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review 2018-03-18 19:27
#Audiobook Review: A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door - Listening Library,Jennifer Ehle,Madeleine L'Engle

A Wind in the Door is the follow up story to one of my favorite books, A Wrinkle in Time. Moving forward in time a couple years, we catch up with Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace as they take on another cosmic adventure. This time around, Charles Wallace is very ill, and Meg and Calvin meet new beings who help them try to save him.


Once again, I listened to the book with my 11-year old daughter (after reading it several times in my youth and as an adult). We both found the story somewhat interesting, but not nearly as good as the first book. I felt the story tries too hard to get across its messages of "everything is connected" and "love everyone." The concepts used became increasingly repetitive and unnecessarily confusing. We both became bored with the Meg's tests, meanwhile, we both were able to figure out and solve Meg's problems well before she did.


Ms. Ehle does a good job with her narration, although I did enjoy Ms. Davis's performance in A Wrinkle in Time a bit more. At first, it was hard not to compare the two performances, but after a while, I could appreciate Ms. Ehle's work on its own merit. She has a calming presence and captures the exuberant nature of Meg.


In the end, I enjoyed the experience of listening to A Wind in the Door with my daughter, but we both agree the book had a few issues.


My rating: B-/C+
My daughter: 3.4 stars


Narration: B
My daughter: 4 stars

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review 2018-01-14 20:23
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age - Susan Landau

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

An interesting foray into encryption and privacy, especially when considering the point of view of authorities who may need to access data on devices seized upon arrests.

The author makes a case for strengthened encryption, and I feel this makes more sense than the contrary. The book is positioned around the main controversy of including backdoors to allow police and intelligence services to access a device, so that when they need to do it during an investigation, to apprehend a perp or to follow the trail of other people potentially involved, they could do so easily; whereas strong encryption would make it difficult or impossible. However, as has been discussed during actual investigations (an example given in the book involves Apple), there’d be no guarantees that in-built backdoors would be used only by authorities: if they’re here, sooner or later someone with ill intentions is bound to find them and use them, too.

This ties into a general concern about how we have evolved into a digital age, and have to envision security from this perspective. Here also, while not going into deep technical details, the book explains the principles underlying this new brand of security; how this or that method works; the pros and cons of going towards more encryption or less encryption; what other solutions have already been tested, especially in military environments; how cyber-attacks can disrupt governmental operations in many different ways, such as what happened with Estonia and Georgia, and even the 2016 US elections. All very current and hot issues that deserve to be pointed at and examined, because whatever solutions get implemented, if they create less security and impinge on civilian privacy as well, they’re not going to be useful for very long (if ever).

Also interesting, even though it’s not the main focus, is the concept of encryption methods needing to be made public in order to be really efficient: the more people have a chance of poking at them, testing them, and finding faults, the more these methods can be revised and strengthened.

Conclusion: Not a very technical book, but that’s precisely why it makes a good introduction to such matters: easy to understand, while highlighting major concerns that not only deal with national security, but with our own (and with our privacy) as well.

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video 2017-11-09 01:31
McLuhan in an Age of Social Media - Paul Levinson

The Omnipotent Ear - applying McLuhan's tetrad to the flip of binge-watching television to binge-listening to the Beatles on Sirius XM radio

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review 2017-10-15 21:57
Before the Devil Breaks You Book Review
Before the Devil Breaks You: The Diviner... Before the Devil Breaks You: The Diviners, Book 3 - Libba Bray,January LaVoy,Listening Library

Sigh. I have very mixed feelings about this. I love the first one, enjoyed the second one and feel like this book three is very fillerish for the final book. A lot of the scaryness is gone. It's very political and not at all why I started this series and got so invested. I'm one of those people that like to read, be entertained without the necessities of making everything political. 


I love Theta and Memphis. They are probably my favorite characters in the book. Jericho didn't do much this time around and even Evie was a little boring at times. Its a long one and half of it wasn't necessary. 


I'll still read the next one but I'm hoping Libba Bray has more of that scary, ghostly goodness left for this series. 

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review 2017-08-10 03:32
A Fun Adventure with the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Miles Morales: Spider-Man - Jason Reynolds,Guy Lockard,Listening Library

It was Bendis/Bagley's Ultimate Spider-Man that brought me back to comics after a decade-plus break, and no matter what else I read, it was one of my Top 2 titles on my pull-list. Financial concerns got me to stop reading/collecting about a year before Miles Morales showed up. I was able to deal with letting everything else go, but USM was tough -- especially when I heard about this new kid. I never learned much about him, I know he's Afro-Hispanic, that his uniform is the best one since Ditko's original, I heard they did a good job showing Miles and his parents going through a Charter School lottery, I know he's popular enough they brought him over from the Ultimate universe.


Still, I saw this cover floating around Twitter last week and thought it looked pretty cool, so grabbed it when I had a moment. There's a lot of Miles, his family and his school, not a lot of Web Head. But when he shows up, it counts.


Miles is having some Spidey Sense problems, which is leading to problems at school -- a suspension and some trouble with his History teacher. He's not sleeping well -- tormented by nightmares about his uncle's death. Miles starts to wonder if people like him -- descendants of criminals --should have super-powers, if he should be a super-hero. It's hard to describe the threat that Miles and his alter-ego face, really it unveils itself slowly throughout the book. But it's a doozy, and it's not what it seems to be early on.


I think Miles is a great character, he's Peter Parker-esque in the best sense of the word, while being his own guy. His parents are fun, his dad in particular is a wonderful character -- a great dad, it seems. Miles' best friend and roommate, Ganke is a hoot. There's a girl, of course, because he's 16. I don't know if Alicia's a fixture in the comic or not, but it'd be interesting to see how she is outside of this.


Oh, Miles having camouflage powers? That's just cool.


I think Lockard went over the top occasionally with his narration. Maybe part of that is pandering to the 11-13 year-old audience that Audible tells me this is directed toward. Maybe he and the director are just excitable and/or excited. It didn't detract from anything, it was just occasionally too much. By and large, his energy kept things moving, lively -- just the way a Spider-Man story should be.


This isn't for everyone, but for those who like the idea of a Spider-Man novel, for fans of Miles Morales, or those who are just curious about him -- this'll entertain. I won't say I've read every Spider-Man novel printed in the last couple of decades -- but I'm willing to be my percentage is pretty high. Miles Morales is among the best.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/08/09/miles-morales-audiobook-by-jason-reynolds-guy-lockard
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