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Nature Hates You.

The next ti­me so­meo­ne su­gges­ts you take a die­ta­ry su­pple­men­t, or a plant or herb ex­trac­t, or te­lls you to ea­t, dri­nk, apply on your ski­n, inha­le, or do an­y­thing wi­th the ar­gu­ment that it's na­tu­ra­l, re­mem­ber this:

NA­TU­RE HA­TES YOU

Al­most eve­r­y­thing that co­mes from na­tu­re wi­ll ki­ll you. All ani­mals would pre­fer that you die, all plan­ts are to­xi­c, and it's on­ly th­rou­gh a long evo­lu­tio­na­ry pro­ce­ss that you are ba­re­ly ca­pa­ble of di­ges­ting any ve­ge­ta­ble­s.

The­re is a rea­son why we take as­pi­rin ins­tead of chewing ba­rk, and why we cook meat be­fo­re we eat it. Freaking po­ta­tos are to­xic if ea­ten raw.

Gi­ve parsley to a pa­rro­t, gi­ve cho­co­la­te to a do­g, gi­ve ce­le­ry to a ca­t, gi­ve he­m­lo­ck to you: DEA­D. Be­cau­se all around you is tr­ying to ki­ll you. All the ti­me.

Na­tu­re is not a mo­the­r, na­tu­re is ac­ti­ve­ly hos­ti­le to you and wi­ll be ha­ppy to make your li­fe as har­d, brief and pain­ful as po­s­si­ble. Man has chan­ged tha­t. Sa­ying "oh, but this is na­tu­ra­l" is an in­dic­t­men­t, a war­ning sig­n.

Raw foodis­ts, pa­leo diet ad­vo­ca­tes, her­ba­l-­su­pple­men­t-­chu­gger­s: you are all the be­ne­fi­cia­ries of a long his­to­ry of kno­wing what is se­mi-s­afe to eat be­cau­se eve­r­y­thing el­se wi­ll ki­ll you.

I wi­ll not eat an­y­thing na­tu­re gi­ves me un­til it has been ca­re­fu­lly tes­ted by men and scien­ce. Be­cau­se scien­ce is good and na­tu­re is evi­l.

Much Fall of Blood (Heirs of Alexandria, #3)

Review:

I had read the first cou­ple of Heirs of Alexan­dria books years ago, and saw this one for free at Baen.S­ince I had rather fond mem­o­ries of those first, I gave this one a chance.

The sto­ry is in­ter­est­ing enough, but ... the di­a­log. The di­a­log is try­ing so hard. Just so hard. It tries to be smart, fun­ny and clev­er, but it all comes out as weird, self­-­con­scious, and stilt­ed.

It's like read­ing the in­ner voice of a shy teenage boy who deep in­side knows he's bet­ter and smarter and more hon­or­able than the rest, be­cause oth­er­wise why would he be so lone­ly and sad?

I hat­ed the di­a­log.

Al­so, the way ev­ery "good" char­ac­ter is bet­ter in ev­ery pos­si­ble way than ev­ery "bad" char­ac­ter is grat­ing.

I am now re­con­sid­er­ing if the fond mem­o­ries of the ear­li­er books are just se­lec­tive mem­o­ry, or the des­per­ate grat­i­tude of a fan­ta­sy read­er in Ar­genti­na, where there just was­n't all that much to read at the time.

How You Could Not Replace Cable, If Only This Were Legal

Su­ppo­se you wanted to ha­ve free TV. Su­ppo­se by that you mean se­rie­s, not mo­vies or news (bo­th of whi­ch you can get in other wa­ys).

Al­so, su­ppo­se you want to ha­ve it on your ac­tual TV. Al­so, that you do­n't mind breaking IP laws. We­ll, this is how I would do it, if that was the ca­se.

Firs­t: get har­dwa­re.

You need a ge­ne­ral com­pu­ta­tio­nal de­vi­ce wi­th TV con­nec­tors and lo­ts of sto­ra­ge. Like, sa­y, a Me­le A1000 or A2000 run­ning an­droi­d, and a SATA disk. This wi­ll cost you around $150 or so.

The Me­le has HD­MI, VGA and com­po­si­te, so it can con­nect to pre­tty mu­ch an­y­thing that can dis­play ima­ges. You could even use a 64­GB SD card ins­tead of a SATA dri­ve if you want to go chea­pe­r.

Se­con­d: choose so­me se­rie­s.

You could go to Sho­wR­SS crea­te an ac­count and just choose se­ries you like. Sho­wR­SS would then pro­vi­de you wi­th a ni­ce RSS feed up­dated as your sho­ws are uploade­d.

You could even choose be­tween SD and HD ver­sion­s.

Thir­d: get the epi­so­des.

You would need a Bi­tTo­rrent client that su­ppor­ts this:

  1. An­­droi­­d.

  2. Choosing the des­­ti­­na­­tion fo­l­­der (u­­To­­­rrent for an­­droid does­n'­­t)

  3. RSS Fee­­ds wi­­th au­­to­­­do­­wn­­load

For exam­ple: aDo­wn­loader

If you are using the Me­le and the SATA dri­ve, the­re is a bug in aDo­wn­loader whe­re it can't wri­te to the SATA disk. You can fix it if you ha­ve root and so­me pa­tien­ce.

Four­th: get a good vi­deo pla­ye­r.

You want one tha­t:

  1. Has HW de­­co­­­ding

  2. Has SW au­­dio de­­co­­­ding (a me­­le-s­­pe­­ci­­fic is­­sue)

  3. Su­­ppo­r­­ts many vi­­deo fo­r­­ma­­ts

  4. Su­­ppo­r­­ts su­b­­ti­­tle­s, if you need them

For exam­ple: MX Pla­yer

Fi­fth: get sub­ti­tle­s.

If you ever wa­tch so­me­thing that is not in your na­ti­ve lan­gua­ge, you al­so want so­me­thing that au­to­ma­ti­ca­lly ge­ts sub­ti­tles for your vi­deo­s. For exam­ple Su­bloader

How we­ll would this wo­rk? We­ll, it would take rou­gh­ly 5 mi­nu­tes to do­wn­load a show in SD or 15 mi­nu­tes to do­wn­load it in HD on a 10M­bps in­ter­net li­nk.

It would let you play them in your own ti­me.

It would let you see sho­ws be­fo­re they air in your coun­tr­y, and even if they wi­ll ne­ver air the­re.

It is al­so ille­gal as all he­ll, so do­n't do it.

The Mongoliad: Book Two (Foreworld, #2)

Review:

Con­tin­ues the sto­ries of the first vol­ume, of course.

Even if the books are com­ing out at a rather brisk pace, the sheer amount of sto­ry­lines and char­ac­ters made this a bit hard to fol­low, but a fun read any­way.

I pe­cial­ly loved read­ing it on Kin­dle and hav­ing Wikipedia right there for terms, so 'o­h, right, this is in Turk­menistan' and 'so there were on­ly eleven car­di­nal­s, won­der how that works out­...'.

Look­ing for­ward to the 3rd vol­ume.

100 Days With the Mele A1000

I ha­ve been using the Me­le A1000 for a few mon­ths no­w. I thi­nk I ha­ve se­ttled in­to a usage pa­tter­n, so le­t's do a qui­ck roun­dup of what it's good for and what it's not ve­ry good at.

First a qui­ck re­min­der of what it is:

  • Sma­­ll co­m­­pu­­ter run­­ning An­­droid (4.0.4 ri­­ght no­­w)

  • HD­­MI/­­V­­GA/­­Co­m­­po­­­si­­te vi­­deo ou­­tpu­­t, ideal for using wi­­th a TV

  • SATA co­n­­ne­c­­to­­­r, fu­­ll si­­ze SD ca­r­­d, 3 USB po­r­­ts: ba­­si­­ca­­lly un­­li­­mited sto­­­ra­­ge ca­­pa­­ci­­ty.

  • Re­­mo­­­te co­n­­trol that wo­­­rks wi­­th most apps

  • Wi­­fi and Ethe­r­­net

  • It wi­­ll cost you ~ $90 to get one.

  • No noi­se, low po­­wer usage.

I ha­ve it in my be­droom, next to my old CRT TV. I could put it in the li­ving room wi­th the newer LED one, but I ha­ve a Mac Mi­ni I got for wo­rk the­re an­ywa­y.

Ha­ving it plu­gged to an old TV means the vi­deo qua­li­ty su­cks. Ho­we­ve­r, it wo­rks great for wa­tching vi­deo­s, and when con­nec­ted to a mo­dern dis­play it wo­rks per­fec­tl­y.

So, what do I do wi­th it?

I wa­tch mo­vies and se­ries on Ne­tflix.

Ver­sion 1.8.1 of the Ne­tflix app wo­rks fi­ne (la­ter ver­sions do no­t!) and le­ts you see mo­vies and se­ries le­ga­lly for a flat low mon­th­ly cos­t. The re­mo­te pro­vi­ded does­n't rea­lly wo­rk all that we­ll, be­cau­se you can't do "drags" and the­re­fo­re can't scro­ll the mo­vie lis­ts le­ft and ri­gh­t. So, to take fu­ll ad­van­ta­ge of this you need to get a ke­y­boar­d/­mou­se se­t. I use this one.

Ho­we­ve­r, if you know what you want to see, it's just a ma­tter of sear­ching for it.

I wa­tch vi­deos in ge­ne­ra­l.

MX Pla­yer wo­rks ve­ry we­ll, and gi­ves smooth, we­ll syn­ced vi­deo. The Har­dwa­re vi­deo de­co­der wo­rks just fi­ne, but you ha­ve to swi­tch to so­ftwa­re au­dio de­co­din­g.

Ha­ving a plu­gga­ble SATA dri­ve is ve­ry use­ful he­re. Just get any 2.5" SATA dri­ve, plug it in, and start using it.

Fi­le Ser­ver

I us­ed Sam­ba Fi­les­ha­ring and it "just wo­rks". You set it up, con­fi­gu­re user and pa­sswor­d, and your dri­ves are now sha­red lo­ca­lly and ac­ce­s­si­ble to all your other de­vi­ce­s.

I am using it to sto­re ba­ckups from my "rea­l" com­pu­ter­s, created using rdi­ff-­ba­ckup but any ba­ckup tool that can sto­re in a re­mo­te fol­der should wo­rk.

Ra­dio & Mu­sic Pla­yer

The­re are plen­ty of an­droid appli­ca­tions that hand­le mu­sic strea­ming and pla­ying your lo­cal mu­sic co­llec­tio­n. Just use the one you like.

Wea­ther Ga­dget

I like my TV te­lling me the wea­the­r. Uses a ran­dom wi­dget from the play sto­re.

VNC Ser­ver

In or­der to use it mo­re co­m­for­ta­bl­y, or be able to do stu­ff in it when I am on the no­te­book, I am using Droid VNC Ser­ver and that even means I can use my own pho­ne as a "re­mo­te" using the Jump VNC client

Ye­s, that means I am in my bed using my an­droid pho­ne as a re­mo­te to my an­droid TV's screen. If the per­for­man­ce we­re be­tte­r, it would be as cool as it soun­d­s.

I am using Jump be­cau­se it's the on­ly An­droid VNC client I found that su­ppor­ts dra­gging things (and it's not per­fect by a long sho­t).

Po­s­si­ble fu­tu­re uses

  • Sk­­y­­pe box (need to hook a we­­b­­ca­­m. Mi­­cro­­­pho­­­ne?)

  • Ga­­me co­n­­so­­­le?

    I ha­­ve Need For Spee­­d: Shi­­ft and I would lo­­­ve to play it on a la­r­­ge screen, but how would I co­n­­trol it? I need to in­­ve­s­­ti­­ga­­te co­n­­tro­­­lle­r­s, ma­­y­­be jo­­­ys­­ti­­cks or ga­­me­­pa­­d­s.

I bou­ght this wi­th the idea of using Ubun­tu on it, but the la­ck of ac­ce­le­ra­ted dri­vers and Ne­tflix su­pport has ma­de that a no­n-s­tar­te­r. So, I am doing lo­ts of things whe­re An­droid rea­lly has lo­wer qua­li­ty so­ftwa­re than Ubun­tu, but tho­se are for­cing me to stay the­re.

I am qui­te ha­ppy wi­th it, and as a "dum­b-­tv-s­mar­te­ne­r" it's qui­te awe­so­me for its pri­ce.


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