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Month: July 2014

Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Off to Be the Wizard. The 8-bit artwork on the cover and the fact I recently re-listened to Ready Player One had me in a certain mindset that didn’t match this story at all.

But just a little ways into this book I found myself really enjoying it. And the more I listened the more I liked it. By the end of the book I was cheering and laughing out loud.

Luke Daniels does a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and giving each one of them a unique voice.

The entire story is full geeky goodness with pop-culture references throughout along with plenty of dry humor. I can’t wait to listen to Spell or High Water the sequel to Off to Be the Wizard.

From the publisher:

It’s a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble.

Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

Off to Be the Wizard is a light, comedic novel about computers, time travel, and human stupidity, written by Scott Meyer, the creator of the internationally known comic strip Basic Instructions.

Magic will be made! Legends will be created! Stew will be eaten!

©2013 Scott Meyer (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

I rate Off to Be the Wizard a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun geeky comedy.


Updating the Drobo

It is finally time to upgrade from a second generation Drobo to a Drobo 5N.

I bought my first Drobo in January of 2009 and it has been in constant use for the intervening 5 and a half years. I have only had 2 issues with it, the fan died about a year ago, and it now feels really slow.

When the fan died I went to my local Microcenter computer store and bought a whisper quiet 120mm fan. With a bit of Googling and some wire snipping followed by a bit of solder the Drobo has been much quieter and cooler ever since. In fact I can’t hear it over my home office noise at all.

About the speed of it… I am not sure, I think it is slower than it was a couple of years ago, but in that time I have upgraded all of my machines to using SSDs so my idea of how fast files should copy has changed a lot. I plan on running XBench on the 2nd Gen, the 5N, and a couple of external USB drives to get an idea of the "real" speed differences.

Here are the numbers

The 2nd Gen currently has 2×3.0TB and 2×2.0TB drives in it for a total size of 6.35TB of usable space.

The 5N will have those drives plus a 4.0TB fifth drive for 9.07TB of space.

The 5N maxes out with 4×4.0TB drives at 14.52TB of usable space with single disc redundancy and 10.89TB with dual disk redundancy. I hope that will last me a couple of years.

I am currently backing everything up on the 2nd for the move to the 5N, copying files from the old Drobo to external discs using a MacBook Pro has gone amazingly well. In the past I have had issues with the computer going to sleep and breaking the download, or one of the drives experiencing a hiccup, or just gremlins getting in the way.

Wish me luck.


Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Skin Game is the 15th book in the Harry Dresden series and James Marsters turns in another amazing job with the narration.

I enjoyed the whole breaking into the vault part of the story, but the rest of it left me a little dry. It s a good story, but it doesn’t rise to the kind of greatness that I have come to expect from the Desden series. Having said that, I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book in the series.

From the publisher:

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day.…

Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful.

He doesn’t know the half of it.…

Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains – led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone – to break into the highest-security vault in town, so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world – which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry.

Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess – assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance.…

©2014 Jim Butcher (P)2014 Penguin Audio

I rate Skin Game 7 out of 10 and recommend you read Storm Front and the other Harry Dresden books before this one.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline Re-Listen

I absolutely love this audiobook, I think this is my third time listening to it. The combination of Ernest Cline’s writing and Wil Wheaton are an amazing geeky combination of greatness.

A co-worker recently commented that Ready Player One was pandering to geeks like me, my response was that I DON’T CARE! If I could get more people to pander to me the way this book does my life would be wonderful.

If you are a geek of the 80’s you NEED to read or listen to this book ASAP.

I rate this book an 11 out of 10 and recommend it to all geeks and nerds.


Kill Shot by Vince Flynn

After finishing American Assassin I jumped straight into Kill Shot: An American Assassin Thriller to continue with the Mitch Rapp series.

I really enjoyed the first book and I think this second one is even better. There is more spy-like action with double-crossing and backstabbing.

What I liked most about this story is that the ancillary characters are well fleshed out and I found myself caring for them and excited about their part in the story. I would love to read a series of books with the lead police detective from Paris as the protagonist.

George Guidall does a great job reading the book with his usual fatherly pace and timbre.

From the publisher:

#1 New York Times best-selling author Vince Flynn is back with another nail-biting political thriller that follows the young Mitch Rapp on a deadly mission to hunt down the men responsible for the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack.

For months, Mitch Rapp has been steadily working his way through a list of men, bullet by bullet. With each kill, the tangled network of monsters responsible for the slaughter of 270 civilians becomes increasingly clear. He is given his next target: a plump Libyan diplomat who is prone to drink and is currently in Paris without a single bodyguard.

Rapp finds him completely unprotected and asleep in his bed. With confidence in his well-honed skills and conviction of the man’s guilt, he easily sends a bullet into the man’s skull. But in the split second it takes the bullet to leave the silenced pistol, everything changes. The door to the hotel room is kicked open and gunfire erupts all around Rapp. In an instant the hunter has become the hunted. Rapp is left wounded and must flee for his life.

The next morning, the news breaks in Washington that Libya’s Oil Minister has been killed along with three innocent civilians and four unidentified men. The French authorities are certain that the gunman is wounded and on the loose in Paris. As the finger pointing begins, Rapp’s handlers have only one choice – deny any responsibility for the incident and pray that their newest secret weapon stays that way, avoiding capture and dying quietly. One person in the group, however, is not prone to leaving things to chance. Rapp has become a liability, and he absolutely cannot be allowed to be taken alive by the French authorities. But it will soon become clear that nothing is more dangerous than a wounded and cornered Mitch Rapp.

©2012 Vince Flynn (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio

I rate Kill Shot a 7 out of 10 and recommend to fans of spy thrillers.


Learning Adobe Edge Animate CC by Tony Ross

Learning Adobe Edge Animate CC training video from Infinite Skills Inc. featuring Tony Ross is a great place to start learning Adobe Edge Animate.

I found Tony’s voice easy to listen to, his explanations easy to understand, and the video of the computer screen easy to read and follow.

Half way through the video I built my first animation, it’s good stuff.

Edge Animate has a lot of problems as an application, it is definitely going to improve as new versions are released, and this video does nothing to highlight those problems and steer you clear of them. But the video is definitely worth watching closely. You can learn about the bugs and limitations somewhere else.

I think Tony Ross and Infinite Skills did a great job making a training video that can get anyone familiar with other Adobe applications up and running in Adobe Edge Animate.

I rate Learning Adobe Edge Animate CC an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone looking to learn how to use Adobe Edge Animate.