Pixeless Scroll 4/2/18

It’s not so much the long day I just put helping deal with business for my mother, it’s that forgot to pack my mouse along with the laptop.

So let’s make this a do-it-yourself Scroll — pitch in whatever you’ve got!

Then, as Scarlett says, “Tomorrow is another day!”

164 thoughts on “Pixeless Scroll 4/2/18

  1. @Cora —

    If he had the slightest clue about LMB’s views on sexual morals, he would probably run screaming in the opposite direction. 😉

  2. Well, that video (what I could stomach of it) is an astonishing display of ignorance, so why should his views on Bujold be any different.

  3. The saddest thing is that his buddies probably don’t know any better either!

  4. Thank you to those who have commented on my Kindle vs. Kobo question. I shall proceed to cogitate, save my pennies, and hopefully keep my Nook going until I’m ready to pounce on my new device.

  5. Without signing up for more alerts (and having fewer pages than my max when I did max out), I somehow have stopped receiving e-mails for new comments. Anyway:

    @Chip Hitchcock: No doubt due to some blocking I do, I can’t even see the Bizarro comic on the page you linked to.

    @Mike Glyer: There’s nothing about accepting your own nomination that’s inconsistent with being in favor of a diverse set of Fan Writer winners. 🙂

  6. I’ve met Bujold several times and have been on the Dendarii e-mail list for years, where she posts fairly regularly. And while she was always in “I’m in public for this Fan thing” mode, therefore I can’t say I *know* her, I’m having a very hard time imagining her being sympathetic to JDA’s public politics. Neither her writings, nor her speeches, nor her in-person chat support that in any way.

  7. Meredith Moment:

    Connie Willis’s near-future SF novel Crosstalk is on sale in the U.S. (at least) for $1.99 from Del Rey (uses DRM). Named one of thebest books of 2016 by NPR, it’s “a genre-bending novel that pushes social media, smartphone technology, and twenty-four-hour availability to hilarious and chilling extremes as one young woman abruptly finds herself with way more connectivity than she ever desired.”

    IIRC this novel got mixed reviews here.

  8. @Mark (Kitteh): Thanks for linking to Moyer’s post, which I hadn’t run across before. A couple of things made me roll my eyes, but that’s just par for the course. 😉

  9. I liked “Crosstalk” well enough, but noticed something really weird about the plot: Gur onfvp cybg bs “Pebffgnyx” unq n ohapu bs cnenyyryf jvgu gur Qbpgbe Jub rcvfbqr “Gur Ehanjnl Oevqr” (gur svefg bar jvgu Qbaan): Va obgu fgbevrf, gur znva punenpgre vf n jbzna jub tbg gb ratntrq gb n pbjbexre jub ghearq bhg gb unir na hygrevbe zbgvir sbe gur ratntrzrag, naq jub raqf hc va n eryngvbafuvc jvgu n znavp cvkvr thl jub trgf vaorgjrra gur jbzna naq ure svnapr.

  10. Kip, I couldn’t tell if you are using your trackball for billiards, or a billiard ball for your trackball. If the latter, I think I may have an extra trackball sans base. If the former, that’s how they roll, I guess.

  11. @IanP Oh my God, XCom on a trackpad sounds seriously hardcore – although I guess not impossible with the turn-based mechanic. I’ve definitely played similar, though less involved, things on trackpad only with success (“success” here being defined as “adds zero additional stress or uncertainty to the gaming experience”) – Banner Saga and Into the Breach spring to mind.

    I’m definitely in the small squeaky mammal camp for most computer activities, although I’m not averse to touchpads – I just find it slows my work down, and who wants to spend more time doing work when there are Hugo finalists to be read?

  12. My biggest problem with Crosstalk is that it has huge consent issues all over the place, which are played for amusement rather than as the horrific violations that they are, and which include “man totally violates woman psychologically, but it’s okay, because he knows better than she does what she really needs”. 😐

  13. Andrew: Which ties into the comparison I was thinking of.

    I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say — but if that’s the case, then I’d probably hate it just as much as the book.

  14. Lis Carey, somehow I missed your Kobo vs Kindle question.

    For what it’s worth, I have a Kobo Aura and I’m generally quite pleased. The adjustable backlight makes it easy to read in low light or complete darkness. And unlike Doug, I’ve been able to successfully sideload Amazon (.mobi) books just fine, with the help of Calibre (and Apprentice Alf).

    It’s a good size for reading. And It has a few games loaded on (sudoku, a few variations of solitaire, unblock-it) and a *very* slow webbrowser (e-ink doesn’t refresh fast) which is just adequate for emergency email-checking. I only need to charge it up every few weeks (but I don’t use the light that often and I keep the wifi turned off; those do drain the battery faster).

    In fairness, I’ve never used a Kindle Paperwhite so I cannot do a direct comparison, but I’m pleased with my Kobo (which is, coincidentally, exactly four years old today and still going strong). My previous ereader was a Sony; alas, Sony orphaned their entire e-reader line and one day it simply froze up and died. There’s a reason I keep a complete backup of my e-library in two places….

    If you currently have a Nook, you might find the Kobo more convenient for your current e-library, as it reads epubs and I don’t believe that the Kindle does.

    Hope this helps.

  15. @ JJ This was my reaction to Crosstalk as well. Also, minor issue, but I was taken aback at the statement that people reading have quiet thoughts. Especially from a fiction writer, doesn’t she except to engage her readers’ emotions in her books?

  16. @Lis Carey
    I have a Kobo Glo and am pretty with it. My other e-reader is a tolino shine, which is a lovely piece of hardware, but not available in the US, as far as I know. Never had a Kindle, I’m afraid.

  17. All the best to you and your mom, Mike.

    Paul Hale has concluded his three-part series on Disney’s The Black Caldron on his Disney Story Origins Podcast. He compares and contrasts the books with the movie in spectacular fashion. The total time for all three episodes is over 6 hours, but I think it is well worth the time invested.

    Part ABC

    The best part of Paul’s work is that his objective is never to say that the books are great and the movie was awful or vice versa. He remains focused on the differences between the two presentations and keeps his criticism to just a few relevant issues.

    After hearing Paul’s podcasts, I plan on giving the Prydain series to a couple of my nephews and other young readers. He summarizes a lot of what is in the books pretty nicely.

    I miss Taglinator….

  18. PJ Evans: Mike, then it might be a good idea for JDA to stop proclaiming how good a Christian he is.

    Only if someone thinks every time JDA says anything they are in charge of correcting him. And if the corrector is not a believer, that’s really in the nature of white knighting anyway.

  19. @OGH: The thing about Christianity is that every believer falls short of the savior’s example and is aware of it. Your experience of Christians differs from mine; IME they are as subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect as any other group.

  20. Mike Glyer: And if the corrector is not a believer, that’s really in the nature of white knighting anyway.

    I think it’s in the nature of calling out hypocrisy, which I frankly think is a huge toxic cancer in the United States as a country right now.

    You can’t stop people from being hypocrites, but you can certainly keep letting them know that you see what they’re doing, and that they’re not fooling everyone.

  21. JJ: No, what you’re doing is telling every Christian who participates in this blog that whatever JDA says or does, “This is you too!!!” And you know, to a degree it is. I’m sorry that you think making people around you miserable is some kind of patriotic duty.

  22. Chip Hitchcock: Do you disagree that most human beings are susceptible to feelings of shame and worthlessness. That’s not a Christian thing, that’s a human being thing.

  23. @Arifel, IanP: I completed the main story of Bastion with a trackpad… I struggled on the endgame levels and some of the sidequests though; never did quite finish all of that.

  24. @Mike —

    No, what you’re doing is telling every Christian who participates in this blog that whatever JDA says or does, “This is you too!!!”

    To me, the difference is that most Christians don’t go around saying “Hey, I’m a devout Christian so I’m better than all those evil degenerates out there!” (I’m paraphrasing.)

    **That** behavior is what exposes JDA to charges of hypocrisy, not the fact of his religion.

  25. Coming in late, here is my contribution to the DIY scroll.

    I was watching S2 of THE FRANKENSTEIN CHRONICLES last night. In several scenes, the corpse bearers talk about the need to “tap the coffin,” and in one scene, a coffin they haven’t “tapped” explodes.

    I didn’t know what this was about, and I was particularly interested since I have a (very fun) part-time job as a historic walking-tour guide; one of our tours spends a lot of time talking about 19c graveyards, resurrectionists, burial customs, etc.

    So I googled. And I found this informative article about coffin tapping and exploding coffins in Victorian times:

  26. @Andrew: Crosstalk has parallels with a lot of old movies–it’s a standard romantic comedy plot.

  27. Mike Glyer: No, what you’re doing is telling every Christian who participates in this blog that whatever JDA says or does, “This is you too!!!”

    No, I’m not. How many people on this blog actually see themselves as behaving the way JDA behaves? Deliberately malicious, lying and deceitful, harassing and abusive? None, I suspect.

    When an atheist has behaved like a jerk on this blog saying things about Christianity in general (which has happened a number of times) and been rightly called out for it, I don’t think, “Oh, that’s me, too, I feel terrible”. I think “I don’t appreciate that atheist making the rest of us look bad.” Surely the Christians here do not appreciate JDA claiming to be one of their faith, but behaving the opposite of their beliefs?

    “White-knighting” is a form of virtue-signalling. It’s defending someone or something in order to win brownie points or to feel virtuous. And that is certainly not what I’m doing.

  28. Jeff Jones: Crosstalk has parallels with a lot of old movies – it’s a standard romantic comedy plot.

    I strongly suspect that we have reached an age of awareness where such plots are going to be received less and less as comedic, and more and more as abusive. And that’s probably not a bad thing. 😐

  29. @ Lis Carey:

    Also, is so moved, discuss Kindle Paperwhite vs. Kobo, as a recent Crisis, now overcome, leads me to contemplate the possible Death of Nook.

    I’ve had an iPad, a Kindle Paperwhite, and a Nook.

    The disadvantage of the Kindle Paperwhite is that it’s Amazon-only. So if you have invested in epub/Nook books that you want to access over time, this is not a good choice. That said, I nonetheless recommend it if you have or will be buying Kindle books, because it is far and away my favorite reading device. It’s lightweight, a very comfortable size, and it holds its charge for a really long time (days or weeks).

    I had two iPads and will not get another. It’s a great device… but I use the tablet for reading 90% of the time (or more), so it’s silly to spend that much money on it. (The cheapest I’ve seen an iPad is about 3 times the price of other tablets.) ALSO… my second iPad died within 18 months of pretty light use and gentle treatment. When I took it to the Apple store, they had no explanation, no apology, and no interest in repair, they just told me to buy a new one. And when I said, no, $300 is too much to pay for a device that dies witihin 18 months, they (I am not exaggerating) laughed at me. So although I am a longtime Mac user, I lost all interest in iPads at that point. (My first iPad was stolen months after purchase, when a burglar got into my house. No one hurt, nothing else of value taken. The incident also highlighted to me that there is a risk spending a lot of money on such a portable item. The thief did not, after all, take my desktop computer or my TV.)

    I was given a Nook last year. It’s my least favorite of the three types of devices I’ve had. I don’t particularly like the size. The “sleep” button is located so that no matter HOW I hold the device, I’m always accidentally putting it to sleep. It loses power very quickly, constantly needs recharging. This is true even if I go a few days without using it–it just goes dead if not plugged into the charger while in sleep mode for a few days. The operating system seems kind of clunky–it’s Android, which I think it on a lot of devices now? All that said, though, it’s a tablet, like the iPad, not an e-reader like the Paperwhite, so I can download apps to access Nook, Kindle, Kobo, the library, bookstores, etc. Which is why I use it (though I use the Kindle Paperwhite much more often).

  30. @JJ:

    He’s posted a half-hour video which consists almost entirely of mocking the last names of the Hugo Finalists and denigrating the ones who are women, POC and LGBTQ

    Gosh, and here I thought he self-presented as a pathetic whiner wasting his life in tiresome public antics.

  31. @JJ, @Mike: Without addressing this specific exchange, I’ve always found Scott Alexander’s “Weak Men Are Superweapons” to be a really clear formulation of this dynamic. (Fair warning: section VI, specifically, uses feminism and “not all men” as an example, in a way that, well, requires fair warning. I think, in demonstrating the weak-man fallacy, Alexander’s engaging in one himself.)

    TL;DR: When somebody says “You know, I hate when Christians are hypocritical,” that comes across as hostile even to Christians of great integrity, in a similar way to how, say, “I can’t stand uptight, sanctimonious vegans” would not be appreciated by vegans who are measured or laid-back. He goes into the dynamics of it — including why it just isn’t as simple as saying “well just don’t ever imply hypocrisy in Christians.”

  32. @Laura:

    The disadvantage of the Kindle Paperwhite is that it’s Amazon-only.

    Well, there’s always sideloading…
    A large portion of the reading material on my Paperwhite is online short stories I’ve whipped into .mobi format 🙂 And then there’s the Hugo Voter’s Packet… 😛

  33. Standback, yes, if someone can do (and wants to do) format conversion and sideloading, the Paperwhite would probably work fine.

    But having tried to walk a few friends through sideloading their own self-published ebooks, or my self-published ebooks… Well, not everyone is suited to stripping DRM from epubs, converting them to mobis, and sideloading into a Kindle.

  34. I think the pragmatic approach on JDA and his occasional forays into waving his faith around when it’s irrelevant is to know that it’s just like when he waves around that he’s conservative, or Hispanic – it’s a cynical attempt to draw a reaction that he can then cycle back into his being-outraged machine. If he wants to misuse those things for personal aggrandizement then that’s on him, but every time he gets to have a conversation that’s not about how he’s an unprofessional bully is a conversation where he’s successfully masking the real reasons why he’s suffered the various consequences that he has.

  35. So JDA tagged filers on twitter and made fun of nominees?
    I guess it means in about a week he will try to post here again, claiming he has been misunderstood, didnt do any of these things and is only targeted because he is hispanic.

    Scrolls of New York

  36. @Laura —

    The disadvantage of the Kindle Paperwhite is that it’s Amazon-only. So if you have invested in epub/Nook books that you want to access over time, this is not a good choice.

    Using Calibre to convert is really pretty simple, but I understand that some folks just don’t want to deal with it.

    What I’ve got is a Kindle Fire HDX, 8.9″. It’s… maybe 3 years old now? I forget. Anyway, I got the color and the large size for watching movies and reading magazines with color photos, and I love it. At the time I got it (I don’t know if it’s still true), it was lighter and had a better screen than a comparable iPad.

    For multimedia versatility, if you don’t care much about regular computing power (word processing or whatever), I don’t think you could do much better.

  37. @Laura: I use GrabMyBook, which is so helpful, and I have another handy app on my smartphone that sends webpages as files right to my Kindle 🙂

  38. Apropos of nothing, I got e-mail notices from this thread. Yay! And just got a notice for the 2018 Hugo Award Finalists thread (only one, for the last comment). Yay? 🙂

  39. @Onieros I suspect you were not favouring the ranged weapons with that set-up??

    On the other end of the spectrum: the latest Supergiant, Pyre, finally compelled me to buy a PC-compatible controller after learning it was significantly easier than keyboard-and-mouse. There was enough heartache and learning to lose in that game without the control system adding to the pain…

  40. @Laura: Ah! If you’re talking specifically about DRM, then yeah, that’s a headache :-/ Unfortunately, it’s true of any platform — whatever device a file is DRM’d to, that’s where it’s stuck :-/

    By sideloading, I meant that I get my content from a whole bunch of places — converted from the web by a “Send to My Kindle” button; Weightless Books; humble bundles; Patreon subscriptions… Far from Amazon-only. But, yeah, all DRM-free stuff.

  41. Two Orbit discount Meredith Moments in the U.S. (at least). One is a Hugo finalist (for another book)! 😉 These books are, blush, languishing in Mount TBR. It’s Hugo-reading time, but . . . in case you’ve already read all the finalists or you aren’t a member of Worldcon or don’t care or whatever else, hey, take a gander!

    Mike Carey’s The Devil You Know is $2.99 from Orbit (uses DRM). Mike Carey is also known as M.R. Carey. This is urban fantasy starring a freelance exorcist.

    Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City is also $2.99 from Orbit. “A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city—for the undead!”

  42. @Arifel: I was melee as much as possible 🙂 I really want to play through it again with a “proper” set up and get through *everything* this time. I also very much need to complete Transistor as well. Pyre is painfully laggy on my current laptop so that will have to wait anyway…

  43. The Nook whose successor I am contemplating is a Nook Simple Touch, an E-Ink e-reader like the Paperwhite or Kobo Aura.

    I have a tablet I’m happy with, and I have no current plans to replace it, though, superstitious lass that I am, I feel queasy saying that.

    Calibre, and Apprentice Alf’s plug-in for it, are basic tools for living, or at least reading. 😉 Further deponent sayeth not.

    I do think I’m learning a lot from the discussion, for which I thank all participants. It may be a good idea to see if I can get a look at the Paperwhite and the Aura, to see if one is more comfortable for me than the other.

  44. For what it’s worth, I really love my Paperwhite. Extremely comfortable to hold, so much so that even when my wrists are particularly bad I can usually hold it with only an extra few twinges and some extra breaks-taking, and the backlit e-ink is nice even when I’m light sensitive so long as I turn the brightness down. I’ve been able to read much more easily with it than without it (one of the two reasons my ballot was so healthily populated this year – the other being quitting the Evil Pregabalin). The own-brand case is lovely and tactile and robust and I would recommend getting it as an addon if possible.

    But all ereader software is universally terrible and the Kindle Paperwhite’s OS is no exception, so there’s that, but that will probably be true whatever option is picked.

  45. @Arifel,

    XCOM isn’t too bad with the trackpad (random clicks aside), but mainly because I found the keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet and use those as much as possible, driven by using C and F to adjust levels versus two finger scrolling on the pad… With, as you say, the turn based mechanic it works ok.

    Now playing something like Portal with a pad. Trackball is surprisingly good for those sort of games though. The main benefit of trackballs for me though is that in the 15 odd years I’ve been using them in an IT role I’ve never suffered from RSI.

  46. I’ve been using a Logitech trackball for well over a decade for the precision in doing the usual things. And it helped me have teh mad driving skillz when I was in a Halo racing clan!

    Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

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