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Roland Hess

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Click the link to enter a short-time giveaway on Amazon of my latest book. 10 copies are up for grabs!
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Matlacha Island in Florida in January. Awesome fishing/artists' community and a great break from Pittsburgh winter weather.

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Hi everyone!

For the past 1.5 years I’ve been working on a new writing project. It’s not a new Blender book (although I’m finally working with Taylor & Francis on getting a collaborator for a new edition of Blender Foundations! Yay!) — it’s a novel. Over the last decade, I’ve had a bunch of thoughts and experiences that relate to the philosophy and nature of information as it applies to human cognition and software development. I’ve also always been a fan of science fiction and fantasy, although recently I’ve been into the urban fantasy sub-genre.

I had a bunch of ideas kicking around about fiction, character, pacing, etc. and finally have put it to the test.

My new novel "Lincoln, Fox and the Bad Dog" is now live and available on Amazon. You can also get the first half of the book free here if you’re savvy with loading an .epub onto your reading device (links below).

The book is listed in the Paranormal & Urban Fantasy group on Amazon, but really it blends elements from that genre with Action and Horror, while at the same time exploring themes of how people operate in situations of information asymmetry, the biology/behavior loop, and the ways that external stimuli subtly influence our behaviors often without us noticing.

Here’s the blurb from the book cover:

"Lincoln Baker can’t do magic, but he’s figured out how it works. When he and his friends make a few bad decisions, they end up on the hit list of some very bad, very magical people. Now, along with the tech he’s built and a mysterious entity that seems to be following him, Lincoln needs to stay alive long enough to figure out what’s going on, take the fight to the people who are really in charge, and maybe enforce some order on the encroaching chaos. Computer systems based on magic, soul-eating creatures from beyond our plane of existence, deadly ancient artifacts and a metric, um, crap-ton of strangeness come together in this urban fantasy set in the Pittsburgh Neutral Territory.

Warnings: Language, Violence, Sexual Situations"

For the foreseeable future, I’ll be writing about writing, information, software development, and occasionally dogs, weapons and Pittsburgh, at

Go grab the free first half if you’re curious. If you know you like this kind of stuff already and found some value in my other books, then why not throw $2.99 at Amazon for the whole thing?

The whole thing:

The first half as an .epub (free!):

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I'm thinking about doing an update/revision to Blender Foundations, one of the best-selling Blender books evah. As I'm not a full-time Blender user any longer (I still use it for construction viz and some other things), I'm looking for a collaborator.

Are you good with Blender? Modeling, texturing, lighting, effects, animation? Can you write a bit? Send me a link to some stuff you've done, as well as a writing sample (tutorials are great, English only please). Send it to and put "Blender Foundations" in the subject line.


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The gorge at Waktins Glen, NT. D7200 + Nikon 35mm 1.8. I felt like I was on a Lord of the Rings set.

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Added photos to PRMS: The Sound of Music.
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My mini #OnePlus One review
or, Should You Get This Phone?

The Good
It looks nice. It's very fast (I've never once felt that things were lagging or that the UI was trying to catch up with me). Radios seem to do well. Battery life is great for my usage patterns: BT connection to Moto 360, AT&T LTE network, on wifi both at work and at home. I often plug the phone in at night with ~65% left! The texturing on the back (I have the black sandstone). Tap-to-wake and launch-to-camera. Capacitive buttons, as opposed to on-screen. The configurability!!!

The Different
It's not specific to the One, but the size is big enough that I can't reach across the phone with my thumb. This means that one-handed use is slightly limited. Also, I found that it threw my gesture-typing off with the default keyboard. I loaded Swiftkey, which has an option for a variable sized keyboard that you can dock at either side of the display, and that solved it.

The Bad
I was used to Bluetooth Trusted Device unlock when I was using my gen 1 Moto X with my Moto 360. The current software on the One does not support it. There is a nice workaround using the CM Profiles feature, but it won't work if you have a corporate policy on the phone the requires a lock (which I do). I'll have to wait for Cyanogen to get Lollipop up, at which time I'll get BTD unlock.

At least one of my apps isn't "allowed" on the One. Amazon Prime Music (I don't listen to a lot of music, so this suffices for me) isn't approved for use on the device. I'm not sure how many other apps this is a problem with, but it's a minor annoyance for me.

Overall, my experience has been very positive. When you figure in the price, I can only say that it's very, very positive. So, an extra "very."

The last little thing that bugs me is the uncertainty around the OS due to the apparent flakiness of the CM leadership. I'd hate to be stuck on this rev of CM forever or end up with OnePlus's home-grown Android because things went weird between them. As long as you're comfortable with that, and the things I mentioned above aren't deal breakers, I would recommend this phone. 

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