So a few weeks back, a buddy of ours received notice from a friend that Dell had an incredible deal on their website: $160 off a 500GB external hard drive. Price after rebate: $80. Yes, 500GB for 80 fricken dollars. Well, it suffices to say we ordered a bunch. I bought two for myself, expecting to be able to extract the drives from their chassises (can you even make that world a plural?) and stick them in my MythTV Backend. Of course, most of us figured it was a pricing error on their website and the orders would be cancelled or the price amended and a correction issued to we, the customers. A suspicion confirmed when we discovered, later in the day, that the discount had been reduced to a mere $60 (if I recall), and another hard drive, far more expensive than the one we ordered, now tagged with the $160 price cut.
Anyway, fast-forward a couple weeks, and lo and behold, much to our surprise, the drives start showing up! Pretty nice ones, too. Snazzy aluminum case, nice little stand, the whole works. And today, mine arrived! So this evening, I extracted the drives from their cases (turns out they were Deskstars in a straight-up USB HD enclosure) and installed them in my backend. Voila! Another 500GB (they’re set up in a mirror), or 206 hours of recording time, available for our enjoyment! Great success!
Oh, and Jen, if you find this boring… piss off! ;)
The story traces the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity. David is born in Blunderstone, Suffolk, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, in 1820, six months after the death of his father. David spends his early years with his mother and their housekeeper, Peggotty. When he is seven years old his mother marries Edward Murdstone. David is given good reason to dislike his stepfather and has similar feelings for Murdstone's sister Jane, who moves into the house soon afterwards. Murdstone attempts to thrash David for falling behind in his studies. David bites him and soon afterwards is sent away to a boarding school, Salem House, with a ruthless headmaster, Mr. Creakle. There he befriends James Steerforth and Tommy Traddles.
Well, after at least of month of effort, I finally finished David Copperfield (just in time, too, given the start of cycling season, which has put a rather sizeable dent in my available reading time), and I must say, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long long time. Of course, this probably shouldn’t be surprising, Dickens being considered one of the greatest English language authors… ever, really. But, given my general aversion to “classics” (despite my constant effort to read them), the language often being difficult to digest, and the comprehension of the subject matter often reliant on knowledge about the period the work was written in, I was skeptical. Victorian period pieces? How enjoyable a read could that possibly be?
Turns out, very enjoyable! Dickens is considered a great master of characterization, and I never really understood what that meant until I read this book. Unlike most books, where my drive to read is fueled by a desire to find out “what happens next”, aided by little breadcrumbs the author sprinkles along the way, when reading David Copperfield, I found it was the characters I cared about. Would Mr. Micawber ever sort out his financial woes? Would Uriah Heep’s hold on Mr. Wickfield be loosed, and would he get his comeuppance? Would Traddles finally get married? Would Mr. Dick finally exorcise King Charles I from his mind? It really was a unique reading experience, sad and serious at times, uproariously funny at others (every time I read the closing on one of Mr. Micawber’s letters, I quite literally laughed out loud).
So, if you can handle a slightly more challenging read (the language isn’t difficult, just different in style), I’d suggest checking out David Copperfield. Meanwhile, I can now dig into Nicholas Nickleby… expect another review in, say, three months time.
So it turns out that buying a new backup device for my DS has had an extremely detrimental effect on my writing frequency. Actually, it’s worse than that… it’s a combination of a new backup device, with Nethack. Not good.
In particular, I got the idea in my head to take NethackDS and basically rewrite the user interface, to make it more comfortable to use. See, NethackDS takes the simplest approach to a port, making extensive use of an on-screen keyboard and an ultra-small font to provide an experience very similar to Nethack for Unix. However, the interface is far from efficience, and is pretty tough to read, to boot.
And so I took it upon myself to spruce things up. Now, I haven’t gotten very far. In fact, I’ve only just gotten some text on the screen (though this required porting a BDF parser and writing a bit of rendering code), but progress is being made… so, hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll have a fancy new DS port of Nethack to play with.
I’m not sure this is a good thing.