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by: Bernard Teo






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Sun 10 Apr 2005

Books - Valerio Massimo Manfredi

Category : Commentary/manfredi.txt

Just one book recommendation before I go. I've discovered books by Valerio Massimo Manfredi.

I picked up "The Last Legion", not knowing what to expect, but I enjoyed it tremendously, and so I've started on his Alexander trilogy and, so far, it may not be as good, but it'll be with me on the flight.

I love reading history (a whole lot more than I enojoyed my engineering books). Novels like these help you feel how things could have been, and there are ideas that will make you think while you're being entertained.

But I really got to pack...

Do I or do I not bring my iBook. If I don't it'll be total radio silence for ten days. Let the mail pile up.

Posted at 4:03AM UTC | permalink

Shanghai

Category : Commentary/shanghai.txt

I've been shanghai'ed. By my wife and kid. Dragged off my work to Shanghai for a week. We're leaving in the afternoon and I've got my head still wrapped up in code.

I've realised that it's not quite so easy to make Postfix Enabler work remotely on a server. For a variety of reasons, it's turning out to be quite intricate. But the solution, if and when it does unveil itself, will need to be clean, simple, and precise. Otherwise, I can already see where and how it won't be reliable. Along the way, I've had an education on the subtleties of using quotes on Unix shell scripts.

By the way, I've got a version of Postfix Enabler that should work with Tiger. I re-wrote it in Objective-C, so I could get more control over the execution of the shell scripts and so that I could dream of making it work remotely. But it's not quite ready. Just found a bug.

Anyway, back to Shanghai. This is from the Lonely Planet guide, and I'm looking at this page :

"Whore of the Orient and Paris of the East; city of quick riches, ill-gotten gains and fortunes lost; the domains of socialites and swindlers, adventurers and drug runners, missionaries, gangsters and pimps, all owing more to Marlene Dietrich than Mao Zedong - Shanghai has a history so impregnated with myth that it's hard to decide whether it was once a paradise or an all-emcompassing evil."

One such history that I've quite enjoyed was "Shanghai" by Harriet Sergeant.

My wife would scoff that I read history books on China written by Westerners, Jonathan Spence & all - unlike her, who could read the sources. She's effectively bi-lingual while I'm hopelessly mono-lingual. I tell her that there's a historical precedent. The late medieaval Europeans emerging from their Dark Ages, recovered the works of their Greek intellectual forebears from the Arabic, the ascendent culture at that time, to which these have been translated and preserved, while their own lands fell into ruin at the fall of the Roman Empire. Like them, I feel we're emerging from our own dark ages. I'll have to make do with what I can find.

So to Shanghai, I go. Time to pack.

Posted at 3:38AM UTC | permalink


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