Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

3 Articles from June 2011

  1. I have the power

    Yesterday my laptop power adapter died. It was fine all day at work, but when I plugged it in after coming home, there was no joy. My computer blithely informed me it was draining its battery, oblivious to the fact that, if I did nothing, it would only have a few hours of life left. I suspect that the adapter was miffed that I was making a big deal of my computer's fourth anniversary and ignoring it, the real workhorse. No matter how much I wiggled the many and various connections on the adapter, there was no joy. While part of me was freaking out, the rest of me calmly formed a plan to go to Future Shop and spend ten minutes standing awkardly in front of the display of adapters until someone noticed I could use some help. And so, while my plans for a quiet evening reading outside were thrown into disarray, I managed to ensure my computer continues to receive an uninterrupted supply of yummy electricity. You're welcome.

    I'm sorry, power adapter, for taking you for granted. You are a marvel of physics and engineering, converting day in and day out Tesla's treacherous AC into Edison's DC

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  2. OMG, Hugo short stories! (2011 edition)

    As I mentioned last month, I am voting in the Hugos and therefore reading as many of the Hugo-nominated works as I can before the July 31 deadline. So far I have read all of the short stories and novelettes and am going to embark upon the novellas this weekend. Here are my thoughts on the Hugo-nominated short stories.

    "Amaryllis", by Carrie Vaughn

    I'm ambivalent about "Amaryllis," because there's a nice concept here but that the actual story is too simple. as far as the tone goes, it is perfect. I got teary-eyed at the end as well, despite my inner critic going, "The resolution was too simple! There's not enough conflict! I want another cup of tea!" (That is how my inner critic stresses syllables, apparently.)

    Vaughn very deftly avoids trying to do too much with her short story, which is a problem I often have when I try to write them myself. It's a very simple concept, and she doesn't attempt to go any further and tell us much more about the world than the main character's immediate surroundings. I like that, because it keeps the mood intimate.

    The simplicity of the setting…

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  3. Stalk my reading even more intensely!

    On Tuesday I launched reading portal for my site. Basically, this is a one-stop place to learn about what I am reading, what I was reading (and what I thought about it), the best and worst books I've read each year, etc. Although I've got both my current reading and recent reading on the homepage, the reading portal is much more detailed. You can actually read the fifteen most recent reviews I've written, and there are links to my detailed yearly reading stats.

    The coolest feature of the reading section is the one that has been finished and live for a while now: book lists. I can create a list of books, with their associated reviews, based on any criterion I desire. This was motivated by my annual best/worst books of the year list, which in previous years I posted directly to my blog. I am also slowly going through my Goodreads account and creating lists corresponding to series I have read or am reading. This is a nice way to see, in general, what kind of books I like to read (and a nice way for me to track what series I've read).

    I've been using Symphony

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