Take nothing for granted. Don’t waste a moment feeling like you don’t have enough or comparing yourself to other people. Avoid the temptation to conflate your self-worth with your net-worth or your identity with your place in society. Because all of this is temporary. All of this is dependent on Fortune.

from The Daily Stoic email list.

I’m doing an anti-pattern on privacy for the this month, going full Google with email and browser. People who go to ProtonMail for privacy make me giggle given that over 1 billion people a month are using Gmail. Unless you’re just emailing other people using ProtonMail your email is being “scanned” by Google. Silly people.

Mission to Paris (Night Soldiers, #12) – a review 📚

I’m posting some old reviews I put up on Goodreads years ago. I wanted to have them on my own blog.

This was my first Alan Furst novel. I tried reading one before (Night Soldiers) and only was able to make it through a portion because it was, well, boring and not my thing. I kept reading good reviews of his novels though and decided to give the latest in the “Night Soldiers” series a go.

Good choice. Furst is a fantastic writer and one of the few (Stephen King and J. K. Rowling do the same) that I’ve read that writes in a such a way you get a clear vision in your mind of what he is writing about. You can actually see the scenes he’s painting with words.


Set on the eve of the start of World War II the book follows an actor, Frederic Stahl, on a trip to France to make a film for Paramount. One of the things that struck me about this novel is how great Furst is at generating emotion. The book is very good at giving a sense of foreboding over the coming war and fall of France. You get a very palpable sense of the storm that is coming to Europe. I always had a sense of unease while reading as if I was living in that time and experiencing things with Stahl.

Furst is also very good at dialog. It feels very authentic and real. I also found it interesting the heavy use of italics to help impart certain meaning and emotion to the words. I have not seen this used quite as heavily by other authors but it really gives a wonderful sense of the sub context going on under what is being said.

And the guy just has a way of turning a phrase. Here is an example:

They lay together on a deck chair, she in formal gown, he in tuxedo, the warmth of her body welcome on the chilly night, the soft weight of her breast, resting gently against him, a promise that wouldn’t be kept but a sweet promise just the same.

The one thing I didn’t like was the overuse of sexual situations in the story. I’m no prude but the guy goes a bit overboard with the descriptions. If I wanted a romance novel I’d read one. This stuff doesn’t belong in a period spy novel. I felt the same way about the “Foundation” series by Isaac Asimov. The first novels, written in the 1950’s, were pure hard sci-fi. The later novels had far too much sex and it just didn’t fit.

Mission to Paris was a good read. Enjoyable characters and fantastic writing. What isn’t there to like?

Silence is important

Came across this interesting (if old) article today on Pocket about silence. What I find amusing sometimes is when people do research into the obvious. It should be obvious to everyone that sometimes silence is necessary for healing, recovery, or just plain keeping our sanity.

This article felt so timely though because this year I’m volunteering again at a gymnastics meet soon and this year I’m prepared. Last year the whole idea of silence being necessary for us to be healthy came into sharp focus when I spent a whole weekend volunteering at the same gymnastics meet. 12 hour days of constant, loud, noise. Loud music, lots of people cheering, clapping, etc. It was a constant wall of noise. At one point I couldn’t take it anymore and went out to my car. I sat there in silence for 15 minutes and I was shocked at how refreshing it was. I was able to get through the rest of the day without losing it.

This year I’m planning on taking multiple breaks as part of the goal to keep myself healthy over that long weekend. Silence truly is golden!


Photo by Conor Luddy on Unsplash

Android leading the way to mobile, password-less logins

This was an interesting read on Wired. FIDO2 support on a huge platform like Android will hopefully get Apple off it’s butt for iOS support of this standard. I hope it also pushes a lot more websites to support U2F. It would go a long way to making the web a much safer place.

I have a YubiKey which is a fantastic security tool when used with websites that support U2F. Unfortunately Chrome is the only browser that fully supports it out of the box. Firefox 57+ also supports U2F but it is not turned on by default. Most unfortunate is the lack of websites that support U2F. TOTP is security theater. It’s much better than SMS-based codes but not by much as it’s still very easy to spoof someone into giving up the right code. You’re still better off just using strong passwords.