East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Christmas before time

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You guys know this has been a hard year for me and my brother. We lost our father in May and our lives shifted and rotated and changed. We had to face bureaucracy, expenses, problems. Solitude, sometimes.
We found ourselves broke and in a mortgaged house, lost at the bottom of a depressed rural area, with the economic crisis raging and no job in sight. And finally we faced hell and high water when the rivers flooded the countryside.
But we managed, and if the end of the tunnel is still a long way off, we keep going in the right direction.

And it’s not always bad news and hard work. Thanks to the Black Friday and associated things, we sort of celebrated Christmas one month earlier this year.

I landed an excellent offer on Amazon, and was able to buy a good professional condenser microphone and boom set for my brother. He is reviving his online radio, and this way he’ll be able to set up a professional home studio here in the sticks. The package was delivered in record time, and the thing works like a wonder.
Score one for the home team.


On his part, my brother followed my suggestions here on Karavansara and spent some quids on a Humble Bundle, buying me a big load of books.
This is a selection of titles from O’Reilly and Make Magazine, focusing on Do It Yourself technology. And apart from a book sub-titled “The art and science of Propane”, that scares me a little, there’s a lot of stuff that is really what I like.
lrgNot only books about general hands-on tech and macgyvering, but also two handbooks about environmental monitoring using the Arduino platform – environmental monitoring being one of my academical and professional fields – but also a wonderful book about steampunk and retrofuturism, called Vintage Tomorrows, that is both intriguing and promising for various future applications.
And an Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders that probably means I’ll finally be able to set up my telescope again, and do some stargazing.

In case you were interested, the Bundle is still available on the Humble Bundle website.
You can spend very little and make a tech geek in your life very happy.
The books come in pdf, epub and mobi format, and you also get a discount on a subscription to Make Magazine. And you also finance a charity, which is really good.
What else do you need?
Isn’t Christmas wonderful?

ADDENDUM: and just as I posted this piece, on my blog it started snowing. A true Frank Capra moment!


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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