Saturday, March 30, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. I've been away on vacation and didn't get as much reading done as I would have hoped but I'm back on track now.
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky is an interesting little book about an everyday item, table salt. Honestly I didn't realize that salt was such a sought after commodity in history as it seems so plentiful now. It's interesting to see how some wars were won/lost just by the control of salt and it kinda makes sense how much food production was tied to salt before refrigeration units were invented. A pretty good read and you get to learn where terms "worth his salt" and "salary" come from.
Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus Vol. 1 by Jack "The King" Kirby is a collection of stories I've been wanting to look into for awhile. It collects in chronological order the books he was cranking out at the time so you get Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, The Forever People, New Gods and Mister Miracle. While Kirby was an absolute master of draftmanship not all of these stories are gems. I really enjoyed the New Gods and Mister Miracle issues, kinda liked the Forever People but found the Jimmy Olsen issues to be darn tedious to read. I'm going to give the second volume a try as I can check it out from my library before I decide to buy anymore collections.

Monday, March 4, 2013

PhoneGap Bluetooth Plugin Updated

So the Bluetooth plugin was horribly out of date so I took some time to update it to work with PhoneGap 2.2.0 and higher. As well as the usual updates to the JS and Java code I fixed an instance in the "listDevices" call which would block code execution for 10 seconds while it scanned for devices.

Anyway, if you need Bluetooth functionality the plugin provides the following method:

  • listDevices
  • isBTEnabled
  • enableBT
  • disableBT
  • pairBT
  • unPairBT
  • listBoundDevices
  • stopDiscovering
  • isBound

Update: Oh by the Hoary Hosts of Hogarth! I should mention that I didn't originate this plugin, I just saw the need for it to be updated. All credit should go the original authors: Daniel Tizón, Idoia Olalde and Iñigo González

Friday, March 1, 2013

Books I've Read This Week

The Blinding Knife and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks are the first two books in his new trilogy. I previously enjoyed his Night Angel trilogy so I figured I'd start in on this new series of books. While I have not enjoyed it as much as as the Night Angel trilogy is it still a pretty good series.

The system of magic that is used is based off of the colours of the rainbow. Each colour is also linked to an emotion so someone "drafting" (using) red magic will feel rage or anger and someone drafting blue magic will feel calm and detached. It is a pretty neat concept that may remind some folks of the time they've spent playing Magic the Gathering. Which is by design as the game shows up in the books as something called 5 Kings. No, I'm not making this up. Brent Weeks admits to this in the afterword of the second book.

Anyway, the story itself centers around Gavin Guile who is the top magic user or Prism of the main religious organization in this world. His role is not unlike the Pope of the Catholic church and that is not the only analogy to be drawn between their system of religion and the Catholic church. Anyway, the world is in a bit of dis-array and people are turning away from the church.

Now Gavin has to try and hold off full scale war who's roots were seeded 16 years ago when he and is brother fought in "The False Prism's War" to see who would be the true Prism. Well not really, the war was actually started by the brothers fighting over a woman. Typically right?

Anyway, good characterization going on in these books and some interesting commentary on our contemporary society going on under the scenes. I thought for awhile there Weeks was going to do something really different with the main character then he backed away from it. Regardless, I'll be picking up the third book in the series when it comes out.

As an aside if anyone wants the three books of the Night Angel trilogy get in touch with me and I'll ship them to you as long as it is not prohibitively expensive.