|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.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
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There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
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SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in high-performance, high-efficiency server, storage technology and green computing, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and Embedded Systems worldwide. Supermi...
Oct. 13, 2015 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 181
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, will introduce the technologies required for implementing these ideas and some early experiments performed in the Kurento open source software community in areas ...
Oct. 13, 2015 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 849
Electric power utilities face relentless pressure on their financial performance, and reducing distribution grid losses is one of the last untapped opportunities to meet their business goals. Combining IoT-enabled sensors and cloud-based data analytics, utilities now are able to find, quantify and reduce losses faster – and with a smaller IT footprint. Solutions exist using Internet-enabled sensors deployed temporarily at strategic locations within the distribution grid to measure actual line loads.
Oct. 13, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 273
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 12, 2015 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 7,123
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, will explore the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Oct. 12, 2015 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 312
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Oct. 12, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 273
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Oct. 12, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 262
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Oct. 12, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,225
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in 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 change in personal an...
Oct. 12, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 192
WebRTC converts the entire network into a ubiquitous communications cloud thereby connecting anytime, anywhere through any point. In his session at WebRTC Summit,, Mark Castleman, EIR at Bell Labs and Head of Future X Labs, will discuss how the transformational nature of communications is achieved through the democratizing force of WebRTC. WebRTC is doing for voice what HTML did for web content.
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,489
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, will keynote at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 12, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 243
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Oct. 12, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 692
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....
Oct. 12, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 335
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi's VP Business Development and Engineering, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving this change including privacy controls, data transparency and integration of real time context w...
Oct. 12, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 290
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Oct. 12, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 329
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of at least three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the backend big-data service, and the mobile application for the end user's controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target - this makes the integration of these separate pipelines and the coordination of software upd...
Oct. 12, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 405
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll share tips on how to speed up business initiatives, harness Big Data and remain one step ahead by apply...
Oct. 12, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 739
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Oct. 12, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,009