Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Colour of Magic : Lord of The Rings meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Great idea, first book in a wonderful series

Not well crafted
The Bottom Line:
If you like Douglas Adams, you will like Terry Prachett, not necessarily this book, but definitely his later work.

Ok, maybe not the most original or clever way to start out a review, but I think it is the fastest way to get the most people to understand the basic concept of the book. The book is one part typical fantasy world and one part comedic satire, smashed together to make an original read.

The Color of Magic is about a “Wizard” (Rincewind) who cannot cast a spells, and the archetypal bumbling “Tourist” (Twoflower). Rincewind is constantly trying to get out of his own way in an effort to flee from trouble, which only leads to something worse. Twoflower is a good-natured optimist who does not have a clue, but has luck, lots and lots of luck. That and very loyal travel chest.

Be aware that this is the first book in a long, long series. Though series might be the wrong word. Most of the books can actually stand alone, but together they create quite a world. However, this book is not a masterpiece in itself. It lacks polish and seems to be in a rush to get through with itself. Youthful exuberance got in the way of craft.

The two things that got me through this book are, 1) the idea of a fantasy farce is brilliant, 2) I had already read “Good Omens” which is truly a gem, so I knew Pratchett had talent.

And I have kept on with the series. The first several books are packed with great ideas but still suffer from a lack of craft and subtlety. Pratchett eventual works out his issues and has been writing great books ever since.

Back to my opening, this is very similar in spirit to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you like that, my bet is that you will like Terry Pratchett, maybe not the first few books, but certainly the last twenty or so. Both Douglas Adams and Terry Prachett take genres that are often too serious and stuffy and busted them wide open with satire.

Monday, July 18, 2005

HEY! Throw those spyware filled computers my way will ya!?


OK, I think I am better now. But wow, people are dumb, I Mean People Are Dumb, NO REALLY, PEOPLE ARE DUMB!!!!

OK, really, I will be fine.

But boy, how dumb can people be?

So here is what is happening, people (supposedly smart people with PhDs and Yale professors) are throwing out their computers because there is too much spyware on them. I know what you are thinking (Holy Crap, am I right?).

Don’t believe me? Have a look at the NY Times.

See, I was telling it straight. Now that I have had a bit of time to think on it, it strikes me as funny. Hey, you can either laugh or cry when you see the world falling apart. I prefer to laugh, because frankly, crying is a bit too damp for my taste.

One of my favorite lines was by a Microsoft exec, “We saw that a significant percentage of crashes and other problems were being caused by this.” Ya, thats it. It has nothing to do with your crappy software, it is all the spyware’s fault. It is a great scape goat, is it not? I am a little afraid that Microsoft will start making spyware so they can create an even larger smoke screen for the real problem, them. I am only a little scared, because I doubt their spyware would actually work.

OK, enough MS bashing, sorry, but you guys really asked for it that time. Really, I don’t hate MS, they make it just so easy. I actually like the Xbox (except that it is really ugly and loud). To be honest, I have more computers running windows than running OSX.

So back to the article. People, send your computers to me. I know how to fix this stuff, pretty simple really. Do a web search and most times you can get detailed info on how to fix each problem. It certainly does not take 15 hours to learn how to do this as one guy said. What was funny about that guy was that after fixing his box, he wipes his drive, nice. If all else fails, wipe and reinstall windows. It is not that difficult. And once you have a clean install, try putting some decent (and free) anti spyware on your box:
Spybot Search and Destroy
Though, to be fair, some of the people in the article had four year old machines, so replacing them was not unreasonable.

But, overall, the article does prove my point: dumb people are stupid.