Keeping it real, yo.

I appreciate that lists of books aren’t exactly the most exciting thing to read about – for the one person that reads this (well, me…). So time for an update with a bit of “heft” – got a fair amount to talk about, though not sure just how much of it is actually interesting to anyone!

On the work front, I’ve started back at the uni as a demonstrator – though I’m doing way less hours than last year. It’s not an entirely satisfactory place to be, the pay is good but the low hours mean it’s not even going to cover my rent for the year! Which makes it a good thing that I’ve picked up some contract work to help cover the bills – sadly, I can’t talk too much about a lot of that – though one piece is a social / group site for the University of Sunderland summer school, it’ll allow students to post up photos and keep in touch after they’ve finished

I’m writing that in Ruby on Rails along with the Hobo plugin – while Hobo provides a powerful set of tools for rapid development of dynamic sites, it’s also relatively new and lacks documentation (especially since it’s most recent set of releases). This has meant it’s taken longer than expected to get the site up and running with the feature set I wanted (getting a basic site up and running with Hobo and RoR takes all of 5 minutes!). It’s also my first dabble in Ruby so it’s been something of a learning experience all around really – certainly been enjoyable to do though!

In my (tiny amount of) spare time, I’ve been playing around with C# – I’ve written a tool that creates a desktop image for my dual screen setup based on two randomly selected images, what should have been a simple little tool has grown into a savage beast. It’s been pleasantly fun to create, though it has become the stealer of sleep a number of times as I’ve added some new random functionality. It needs a bit of tidying up (it only works with my resolution setup at the moment for instance) but if I ever get around to that than I’ll probably put it up here for download.

In terms of other development, I’m patiently awaiting for my Slice to become available so I can poke around properly with RoR and pretty much anything else that your average web host doesn’t support particularly well! Frustratingly though, they’ve got a (seemingly) epic waiting list – which hasn’t been helped by them closing down new signups while they upgrade their back end. I appreciate the idea, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying!

The fifty book challenge is going quite well – though it slowed down horrifically over the summer as I didn’t have enough money to pick up any new books (I know, I know – I could go to the library, but I just can’t stand library books…), but I’ve been able to catch up slightly over the past couple of months – which has been nice!

  • Die Trying – Lee Child
  • Salem’s Lot – Stephen King
  • A Feast for Crows – George R.R. Martin
  • Necroscope: The Touch – Brian Lumley
  • The Summoner – Gail Z. Martin
  • The Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks
  • World War Z – Max Brooks
  • Odalisque – Fiona McIntosh
  • Innocent Mage – Karen Miller
  • Last of the Amazons – Steven Pressfield

I’ve got another 3 to go through on my pile, which will leave me with 5 to either pick up or re-read – easily on track to hit the 50 inside the year! I might have to start thinking about writing a program that let’s me track my books locally as well as over on LibraryThing

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