|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp 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. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
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Sep. 1, 2015 01:00 PM EDT
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Sep. 1, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 478
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Sep. 1, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 250
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Sep. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 323
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...
Sep. 1, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 675
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Sep. 1, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 292
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Sep. 1, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 242
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Sep. 1, 2015 09:00 AM EDT
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Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 169
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 181
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Sep. 1, 2015 08:00 AM EDT
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Sep. 1, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 467
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.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 381
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Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 429
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 203
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 560
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 493