Review: The Running of the Tyrannosaurs

The Running of the Tyrannosaurs
The Running of the Tyrannosaurs by Stant Litore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stant did it again… The story is so tightly written that anything about it would be tantamount to spoilers, so I will just stay saying that I was blown away.

Just the right length to fill an extended lunch break, and just the right content to give you things to think about for the next hours. Let me just cite his dedicatation, “for the young women of this generation: no matter what a magazine cover may tell you, you are each more beautiful already than you know”. I can only stand amazed at the time and thoughts that must have went in the story.

Thank you Stant. Thank you so much.

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Review: Ahriman: Sorcerer

Ahriman: Sorcerer
Ahriman: Sorcerer by John French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another amazing book that goes over and beyond the usual bolter porn most Warhammer stories devolve into, instead showing Ahriman scheming and manipulating the mightiest of people over hundreds of years, just to… but that would be spoiling 🙂

By the way, this is my book #150 for 2014, fulfilling this years Reading Challenge with three weeks to spare 🙂

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My Java library for OpenCage Data has been discovered

Over the last six weeks or so, I was writing a frontend to the nice geocoding service at with the sources being stored at github.

As it always is the case, I never got around to really polishing the library and do a proper release. Imagine my surprise when I saw a post on the opencage data blog and a tweet mentioning me and my library.

Seems like I really have to do a proper release now, but only after my summer vacation… No coding allowed while visiting the relatives 🙂


Review: I, Zombie

I, Zombie
I, Zombie by Hugh Howey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine being in a coma. On a hospital bed, unable to move in any way you would want to. Unable to show the people around you that you are mind still aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Now imagine your body I not on that hospital bed but stumbling on the streets, following that smell of humans alive. Of BRAAAAAAAAAAINS.

Imagine being locked up in a body which pulls intestines from another human, bites pieces of their bodies off, which is at the same time shitting all that human meat out and I crawling with maggots which grow inside your body…

Imagine all that, described from the points of view of a dozen inmates locked up in their former bodies and minds…

And then try to sleep peacefully at night. That’s the powerful prose of Hugh Howey, which for this tale would deserve six stars if I could give them.

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Review: Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this if you like a bit of apocalyptic SCIENCE to go with your post-apocalyptic fiction 🙂

Instead of the run-of-the-mill “Oh my god, we’re gonna die in the next fifty years” essays, Annalee Newitz discusses in a very solid and scientific manner how many times in the history of our planet, life went through near-extinction events and flourished again. She also shows how our entire recorded history is nothing more than a blink of the eye compared to all the time earlier non-sentient species existed on our planet.

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Review: Vengeful Spirit

Vengeful Spirit
Vengeful Spirit by Graham McNeill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In a very refreshing change from other Black Library books, Vengeful Spirit actually has some traces of science fiction in it. Battles both in space and on the ground are well described, and for the first time, I did not have the feeling that the only use of space ships is to get Marines as fast as possible into hand-to-hand distance.

Also, even Space Marines can die in their dozens when fighting in the general vicinity of Titans, the description of which cuts those transhumans down to a bit more manageable scale.

Overall, well worth the admittedly steep price Black Library is asking for this volume.

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Review: Brotherhood of the Storm

Brotherhood of the Storm
Brotherhood of the Storm by Chris Wraight

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent novella which explains the beginnings and style of the White Scars. While not as long as some other books of the Horus Heresy, the story itself gains much from concentrating more on characters and less on bolter-porn..

Besides, for those slightly tired of faux-latin “Gothic” phrases, the old-turkish and mongol words here and there give a nice flair to the Scars… For this alone, they might become one of my favourite chapters 🙂

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Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


all-caps-words aside, this is easily the best hard-scifi book I have read in the last five years or more. Except of the beginning assumption that humanity somehow convinces itself to send humans to Mars, everything is so very plausible. Watneys speech / log entries have just the amount of black humour I encounter very often when one of our projects goes south.

I could gush more and more about this book, but other reviewers already have done so. Suffice to say that it cost be two consecutive days worth of sleep just so I would know what happens at the end.

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RoboGuice – Pitfall – RuntimeException on Activities

Last weekend, I started developing a application to sync OpenStreetMap contacts into my Android devices.

Wanting to avoid boilerplate code, and to experiment a little with Dependency Injection in Android, i based my work on RoboGuice. I think I followed all the example code, but my activities would simply crash with a RuntimeException on startup.

Since finding the root cause of this problem was not as trivial as I wished it to be, I decided to write this up as an article for myself and of course for all the other Android developers out there who don’t want to waste time hunting this issue when they could be gold-plating their apps 🙂

To cut to the core of the problem: If your activity is throwing this:

E/AndroidRuntime( 246): Uncaught handler: thread main exiting due to uncaught exception
E/AndroidRuntime( 246): java.lang.RuntimeException: Unable to start activity
ComponentInfo{com.gurkensalat.osm.osmsync/com.gurkensalat.osm.osmsync.HelloAndroidActivity}: java.lang.ClassCastException:
E/AndroidRuntime( 246): at

maybe you need to declare your actual application class type in AndroidManifest.xml:

<application android:icon="@drawable/icon"

All-New Nook – Reader with eInk display running Android

Using my Desire and S II to read books on lunch breaks can become pretty addictive 🙂

The only bad thing is that reading on an eInk display can become pretty addictive as well, but my previous readers had either no wireless capability or an useless operating system.

So, one day while reading through my blogs, suddenly I stumbled on this little wonder device… smallish form factor, useful operating system and an eInk display… I was hooked from the first day on 🙂

Actually ordering this thing and getting it to germany was a little adventure in itself, but in the end, I have a reader that is very close to my dream device… Now, if only Aldiko could synchronize its bookmarks between devices 🙂