James R. Strickland, Author
News (RSS), and Book Reviews(RSS) .

10/09/2016 04:16pm Book Review

City on Fire (Metropolitan, #2) Book Cover image

City on Fire (Metropolitan, #2) - Five stars.

The sequel to Metropolitan, this novel's not about the revolution. It's about the messy business of consolidating power after the revolution, and the compromises that pure-hearted revolutionaries don't have to make until the shooting is done. Easily as good as Metropolitan. Maybe better.

10/06/2016 09:18pm Book Review

Metropolitan (Metropolitan, #1) Book Cover image

Metropolitan (Metropolitan, #1) - Five stars.

Magic is tough to do. It's even tougher to do well. What Williams has done in this book is amazing. He's taken magic and made it a public utility, made it coherent, made it (almost) make sense, without diminishing the wonder. This is the backbone he built Metropolitan on. Great characters, and the arc on which the main character changes makes sense every step of the way, even though the rest of us can see the compromises she's making with what she believes. A good read. Highly recommended.

09/29/2016 12:48pm Blog Entry

Brass and Steel: Inferno is here.

I got word from Amazon this morning that Brass and Steel: Inferno is available in both formats: DRM-Free Kindle and DRM free paperback.

It's 1895. Business is good.

Out in the wild part of the country; where the wave of post-war prosperity washes up on the dust of the Old West; a million dollars worth of silver has gone missing. It's a routine case for Marshal Dante Blackmore. But there's nothing routine about Perdition, nor the mine, nor especially about Inferno, a mystical club that rises like a shining idol into the bloody sky. Blackmore will have to risk all the humanity he has left to unravel the case, find out the truth behind the Doppelgänger war, and his own dark secrets.

I've been saying for a long time that my short story Brass and Steel, originally published in Science Fiction Trails magazine had enough implicit story to be an entire novel, perhaps a trilogy. This is that novel. My first novel-length foray into Steampunk, it tells the story of a town locked in the final conflict of a long-dead war; of the man whose job it is to solve a crime there; and the hornet's nest he kicks over in the process. Very, very little is as it seems, not least of which Dante Blackmore, the hero of the story. It's finally in print, wrapped in cover art by the always awesome Richard Bartrop.

09/28/2016 05:27pm Blog Entry

Inferno is Coming

08/08/2016 03:57pm Blog Entry

Tip for Apple Airport users:

07/14/2016 06:44pm Blog Entry

Junk Box Arduino - updates in my website

I just updated the website to list Junk Box Arduino. The cover price is $34.99, although as usual from Amazon, you never pay full list. Also, I noticed something in the book. If you buy the hardcopy, which quite a nice book, by the way, you can get the ebook for $5.00.  Full details on the last page of the physical book, or on the website it points you at, which is here: http://www.apress.com/companion. Cool. I didn't know about that.


07/14/2016 12:21am Blog Entry

Remember that technical book I was writing?

So I got an email from my publisher today. My review copies of Junk Box Arduino: Ten Projects in Upcycled Electronics are on the way.  Hokey smokes, I've got a new book in print. :) Apress seems to be spreading the word far and wide too, There are even (allegedly) torrents of it. While that's bread off my table, still, I've never had a project big enough that anyone's stolen it before. I'm back in the saddle, hanging on for the ride.

Of course, this means my part in this project is pretty much done, so I've been tinkering with some new ideas for the next book. Presently leaning toward programmable logic - start with TTLs and work my way up (perhaps) to FPGAs. Here's what I want to be able to do next. I want to build a computer, from scratch. Not from boards sourced in China. I've done that. Not from boards sourced in Oregon, and parts sourced from everywhere and solder. I've done that. I'm still doing that, and it's still fun. But I want to design one myself. I'd like it to have ICs that don't require a microscope to work with, but that's really impossible once we get to the FPGA world. They're creatures of the modern era, and thus, SMD. I don't know how this project is going to look yet, whether it will be a breadboard monstrosity (the current model) or stripboard or perfboard, or even wire-wrap (probably not.).  If I make good on my FPGA threat, it might wind up designed and built inside a single pre-made board, although that smacks of magic again, and I really don't like treating electronics like magic.

Anyway. Book in print good. Review copies coming.  I have a list of people I've promised review copies to, so expect to hear from me soon.



PS: the book link is here: https://www.amazon.com/Junk-Box-Arduino-Projects-Electronics/dp/1484214269

06/04/2016 09:50pm Blog Entry

Replace Chrome App Launcher in Xubuntu Linux

So Google has announced that the Chrome App Launcher isn't cool enough, and it's being discontinued. Since I was one of the eight people who actually used it, I was a little annoyed by this, so I set out to replace it with a plain old launcher.

First, kick off Chrome, right-click on the bookmark bar, and tick "show apps shortcut." You need this.

Next, go ahead and delete the Chrome App Launcher from the usual panel.

Now right-click on your panel where all your other launchers are (yes, I came from the Mac world and my panel #1 at the bottom of my screen looks remarkably dock-like,) click panel, add new items, and select Launcher. Then click on Add.

Right-click your new launcher and select "properties."  Click the plus button to add new items to the launcher. Search for Chrome first, and add it. So long as Chrome remains the first item in the list, the icon will remain Chrome, and that's really what we want.

From your Chrome window, click the apps shortcut at the far left of your bookmarks bar. This will list all your apps.

Right-click on each chrome app and select create shortcut. You can put them in your applications menu if you want to, but the one that's most important is a desktop shortcut. Do all the apps you have.

Select all the google app shortcuts on your desktop and drag them to the Chrome launcher properties window. Then close the properties window. You can delete the shortcuts off your desktop, too.

That's all there is to it.  Now, if you click-and-hold the icon, or click on the little up-arrow beside it, you'll get the menu. Click on one of those, and Chrome will launch with your app running. If you just click on the icon itself, you get Chrome.

Now I just have to figure out how to make this happen in Raspbian, although at the speed Chromium for Raspbian is updated, I should have another decade before Chromium launcher goes away.


Looking Glass and Irreconcilable differences are, at last, on Createspace in dead tree editions. Yay! I'm back in the printed book business. :)


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