Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Reading List

I had three reading goals:

Complete unfinished novel series.

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire
    1. DONE — A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) — George R.R. Martin
    2. DONE — A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2) — George R.R. Martin
    3. DONE — A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) — George R.R. Martin
    4. DONE — A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4) — George R.R. Martin
    5. DONE — A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5) — George R.R. Martin
  2. Wicked Years
    1. DONE — Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years, #1) — Gregory Maguire
    2. DONE — Son of a Witch (Wicked Years, #2) — Gregory Maguire
    3. NOT DONE — A Lion Among Men (Wicked Years, #3) — Gregory Maguire
  3. The Malazan Book of the Fallen
    1. DONE — Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2) — Steven Erikson
    2. DONE — Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3) — Steven Erikson
    3. DONE — House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) — Steven Erikson
    4. DONE — Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5) — Steven Erikson
    5. DONE — The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6) — Steven Erikson
    6. NOT DONE — Reaper’s Gale (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #7) — Steven Erikson
    7. NOT DONE — Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8) — Steven Erikson
    8. NOT DONE — Dust of Dreams (The Malazan Book Of The Fallen #9) — Steven Erikson
    9. NOT DONE — The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10) — Steven Erikson
  4. Barsoom
    1. DONE — A Princess of Mars — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    2. DONE — The Gods of Mars (Barsoom, #2) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    3. DONE — The Warlord of Mars (Barsoom, #3) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    4. DONE — Thuvia, Maid of Mars (Barsoom, #4) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    5. DONE — The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom, #5) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    6. DONE — The Master Mind of Mars (Barsoom, #6) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    7. DONE — A Fighting Man of Mars (Barsoom, #7) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    8. DONE — Swords of Mars (Barsoom, #8) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
    9. DONE — Synthetic Men of Mars (Barsoom #9) — Edgar Rice Burroughs
  5. Millennium
    1. DONE — The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millennium, #2) — Stieg Larsson
    2. DONE — The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium, #3) — Stieg Larsson
Total: 28. Done: 23. Failed.

American History and Decision Making

  1. DONE — Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist — Tyler Cowen
  2. DONE — The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business — Clayton M. Christensen
  3. DONE — The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth — Clayton M. Christensen
  4. DONE — Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis — Jimmy Carter
  5. DONE — The Federalist Papers — Alexander HamiltonJames MadisonJohn Jay
  6. DONE — 1776 — David McCullough
  7. DONE — All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis — Bethany McLeanJoe Nocera
  8. DONE — Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet — Jeffrey D. Sachs
  9. DONE — American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House — Jon Meacham
  10. DONE — At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA — George Tenet
Total: 10. Done: 10. Completed.

Science

  1. DONE — The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ is Wrong — David Shenk
  2. DONE — The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010 — Freeman DysonTim Folger
  3. DONE — The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe — Stephen Hawking
  4. DONE — The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves — W. Brian Arthur
  5. DONE — The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It  — Philip ZimbardoNikita Duncan
  6. DONE — Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life — Steven Johnson
  7. DONE — NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children — Po BronsonAshley Merryman
  8. DONE — The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World — Michael Pollan
  9. DONE — The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement — David Brooks
  10. DONE — What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today’s Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty — John Brockman
  11. DONE — The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design — Leonard Susskind
  12. DONE — A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down — Robert B. Laughlin
  13. DONE — Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking — D.Q. McInerny
Total: 13. Done: 13. Completed.

Not Your Oprah’s Book Club (FacebookGoodreads) selections:
(Facebook page for Athens book club)

  1. DONE — The House of Mirth — Edith Wharton
  2. DONE — Love is a Mix Tape — Rob Sheffield

Re-read to watch the movie:

  1. DONE — The Hobbit — J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. DONE  One Shot (Jack Reacher, #9) — Lee Child

Offlist:

  1. DONE — The Picture of Dorian Gray — Oscar Wilde
  2. DONE — Ubik — Philip K. Dick
  3. DONE  Free Will — Sam Harris
  4. DONE  Free Will: A Response to Sam Harris  Kurt Keefner
  5. DONE — The Three Musketeers — Alexandre Dumas

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

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Collected Quotes November/December 2012

If you can’t be seven feet tall, be seven feet smart. — Lois McMaster Bujold

A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. — Henry Miller

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. — Arthur C. Clarke

None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are. ― Anne RiceThe Vampire Lestat

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Inconsistent Experiences

Lately I have been thinking about getting a new TV. An important vacuum I would like to fill is accessing content on the Internet through it. The want is mostly filled by my Wii, but the device is in a physical location that makes playing games inconvenient because of the limited space. So my idea is to move it to another room on the TV there and get another device just for watching content.

One option is a Roku or equivalent. A friend has a Roku I have used, but I found it cludgy to use compared to my Wii. It required frequent pauses and a reset to correctly behave. Overall, I was underwhelmed by the Roku. Another friend insisted these devices were the way to go, so I bought Netgear’s neoTV. It was cheap and reflects that price. More on it later.

The friend with a Roku Bought a TV with Internet apps. My experience with it has been very positive, so until I was talked ought of it, the way I thought I should go. I may be back to thinking that way.

At Mom’s house for Christmas, I played with her Bluray player which also has Internet apps.

The common app between all five devices (Wii, Roku, neoTV, smart TV, Bluray) and even my tablet Is Netflix. Somewhat surprising is the lack of consistency between these. The user interfaces look like using different services.

For the uninitiated, Netflix has a Watch Instantly feature that allows for the playing of movies and television shows over the Internet. The basic functionality is consistent. A queue of the shows I want to watch are presented to me. Suggestion categories are peer to the queue. Hit play to see the show. Pause, fast forward, rewind.

Each has quirks to their navigation. Like the Bluray goes to the queue and getting to suggestions requires up button to a tab and side arrow to find the category. Others are vertical scroll.

Some group all actions for a show in a list. Others have items off to the side or way above where not intuitive.

The neoTV has a neat feature when a show ends, it automatically plays the next after a 20 second delay. That was exciting and something I hope shows up on other devices. The others at least queue up the next episode. Though, when can be variable. On the Wii, neoTV, smart TV, and tablet I can stop around the credits and the next episode shows up ready to play. With the Bluray, that only happens if the show ends.

It surprises me there is not better user experience design so all of these approach behave the same way. Having two and soon three devices that navigate differently will get quickly very annoying.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Log In With Facebook

High Traffic Area Lately I have come to appreciate web sites that let me visit without connecting to Facebook. The sites asking me to connect use the same technology for the extremely annoying advertisements that disable doing anything on the web site until I figure out how to close it. Or lately, this technology is used to make me download the app. Maybe if they were more subtle?

The places I want my friends to follow my online activity outside of Facebook are Flickr and Goodreads. I enjoy talking about books and photography, so those drifting into Facebook has been a positive thing.

I really do not want other people knowing what political news I am reading. I tend to read both conservative and liberal viewpoints. Back in college, I definitely would have appreciated people challenging my views so that I could turn their arguments against them. Now days, I just want to consume in peace and make up my own mind. Well, there are a few people I don’t mind the discussions, but I know them well enough to almost anticipate what they are going write before they do so.

Maybe if a science news site asked, then I would not mind. That is something I would not mind giving more exposure by posting on my behalf that I intended to read.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4