|By Brandon Watson||
|January 2, 2013 09:06 AM EST||
Since moving over to Amazon, I have been reading quite a bit more than I have been blogging. There’s good and bad to that, but the upside is that I have discovered many new authors, explored many new ideas, and have a seemingly endless supply of suggestions to the inquiry “what should I read next?” During 2012 I did a great deal of reading, but also took advantage of Audible on my phone and Fire HD for my commutes to listen to some great books as well. Here’s my 2012 reading list, approximately in the order completed during the year. The grand total came out to 48 books inclusive of novels, graphic novels and audio books. I put down 2 titles that I couldn’t finish.
|Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Quick Review: Nice throwback to pop culture and video games, but ultimately the story labored under the weight of a lack of a clear focus. This felt like a child’s version of Reamde by Neal Stephenson.
|Title: Wool – Book 1
Rating: 3/5 stars
Quick Review: This book came recommended to me repeatedly on Amazon. The first one was interesting, but…
|Title: The Mote in God’s Eye
Author: Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Quick Review: I did not grow up reading Niven or Pournelle, and discovered Pournelle via his many appearances on TWiT. The story started very well, and captured my interest. Once they were down on the planet surface (2/3 of the way through the book), the pacing and story telling fell apart. I was disappointed with how hard it was to finish the book, but again, given the date of publishing, I give them both a huge nod, and look forward to starting Lucifer’s Hammer this year.
|Title: The Blade Itself
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Rating: 4/5 stars
Quick Review: I had never heard of Abercrombie before hearing his name used on the Sword and Laser podcast. I picked up this book and loved it. It’s a bit long, which is one reason it didn’t rate higher. Than and the strange side love story. The ending was unexpected and pretty awesome, and I look forward to reading book 2 – Before They Are Hanged – this year, as well as starting Red Country.
|Title: After Friday Night Lights
Author: Buzz Bissinger
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Quick Review: Great follow up to the original story. Whenever I read historical retellings, I always wonder what became of those involved. This is a harsh look at life after football for a fallen star with minimal life skills as a result of the high school football machine.
|Title: Love Yourself
Author: Kamal Ravikant
Rating: 1/5/5 stars
Quick Review: I found this title via a blog post, and it was cheap enough that I decided to hear why Tim Ferris thought so much of the title. Given my disdain for Ferris as an author and a self promoter, I should have known better. Shame on me I guess.
|Title: Roadside Picnic
Author: Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Quick Review: Also discovered via the Sword and Laser podcast. What an incredible premise for a story, and I loved it. There is no doubt in my mind that the translation loses something from the native Russian. There were sequences where I could hear the authors voice and I heard Russian inflections in my head. Great story. Some things were a little hard to parse, and I resorted to a wiki page to make sure I was interpreting certain events correctly. The only real issue is the ending which was just…odd. Not Stephen King bad, just odd.
|Title: Kill Decision
Author: Daniel Suarez
Rating: 4/5 stars
Quick Review: The story premise was an interesting one, but this was not as strong an effort as Daemon or Freedom. Very unique and fresh ideas, but it felt like this one relied too much on technological whiz bangery than veering off into the “not there yet” level of technology to allow for a bit of escapism in the story. It almost felt like Suarez was ready to be there by your side as you finished every chapter to say “heh? uh? pretty cool right??”
|Title: Justice League Dark
Author: Peter Milligan, Mikel Janin, Ryan Sook
Rating: 1.5/5 stars
Quick Review: Again, not a big DC Universe guy, but this one failed to capture my interest in any meaningful way. I finished it, but I can’t tell you why.
|Title: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Author: Jack Weatherford
Rating: 4/5 stars
Quick Review: I got sucked into the history of Genghis Khan through the fictionalized accounts of his life by Conn Iggulden, starting with Genghis: Birth of an Empire. The historical fiction was nice, but this was a very detailed, and historically accurate, recount of the life of Genghis. You can tell that there was tons of research effort which went into this title.
|Title: Old Man’s War
Author: John Scalzi
Rating: 4/5 stars
Quick Review: I keep hearing Scalzi’s name. He seems to be everywhere these days. While I slog through Red Shirts, I wanted to give Scalzi a chance at pre-redemption. This story has done quite a bit more to capture my attention and interest than he has done thus far with Red Shirts. I appreciate that he attempts to tackle challenging social issues combined with a post-industrial neo-colonialism.
Author: Brian K. Vaughn, Fiona Staples
Rating: 4/5 stars
Quick Review: After reading Y: The Last Man, I eagerly awaited a next opportunity to read anything from Vaughn. If you haven’t read that whole series, stop what you are doing right now and order it. It’s great story telling with a beginning a middle and an end. Something Robert Kirkman could learn. Pride of Badhdad left me wanting in a major way, so when I heard about Saga, I was hoping for the best. The first trade paperback was interesting and compelling, and I await the opportunity to read book 2.
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Quick Review: I loved the book Seabiscut when it came out. The story came alive, and Laura Hillenbrand demonstrated her talents for constructing a narrative of past events, allowing the reader to relive them as if they were there. She continued this with Unbroken, an amazing tale of survival and hardship of a WWII bomber crew. Simply incredible.
|Title: Unintended Consequences
Author: Edward Conard
Rating: 3/5 stars
Quick Review: An ultimately forgettable economics book which tries to follow in the footsteps blazed by Freakanomics. Maybe it’s because my schooling and work background makes the content of the book a bit pedestrian, but I wasn’t challenged by the content. Unlike The Big Short by Lewis, it lacks characters upon which the story is built, which made covering a known corpus of content all the more interesting because of the players involved.
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Nov. 29, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 260
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Nov. 29, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 491
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Nov. 29, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 739
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Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 551
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Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 372
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 459
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 483
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 376
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 595
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 338
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 422
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 436
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 28, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 435
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 479
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 342
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 556
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 410
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:15 AM EST Reads: 417
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 517