Audiobooks – October 2018

How to Rig an Election by Nic Cheeseman & Brian Klaas

The authors take experiences in various countries (mostly recent 3rd-world examples) as to how elections are rigged. Some advice for reducing it. 8/10

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by Stephen Fry

Once again great reading by Fry and a great story. Works very well with all Holmes and Watson action and no giant backstory. 8/10

Our Oriental Heritage: Story of Civilization Series, Book 1 by Will Durant

Covers the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, India, China and Japan. In some cases up to the 20th Century. The book cover arts, religion and philosophy as well Kings and dates. This was written in the 1930s so has some stuff that has been superseded and out of date attitudes to race and religion in places. It long (50 hours) with another 11 volumes still to go but it is pretty good if you don’t mind these problems. 7/10

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern & David Grinspoon

Stern was one of the originators and principal investigator of the mission so lots of firsthand details about all stages of the project from first conception though various versions.

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Audiobooks – September 2018

Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans by T. R. Fehrenbach

About 80% of the 40 hour book covers the period 1820-1880. Huge amounts of detail during then but skips over the rest quickly. Great stories though. 8/10

That’s Not English – Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

A series of short chapters (usually one per word) about how the English language is used differently in England from the US. Fun light read. 7/10

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen

How American culture (and I’d extend that to countries like NZ) has stopped innovating and gone the safe route in most areas. Main thesis is that pressure is building up and things may break hard. Interesting 8/10

A History of Britain, Volume 2 : The British Wars 1603 – 1776 by Simon Schama

Covering the Civil War, Glorious Revolution and bits of the early empire and American revolution. A nice overview. 7/10

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing: Star Wars and the Triumph of Geek Culture by A. D. Jameson

A personal account of the author’s journey though Geekdom (mainly of the Sci-Fi sort) mixed in with a bit of analysis of how the material is deeper than critics usually credit. 7/10

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Audiobooks – August 2018

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

An interesting listen. Covers both history of humanity and then extrapolates ways things might go in the future. Many plausible ideas (although no doubt some huge misses). 8/10

Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City by Neal Bascomb

The architects, owners & workers behind the Manhattan Trust Building, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building all being built New York at the end of the roaring 20s. Fascinating and well done. 9/10

The Invention Of Childhood by Hugh Cunningham

The story of British childhood from the year 1000 to the present. Lots of quotes (by actors) from primary sources such as letters (which is less distracting than sometimes). 8/10

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle – Read by Stephen Fry

Very well done reading by Fry. Story excellent of course. 8/10

My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall

Memoir by writer, producer (Happy Days, etc) and director (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, etc). Great stories mostly about the positive side of the business. Very inspiring 8/10

Napoleon by J. Christopher Herold

A biography of Napoleon with a fair amount about the history of the rest of Europe during the period thrown in. A fairly short (11 hours) book but some but not exhausting detail. 7/10

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life by Helen Czerski

A good popular science book linking everyday situations and objects with bigger concepts (eg coffee stains to blood tests). A fun listen. 7/10

All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life by Jon Willis

The author reviews recent developments in the search for life and suggests places it might be found and how missions to search them (he gives himself a $4 billion budget) should be prioritised. 8/10

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I’m right in the middle of the demographic for most of the references here so I really enjoyed it. Good voicing by Wil Wheaton too. Story is straightforward but all pretty fun. 8/10

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Audiobooks – July 2018

The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I switched to Stephen Fry for this collection. Very happy with his reading of the stories. He does both standard and “character” voices well and is not distracting. 8/10

Roughing It by Mark Twain

A bunch of anecdotes and stories from Twain’s travels in Nevada & other areas in the American West. Quality varies. Much good but some stories fall flat. Verbose writing (as was the style at the time…) 6/10

Asteroids Hunters by Carrie Nugent

Spin off of a Ted talk. Covers hunting for Asteroids (by the author and others) rather than the Asteroids themselves. Nice level of info in a short (2h 14m) book. 7/10

Things You Should Already Know About Dating, You F*cking Idiot by Ben Schwartz & Laura Moses

100 dating tips (roughly in order of use) in 44 minutes. Amusing and useful enough. 7/10

Protector – A Classic of Known Space by Larry Niven

Filling in a spot in Niven’s universe. Better than many of his Known Space stories. Great background on the Pak in Hard Core package. Narrator gave everybody strong Australian accents for some reason. 7/10

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

Good book on 12 long term “deep trends” ( filtering, remixing, tracking, etc ) and how they have worked over the last and next few decades (especially in the context of the Internet). Pretty interesting and mostly plausible. 7/10

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean

Works it’s way though the gases in & evolution of earth’s atmosphere, their discovery and several interesting asides. Really enjoyed this, would have enjoyed 50% more of it. 9/10

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Audiobooks – June 2018

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Well written story of how Wall Street firms didn’t even realize high-speed trading existed while they were losing hundreds of millions to traders practicing it, until a couple of guys told them. 8/10

Woodsman: Living in a Wood in the 21st Century by Ben Law

Write-ups about building his house and the area around it along with various descriptions of traditional crafts, his businesses, appearance on TV etc. Seems to balance well. 7/10

Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer by Rob Manning

Interesting stories about the project with the evolution on the landing method, experiments and project problems. A bit on the short side & published soon after landing. 6/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes V by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Read by David Timson

The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, The Adventure of Beryl Coronet, The Boscombe Valley Mystery and The Yellow Face. All good stories, although ‘The Yellow Face’ has not aged well. 7/10

The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

The 2nd book in the Three-Body Trilogy. A bit closer to the hard-core Sci Fi that I like although the author isn’t going for high accuracy. Feels real and kept my interest. 8/10

A History of Britain, Volume 1: At the Edge of the World? 3000 B. C. – A. D. 1603 by Simon Schama

Fairly straight history of Britain. An overview of everything so covers the main points rather than going into details. 7/10

Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail by Jonathan Chait

A little overtaken by events (written before Trump elected). Highlights Obama’s wins that the author feels was overlooked. Okay but should have waited 10 years. 6/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes VI by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Stories: The Adventure of the Final Problem, The Adventure of “Gloria Scott”, The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, The Adventure of the Resident Patient. More read by Timson. Good as usual. 7/10

Amazing Stories of the Space Age: True Tales of Nazis in Orbit, Soldiers on the Moon, Orphaned Martian Robots, and Other Fascinating Accounts from the Annals of Spaceflight by Rod Pyle

A mix of the missions that never were & dramatic/odd missions 7/10

 

 

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Audiobooks – May 2018

Ramble On by Sinclair McKay

The history of walking in Britain and some of the author’s experiences. A pleasant listen. 7/10

Inherit the Stars by James P. Hogan

Very hard-core Sci Fi (all tech, no character) about a 50,000 year old astronaut’s body being found on the moon. Dated in places (everybody smokes) but I liked it. 7/10

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A good overview of pre-history of human species plus an overview of central features of cultures (government, religion, money, etc). Interesting throughout. 9/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes II by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, read by David Timson

Another four Holmes stories. I’m pretty happy with Timson’s version. Each is only about an hour long. 7/10

The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations by Jaime Kurtz

Written by a “happiness researcher” rather than a travel expert. A bit different from what I expected. Lots about structuring your trips to maximize your memories. 7/10

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin

I’ve read several of Hill’s books of his time in the US Secret Service, this overlaps a lot of these but with some extra Jackie-orientated material. I’d recommend reading the others first. 7/10

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson

The author drives through small-town American making funny observations. Just 3 hours long so good bang for buck. Almost 30 years old so feels a little dated. 7/10

A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein

A pretty good overview of the growth of trade. Concentrates on the evolution of  routes between Asia and Europe. Only brief coverage post-1945. 7/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes III by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventure of the Cardboard Box; The Musgrave Ritual; The Man with the Twisted Lip; The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. All well done. 7/10

The Gentle Giants of Ganymede (Giants Series, Book 2) by James P. Hogan

Almost as hard-core as the previous book but with less of a central mystery. Worth reading if you like the 1st in the series. 7/10

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 – The Liberation Trilogy, Book 1 by Rick Atkinson

I didn’t like this as much as I expected or as much as similar books. Can’t quite place the problem though. Perhaps works better when written. 7/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes IV by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Case of Identity; The Crooked Man; The Naval Treaty; The Greek Interpreter. I’m happy with Timson’s version . 7/10

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Audiobooks – April 2018

Viking Britain: An Exploration by Thomas Williams

Pretty straightforward, Tells as the uptodate research (no Winged Helmets 😢) and easy to follow (easier if you have a map of the UK) 7/10

Contact by Carl Sagan

I’d forgotten how different it was from the movie in places. A few extra characters and plot twists. many more details and explanations of the science. 8/10

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 by David McCullough

My monthly McCullough book. Great as usual. Good picture of the project and people. 8/10

Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival by Bernd Heinrich

As per the title this spends much of the time on [varied strategies for] Winter adaptation vs Summer World’s more general coverage. A great listen 8/10

A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin

Great overview of the Apollo missions. The Author interviewed almost all the astronauts. Lots of details about the missions. Excellent 9/10

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

Near future Sci Fi. Similar feel to some of his other books like Makers. Switches between characters & audiobook switches narrators to match. Fastforward the Sex Scenes 💤. Mostly works 7/10

The Neanderthals Rediscovered: How Modern Science Is Rewriting Their Story by Michael A. Morse

Pretty much what the subtitle advertises. Covers discoveries from the last 20 years which make other books out of date. Tries to be Neanderthals-only. 7/10

The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet by Henry Fountain

Straightforward story of the 1964 Alaska Earthquake. Follows half a dozen characters & concentrates on worst damaged areas. 7/10

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Audiobooks – March 2018

The Actor’s Life: A survival guide by Jenna Fischer

Combination of advice for making it as an actor and a memoir of her experiences. Interesting and enjoyable 8/10

One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith

Based on the journals of Richard Proenneke who built a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness and lived there for 16 month (& returned in later years). Interesting & I’m a little inspired 7/10

The Interstellar Age: The Story of the NASA Men and Women Who Flew the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell

Pretty much what the title says. Very positive throughout and switching between the science and profiles of the people smoothly. 8/10

Richard Nixon: The Life by John A Farrell

Comprehensive but balanced biography. Doesn’t shy away from Nixon’s many many problems but also covers his accomplishments and positive side (especially early in his career). 8/10

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Book I – Arthur Conan Doyle – Read by David Timson

4 Stories unabridged. Reading is good but drop a point since the music is distracting at fast playback. 7/10

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

42 Essays on mainly space-related topics. Some overlap but pretty good, 10 years old so missing a few newer developments but good introduction. 8/10

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance by David Epstein

Good wide-ranging book on nature vs nurture in sports performance, how genes for athletic performance are not that simple & how little we know. 9/10

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower

Gossipy account from interviewing various ex-staff ( maids, cooks, butlers). A different angle than from what I get from other accounts. 7/10

Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit by Mark Hasara

Account of the author flying & planning aerial refueling operations during the Gulf wars & elsewhere. A bit of business advice but that is unobtrusive. No actual politics 7/10

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

Account of various people who made billions shorting the mortgage market in the run up to 2008. Fun and easy for layman to follow. 8/10

Driverless: Intelligent Cars and the Road Ahead by Hod Lipson

Listening to it the week a driverless car first killed a pedestrian. Fairly good intro/history/overview although fast changing topic so will go out of date quickly. 7/10

Journeys in English by Bill Bryson

A series of radio shows. I found the music & random locations annoying. Had to slow it down due to varied voices, accents and words. Interesting despite that, 7/10

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Audiobooks – Background and February 2018 list

Audiobooks

I started listening to audiobooks around the start of January 2017 when I started walking to work (I previously caught the bus and read a book or on my phone).

I currently get them for free from the Auckland Public Library using the Overdrive app on Android. However while I download them to my phone using the Overdrive app I listen to the using Listen Audiobook Player . I switched to the alternative player mainly since it supports playback speeds greater the 2x normal.

I’ve been posting a list the books I listened to at the end of each month to twitter ( See list from Jan 2018, Dec 2017, Nov 2017 ) but I thought I’d start posting them here too.

I mostly listen to history with some science fiction and other topics.

Books listened to in February 2018

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu – Pretty good Sci-Fi and towards the hard-core end I like. Looking forward to the sequels 7/10

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham – A very nicely done biography, comprehensive and giving a good positive picture of Bush. 7/10

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein – A pretty good version of the classic. The story works well although the politics are “different”. Enjoyable though 8/10

Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars 1955-1994 by David Hepworth – Read by the Author (who sounds like a classic Brit journalist). A Story or two plus a playlist from every year. Fascinating and delightful 9/10

The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy – Very interesting and well written about the author’s life as a long distance mover. 8/10

Mornings on Horseback – David McCullough – The Early life of Teddy Roosevelt, my McCullough book for the month. Interesting but not as engaging as I’d have hoped. 7/10

The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War – Jonathan Dimbleby – Overview of the Atlantic Campaign of World War 2. The author works to stress it was on of the most important fronts and does pretty well 7/10

 

 

 

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Linux.conf.au 2018 – Day 5 – Light Talks and Close

Lightning Talk

  • Usability Fails
  • Etching
  • Diverse Events
  • Kids Space – fairly unstructured and self organising
  • Opening up LandSat imagery – NBAR-T available on NCI
  • Project Nacho – HTML -> VPN/RDP gateway . Apache Guacomle
  • Vocaloids
  • Blockchain
  • Using j2 to create C++ code
  • Memory model code update
  • CLIs are user interface too
  • Complicated git things
  • Mollygive -matching donations
  • Abusing Docker

Closing

  • LCA 2019 will be in Christchurch, New Zealand – http://lca2019.linux.org.au
  • 700 Attendees at 2018
  • 400 talk and 36 Miniconf submissions

 

 

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