The 100 Books Challenge: Full Reading List

In 2017, I set a goal of reading 100 books. I made up the reading list as I went along, using friends, the internet, and random trips through Goodwill as inspiration. Here is the full list. Links go to Amazon. Books that I especially recommend have a star (★) by the title.

By the Numbers

Total Books Read: 101

Categories: 25

Fiction/Nonfiction: 31/70

The 100

Continue reading “The 100 Books Challenge: Full Reading List”

The 100 Books Challenge: Full Reading List

How to read 100 books in a year (and still have a life)

HackerNews discussion

/r/books discussion

The stack.

You have one. So do I. It’s sitting on your bedside table now, or on the floor, or spread around the house – that growing, tottering, guilt-inducing pile of books that you are absolutely going to read.

Soon. One of these days. When you’re not so busy.

I know how you feel. I’m pretty busy, too. But I got tired of feeling guilty about all those unread books, so at the beginning of 2017 I decided to take action.

I decided to see if I could read one hundred books this year, without cutting anything else – school, work, family, side projects – out of my life.

Continue reading “How to read 100 books in a year (and still have a life)”

How to read 100 books in a year (and still have a life)


Big news! I’m excited to announce that I will be partnering with the fine folks at A Cloud Guru as a writer and cartoonist, starting…well, yesterday. In particular, the ongoing “Serverless Superheroes” series will be migrating to their blog, as well as the “CloudPleasers” cartoons. (I plan to be drawing those much more frequently!) I am also hoping to develop some other exciting cloud-focused content with A Cloud Guru in the coming months – more on that later.

This blog will remain my place for short technical notes, general career-related posts, and the occasional lapse into embarrassing silence.

If you enjoy my writing here, I hope you will bookmark as well! They have some of the best and brightest members of the cloud community creating great content over there – I’m honored to join them.


SERVERLESS SUPERHEROES: Adam Johnson, Monitoring, and the “No Ops” Myth

Welcome to “Serverless Superheroes”. In this space, I chat with the innovators, toolmakers, and developers who are navigating the brave new world of “serverless” cloud applications. For today’s edition, I chatted with Adam Johnson, the cofounder of IOpipe. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Continue reading “SERVERLESS SUPERHEROES: Adam Johnson, Monitoring, and the “No Ops” Myth”

SERVERLESS SUPERHEROES: Adam Johnson, Monitoring, and the “No Ops” Myth

OMSCS: A working professional’s guide to the $7k CS master’s degree

I’m currently twenty-one credits into a master’s degree in computer science at Georgia Tech, one of the world’s top five graduate schools in computing. I also have a family and work full time in the software industry. How is this possible? Meet GaTech’s OMSCS (“Online Master of Science in Computer Science”), the improbable CS master’s degree you can do in your spare time for a grand total of less than $7,000.

The course lectures are delivered on video via Udacity, a popular MOOC platform. But OMSCS shares as much in common with a standard university distance learning program as with a MOOC: you adhere to a regular college semester schedule, get real grades from real professors and TAs, and at the end you walk away with a sweet Georgia Tech diploma that looks just like the ones they give out on campus.

Continue reading “OMSCS: A working professional’s guide to the $7k CS master’s degree”

OMSCS: A working professional’s guide to the $7k CS master’s degree

5 Takeaways from ServerlessConf

I had the great privilege of speaking at ServerlessConf in Austin a couple of weeks ago. The conference is a community event run by the fine folks at A Cloud Guru, but you’d never know that they do other things with their time besides plan conferences, because the logistics were practically flawless. Perfect size (about 400 attendees), great food and a cool venue near downtown Austin made for a fun couple of days. Both the quality of sessions and the technical chops of attendees seemed exceptionally high, leading to lots of thought-provoking content and productive hallway conversations. The only negative comment I have about the event was the pacing – the organizers found a way to cram forty sessions into just two days, and the human brain can only absorb so much information before starting to check out.

Fortunately, all the sessions are now available on YouTube for further review. Here are my top five takeaways from the conference, as well as a few of my favorite sessions.

1. In the land of “No Ops”, ops is still king

Creating an app with serverless technologies is superficially easy, but actually deploying, testing, monitoring and debugging that app in production can be a nightmare. Without insight into the underlying services, you have less control over what breaks and less ability to fix it, and the ecosystem of tools that might help is still pretty thin. Nobody puts their finger better on this problem than DevOps legend Charity Majors, whose session was a rambling, electrifying rant on the folly of assuming that “going serverless” means you don’t have to think about traditional ops considerations anymore. If anything, getting rid of the in-house ops team removes the veil between developers and their own code: if something you wrote stops working in production, you’d better be prepared to fix it yourself. Unless you’ve hit a problem in the underlying services, in which case your app is completely beholden to somebody else’s dev cycle – a very real possibility that is not to be brushed off lightly.

Continue reading “5 Takeaways from ServerlessConf”

5 Takeaways from ServerlessConf