Author Archives: J.S. Harbour

About J.S. Harbour

Author of books on programming and game development.

2nd Novel Nearing Completion

Big news for 2016! The sequel is nearly complete, an action-packed story set 10 years after the end of Mandate. A new U.N. warship; corporate asteroid mining; rogue crews turned to piracy; a new colony called Luna City; massive construction projects on Ganymede; and Decatur causing problems, manipulating human DNA and offending the Tau Cetians. It is tightly written and concise at about 300 pages, and worthy of the name “Legacy” (hint/hint!)
 
And, to celebrate the launch of this sequel, Mandate is undergoing a huge revision to trim it down from 480 pages to about 350. I’ve listened to the reviews from readers and agents. It will be the same story but with less speculation and other debut mistakes. The tighter writing will be a welcome improvement, and I’m hopeful that the exciting sequel will generate new fans of the original. Stay tuned for both releases this winter!

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Only-Lovers-Left-Alive-2013Only Lovers Left Alive

My rating: 8 / 10

This film is not about vampires. It is not horror. That is merely the backdrop to explain the ageless perspective of the philosophy. Aged vampires who no longer prey on humans. (Warning: Spoilers)

Tom Hiddleston plays Adam, a centuries-old vampire who, like Anne Rice’s Lestat, is a rock star; but unlike Lestat, he does not seek vain attention, he simply loves the music. He is tired of living, however, and contemplates ending his long life due to its futility. He is frustrated with the direction human culture has taken, and the scenery of Detroit reflects the world as Adam perceives it. The futility of human effort, so short-lived, short-sighted. Ugly. He is offended by the ugliness of human invention and industry, commenting twice on ugly power lines cluttering the architecture. Continue reading

Amazon’s Split-Second Delivery System

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world with $100 billion in revenue during 2015 (FYE September, 2015). That’s some serious candy.

When a company builds a foundation that leads to continuous growth/improvement, then the founder/board usually begins thinking about long-term projects. The pressure to survive evolves to a new creative realm where the corporation goes into new areas–perhaps new industries.

The founder and CEO of Amazon is Jeff Bezos. He is in a unique position, like contemporary Elon Musk, of having so much money in reserve that there’s actually nothing he can’t do. The question is what to do. Continue to gobble up smaller companies and become weighted down with bloat? Or funnel that money into new endeavors? Continue reading

Microsoft, Ever The Bully

I’ve made no attempt to hide my contempt for Microsoft, as I’m reminded daily of this company’s narcissism. It’s always something. You can count on them making the wrong decision concerning customer satisfaction.

Where does Microsoft succeed? When they emulate others: Game consoles, Tablets, Phones, App Store, and Music. Oops, Zune died, scratch music. Windows Store isn’t doing so well, either. Surface is kind of meh–I don’t know anyone who would choose a Surface over a Samsung or Apple tablet. Actually, toss phones into that same barrel. Why would anyone want a Windows Phone? (Possibly Microsoft employees who leave it on their desk while keeping the iPhone in their pocket). Continue reading

Ohio Schools Should Teach Manners

I moved to central Ohio in 2012 for family reasons. When we first got here, I marveled at the beautiful trees and seasons. Coming from Phoenix where there are two seasons: hot and hotter. Fall was beautiful with all the multi-colored leaves.

Then I started to meet people here.

I would have been fine if I’d just minded my own business, but instead I decided to start meeting new people, try to make new friends here. Boy was that a mistake!

It is now 2015, and I have logged 3 1/2 years here. I thought I was losing my mind, that I had a mental illness. Seriously! But, I started swapping notes with others who relocated to the midwest, and it turns out I’m not crazy! Continue reading

Review: To Sail Beyond the Sunset

To Sail Beyond the SunsetTo Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a sequel to The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, and I could not bring myself to read beyond the first two chapters, as was also the case with The Number of the Beast. I did manage to finish Cat, but Number was a DNF like this one. Not because Cat was much different in writing style or content; it just started off better than the other two before getting into the “same tired old rhetoric” (I’ll call it STOR). Continue reading

Review: The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

The Cat Who Walks Through WallsThe Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls get a very generous 3 stars due to the cute little kitten (“blurp!”), otherwise it’s a 2-star novel with a nonsensical plot. I just don’t know where to start, how to summarize it.

This was Heinlein’s 2nd to last novel and I cannot recommend it to anyone but a current RAH fan. There are no new ideas here and hardly any new characters, either. It doesn’t even benefit from being bizarre the way Greg Bear is, occasionally, where the strangeness itself is compelling.

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Why Not Decimeters?

Americans are obsessed with millimeters. We use the term and measurement almost exclusively when discussing anything technical, from car suspension to computers. Occasionally, you’ll come across a rare mention of centimeter, but only as a vaguely confusion “little inch.”

Really, there’s nothing very complicated about the metric system, folks. Americans are–in typical fashion–bipolar about it. We acknowledge that it’s superior to the old British measurements (inches, yards) but quickly shift to speaking metric when falling down into the sub-inch region. Miles are accepted and still demanded, but when you go beyond the 100-mile mark the term changes to… more miles.

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What If I Were A Millennial?

The Millennial Generation (also known as Millennials or Generation Y or Echo Boomers) is defined as those people born from the late 80s to early 2000s. (source). The term was coined by Strauss and Howe, initially to describe toddlers born in 1982 who would graduate from high school in 2000.

The exact dates are not important, but the general consensus is that this generation was born between 1980 add 1995. I’m no sociologist, but I believe a generation covers a period of about 20 years, from a philosophical, relational perspective. Outside of those years, one cannot relate to the experiences of that generation at all–which is ultimately what makes them a group. A better definition might be: those kids who entered adulthood during the 2000s decade.

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