Gebrauchsanweisung für die Pfalz by Christian Habekost My rating: 4 of 5 stars (To my English-speaking audience: There’s a Google-Translate button at the bottom of each page and the next review will be in English again.) “Es ist ein spielerisches, ritualisiertes Hin- und Hergezerrtsein zwischen Minderwertigkeitskomplex und Hybris.”(Der Autor über die Pfalz) Vor gar nicht langer Zeit schrieb ich bereits darüber, wie gern ich mittlerweile ...

Ich bleibe hier, von Marco Balzano Es ist keine 24 Stunden her, als ich tief seufzend neben meiner Frau ins Bett sank und mein Schicksal beklagte, schon wieder ein… komisches… Buch zu lesen. “Über Südtirol”, sagte ich und meine Frau antwortete, “Oh, nein, Südtirol – Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, lies doch etwas Leichteres…” Sie hatte – wie (fast) immer Recht – und Unrecht zugleich. Ja, die Geschichte ist n...

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh My rating: 5 of 5 stars In 2014, I came across Allie Brosh’s first book “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened”. Apart from funny stories from Allie’s life, it contained the story of her experiences with depression. Reading about that in what amounts to a crude comic was a singular experience for me – despite sufferin...

Fox 8 by George Saunders My rating: 2 of 5 stars For Fox’ Sake – what a disaster! What an unholy mess of a novella! Our protagonist, Fox 8, who is, you guessed it, a fox, gets a quick glance of what humanity is capable of.This is a promising premise and, if excitedly well, could lead to an interesting story. Unfortunately, it turns out foxes don’t “speak” English very well and I don’t have much patience for sentences like this: ...

Die Bagage by Monika Helfer My rating: 3 of 5 stars Der Literaturkritiker Denis Scheck hat dieses Buch empfohlen (“Auf nur 160 Seiten entfaltet die Autorin Monika Helfer eine beeindruckende und gehaltvolle Geschichte über Familienstrukturen und Beziehungen.”) und sein Wort hat für mich Gewicht. Wie so oft, wenn’s dem Esel zu wohl wird, naja, Ihr wißt schon… Das Problem dieses kurzen Büchleins ist, daß es die einerseits sehr persönli...

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey My rating: 3 of 5 stars Oh, well, this will be a difficult review to write, I guess. I really like this series and its ideas, its wonderful characters, the brilliant writing, etc. etc. Along came “Cibola Burn”: We find ourselves accompanying Holden and his crew through one of the rings into the great unknown – into which a band of settlers from Ganymede made it before him and pretty much started colonisin...

Hamster im hinteren Stromgebiet by Joachim Meyerhoff My rating: 4 of 5 stars Einer meiner Lieblingsschriftsteller ist von Beruf Schauspieler. Nach vier großartigen, teils autobiographischen, Romanen bedarf Joachim Meyerhoff keiner großen Vorstellung mehr. Wenn also Meyerhoff ein neues Buch geschrieben hat, dann muß bei mir literarisch alles andere hintanstehen. Das ist nichts Neues. Neu für mich persönlich ist allerdings, daß ich dieses Buc...

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, what a ride! After the excellent “Leviathan Wakes” and the almost equally great “Caliban’s War” here I’m sitting and wondering what to write about this more than worthy successor… When I first encountered the “The Expanse” series, I was sceptical: – I do not like science fiction literature.– I do not like soap operas (so why would I lik...

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was a tricky one for me… I have tried reading science fiction before and (usually) didn’t like it. It was all too often dark, gritty and bleak, set in a dystopian universe in which pretty much everyone acts completely self-absorbed. Thus, I disavowed science fiction in books because I’m a closet optimist: I’ve subscribed early on to the philosophy, the idealism and optimisti...

Black Bear Alibi by J.C. Fuller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have no idea how this book actually made it onto my to-read list. Anyway, it was a quick and sufficiently satisfying read. It’s a rather simple mystery with an interesting premise: A ranger, our local hero Philip, finds the mangled corpse of a young local woman. Together with the new sheriff, Lane, he tries to find out what happened. This is a topic we’ve often read about before but th...

Gerrit: Update to 2.10-rc1, GitHub, OpenID & other stuff
Exherbo / January 17, 2015

As you will have noticed, after a hard crash and failed efforts to restore the existing Gerrit, it had to be re-installed from scratch. With it, some changes had to be made:   OpenID is no longer available for authentication as Google is deprecating it. GitHub is now used for authentication. So you must have an account there. cgit is integrated into Gerrit and can be used stand-alone as well. All repositories had to be re-imported....

Leaving Montana by Thomas Whaley
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / September 7, 2014

Leaving Montana by Thomas Whaley My rating: 4 of 5 stars This was yet another surprisingly good book from early reviewers. As usual, I won’t bother with a summary especially since the description is already pretty good. The story is basically narrated on two different levels in time which are slowly being merged into the current day. Especially in the beginning, this is done masterfully and effortlessly. It’s getting slightl...

Server update: Gerrit, Jenkins & friends (some downtime today)
Exherbo / June 27, 2014

As some of you will have noticed, my server galileo.mailstation.de has had some performance issues lately. Testing patches with Jenkins could take a long time, building stages was taking up to 20 hours (!) instead of the normal two and Gerrit itself could be slow at times as well. This was due to aging hardware (that server was assembled in 2010), one horribly performing hard disk and constant over-heating of the machine. I’ve ...

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones

Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones My rating: 2 of 5 stars This review may contain spoilers! Since I got this book in a give-away, I really hoped I’d like it. Alas, it was not to be. First of all, the plot is thin. Thinner than a sheet of ice on a puddle. Evil Danes (or rather: a single evil Dane, being blackmailed by clichée russians) attacking Canada with a bunch of common criminals. On the other side are some non-descript Canadians...

Stages – some changes
Exherbo / May 7, 2014

As most of you know from my earlier stage building post, our stages for amd64 and x86 are being built automatically using Jenkins. And that won’t change.   Recently, there has been a discussion about adding Emacs to the stages in addition to vim. The reaction was overwhelmingly negative; even more so than I had expected.   Since…   I’m the one who spends his time and actual money on building stages, d...

Miscellaneous Updates to Gerrit, Jenkins & friends
Exherbo / April 16, 2014

Over the last few weeks, I’ve made a few changes to Exherbo’s Gerrit and Jenkins installation: Build artifacts are stored in Jenkins: If a build is unsuccessful, the Paludis build log, config.log (if it exists) and the cave-resolve command used are stored. Since build artifacts are associated with a project (i. e. the repository) and not individual builds, the files have the build number prepended in their file name: 77_buil...

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth

The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth My rating: 4 of 5 stars I didn’t really know what to expect from this book. I thought the topic of the Normans was interesting but didn’t get my hopes up high since I had never heard of the author before, popular history books are usually not my taste and the cover was somewhat attention-seeking. I very quickly got drawn into the book deeply, though. Brownworth definitely...

Re-testing patches in Gerrit with Jenkins
Exherbo / March 5, 2014

A recent request concerned the possibility to re-test patches patches in Gerrit with Jenkins. I’ve now added a very simple switch for that: In any given given change (but your own!), you can add a comment with “+1 Retest” set as a “verdict”. On the old change screen (really, change to the new one, it’s much nicer), it looks like this:   On the new change screen, it looks like this: It’s re...

Automated stage building with Jenkins
Exherbo / February 27, 2014

For quite some time now, I’ve been working on the automatic creation of Exherbo stages for AMD64 (x86_64) and X86 using Jenkins. Till now, Exherbo’s stages were created manually by one of us Exherbo core developers and usually basically “on-demand” or when they were major changes. This finally changed yesterday. Using the jobs stage_amd64 and stage_x86 respectively, the stages… are built using a modifie...