Review of “Alien busters”

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Book Reviews – “Alien busters” eBook was published in 2016 and was written by Safa Shaqsy (http://safashaqsy.com). Ms. Shaqsy has published five novels. This is the first in a planned series surrounding the “Alien Busters”.

I received an ARC of this novella through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set on an Earth colony on a far away world. The primary character is young Nathalie, an Alien Buster.

As an Alien Buster, she and her colleagues, kill every alien that they can find. Her city on the colonized world believes them all to be a threat to humans. Then one day as she was on a mission to search and destroy aliens, she comes across a young alien and, instead of destroying it, smuggles it back to her home.

She soon involves her two best friends in her deception. They all think there is something that those in control of her city are hiding. They are trying to help Nathalie discover the hidden secrets and keep her ‘pet’ alien, Star, a secret.

I was glad that this was a 185 page read of less than three hours. I did not think this Young Adult Science Fiction novella was very good. The plot was simplistic and weak. I will not be reading any more in this series. The cover art is OK, but has little to do with the plot of the story. I give this novel a 2.9 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New App Release – Money 5

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Product Announcements – Jumsoft of Vilnius, Lithuania  has released a new version of Money 5, it’s popular personal finance management app. It is now available on the App Store with a 50% discount. This follows an announcement from Dropbox about discontinuing support for the synchronization framework that is used in Money 4 on September 28, 2017, which will mean that Money 4 will no longer be able to automatically synchronize data across multiple devices.

“We have launched the long-awaited Money 5 early this Spring and it has been a hit with users. Many users of Money 4 took the deal to upgrade to Money 5 at a half of its original price soon after launch, while others were still happy and kept on using Money 4. Many of these customers rely heavily on synchronization to keep their data updated across multiple devices, so Dropbox’s decision to drop support for its synchronization framework did raise concerns for many users, what will happen with their app.” – said Algirdas Unguvaitis, CEO of Jumsoft. “While Money 4 will continue functioning like before, it will no longer be able to sync data with other devices via Dropbox. We understand this is a vital feature for many users, so we have decided to take action from our side, and offer Money 5 at half its original price for some time to encourage users to upgrade to a modern, future-proof version of the app.”

Money 5 is available on the Mac App Store (and iOS app is also available on the App Store) for $24.99 USD (iOS app is just US$1.99). It is built on a modern 64-bit architecture to ensure longevity on generations of operating systems and devices to come. While the new version is a great deal different – a revamped user interface, new data management system, redesigned budget and report features – it can import Money 4 data, so upgrading users can pick up right where they left off. Money 5 uses iCloud for data synchronization across devices.

USA, New York, New York City – New York Public Library (Schwarzman Building)

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If you have seen other posts of mine you will know that I like book stores and libraries. While in New York we took time to visit the New York Public Library. Specifically we visited Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave)
New York, NY) shown above. Included in that shot is one of the two famous marble lions at the front of the building.

The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is renowned for the extraordinary comprehensiveness of its historical collections as well as its commitment to providing free and equal access to its resources and facilities. It houses some 15 million items, among them priceless medieval manuscripts, ancient Japanese scrolls, contemporary novels and poetry, as well as baseball cards, dime novels, and comic books.

The ways in which the resources of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building have been used are as diverse as the collections themselves:

– During World War II, Allied military intelligence used the Map Division for research on the coastlines of countries in the theater of combat.

– Television and print journalists first consulted the Slavic and Baltic Division when covering the changing political structure of the former Soviet Union.

– Authors of countless literary and nonfiction books cite the Library as a major resource in their work.

– Countless individuals have reconstructed family histories and located long-lost relatives through records in the Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History, and Genealogy.

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This is the largest and grandest library that my wife and I have visited so far. We were able to take a short time to sit in the reading room shown above an just read. We could easily have spent hours there.

If you like books and are in New York, I recommend that you take some time and visit the Schwarzman Library building.

References

  1. About the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

See my other Food & Location articles


 

Future of Interstellar Travel

Space – I came across the article “Here Is the Future of Interstellar Spacecraft” yesterday and thought it was a good overview of the propulsion technologies that are likely to take future spacecraft beyond the Solar System.

In short the alternatives that are covered are:

  1. Thermonuclear propulsion
  2. Lightsail
  3. Bussard ramjet
  4. Antimatter rockets
  5. NASA’s Eagleworks Lab “Warp bubble” drive

None of these are really going to be ready in the near future, with possibly the exception of the Lightsail. I am glad to see though that the ideas are being kept in front of people, particularly those budding STEM students who will lead the way over the next few decades.

Review of “Windsinger”

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Book Reviews – “Windsinger” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by A. F. E. Smith (http://www.afesmith.com/). Ms. Smith has published 5 novels. This is the third book in her “Darkhaven Novels” series.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language and Mature Situations. There is a touch of LBGTQ romance in the story. The story is set in another world. The primary character is Ayla Nightshade, Overlord of Darkhaven.

An ambassador from Sol Kardis is coming to Darkhaven. Nightshade must meet with him and convince him that a peace will be far better for both of their countries than the war towards which they are heade. All goes well, but the ambassador is murdered with evidence pointing at Nightshade as the perpetrator. Sol Kardis soon declares war on Darkhaven and hostilities begin.

A huge Paravian airship, the Windsinger, visits Darkhaven. It is a wonder for all to see, but is there a hidden purpose in the visit? Nightshade, her husband Thomas, and others loyal to her must try to find evidence of who is behind the murder. Little do they know that they are also fighting forces from within bent on war.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading his 449 page Fantasy Mystery. While this is the third book in the series, it reads well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the characters and the plot of this novel. I will look for more books from this author. The cover art is reasonable for this bok given the part the airship Windsinger plays. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Short Science Fiction Film “God: Serengeti”

Short Films – This is a very short (3:53) but interesting science fiction / fantasy film. The film is by director Neill Blokamp and was released by Oats Studios and published to YouTube in July of 2017. Synopsis:

God casually sets back reading while he manipulates a tribe of cave-dwellers on the African plain. 

This is a well done film and I liked the concept. It reminds me a lot of what is currently being touted for Augmented Reality – i.e.  a table top filled with animation.

Fun Coffee Facts

Coffee – Some interesting coffee facts I wanted to share

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images (1)Its Friday so here are some Fun Facts!

Just a few coffee tid-bits nothing too deep:

  • Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and the first to make a beverage from the roasted beans around 1300 AD.
    Coffee was originally used by monks and “prescribed” medicinally.Turska_kava
  • Today coffee is grown in more than 70 countries – all in subtropical regions – and more people drink coffee than any other beverage except water and perhaps tea.
  • The United States consumes more coffee – 300 million cups a day – than any other country as a whole, but other countries drink more per capita. The average  citizens of Finland drinks about 2.64 cups of coffee a day, higher than any other nation.
  • Workers who drank coffee rather than napping were more alert and performed better on the job, studies show.
    I don’t know how accurate this is, but considering  I can’t nap…

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macOS New App Release – Asteroid: Space Defense 1.0

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Product Announcements – FreneticGamez of Limmared, Sweden  has released Asteroid : Space Defence 1.0, a classic space shooter for Mac OS X. The game challenges players to complete each wave by shooting down all the asteroids and other enemies and also try to collect the usefull stars you will need for upgrades of your ship. It’s easy at first, but after a few waves, even the best arcade player will be challenged.

Asteroid : Space Defence is a retro arcade shooter. The player uses the Keyboard / mouse or Gamepad to steer left & right and try to avoid and shoot down all the asteroids and other enemies while collecting power-ups and stars. With stars you buy new ships and upgrades which you’ll certainly need to stand a chance on later waves. The game consists of 80 waves. Gamers are faced with different asteroids size, dealing with shooting & chasing enemies, and more.

Features:

  • A simple to learn, yet challenging space shooter
  • Easy Controls
  • 80 challenging Waves
  • Various ships
  • Upgrades
  • Power-Ups
  • Gamepad support

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.7 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 4.2 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Asteroid : Space Defence 1.0 is $1.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide through the Mac App Store in the Games category.

macOS New App Release – Flat Icons Lab 1.0

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Product Announcements – Jumsoft of Vilnius, Lithuania has released Flat Icons Lab 1.0, a brand new multipurpose productivity assistant app for macOS. Flat Icons Lab features nearly 300 original icon designs, presented in 13 wide-spanning categories, including but not limited to business, industry, home, medical, and many more. Flat Icons Lab offers icons in a high-resolution PNG format, so they are usable with the tools available on any Mac right out of the box. They are adaptable across many forms of media: presentations, documents, print, websites – just to name a few.

“Our productivity templates products are some of the most popular products of their kind on the market. Continuously leading the pack requires us to keep a very close eye on popular design trends worldwide and make sure to accommodate them in our works as well” said Algirdas Unguvaitis, CEO of Jumsoft. “Flat Icons Lab is our most recent release, offering hundreds of sleek, minimalist icon designs, adaptable to nearly any kind of medium. We start off with almost 300 original designs, and we’ll keep bringing regular updates to the app’s content just the way our customers expect from us!”

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.11 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 61.3 MB

Available as a standalone product, Flat Icons Lab 1.0 is offered at the introductory price of $9.99 USD (50% off), or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Graphics & Design category. It is also available as a new product pack for the owners of Jumsoft’s Toolbox for Keynote and Toolbox for iWork.

Trailer for “Rememory”

Trailers – “Rememory” looks like it could be a very interesting movie. The synopsis:

REMEMORY was written by Michael Vukadinovich and Mark Palansky and produced by Daniel Bekerman and Lee Clay. The film explores the unexplained death of Gordon Dunn (Martin Donovan), a visionary scientific pioneer whose body is found shortly after the unveiling of his newest work: a device able to extract, record and play a person’s memories. Gordon’s wife, Carolyn (Julia Ormond – Mad Men, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Legends of the Fall), retreats into her house and cuts off contact with the outside world when a mysterious man (Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Station Agent) shows up. After stealing the machine, he uses it to try and solve the mystery, beginning an investigation of memories that lead him to unexpected and dangerous places.

I like Peter Dinklage from his role in Game of Thrones. This movie also has a very interesting plot as a SciFi/Mystery. This movie is unusual in that it “will be available for free exclusively on Google Play Movies starting on August 24 before being released in select theatres on September 8“. If it sounds interesting, you can watch it now via the Google Play Store.