Review of “Artemis”

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Book Reviews – “Artemis” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Andy Weir (http://www.andyweirauthor.com). Mr. Weir has published two novels.

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 ‘PG’ because it contains quite a bit of Mature Language. The story is set in the near future. Earth has established a colony on the Moon where about 2000 people are currently living. The primary character of the story is 20 something Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara.

Bashara has been a rebel most of her short life. She has shown brilliant potential, but has always bucked authority. She makes a living, barely, by being a porter, delivering packages within Artemis, the Moon colony. She has been training to be licensed for EV work, but still hasn’t accomplished that. She has established a successful smuggling operation.

One of her clients is the billionaire Trond Landvik. He offers Bashara the opportunity to make some money. A LOT of money. Of course it is going to take Bashara a lot farther over the line into the realm of criminal activity than she has gone before. She applies her substantial intellect to the challenge Her well laid plans go astray and she soon finds herself on the run for her life. Then things kind of go down hill from there.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 322 page science fiction thriller. I like the way Weir writes. He mixes a lot of science into his plots. Too few “science” fiction authors do that these days. I also think that he has developed a very interesting character in Bashara. I would not be surprised to see this transformed for the big screen as was his first novel, “The Martian“. The chosen cover art is OK. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

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

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macOS New App Release – Yummy FTP Pro 2.0

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Product Announcements – Yummy Software of Verwood, United Kingdom has released Yummy FTP Pro 2.0, a major upgrade to their flagship file transfer app. Yummy FTP Pro is an advanced Mac file transfer app which provides a full-featured professional toolkit combined with blazing speeds and impeccable reliability, so whether you want to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule backups, edit and maintain websites, even automate transfers, you need this time-tested and truly dependable app.

Why use Yummy FTP Pro?

  • Get the fastest and most reliable file transfers available on the Mac
  • Schedule one off or repeating transfer or folder synchronization tasks
  • Manage websites with file management, editing, diff, preview, & sync tools
  • Create FTP drop folders on your Desktop for quick and easy uploading
  • Get frequent free maintenance + feature updates
  • Fast and free technical support when you need it

Feature Highlights

  • Full FTP/S + SFTP + WebDAV/S protocol support
  • Easy-to-use, clear and simple user interface
  • Site Bookmark manager with auto sync across Macs
  • Comprehensive logging of all actions taken
  • Bandwidth limiting to play nice in a shared network
  • Directly open and view local and remote folders in the Terminal
  • File/folder filtering to allow specific exclusions or pattern matches
  • Get notifications, OS-style or even by email
  • Import favorites from your old app to be up and running in no time

Version 3 includes :

  • Retina-focused UI overhaul with streamlined local/remote file browser design
  • New navigation path bar, drag’n drop-enabled with integrated favorites, history
  • Spring-loaded folders in file browsers
  • Drag’n-drop reordering of queued transfer tasks
  • Added Open WebURL & Open In Terminal toolbar buttons
  • New toolbar icons
  • New secure in-app updates using industry standard Sparkle
  • New transcript view to view the selected session’s server interaction
  • New log viewer to easily inspect every detail of every action
  • New interactive & informative notifications, plus a complete history lookup
  • New standalone FTP Aliases work without any Yummy app installed
  • And much more

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.8 or later

Yummy FTP Watcher 2.0 costs $29.99 (USD) and is available directly from Yummy Software only. Upgrades cost $15 (USD). Customers who purchased v1 directly from Yummy Software since 1st Dec 2017 can obtain a free upgrade.

Short Science Fiction Film “RAE”

Short Films – The short (12:16) science fiction film “RAE” was uploaded to YouTube in December of 2017 by Dust. The synopsis:

When an office robot attempts to express its affection for a co-worker, the fragile balance between the employees in the office is pushed to a tipping point.

An office robot named RAE decides to give a gift to its co-worker, but unknowingly offends another employee in the office. Set in the not-too-distant future, RAE sets up a likely scenario in which humans and artificially-intelligent robots work in close proximity. In such a world, how can a machine reconcile its feelings with the limitations of its design?

I thought that this was an interesting film, though I do think it could have been a little longer. It has been relatively well received earning a 6/10 on IMDB. I think a little more length and corresponding explanation of the plot would have earned this film a higher rating.

macOS New app Release – WebSonar 3000

Product Announcements – NeoNet Corp of Salmon Arm, British Columbia has released WebSonar 3000. NeoNet Corp’s WebSonar is a macOS application that provides a search engine with a built in web server. WebSonar dynamically creates a web presence from files stored in indexed, WebSonar Libraries, including image, audio, video and pdf documents. WebSonar searches at the page level and indexes every page in a document. Documents can include many thousands of pages. Every Library can serve a million documents and one Mac Mini can support 3000 libraries.

WebSonar Library Benefits:
Standard web browser client, all existing resources can be added and shared, paperless, no additional infrastructure, no additional support staff, internet connection not required, library users can opt in or out at anytime, every participant manages their own files, source documents are not edited, designed for iPads. Every document page has a searchable linked note that can be used for collaboration.

Think of it as rolling Google, FaceBook, Pinterest, YouTube and the Cloud into one simple application, minus the spam and privacy concerns. WebSonar libraries have the potential to have a very positive impact on the way we use the internet to acquire knowledge; particularly on education. This community distributed approach may be what the originators of the Internet initially envisioned. In the nineteen-eighties, the Internet was a small, decentralized collective of computers.

This is not the same Internet we know today. Today most communication flows through a small set of corporations; and thus, falls under the influence of those companies and institutions. Internet users now regularly submit to terms-of-service agreements that give companies license to share their personal data with other institutions, from advertisers to governments.

Now you can publish your own content, hosted on your own computer, located at home, in a Data Center, School or Co-op without trading your privacy. Every library owner can add content to their library from any web browser. Each library can contain PDF, image, audio, and video content. Library access can be set to private or public.

Your content can be searched at the page level or by Title. Each page has a searchable note that can be set to read only or editable. The robot search engines cannot index the content of your libraries. WebSonar is scalable and can be used in a closed private network. Adding new content to your library is simple; just drag any file that you want to include into your library folder and then “Index” with WebSonar. That’s it. Your library is now just a click away in any web browser.

School Libraries Network, is a free distributed framework that anyone can use to share education resources right down to the personal library level with WebSonar. WebSonar can be used to dynamically publish library databases, course materials (audio, video, images & PDF), and Apple’s iBooks.

“If you think the internet is not working in its current incarnation, you can’t change the system through think-pieces and F.C.C. regulations alone. You need new code.”

System Requirements:

  • macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 164 MB

WebSonar 9 (v2.2.3) is Free and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Education category. WebSonar 36 (v2.2.3) is $29.00 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Education category. WebSonar Pro (v2.2.3) is $99.00 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category. WebSonar 3000 (includes Mac Mini) is $4,999.00 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies).

Review of “Black Star Renegades”

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Book Reviews – “Black Star Renegades” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Michael Moreci (https://michaelpmoreci.com). Mr. Moreci has published 17 novels.

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 ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future, with Cade Sura being the primary character.

Sura and his brother were orphaned at an early age, then learned to live on the streets. They were eventually taken in by the Rai at the Well, a group of spiritual warriors that sought to defend galactic peace. The Sura brothers trained for a decade, with the older brother, Tristan, expected to become the Paragon. The Paragon was the long expected special Rai. A warrior that would be able lead the Rai in defeating any opponent. Now such a leader was in need as the Praxis were slowly, ruthlessly taking over the galaxy. Their goal, to bring “peace” to the galaxy through total domination.

The Sura brothers go on a mission together to recover the mystical Rokura, a magical, ultimate weapon that will make Triston the Paragon. The Rokura is recovered, but Triston is lost. Cade must take up the Rokura, but he is not prepared to be the Paragon. The Praxis, knowing the Rokura has been recovered, immediately begin pursuing Cade to recover the Rokura for themselves. Cade must, reluctantly, join in with another Rai, Kira Sen, to avoid the Praxis. Their quest to escape and battle the Praxis takes Sura and Kira back to Sura’s home planet and to his estranged friend Mig.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 378 page science fiction novel. While not the same, this story has a lot that feels similar to Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy. I liked the characters and the overall plot. I think this will be the first in an enjoyable series. I liked the cover art. I give this novel a 4.3 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

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

Trailer for “Hurricane”

TrailersWWII – The movie “Hurricane” expected in theaters sometime in 2019, tells the story of 303 Squadron founded in august of 1940 and which defended the UK against the Germans in the early days of World War II. The 303 was made up of Polish pilots who had fled their homeland after the German invasion in 1939. The synopsis from IMDB:

Hurricane (Squadron 303) is the story of a group of brave Poles who fought in the skies over England in WW2, not just to keep Great Britain free from the Nazis, but also to keep alive the very idea of their own country, which had existed in its modern form for barely twenty years before it was crushed between the opposing jaws of Germany and Russia. Equipped with the almost-obsolete Hurricane and (with some initial reluctance) given RAF blue uniforms, while they fought, Poland lived.

These pilots had to learn to fly more modern aircraft, the Hawker Hurricane from which the movie received its name. The hurricane was an exceptional aircraft credited with more than 60% of the arial combat victories during the Battle for Britain. The Polish pilots also had to survive against the German Luftwaffe and overcome prejudices within the British air corp. These “bloody Poles’ became the best scoring RAF squadron during the Battle for Britain with the highest ration of enemy aircraft destroyed against their own losses. They flew more than 1000 combat sorties in 1940 and more than 2000 in 1941. They were credited with destroying 126 German aircraft during the Battle of Britain.

I am looking forward to seeing this movie when ever it make it into the theaters.

macOS New app Release – XEffects Rips Plugins for Final Cut Pro

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Product Announcements – FxFactory of Boston, Massachusetts has released a new set of Final Cut Pro X plugins called XEffects Rips. Developed by partner Idustrial Revolution, the plugins emulate the ripping of paper, separating the media into two halves with a photorealistic edge. The pack consists of effects and titles for single clips and transitions to rip between clips.

“We wanted to develop a plugin that would offer realistic looking rips and tears within Final Cut Pro X. It’s a look many graphic designers will be familiar with and we wanted to make that great style available to video editors inside FCPX” said Peter Wiggins, plugin developer at Idustrial Revolution. “We put a lot of effort into our plugins making them easy to use with a couple of clicks. However, we also believe in flexibility, hence we try to publish as many of the custom controls possible so that editors can tweak the look of the plugin to exactly what they want”.

The rip has onscreen controls for direction and rotation and the rip itself can be positioned using X & Y controls and rotated to any angle. Each plugin comes loaded with a choice of 10 different edges which can be adjusted for edge width, colour and offset.

Features:

  • All Transitions, Effects & Title Plugins work with video or images
  • Control tear direction and paper tear angle
  • Onscreen controls for paper tear angles
  • Position tear anywhere in frame using X and Y controls
  • 10 different edges to choose from
  • Control depth of edge and edge offset
  • Add a drop shadow to outgoing or incoming tear
  • Make multiple tears using Compound Clips
  • Control speed of tear
  • Pin sharp results even in 4K FCPX timelines

Idustrial Revolution’s designers and editors have been at the forefront of using Apple technology and software in creating content for broadcasters, corporate users and videographers. They have been successfully producing products for Final Cut Pro for over 11 years.

XEffects Rips is distributed through FxFactory online. It is being launched at a discounted price of $39 (USD) for one week until the 1st March 2018. Normal price $49 (USD).

Keyboard Shortcuts – Select All

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One of the Keyboard Shortcut commands I use almost every day is Select All. The Select All sequence is CMD + a. This will select all of the objects in the current container. If you are in a Finder window, all of the files will be selected. If you are in a text field, all of the text selected. Once the content is selected it can be Copied or Cut as needed. It can also be dragged and dropped as a group of objects.

Using the keyboard instead of the mouse to select multiple objects for manipulation can save you time and make you more productive. Now I know we are only talking seconds, but over the course of the week in the office on you Mac, these add up into minutes saved.

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One of the ways I use this is when I review RSS feeds I subscribe to in the FOSS RSS client Vienna. Once I have checked out the post titles and delved into those I think need more attention, I make sure the emphasis is in the article window (the right side above) then hit CMD + a. Now all articles are selected and I can delete them.


See my other macOS and Keyboard Shortcut articles


 

France, Paris – WHSmith Bookstore

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I was able to visit the WHSmith Bookstore last year while on a visit to Paris. The bookstore is located at 248 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France. The store claims to be the largest English bookstore in Paris, and from what I saw that claim has merit. It is also one of the older English bookstores dating back to 1903.

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I found the shelves filled with a variety of English language books. The store claims more that 70,000 book references. The store had spacious aisles and invited you to spend some time searching through the shelves. It is certainly one of the places I would return to if in Paris again and looking for a title in English.


See my other articles about Food and Places