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text 2015-01-08 10:28
Elliott and Associates Renewable Energy Review - Cloud year in review 2014 at Price wars, renewable energy, legal concerns, outages

In 2014, the landscape of cloud computing has changed significantly with the ongoing price wars between the three major vendors: Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. New technology in cloud has led to more user convenience, as well as deploying systems with a smaller environmental footprint than traditional mainstream data centers. However, cloud providers face a stormy future amid litigation threatening the security of data stored by cloud users, as well as the liability cloud vendors face.


Price wars in enterprise cloud lead to savings for businesses


Undeniably, the big story of the year is the massive extent to which cloud prices have fallen. On March 25, 2014, Google slashed the prices of all of its cloud offerings, with Compute Engine prices cut 32%, data storage cut 68%, and BigQuery cut 85%. Further discounts can be had with sustained use discounts, cutting the reduced prices by a further 30%. Microsoft followed suit on September 25, 2014, announcing more modest price cuts to Azure cloud services.


Over the last six weeks, more creative price reductions have been introduced, with Amazon introducing upfront billing for cloud services, with savings up to 75% off the on-demand prices for three-year agreements. Amazon also has lowered the price of outbound data transfer for US and Europe centers by 25%, Australia by 26%, and Tokyo by 30%.


A renewed focus on renewable energy


Advancements have also been made in cloud computing becoming more ecologically friendly. In November 2014, Amazon announced it will embark on a "long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint." Additionally, the German company Cloud&Heat introduced a specially-designed cabinet to heat the homes of customers by placing cloud servers into private residences and harvesting the heat generated to warm the air and water.


Legal concerns from US cloud vendors


The big names in cloud vendors are all companies headquartered in the US, but have extensive facilities around the world. An ongoing case against Microsoft for refusing to turn over emails stored on a data center in Ireland has wide implications for the cloud industry. Following disclosures indicating Microsoft's cooperation in transmitting private data of American and international users to federal authorities, competitors Apple and Cisco, as well as telecoms Verizon and AT&T filed briefs in support of Microsoft's position in the case.


Eroding trust in cloud vendors has had a negative impact on US businesses. According to the nonpartisan New America Foundation, "a number of American companies have reported declining sales in overseas markets, loss of customers, and increased competition from non-U.S. services marketing themselves as 'secure' alternatives to popular American products." The precarious position cloud vendors find themselves in has been an issue that has stifled adoption throughout the year.


Outages leave cloud users in a hazy situation


While cost-effective, the enterprise cloud is not bulletproof, as evidenced by an avalanche of service outages this year. Issues apparently related to Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) led to a mass of service outages across various websites in September 2014. Major cloud vendors saw unplanned, protracted downtime as well, with Microsoft Azure services stopping worldwide and coming back up far later in Australia and Asia than the rest of the world. Users of Rackspace and Amazon faced downtime from a reboot needed to patch a bug in the Xen hypervisor, leading to user complaints.

Source: www.techrepublic.com/article/cloud-year-in-review-2014-price-wars-renewable-energy-legal-concerns-outages
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text 2015-01-04 21:06
Perpetual Page-Turner 2014 Survey
Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor


5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition!


2014 Stats:


Number Of Books You Read: 274
Number of Re-Reads: 13
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy


2014 Survey: 


1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, narrated by Edward Herrmann


2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer. I mean, I really liked it, but I wanted a lot more.


3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

The How to Train Your Dragon audiobook series. I thought I would like it, but those books have been one of the highlights of the year for me. 


4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Most people I know have long lists so I try not to add to them.


5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Series: How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks; Sequel: Cress from the Lunar Chronicles series; Series Ender: Sailor Moon Volume 12


6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Cressida Cowell of the aforementioned How to Train Your Dragon series. Though I admit a lot of that love is due to David Tennant's narration.


7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I kinda read everything...


8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Cress by Marissa Meyer. I was up early reading. 


9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Winner's Tale by Marie Rutkoski. I want to try the audiobook.


10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

The above Dreams of Gods and Monsters


11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Maldynado, the attractive, sarcastic, flirt from Lindsay Buroker's Emperor's Edge series


12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

No idea...


13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, narrated by Edward Herrmann


14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

The Neverending Story


15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?


 “Trust me, I never underestimate my charm or any of my other magnificent attributes. They work great on women. Alas, men tend to see me as an unwelcome rival. You, he might listen to. You're good at talking people into things."

"What makes you say that?"

"Because I'm perched in the rafters of a cannery, at risk from a man-slaying magical creature, and spending time with a drunk, a gangster, and an assassin at . . . what time is it?”
― Lindsay Buroker, The Emperor's Edge    


16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

 Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (1,088 pages) and The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo (18 pages)


17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff


18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

I read a lot of good romance, but Free Marshall and Oliver Clark from The Suffragette Scandal were my favorite


19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Friendship between Hiccup, Camicazi, and Fishlegs in How to Train Your Dragon series 


20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Suffragette Scandal again. I read the first novella for the Brothers Sinister in 2013 and finished the series this year.


21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I don't know if The Emperor's Blades would have been so high on my list if not for all the praise it got.


22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Again, Maldynado, the attractive, sarcastic, flirt from Lindsay Buroker's Emperor's Edge series


23. Best 2014 debut you read?

The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley


24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Watership Down


25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks


26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Watership Down


27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Emperor's Edge


28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Winner's Curse


29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series is a romance series, but I felt each had enough of a twist on the common formula to stand out.


30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Everneath had a gorgeous cover but I wasn't a fan of the series. 


Looking Ahead: 


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

 I started a Tamora Pierce reread, and got one book into it. Will be continuing (and concluding) in 2015.


2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Winds of Winter :) If it doesn't get released then Fairest and Winter to conclude the Lunar Chronicles


3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Looks like the Red Queen is the only one on my list, anyone have others I should look out for?


4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

Lunar Chronicles ending


5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Get through a lot of manga and owned books 

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text 2015-01-03 20:46
My Top 2014 Reads

Total Books Read: 274 out of a goal of 250

2013 Results


Favorite Classic:


Watership Down by Richard Adams. I always knew about it, but finally picked it up. Never thought I would be so emotional about rabbits.


Honorable Mention: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende


Favorite Audiobook:


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, read by the late Edward Herrmann. Even knowing the ending, the story was incredible and I was on the edge of my seat during the final section.


Honorable Mention: How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, narrated by David Tennant


Favorite Adult Fantasy:


Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley. Great debut with a good amount of new ideas with old and a fun read.


Honorable Mention: The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker


Favorite Adult Sci-Fi:


Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Fun sci-fi series that I look forward to continuing


Honorable Mention: All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka .


Favorite Adult Contemporary:


The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su. I loved the webseries and this companion book about what else was going on was great!


Honorable Mention: Unteachable by Leah Raeder


Favorite Adult Romance:


The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan. My favorite book of a fantastic series.


Honorable Mention: Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas.


Favorite YA Fantasy:


The WInner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. There are no fantasy elements (yet), but it is a fantasy and captured me somehow.


Honorable Mention: World After by Susan Ee


Favorite YA Sci-Fi:


Cress by Marissa Meyer. While I loved the first two, Cinder was predictable and Scarlet didn't have a lot happen in the overall plot, Cress is amazing from start to finish.


Honorable Mention: Ruins by Dan Wells.


Favorite YA Contemporary:


This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Really fun well done book that stuck with me through the year


Honorable Mention: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins.


Favorite Middle Grade:


How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennnat. Words cannot describe how much I love listening to this series.


Honorable Mention: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan


Favorite Historical:


The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, read by the late Edward Herrmann. Hands down favorite of the year.


Honorable Mention: Matterhorn: A Novel of Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes, narrated by Bronson Pinchot


Favorite Manga:


Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Volume 12 by Naoko Takeuchi; translated by William Flanagan. Fantastic conclusion.


Honorable Mention: Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Volume 3 by Magica Quartet.


Favorite Graphic Novel:


Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. One of the most unique stories out there. I need to pick up Volume 4.


Honorable Mention: Batgirl Volume 1 by Gail Simone


Favorite Narrator:


David Tennant. He is amazing. I listed to six How to Train Your Dragon audiobooks and one Doctor Who.


Honorable Mention: Edward Herrmann


Favorite Male Author:


Richard Adams. I only read Watership Down by him, but the introduction as to why he wrote earned him a special place in my heart. And that was before I heard the book.


Honorable Mention: Daniel James Brown


Favorite Female Author:


Courtney Milan for her inventive and enjoyable romances


Honorable Mention: Gail Carriger


Favorite Overall:

 The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, read by the late Edward Herrmann. Best audiobook and historical. If it had fit in other categories it would have won.

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text 2015-01-02 21:37
My 2014 Reading Summary

274 Books. Well, 274 novels, novellas, short stories, manga, graphic novels, audiobooks, etc. :) Which is 24 books over my goal of 250 books.


I had a good reading year. I didn't make all my challenges, but I got most of them. I reread My Most Anticipated Books of 2014 and other decisions post from January last year.


One of my goals last year was to bring my number of owned books that I hadn't read below 100 from 246 books last year. It currently stands at 269...and there are a few that I don't think I've added to the list yet. So that didn't happen.


I did start off the year planning a personal monthly challenge, but I dropped that after February because it was not helping my reading.


For what I wanted to read, I did pretty well. I read all my most anticipated releases (except Burned and Winds of Winter since they did not come out) and finished all but one of my planned series. I did also finish the following series:


The Giver, Lumatere Chronicles, Dragon Diaries, Partials, Sky Chasers , Hathaways, Elemental, Brothers Sinister , Anna and the French Kiss, The Pit Dragon Chronicles, Everneath, Parasol Protectorate, and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy.


By my estimates, I read 37 audiobooks, 52 manga, and 10 novellas/short stories. From goodreads (so no half stars) I had 0 1-star books (it has to be a terrible reading experience), 14 2-star books, 67 3-star books, 153 4-star books, and 40 5-star books (I'm happy to round up) for an average rating of 3.8.


I have a lot more on my list that I want to read and I hope that one day I will be able to. For now I'm just enjoying the journey.


I do want to also mention the death on Wednesday of Edward Herrmann, who I had just discovered as an audiobook narrator. He narrated two books I read this year, including my favorite book of the year, The Boys in the Boat. I look forward to discovering other books he has read.


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text 2014-12-31 19:45
2014 Reading Wrap-Up (The Numbers)

Total Works Read in 2014: 80 (2013: 66)

Total Pages Read in 2014: 14427 (2013: 16695)


Length Breakdown:

Novels 32
Novellas 13
Short Stories (Uncollected) 19
Collections 13
Graphic Novels 1
Non-Fiction 2


Genre Breakdown (%):

Horror 56%
Bizarro 15%
Thriller/Suspense 6%
SF 9%
Fantasy 5%
Literary Fiction/Mainstream 5%
Comedy 1%
Detective/Noir 3%


Star Rating Breakdown (%)

5-Star 11%
4-Star 41%
3-Star 36%
2-Star 11%
1-Star 1%


Click here for My Top 10 Reads from the Last 12 Months

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