Your roundup of tech, culture, and nostalgia for

February 27, 2024 // Web version //

TimeMachiner. Tech, culture, nostalgia. By Aaron Crocco
Inside Today's Issue:
Finishing Cristo

Read to the end for a post about boarding positions.

This past weekend I was traveling and found myself nose-deep in my Kindle. I am still reading The Count of Monte Cristo, which I've already dubbed "The longest book" because, well, it is.

It's 1200+ pages. It's over 110 chapters long. And I'm 98% done with it.

Back in June when I wrote about this endeavor, I estimated I would finish it last year. That didn't happen. Between life and other things occupying my free time, I did not read as much as I would've liked. As such, it's only now at the end of February / beginning of March that I'm reaching the final parts of this book.

I've never read Monte Cristo before and it's a fascinating story in both how revenge overtakes a person's mission in life and also fascinating in how a person could write a book that is so damn long. At times Dumas has me enthralled and in other chapters I'm bored as all get out. I've stuck with it because I want to read the whole book and not skim past parts I don't like. Plus, my luck I'll miss a key point in some of those chapters.

But my Kindle shows me at 98% left and about one hour & twenty two minutes of reading time remaining. That is one thing I do love about the Kindle. It learns your reading speed and gives you those metrics per chapter or for the whole book. It's an enormous help when I begin a chapter to know when I'll be at the next stopping point.

When I do finally reach the end and mark it as 'read' on Goodreads, The StoryGraph, and Hardcover (yes, I'm currently using 3 book tracking sites in my attempts to leave GoodReads), I'm going to first enjoy the accomplishment and then I may go "school required reading" style and watch the movie. I've seen there's a bunch of film adaptations of Monte Cristo so I have to figure out which will be entertaining, not six hours long, and most true to the source material.

One note I want to make is if you own any eReader or just want to read a book on your phone, consider Project Gutenberg to get classic and out-of-copyright books for free. It's criminal to pay for ebook versions of classics when they should be free. Project Gutenberg has over 70,000 public domain books available. And if that isn't enough, remember your library has ebooks for free; you simply need a library card.

Last year I completed only two books because of my choice to read this long book. This year, with the end coming in the next week or so, I'm excited to read something quick and short; say 300 pages? That's crazy-brief in my world these days.

If you love TimeMachiner, you should give Kyle’s Junk Drawer a look. Kyle's newsletter is a weekly roundup of recommended articles, Mastodon/Bluesky/Threads posts and videos on tech, entertainment & more. It's free every Sunday! Click here to visit Kyle.

Thanks for reading. Now, onto the rest of today's issue.

Old Timey TikTok
If I asked you to think of any movie or recording from the early 1900s you would likely think the same as me: something with a lot of grain or muffled sound. Then I came upon this post from Dave Rahardja over on Mastodon. These carbon microphones are incredible because you have @Samsonite1890 performing Five Foot Two on the banjo here in 2024 and yet it sounds perfectly like a recording a century ago. Originally developed in 1878 by David Hughes in England, the device used loosely packed carbon granules and the varying pressure exerted on the granules by the diaphragm from acoustic waves caused the resistance of the carbon to vary proportionally. This allowed a relatively accurate electrical reproduction of the sound signal. Hughes also coined the word microphone. While Thomas Edison and Emile Berliner also independently developed this technology, Hughes decided not to take out a patent; instead,…
Show Me This Story
Laid Off Guy Hides Undetected in Company Slack
The remote work era means companies are completely reliant on chat and communication apps. Slack and Microsoft Teams are the two big companies in this space. To me, Teams still feels like a terrible 'homework copying' by Microsoft to clone Slack but I'm not here to rant about that. What I'm here to write is how Gizmodo writer Tom McKay, laid off in 2022, was able to stay on the company's Slack instance for months undetected. How? By pretending to be the built-in Slackbot that is part of every instance. Emma Roth at The Verge has more. When it was his time to leave, McKay swapped out his existing profile picture for one that resembled an angrier version of Slackbot’s actual icon. He also changed his name to “Slackbot.” You can’t just change your name on Slack to “Slackbot,” by the way, as the service will tell you that name’s…
Show Me This Story
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