Review: Going Zero
14 May 2024 | 6:39 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I simply could not put down. “Going Zero” by Anthony McCarten (German edition) managed that. The story is about an experiment where CIA/FBA/NSA cooperate with a Facebook-like company called “WorldShare” in order to see if that company with some of the resources of these agencies can manage to track down 10 volunteers (the Zeros) within a month. If one of them is still out there after that, they will get 3 million USD. All of them have been selected in some way to represent people with various skill levels, from cybersecurity experts to those who might know only little about the surveillance capability of the industry and government. All Zeros have their own reasons to participate in that test but one of them is a bit more special…

The story is basically 100% action with the plot jumping between the headquarters of Fusion (the name of the joint venture) and the Zeros. I think all the characters are interesting and most even likeable! It’s not quite clear until the end if there are even bad people in the game (spoiler: of course there are…) but especially that provides a lot of room for character development.

The author also tried to apply quite a lot of technology and I didn’t notice any obvious flaws that would hamper the plot 🙂 The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that most of the Zeros only get a rather short appearance. These other stories could have been much longer and the book would still not have been boring. Overall, this was a great read, though!

Review: River's of London: Winter's Gifts
3 March 2024 | 7:15 pm

To get a bit of a mix between all these technical books that I want to read this year I also picked up the latest novel in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Set at the shores of Lake Superior “Winter’s Gifts” is all about FBI special agent Kimberley Reynolds as she follows a call for support by retired agent Patrick Henderson who now lives in a fictional town in North Wisconsin near multiple Reservations. The place alone held the promise of lots of local mythology and folklore! It mostly lived up to that but felt a bit muted compared to the main instalments of the series.

I enjoyed it more than the other side-stories set in Germany but in places it just felt weird, especially when Kim’s inner monologue asked what Peter Grant would have done. In the early pages of the story there were hints about some magic experience inside the FBI but somehow it was hidden from their own agents working on the same matter. Other places made a few too many religious remarks that felt out of place given the history of the series. It was an entertaining read, though, just don’t expect too much and hope for the next Peter Grant adventure! When I read “Winter’s Gifts” it was just exactly what I needed, hence 4 stars 😄

Lamy acquired by Mitsubishi Pencil
28 February 2024 | 8:32 pm

What a weird day. First that weird stuff around Automattic and now this: Lamy just announced that they had been acquired by Mitsubishi Pencil. This came out of the blue for me and I don’t have any extreme feelings about it. I have tons of products from both companies (although probably more different ones from Lamy thanks to many Safaris and AL Stars etc.) and enjoy them all!

It just feels weird to see a company as old and widely known as Lamy to be acquired. This also means - as far as I can tell - that Kaweco is the last larger German fountain pen company that still has German owners (albeit the ownership there is also a bit strange ðŸĪŠ).

At this point, I’m mostly curious how it will turn out! Uni-ball has some awesome products on the rollerball and mechanical pencil front but I always liked the style of Lamy products! Just imagine a mechanical pencil with the inner workings of a Kuru Toga but in a Lamy cp1-like shell. Or even better: Uni-ball ink refills for the pico or xevo 😄 I can still dream 😉

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