The Phoenix Project

I did not have high hopes for this book; the promise of “a novel about DevOps” in the subtitle foreshadowed stilted prose, one-dimensional characters, and a formulaic arc. I’m not saying the language was great or that the characters were well-developed, but neither the prose nor the characters were bad enough to distract from the plot, which was told clearly and expertly paced. Overall, the book read like good genre fiction that just happened to describe kanban, lean manufacturing, and value stream mapping in depth.

The Poisoner's Handbook

Yet another microhistory, this one about the emergence of forensic medicine as a scientific discipline in the early twentieth century. Blum traces this history primarily through the tales of Charles Norris, the first New York City medical examiner with specialized training, and his chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler. The history of how people of the time poisoned each other and how the practices of forensic pathology and toxicology evolved to keep up is a fascinating read.

Stiff

A combination microhistory of cadavers and exploration of how contemporary society uses bodies donated to science. I found the history more interesting than the descriptions of how scientific researchers make use of bodies and human tissue, but the author’s familiar tone and easy wit make the whole book a surprisingly light and engrossing read.

Pepparkakor

Few things evoke holiday nostalgia as strongly as the scent of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven. I’m not the biggest fan of soft gingerbread, but Swedish pepparkakor (“pepper cookies”) are thin, crispy, and fill your kitchen with the same warm spice aroma. This recipe uses no ginger but gets the same flavor profile from cardamom, a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the ginger family. I picked up this recipe at a holiday baking class at Culinaria, a small cooking school in Vienna, VA.

Serverless client-side telemetry aggregation

A tutorial for capturing telemetry from browser clients using CloudFront, Kinesis Firehose, S3, and Glue

Blogging for Fun and Profit

This past year has been a time of transition for me. Last August, I moved from the AWS client tools team to AWS Ground Station and from Washington State to Washington, D.C. After getting to work with some extraordinary people to see Ground Station evolve from an idea to a preview to a generally available AWS service, I decided to seek a position at the US Digital Service, where I’ll be starting work next Monday.

2018 New Year's Resolutions

My resolutions for the new year

MongoDB and the Dangers of Schema Rot

A rant from when I worked for a news publication that only used MongoDB

Efficiency in Roman expression

Walkthrough of Project Euler problem #89

Pandigitals with prime-divisible substrings

Walkthrough of Project Euler problem #43

Multiple permutations

Walkthrough of Project Euler problem #32

Circular primes

Walkthrough of Project Euler problem #35