Brain dump

Here's a list of short thoughts that are too long for a tweet toot but too short for a post.

On old computer hardware

I spent the last month of my life fixing the computers of my family. That meant installing Roblox on a tablet with 1Gb of RAM, fixing antivirus on Windows 7, dealing with Alexa in Spanish, and trying to find cheap ink for printers with DRM. Fun fact: HP uses DRM to forbid you from importing ink, and then stopped delivering ink to my family's city.

Modern hardware can have a long, long life, but this won't happen if software developers don't start optimizing their code even a bit. Sure, Barry Collins may not have a problem with an OS that requires 4Gb of RAM, but I feel I speak for tens of thousands of users when I say that he doesn't know what he's talking about.

On new computer hardware

I know that everyone likes to dump on Mark Zuckerberg, and with good reason: the firm formerly known as Facebook is awful and you should stay away from everything and anything they touch. Having said that, there's a reasonable chance that the moment of VR is finally here. If you are a software developer, I encourage you to at least form an informed opinion before the VR train leaves the station.

On movies

I wasn't expecting to enjoy Ready or not as much as I did. I also wasn't expecting to enjoy a second watch of Inception almost as much as the first time, but those things happened anyway. I was however expecting to enjoy Your name, so no surprises there.

I also got on a discussion about Meat Grinder, a Thai film that is so boring and incoherent that it cured me of bad movies forever. No matter how bad a film is, my brain can always relax and say "sure, it's bad, but at least it's not Meat Grinder". I hold a similar opinion about Funny Games, a movies where even the actors on the poster seem to be ashamed of themselves. At least here I have the backing of cinema critic Mark Kermode, who called it "a really annoying experience". Take that, people from my old blog who said I was the one who didn't "get it".

On books

Michael Lewis' book Liar's Poker is not as good as The Big Short, but if you read the latter without the former you are doing yourself a disservice. I wasn't expecting to become the kind of person who shudders when reading that "the head of mortgage trading at First Boston who helped create the fist CMO, lists it (...) as the most important financial innovation of the 1980s", and yet here we are.

I really, really, really like Roger Zelazny's A night in the lonesome October, which is why I'm surprised at how little I liked his earlier, award-winning book This immortal. I mean, it's not bad, but I wouldn't have tied it with Dune as Hugo Award winner of 1966 for Best Novel. I think it will end up overtaking House of Leaves in the category of books that disappointed me the most.

And finally, I can't make any progress with Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon's book Where wizards stay up late because every time I try to get back to it I get an irresistible urge to jump onto my computer and start programming. Looks like Masters of Doom will have to keep waiting.

On music

My favorite song that I discovered this year so far is Haunted by Poe. Looking for some music of her I learned about how thoroughly lawyers and the US music industry destroyed her career. This made me pretty angry until I read that her net worth is well into the millions of dollars, so I guess she came out fine after all. And since the album was written as a collaboration with her brother while he was writing "House of Leaves", I guess I did get something out of that book at the end.