Just finished watching Ender’s Game. As of this writing, it has IMDB rating 6.7, and I think it is slightly under-rated.
If you love Sci-Fi movies, this one is a definite “should watch”. I’m not sure if it has much “watching again later” value, but for one evening it is very good. The story holds well together, has a good (though noticeably compressed) pace, and proceeds in a fairly expected way. Overall, I liked how this movie was made. The music also blended in organically.
Some share of the reviewers claim that watching this movie does not spoil reading the book after the movie. Some even go as far as to claim that this entire 2-hour movie can be deemed a “trailer” to the book. I had also seen disgruntled reviews of people comparing the movie to the book and complaining about the changes in the movie, and timeline compression. Well, compression was noticeable, but without it the movie would probably be boring. Also, not having read the book, I believe that the changes were necessary to make this movie hold together better. Honest film adaptations of the books are not necessarily good – these are different media, after all. Moreover, if a movie incites interest to read the book (and Ender’s game did!) – this is only for the better. Especially if a movie is like a trailer to the book
About 2 years ago I had already reviewed some parallel (and not) compressing utilities, settling at that time on pbzip2 – it scales quasi-linearly with the number of CPUs/cores, stores compressed data in relatively small 900k blocks, is fast, and has good compression ratio. pbzip2 was (and still is) a very good choice.
Yesterday I got somewhat distracted, and thus found lbzip2 -
an independent, multi-threaded implementation of bzip2. It is commonly the fastest SMP (and uniprocessor) bzip2 compressor and decompressor
- as it says in the Debian package description. Is it really “commonly the fastest” one? How does it compare to pbzip2? Should I use lbzip2 instead of pbzip2?
This minor distraction had grown into a full-scale web-search and comparison, adding to the mix plzip (a parallel version of lzip), xz, and lrzip. After reading thousands of characters, all of these were put to a simple test: compressing an about 2 gigabyte FASTQ file with default options.
All the external links and benchmarks, as well as my own mini-benchmark results, are provided below.
The conclusion is that out of all the tested compressors lbzip2 is indeed the best one (for my practical use). It is only slightly better than the trusty pbzip2, which takes the second place. All the other compressors performed so poorly, that they do not get any place in my practical rating…
I have recently realized that my planning habits are quite similar to what The Secret Weapon promotes. However, my planning is not as elaborate and detailed/structured as TSW, and I am using several tools:
Google Keep, an awesome note-taking and to-do lists application with a really good web-interface, and free;
Trello, convenient lists/projects/tasks management platform (especially for group work), and free;
Google Calendar, the de facto calendar standard for Android phones, and free;
In an effort to use less tools, and also to try some of the features of TSW, I’ve performed a brief search for GTD/TSW-compatible Android apps.
TSW website is built around the Evernote app. However, I am not sure if this would be a good solution for me, as I have been already using Evernote since several years for longer-term note-keeping, and thus already have a bunch of notepads, notes, and tags there. Moreover, Evernote’s website mentions something about “offline notes” in the Premium (non-free) tier for mobile apps; this hints at the requirement to have internet connectivity to be able to work with TSW+Evernote efficiently through the day.
Oh, before I forget: all the 4 tools that I am using have their purpose, with overlap between Keep and Trello. My A5 format paper planner (weekview compact 2015) is not a simple weekly planner; it has a structure that stimulates goal-oriented planning. More specifically, it provides means to plan: Read the rest of this entry »