What We’re Reading/Watching/Buying in December

It’s been a busy month and Christmas is less than a week away (so is a much-needed week off work for yours truly).  As I get older the years just keep speeding up & I don’t know of any way to slow them down!  It’s just the opposite feeling from when I was a kid where the years dripped slower than that bear bottle full of honey.

The Great Cord Cutting Project of 2015 is going better than I could have ever expected & there’s no going back.  I’m spending some of that old evening TV time trying to keep up on the articles I’m always collecting via Pocket.  Some items recently clipped include:

pcq8qzR9iThe Kindle is getting a workout too with several books being read in parallel.  Just depends on what I’m in the mood for.  Stephen King’s 11/22/63 and Andy Weir’s The Martian are both fighting for my attention.
I’ve also taken the opportunity to really dig into what’s available on the streaming services I subscribe to, particularly Netflix and Amazon:

  • The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) is an alternate history story that has the Germans and Japanese wining WWII and taking control of the USA.  It’s a pretty dramatic series that’s full of twists and turns.
  • Narcos (Netflix) depicts the story of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents assigned with bringing him to justice.  I’m not going to lie, you have to pay attention to this show.  Mainly because it’s 90% Spanish with subtitles.  And a Gringo like me needs them.  No Sprecken la Espanola

belkin-be-F5L171tt-1I’ve been helping keep USPS, FedEx and UPS in business with lots of holiday purchases for friends and family.  Along with those items I picked up a new Keyboard/Case for myself and my iPad Air 2.  The Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro is a great replacement to the Logitech keyboard cover I was using with the last iPad.  It’s a little pricy $150 but It’s currently on sale now for $130.  I’m working on a review but let’s just say that after a few days using it I’m a fan.

25475-inset13After a glowing review from a co-worker I also ordered the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Electric Sandwich Maker.  Seriously, I did!  I’ve see this gadget before but didn’t think it would be any good, especially costing under $30.  Well I’m told this thing really works so I had to see for myself.  When I happen to eat breakfast the egg and cheese (with various meats) is my regular go to.  Delivery is scheduled for Monday so we’ll see how it goes Tuesday morning when I fire that baby up and make my first sausage, egg and cheese muffin.

No matter your religious preference (or not) I hope everyone is gearing up for a fun holiday season with friends and family.  If you get any good tech gadgets or kitchen toys let me know!  I’m always looking for ways to give Amazon more money.

“Among the Hidden” Book Series

How does this book sound to you?

In a futuristic society the world is controlled by a new government and “The Population Police” who have decreed that no family shall have more than two children. These laws having been brought on supposedly by overpopulation, severe famine and death. Any child being born third or after in a family is a “shadow child” not to be seen by anyone or they will be taken away and killed along with their family and anyone who harbors them. – Book synopsis from Wikipedia

Sounds like a scary scenario right?  Here’s the kicker.  My son was assigned this book to read in 6th grade!  Doesn’t that seem a little dark for pre-teen kids?  I’m not alone according to some of the reviews on Amazon.

When I asked him about the Diary of Anne Frank he’d never heard of it.  This “Among the Hidden” book has a similar premise of hiding form the outside but at least Frank’s tale is true & discusses an important part of world history.

Not sure what to think of this…

How To: Getting Personal Documents on Your Kindle

If you have a Kindle this is a must read…  The Gadgeteer, one of my favorite tech blogs, has a great writeup on how to get just about any document on your Kindle.

Incidentally, The Gadgeteer, founded by Julie Strietelmeier,  is based out of Columbus, Indiana.  Not exactly a place were you’d expect one of the big tech blogs to be located!

There are several ways to convert and transfer documents to the Kindle.  Some methods are free and other cost a few pennies per MB.  Either way you do it if you want the most convenient way to transport and access documents while traveling the Kindle is definitely the way to go.

From NASA – Astronaut’s Photography Manual

Although somewhat simple and dated this manual is a relic of the space age that’s coming to an end.

I’m sure photography in the vacuum weightlessness of space has it challenges, especially when orbiting around the earth at 15,000+ MPH.  With that kind of speed your lighting is going to constantly change and you really need to understand your camera.

A lot of the images we associate with space travel were taken with Hasselblad equipment it remains the main tool for ultra serious photographers.

If you’re interested in learning more about exposure settings and composition this 40-page manual is worth checking out.

007 is Back!

I started reading the latest James Bond book called “Carte Blanche” by Jeffery Deaver.  Mr. Deaver has modernized 007 and readers will find a younger, more “hip” Bond.  All of the old characters are still there & so far it’s a great read.  It’s kind of hard to put down!

This is the first Bond book that I’ve read on the Kindle & I think I’m going to purchase the back catalog so I can re-read the classics in the new electronic format.

If you’re a Bond fan I think you’ll enjoy this latest book.  Although the author is new to the Bond franchise you can definitely tell he’s a fan & I’m looking forward to more of his books.

New to the IndyScan Library; Tribal Leadership

I started reading “Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization”, by Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright, a few weeks ago after learning one of my clients, fresh out of a merger/acquisition, was sending copies to all of its senior level staff.

The reviews on Amazon.com are glowing and so far I like the general premise of the book.  Tribal Leadership provides insight from a group of successful leaders and tells readers how to use the “tribes” that already exist within an operation to maximize productivity.

Overall I like the concept and can see how it could be implemented in certain industries.  I think in the case of the client mentioned above it can only help the situation they are facing with separate diverse groups from around the country suddenly being forced to play in the same sandbox.

Book Review: Sh*t My Dad Says

After a 3 month reading hiatus I’m one again getting a lot of use out of the Amazon Kindle I purchased last last year.   The latest title to be delivered by WhisperSync is “Sh*t My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern.

From the Publisher: After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is “like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair,” has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him…

What started as a Twitter account that posted the various things his father said, Mr. Halpern collected the quotes and stories and turned them into a book.  CBS has even picked the concept up and is turning it into a sitcom staring William Shatner!  I personally think Jerry Stiller would have been a better choice…

About the Book: Sh*t my Dad Says is a very quick read.  With short chapters and pages of one liners it’s a book that’s easy to pickup and read for a few minutes at a time.  If you take it on a trip you could finish it in a day. If you are easily offended by profanity (especially the F-Bomb) you will not like this book.  If you’re unsure, check out the Twitter feed first.

The star of the book is the dad.  The constant stream of one liners that come out of his mouth are priceless, unique and hilarious.  You want to keep reading so you’ll keep laughing.  Unfortunately the book ends too soon.  Amazon is selling the Kindle version for $9.99 & I’ve seen the book in stores for $14.99.  This is one of those titles you can buy, read & pass on to friends & family.

If you’re looking for a fun and witty book for the summer, add Sh*t My Dad Says to your list.