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2017 in Bitface Blogging

Well hello. It’s been a while. That daily posting thing didn’t work too well in the latter part of the year, and was particularly weak in the last couple of weeks. Weak weeks.

In fact I posted 261 times in 2017. It’s surprisingly hard to find that kind of thing out from Wordpress itself. I had to dig into the database and run some simple SQL:

select count(*) from devilgate_posts
  where  post_status = 'publish'
  and post_type = 'post'
  and post_date_gmt like '2017%';

261 is 72% of the days of the year, which is not too bad. Certainly the most posts in any year out of the past fifteen(!)

Here’s the monthly breakdown:

Month Posts
Jan 32
Feb 33
Mar 33
Apr 18
May 27
Jun 15
Jul 21
Aug 17
Sep 18
Oct 18
Nov 23
Dec 6

A strong start, tapering off in the middle, with a rally in November and then a complete collapse in December. I suspect the last is from a combination of post-nano slump and the festive season.

If you’re interested, here’s the SQL that got me that table:

  date_format(post_date_gmt, '%b') as Month,
  count(*) as Posts
  from devilgate_posts
  where post_status = 'publish'
  and post_type = 'post'
  and post_date_gmt like '2017%'
  group by date_format(post_date_gmt, '%m');

As to this year, we’ll see how it goes. I hope at least to keep the frequency reasonably high. And improve both code and table formatting.

Mouse Takes Fox

The news that Murdoch plans to sell 21st Century Fox and Sky TV to Disney is interesting for how it will reshape the media landscape. But it’s good from my point of view for a number of reasons, some relatively trivial and to do with content consumption; and one big.

  1. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four will come under the control of Marvel Studios. Just in time for Infinity War. Well, of course, far too late — even, I would imagine, for Infinity War Part 2. I expect that’s at least planned by now.
  2. Even more trivial, Lucasfilm can put the Fox fanfare back at the start of future Star Wars movies (and add them in to future reissues of the recent ones).
  3. It will become ethical to watch Sky TV. More of which below.

Above all: better Disney than Murdoch.1

Will Disney own too much? Hell yes. But see above.

On the ethics of watching — and paying for — Sky TV: see this blog passim for my thoughts on that. Like here and here. If Sky had not been owned by Murdoch we might conceivably have got it in the past. But I feel we’re highly unlikely to get it now. Buying a dish in 2017 would just be weird, and our side of the road is not cabled, by some odd historical aberration. But there’s the online version, which I think is called Direct TV. If we had had that I would have been able to watch the new Twin Peaks when it was actually broadcast, instead of now, on DVD, as is actually happening.

Loving it, by the way. And managed to hear no spoilers whatsoever, surprisingly.

  1. I mean, better almost anyone than Murdoch. 

Burn it With Fire (Stick)

I bought an Amazon Fire TV Stick in the Black/Cyber/Whatever sales, because I thought it would be a good way to watch BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and so on, on the telly, without having to plug a laptop in, as we do at present. Tonight I tried to set it up.

Amazon have decided to use replaceable batteries like it’s the 90s, instead of using a rechargeable like it’s today. I found it literally impossible to open the back of the remote.

The very fact that there are multiple YouTube videos explaining how to open the thing should be a giveaway. Unfortunately they all say, “It’s easy enough now because I’ve opened it before; it was really hard at first.”

The Apple TV may be several times the price, and the remote has its critics. But you just know you’re not going to have bollocks like this when you try to start using it.

Right now I’m planning to send the Fire TV Stick back. I’ll have another go when more of the family are around, and maybe we’ll get it. But I can’t help but wonder, what about someone who’s a bit older and maybe has arthritic hands? This is incredibly bad product design.

A Five and Four Zeroes

Actually it’s 50,069 words in total, as of a few minutes ago. And the last 5000 or so were not in the novel that I finished the other day.

Instead I wrote a new opening to the previous novel, which I hope will have moved it towards a submittable state; and a whole load of notes towards the next one, which I intend to start more or less right away.

As soon, at least, as I’ve got the skeleton of a plot, and a vague idea of the ending, so that I don’t go wandering around for years again.

Anyway: I declare myself a NaNoWriMo Winner.