Tag Archives: reviews

Review – The Hero of Ages

I recieved this book as a contest reward from Library Thing, and I had very high hopes. I had already read the first two books, and was looking forward to the third book eagerly. Unfortunately, it took two months to arrive, during which I was on pins and needles.

So a few weeks ago, it finally arrived, and I’ve been reading it. I’m happy to report that my expectations were met and exceeded in every regard. I felt that book two was somewhat weaker than the first book, though still exceptional. But this book was a big move back in the right direction. Brandon’s writing managed to keep me on the edge of my seat through the whole book, despite the multiple plot threads, and the final conclusion was a very good surprise that made perfect sense, even looking back over the whole trilogy.

The pacing was excellent, and the writing impeccable, as I’ve come to expect from Brandon’s work. Any fans of his other series, or of epic fantasy in general should definately pick up this book, along with the first two in the series. In fact, I strongly reccomend any of his books for anyone who reads fantasy at all.

Gnome still wins

One of my friends convinced me to try out KDE again. I’ve never been real settled on a window manager for Linux, alternating between Gnome, KDE, and other random ‘lightweight’ WMs. But, I figured I’d give KDE another shot since I’ve been with Gnome for a while.

Unfortunately, KDE 4.1 and 4.2 have definately failed to impress. They have a lot of potential, and have some things I like, but they fail critically in several areas in my opinion.

First, I almost always run multiple monitors for my workstations, and I have a full collection of Digital Blasphemy’s multi-monitor wallpapers that I like to use. But for some reason, in KDE 4.x, there is NO way to span a wallpaper across multiple monitors. It’s just not possible, and there’s no evidence of a fix any time soon.

Secondly, when I upgraded to 4.2 after it was released, I suddenly started experiencing lots of crashes of Kwin and plasma, as well as UI lockups. That isn’t acceptable, and I couldn’t find any reason for it.

Lastly, Amarok has one of the worst UIs for a music player I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the fact that for some reason it refused to shuffle playlists for me. No errors, no reason that I could find. Just didn’t work.

So I’ve switched back to Gnome, despite some weaknesses with Gnome right now. For instance, Gnome Screensaver hides ALL configuration of screensavers, and doesn’t even show the modules from xscreensaver by default. You have to go run a manual command to copy them over to another directory, with xml config files.

Also, while Gnome allows you to span wallpapers across multiple monitors, it has no core functionality for auto-changing wallpapers every X minutes. But at least it’s stable, and has a music player that lets me shuffle my playlist.

I think both Gnome and KDE are trying a little too hard to appeal to the newbie user. I have nothing against helping out new users, but PLEASE don’t do it at the cost of advanced functionality. That way lies Vista.

So, Gnome still wins. For now. I’m still on the lookout for The Perfect WM.

Review: The World Turned Upside Down

This anthology consists of science fiction (and a few fantasy) short stories, that the editors read when they were young, that they felt left a strong impression on them. They stories selected are chosen more for the authors that wrote them in many cases, than for the specific story itself. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. As the editors state in their comments on several of the stories, the best known stories by the authors in question have been in so many anthologies that they really don’t need to be added to yet another one.

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