Monthly Archives October 2018

Give It Up, Part 1

Last time I asked what your least favorite piece of technology is. That’s a nice but sneakily misleading segue into this week’s topic. Here’s the question: If you had to give up one piece of technology, and you could choose which one, what would it be?

Actually, let me make that question a bit harder. If you had to give up one piece of technology that played an important role in your everyday life, and you had to choose which one, what would it be?

Woman talking on pay phone

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

See the difference? It’s easy to give up, say, the battery-powered drill you only use once in a while, so that doesn’t count. About a year ago, I gave up the anti-lock braking system (ABS) on my car...

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Damian and Mongoose Review

3-star rating

“Danny, if I find you’re a threat to my family, I’ll put a bullet between your eyes. Family is everything.”

“I understand that, Clyde. If I were in your position, I would say the same thing—and mean it.”

“You would; wouldn’t you?” He smiled as he studied me.

Those are the opening lines of Damian and Mongoose, Danny Williams’ memoir of his central role in taking down one of the most notorious spy rings ever to afflict the United States military. They promise a real-life spy thriller, better than anything John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, or Ken Follett could have dreamed up.

Unfortunately, the promise is not kept.

The reason is simple: Williams, who spent most of his Army career as a counter-intelligence agent, treats the memoir as if it were another debriefing wit...

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What Is Your LEAST Favorite Technology?

Last time I wrote about all the technology that is part of our lives and how we’ve come not only to rely on so much of it, but to get pleasure out of some of it. But while there are some things we enjoy or at least appreciate having, there are others….

Love/Hate Relationship

I think it’s fair to say that there are at least some pieces of technology in our lives that we have a love/hate relationship with, or love/appreciate having it around when we or others can use it for our benefit, but hate it when we or others use it in ways we don’t like, or it behaves in unpredictable or even hostile ways.

Hit Any Key to ContinueA family friend used to call his computer his “disputer.” We can all relate to that...

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Last time I started what will be a series on technology in our lives. I set the stage by equating so much of the technology we use without understanding how it works, and not being much worried about that in most cases, to magic.

So all right, we have these pieces of everyday magic all around us. Which ones are your favorites? When you think about it, there are so many to choose from. Here’s a list that isn’t even close to complete.

  • Desktop computers

    © Jossdim | Stock Free Images

  • Laptop computers
  • Tablet computers
  • Productivity programs for any of these (word processing, accounting, etc.)
  • Ordinary cell phones
  • Smartphones
  • Cable TV
  • Satellite TV
  • The internet generally
  • Other TV-like services (Hulu, Roku, etc.)
  • Digital video recorders
  • GoPro cameras
  • Video games and game consoles
  • Music stream...
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Critique Technique Table of Contents

Here’s a Table of Contents of all of the Critique Technique posts to make it easier to go directly to the post you want to read.

Introductory Posts

Part 1: Critique, Technique, and Procedure

Part 2: Series Overview

Reader Response

Part 3: How Do You Feel?

Part 4: Authorial Intentions and Tracking Your Own Responses

Beginnings and Endings

Part 5: Weak or Missing Hook

Part 6: The Wrong Beginning

Part 7: Scene and Chapter Endings

Part 8: Story Endings

Characterization

Part 9: Characters and Conflict

Part 10: Poor Characterization Updated!

Part 11: Lack of Character Development Updated!

Part 12: Showing and Telling in Character Development Updated!

Part 13: Timing the Reveal Updated!

Part 14: Out-of-Character Behavior Updated!

Part 15: Unclear Character Goals Updated!

Part 16: Unclear or Insuf...

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It’s a Magical World

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m writing this post on a computer. No, that’s not the secret. The secret is, I really have no idea how it does what it does. I know that when I press a key on my keyboard, a letter appears on the screen. And it’s always the right letter, unless I pressed the wrong key.

Image by Monkey Business Images. Used by permission. (That’s not me, by the way.)

I roll the trackball around with my thumb and the pointer zips across the screen. I know there are sensors that detect the reflections of the laser lights shining on the trackball to reveal its movement, and somehow, what they detect gets translated into commands to move the pointer. But how?

My smartphone takes still and video pictures, helps me keep track of my expenses, tells me the time and the ...

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If Genetic Engineering Could Cure Your Child, Would You Use It?

Last time, I wrote about how gene therapy is being used to fix certain kinds of errors in DNA, and so cure or significantly reduce certain kinds of cancers. I asked whether you would accept such a treatment for yourself.

It’s one thing to accept the risks that are associated with these still new and experimental treatments, but would you make that decision for a sick child—one of your children?

Little boy in hospital

© Suthisa Kaewkajang | Dreamstime.com

Current Treatments

I didn’t make a point of it last time, but two of the diseases for which this kind of gene therapy is now available, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and junctional epidermolysis bullosa (“butterfly skin”), are both childhood diseases...

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