arkadi cloud

tech, teaching, and books

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan

I usually read before bed, but reading this before going to sleep was a mistake. I did not sleep well. The book is about a predator, that kills random people, for no reason than pleasure. This person was pure evil. On the other hand, it was hard not to have just a little respect for his single-minded dedication to killing. The lengths he went to in preparing 'kill kits' in states all over the US, his circuitous travel routes, and his brazenness in attacking people in broad daylight.


The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868)

This novel is generally regarded by most to be the first detective story and to have established many of the detective literary devices. The Wikipedia page about this book is an interesting document in of itself to find out more about the history and literary significance of this novel.


Cutting back on Social Media; My Experiment

spend your time like you spend your money

On a whim, I tried an experiment, I stopped checking my social media, Mastodon, for about 13 days. Why? The better question is why not?

So, how was it?

It was great. I already use social media far less than other people in my estimation. I don't even use an app for it, so I have zero notifications for it already.

I didn't miss it. Sometimes, I would have the itch to take a quick look and see what's happening but I didn't succumb. I changed that habit into checking some news using my RSS reader.

What did I do the past 13 days?

  • Installed Leed (RSS reader) on Yunohost; now I can keep up to date on all my HK and Taiwan news very efficiently.
  • Unfollowed all those HK/Taiwan news sources on FB so remove impetus to check that for news
  • Setup NES/SNES emulator on my media server
  • Fiddled with my FriendlyElec Nano Pi R1
  • Read a lot more
  • Blogged a lot more
  • Reflected on how much time I 'wasted' on social media
  • Was more present in my interactions with family; I never had posts I read on my mind or wondered if people had responded to me
  • Lots of other little things I can't remember...

Now I wonder, do I really even 'need' social media?

No. I'll still keep it around as a news source, but I certainly don't need it in my day-to-day life.


  • Could you go cold-turkey on social media for 10+ days?
  • How did it go?
  • What did you learn?

Follow this blog on Mastodon to comment:

Historium by Richard Wilkinson (Illustrator), Jo Nelson

(Welcome to the Museum Series)

One of the many perks of being a parent is getting to read kids books without book snobs looking down on you. Also, I buy it for them, but also can enjoy it too. So the key to buying books for your kids is to buy books you enjoy. Yes they are 'for' your kids, but why can't they be for both of you, right?

Now this is one of those 'large format' big books. It's published by the publisher BIG PICTURE PRESS. It's gorgeous. The fonts used for the titles are beautiful. The layout is great. The illustrations of museum objects are beautiful. The size is another factor – when I pick it up I feel I'm transported into the museum full of special things.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Despite all the hype, a very powerful story of a black boy caught up in forces outside of his control in the early 1960s. The powerful twist at the end is a pretty effective gut punch too.

I grew up in a very multicultural area in Canada so reading these stories of cities segregated for Blacks and Whites seem like science fiction to me. I still enjoy learning about this chapter of America through these stories though, as they help give me a historical context to understand a bit better the tensions that they're still having today.

If you skipped out on Whitehead's excellent “The Underground Railroad” because you've read enough about the railroad in school, try this one. It's only 224 pages long and is a very easy read. At it's heart, it's a story about two boys who are just trying to figure out how the world really works, and to find a way to survive.

PS the book cover is incredible too!

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #90 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #JimCrow #racism #ColsonWhitehead #USA

Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan, Ken Liu (translator)

I discovered Qiufan's work in Ken Liu's sci-fi anthology, Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. I've been turned onto Chinese sci-fi ever since. I was enthralled by Liu Cixin's “Three Body Problem” series. I devoured Liu's 2nd Chinese sci-fi anthology too, Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation. I guess living in a repressive, authoritarian regime produces good sci-fi?

But I digress, this novel Waste Tide is a great novel. It's about set in the not-too-distant-future where Silicon Isle (somewhere in China) is a e-waste hell hole. Migrant workers, 'waste people', move there to make their fortunes by sorting the e-waste. They eek out a living, quickly succumbing to illness and death, while the 'clans', comprised of locals, reap the vast rewards. The conflict in the novel is an American recycling company that is looking to help modernize the e-waste recycling program in Silicon Isle. This would upset the balance of power with the 'clans' of course. Mixed in there is a bit of mysticism/magic with VR headsets and some other things I won't spoil for you.



Blog written by (Mastodon)

An ex-pat living in Taiwan with his family.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

This graphic novel is quite different from her Smile series. The Smile series is an auto-biographical telling of her childhood, while this Drama story is about a high school girl named Callie who's a set designer in the Drama club.

The author still has the same beautiful drawing style in this book, but the story didn't feel as 'real'. I didn't get pulled into the story as much as the Smile series: Smile & Sisters.

I was reading this to my 5 year old daughter so the themes of this book: crushes, gay friend, prom didn't really appeal to us.

Rating: ★★ Book #88 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

#Books #BookReview #RainaTelgemeier #GraphicNovel #YA

Troubleshooting: Epicyon

Tried setting up Epicyon, an ActivityPub server, that federates with Mastodon on my Yunohost server at home.

I followed directions from:

I can't sign in there to post my issue. I'm not sure if this is a configuration issue on my end or a bug.

Below I have pasted the error messages I got.


The Road to Digital Self-Sufficiency

Self-hosting the Digital Services of my Life

Mission Walking the long and difficult road of trying to self-host the digital services that I use in my day-to-day life.

Why? When you're using a free product, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

If you host the service on your own server you can be sure that your data isn't being harvested/sold to 3rd parties, and you are in control of your own data security & privacy. The person I trust the most with my sensitive data is myself.

Once I am successful in getting services self-hosted for myself, I will help family & friends to self-host too, or use services on my server.

So how am I doing? Am I self-hosting the services I use?