The Firstest of First-World Problems

While the tuner in my new(er) TV is way better than the tuner in the set-top box I was using for OTA back when my 270lb. TV didn’t have a digital tuner, it is apparently not quite as good as the tuner in the OTA-to-streaming appliance I have (so I can watch my local TV wherever I am), so when the signal for the soccer game was iffy last night, I was reduced to streaming the game over my local network to the TV that couldn’t quite get it with its own tuner. Via yet a different set-top box, of course.

Sports in a Time of No Sports

This could likely be made brief enough for Twitter, but it’s a little off-brand for there, so it’s here.

With all the sports on hold, many teams are re-running their “greatest hits”; I can imagine a number of reasons for this: stations need to do something with the already-scheduled time slots (hoo, boy, the Olympic-sized hole in the TV schedules this Summer will be interesting), the teams have a clear interest in remaining in mind, and people absolutely need all the diversions they can get. A thing about that last one, though, is that it requires that people enjoy watching games again. And while there are some movies and TV shows I’m happy to revisit repeatedly, and there are even some goals—perhaps even highlight packages—I am unlikely to tire of, the notion of watching an entire game over again does not much appeal. Especially on broadcast. I guess this will be an opportunity for broadcasters to learn how much of the audience draw of live sports is the live and how much is the sports; for me, it’s almost exclusively the former.

Collapsing Empire Review

The Collapsing Empire, Scalzi. Yes. Perhaps because it was written before November of 2016, but at least as likely because Scalzi is Scalzi, this book has a pleasing amount of fun in it. The introduction of the chief of staff character, in particular, is an early positive delight.
Mechanically/editorially fine, though there are roughly as many incorrect who/whomevers as correct. It’s possible that different characters got it right and wrong, and Scalzi is more subtle than I’m giving him credit for; I’m not willing to go back through and collect evidence one way or the other.
Plot-wise, I was troubled at a far-future human society in which it’s still possible for conception to occur without both partners wanting it to. I guess more depressed by that notion and troubled that—despite at least one organically available option I would have grumblingly bought—no explanation of that sad state of affairs was given (again, unless I missed something). Nevertheless, if you enjoy Scalzi, you will very likely enjoy this.

Unpaid Corporate Shilling

I feel so whorish saying it, but I’ve really had some excellent customer service from American Express. Second-most recently was something of an exception, as they apparently didn’t think that I’d be buying a new iPhone 5 minutes after they first became available, but that was easily rectified.
Most recently, they sent me email about some other suspicious charges they had blocked, and those charges were, indeed, fraudulent. So it’s new-card time, and they just sent me email with all the merchants that look to them like folks I need to update my card number with, probably saving me a bunch of statement crawling. Not a huge thing, and not even the most outstanding thing they’ve done for me, but it’s the kind of thing that inspires loyalty.

Blindsight Review

Blindsight, Watts. Yes. This was just fine, despite misspellings (“miniscule” multiple times, “ordinance” when “ordnance” was called for), and the inescapable feeling that the book was, every few pages, asking “Did I just blow (what you think is) your mind? Well, did I?” And maybe if I hadn’t read so much Hofstadter, and Bruce Sterling’s “Swarm” (from 1982!), and Peeps, my mind may have been more susceptible to the proposed blowing. As it was, I just noticed how much Watts liked the word “blister”.
Followed by Echopraxia, which I’m at least going to look at.