Fri, Jun 29, 2007

: Simple Genius

Author: David Baldacci

The strange thing about this book is that it takes a long time to get to the real plot. The first part of the book is about a woman struggling with some sort of psychological secrets; her boyfriend bails her out of trouble and gets her into a clinic. Then, to pay for her health care, the boyfriend has to get a freelance investigation job. Slowly I figured out that these two characters were supposed to be familiar to me from previous Balacci books. But since they weren’t, I found this part of the book confusing and pointless. The real plot is the investigation, which takes place at a government think tank where a scientist has been murdered. The murdered man’s daughter is the title character — a semi-autistic or “special” child who’s troubled but can do amazing math in her head. The investigator thinks she’s got a secret code in her head but can’t figure out how to access it. It’s all muddled and the action takes a long time to get going as nothing much happens until toward the end. The ending is even more convoluted and doesn’t really make much sense — stuff about rogue CIA agents running drugs, government conspiracies, and hidden treasure. Yeah, you read right: there’s hidden treasure through in the mix as well. Meanwhile the woman’s working through her psychological problems (and finds something to investigate at the psycho clinic while she’s there), and she ends up joining her partner for the final part of the book where things start to happen. Eventually we find out her psycological secrets, but the whole thing is bizarre and nothing really fits together: it’s like the plots of several books were put into a blender and this is what came out. There are some nice ideas and some aspects of the story were interesting, but the explanations are a letdown and the character development is too dependent upon you knowing them from previous books. Odd.

Topic: [/book]


: iPhone Mania

Today was “iDay” — the launch of the iPhone. If you haven’t heard of the iPhone, you truly must have been living under a rock. The nifty handheld device uneveiled by Steve Jobs last January caught the imagination of the world. It literally seemed like some piece of future technology sent back through time. Today it was finally released. I took photos of the lines at my local Apple Store and AT&T outlet — quite entertaining, though I didn’t understand the point of waiting in the rain all day. I went back in the evening and there was no line and plenty in stock. I picked up two, one for myself and one for my mom. I figured out a loophole to save $20 on the AT&T monthly fees by signing up onto my mom’s account via a family plan. Less voice minutes, but I don’t need many minutes. I just want the Internet features. Some people had activation problems, but because I’d gone to the AT&T store earlier in the day and had them pre-transfer my old phone number to my mom’s account, I was already an AT&T customer and the activation process just took minutes and my iPhone was working.

Quickly: this thing is breathtaking. The user interface is so fluid you have to see it and try it to believe it. The high resolution is greatly responsible as photos and icons look stunning, but also all the animations and text are crystal clear and completely smooth.

Topic: [/technology]