Review of Night Watch (Discworld #29.0) by (9781472537232)★★★★★
This review is a re-post of my 2015 Goodreads review of this book. #books
This morning, Commander Vimes of the City Watch had it all. He was a Duke. He was rich. He was respected. He had a silver cigar case. He was about to become a father.
This morning he thought longingly about the good old days.
Tonight, he's in them.
Flung back in time by a mysterious accident, Sam Vimes has to start all over again. He must get a new name and a job, and there's only one job he's good at: cop in the Watch. He must track down a brutal murderer. He must find his younger self and teach him everything he knows. He must whip the cowardly, despised Night Watch into a crack fighting force -- fast. Because Sam Vimes knows what's going to happen. He remembers it. He was there. It's part of history. And you can't change history . . .
But Sam is going to. He has no choice. Otherwise, a bloody revolution will start, and good men will die. Sam saw their names on old headstones just this morning -- but tonight they're young men who think they have a future. And rather than let them die, Sam will do anything -- turn traitor, burn buildings, take over a revolt, anything -- to snatch them from the jaws of history. He will do it even if victory will mean giving up the only future he knows.
For if he succeeds, he's got no wife, no child, no riches, no fame -- all that will simply vanish. But if he doesn't try, he wouldn't be Sam Vimes.
And so the battle is on. He knows how it's going to end; after all, he was there. His name is on one of those headstones. But that's just a minor detail . . .
This, right here, is a Discworld novel for Discworld fans. The Watch have always been my favourite characters, and Vimes is certainly my favourite of the bunch. So obviously an origin story about the man is going to go over well. But this isn’t lazy fan service, and is replete with Pratchett’s beautifully incisive writing, teaching us about what it means to be a “copper” when the world is falling to pieces.Continue reading...
For kicks I wanted to build a dark mode for my blog, which led me down the garden path of CSS custom properties and easter eggs... #hacking
One of the many things that attracted me to tech, back in the day, was the total DIY freedom of hacking computers to do whatever I wanted. And when you’re a kid, it’s even more fun because you aren’t looking at your pet projects through the lens of “value” or “product market fit” or “differentiators”. You just… do stuff, simply because it’s fun!
Or, put more simply: You play. And as adults, we have play beaten out of us. And that is just a darn shame.
Well, one of the fun things about running your own blog on your own server with software you control is that it’s a wonderful place to play! Heck, the re-design of this blog started off as just me screwing around for the fun of it.
So, while on vacation, I thought it would be fun to build a dark mode theme for my blog using the technique outlined in this post (which it turns out is one of many).
If you want to see the results… well, first off, if your OS is set to use a dark mode theme, you might already be seeing it! Otherwise, the little lightbulb icon in the navbar toggles the themes.
In addition, if you poke around in my site, you might find an easter egg that enables a couple of additional retro themes designed to honour the computers of the past that inspired me and lead me to where I am today!Continue reading...
Thanks Google! Nailed it!
#nostalgia #writing #vim
A quick write-up of my process for converting a cuff-down sock pattern to toe-up as part of my most recent project. #knitting
I absolutely love making socks. As a project, they’re relatively quick, by now very familiar, a small canvas for a bit of experimentation, and in the end, always useful. After all, who doesn’t need another pair of socks?
Unfortunately, that’s also caused me to amass quite the collection of sock yarn over the years. In fact, I spent a good part of 2019 making sock after sock after sock thanks to our indulging in a Michael’s Boxing Day sale back at the start of last year.
But, I’ll be the first to admit, the stash has been building up for a long time, now.
As a result, the yarn that I used in this project–a lovely, variegated yellow yarn who’s label I’ve apparently lost–has been sitting in my collection for a couple of years now, having been pushed down the queue by more recent acquisitions. However, I finally decided to do something with it!
Now, as a toe-up sock knitter, it’s always a bit trickier to find patterns, and so I’ve often settled for coming up with my own designs. However, this time, I decided to try my hand at converting an existing cuff-down pattern to toe-up.
These socks are based off of the My Cup of Tea Socks pattern (hosted on Ravelry), which I then altered, both to convert the pattern to toe-up, and to make the motif a bit larger.Continue reading...
Another pair down! This yarn had been in my stash for a couple of years now, so it’s nice to get them done. Post to come with details, including how I converted this cuff down pattern to toe up.#knitting
The third in a series on my years in product management. In this post I explore what it was like to help build a product team, and then work within it. #prodmgmt
This is part three in a series on my career shift from software development to product management. If you haven’t read the preceding posts and you’re interested, you can start with part one!
When I first took on the role of Product Manager, it was basically a solo role. While I had plenty of support from our executive team, and a lot of help and direction from both my superiors and my colleagues, absent a dedicated staff, if things needed to be done, I either had to do them myself or trick others to do them for me!
On its face this might seem a bit crazy (and it was!), but it’s important to realize that, at the time, the company had not yet made the shift to an Agile Scrum development model. As a result, back then, if you had asked me to describe the Product Manager role, I would have described it as high-level and directional, while the actual day-to-day execution was being handled by my colleagues in various other departments, particularly development. As a result, a lot of my time was spent on bigger picture stuff: building roadmaps (badly), scoping releases, collecting and managing customer requests, general process development and refinement, and so on.
It’s also worth noting that, at the time, I don’t think any of us at the company had a clear picture of how to integrate a Product Management function into the company in a holistic way, not the least of which because, while this was only five years ago, the role was less defined than it is now. And as I mentioned in my first post, ultimately, layering Product Management as a function into an existing organization is an exercise in change management, and we were still figuring out what that meant.
Fortunately, Agile Scrum came along and gave us a model for how to integrate Product Management into software development in a coherent way: The Product Owner role. And if we were going to have Product Owners, those POs needed to get their direction from somewhere, and that somewhere could be the Product Management group (i.e. me)!Continue reading...
With the proliferation of IoT (aka “smart”) devices, the #Futurama episode “Mother’s Day”, where robot toasters and staplers revolt against humanity at the behest of a crazed dictator, is starting to feel eerily prescient…#technology
How the heel has turned!#knitting
That’s a good point! Given how nascent Webmention still is, I’m not sure the cost-benefit is there for me, yet, in adding backlinks for POSSE copies (my main goal is owning what I create), but maybe I’ll experiment with it!
A lot of things I post to Twitter start as notes on my blog so I host the content, but right now I don’t link back from the tweet to the note as I find it messy.#indieweb
Most of what you see from me starts on my blog. Tweets, photos, or articles, I post them on my blog and syndicate. Part 1 on why and how! #indieweb
If you’ve been paying attention to my writing lately, you’ll notice a theme. Toward the end of November I got it into my head to rebuild my blog for reasons that, in hindsight, I don’t actually remember.
At the time my main goal was to change the technology over from an old blog engine to something a bit more modern. But as I thought more about what I wanted for my blog, and read more about the IndieWeb movement, I realized my idea of what a blog could be was incredibly limited.
To their great credit, modern walled garden web services have given us with a lot of ways to express ourselves:
- Short notes (tweets, status updates)
- Long-form content (blog posts, articles)
- Reactions (likes)
- Shares (bookmarks, retweets)
Not to mention more specialized status updates like what we’re reading, what we’re listening to, etc.
Each of these represents a piece of content we’re creating and publishing. We may not think of it that way because firing off a tweet or writing a quick status update is so easy. But they’re all just alternative formats for self-expression.
Unfortunately, as I’ve noted previously, because these are each their own walled garden, this content is split up and spread out across many services. At best this is annoying! At worst, it’s a great way to ensure that the things we write or post could get lost someday when those services inevitably die.
And then, as I read more about the IndieWeb, I realized I’d been thinking about my blog all wrong.
Yeah, sure, traditionally blogs were the home primarily for long-form content. But it’s my blog. It can be whatever I want it to be. So, why not turn my blog into the place where I post all of the things! And then, after authoring on my own site, automatically syndicate to those social networks!Continue reading...
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