Monday, July 27, 2015

No Book Unread Project Update #4 - Purely Technical (New Comment System)

Using my slowly expanding knowledge of blogging customs and convenience tweaks I have been making a few improvements to No Book Unread at large. Perhaps the largest and most noticeable change (and also the most recent) is that I've switched to Disqus for comment management. Not that there was anything wrong with the default system but it was a bit clunky and isn't quite as visually appealing as Disqus is.

What this means. Unfortunately I was unable to import the old comments into the new comment system so, my apologies, but to those who took the time to comment before, those comments will no longer be visible. (Lost, but surely not forgotten.) The most likely explanation for this is that Blogger is just a dinosaur and can't reach the old comments with its stubby T-rex arms to hand them off to Disqus. Google apparently acquired Blogger and then promptly forgot about it, because it doesn't seem to be aging well. Despite Blogger's ease of use it has a lot of drawbacks, not the least of which being compatibility and versatility.

Guest posting has been enabled. I haven't tested it yet but I'm fairly certain that making a guest post is now a lot simpler. I want to make it easy for someone to comment even if they are just passing through.

Plans for the future. Eventually I'd like to host my own website. I know a lot of people work through Wordpress and swear by it, but I'm not entirely sure that's the direction I want to move in. For the sake of simplicity I might try starting a blog there just to test it out for a time, in which case I will make an announcement should that happen (probably an alt blog not a transfer). More than likely I will make the jump to trying my hand at web design once I have the time. I like the idea of the freedom and flexibility I'll have if I can code my own website. Getting prepared for that, however, will likely take a long time. On the plus side it might be possible to transfer my old posts and comments over should that time come.

Feedback. Any feedback, comments, or ideas for other improvements would be appreciated. As well as any noticeable problems. Feel free to do so in the form of a comment or by emailing me at Hmm, I should probably make a dedicated email for this at some point. Note to self...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Learning From the Masters - (Mastery - Final)

Another New York Times Bestseller. I'm starting to wonder if there are any books I've read that aren't on that list...

When I stopped updating and disappeared for six months I didn't stop reading, although what I read wasn't exactly in-line with No Book Unread Project. My interest in neuroscience and psychology got the better of me, in part due to the long journey towards writing mastery that I've embarked upon. As a result I ended getting the non-fiction book Mastery by Robert Greene. For a non-fiction book though I found it completely engrossing. This wasn't the only non-fiction book I indulged in during my blogging break, but I'll touch upon that in my next post.

The book Mastery is about exactly what it sounds like it's about. Mastery is intended as a foundation for the pursuit of any sort of mastery. For some the first thing that might spring to mind may be the archetype of the ancient martial arts master in Chinese garb and a long white beard dangling from a weather-beaten chin. While you may be tempted to assume that Mastery applies only to physical pursuits it is intended to apply to everything from architecture to zoology. I'm tempted to recommend this book to anyone who wants to pursue one of their interests as a career, but I also find this sort of thing endlessly fascinating so take that with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

No Book Unread Project Update #3 - I'm Not Being Lazy This Time, We Had a Baby!

Hey everyone, today's update will be a relatively short one. I was hoping to have an update post in sooner than now but I had a very busy week last week. And for good reason: My wife and I had a baby! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Quiet on the Set - (Moving Pictures - Final)

In 20 days No Book Unread project will be one year old, so somehow it feels appropriate that I should review a book by Sir Terry Pratchett, one of my all-time favourite authors. I've been reading his books for years now. Unfortunately I feel lost for words, I've been sitting in front of a blank page for the better part of two hours now. Much as I'd like to gloss over this fact (and pretend that I knock these out in an hour) I feel compelled to mention why the right words elude me. So, let me indulge in a bad habit of mine for a moment: giving too much back-story.

Sir Terry Pratchett has long been an inspiration to me. He was an inspiration to many people for many different reasons, but to me in particular I was always in awe of Pratchett's ability to create a comical story while still making you care about the characters and the plot. He seemed to believe that comedy didn't have to be just comedy, which is something I feel that many other comedies seem to forget. Not to disparage a good series, but, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was just comedy. The characters didn't develop much, if at all, and the world felt bereft of lasting consequences. Of course, not every story needs those elements and 'Hitchhiker's' seems to work just fine without them, but it is a trend that is apparent throughout comedy as a whole. Movies are especially guilty; the story often only exists to provide more opportunities for the comedy to shine, and characters rarely seem to change beyond an, almost obligatory, lesson in friendship or romance. I suspect part of the problem is that any story that contains more than just comedy elements always seems to relegate comedy as a secondary characteristic, such as drama-comedy, horror-comedy, or romantic-comedy. I'll touch more upon that another time.