A year has come to an end, and with it, a year of reading. This year I’ve read more than 120 books published in several generations. Reading old, new, printed paper, electronic, or audiobook, I work hard to make use of a spare moment to dig in. With my reading, I’ve also tried to review books more here and most recently on Instagram at @cwlmedia. Reviews and not-taking, in general, can be challenging on the best of days, but doing it has helped me make better sense of books I read and pass on thoughts to others. So many of the books I choose to read are good, but some really do rise above and are worthy of more attention. So, without further delay, here are the best book I read this year.
I’m tired of WordPress. I’m not the only one too. If you use it, you’re also sick of that bloated CMS. Swooping in to save the day (sort of), has been the mix of Markdown and what’s called Static Site Generators (ok, maybe this is technically a flat-file CMS, I get it.). They’re all the […]
Discourse is a popular forum tool available as a self-hosted open-source tool. It can be installed bare-metal on Linux, but the Docker installation is one that I found most interesting. Unlike most Docker-implemented tools, Discourse has a script that runs outside of the docker containers (on your base machine) to set up the tool. This monolithic script (./discourse-setup) seems to do many of the things that docker-compose does, but obviously worse. I’m no fan of doing things this way; especially when the base alternative is nowhere on their site. My challenge this time was to build a basic docker-compose.yml that would get Discourse running in a test environment. Here’s what I did.
If you use Unifi gear, you know that it can proliferate quite fast. Couple that with cameras, a second network for cameras, and you have a growing need for more Unifi controllers to manage devices. The best approach is to, uhm, unifi controllers into a cloud-based setup – but you can’t always do that. When controllers get isolated on networks, you may find that you’ve lost the administrator password for one. Here’s how you can reset it so long as you have root shell access to the machine running your controller.
The UNVR-4 appears to be designed to evade any sense that it was built for business. Let me take you into the issues I encountered while setting up. Given a robust product, these issues would have been uncovered and I’d have moved on to the next thing. But, because of Unifi’s extremely minimalist design, getting at details was difficult.
Given the election season of 2020, I wanted to dive deeper into the divisions that have stricken the U.S. I thought this book might shed some light on issues of the day. A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy by Russell Muirhead, Nancy L. Rosenblum felt like the right book for today’s wild political climate.
You might remember the recent sunsetting of Google’s URL shortener. This was something I took notice of because it meant that the url.cwl.cc service (based on their link shortener) was going to be shut down. Right? To be fair, I took notice, but also didn’t do much at the time. March 30, 2019, came and went and I could still use the service. 2020 arrived, and the service was still functioning. Now, more than a year and a half past the end, I can still create short links. This is perhaps the biggest oddity I have ever seen from Google.
With recent news exploding with talk about a possible Tom Hardy Bond casting and, well, this being the year (hopefully) another James Bond movie is released; I decided to dig into some lore around the character. In the process, I came across The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming. This book doesn’t cover much about secret agent James Bond, Ian Fleming or much identity theft for that matter. This is primarily about the man whose name was lifted from a book cover to (somewhat randomly) name the world’s most popular Mi6 agent.
Every so often a book comes along that, once I start reading it, I’m so deeply enthralled that I absolutely must finish. This became that kind of book. I felt as if I was the rather innocent Piranesi himself, picking up clues yet not knowing exactly the grander significance. As it all unravelled in front […]
Hate for the book-tracking, Amazon-owned Goodreads is near-universal. Since Amazon purchased the tool on March 28, 2013, Goodreads has languished in a kind of purgatory that would have doubled over any Google moonshots (Google loves to shut down stuff). For all its pains, Goodreads is so frustrating because it has value. Any attempt to improve our experience as book readers has to transfer over this value to be a worthy replacement, but none have come along. Let me get into this a bit more though.