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wbiro

  • 137
  • reviews
  • 210
  • helpful votes
  • 138
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  • The Rooster Bar

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10,527
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,424
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,397

Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Sticking it to the Man

  • By Mel on 11-11-17

Good Story, Low and High Adventure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-16-18

Personally I can do without the high adventure, be it adds vista. It was a story that needed to be told (and retold, considering the source Atlantic article on a law school scam).

  • The Fourth Transformation

  • How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything
  • By: Robert Scoble, Shel Israel
  • Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer
  • Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 409
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 363
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 358

Ten years from today, the center of our digital lives will no longer be the smart phone, but device that looks like ordinary eyeglasses: except those glasses will have settings for virtual and augmented reality. What you really see and what is computer generated will be mixed so tightly together, that we won't really be able to tell what is real and what is illusion.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Glance into the future - Feed your inner futurist

  • By Jonathan Burg on 11-27-16

Good (and long) Introduction (bad cover)

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-18

The book's queer cover does not do the book justice (I chalked it up to a bad marketing decision) - the book was far more sober that what the cover insinuates. The author's projections into the near future were well imagined and intriguing.

  • Future Presence

  • How Virtual Reality Is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limits of Ordinary Life
  • By: Peter Rubin
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Heralded as the most significant technological innovation since the smartphone, virtual reality is poised to transform our very notions of life and humanity. Though this tech is still in its infancy, to those on the inside, it is the future. VR will change how we work, how we experience entertainment, how we feel pleasure and other emotions, how we see ourselves, and most importantly, how we relate to each other in the real world. And we will never be the same. Peter Rubin, senior culture editor for Wired and the industry's go-to authority on the subject, calls it an "intimacy engine".

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lacked Depthand Range; Some New Content

  • By wbiro on 05-11-18

Lacked Depthand Range; Some New Content

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-18

The book's perspective is from gaming and pastimes (rather than as a platform for useful information, my area of interest), so the book's projections into the future were limited along those lines. The chapter on VR sex seemed excruciating long, so in that respect (as well as the gaming and pastime perspective) the book sold the potential of VR short. The book did have a short chapter on AR, which I found more interesting than VR.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Wealth of Nations

  • By: Adam Smith
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 36 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 671
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 572
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 567

The foundation for all modern economic thought and political economy, The Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of Scottish economist Adam Smith, who introduces the world to the very idea of economics and capitalism in the modern sense of the words.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazingly accessible

  • By Monte on 03-12-12

A Loooong Broad and Detailed Window into the Past

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-18

The first dozen chapters or so are still useful as an Economics 101 textbook. The middle chapters are more useful now as a history of minute details (right down to current rates of commodities in shillings and thrupence), and (if you look beneath what the author was ostensibly conveying), you will detect the dominant guiding mindsets and attitudes of the time. The last third of the book broadens the subject matter again. During the middle third, I had to take several breaks from it, listening to several other audiobooks during the interim. The author added insight as to the impact of various government systems and measures on an economy.

  • Augmented Reality for Beginners!

  • Principles & Practices for Augmented Reality & Virtual Computers
  • By: Roger Froze
  • Narrated by: Jim D Johnston
  • Length: 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    2.5 out of 5 stars 6

Are you ready to learn all about augmented reality? If so, you've come to the right place.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Half Good Half Lame

  • By wbiro on 05-09-18

Half Good Half Lame

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-18

Good: First half - describes various browsers Bad: Second half - a lot of lame advice for developers

  • The Inevitable

  • Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
  • By: Kevin Kelly
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,478
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,034
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,027

Much of what will happen in the next 30 years is inevitable, driven by technological trends that are already in motion. In this fascinating, provocative new book, Kevin Kelly provides an optimistic road map for the future, showing how the coming changes in our lives - from virtual reality in the home to an on-demand economy to artificial intelligence embedded in everything we manufacture - can be understood as the result of a few long-term accelerating forces.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Predicting is hard, especially about the future

  • By Michael on 02-20-17

A Lot of Ground Covered - Most of it New to Me

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-01-18

I will remember this book for introducing me to augmented reality... but the author covered many topics - it is a very long book. The book actually demystified 'block chain' for me and the nature of digital currency - no small feat...

  • Lake Invaders

  • Invasive Species and the Battle for the Future of the Great Lakes
  • By: William Rapai
  • Narrated by: David Gilmore
  • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

There are more than 180 exotic species in the Great Lakes. Some, such as the Asian tapeworm, have had little or no impact so far. But a handful of others - sea lamprey, alewife, spiny water flea, rusty crayfish, and more - have conducted an all-out assault on the Great Lakes and are winning the battle. Here, William Rapai focuses on the impact of these invasives. Rapai begins with a brief biological and geological history of the Great Lakes. He examines new policies and the tradeoffs that must be weighed, and ends with an inspired call for action.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Satisfied my Urge for an In-depth Specific Topic

  • By wbiro on 05-01-18

Satisfied my Urge for an In-depth Specific Topic

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-01-18

It helped that I grew up in the Great Lakes Region... as for a critique, I was bemused that the book heavily focused on 'stopping' the spread of invasive species, and it covered several successful approaches; and it noted how victim species sometimes turn the tables when they discover that the young of the invasive species are tasty treats... So the book is thinking 'stopping them' and I'm thinking, 'all that food' for a growing human civilization... the book does touch on that 'gastro' solution, but far too lightly. One noteworthy quip: "Let's just fish them into extinction - we are very good at that..."

So contrary to the books premise that invasive species are a plague (to bio-diversity, granted), I noted that they may also be 'man's best friend' - as a swiftly self-producing source of food... so the ideal solution would be to take advantage of that AND maintain bio-diverslty... the field isn't new, but there is still a lot of research and solution experimentation and implementation to be done...

  • Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science

  • By: Robert Sapolsky, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: The Great Courses
  • Length: 5 hrs and 57 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,063
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 933
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 928

Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions? As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Human And Loving It!

  • By Gillian on 07-28-15

Left Me Wanting More

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-18

But then I could listen to cognitive and behavioral research studies all day (and I did)... heard some before, others were new to me. Learned some more about the brain. Intriguing brain parasite chapter. Professor Sapolsky has a good narrative voice.

  • Do We Matter?

  • By: Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
  • Length: 11 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Do we matter? Does mattering matter? In this talk at Smithsonian Magazine's The Future Is Here Festival in Washington, DC, philosopher and novelist Rebecca Newberger Goldstein asks these questions and more. Find out why mattering matters so much to us from this MacArthur “genius” grant winner.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Horrid

  • By wbiro on 04-23-18

Horrid

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-23-18

Usually when something is terrible, we ignore it - it is not worth our time, which we assume sends a message that 'no review is a negative review'. Well, sometimes one needs to give a negative review, and this is one of those cases - no review would result in the author thinking nothing was wrong... and, being a MacArthur Fellowship Award recipient (over half-a-million $$$ now), the critique is even more pertinent...

First, the author does not take us beyond "we need to think", or 'that is something to think about' or 'should be considered', which inadvertently means the author has not done any thinking. You would have assumed the author would have already done the thinking, and is presenting us with the results. Not the case. She is leaving it to someone else to do the heavy mental lifting (like me).

Second, the author makes several unfounded claims, such as 'we are genetically endowed with a need to matter'. There is no such scientific finding. She gets several other things wrong, too, such as 'Einstein's brain was normal' - it wasn't, it had a speech/spatial anomaly, and that 'mattering explains our distinctly human behavior' (it doesn't, it is a symptom of a mental disease - continued universal human cluelessness, the world in which the author is trapped in, and hence references. The author notes that we live in a 'very dramatic time of mattering', noting social media. Nice observation, but now what? No answer.

Third, the author proposes attitudes based on emotion, such as proposing a negative attitude toward CRISPR genetic engineering, which the author associated with 'designer babies', which is automatically assumed to be a bad thing (and the author cannot see the real root of the evil - continued universal human cluelessness, of which the author is a part of).

Fourth, the author demonstrates philosophical vapidity by stating that happiness and decreased suffering are the end goals of life (they aren't, continuing to struggle to exist is, just to let you know). The author only goes as far as 'pursuing our lives', as clueless and vapid as that is, and has been.

Fifth, there is a gender bias in the topics (babies, mattering, being short).

The author does note the 'slow moral advancement over centuries', though does not have a clue that humans are still universally clueless, and again offers no answers or final enlightenment (being clueless).

Sixth, the author actually descends into mysticism, noting the 'psychic powers of her mattering map'.

Overall the lecture is about our clueless pursuit of attention and approval, and, horridly, the author thinks it is OK. The lecture does not take us beyond the blind need to matter, or to the crux of the problem (philosophical cluelessness).

Now, for someone who has done so little thinking, one wonders how a MacArthur Fellowship Grant was obtained, and the answer may be that one just needs to know and play the system, which is nothing more than being a parasite.











  • In Our Own Image

  • Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence
  • By: George Zarkadakis
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50

A timely and important book that explores the societal and ethical implications of artificial intelligence as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution. George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind's oldest love-hate relationships: our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI. He traces AI's origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein to today's science fiction blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • simply the most intelligent book on this subject .

  • By bob on 03-26-17

Covers a Lot of Ground

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-23-18

Good coverage of history and science and technology, but you can throw-out all the philosophizing and prophesying - they reflect the philosophical vapidity and tunnel-vision of the author's generation...