Review: The Hobbit (or there and back again)

The Hobbit
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
ISBN: 0618260307
This book is available on Amazon
The Hobbit is a prequel to the infamous The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This won’t be your naive run-of-the-mill “this book rocks!!” type of reviews. To be quite honest, I found this novel to be rather bland and uninspired. It felt quite drab and lacking any kind of compelling plot when compared to the action packed extravaganza that the LOTR’s trilogy provided. It’s tough for me to recommend this famous book to anyone considering I so thoroughly loathed reading this, but perhaps if the potential victim hadn’t already been spoiled by the wonderful journey that is the LOTR trilogy then they might find it exciting.
[xrr rating=3/5]

If words had a weight

If words had a weight
I’d be whisked off by a gentle breeze
For I lack the necessary tools
To describe to you my heart’s content
Even if I may be without words
For you, the one I love
I beg that my actions will show
This wordless weight I carry.

A New Chapter: Things to do this Summer

I thought I’d briefly update what I plan to accomplish this summer. The semester is finally finally done and over with (see my recent post regarding the ridiculous amount of things I needed to finish in the past 3 weeks).

  • Reinstall Windows Home Server (WHS). Never mind, not going to reinstall.
  • Read “Head First SQL”.
  • Read “A History of God”. Never mind, this looks to be quite boring.
  • Read “The Hobbit or There and Back Again”. DONE
  • Have some type of relaxing vacation.
  • Decide if I will keep my web hosting.
  • Reinstall XP on my desktop because Vista sucks (even with SP1).
  • Rewrite my current blog theme from scratch (it’s using tables right now…ick!). Never mind, not applicable any more.
  • Update my laptop to Vista SP1 (why not reinstall XP? don’t ask). DONE
  • Work related: apparently I’m going to be learning Visual Basic this summer. We’ll see.
  • Work related: I also may be learning Ruby on Rails (jRails specifically). We’ll see.

Going to Brooklyn, and the past 2 weeks

I’m taking a break from packing up for my trip to Brooklyn this weekend (to see HER), so I thought I’d briefly summarize the past few weeks of my life. I’m sure I’ll forget to include a few things, but here’s the short list of everything I’d completed (or things that remain to be completed) recently:

  • History and systems — 6 page thoughtful response to The Metaphysical Club
  • History and systems — 15-20 page research paper discussing the Mind/Body Problem (dualism, materialism, idealism)
  • Philosophy — paper discussing the validity of knowledge, and what we can truly know for certain
  • Philosophy — paper discussing the types (or type, depending on your opinion) of substances in the world.
  • Cognitive psychology — 5 page paper discussing how I would improve the human memory system.
  • Cognitive psychology — test on decision making, creativity, artificial intelligence, general intelligence, and problem solving.
  • Math — investment project examining the effects of initial investment, length of investment, and interest rate as individual factors that effect the final amount of money.
  • Math — 12 page paper briefly discussing the historical foundations of cryptography and it’s modern versions (on a very basic level, I didn’t get into all the really ugly details).
  • Math — present a brief poster and presentation on what I learned about cryptography. We’re talking 2-3 minute presentation; not a big deal.
  • Psychology of personality — 5 page paper relating Alfred Adler to events in my own life. We had to pick a personality theorist that we felt we could relate with.
  • Psychology of personality — test on existential psychology, humanistic psychology, Gestalt psychology, and object relationism.
  • Independent research — running out study looking at evaluative conditioning
  • Independent research — writing a 12 page paper investigating the possibility that the resistance to extinction in evaluative conditioning that has been observed may in fact be due to alternative explanations.

Oh yeah, and I’ve been crazy busy at work. They essentially gave me a project to complete that involes making significant changes to an application written in Visual Basic 6 (yes, I know it’s really old), but the problem is that I don’t have any knowledge/experience with Visual Basic 6. This wouldn’t be that much of a problem considering that I could probably learn Visual Basic 6, but the really humorous part of this project is that it’s supposed to be completed in 10 days. So yeah…learn a new language, make the changes, test the changes, and roll it out to the users in 10 days. Um, no thanks.
Anyways, my point is that virtually everything on that list above is now completed. Perhaps that might explain why I’ve been absent from writing non-Twitter related blog posts for nearly a month.
Did I mention I’m leaving to go see HER (the infamous her) in just over 3 hours? 🙂

Interesting Links 4.4.08

An interesting collections of links, primarily aimed at CSS this time. I can’t wait for this semester to be over with so I can get back to some web design. I am so behind in terms of things I want/need to read at this point.

Interesting Links 3.7.08

I apologize, but I am far too lazy to write a blurb about each one of those links. I’ll just leave it at this: IE8 Beta 1 is a step in the right direction, TeamViewer kicks ass for remote computer support, and the 6 animals that can destroy you is hilarious to read.

Redux: Things to do when this semester is finally over

My list of “things to do once the semester is over” keeps growing in length so I thought I’d just I’d add them on:

  • Reinstall XP on my desktop because Vista sucks (even with SP1).
  • Rewrite my current blog theme from scratch (it’s using tables right now…ick!).
  • Update my laptop to Vista SP1 (why not reinstall XP? don’t ask).

Interesting Links 1.25.08

  • PDF Hammer – PDF Hammer is a website that allows you to edit your PDF files online for free.
  • Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8 – When a new version of that browser comes along and fixes bugs or misinterpretations of the spec (or introduces new ones) or in any way changes behavior, sites break and our clients, bosses, and users get very unhappy.
  • From Switches to Targets: A Standardista’s Journey -This actually makes browser vendors more susceptible to pressure to fix their bugs, and less fearful of doing so. That’s huge, as fundamentally game changing as was DOCTYPE switching, but on an ongoing basis.
  • Better Email Links: Featuring CSS Attribute Selectors  – We can use this similarity between links to our advantage, so that we can apply CSS styling to only email links.
  • Understanding CSS Colour modes – CSS 2 and 3 offer a number of different ways to pick colours. While everyone knows the hexadecimal notation, fewer people know the RGB notation and colour keywords, and the new colour modes that CSS3 introduces are still a riddle to most.
  • Draft of HTML 5 Hints at a Brave New Web – HTML 5 presents a major change from HTML 4, and it will still be a long time before you’re likely to see HTML 5 markup in your browser.
  • HTML 5 – W3C Working Draft 22 January 2008. This is the draft straight from the W3C. Not the easiest thing to read/understand, but certainly a great resource (obviously).
  • HTML 5 differences from HTML 4 – HTML 5 defines the fifth major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web, HTML. This article describes the differences between HTML 4 and HTML 5 and provides some of the rationale for the changes.
  • HTML5 Shiv – Assuming that it’ll be a while before most browsers attempt to implement most of HTML 5 we need to start thinking of ways to tackle the creation and rendering of HTML 5 components in the meantime.

Perhaps you figured out the pattern for these links (except for the PDF hammer link)? The HTML 5 draft was finally released on the 22nd of January. The web has been a twitter with this and the fact that Microsoft has said that Internet Explorer 8 will include a “super standards” mode. The key is that this standards mode will require a particular META tag to enable this type of rendering. This has also sent the web into a frenzy because people are claiming that this will destroy progressive enhancement. The truth of the matter, as Eric Meyer points out, is that this will not be a detrimental change. The key moving forward will be that your websites will theoretically continue to work exactly how you coded them for the foreseeable future. In theory, even if we’re all using IE10 your website that was designed for IE6 will still render just fine. The other point that Eric makes is that browser vendors will be able to implement new web standards much more quickly now that they’d no longer need to fear breaking millions of websites. Essentially current websites would remain untouched by new changes to IE’s rendering engine. Unless the developer specifically codes the website to use the new render engine, which we can assume means that the developer has tested the page for issues, it would default to the legacy rendering engine that has proven to work. This is really a good thing for web designers, web standards supporters, and browser vendors.

Things to do when this semester is finally over.

I have all kinds of things I SHOULD do, but I think we all know that none of them will happen while the semester is in session. So, I present my list of “things to do” once this semester has ended:

  • Reinstall Windows Home Server (WHS). I still have the RC2 installed (which has long since expired).
  • Read “Head First SQL”. I purchased this over Christmas break, and then promptly never read it. Need to fix that.
  • Read “A History of God”. Again, I purchased this over Christmas break, and now I just need to read it.
  • Read “The Hobbit or There and Back Again”. I’ve had this book for YEARS, but I never got around to reading it. This Summer I will.
  • Have some type of relaxing vacation. I am not sure how financially feasible this one will be, we’ll see.
  • Decide if I will keep my web hosting. This has been on my mind for a while now. I pay for web space for no particular reason as this point. I could use one of the plethora of free hosted blogging platform (like Vox). All of my images are hosted on Flickr, and I use Twitter so much at this point that it’s a borderline addiction. We’ll see.