innovating new products, since their culture and skills tend to marketization whereas other companies that innovate really focus on the technology and not how it will apply to the mass market.

Either way I recommend picking this up if you are into big business innovation, as I found it easy to read and insightful.

Phone: Samsung Blackjack II Black Smartphone (AT&T)
So far, I have had this phone for about 2-3 weeks, and I still like it. Given that it is a Windows device I was prepared to reboot it every couple of days like one of my friends runs into with his mobile Windows device, but I can happily say, that it has happened once, but it was mostly my fault. Rather than review every little aspect of the phone, I will give the condensed version.

Pros: 3G is fast and reliable. GPS is cool, but a little inaccurate. Video and picture camera are decent, though not high res. Phone calls are clear. Reception is good even in some nearly dead areas I know of.

Cons: Keyboard is slippery and hard to type on. Battery case is slippery and hard to open. Mobile Internet Explorer is horrible. Wish I had an extra 1/2 inch of screen width.

Overall: I like it, but really anything should have been better than my 4.5 year old Sony Ericsson T637. But battery life is about 7 days idle, or 3 days doing some surfing and texting, or 1 day if you talk alot.

Video Game: Grand Theft Auto IV Special Edition

I am about 25 hours into the game and 45% in. I really like a lot of it. The sandbox aspect of the game is just really addictive. The driving is ok, and I think I liked it better than Yahtzee, although I don't think I have played as many of the GTA games as Yahtzee has. The voice acting is superb, and the plot is engaging (at least to me). Some things I can complain about is my "friends" in the game. It feels like they wait till the most inopportune time to give me a ring and want to hang out, and if I turn then down, they like me less. So I have drop everything and go hang out with. Not only hang out with them but pick them up and get them home. Seriously. Can't we just meet somewhere? Give me more than an hours heads up. But in terms of depth of content, I think there is more stuff to read in here than any of The Elder Scrolls games which really says alot. Also would like to note, THIS IS NOT FOR KIDS!

And in conclusion: It seems that Miranda has taken a liking to Rock Band. Frequently we here the phrase, "I rock?" Which lets us know she wants to play the drums.


The Really Sarcastic Weasel said...

"To Sail Beyond the Sunset" is the final book in the TEFL->NotB->CWWTW series. It's more of the same, but not at the same time (the POV character is Maureen). Most of the book is flashbacks to her life in which there is very little actual sci-fi. I enjoyed it though (naturally).

Also, as a bonus, you get tolearn the outcome of the CWWTW ending which is so vague and ambivalent.

Reverend0 said...

Based on that I will likely read To Sail Beyond the Sunset. I am curious and I do enjoy his stories even though my posts don't let on to that.