Shadow Captain (Revenger, #2) by Alastair Reynolds
Excellent sequel to 2016's Revenger. If you tried to sell this series to me - runaway sisters become fearsome space pirates while trying to figure out various mysteries about the rise and fall of a far future civilization and some truly funky currency - I'd put them someone pretty far down my to do list. But in Alastair Reynolds' hands it's a space opera masterpiece. Can't wait for the next installment.
Badass: Making Users Awesome by Kathy Sierra
The overall message is good - focus on making your users actually awesome rather than you looking awesome with some concrete strategies to find out what that is and how to get there. A central theme is removing barriers to effective usage. The product here is a book. It was hell to read on my phone. Now if the graphics were large and central to the message and couldn't be done other than in some weird non-standard way I might forgive this. But all I needed to on every page was zoom in to get rid of the needless massive borders. That's all it took. Hundreds of times. So I'd recommend this if you still like paper books or are some sort of tablet toting throwback but on phone? No.
Doctor Who: Harvest of Time by Alastair Reynolds
I don't normally do SciFi series books... but this is Alastair Reynolds doing Doctor Who. Jon Pertwee era with UNIT and The Master. If the BBC had a 300 million Pound budget for a Doctor Who story line in the 70's this is what they would have made.
Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson
I always enjoy Po Bronson and he's typically on form here with fascinating research and anecdotes around the topic of competition. There is a lot of new evidence on how hormones work that I'd never seen before and an interesting theory that competitive sports are a precursor to democracy. Much of this book is about how competition brings out creativity and drive. I wonder it it's missing a trick here and that the real factor is operating under constraint with competition being just one of many possible forms of constraint. In addition to the studies showing that art was better when a competition was involved I'd like to see how this worked out when one set of artists was limited to using just brown and silver... I'd bet the results would look pretty similar.
Agents of Treachery: Never Before Published Spy Fiction from Today's Most Exciting Writers by Otto Penzler
A good mix of spy stories set everywhere from WWII to Somali pirates.
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
Five short stories, all lightly interconnected and all about music and some sort of personal transition. Engaging characters, sharp prose and a very funny turkey scene.
Terminal World (Gollancz S.F.) by Alastair Reynolds
Promising start, but then sags badly and ends inconclusively. Which makes me concerned that there might be a sequel or even a trilogy in the works. It's the first Reynolds book that I haven't liked - more blimp opera than space opera with a passive, repetitive protagonist.
The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
An interesting mediation on belief, that boils down to how normal it seems for a minister to not believe in God, and then how extraordinary for the same minister to believe to have met The Devil.
- Cleaning the air would limit short-term climate warming from Global Climate Change - NASA's Eyes on the Earth (An interesting twofer).
- "V": How to fix ABC's struggling alien invasion series from All Salon (Laser cannons on technicals).
- What happens when you stick your head in a particle accelerator from Boing Boing (I used to have nightmares about this while commuting on 280).
- Keen On… MIT Professor Says Robotic Moment Has Arrived, And We Are Toast (TCTV) from TechCrunch (Bollocks. Or rather, replace robot with dog or cat and get the same result.).
- 100-ft-long drug-smuggling, Narco-crafted submarine discovered in Colombia from Boing Boing (Ooooh, will they be auctioning it off?).
- After Failing To Get Hacked Last Year, Google Paying For Chrome To Be In Pwn2Own 2011 from TechCrunch (If you're still not using Chrome this should provide some inspiration to make the switch. There's really nothing better, other than telneting to port 80.).