Hunger Games in 1Q84

Here’s the deal, I liked the premise of Hunger Games. I liked the setting, I liked the back-story, and I especially liked the science-fiction aspects like the Tracker Jackers and Muttations.  I really just wish it wasn’t written for young adults.  For those that have read 1Q84 you will appreciate this thought: I really just want to give this book to another author and have it re-written.  It’s not that the writing was bad, it’s just that I feel characterization and setting development were exchanged for action and teen-angst.  I had a hard time dealing with the classic teenager “does he/she like me” tone of the book.  I can appreciate the appeal and success and like I said, it’s not a bad book.  I’m just not ready to be a teenager again 🙂

Moving on, I’ve started my quarter of Networks with my Computer Networks and Network Security class, so expect appropriately themed posts.  For those that just groaned, this isn’t a threat!  But I do tend to write what’s on my mind…  I’m hoping to

Bitcoin Accepted Here [by freeborn]
Maybe I should accept Bitcoins to fund my research into Bitcoins? 😉 (Photo credit: Adam Crowe)
analyze the Bitcoin protocol a bit more specifically in my networks class and hopefully get more into depth into SSL/TLS and software exploits in my security class.  It should be fun!

To complement these classes, I’m reading Liars and Outliers by Bruce Schneier which should not only be relevant my security class, but will round off my personal Game Theory investigations.  Each book by Schneier seems to take a step back from the technical security problem and focus on a grander scale.  Here he takes on societal trust issues and among other things, he shows why society needs defectors (those who don’t play by the rules).

Lastly, after attempts of finding a private German tutor where I’m currently living haven’t worked out, I broke down and bought a one-year subscription to Rosetta Stone online.  I was very reluctant until I saw and tried one feature: online studio sessions with a fluent speaker.  I sat through my first 50 minute session 1-on-1 yesterday and it was great.  The tutor was very friendly and helpful and we spoke entirely in German. Amazingly, these are included in the price and one can perform the sessions over and over.  For those studying less popular languages, with limited access to speakers, this is a great find!  I wish I would have found it earlier.

Millenium Down!

I’ve finally finished the Millenium Trilogy by completing The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  It was very entertaining and a quick 500 pages or so, but I don’t think it will make my top ten list.  It was a very plot-centric crime thriller and it makes for good summer / vacation reading, which is how I approached it.  There were two things that annoyed me at first, but then I’ve let them go.  But, I’m going to write them here anyway 🙂 (These are non-spoilers)

First, one of the hackers in the Hacker Republic “took control of nuclear submarine in the north sea.”  Somehow, submarines were better represented in movies and books ten to twenty years ago than in media today.  The latest Mission Impossible movie also had

The US Navy attack submarine USS Annapolis (SS...
Submarines can do some interesting things, but despite that, the most common question I get asked from child and adult alike is: "Where does the poop and trash go?" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

some outlandish submarine involvement (otherwise, it was a good movie).  Well, we are the silent service and in general, we don’t get our stories out, with the exception of Blinds Man Bluff.

Secondly, at one point Salander recalls that she once had a solution to Fermat’s last theorem, but couldn’t remember it.  At first I took this as a hyperbole, but seeing how the theorem was proved unsolvable in the late 90s, I’m going to give the late author the benefit of the doubt and conclude this was a joke.

But then I remember this is fiction, and popular fiction at that, so it is meant to be entertaining and it certainly was. So I’ve let these points go 😉

Now I have mid-book anxiety.  The catharsis of finishing a book quickly leads to an unsettling feeling of not having a book to read.  I also have a habit of obtaining more books than I can currently read and I like to have about five books or so lined up.  I’m trying to resist that urge and finish the books I have, so here’s my list:

I’m a bit restless with the new academic quarter starting, so maybe I’ll just start Hunger Games.  Also, the novelty of reading on the Kindle is really wearing on me.  If I’m traveling, the convenience of the Kindle is great, otherwise, I’d just rather hold the book.