Solaris by Stanisław Lem, Bill Johnston (Translator)

Solaris has been on my reading list for a long time. I had high expectations, and the book does not disappoint. To get that, you will need to put the novel in its right context. Reading or watching science fiction for the past decades is going to spoil plot twists. While reading Solaris I reviewed past reads and movies and realized how much Stanisław Lem influenced them.
Technology is everywhere and suffers a strong case of ‘future in the past’. “That was here too, though not in printed form—it was buried in one of the microfilm capsules.” is just an example. This does not harm the immersion into the Solaris universe but helps as a reminder of the period that it was written.
The Ocean descriptions have an important atmospheric role to set the mood of the novel. But they can get too long and difficult to visualize. Meanwhile, the dialogues and events concerning the main characters are clearly laid out.
I felt being part of an alien encounter as mysterious, interesting and frightening as it may be. I will recommend this book as much for the story as for its significance in the world of science fiction.

4/5 ★★★★☆

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology is different from what I expected. I guessed that Neil Gaiman would create a more novel-like experience. Instead of that, the tone of the stories matched what you will expect from an oral tradition. I felt I heard an old Norse warrior bragging about his gods and goddesses. The short stories create a bigger arch that encompasses the complete book creating a feeling of closure. It is an easy read that will introduce you to some basic stories of Norse mythology. 

4/5 ★★★★☆

Google Cloud Exec Connect Stockholm

This week I attended the “Google Cloud Exec Connect” at the Scandic Continental hotel.

The official event description reads as “Like many Nordic innovators, your company has already embarked on a journey to the cloud. Experts agree that adopting a best-of-breed Multi-cloud approach is your next step. Multi-cloud is the key to gaining the promised agility of the cloud and its economic advantages”. I was interested in knowing more about what Google Cloud can offer, and why Google was focusing on the multi-cloud approach.

The keynote had two main topics. Guillaume Leygues, from Google, acknowledged that Google Cloud lacked in the past some enterprise features that now are present on their offering. And that Kubernetes, the base for much of Cloud solutions, is Google’s technology. Google is not aiming, yet, to be your primary cloud provider. However, they want you to use their service for disaster recovery, fast prototyping provider and artificial intelligence needs.

After the Keynote, Joakim Erlandsson presented IKEA’s multi-cloud Strategy. This is as Swedish as an en event can get, even that for the benefit of non-Swedish speakers all the presentations were held in English. Ikea uses the multi-cloud provider strategy to improve innovation and to avoid vendor lock-in.

In Accenture’s view on Multi-Cloud, Jens Lidholm showed their very down to earth approach. A multi-cloud provider strategy mixes well with an already invested private cloud or old data center strategies. He also pointed out the necessity for global companies to be able to change provider fast in case of unexpected problems, like when Russia blocked full ranges of IPs affecting all customers from one of the providers.

The key take out of the event is summarised as “Multi-cloud is the key to gaining the promised agility of the cloud and its economic advantages”.

Google is playing catch-up in the cloud as a service and being your second provider allows Google to show what their products can do. I can’t agree more on the fact that if you don’t test your services on production in multiple providers, it is an impossible task to move when is needed and to ask for discounts to your current provider on the possibility of leaving their platform a toothless statement.

Graphics and Illustration for Educators

I joined the “Graphics and Illustration for Educators” course from Adobe. It has been a good learning experience.

My goals

In my line of work, I need to do presentations quite often. So I was looking for some better tooling to get away from boring Power Points.

I found “Graphics and Illustration for Educators”. It looks a good course for train myself and help my mentorees.

As part of the course, each estudent has to write a journal. I write my own learning journal using Spark as suggested.

Reflecting on my Learning

I am going to divide my reflection in two parts. One is what I have learned about Illustrator. The second one is what I have learned about how the course has been done and how has affected my learning.

Learning Illustrator

The first lesson was the most valuable on this learning. Been completely new to the program, just to see an example of use was a learning on itself. Going thru the class and executing each step as the teacher showed it on screen was enough to gain confidence in the use of the software. I still will need more training to use all the possibilities of Illustrator. But just by practicing what I have learned in this course, it will be easy to gain more skill and achieve better results.

The teaching

What surprised me more from the training is the assignments. Each assignment needed to use the skills learned in the class, but still allowed students to be creative and own the project.

To have to share the result with the other students, and to get criticism was very positive. It forced me to strive for a better outcome, and I learned as much from the other student comments about my work as I learned from looking and evaluate theirs.

Sample work from the course. 4 icons.

Guess the movie

Impactful Software. Business-driven Refactoring, Platforms and Ecosystems by Jan Bosch

A colleague recommended me to read “Impactful Software: Business-driven Refactoring, Platforms and Ecosystems” by Jan Bosch. And I have not been disappointed.

The book revolves around the ‘Three Layer Product Model’ (3LPM). The model divides software components in three categories: commodity, differentiating and innovative. From there it assigns some properties and desired status and investment to each one of them.

The model ties together two needs. The architecture has to be split apart in components with different functionality and change rate. Business needs to invest in differentiating and innovative features, while lowering cost on commodities. We will find not only a good model to segregate components, but also different strategies on how to work afterwards. From using Open Source to business partnership, the author analyses the different options to work with each of the different layers.

If you need to create a business case for an architectural refactoring, this book will help you to align the technology and business needs. If your software is already in good shape, you can still get better understanding on how to work with each of the layers.

3/5 ★★★☆☆

“Impactful Software. Business-driven Refactoring, Platforms and Ecosystems”
by Jan Bosch
Release Date: February 10th 2018