RogerBW's Blog

Roger's 2015 in 100 Words 31 December 2015 - 1 comment

A friend likes to sum up his year in a hundred words, and I copy this fine idea. "Think of it as a short and un-boastful summary of the year, which nobody is expected to understand all of."

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2015 in Books 30 December 2015 - 4 comments

In 2015 I read 132 books, on a par with recent years but lower than I really like.

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Cosmonauts at the Science Museum 29 December 2015 - 4 comments

Since yesterday was the Boxing Day Bank Holiday, I went to the Science Museum for their Cosmonauts exhibition. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything. (I'd been told photography was prohibited, but there were no signs and nobody tried to stop me. I didn't use flash, which may have helped.)

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Internet of Things 28 December 2015 - 4 comments

This has been a year when "Internet of Things" devices became relatively mainstream. Oh dear.

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Wrack and Rune, Charlotte MacLeod 27 December 2015

1982 cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of Professor Peter Shandy, set at an agricultural college in Massachussetts. Hilda Horsefall is 105 years old and still keeping the family farm going, until her farmhand is horribly murdered. But is it just part of a land-grab, and if so who's trying to do it? And how is the Viking runestone on her land connected to everything?

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Pyramid 85: Cutting Edge 26 December 2015

Pyramid is the monthly GURPS supplement containing short articles with a loose linking theme. This time it's the near now, things that are just barely possible or not quite possible yet.

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Warfare 2015 in Reading 25 December 2015 - 2 comments

(Merry Christmas to all my readers.)

On a dreary November day I visited Warfare, a two-day show in Reading that's filling the gap left by Colours having moved to Newbury. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho 24 December 2015

2015 Regency fantasy, first of a planned trilogy. "Zacharias Wythe, England's first African Sorcerer Royal, is contending with attempts to depose him, rumours that he murdered his predecessor, and an alarming decline in England's magical stocks. But his troubles are multiplied when he encounters runaway orphan Prunella Gentleman, who has just stumbled upon English magic's greatest discovery in centuries."

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Despicable Me 2 23 December 2015

2013, dir. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud; IMDb / allmovie

The former supervillain Gru is trying to be a good father. But supervillainous schemes are still afoot.

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The Corpse on the Court, Simon Brett 22 December 2015

2011; fourteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Jude's new lover Piers is a tennis fanatic – real tennis – but when she turns up for a lesson one of the other club members is found dead. Heart attack, clearly, but why is everyone acting so cagey? Meanwhile Jude's friend Carole conducts a separate investigation.

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Winter Barbecue 2015 21 December 2015 - 3 comments

A remarkably mild day for mid-December, with temperatures about 12-13°C, no rain and not much wind. All images are cc-by-sa.

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Dragonmeet 2015 20 December 2015 - 2 comments

On a chilly December morning I went to Dragonmeet again. All images are cc-by-sa.

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Kick Ass, Carl Hiaasen 19 December 2015

1999 collected newspaper columns, written from 1985 onwards. Hiaasen gets his teeth into issues of local politics, corruption, finance and wildlife preservation, often all at once.

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GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Treasures 1: Glittering Prizes, Matt Riggsby 18 December 2015

This Dungeon Fantasy supplement deals with the thing closest to a dungeon-delver's heart: money.

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Bones season 10 17 December 2015

2014-2015, 22 episodes. Police procedural in the CSI mould: a team of forensic experts at the "Jeffersonian" consults for the FBI.

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High Country, Nevada Barr 16 December 2015

2004 mystery, twelfth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. After four seasonal park employees disappear on the same day in Yosemite, Anna Pigeon goes undercover to try to find out what happened.

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Doctor Who Re-Watch, series 25 15 December 2015 - 5 comments

As always, spoilers abound. See Wikipedia for production details

The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
Ace - Sophie Aldred

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Prayer for the Dead, James Oswald 14 December 2015

2015 supernatural mystery, fifth in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. In a network of man-made caves under Edinburgh, a journalist turns up with his throat cut. Why there, why then, and why him?

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Danna ga Nani o Itteiruka Wakaranai Ken series 2 13 December 2015

2015, 13 episodes: AniDB.

Also known as I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying. Continuation of the slice of life comedy dealing with the daily routine of a busy office lady and her otaku husband.

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Oath of Fealty, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle 12 December 2015 - 2 comments

1981 science fiction. In the Todos Santos arcology, life is much safer than outside in Los Angeles, if somewhat sanitised: but it's still right next door.

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St Albans Boardgames Club 28 November 2015 11 December 2015 - 1 comment

St Albans is a bit far away for me to visit regularly, but their boardgames club was having a big Saturday event so I went along. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Antares Dawn, Michael McCollum 10 December 2015

1986 SF, first in the Antares trilogy. The colony world of Alta has been cut off from other planets for more than a century, since Antares exploded into a supernova. Now a ship has come through where there wasn't supposed to be a jump point…

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Ithacus and SUSTAIN 09 December 2015 - 5 comments

Ithacus was a 1966 study by Douglas, producers of the DC- series transport aircraft and the Thor IRBM, for a sub-orbital troop transport.

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The Palace Guard, Charlotte MacLeod 08 December 2015

1982, cozy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. At a private art museum, a guard falls to his death, having been complaining that his favourite Rubens is different these days.

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GURPS Transhuman Space: Bio-Tech 2100, Phil Masters 07 December 2015 - 3 comments

This GURPS Transhuman Space supplement gives an overview of biotech, dealing with all the fiddly bits that aren't bioroids or smart uplifted animals (which were in Bioroid Bazaar).

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Dark Orbit, Carolyn Ives Gilman 06 December 2015 - 1 comment

2015 science fiction; a team of scientists is assembled to explore a newly-discovered planet. Saraswati Callicot is an exoethnologist, and the planet's uninhabited, but she's sent along to keep an eye on Thora Lassiter, the daughter of one of the powerful families who went a bit mad on her previous mission; she's been cured, but she might still be an embarrassment. Then things start to go bizarrely wrong.

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Let's Encrypt at firedrake.org 05 December 2015 - 2 comments

Let's Encrypt has moved to public beta, and I've taken advantage of it. Why? Because a non-zero proportion of the people intercepting your web traffic are bad guys. The less plain-text traffic is out there, the less they learn.

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Fourteenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Black Buck One 04 December 2015 - 5 comments

Another scenario from South Atlantic War, the Black Buck One raid on the airfield at Port Stanley.

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Night of Masks, Andre Norton 03 December 2015

1964 children's SF. Nik Colherne's face was badly burned in an accident, and as a resident of the Dipple he can't afford the advanced surgery that might fix it. The Thieves' Guild offers him a new face, if he impersonates a boy's fantasised hero. But it's all rather more complex than that.

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Kickstarter Watch: shiny dice and others 02 December 2015

Because there is no such thing as "enough dice". (And some other stuff.)

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November 2015 Trailers 01 December 2015 - 4 comments

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube.)

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