Trapped Like Carrots Under the Dome

I just finished Stephen King’s new novel Under the Dome. The immediate reaction might be, didn’t The Simpons’ Movie cover this same topic. Well, yes. But in the author’s note Mr. King claims to have been working on this story for quite a while and did not draw (much) inspiration from the Fox cartoon. Although some of the basic plot elements are very similar right down to the gun-toting lawman trouble. In the King novel the situation quickly devolves into a Lord of the Flies division in the characters into two camps.

King does not pull any punches. You know you are in for a rough ride when he starts the book off by slicing a poor unsuspecting groundhog in half. King introduces you to character after character in this small Maine town. You never know when a character you have just met is about to have their last page-turn. King dispatches each one in a poetic vignette of mayhem.

King seems to have a fascination with people loosing control of their bladder. It was distracting at some points. Every time you turned the page another character was peeing them selves. The language is foul in parts. If this ever becomes the Spielberg TV mini series that will have to go. Unlike some of King’s other books this story actually does try to build to a satisfactory explanation. The story lines all come together in the end and tie up fairly nicely. It’s hard to discuss anything that happens in the second half of this book without giving away spoilers.

If you a a fan of King books like The Stand or even the movie Maximum Overdrive you’ll probably like this book. If you like the TV show Jericho, they you’ll probably like this story too.

Tools We Use: ClickToFlash

When it comes to web browser plug-ins I generally try to avoid them. I have to admit that I have four installed in my Safari browser at the moment. There are many reasons to avoid using plug-ins. If you experience problems its is most likely caused by a plug-in. I actively uninstall plug-ins like Adobe Acrobat in favor of built-in viewers. When it comes to Flash, its hard to surf some web sites without Flash. There’s nothing worse than a web site that is all Flash or uses Flash for navigation. Flash is also used to track users with its own surreptitious cookie mechanism. So Flash is a necessary evil. That’s what makes ClickToFlash (Flash-blocking plug-in for Safari on Mac OS X) so valuable for Safari users. This $6 Donation-ware plug-in for Safari replaces Flash elements on the screen with a simple gray box. Clicking on the box will activate the Flash element.

The plug-in is smart about some web sites. You can configure it for example to “white-list” some web sites that you trust. You can tell it to play Flash that originates on that site while disabling banner ads that load from another site. You no longer need to worry about Flash animations jumping up in front of what you are trying to read.

It has additional settings for YouTube to force those videos to play in QuickTime instead of Flash. This even allows you to download those videos with a single click.

This plug-in makes it safe to use Flash in the wild.