The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

wayofkings_rev_lo

Brandon Sanderson is an accomplished writer of epic fantasy, and the author of the Way of Kings, book one in a projected 10 book series called the stormlight archive.  In this creative world, ravaged by deadly storms and littered with the remains of the god-like Knights Radiant, Brandon crafts nuanced and bold characters that race to unite their people’s before the impending apocalyptic Desolation. Published in 2011, it won the David Gemmell Legend Award for Best Novel.  I recommend the series based on what I have read so far.  Though it is a little on the long side, I think it is a strong foundation for plenty of epic fantasy action to come.   Continue reading

Posted in Art, Literature. Tagged with , , , , .

Android’s ART Runtime Promises Better Performance

Android taskes a bite out of apple
The graphic may misrepresent the actual numbers of iPhone users comparatively to the Android platform, but it certainly feels like over the last three years the Android platform has gotten bigger and bigger, capturing more mobile market share, with mods, apps, and number of hardware platforms running the software all ballooning. It is a major contender for the #1 mobile platform.  But there are side effects to growth that fast.  With finite resources, there are plenty of requested changes, plenty of potential improvements, that never get made in favor of keeping the lights on. The Dalvik runtime is one such bit of code in the android platform.

Dalvik is the process virtual machine (VM) in Google’s Android operating system. It is the software that runs the apps on Android devices.  Having gone largely unchanged in years, Android has begun open beta of its replacement, the ART runtime, which promises better performance and battery life. Here’s how ART will deliver on that promise.

Continue reading

Posted in Software, Technology. Tagged with , , , .

Isaac Asimov and the Foundation Series

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...'

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…’

Isaac Asimov is one of the most read, accessible, and prolific science fiction writers that has ever lived.  One might say he helped define the genre. He has written popular works on science and the history of science, as well as a number of science-fiction classics, including I, Robot (1950), and the Foundation Trilogy (1951-53). He is most well known for having written these series. I have recently reread the entire foundation series (six novels), and am reminded again as to just how groundbreaking these ideas must have been in his time. I highly recommend that if you are looking for a book, and you like science fiction, pick up one of Isaac’s. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Inspirations, Literature. Tagged with , , .

Twitter Goes Public at Unsustainable Prices


NYSE floor at Twitter IPO

The last large technology company to go public in recent memory was Facebook (FB), until now. Twitter’s initial public offering (TWTR), despite best efforts to remain inconspicuous for as long as possible in the filing process, managed to stir up the hype machine just enough to cause greed-based pandemonium on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange all morning. Continue reading

Posted in Finance, Stock Market, Technology. Tagged with , , , , , .

badBIOS, a Bad-To-The-Bone, Halloween Malware

"Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this"

“Our forensic procedures are weak when faced with challenges like this”

As a cyber security enthusiast, I like to think I know a thing or two about how to stay safe against viral threats.  But no article could have been more frighteningly fitting for arstechnica to post on Halloween, even for me. The article tells the story of Dragos Ruiu, a security icon responsible for the pwn2own hackathon franchise, who three years ago stumbled upon malware that took over a clean install of OS X on his Macbook Air.  He was unable to boot from CD, and found the machine was deleting data and undoing configuration changes without prompting. This is when it starts to get freaky.  The virus started propagating, even to machines completely disconnected from any traditional access point.  No networking, no power cables (running on batteries) fresh installs, with no contact with infected devices. Continue reading

Posted in IT, Science, Security. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

Hilarious Netflix Customer Service Win

This is not me, so I can’t take credit for this, but come on!  Why can’t every customer experience be like this! Props to Netflix. I just found a whole new reason to like them!

 

Netflix win

Posted in Creative Writing, Funny. Tagged with , .

Ready Player One: And My Love of Video Games

220px-Ready_Player_One_coverReady Player One, written by Ernest Cline, consumed all of my available attention from start to finish. I was transported to a captivating dystopia where the real world decayed and the general population spent their lives jacked into the Oasis, a virtual reality world based on Video games and 80’s pop culture, searching for the fortune of the designer and creator, hidden deep inside.

Published in August of 2011, It quickly joined the ranks of the New York Times Best Seller list.  Warner Bros. bought the rights to the movie before the book was even published. The genuine writing style and nerdy characters quickly drew me in.  I felt like one of them. I got to relive aspects of my childhood long buried. I highly recommend the novel, to anyone who has struggled to explain how immersing themselves into an rpg or platform video game was a formative part of their growth as an imaginative individual. I will not spoil the book! Just want to talk about games and growing up. GO READ IT! Continue reading

Posted in Art, Inspirations, Life Lessons, Literature, Shifting Perspectives, video games. Tagged with , , , , .

The Art of Debate & Why It’s So Important

Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?

This question may incite thoughts and feelings that you don’t want to think about right now. That’s ok.  I don’t mind if you don’t feel like confronting this question at this moment. But shortly after the beheading of a British soldier in London on May 22, 2013 by individuals justifying their actions in the name of Allah, the Oxford Union society held a debate on this very question. They decided that they felt compelled to talk about it their feelings.

Oxford Union Debate: Is Islam a Peaceful Religion?More than 450 Oxford University scholars and community members gathered for a debate, with arguments presented by six speakers- three that propose that Islam is in fact a peaceful religion, and three that do not. The speakers would have their time, to speak their piece on the subject. These people came with the most noble of democratic intentions – to hear reasoned arguments for and against something, to determine their position from the arguments poised and their own experiences, and to vote for or against the motion as they saw fit.

I am inspired by the individuals who had the courage to defend their beliefs, the individuals with the courage to question, and by the people that found it worth their time to spend an evening engaging in serious self reflection.  Most of all, I am thankful for the Oxford Union for discussing topics that cause us to question our beliefs and actions, for keeping the masterful art of debate alive.    Continue reading

Posted in Art, Life Lessons, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , .

John Kao – Mr. Creativity on Large Scale Cultures of Innovation

Kao_JohnA lot of companies are starting to have earnest discussions about innovation. My own company strives to build a “culture of innovation” making it part of the fabric of everything we do.  But what does that look like?

Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” by The Economist, John Kao calls himself an innovation activist.  He is chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, whose i20 group is an association of 30 national ‘Chief Innovation Officers.’  John coined the term “large scale innovation” to refer to innovation as a societal agenda.  He has advised numerous nations and regions on innovation strategy and execution, including Finland, Singapore, the City of San Francisco, Abu Dhabi and elements of the US government as well as the European Union innovation policy team.

And as the last keynote speaker at the World Innovation Forum, I got to hear his response to his corporate clients trying to build a culture of innovation.  With several wise words and a few musical performances, John earned his nickname and my respect. Continue reading

Posted in Inspirations, Life Lessons, Music, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .

Eric Whitacre – Choir 2.0

Throughout my education, music and performance have played a pivotal role in my development.  In high school and college, I was a full time student by day, and a full time performer by night – often juggling rehearsals for two concert bands, three choirs, a solo performance repertoire and a musical or two. Stylistically, this breadth of performing opportunities grounded my appreciation for music in several genres, from classical music, to jazz, to popular music today.

Particularly for classical and choral music, I marveled at the intricacies and beauty of 100 voices singing with perfectly aligned vowels to achieve sounds conceived by great men like Beethoven  hundreds of years ago. Great men like those classical composers are on a whole other level. They hear in their minds the wisps of great master works and somehow have the ability to condense that to paper in a digestible  form for the artist to recreate.  All these great men don’t just exist in history.  Eric Whitacre is one of the most lauded composers of our time, and I consider to be a great, possibly the greatest of this generation. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Music, Shifting Perspectives. Tagged with , , , , , .