MythTV Chapter Ready: The Hard Way: Installing MythTV From Source

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The Hard Way: Installing MythTV From Source is now ready. In fact, its been ready for quite a while, but I have been trying to blog about the finished chapters in the right order, so it has been trapped in the queue. This chapter discusses how to compile MythTV from source code, which is useful if you’ve either had problems with a packaged version of MythTV, or want more control than you’ll get from packages.

The awesome Michael Carden did the review for this chapter once again.

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Nightfall (short stories)

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There are four Asimov books called Nightfall. There is a two volume collection of short stories (Nightfall One and Nightfall Two), a single volume version of this collection, and a novel length version of the short story “Nightfall”, which headlines the short story collections. I’ve previously attempted to explain the list of short stories in the various versions of the collection at http://www.stillhq.com/book/Isaac_Asimov/Nightfall_Short_Stories.html. There is also a correlation with previously published Robot short stories at http://www.stillhq.com/book/Isaac_Asimov/Robot_Short_Stories.html.

I just finished reading the short story collection (in this case in a single volume). I haven’t read any Asimov short stories in a few months (since September last year to be exact), and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them. One of the advantages of these short story collections is that you get to cover a lot of ground, and there is a real sense of accomplishment in finishing a short story. I think also that the shorter form keeps the author honest — there simply isn’t room to waste space on long passages which don’t progress the plot.

This collection is excellent, much like the others I have read from Asimov. I will note that I particularly enjoyed “The Up-to-date Sorcerer”, which isn’t something I would expect from a Victorian style humor piece. This book was good reading.

[isbn: 0586212558;0586034668]
[award: nominee nebula_short_story 1965 (Eyes Do More Than See)]

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Isaac Asimov’s Robot Short Stories

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I was getting quite confused about
which robot short stories I had already read (many appear in more than
one collection), so I built this table to help. Note that ecrosses
indicate stories which aren’t about robots, and are really stow aways.

Nightfall
1971
Robbie
 
 
Runaround
 
 
Reason
 
 
Catch That Rabbit
 
     
Liar!
 
 
Little Lost Robot
 
Escape!
 
     
Evidence
 
 
The Evitable Conflict
 
 
Robot AL-76 Goes Astray  
     
Victory Unintentional  
     
First Law  
     
Let’s Get Together  
     
Satisfaction Guaranteed  
     
Risk  
     
Lenny  
 
Galley Slave  
 
A Boy’s Best Friend    
     
Sally    
 
Someday    
 
Point of View    
     
Think!    
 
True Love    
   
Stranger in Paradise    
     
Light Verse    
   
Segregationist    
 
Mirror Image    
 
The Tercentenary Incident    
     
Feminine Intuition    
 
… That Thou Art
Mindful of Him
   
     
The Bicentennial Man    
 
Robot Dreams      
   
Breeds There a Man      
 
Hostess      
 

Strikebreaker      
 
The Machine That Won the
War
     
 
Eyes Do More Than See      
 
The Martian Way      
   
Franchise      
   
Jokester      
   
The Last Question      
   
Does a Bee Care?      
   
The Feeling of Power      
   
Spell My Name With an S      
   
The Ugly Little Boy      
   
The Billiard Ball      
   
The Last Answer      
   
Lest We Remember      
 
Robot Visions        
Too Bad!        
Christmas Without Rodney        
+Essays        
Nightfall
Green Patches
C-Chute
In a Good Cause —
What If —
Flies
Nobody Here But —
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Insert Knob A into Hole B
The Up-to-date Sorcerer
Unto the Fourth
Generation
What is this Thing
Called Love?
My Son, the Physicist
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How I plan on handling Ubuntu and Mythbuntu 9.04

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Ubuntu and Mythbuntu 9.04 have recently been released, and this makes some of the current content for the online MythTV book out of date. The way I plan on handling this is to keep going with the current version 8.10 content, and then update chapters to 9.04 later. This way I don’t delay the overall book because of the new release, and people who haven’t upgraded still have relevant content. For those using 9.04, the current content should be “close enough” to get you going. Please comment on this post if you see problems which are new to 9.04 so I can make a note of them.

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MythTV Chapter Ready: The Hard Way: Installing Ubuntu

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The next chapter, The Hard Way: Installing Ubuntu is now ready. This chapter took a lot longer than I wanted because I was distracted by some stuff in my personal life, but I am hoping that the authoring process is now back on track. This chapter covers how to install Ubuntu so that you can setup your own MythTV system exactly how you’d like it. That’s also the way to go if you’re using an existing Ubuntu system and just adding MythTV to it.

Thanks to Michael Carden for yet another excellent chapter review.

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Drizzle Developer Day

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I spent the day at the Drizzle Developer Day at Sun’s insane asylum campus. I’m not joking here, the campus was apparently a former insane asylum. First off I battled getting Drizzle to compile on Ubuntu 8.10, where the secret sauce appears to be to know about the drizzle-developer PPA. If you’re using Ubuntu 8.10, add this to your sources.list and life will be a bit better:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/drizzle-developers/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/drizzle-developers/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main

After that compiling drizzle was pretty easy.

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Make Room, Make Room!

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I must have read this book a few years ago and forgotten, because I have no specific recollection of reading it, but the plot is familiar. This is a distopian novel about the dangers of over population, and was written at a time when the best available population models said that massive over population was going to be a problem by 1999. In the book the population of New York City is 35 million, whereas in reality its much more like 8 million at the moment. In order to support that many people the quality of life has had to radically decline, and the city spends most of its budget on welfare payments instead of maintaining its decaying infrastructure. It turns out that didn’t happen, and I think that’s partially why I didn’t enjoy this book. The underlying story is good, but the book lacks hope, and feels preachy about population control. This book’s style is quite different from the rest of Harrison’s work that I’ve read — there is hardly any humor. Its still an interesting read though and I managed to make it through to the end. I guess what I wanted from this book was a little less doom and gloom.

[isbn: 044151605X]

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Servant of the Empire

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This is the sequel to Daughter of the Empire. The book is long at nearly 700 pages, and contains two basic plots, although both are related and use the same characters. They could easily have been separate books — one of the things I like about this book is that it tells more of the story than it absolutely has to, whilst still being continuously engaging. The events of this book run parallel to Pug’s time on Kelwan from Magician (Apprentice and Master) and its also nice to see an alternate perspective on those events. The main thrust of this book is that while tradition is important, not being wasteful of the resources you’re handed is important too.

This book is excellent.

[isbn: 0553292455]

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Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Renegade

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This book starts poorly, and isn’t as interesting as the previous one in the series (Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Changeling). The introduction uses an alien species with spending any time to describe them, and the process of trying to infer what they are and how they operate distracts from the overall plot. Its a little bit like a William Gibson book, but a more clumsy attempt at it which makes the first couple of chapters hard to comprehend.

Worse than that, this book spends a lot of time dwelling on physics details (the author is a physicist), and Ariel seems obsessed with a desire for recognition and power that doesn’t exist in the previous books. A lot of the book is also about her love affair for Derec and a robot, which is out of place with the rest of the series as well. In the other books the romantic relationship between Derec and Ariel is a minor plot element, not something which has many pages devoted to it, and I think that fitted better with the overall plot.

[isbn: 0441731287]

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Isaac Asimov’s Robot City: Robots and Aliens: Changeling

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Despite the rather unwieldy name, and being trapped as the seventh book in a share cropping series using Asimov’s name, this is actually quite a good book. The plot explores something Asimov didn’t do much of (what happens when Asimovian robots meet aliens and define them as human), while not being self righteous about it. The book is also more technically competent that some of the earlier ones in the series — it doesn’t feel like it was written for seven year olds. I think this one is the best in the series so far.

[isbn: 0441731279]

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