Club Admiralty

v7.2 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Club Admiralty Blog

A blog about life in general, in as many languages as I can manage. Ενα ιστολόγιο περι ζωής, πολυγλωσσο - σε όσες γλωσσες εχω μεράκι να γράψω.

Review: Gears of War: The Rise of Raam

Gears of War: The Rise of Raam Gears of War: The Rise of Raam by Kurtis J. Wiebe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This comic compilation was fine.  In the game, I don't recall really getting a ton of the backstory for the locusts given that the entirety of the story gets told from the human perspective. As such, I found it a little hard to care a ton about the story in this collection.  Interesting, but...m'eh?  The whole reason seems to bring up why E-Day happened, but didn't we get that through the games? I'm wondering if there's a space in the Gears universe to tell some stories from the side of the locusts, the same way the Halo universe has told stories about the Sangheili side.

View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: Gears of War Omnibus, Vol. 2

Gears of War Omnibus, Vol. 2 Gears of War Omnibus, Vol. 2 by Karen Traviss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed both volumes of the Gears of War omnibuses.  The first omnibus bridges the gap between Gears of War 1 and 2, followingMarcus Fenix and Delta Squad in the battle against the Locusts! Find out what happened after the Lightmass Bombing and how the Locusts will react to this devastating weapon. The second omnibus focuses more on the Pendulum Wars (so a prequel or flashback of a sort) and then leads up to the events of Gears 3.  I really don't remember a ton from the games, but these comics were fun.  It was good to catch up with old characaters.
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It by Steve Wozniak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I rather enjoyed this book. Not knowing a lot about Woz, it was fun to discover a seemingly curious down-to-earth maker and tinkerer.  The practical jokester side did surprise me a bit. I would have liked to have read a bit more on other projects he's done since, like the Danger HipTop, but maybe that iWoz, part II :-)

View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Καλό μήνα!

'Αντε, καλό μας μήνα και σύντομα καλές διακοπές!  Το χρειαζόμαστε λίγο αυτό το winter break για να ασχολιθούμε λίγο και με το Assassin's Creed Valhalla 😂



 Comments
Stacks Image 18

A bit of a twitter troll

 I was logging into the web-client for Tumblr recently when I saw this funny troll for Twitter's (short-lived?) blue tick program 😂




 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy

The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy by Brian Klaas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, we all knew that Donald Drumph was a huge piece of 💩, but every book that examines his pre-presidency and presidency just adds confirmatory evidence. It blows my mind that he's just announced that  he's interested in running for the 2024 presidential election (and I am sure people will vote for him 🤦‍♂️)

View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: The Missing Cryptoqueen: The Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Con and the Woman Who Got Away with It

The Missing Cryptoqueen: The Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Con and the Woman Who Got Away with It The Missing Cryptoqueen: The Billion Dollar Cryptocurrency Con and the Woman Who Got Away with It by Jamie Bartlett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came across this book recently, which apparently is based on a BBC podcast.  I don't know how I missed it originally, but I guess it's expected since I have treated anything blockchain, crypto, and NFT-related to be one giant scam.  Still, the story behind this book is one big WTF after another. I think it needs a Netflix mini-series :-).  Worthwhile read.


View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Some initial thoughts on Mastodon...

An image of a cartoon mastodon sitting down

Like any good techie, I've been playing with Mastodon these past couple of weeks, now that Melon Husk has purchased Twitter.  Having a space on another microblogging platform isn't a bad idea, in case you want to pull the ripcord on the parachute if and when Twitter goes down in flames.  I tried Mastodon back in 2016 (or was it 2017?) when it was new, and I ended up deleting my account.  Twitter worked well enough for me back then that I didn't need to maintain another social presence.  By that time, I had settled on the main tools I'd be using.  The 2016 version of mastodon seemed pretty much (at least according to my recollection) to be a Twitter clone, except without my network. The 2022 version of Mastodon feels like the 2016 version of Twitter. Back in the day, I think I decided to join the main mastodon.social node so it felt more like the twitter of the day.  In the intervening years it seems like more nodes have been added (including right wing ones... 🤦‍♂️).

Anywho...Since it seems like I needed to have a look at mastodon more than just a mere curiosity, this time around I decided to pick an instance more aligned with my main twitter account, and chose scholar.social - that's also where a few of my contacts seemed to go.  After playing around for two weeks and reconstructing some of the follow-connections I've had on twitter now for a while, I've re-assessed my analogy for Mastodon.  Yes, it looks like Twitter from 2016, but it acts more like a phpBB forum with federated connections to other phpBB forums.  Each instance might as well be another mini social network, and each network has a 'personality' and rules to follow. It also influences a lot of the content on the local social's timeline.

Each server admin can allow or disallow connections to/from other socials in the fediverse.  This can be both good and bad; e.g., I really don't want nazis in my timeline, yet at the same time some of the people I follow on twitter (e.g., troublemaking data scientists and apparent activists) seem to be blocked in the instance I am on.  Hence the argument that you can "just pick any instance" and follow whomever is not a reality in practice. Server admins do have enormous control over what is seen and not seen, so federation is a nice feature, but it's also not a given.  The fact that much of the federation depends on server admins allowing/disallowing connections doesn't add value to that feature.

From a practical perspective, the design decisions for the underlying software are both stuck in 2016, and stubbornly refusing to change.  For example, one of the features on Twitter that I particularly like is the quote tweet...as seen here used by mastodon's official account...




The reason for the lack of such a feature? Well...no sub-tweeting allows because people abuse it...but...as evidenced above Mastodon's official account does it, it does not  always lead to abuse, and the rationale is total bullshit if you ask me. An extension to this ideological aspect (or perhaps additional rationale), is that the software developers want to force you into a conversation with the original author of the post by replying to their timeline...but not everything need be a conversation! So converse, or get off the platform? 🤔

"I've made a deliberate choice against a quoting feature because it inevitably adds toxicity to people's behaviours. You are tempted to quote when you should be replying, and so you speak at your audience instead of with the person you are talking to. It becomes performative. Even when doing it for "good" like ridiculing awful comments, you are giving awful comments more eyeballs that way. No quote toots. Thank's" - https://mastodon.social/@Gargron/99662106175542726

Ideology doesn't just perpetuate the software design, but local instances have their rules as well.  Don't get me wrong, ensuring that there is a minimum level of community respect is important, but the instance I joined explicitly prohibits cross-posting to other socials, no shortened URLS, and there's a page of community standards, including about content warnings (some things you'd normally expect to see...and other things you wouldn't, like pictures of insects...). In another instance, I guess you also have to provide your academic CV and have your publications verified to gain entrance. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. So, yeah... it's like joining an discussion forum community circa 2000s... but now you're federated and people might follow you from another phpbb...

Yes, mastodon, like any technology, is not value and ideologically neutral. I really wish academic friends and colleagues would stop buying into it hook-line-and-sinker and repeating claims without (appearing to) critically think about them.

Other issues I have with the technology:

  • No fulltext search...seems and obvious feature to me.  People need to proactively hashtag their posts for you to find content.
  • If your server admin decides to call it quits, there goes your instance...not sure what the migration path is. You probably can migrate to another instance, if given enough time.
  • Server admins pay for this out of their own pockets, so much of media uploading is a no-no because it eats up resources.
  • No algorithms... and people are treating algorithms like they are inherently evil.  They're not. But fine let's go with no algorithms: Do you know one useful thing that an algorithm can help provide? Useful discovery of content and people that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.
  • Furthermore, since everything is one loooooooong stream, my home feed is spammed by freakin' threads because nothing gets hidden past that first post UNLESS the author mutes subsequent posts to it.  Or, people decide to post everything  in one go, so I get all of Professor X's posts, while The Human Torch's posts are relegated to page 3 of scrolling...
  • Apparently, image accessibility is an issue, but I'll take people's word for that.
  • As pointed out by some people I follow: Mastodon hasn’t really been set up to deal with large-scale coordinated harassment - and some instances are going to be bad at moderation; some OF them intentionally and some unintentionally.
  • Moving to another instance if your instance isn't working out is fine for a discussion forum...but not for a microblogging service.  If you need to move to another instance there are problems, and federation won't solve those (as indicated above).

What people seem to forget (or not realize) is that some of these features that Twitter have emerged organically from the users of the community. Twitter really started as an SMS-to-web bridge (hence the 140-character limit originally), but evolved based on how people used the platform. Doing stuff differently because your platform isn't twitter and you are taking an ideological stance isn't a way to make things useful to people.  But, maybe you just want to do you, and that's fine...

I think people on Twitter are having a knee-jerk reaction to Melon Husk.  There's a reason why Mastodon didn't take off in 2016. I am willing to be pleasantly surprised though. That said, here's my parachute account in case I need to use it. Feed free to connect. Althought, I suspect I might be using my LinkedIn account more...

Your thoughts?


PS:  Funniest tweet describing Mastodon: "Mastodon is Twitter with HOAs" 😂

PPS: OK, one more joke, and then I am wrapping up this blog post:



 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election

The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election The Plot to Hack America: How Putin's Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election by Malcolm W. Nance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enlightening investigative piece.  It tied a few things that were happening in the background that seemed separate, but where not. I was kind of hoping that the timeline of the book proceeded past the election of 2016, but even getting to that point was good enough to get an idea of what was happening.  Interesting to also get a brief history of the Russian (and former soviet) security services and Putin's ascent to power.

View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Review: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not always a fan of Cal's writing, but after a friend recommended this (Brian?), I decided to pick it up. It's a quick read (comparative to other books anyway) and it's filled with good advice (some of which I stumbled upon through my own social media use...so I am biased toward considering it good advice 😅).  Some things seem overly simplified; like the drag from the top to refresh being likened to playing a slot machine. Metaphorically speaking - maybe?  The only thing these two actions have in common are the vertical motion from top to bottom, but that's no the origin of the idea for swipe-down-to-refresh.

View all my reviews
 Comments
Stacks Image 18

Archive

 12/2022 (3)
 11/2022 (6)
 10/2022 (8)
 09/2022 (1)
 08/2022 (6)
 07/2022 (7)
 06/2022 (6)
 05/2022 (7)
 04/2022 (8)
 03/2022 (3)
 02/2022 (10)
 01/2022 (19)
 12/2021 (14)
 11/2021 (12)
 10/2021 (16)
 09/2021 (20)
 08/2021 (8)
 07/2021 (2)
 06/2021 (1)
 03/2021 (1)
 02/2021 (6)
 01/2021 (4)
 12/2020 (3)
 11/2020 (3)
 10/2020 (4)
 09/2020 (3)
 08/2020 (4)
 07/2020 (15)
 06/2020 (11)
 05/2020 (1)
 04/2020 (8)
 03/2020 (13)
 02/2020 (6)
 01/2020 (18)
 12/2019 (14)
 11/2019 (2)
 10/2019 (9)
 09/2019 (6)
 08/2019 (10)
 07/2019 (9)
 06/2019 (8)
 05/2019 (11)
 04/2019 (17)
 03/2019 (6)
 02/2019 (4)
 01/2019 (9)
 12/2018 (9)
 11/2018 (8)
 09/2018 (2)
 06/2018 (15)
 05/2018 (21)
 04/2018 (30)
 03/2018 (31)
 02/2018 (22)
 01/2018 (21)
 12/2017 (25)
 11/2017 (20)
 10/2017 (24)
 09/2017 (25)
 08/2017 (30)
 07/2017 (33)
 06/2017 (27)
 05/2017 (28)
 04/2017 (32)
 03/2017 (31)
 02/2017 (28)
 01/2017 (32)
 12/2016 (35)
 11/2016 (28)
 10/2016 (27)
 09/2016 (28)
 08/2016 (32)
 07/2016 (34)
 06/2016 (32)
 05/2016 (36)
 04/2016 (31)
 03/2016 (37)
 02/2016 (28)
 01/2016 (28)
 12/2015 (26)
 11/2015 (17)
 10/2015 (13)
 09/2015 (14)
 08/2015 (8)
 07/2015 (7)
 06/2015 (5)
 05/2015 (9)
 04/2015 (3)
 03/2015 (4)
 02/2015 (3)
 01/2015 (4)
 12/2014 (9)
 11/2014 (2)
 10/2014 (4)
 09/2014 (1)
 08/2014 (3)
 07/2014 (3)
 06/2014 (3)
 05/2014 (3)
 04/2014 (3)
 03/2014 (1)
 02/2014 (1)
 01/2014 (3)
 12/2013 (1)
 11/2013 (7)
 10/2013 (3)
 09/2013 (5)
 08/2013 (9)
 07/2013 (3)
 06/2013 (3)
 05/2013 (7)
 04/2013 (5)
 03/2013 (4)
 02/2013 (1)
 01/2013 (4)
 12/2012 (2)
 11/2012 (8)
 10/2012 (9)
 09/2012 (7)
 08/2012 (5)
 07/2012 (12)
 06/2012 (6)
 05/2012 (6)
 04/2012 (10)
 03/2012 (14)
 02/2012 (11)
 01/2012 (9)
 12/2011 (15)
 11/2011 (15)
 10/2011 (11)
 09/2011 (13)
 08/2011 (16)
 07/2011 (6)
 06/2011 (13)
 05/2011 (9)
 04/2011 (8)
 03/2011 (8)
 02/2011 (7)
 01/2011 (6)
 12/2010 (1)
 11/2010 (1)
 10/2010 (5)
 09/2010 (10)
 08/2010 (21)
 07/2010 (24)
 06/2010 (15)
 05/2010 (11)
 04/2010 (3)
 03/2010 (6)
 02/2010 (12)
 01/2010 (23)
 12/2009 (15)
 11/2009 (19)
 10/2009 (32)
 09/2009 (31)
 08/2009 (35)
 07/2009 (38)
 06/2009 (25)
 05/2009 (3)
 04/2009 (18)
 03/2009 (25)
 02/2009 (37)
 01/2009 (45)
 12/2008 (49)
 11/2008 (49)
 10/2008 (32)
 09/2008 (22)
 08/2008 (19)
 07/2008 (26)
 06/2008 (47)
 05/2008 (81)
 04/2008 (62)
 03/2008 (28)
 02/2008 (15)
 01/2008 (33)
 12/2007 (16)
 11/2007 (11)
 10/2007 (4)
 09/2007 (6)
 08/2007 (17)
 07/2007 (9)
 06/2007 (50)
 05/2007 (77)
 04/2007 (48)
 03/2007 (27)
 02/2007 (29)
 01/2007 (35)
 12/2006 (28)
 11/2006 (19)
 10/2006 (14)
 09/2006 (33)
 08/2006 (22)
 07/2006 (25)
 06/2006 (40)
 05/2006 (49)
 04/2006 (38)
 03/2006 (37)
 02/2006 (14)
 01/2006 (17)
 12/2005 (11)
 11/2005 (14)
 10/2005 (12)
 09/2005 (1)
 08/2005 (1)
 07/2005 (2)
 06/2005 (1)
 05/2005 (2)
 02/2005 (1)
 12/2004 (1)
 11/2004 (2)
 09/2004 (2)
 08/2004 (4)
 06/2004 (2)
 04/2004 (2)
 03/2004 (2)
 02/2004 (2)
 01/2004 (2)
 07/2003 (2)
 10/2000 (3)
 06/2000 (2)
 05/2000 (1)
 03/2000 (1)
Stacks Image 20