In the search for his parents’ killers, the disillusioned heir Bruce Wayne travels the world gathering resources to fight injustice and frighten those who sow fear. With the help of his trusted butler, Alfred, Detective Jim Gordon and his ally Lucius Fox, Wayne returns to Gotham City and unleashes his alter ego: Batman, a masked vigilante who uses his strength, intellect and a high-tech arsenal to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.

Me

  • Reading List for June 2022

    Reading List for June 2022

    We are now officially half way through 2022, which is hard to believe. As I indicated last month, I did not listen to nearly as books as I did in May. The reason for this is that I am working on my next book about Apple’s latest operating systems.

    Even though I am working on that during most of my free time I still do have some opportunities to listen to audiobook. During June I listened to 13 books total, of which only one is new. That sole new book is the one I would like to highlight. The title is “Sparring Partners” by John Grisham:

    Best-selling author John Grisham explores fascinating questions of justice and the law in these three novellas. In “Homecoming”, Jake Brigance (of A Time to Kill fame) makes the dicey choice to help a former colleague who absconded with a fortune. “Strawberry Moon” follows young death-row inmate Cody Wallace in his weighty final hours. And the title story introduces Diantha Bradshaw, the loyal associate charged with saving a failing family law firm from the feuding brothers tearing it apart. In each novella, the stakes aren’t just legal but intensely personal as well, with bonds of blood and friendship on the line. Whether he’s portraying the desperation behind Cody’s simple but heartrending final wish or forcing Diantha to examine the true cost of corruption, Grisham is a master of making legal and criminal issues feel intensely personal. Sparring Partners gives us a triple helping of Grisham at his best.

    Sparring Partners was a good book, and given the there are three novellas it does not take super long to finish any of them, so you can listen to them in spurts.

    I am not sure how many books I will listen to next month, but I suspect it may not be that many either.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Sparring Partners John Grisham Yes Amazon Apple
    The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 0) Ken Follett No Amazon Apple
    Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Book 1) Ken Follett No Amazon Apple
    World Without End (Kingsbridge Book 2) Ken Follett No Amazon Apple
    Exiled from Earth (Exiles Book 1) Ben Bova No Amazon Apple
    Flight of Exiles (Exiles Book 2) Ben Bova No Amazon Apple
    End of Exile (Exiles Book 3) Ben Bova No Amazon Apple
    The Event (The Survivors Book 1) Nathan Hystad No Amazon Apple
    New Threat (The Survivors Book 2) Nathan Hystad No Amazon Apple
    New World (The Survivors Book 3) Nathan Hystad No Amazon Apple
    Valhalla Rising (Dirk Pitt 16) Clive Cussler No Amazon Apple
    Trojan Odyssey (Dirk Pitt 17) Clive Cussler No Amazon Apple
    Black Wind (Dirk Pitt 18) Clive Cussler No Amazon Apple
    Total   13    

    Previous Reading Lists

  • Reading List for May 2022

    Reading List for May 2022

    A full third of the year has now passed and we have reached meteorological summer, it is time to provide my reading list for May 2022. For the month of May 2022 I read a total of 23 titles, 2 of which are new, or about 8.70% being first time listens for me.

    The title I want to highlight this month is “Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

    The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population

    I think next three months will be lighter on books I will listen to due to personal projects going on throughout the summer.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Gateway Frederick Pohl No Amazon Apple
    When to Rob a Bank: …And 131 More Warped Suggestions and Well-Intended Rants Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner No Amazon Apple
    Freakonomics: A Rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner No Amazon Apple
    Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner No Amazon Apple
    One Second After William Fortschen No Amazon Apple
    Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World (Great Courses) Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Kill Decision Daniel Suarez No Amazon Apple
    Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest Stephen E. Ambrose No Amazon Apple
    Beyond Band of Brothers: The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters Dick Winters, Cole C. Kingseed No Amazon Apple
    Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood Yes Amazon Apple
    #1 in Customer Service (Complete Tom Stranger Series) Larry Correia Yes Amazon
    Double Star Robert A. Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Ordinary Heroes Scott Turow No Amazon Apple
    The Jester James Patterson and Andrew Gross No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter Book 1) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter Book 2) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter Book 3) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter Book 4) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter Book 5) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter Book 6) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter Book 7) J.K. Rowling No Amazon Apple
    You’re Going To Mars Rob Dircks No Amazon
    Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Book 1) Ken Follett No Amazon Apple
    Total   23    

    Previous Reading Lists

  • Reading List for April 2022

    Reading List for April 2022

    We are now well into the spring and April is now over and May has begun. It is time to provide my reading list for April 2022.

    For the month I listened to 22 different titles, of these 6 were new titles, or 27.2%. The title I want to highlight for April is “Still Just a Geek” by Wil Wheaton.

    Celebrated actor, personality, and all-around nerd, Wil Wheaton updates his memoir of collected blog posts with all new material and annotations as he reexamines one of the most interesting lives in Hollywood and fandom–and now for the first time in audio, narrated by Wil himself!

    From starring in Stand by Me to playing Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation to playing himself, in his second (third?) iconic role of Evil Wil Wheaton in The Big Bang Theory, to becoming a social media supernova, Wil Wheaton has charted a career course unlike anyone else, and has emerged as one of the most popular and well respected names in science fiction, fantasy and pop culture.

    Back in 2001, Wil began blogging on wilwheaton.net. Believing himself to have fallen victim to the curse of the child actor, Wil felt relegated to the convention circuit, and didn’t expect many would want to read about his random experiences and personal philosophies.

    Yet, much to his surprise, people were reading. He still blogs, and now has an enormous following on social media with well over 3 million followers.

    In Still Just a Geek, Wil revisits his 2004 collection of blog posts, Just a Geek, filled with insightful and often laugh-out-loud annotated comments, additional later writings, and all new material written for this publication. The result is an incredibly raw and honest memoir, in which Wil opens up about his life, about falling in love, about coming to grips with his past work, choices, and family, and finding fulfillment in the new phases of his career. From his times on the Enterprise to his struggles with depression to his starting a family and finding his passion–writing–Wil Wheaton is someone whose life is both a cautionary tale and a story of finding one’s true purpose that should resonate with fans and aspiring artists alike.”

    Note There are some trigger warnings for “Still Just a Geek”. There are some aspects which might be hard to listen to, so be warned.

    If you opt to listen to the audiobook, you can listen to Wil read it himself, which is a very interesting experience given that the book is an annotated and expanded version of “Just a Geek”.

    For May, I am not sure how many titles I will listen to. I know I mentioned that there is at least one new item for March, April, and May, but the new title for May is not released until May 31st, so we will see if there is a new title for May or not.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Last Command (A Fallen Empire Book 0) Lindsay Buroker Yes Amazon Apple
    Star Nomad (A Fallen Empire Book 1) Lindsay Buroker Yes Amazon Apple
    Honor’s Flight (A Fallen Empire Book 2) Lindsay Buroker Yes Amazon Apple
    Ready Player One Ernest Cline No Amazon Apple
    Red Shirts John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Revolt in 2100 Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Methuselah’s Children Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Pilot X Tom Merritt No Amazon Apple
    Trigor Tom Merritt No Amazon Apple
    Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson No Amazon Apple
    Still Just a Geek Wil Wheaton Yes Amazon Apple
    Delta-V Daniel Suarez No Amazon Apple
    How To Randall Munroe No Amazon Apple
    Project V.E.R.A. Tom Merritt No Amazon Apple
    And Then She Vanished (Joseph Bridgeman Book 1) Nick Jones Yes Amazon Apple
    New York 2140 Kim Stanley Robinson No Amazon Apple
    Off to be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 Book 1) Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0 Book 2) Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 Book 3) Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    Fight and Flight (Magic 2.0 Book 4) Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    Out of Spite, Out of Mind (Magic 2.0 Book 5) Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    The Vexed Generation (Magic 2.0 Book 6) Scott Meyer No Amazon
    Total   22    

    Previous Reading Lists

  • Reading List for March 2022

    Reading List for March 2022

    March is now over and April has begun, so it is time for my reading list from March.

    For the month I listened to 14 different titles and in the past month seven of them were new titles, or 50%. This is the highest percentage in a while. For the highlighted title, it is the Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi.

    Giant monsters run amok in Hugo Award–winning author John Scalzi’s wild adventure. Jamie is spinning his wheels at a rotten job when an old friend offers him an intriguing new opportunity. As part of a “wildlife protection” group known as KPS, Jamie is tasked with protecting our world from kaiju (think giant monsters like Godzilla)—as well as protecting the massive beasts from humans. Scalzi drops us into a thrilling multiverse where nuclear weapons have torn the boundaries between worlds and giant monsters are one atomic blast away from smashing through our cities. Maybe the best thing about this comic fantasy novel is that it’s not the setup to a massive trilogy—although we wouldn’t say no to a sequel! The Kaiju Preservation Society is a short, fast, fun cross-dimensional romp. 

    I am not sure how many books I will end up reading during April, but there will be at least one new book in April.

    Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Origins and Ideologies of the American Revolution (Great Courses) Peter C. Mancall Yes Amazon Apple
    Miniatures John Scalzi Yes Amazon Apple
    Chicago: City of the Century Donald L. Miller Yes Amazon Apple
    The American Identity (Great Courses) Patrick Allitt Yes Amazon Apple
    Warship (Black Fleet Trilogy Book 1) Joshua Dalzelle No Amazon Apple
    Call to Arms (Black Fleet Trilogy Book 2) Joshua Dalzelle No Amazon Apple
    Kaiju Preservation Society John Scalzi Yes Amazon Apple
    Rumors of War (Green Zone War Book 1) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Star Peregrine (Green Zone War Book 2) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Prison Planet (Green Zone War Book 3) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Rogue Navy (Green Zone War Book 4) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Rogue Battleship (Green Zone War Book 5) Jake Elwood No Amazon Apple
    Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force Book 1) Craig Alanson Yes Amazon Apple
    SpecOps (Expeditionary Force Book 2) Craig Alanson Yes Amazon Apple
    Total   14    

    Previous Reading Lists

  • Reading List for February 2022

    Reading List for February 2022

    February of 2022 has just completed and it was a big one in world politics. Since February is now over, it is time to cover my reading list for the month.

    For the month I only listened to 20 different titles and of these only one was brand new. I can say that I will likely listen to at least one new item for the next few months because I have a few items on pre-order and there is one new item in March, April, and May.

    The title I want to highlight this month is “After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley” by Rob Reid.

    Meet Phluttr—a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers—and they don’t even know the tenth of it.

    But what’s the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming “The UberX of Sex”? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will?

    Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it’s not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her.

    Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    Lock In (Lock In Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Head On (Lock In Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Tunnel in the Sky Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Rise and Fall of the British Empire (Great Courses) Patrick Allitt Yes Amazon Apple
    Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Daemon (Daemon Book 1) Daniel Suarez No Amazon Apple
    Freedom(TM) (Daemon Book 2) Daniel Suarez No Amazon Apple
    After On: A Novel of Silicon Valley Rob Reid No Amazon Apple
    Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Last Colony (Old Man’s War Book 3) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Zoe’s Tale (Old Man’s War Book 4) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Human Division (Old Man’s War Book 5) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The End of All Things (Old Man’s War Book 6) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Fuzzy Nation John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Stories I Only Tell My Friends Rob Lowe No Amazon Apple
    Orion Colony (Orion Colony Book 1) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    Orion Uncharted (Orion Colony Book 2) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    Orion Awakened (Orion Colony Book 3) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    Orion Protected (Orion Colony Book 4) Jonathan Yanez and J.N. Chaney No Amazon Apple
    Total   21    

    Previous Reading Lists:

  • Using AirTag to find a Missing Key

    Using AirTag to find a Missing Key

    There have been some stories lately about Apple’s AirTag and how they can be used for malicious purposes. Some of these include Silent AirTags on sale online, AirTags being used to steal cars, and AirTags being used to stalk women.

    I am not going to argue that they are not being used for these purposes, because clearly they are. Despite these malicious uses, an AirTag can be used for its intended purpose, to find a missing item. The is not a super long story that involves things like diving into a river or anything like that, but it is still an example of their intended use case.

    Last May I posted a review of Apple’s AirTags. When I wrote the review I was not sure how I would use them and decided to put them on my various keys. At the time it seemed somewhat strange to do so, because my keys normally never leave my sight and are always put back into the same place when I am done with them. Despite this I have kept the AirTags attached to my keys, and I am glad that I did. I have not really had any case when I needed to actually try and locate one of the keys. However, that changed last week.

    Living in the northern hemisphere in February means that it is likely that you will see snow, and we definitely have seen our share of snow this season. In particular we had a storm last Tuesday into Wednesday. Two things that typically go with snow are cold and wind. There’s a Midwestern saying that goes “It wouldn’t be so bad without the wind”, and it is 100% true in the winter in the Midwestern United States.

    My normal routine is to go grocery shopping at the end of my work week. It being the day after the storm, there was still a lot of snow on the ground, and it was windy and cold. I was returning to my car and pulled the remote to unlock my car out of my pocket. I unlocked the door, put the groceries into my car, and put the cart back in its proper spot. I removed the items from my pocket to find the key that starts my car, I realized that it was missing.

    Now, I was at the grocery store, so obviously I had it and I put it in my pocket when I got out of the car to go into the grocery store. I panicked for a second and then realized that I had an AirTag attached to that key, so I should be able to find it.

    I started by looking at the “Find My” app to see where the app said the key was. It indicated that it was last seen on the street next to grocery store. I then tapped on the “Items” tab to start locating it.

    AirTag Searching but not finding a signal

    At first it said that it could not find the key. I started to backtrack to where I had been, so I went back to the cart that I put back, nothing there. As I began walking back towards the car, the app showed a weak signal for the AirTag. At this point I started to play a sound to see if I could locate the AirTag by sound while I walked back to the store. As I was walking back the App started showing that I was getting close and I found the key laying on the ground.

    Within 2 minutes of it first finding the signal I was able to find the key. I had dropped it out of my pocket when I pulled the remote out of my pocket to open the car.

    Suffice to say I am glad that I did buy the AirTags and that I put them on my keys, because it definitely came in handy.

  • Reading List for January 2022

    Reading List for January 2022

    It is now February of 2022 and that means it is time to provide the list of items that I read throughout January of 2022. There have been a couple of changes. First, there is now a graphic at the top of the post with the recommendation for the month. The second change is that there are now separate links for Amazon and Apple.

    I only listened to 17 titles last month. Of which only 11.76 percent, or just two titles, being the first time I listened. This title is “Singularity Trap“, by Dennis E. Taylor. This was a good science-fiction book that might be worth a read or listen. Here’s a synopsis:

    Determined to give his wife and children a better life back home, Ivan Pritchard ventures to the edge of known space to join the crew of the Mad Astra as an asteroid miner. He’s prepared for hard work and loneliness—but not the unthinkable. After coming into contact with a mysterious alien substance, Pritchard finds an unwelcome entity sharing his mind, and a disturbing physical transformation taking place. With his very humanity at stake, Pritchard must save mankind from a full-scale interstellar war.

    You may notice that I have listed the Interdependency Trilogy again, because I did actually listen to the trilogy again because it is a good series. I wish there were more stories within the universe.

    Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

    Title Author First Listen Amazon Apple
    The Android’s Dream John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Snow Crash Neal Stephenson No Amazon Apple
    Have Spacesuit Will Travel Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card No Amazon Apple
    Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson No Amazon Apple
    Mars Ben Bova No Amazon Apple
    Man in the High Castle Phillip K. Dick No Amazon Apple
    Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury No Amazon Apple
    Farmer in the Sky Robert Heinlein No Amazon Apple
    Run Program Scott Meyer No Amazon Apple
    Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations (Great Courses) Brian M. Fagan No Amazon Apple
    Singularity Trap Dennis E. Taylor Yes Amazon Apple
    The Collapsing Empire (Interdependency Book 1) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Consuming Fire (Interdependency Book 2) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    The Last Emperox (Interdependency Book 3) John Scalzi No Amazon Apple
    Starman Jones Robert Heinelin No Amazon Apple
    Power Challenges Ben Bova Yes Amazon Apple
    Total       17

    Previous Reading Lists:

  • Twitter: 15 Years Later

    Twitter: 15 Years Later

    2007 was a big year for everyone technologically, but a lot of other things happened that year for me as well. Some of these items include:

    I thought it would be interesting to go back and look at how those events have had an impact, mostly on me, but on the wider technology world. I did not initially think about writing this post, because it did not occur to me, but in reality it should have. That topic is Twitter, so let us start with Twitter early on.

    Twitter logo from 2006 to 2010

    Early Twitter

    Twitter is not that old in terms of social networks. In fact Twitter itself is almost 16 years old. The first tweet written by twitter c-founder Jack Dorsey was written on March 21st, 2006. Twitter began as a service that you could use via text message. In fact, this was why Twitter was originally limited to 140 characters, to take into account any sort of difference in cellular carriers. The idea was to publish what you were doing while out and about, via text message, and then read what others had written on the web. Twitter starting in 2006 meant that this was before the iPhone, before smart phones becoming common place, and definitely before unlimited data on cell phones. However, this was right when many had unlimited text messages, so it was a good time to start such a service.

    Twitter started out as a place that comprised of mostly people into technology. This is because the service was shown off at South by Southwest, which is a combination technology and music conference. Twitter was conceived in the era of text messaging. This meant that Twitter was designed with text messaging in mind, and therefore was limited to 140 characters, which is the same as many SMS services provided by carriers.

    I happen to join Twitter on January 28th, 2007 at 7:59pm, so just about 15 years ago as this is posted. The time I signed up is well before the service really took off. I heard about it from Justine Ezarik on a podcast, and she was talking about the service. She has been on Twitter since July of 2006. Once Twitter had started to become popular, it began to encounter some issues. In particularly, Twitter had some issues with scaling and early twitter users remember, sometimes fondly, the ‘Fail Whale”.

    Twitter Fail Whale

    Twitter has since improved on this and the times that twitter has failures are few and far between these days, but it still does happen from time to time. Typically it is due to a larger problem, like DNS issues, and often affects many sites not just Twitter itself.

    Early in twitter’s life you could send and receive tweets via text message. This was a great way of interacting with the service while on the go, because some users did have unlimited texting plans, particularly after June of 2007 in the United States. This is because a new device, the iPhone, was finally available for sale.

    The iPhone increased the desire for third party apps. While there would not be any official app support until 2008, that did not stop people from creating apps.

    Third-Party Apps

    As mentioned earlier, Twitter was also accessible via text message, but Twitter has always had a website where you could see your timeline, send tweets, and send direct message to other users. The website was primary method of using the service early in its lifetime. While Twitter’s popularity was increasing over 2007 and 2008, it was not until the official release of the iOS Software Development Kit, or SDK, that third-party clients began to be created.

    While the web interface was the most popular way, there was a contingent of users who wanted to use Twitter while on the go and on their iPhone. In order to accommodate this desire, a bunch of third-party twitter clients were created.

    Om Malik had a blog post from December of 2008 that had a number of the third-party clients. Having looked at this list there were some that I completely forgot about.

    The ability to have third-party clients were made possible through Twitters APIs. This is because Twitter itself did not have its own app and actually wanted developers to create applications to access the platform. Some of the other early Twitter available at the time included:

    • Tweetie
    • Twitterific
    • Echofon
    • La Twit

    I remember purchasing Tweetie and using that for a while. Tweetie was such a good Twitter client that Twitter acquired Tweetie in April of 2010 to be used as the official Twitter client.

    While the early days of Twitter thrived on third-party Twitter clients, the service changed over time to put a lot more emphasis on the official Twitter app. Lately though, that approach has changed again that allows third-party to build comparable clients. No, they are not feature for feature the same, but many of the things that used to be exclusive to the official Twitter client have now become available for third-party apps to adopt if they so choose.

    Clients and services are not the only things that have changed, my usage of Twitter has significantly changed over the years.

    My Usage

    Twitter has changed significantly over the years, both visually as well as how I use it. Twitter initially began as a way of posting things about my day, Over time though that has changed to be more of a place where I get my news. That is not to say that I do not use Twitter for communicating with certain people, I definitely still do use it for that, but it not the primary focus.

    As time has gone on though, I ended up building some friendships with those on twitter. Some of those that I have followed early in my time on Twitter I still follow today. Beyond this, I have built up some friendships with those on Twitter. Some of these relationships are more recent than others, but none are more important than others.

    Conversely, with Twitter being around so long there have been those that are no longer around. Some because they passed away, but also some left of their own accord due to harassment, or just due to non-usage.

    In the early days of Twitter it felt a lot more like a giant group chat. The is because it was primarily used by early technology adopters, so you would be able to keep

    There are two features that came about organically, but are absolutely essential on Twitter today. These are mentions and retweets. Mentions on twitter were easily done by putting someone’s twitter handle somewhere in the tweet, typically at the beginning. If they were following you they would see the fact that you mentioned them and would be able to respond. Eventually Twitter added official support for mentions and Twitter would not be the same without them.

    Early in the life of twitter you could easily be a Twitter completionist, meaning that you would read all of the new tweets from everyone that you followed. There are some that still do this, but even I no longer do this. I do have a list where I try to read every tweet, but sometimes that is too much and I ma not able to do so.

    My usage has significantly shifted, particularly within the last few years. I used to be on Twitter a lot more than I am now, constantly interacting and keeping up with the latest developments around the world. Recently though, my twitter experience has been more of a “pop in see what is going on and pop out again”. It is no longer my “go to” when I pick up my phone or use my computer. I am not sure why this has changed, but it has.

    I have spent a lot of time talking about the early days of Twitter, let us look at where Twitter is today.

    Twitter Today

    Twitter Logo 2021

    Twitter is no longer primarily a place for just people interested in technology. Now it encompasses a whole range of interest in topics and Twitter has definitely become more mainstream.

    If you can think of a topic of interest to yourself, I am sure you can find people who share the same interest. This could be something like the NFL, College Basketball, current news, video games, a tv show, or just about any topic, there is a group interested.

    Each social network has its own unique function. Twitter’s function is where you can find information about breaking news. Some of the information may not be 100% accurate, but there is a lot of accurate information surrounding the news as well.

    Mentioned earlier is that Twitter began to move away from supporting third-party clients and instead opting to focus on their own app, to the extent that there was a great disparity between what features offered to third-parties and what the official Twitter app was capable of offering. The disparities were not just because third-parties did not implement features, but because they could not do so.

    Within the last year, at least as of this writing, Twitter has begun changing their stance on third-party clients and has started to offer a whole new API that provides many of the same features that are available in the official Twitter app. There are still some things not offered to third-parties, but this is slowly changing. I suspect there may eventually be feature parity between what third-party apps can offer and what the official Twitter app has, but it will take time.

    Closing Thoughts

    I am not on that many social networks. I have a Facebook account but I hardly use that anymore. I also have Instagram, but I just view stuff on there and do not post a lot. I also have a Mastodon account and have been trying to use that more, but I do not have many people that I follow, nor that follow me, on there.

    I do not have TikTok, nor Snapchat, nor any others. Twitter is by far the social network I use. It’s the one I have used the most and also the one that I get the most benefit from. As mentioned earlier, I have built up some really good relationships through Twitter, some of them are local, but most are not. It is not likely that I will stop using Twitter anytime soon, but it is possible that the way I use it may change, but only time will tell. You can, of course, follow me on Twitter if you want.

    Twitter header for @waynedixon as of January 28th, 2022
  • Windows Vista, The Turning Point: 15 Years Later

    Windows Vista, The Turning Point: 15 Years Later

    There are times throughout our lives when particular years tend to be more important than others. For me, one of those years was 2007. A lot of things happened that year, at least for me technologically speaking. Some of these include:

    • Announcement of the iPhone
    • Windows Vista (this article)
    • Purchase of a 21.5-inch iMac
    • Bought the original Apple TV.
    • Bought a 4GB original iPhone
    • Purchased a Black 13-inch MacBook

    Over the course of the year, I will look back at each of the events fifteen years after they occurred. Each of the posts will look back at my thoughts, and what has happened in the intervening time.

    The first one, previously covered, was the announcement of the iPhone. It was a significant turning point for me in terms of phone platforms. There are instances where a new device can bring complete joy, awe, and inspiration. The original iPhone was that.

    However, the iPhone was not available for sale until the end of June 2007. There was a other pivotal, at least to me, item that came out on January 30th, 2007. That product, was Windows Vista. Now, you might be confused given that I only use Macs, why I would be talking about Windows Vista. In fact, Vista was the catalyst that caused me to switch to the Mac.

    If you were steeped in technology or even tangentially aware, Windows Vista was not the best release of Windows that Microsoft has released. Vista was an operating system that was released five years after its predecessor, Windows XP.

    Windows Vista made some significant changes, like User Access Control, or UAC and Encrypted File System, and including support with the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM.

    Windows Vista About box

    Windows Vista to this day still has the reputation of being one of the worst, if not the worst, version of Windows every released. While it did improve as the years went on, it could not outlive that reputation of not being a good product.

    Along with these was a new Windows Display Driver Model, or WDDM required device driver manufacturers to re-work their device drivers. However, many drivers were not optimized for Windows Vista. Because of these non-optimized drivers, the device drivers would crash constantly, like every 5 or 10 minutes, without fail.

    Windows Vista Orb

    This caused nothing but headaches because the entire system to basically be unusable. The system would not blue-screen, but with the graphics drivers crashing consistently, it would not allow you to effectively do anything on the computer.

    I cannot be 100% certain what I did to mitigate the issue. If I recall correctly, I think I ended up changing the theme to be the basic theme, which would disable the advanced graphics features and would allow Vista to actually run. Even with this mitigation in place, I think this entire event put the seed of doubt in my mind about whether or not to continue to use Windows.

    It turned out, that less than two months later, in March, I ended up buying the 21.5-inch iMac, but more on that closer to the time that I bought the iMac.

  • Reading List for December 2021

    2022 is now upon us, so that means it is time to provide the list of books that I read/listened to in December. I did not listen to a bunch of holiday-themed titles, only two, both of which I have listened to previously. I did listen to a total of 17 titles. 12 of the 17 were first time listens, or approximately 70.58%, which is more than two-thirds and the highest percentage of new listens in a single month so far.

    Out of all of the items listened to, I would recommend “The Apollo Murders”. It is a good murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Plus, it’s written by an actual astronaut.

    If any of the titles pique your interest, be sure to click on the link to bring up the information for the book.

    Disclaimer: The links below will provide a bit of a commission if you purchase anything.

    Title Author First Listen
    The American Civil War (Great Courses) Gary W. Gallagher Yes
    Years that Changed History: 1215 (Great Courses) Dorsey Armstrong Yes
    Hornet Flight Ken Follett No
    10 Women Who Ruled the Renaissance (Great Courses) Mark Tufo Yes
    The Great Escape Paul Brickhill No
    Genesis Ken Lozito Yes
    Pale Blue Mike Jenne Yes
    Dusty’s Diary Bobby Adair Yes
    Freedom’s Fire (Freedom’s Fire Book 1) Bobby Adair Yes
    Freedom’s Fury (Freedom’s Fire Book 2) Bobby Adair Yes
    Zero Day Code: A Novel of the End of days: a cyberwar apocalypse (Book 1) John Birmingham Yes
    Fail State: A Novel of the End of days: a cyberwar apocalypse (Book 2) John Birmingham Yes
    The Apollo Murders Chris Hadfield Yes
    A Very Scalzi Christmas John Scalzi No
    The Christmas Train David Baldacci No
    Starship Grifters (Rex Nihilo Book 1) Robert Kroese No
    Forerunner (AI Fleet Book 1) Isaac Hooke Yes
    Total   17

    Previous Reading Lists: