Reading List 2017

So I’m being a little more ‘read-y’ this year, and reading books again. I normally get through a book a month for bookclub, and usually do audiobooks, but I decided I have an obscene TBR pile and it needed to be read. They’re all dead-tree books too, which I find helps me focus on reading instead of multi-tasking on my iDevice all the time.

Anyway, to that end, I’m writing down all the books I’m reading this year as I read ’em. Because opinions come to me easily I’ll probably review them and link the review to here or something. We shall see. Whatever! You’re not my dad.

Click through below for my progress so far.

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Reviewing Sonos, or “I want to build a stereo system out of Lego and I have too much cash!”

Reviewing the Sonos is overdue. I’ve had a Sonos system since early 2013 and, well, I know reviews are supposed to tease you all the way to the end of the many thousands of words I’m writing for free…

…the long and the short of it is that Sonos is freakin’ awesome and if you can afford to buy into it you should.

Bear in mind this isn’t so much of a proper review as it is an embarrassing admission to how many of these things I ended up buying.

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Just in Time: The Pebble Time Steel Review

A lot of people enjoyed my original Pebble review (way back when), so I thought I’d try to do my new Pebble Time Steel some justice.

I’m a special flower, as a double Kickstarter supporter, so my edition of the Pebble Time Steel has a nice ‘Champion!’ engraving and trophy on the back.

Some Context

We’re not comparing Pebble Time Steel to Apple Watch here, since there is no point. Apple Watch integrates better with my iPhone, works better, looks better, costs twice as much, and has no always-on screen or comparable battery life, I can’t officially swim with it… So it’s all about compromise. My context for reviewing this watch is:

  • I can’t afford Apple Watch
  • I will buy Apple Watch v2 hardware (sorry Pebble, but you are on … borrowed Time)
  • I loved Pebble despite its limitations and wore the black thing for years.

Overview

If you don’t want to read the whole review, let me tl;dr it for you here:

  • If you liked Pebble, Pebble Time Steel is so much better looking and functioning that you should definitely upgrade.
  • If you can’t afford an Apple Watch or are on the Android system (why?) and you value battery life over fancy shit like ‘touch screens’ then definitely get this watch.

For the full review, read on.

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I’ve waited. I’ve waited. So long – Reviewing ‘The Ocean at the End’ by the Tea Party

I’m generally one to rant passionately about things that I love that disappoint me. In fact, I will rant much more if my expectations are smashed than if I didn’t love it.

Disclaimer: I have never reviewed a music album before and so have no idea of the jargon or conventions of the form. You have been warned.

Warning: I say ‘awful’ a lot. Sorry about that.

[Update 21/9/2014: I’m positive I cut-and-pasted my quote from the 100PercentRock review verbatim, but I can’t find that exact quote anymore in the link I used, so I’ve cut-and-pasted the paragraph that is there now]

Intro

teaparty-coverSo! My first reaction to the unfortunately titled ‘The Ocean at the End’ (unfortunately, because Neil Gaiman wrote the excellent ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ which will forever appear in web searches above this album) was not great. I’ve listened to it a few more times now in its entirety, although at one stage I was playing interleaved tracks from this album and the immeasurably better ‘Transmission’.

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My Book is Now Magic: The Lumio Review (HT: @hellolumio)

I’m constantly spending money on nerdy and/or wanky crap, and then reviewing it on this site. I even do it constantly without any payment or free things from the manufacturers, can you believe it!

This time, I’m gushing about my latest Kickstarter arrival. For those of you who haven’t switched a computer on in a while, Kickstarter is one of the largest crowd funding sites out there. The Lumio was funded on March 15, 2013, and I received mine in the mail on Friday 14, 2014. I think, for a project of such ambition, that is more than reasonable. I waited longer than that (I think) for my Pebble.

Fair warning: this review is mostly awesome* photos.

TL;DR: If you have $160-$200 to spare (depending on postage) and you like books and portable lights and functional art, don’t bother reading this and go buy one here now.

*I am not a photographer.

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Bioshock Infinite is #InfiniteBS

There, now I’ve got your attention.

As part of my loose effort to write something every day this year, I’m reflecting on my experience playing Bioshock Infinite in a single game session while I was sick, on the first day of 2014 (Yes, I have a huge pile of shame full of acclaimed games I’ve not played.)

There will be massive spoilers.

Now, I want you to know that this is just my opinion, coloured by my perspectives and whatnot. This doesn’t invalidate your own experience, or your own personal opinions about how amazing this game is. Do we understand each other?

Good. So now let me explain why you are wrong to like this bad game.

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I love Hue – A Requirements Specification (Addendum to the Hue Review)

[Update Feb 15, 2014: As time has progressed most of this specification is now redundant. The Hue doesn’t yet manage animations on the Bridge, and I’m not sure it will in the near future, but the rest of it is pretty thorough. I’ll leave this article up for historical purposes, but beware it’s mostly redundant now]

[Update Late 2013: I’ve been poking through the Hue API and it seems a lot of this is possible through the 1.1 version of the API. I will be investigating and seeing if I can make my own controller app]

After writing my extensive Hue review, I couldn’t help but think of what I wanted out of my system, so I came up with this list.

This is a public list of requirements for a useful Hue system. Any developers are welcome to take this list and use it as a feature set checklist for any program they are developing to control the Hue. If you do, and you find this list helpful, it would be nice if you acknowledged my contribution somewhere. Also, if you develop anything that does the majority of these things, please let me know so that I can GIVE YOU MY FUCKING MONEY.

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It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 2)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

In part 1 I revealed the Secrets They Won’t Tell Hue and some of the things that I like about Hue. Here I show my personal unboxing journey, some applications I’m using, and my stunning conclusion.

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It’s not Me, It’s Hue (The Hue Review, Part 1)

[Update! As of early January 2014, I have added a follow up review here]

[Update! If you just want to buy the best Hue controller app for iOS, get iConnectHue and don’t look back. I wouldn’t use my Hue system without it.]

Overhue

This is an account of my experience with the Philips Hue. It is my review, or my re-Hue, if you will. There are so many puns I could’ve used to title this article, but I think the one I ultimately chose sums up my nightmarish experience. There may be some occasional swears in here, too. Also, I will endeavour to create a Hue pun pretty much at every opportunity.

Caveat: I don’t really know how the Bridge and Bulbs work, I’m just guessing based on a little bit of knowledge and my experience with Sonos. Feel free to correct me in the comments, or share your own experiences!

So happy together...

Imagine me and Hue, so happy together…

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