Entries from June 2007 ↓

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

I picked this book up cheaply since it was a tacky version with George Clooney on the cover that came out for the related movie. I had it sitting on my shelf for a while since when I saw the movie, despite it being excellent, I associate it with some pretty bad times. One day I’ll be ready to appreciate it again though.


The book was a bit of a let down and reminded me a lot of a Dostoevsky novel. Lots of grim internal commentary going on. Unfortunately I couldn’t relate to the characters very well, the most human one (Rheya) is ironically not really human, which I can say without really ruining the plot. Although perhaps that is an ironic point that the author was trying to convey. I found the main character a passive-aggressive asshole more often than not, and unfortunately the book is written in the first person.

The plot itself was also a little lacking, nothing really happened, and there was a lot of history on Solaris and its research to read. History is great, but in this short novel it seemed to be a little excessive. Maybe I’ve been ruined by reading pulp sci-fi with at least a little action.

It did however invoke atmosphere – loneliness, isolation, and being in the clutches of unfathomable alien entity. Glad I read it since it is a classic, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.

It’s winter…

I feel like I need one these woolen suits:

From Joshua Dalsimer

Here a webapp, there a webapp everywhere an appapp

I’ve been mucking around looking at new web apps – since if I ever get round to starting up my web business it’d pay to be up with the play.

Jon mentioned Google Reader, which has made keeping track of my overseas friend’s antics, as well as things like news, tech, and the latest on net music trends (New Zealand clubs are slowly picking up on some of the hot acts coming from France and Australia). What looked really cool though, was Net Vibes which is one of those customisable home pages. I’m not sure I can be bothered setting it up right now, since I like my current set up and have too much other stuff to do, but reckon it’d be worth a look.

I’m also really happy that Google Calender now can remind me of my appointments via SMS. I mean, this isn’t that revolutionary in itself, but c’mon! I’m in New Zealand, and for a cool thing like that to be available for free in NZ is pretty rare.

Facebook now has all those applications you can add in which is pretty fancy. And Twitter lets everyone know what you are doing in a kind of miniblog. Facebook integrates quite well with it, since people like the whole status updating thing. Personally it seems like an inane waste of time, but who am I to judge. Also, I can actually see the use of Twitter when it hooks up to your cell phone, then you can see what your friends are up to… e.g. You have 1 new SMS: “Jennifer is going to see Pirates of the Caribbean”, “oh” you think, “I wanted to see that too and I’m bored I’ll ask if I can join her”.

For those who haven’t already heard about it, Google Gears is an API provided by Google to allow webapps to run offline, or with intermittent connectivity, updating with the server when possible. I reckon this is a big thing, especially with all the Google apps I use. And if you want to know why, you can read about it elsewhere, since lots of people are talking about it.

Lastly, Surface computing looks pretty funky. Maybe Microsoft can be innovative after all: