Picks of the month - December 2016

Posted by Gjermund Bjaanes on December 29, 2016

Welcome to Picks of the month, where I share a few things I have found useful the last month.

It can be anything from blog posts and software tools to books and techniques.

Still reading quite a bit, but I have been spending most of my free time on personal projects like the goodreads backup project. I actually wrote about that particular project: New Mini Project - Goodreads Backup

As always, if you want to share my book journey with me, add me on Goodreads

I am currently on vacation, which I really really needed. This year has been filled with a lot of work and some rather stressful periods. I finally have some time to let things go. It takes some time to get there - to really wind down properly. One good way to wind down is to do some reading. Some fun reading!


#1 We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

We Are Legion Cover

A science fiction (shock!) book written by Dennis Taylor.

It’s about a guy who gets frozen down and then gets “defrosted” into a computer/AI in a future where he has no rights and is owned by the government.

He gets used as the “AI” to control a self-replicating spaceship meant to survey the stars and find a suitable home for the human race (which btw is still destroying their planet - how about we stop doing that?).

The Bobs’ (yes, plural) travels reveal an exiting and dangerous universe that is a lot of fun to explore. We also get to go back and see how the human race is doing after even further into the future.

The book is apparently the first in a series - and I look forward to it’s continuation.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) on Goodreads


#2 Old Man’s War

Old Man's War Cover

Yet another science fiction book, this one written by one of my favorite authors, John Scalzi.

A funny and interesting book where a 75 year old man named John Perry goes to join the army. More specifically, he joins the Colonial Defense Force, which is tasked with defending the humans that are colonizing the universe.

The book is full of funny, sarcastic comments and exiting adventures. It’s a classic John Scalzi book.

And, luckily, this is just the first book in a series. I am currently on the third book, and it just keeps on working. The universe Scalzi has created in this series is getting more and more interesting - while still being the same fun one from the start of the first book.

Old Man’s War (Series) on Goodreads


#3 Blockchain / Bitcoin / Ethereum (etc.)

I have spent some time to really get into Blockchain (the technology underneath Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies). I found a big, complex and interesting technological universe that I just want to learn more about.

I don’t want to write too much about how it all works, because I feel like I don’t know enough yet to really grasp it all. At least in a very good way. I hope to be able to write more about all of it later.

All I can really say is that if you want to look into some very interesting future-esque technology, Blockchain is a good choice. Especially Bitcoin and Ethereum are really interesting places looking at this.

Especially Ethereum looks like a very cool concept. In their own words: “Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.”

There are other applications and usages of Blockchain, and I think as technologists, we need to keep an eye on this space.

Ethereum Logo


#4 Vacation

Since it is currently my Christmas vacation, I need to emphasize the importance of taking some time off. I usually do this pick when I am on vacation, because that is when I realize how much it is really needed.

Get some space from your normal daily routine and get some more space from what you normally work on. It’s good for you, and it’s good for whatever you push away for a while. Some perspective is healthy for everyone. We all need a reset once in a while.

If you need some tips on how to really recharge during your vacation, take a look at an article I wrote this summer: How to recharge during your vacation

Relax Drawing

Follow me on Twitter: @gjermundbjaanes