Books I read in 2016

Last year was my lowest year in ten years for amount of books read.  To be honest, I was working through textbooks and FreeCodeCamp learning to code, which took away from my reading time.  Still, there were a lot of interesting books on this year’s list!
1.) 4th Generation Warfare Handbook – William S. Lind and Gregory A. Thiele


4.) Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft – by Elizabeth Bear and Greg Bear et al.


11.) Gorilla Mindset – Mike Cernovich




15.) The Circle – Dave Eggers
16.) Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – P. W. Singer and August Cole


17.) The Cartel Hit (Mack Bolan the Executioner #438) – Mike Linaker, Don Pendleton (Series Creator)
19.) The Tournament – Matthew Reilly
21.) Scarecrow Returns – Matthew Reilly
22.) Progression – Sebastian Marshall


23.) Abyss Deep (Star Corpsman #2) – by Ian Douglas
26.) Bitcoin for the Befuddled – Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer


28.) Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire – John Jackson Miller et al.
29.) Re-read GIS for Dummies – Michael N. DeMers
30.) The Blood of Gods (Emperor #5) –  Conn Iggulden




32.) Head First Mobile Web – Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby
33.) The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi


34.) Public Health 101: Healthy People – Healthy Populations – Richard Riegelman, Brenda Kirkwood
37.) Planet of Slums – Mike Davis
38.) Proxima – Stephen Baxter


39.) There Will Be War Volume X – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
40.) JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford

Update and Coming Events

I haven’t written her for awhile and the reason is quite simple: I started a new job. In addition to that I kept the part-time minimum wage job that I was also working. Throw in the fact that part of the time I am a single dad, have a house to keep up, and am still learning programming, and you end up with a lot of stuff to do. That said, my time management skills have slipped, and now I am working on getting back on board the train. I wasted time on Instagram, ridiculous political arguments on Facebook, and getting lost in the endless articles on Medium – not to mention Bullet Journal blogs and Instagrams.

Yes, I’ve fallen into the Bullet Journal craze, but to be honest, mine is as utilitarian and minimalist as it can be. No drawings, no fancy fonts, I don’t even use a ruler. But it has helped quite a bit anyway. Things that were slipping through the cracks are now getting caught. I haven’t gotten back into the full “Getting Things Done” mode that I was a few years ago, but now I find that I actually have time, for example, to…write a blog post! So at some point I’ll do a post on how my BuJo works, and how I organize and all that stuff, but for today, let’s hit some highlights.

As noted, I landed a job, in the IT field (at last). It doesn’t have as much development or writing code as I’d like, but I’m learning a lot about networks, how systems of different software work, and what it’s like to be on call pretty much all the time(!) I’ll do a post soon on how I got the job, how Free Code Camp helped, etc.

In addition, I’ve decided to build a Fintech app. Really, it’s a toy app, something for me to play around with and learn to use some new languages and technologies, as well as mock up something that could actually be used. It will involve me learning SASS, React, ArcGIS web development and Bitcoin.JS, as well as using the knowledge I have of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript (I may even need to learn ES6), MongoDB, Node, and Express. It’s pretty ambitious, I guess, but I can do it in pieces and slowly get up to a full scale app.

Anyway, I’ll be blogging my adventures, hopefully weekly or more, and I hope you’ll jump in for the ride!

Review: Coursera Fundamentals of GIS Class via UC Davis

I just wrapped up the Fundamentals of GIS class offered by UC Davis on Coursera.  I already had a grasp on the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information offered in the class, but it comes with a free one year license to use ArcGIS and it also teaches you how to use it.  It is also part of a five-course sequence that, if you complete it, offers a certificate in GIS.
One of the most interesting things, to me, is that programming is becoming a bigger and bigger part of GIS – presenting the information to people over the web.  ArcGIS even has a JavaScript API that you can use to accomplish this.  In FreeCodeCamp, I’ll eventually be learning visualization using D3.js and other technologies, and I see this as one more item in my toolbox.  The fact that I’ve always loved maps doesn’t hurt, either!
This first class was pretty basic – teaching, for example, what projections are, a little about thinking spatially, and various other concepts related to GIS.  It also began to teach how to use ArcGIS, such as pulling in map layers, looking at the tables that actually store the data attached to features on the map, and how to package it up and present it on the web.
For the final project, we had to construct a map, package it, and make it available by pdf and on the web.  What we did was take a map of California, add the counties, and then look at the data for voting on an environmental issue.  We had the data on the total who voted – yes or no, and also on how many voted in favor.  The idea is to present the proportion of yes votes to total votes, and put it in a format that is easy to read.  More basic are the requirements to add such typical map elements as a legend and a North indicator.  My map is below; you can also view it online at the ArcGIS website here.
This was a fun course and I learned a lot.  I’m looking forward to the next class in the sequence, GIS Data Formats, Design and Quality, which begins July 25.