Tag Archives: Ray Kurzweil

My 2013 Reading List – Second Half

I started the year with another ambitious goal of 100 books (using the Goodreads site to log and track), as last year I read 119.

As in my recap of the first half of 2013, I’m grouping the books as I did in last year’s recap by the month in which I finished them (and fiction/nonfiction subgroups.)

Some quick full year stats for the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): overwhelmingly heavy on the nonfiction this year, but then a lot of the fiction was quite long (Ms. Rowling…please stand up):

  • 55 nonfiction
  • 45 fiction
  • 14 of the fiction were Arthur C. Clarke novels, who rounded out the last of the Big Three
  • I’ve rated 19 on Goodreads as five-star. Not all are must-reads, but these are ones I thought were excellent…and maybe read-agains.
  • I gave a two books a one-star not-only-no-but-really-no UNrecommendation

Anyway, now to the books (five-star ratings are marked with asterisks)…

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Random shots, Part 1

I’ve saved some quick thoughts and observations over the last few months which individually aren’t worth a full blown post but as I’ve taken the time to observe these things, they’re collectively not worth ignoring…right?

Good grief!

I took a sociology class in high school and we spent time on Death and Dying. So many years later, I think Elisabeth Kübler-Ross missed the mark. The five stages of grief are not Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

I say they are: Disbelief, Anger, Sadness, Anger, and Resignation (which really means just pretending that you’re not angry.)

Maybe I should write a book.

Second World?

I heard someone the other day get frustrated with a wireless signal drop and complain about a “First World problem…” That got me thinking…I’ve heard of Third World countries, but why don’t we ever hear about Second World Countries? Is there just a leap from third to first? If not, where are these middle tier countries? Wiki says the term has fallen out of favor after the end of the Cold War. Hmmmm.

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Over the Verizon…and down rabbit holes…

A coworker likes to say, “It’s never boring”, and around our house, that’s an appropriate phrase. This week we made a radical jump: no more cable television. Yep. Cut the cord…or cable as it were. While we have a few issues with Verizon since we moved back to the states in 2007 (their customer service is deplorable), this one was totally on us.

We haven’t really been watching television, save for a couple of shows, for a long time and to pay the amount of money we were shelling out for a DVR and two set tops boxes and no movie channels was absurd. We DVR’d two shows for everyone (The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family), Once Upon a Time for Drew (though I would watch it with him), NOVA, and a few shows for Andrea that she never seemed to have time to watch. Not worth it at all.

As with many of life’s changes, Andrea makes the decision first…and I more often than not must socialize the concepts for a while before I come around. And when she sets her mind to something, she runs with it. She can spend a couple of long nights researching options and then one day I come home to a small box on the counter containing something even smaller that I have to figure out how to make work for us.

RokuThe magic little device is a Roku streaming player. And little it is, as you can see in the picture. Andrea looked at Apple TV, but we nixed that pretty quick. Too many limitations – content, recurring costs, etc. and it’s wedded to the dreaded iTunes. To be fair, Roku and Apple TV do have a common limitation that I hope someday somebody will figure out: neither can stream from VIDEO_TS folders. DVD content has to be converted into something palatable.

Connecting the Roku is simple. HDMI cable into our receiver, network cable from the router (they do have wireless versions as well.) That’s it. Then you start setting up your channels. They make it pretty painless. Now, some of the Roku channels might require fees – Hulu Plus is one we’re looking into – but the rates per month are fractions of what Verizon was charging us.

How many readers remember television antennas? All but forgotten I’d venture. It probably never occurs to the aluminum foil hat folks worrying about cell phone radiation that they are being bombarded with a constant stream of digital over-the-air broadcasts. But all those local television stations make their content available to anyone with an antenna and a digital decoder.

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