Books I bought that I haven’t read

I bought a bunch of books in the past, I never had the time to read them. Or at least that’s the excuse. Here’s a list of books I haven’t read to make myself guilty:

  • JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford: They say this is an excellent book. I will not know. You know what, actually I didn’t even know I have this book. It’s a huge surprise for me; I love surprises. (I do UI.)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Is the movie better or is the book? I wouldn’t know, haven’t experienced either. That said I know more of the plot than most people think because everyone’s feeding me information and I sort of piece them all together.
  • Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler: I lent it to two of my friends and they read it for me. I haven’t read this myself but its worth has been validated at the very least.
  • A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis: I’m really about to start this. Really. Two years ago. Back then I was really wondering if I have the capability to fall in love. This isn’t as relevant as back then.
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: Loving the movie doesn’t translate to loving the book. I really what I most love about the story is really the characters and watching them come to film in the Hayao Miyazaki’s version made them so loveable I didn’t need to read the book. Honestly I couldn’t get past a quarter of the book.
  • The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan: I struggled through this book. I noted time and again that I can’t read books that have this politics thing inside. I keep accepted the challenge and attempting to overcome it with limited success.

Okay enough of embarrassment. I’m reading Sarah Silverman’s book now.

On life being difficult

On life being difficult. From the book “The Road Less Traveled”:

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

― M. Scott Peck

I constantly remind myself this.

Interesting discoveries #02

It’s been a busy week at work; I never thought I had the time to write this. So here’s what I gathered the past week or so.

1. Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain

A sweet book about a racer from a dog’s perspective. It’s not a book I would have picked up if not for Amazon’s offer and reviews. It’s a good book but I shan’t delve into what Amazon has already decide to be anyway.

The fact that I bought a book on mere offer must have meant something. My spending methods have changed. I use to despise the idea of going to the supermarket and purchasing goods simply because the item is on offer. I now found myself succumbing to that temptation and a half-an-hour introspection was to follow.

Story! Yes, the book is good and this is coming from a reader neither a racing enthusiast nor a dog owner. I do like dogs though.

2. Gun fires in Sandy Hook Elementary School

The most heart-wrenching story of the week is to be the case (CNN) where a gunman killed 26 people at the school, including 20 children, before taking his own life on Friday. I was watching the video reports of this online.

It’s leading to gun control debates, even the National Rifle Association has pretty much shut up in their Twitter account. Moving on from the tragedy, it’s a good opportunity to discuss on the issues with gun ownership and I believe America will reach a rightful conclusion in the months to come. It does irk me a little that the discussion got distracted by people who are calling for more god in schools. Focus on the gun policies first, we’ll talk about morals later.

3. The Walking Dead

Kevin recommended me The Walking Dead and I have been pretty much glued to it. The Walking Dead is an American television drama series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma to find the world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”, resembling the zombies of George A. Romero’s horror movies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.

I am not why the drama distance themselves from the “zombie” association. I found that hard to accept. Given the whole setting was made to resemble reality — i.e. having places like the CDC, Fort Benning and Atlanta — I feel a little “betrayed” that no one seems to know about “zombies.” Why is that even so? This is not the reality I live in. Of all the efforts that place in creating this familiar environment, I found myself constantly awaken at each mention of the word “zombie.”

The Walking Dead has good story arcs but falls shorts in their lines. I love the visuals too.

4. Apache Maven

I never came across Apache Maven until this week where my new job requires me to. Maven is a build automation tool typically used for Java projects. Maven serves a similar purpose to the Apache Ant tool, but it is based on different concepts and works in a profoundly different manner. It can also be used to build and manage projects written in C#, Ruby, Scala, and other languages.

I don’t have much of comment on this accept that it is one of the most complicated build management tool I have seen. Or maybe I’m just unfamiliar with these things.

5. SimCity, released on March

What got me excited this week most is the upcoming SimCity.

I leave you the video to watch.

6. Upgrading/buying a new computer

I never learnt so much about computers until I have intentions to buy on. My new work place is at Sunshine Plaza and that is a 5 minute walk away from nerd heaven Sim Lim Square. So I was there doing a bit of cost research. I don’t plan to spend a lot on a computer since I’m just going to play SimCity on it when it is released.

If possible I am going to just stick with an integrated graphic card. I saw that the upcoming Intel Haswell micro-architecture has a significant improvement on their Intel HD offerings and I am looking forward to it although I might not have the patience to wait for it. Making a decision when SimCity is out is definitely not too late so, I’ll do that!

For those self-professed hardware idiots, like me, the update is they are now on DDR3 RAM, and the graphic cards are less a necessity more an option. Also the CPU casings are getting more beautiful. And also Intel i5 3330 (Ivy Bridge) seems to suffice. MSI is cheaper than Asus and it’s okay to get cheaper motherboards, they aren’t as bad as the cheaper motherboards of the past. Okay I know nerd language now. Moving on.

7. Sunshine Plaza

How little they did for Christmas decorations:

Sunshine Plaza

Sunshine Plaza has a mall, a residential and office building. It’s across Fortune Center. Good location, I’m happy it’s near all the tiny food places. Will update on that.

8. Google Maps for iOS

Google Maps for iOS is just pure joy to use after the 4 month deprivation of it. Currently the Google Maps application is top in Apple’s App Store and has a 5 out of 5 average rating. Google really deserves this and Apple has help educate the public how hard it is to get mapping right. Google has triumphed this time and Apple is probably a bit thankful for that. It’s time to put Apple Maps in the folder where I place all the crap I can’t uninstall.

I would have but cannot get rid of the following applications:

  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Weather
  • Compass
  • Voice Memos
  • Stocks
  • Passbook
  • Maps

Google Maps team definitely deserve a good vacation.

End notes

This week has been busy and my sore throats gotten worse. I met my new colleagues that I haven’t been as able to be chatty as I could have been. I spend more time reading this week, mainly on Maven, Backbone.js and Handlebars.js. It’s going to an exciting next week.

Reading on Amazon Kindle

I can’t recommend Amazon Kindle enough if you’re an avid reader. I got mine delivered over from the US to Singapore through a proxy courier. I think I used comGateway.

Since then I bought numerous books from the US shop without trouble, it all get delivered to my Kindle. I haven’t encountered phone verification of any sort.

The question I get most from people is what is it that don’t work in Singapore. Well, the 3G internet on the Kindle can only access Wikipedia and Amazon websites unfortunately. Other than that everything works fine.

I have been using Kindle for Mac more often lately:

Kindle for Mac.

It’s a lot easier to search through the annotations in the desktop application.

Narcissism on the rise

Pertaining to American books:

Books Increasingly Show It’s All About Me

Researchers who have scanned books published over the past 50 years report an increasing use of words and phrases that reflect an ethos of self-absorption and self-satisfaction.

“Language in American books has become increasingly focused on the self and uniqueness in the decades since 1960,” a research team led by San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge writes in the online journal PLoS One.

Their results are consistent with those of a 2011 study which found that lyrics of best-selling pop songs have grown increasingly narcissistic since 1980. Twenge’s study encompasses a longer period of time—1960 through 2008—and a much larger set of data.

Interestingly, among the 20 individualistic words the researchers searched for, those that experienced the largest increase in usage were “identity,” “personalized,” “self,” “standout” and “unique.”

What’s more, they point out that throughout the time period they studied, “communal words and phrases were more commonly used than the individualistic words and phrases.” So there’s some evidence that our culture hasn’t turned completely narcissistic—yet.

Source: Psmag

And in Facebook, I encounter a culture of anti-sharing. I witness people copying and pasting links again instead of clicking on the Share button so as to not attribute to, perhaps, the lesser source. I guess they just want to be known as having discovered something themselves.

By the way, I use a lot of ‘I’ in my posts. You may think it is a sign of narcissism, but really, it’s just loneliness.