Book Review: The Gift

The Gift by Dave DonovanI’m not 100% certain how I found my latest read, The Gift by Dave Donovan. My best guess is that my old nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine, suggested it. The description looked promising, the reviews were generally positive, so I added it to my reading list. After that, I believe it showed up as an Amazon daily deal, so I snagged a copy for my Kindle. According to my Amazon purchase history, that was back in October 2014. OK, so I let it set for almost two years before getting around to reading it. At least it finally made it to the top of my queue unlike some other books that I fear will be buried on my reading list for years to come, or possibly even decades.

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The Third Time Isn’t Any Easier

Courtney and Gregg Borodaty at UC DavisI spent last weekend on the University of California Davis campus. Well, technically, I spent it in the Tercero Housing Area with Lisa doing our third college drop-off with my daughter Courtney. You would think the experience of having done two college drop-offs already would have made the third one easier. It didn’t. I suppose it’s never easy helping one of your children leave home.

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Book Review: High Output Management

High Output Management by Andrew S. GroveGiven how often management theories change and evolve, there are very few “classic” management books. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove qualifies as one. For those who are unfamiliar with Andrew (Andy) Grove, he was one of the founders of Intel Corporation, became its CEO in 1987, and served as Chairman of the Board from 1997-2005. He was an instrumental figure in many of Intel’s business strategies, particularly the decision to change Intel’s focus from memory chips to microprocessors. In other words, Andy Grove is synonymous with Intel. Even today, a lot of the business practices, strategies, and culture of Intel are a reflection of his philosophies of building and running a successful company.

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Book Review: I, Robot

I, Robot by Isaac AsimovNow, look, let’s start with the three fundamental Rules of Robotics – the three rules that are built most deeply into a robot’s positronic brain.

One, a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Two, a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

Three, a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

These are Isaac Asimov’s easily recognizable and famous Three Laws of Robotics as laid out in his collection of short stories – I, Robot. For science fiction aficionados, these are easily identified and, most likely, committed to memory. Unfortunately for me, I just recently learned these laws. Sure, I’d heard them paraphrased many times and referenced in numerous books, but I never knew the true context in which they were used by Asimov. Now that I know the context, the rules are even more poignant and relevant in my mind.

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Exploring Ann Arbor: Taking It to the Next Level

The more I travel, the more I enjoy finding the places that are off the beaten path in the places I visit. The easy thing to do when you’re on the road is to grab a burger at McDonald’s, a quick meal at an Applebee’s, or a coffee at a Starbucks. That’s not nearly as much fun as exploring the local options and finding those places where the food and atmosphere have a local flair.

Since Brad has been attending Eastern Michigan University, I’ve had the opportunity to do some exploring of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. It has also helped that I know a person who lives in the area that has pointed me towards some of the better places around town. I’ve written previously about a couple of my favorite spots in Ann Arbor, and here a few more that are worth visiting when you’re in the area.

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Book review: Kill Process

Kill Process by William HertlingWilliam Hertling is one of my favorite authors. When he sends you an email saying his latest book is available, and you have over 160 books on your reading list, what should you do? Of course, you put Kill Process at the top of it.

Kill Process is Hertling’s first book since he finished the Singularity Series last year, which is a series you must read if you haven’t already. The good news is that you don’t need to have read any of the Singularity Series books to enjoy Kill Process. Kill Process stands on its own. As Will put it in his email, with Kill Process:

I’ve returned to the present day to explore data ownership, privacy, and analysis, as well as social media, computer hacking, and the world of tech startups

The hook was very intriguing, and I was anxious to jump into his latest work.

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Pierogi – A Family Recipe

pierogiGrowing up, I can still remember when “the call” would come. Grandma had decided to make pierogi and my grandpap would call the house to tell us it was ready. It would usually be early evening when the call would come, and even if we had already eaten dinner, my dad would rush me out the door. We would speed over to grandma’s house, cutting the normally 5-minute drive in half. Somehow, my dad’s older brother, my Uncle Barry, would already be there working his way through the first batch. He lived 10 minutes away from my grandma’s, so how he got there faster than us is a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. My gut tells me he had inside information about when pierogi were being made, but neither he nor my grandparents ever fessed up to it.

My grandma’s pierogi recipe was a hand-me-down from my great grandma (my grandpap’s mother). She was an immigrant from the old country, Ukraine to be exact. My grandmother took over the recipe and mastered it, with a couple of minor tweaks. My mom and dad took over the recipe from my grandma, continuing the family tradition. Store bought pierogi are good, but they don’t come close to matching the real thing.

Someday, I knew that I should take over the recipe to continue the family tradition. I had procrastinated for years, but watching the Michael Pollan documentary “Cooked” inspired me to action. My parents visited this past summer, and I decided it was time to learn the recipe. I set aside an afternoon to spend in the kitchen with them. It was time well spent.

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Book review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben HorowitzWhen I’m adding books to my reading list, I do my best to keep track of where the initial recommendation came from. It helps me to prioritize my reading list. There are sources I rely on that will move a book up my reading list, and certain sources that will advance a book to the top of it. For my latest read, The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, I didn’t have a recommendation source written down. It’s not that book wasn’t recommended. It’s that it was recommended by nearly every source that I use. They all gave it good reviews, especially if you were starting up or running your own business. Needless to say, I fit that description, so I decided I should prioritize the book for my 2016 reading list.

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A peek into the future of tech

A couple of years back, I watched the History Channel series “The Men Who Built America“. I was blown away by the vision, foresight and determination of the people portrayed – Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, Edison, and Ford. Looking back, it was impressive to see how they saw a vision of the future and made it a reality.

Well, I believe there are two such people in our generation who people will look back upon in the same way – Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. When you listen to them speak, their vision of the future is impressive. What’s more impressive is that they aren’t just talking about it. They are doing things that are enabling them to create and achieve their vision. I’m not talking about creating the next social network or iPhone app. They are working on items like space travel to enable colonization of other planets, artificial intelligence to improve human capability, sustainable energy to preserve our planet, and more mundane things like building better cars and improving media.

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