Saturday, September 20, 2014

Publishing Time Again - Rosetta of Gliese

Yup, a new hard scifi book for your reading pleasure :-)

Blurb first:

This was it! The first signs of intelligent life outside of Earth!

It was only a slight disappointment when the first probes to Gliese 581g determined that it had died out almost 5000 years earlier. Dr. Kim Evans was part of the team picked to investigate what had happened to the Gliesians. Come along for a Hard Sci Fi thriller looking into Archaeology, Biology, and more on an alien world. And join Kim as she passionately works to unlock the planet's greatest secret.



Kindle version is available free through the Kindle Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited programs.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Adding Bicycle Crumple Zones

My ebike just clocked 1000 miles with the new setup (the 48V/1000w upgrade I got in late June) and I had intended to talk about how things are going as summer draws to an end and I get closer to one full year of bike commuting.

However on Thursday things changed a bit.

About a month ago I had noticed that my panniers seemed to be giving out at the seams, and on the one side it looked like they might even be rubbing a bit against the wheel. So I replaced them with a pair of folding baskets - http://www.waldsports.com/index.cfm/store/rear-baskets/582-rear-folding-basket

I generally leave them fully deployed, and they do a decent job of holding everything up. Mounting was a bit of fun, but I've learned to love zip ties, and those with some creative use of the original brackets have kept everything sturdy and in place.

On Thursday I was riding in the bike lane (marked and everything), when I noticed a car creeping forward as if it was going to try to gun it and make the turn onto Blanco. I moved over a bit, but presumed that as I got closer they would stop. They didn't...

Fortunately, the folding basket on my right side folded in a bit, and absorbed most of the impact. It also meant that the car had no damage either, which meant only a couple minutes of holding my tongue as the young lady driving explained that I came out of nowhere and she didn't see me. My bike is a rather loud yellow, I have lights everywhere even during the day... I guess I was missing a neon sign or something.

In any case, while I did have to bend things a bit back into shape and replace a few zip ties, the end result was pretty minor. I didn't buy the baskets as a safety feature, but it makes sense that adding some "crumple zones" would help on a bike as much as on a car.

Something you may want to consider if you're going to be doing the daily commute on a bike yourself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Zoe's Secret is #3 at Amazon

As the screen capture from this morning (8/19) demonstrates, I now have the number 3 Contemporary Fantasy book at Amazon:


Of course you'll notice that is #3 for FREE books. Which means that I'm a bestseller but making zip for it :-)

In any case, the book is free through 8/21 (goes back to $2.99 after that), so grab a copy from Amazon if you haven't already done so. Direct link is: http://www.amazon.com/Zoes-Secret-Ewan-Grantham-ebook/dp/B00FY7H9B2


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Watch Netflix on Linux without a lot of fuss

Courtesy of OMG! Ubuntu is this tutorial on setting up Chrome DEV to allow you to watch Netflix on any Linux machine that runs the latest version of the Chrome browser:
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/netflix-linux-html5-support-plugins

Highlights are:
1) Uninstall Stable Version of Chrome if you've already installed it previously
2) Download and install the latest (14.10 beta) versions of the libnss libraries
3) Download and install the DEV version (38 or later) of the Chrome browser
4) Add the User Agent Switcher Extension to Chrome and Configure it to use the proper Agent string
5) Make sure that you switch to your new Agent string before logging into Netflix
6) Once in Netflix make sure that "Prefer HTML5" is selected in your Account-Playback Settings

Once that is done, it is just as easy to watch Movies and Shows from Netflix on Ubuntu and other Linux flavors as it is on Windows.

Of course it would be better if there was no DRM issues requiring any of those steps in the first place. But for the time being this is sure better than the old way of adding special PPA libraries, running command line tools, and waiting for updates when Netflix would break...

Kudos for the Variety Linux Desktop Changer

One thing that is not as easy as it COULD be in switching from Windows to Ubuntu is the problem with "boring" desktop backgrounds. Even one that was exciting a month ago can get a little stale after a week or two.

On Windows the easy (not to mention constantly being shoved down your throat) solution is to use Bing Desktop which includes the Bing photo of the day as a background. It will then cycle through these.

On Linux the closest thing I've found is a tool called Variety (https://launchpad.net/variety). This tool works great with Ubuntu 14.04 64 and 32 bit systems, and has a nice variety of sites it pulls from. For this particular usage I'd say it's even better than the Bing Desktop as it lets you choose whether you want to make local copies of files or not, and always maintains the link to the original so you can check out more info about the picture. Highly recommended!