NY Times Notable Books

I’m not even going that I’ll get around to reading A history of the first multiethnic upwardly mobile society in America, but the NY Times Notable Books of the Year are out. Here are the fiction ones that look good to me (basically, this is just a reminder to myself, but if you’ve been wondering what to get me for my birthday…):

Gilead By Marilynne Robinson. A demanding, grave and lucid novel in the form of a long letter from an aging preacher to his young son.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell By Susanna Clarke. A fantasy, involving a Yorkshire magician (Norrell) who comes to London in 1806 and takes on the handsome Jonathan Strange for a disciple.

The Plot Against America By Philip Roth. Charles Lindbergh is elected president in 1940 on a pro- Nazi platform, and a Jewish family in Newark suffers the consequences.

Snow By Orhan Pamuk. The line between farce and tragedy is drawn in blood where secular and Islamic Turkey seem to explode on contact.


At The Tomb of the Inflatable Pig By John Gimlette. An eccentric, hilarious, horrifying — that is to say, utterly faithful — picture of a country as strange as any on earth.

In The Shadow of No Towers By Art Spiegelman. An album, a monograph and an intimate memoir by the author of ”Maus,” who witnessed the attacks on the World Trade Center at close range.

The 9 11 Commission Report How and why the government failed to protect us from Al Qaeda, with sweeping recommendations for reorganizing American intelligence.

On The Wing By Alan Tennant. An eco-thriller about studying falcons.

Osama The Making of a Terrorist By Jonathan Randal. A reporter’s guide to the vain, ascetic, humorless man and the Islamic geography that made him.

The Outlaw Sea By William Langewiesche. A report from the empty three-fourths of the globe, where 40,000 merchant ships operate with virtually no oversight.

Whats the Matter With Kansas By Thomas Frank. How, according to Frank, the rich and powerful have built a cynical alliance with culturally alienated heartlanders.

Read any other good books lately?

Don’t Put Wetnotes In Your Laserjet

Ritchie WetNotes are fantastic. They’re waterproof paper. So waterproof that you can use them SCUBA diving. So there are some reef-fish whose fieldmarks are really hard to remember, and I have computer notes and drawings. So I thinks to myself, “Self,” I thinks, “I wonder if you can use your Laserjet 1300 to create waterfast id pages.”

Don’t do this at home. It took me close to an hour to disassemble the machine and unwind the page from the roller to which it stuck. However, the toner was thoroughly baked on and proved to be waterfast.

Long’s Drugs uses a no-longer-secret code to indicate wholesale price on tags

Long’s Drugs uses a simple letter/number code to indicate on its price tags the wholesale cost for each item on sale. The code has been cracked via [Boing Boing]

The substitution at Long’s is CHARLESTON (where C = 1, H = 2, etc.). Wal-mart’s code is still unbroken. Where’s Alan Turing when you need him?

Update: Wal-mart uses BRUSHCLEAN. No word on the use of a bombe for decoding.

Kasparov revisited

VS2005 November CTP (Standard Edition) now available!

The Visual Studio 2005 November CTP (Community Technology Preview) drop is now available on MSDN.  This is actually the FIRST CTP of the Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition (which I announced at VSLive! In Orlando back in September to round out the family of VS2005 products.  This contains support for all of the languages that we support in Visual Studio and also support for device development along with an updated release of Visual SourceSafe.  This can be downloaded off MSDN (MSDN VS2005 Whidbey “Home” page) by our MSDN customers.  Via [Somasegar’s WebLog]

Sims 2 incompatible with tfswctrl Error Message: “Insert correct cd rom”

There are a million people out there struggling with the Sims 2, which has stupid, customer-hostile blocks and guards against all sorts of CD-R software. The symptom is that when you run the program, it tells you to “insert the correct cd rom” (despite, obviously, having the correct cd-rom / dvd in the drive). By rebooting my system half-a-dozen times, I’ve determined that (at least one ) cause of the problem is the process tfswctrl, which provides “drive letter access” (DLA) and allows you to drag-and-drop files onto a CD-R.

On my machine, it was installed as “Veritas DLA”.