Where good ideas come from – Johnson
The Omnivore’s dilemma – Pollan
The Illuminatus Trilogy
Everything bad is good for you – johnson
1984 – fin 5/11? chilling and confusing to read at the same time as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Zero Day – Russinovich – fin 5/11? chilling and possible. Weird reading about a (albeit fictional) personal audience with bin Ladin the day he was killed.
Minority Report and other P.K. Dick stories fin 5/11?
Gideon’s sword fin 5/11?
Frauenfelder’s “Made by Hand” fin 5/11?
Gibson – fin 5/11? Count Zero
The Fall – fin 5/11? del toro
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – chilling and confusing to read at the same time as 1984
Phantoms-koontz fin 4/11? Fun and frightening at first, then plodding, then about 50 poages too long. Not the first Koontz book that ended poorly (to me) . Thinking of The Taking and By the Light of the Moon. By then end of all of these I was gagging.
Ride you Tonto Raiders – Lamour – fin 4/11? Art, short sweet and refreshing after the train wreck at the end of Koontz Phantoms.
Dreaming in Code- Rosenburg – fin 4/11? “Software is easy to make unless you want it to do something new.” Painful and difficult to read if you’ve ever been involved in software-related projects. But a wonderful book showing the human side of the adventure in stark detail.
Djibouti – fin 4/11? Leonard
Ghost map – fin3/11?
In the Company of Ogres – Martinez
Follett – fall of giants
Dead zero – hunter
larrson girl dragon tattoo
Good omens prachett and..
Secret life of the grown-up brian;
Inferno – Niven, Pournelle
Zero – Seife
Linked – Barabasi – an introduction to the science of networks and a walk through the history of the development of the science. Reading this again, it was so good the first time.
The art of happiness – Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler – East meets West. I was struck at the wisdom and openness of the Dalai Lama. Interesting book.
Getting organized in the google era – Douglas Merrill – sort of zen, not real solution-based for me.
Impact – Douglas Preston – miniture black holes or something called strange matter shot at Earth from an ancient Martian weapon. And the Aliens are coming.
Cyberwar – Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake – we’re screwed.
61 hours – Lee Child’s – Reacher. And it’s cold.
Brain candy. Afghan campaign – Steven Pressfield – Pressfield is an artist, telling the every-man story of soldiers in Alexander’s Army
Fatal System Error – Joseph Menn – we’re screwed.
Wireless – Stross – fun short stories. Some are experiments by Stross. Didn’t like all, but enjoyed many.
A briefer History of Time – Hawking – Inspiring. Science CAN ask the questions “why are we here?” In fact this is the real goal of science and we’re finding answers.
The Ghost Map – Stephen Johnson – A walkthrough of the amazing success fo the scientific method, as well as the resistance to paradigm change when the scientific method shows the current paradigm isn’t wearing any clothes.
The Invention of Air – Stephen Johnson – Priestley was a polymath entrenched in religious, scientific and political circles. A wonderful story.
The Selfish Gene – Dawkins – THe brilliant story of survival from the gene’s point of view.
Burn before reading – Stansfield Turner – I don’t get why there’s no comments on Afghanistan
The greatest show on earth – Dawkins – Evolution is a theory like gravity is a theory
Lie down with Lions
natasha rhodes – Dante’s Girl
the gates – Connely
I am Ozzy – Ozzy Osbourne
The Shallows – Carr
pirate lattitudes – crichton
Charlie Wilson’s War
Angel Time – Rice – fin 7/10, hitman turns into the quantum leap guy wiht an angel’s help. Not real deep. Entertaining. A little touchy feely.
Gil’s All Fright Diner – Martinez – fin 7/10 – Another entertaining book about a Werewolf and a Vampire and their trials and tribulations in this book that makes the supernatural into a daily ordeal; just makin a living.
Linchpin – Godin – 7/10 – A really great book, energizing, and hard to read a times. Challenging. How to succeed in today’s workplace. Don’t work to fit in, work to make yourself indispensible, a linchpin.
Brains, a memoir – 6/10 – a most disturbing book told from the zombie’s point of view. You become slightly desensitized, then realize the character is eating entrails while performing his soliloquy.
Legacy of Ashes – 6/10 – The history of CIA from WWII through the cold war and into the 21st century. One of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read.
Simple Genius by David Baldacci – weird how this book deals with blank spots on the map, right after reading Blank Spots on the Map.
The Numerati by Stephen Baker – I am reminded of The Long Tail and World Without Secrets
Monster – Martinez – like a slacker Harry Dresden
Backpacker’s start-up : a beginner’s guide to hiking & backpacking by Werner, Doug – short sweet and weird that shows pictures of plastic disposible water bottles throughout. Written in the 90s.
Fever Dreams – Preston, Child – Entertaining as always..
Changes – Butcher – Harry Dresden: wizard. Another great tale. Harry has to save his….daughter?
Elmore Leonard – Road Dogs,
Jesus Interupted – Bart Ehrman – This is a very good book detailing the history of Christianity from an objective viewpoint.
What would Google Do?
Killing Rommel – Pressfield – I am listening to this on CD. This is great so far – the story of the everyman thrust into extraordinary pressures of war.
Anathem – Stephenson fin 2/10
Blank Spots on the Map Paglen fin 2/10
Cat’s Cradle – Vonnegut – fin 2/10. I am glad I finally read this. A great book.
Furies of Calderon – Butcher
Book of Lies – Meltzer
Alexander Cipher – Adams
Gods behaving badly – Phillips
The cleaner – Battles
Intervention – Cook
Lost Tomb – Gibbons
Your heart belongs to me – Koontz
Gone Tomorrow – Child
The Postman always rings twice – Caine
Tales of horror – misc. Poe, Shelley, etc.
Switch – Elmore Leonard
Knights of the black and white – Whyte
The Associate – Grisham – Um, this story takes off quickly.
The Last Oracle – Rollins – A fun story; autistic kids are the descendents of gypsies who are also the descendents of the last Oracle of Delphi. Governments are trying to exploit them. And there some kind of nuclear radiation subplot going on….
Bourne Deception – Lustbader. On hold.
How to Succeed in Evil, the Novel – McLean – waiting for the last episode/chapter!
Terminal Freeze – Child – fin 10/6/09 – stomach.in.knots. Too.intense. A fun tale and a great thriller.
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla – Seifer – fin 9/29/09. An exhaustive biography. A complicated tale about a complicated man. Almost forgotten to history for a variety of reasons, Telsa’s work is fundamental to the modern world. A great read.
The Chopin Manuscript – Deaver and a bunch of others. Fin 8/09 . OK. It was about four chapters too long. Recipe for nerve gas encoded in a fake musical score.
Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Hofstadter
http://www.amazon.com/Godel-Escher-Bach-Eternal-Golden/dp/0465026567 This book has been mentioned in several of the books I’ve read before including The Equation that Couldn’t be Solved that I just finished. Time to read it. I gave up for now. Maybe I’ll read it in the future.
How to survive a robot uprising – Wilson. Fin 8/09. Actually quite interesting, covering the basics of AI and Robot technology for a lay audience. With the twist that he tells you how to survive the impending robot threat.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Twain – Fin. 8/09 – I’m listened to this as an audio book. I think this is a story that is extraordinarily entertaining “told” rather than “read.” I certainly didn’t read this critically and wasn’t looking for satire or anything. I was endlessly entertained by Tom Sawyer’s insistence on making the plans to spring Jim as complicated as possible when Huck’s practical plan would have had Jim floating down the river in a matter of minutes.
The Equation that Couldn’t be Solved – Livio – Fin 8/09 A fascinating walkthrough the history of mathematics, Livio introduces group theory and shows its wide ranging applications.
Cemetery Dance – Preston, Child – fin 8/09
Planet Google – Stross – fin 7/09 – The book covers the history of Google, through both good and bad decisions. Stross talks about Google’s branching out from its core technology of search. Google book search continues to be a timely and controversial topic. “Google gave users the chance to set up a ‘personal collection’ of book titles, which could be search and also shared with others. “ Look into this. I need to dig back into Google earth – mentioned sites Virtual Globetrotting, Google Earth Hacks, and Google Sightseeing…virtual tourism.
King Dork – Portman – fin 7/09
Treasure of Khan, Cussler – A Dirk Pitt Adventure. I am having trouble getting into this one. I quit.
First Daughter, Lustbader – fin 7/09. The main character has dyslexia. It’s both a blessing and a curse. OK got it. Go on. Entertaining and diverting. The main character can think better than the rest of us.
Turn Coat, Butcher – fin 6/09 – another Harry Dresden tale, the latest. Harry’s thorn-in-hs-side Morgan is being set up to take the fall for the assassination of a senior White Council Wizard. Harry against his better judgement helps Morgan hide. I think I’m all caught up with the Dresden Files now.
Is God a Mathmatician, Livio – fin 6/09 – a guided history of mathematics and it’s intersection with philosophy and the title question. Livio is a great author making both history and mathematics easy and enjoyable to read about. His stylee reminds me of Simon Winchester who writes engaging stories of the history of such arcane and potentially dry topics as the Oxford English Dictionary.
Market Forces, Morgan – another great story of the dystopic near future. Here, small wars are financial vehicles of some sort, and executives dual it out in combat cars. I don’t think I have it all figured out yet. The character development in this story is incredible. The decay of the protagonist’s relationship with his wife (and with society in general) is extremely uncomfortable to “watch.”
Prodigal, Giller – A Snowcrash, Neuromancer, Altered Carbon sort of yarn so far.
Proven Guilty, Butcher – fin 6/17/09 – another great Harry Dresden story. These are like candy.
Wicked, Maguire – fin 6/09. The Wizard of Oz fromthe Wicked Witch’s point of view. Entertaining. Sad. Well done. But you knew how the story was going to end (I’m melting), sort of like watching Titanic.
Grown Up Digital, Tapscott – fin 5/09. A direct rebuttal to The Dumbest Generation by Bauerlein and almost as irritating. This book contains less facts and figures and the positive viewpoint (the kids are all right) heavily relies on extrapolation from observations of the author’s own children and friends. A big difference with this book, though, as compared to Bauerlein’s it’s got *solutions*. Tapscott provides a lot of ideas about how to work with kids that have been weaned on digital media and web 2.0. He also brings up some real concerns he has around privacy.
Small Favor, Butcher – fin 4/09 another great Dresden Files book. Awesome.
The Company, Littell – fin 5/21/09. A great story about the CIA and the cold war. reminiscent of Bamford’s books on the NSA , like Shadow Factory, as well as Declare by Powers. Some of the same names are used? Kim Philby, Angelton….?
Bonk, by Roach – fin 4/09. a book on the *sticky* topic of science and sex. This was a great read, but it felt rushed at the end and I was strangely unsatisfied when it was over.
Googling Security – Conti – fin. 4/09 an interesting and frightening book that reminds us to be careful out there. I am reminded of Beyond Fear by Schneier and The Art of Deception, by Mitnick and Simon.
Thirteen, Morgan – Fin 4/7/2009 – Dystopic Future, genitically modified humans, Mars, cannibalism, what more could you ask for? Morgan is adept at creating a dystopic vision of the all-too-near future. The issue of racism is recast here as a sort of xenophobia describing ongoing tension between “13’s” who are genetic variations of modern humans – essentially the original hunters in the hunter/gather equation – and their “femanized” descendents, us. Morgan creates and fills out a whole mythology here and gives the moster a soul. Brilliant book.
The Dumbest Generation, Bauerlein – fin 3/2009 – I expected to read this book siding with the author, as I’ve been frustrated with the kids’ levels of math literacy lately…. I find I’m arguing with the author page-by-page now. He’s got some good points, but he’s also missing many. I am reminded of the load of steaming crap: Cult of the Amateur, by Keen. For overexcited and breathless tome on one side of the fence I guess there’s its inflammatory titled double on the other side. We’ll see if I can get through this. He’s mentioned several books I’ve read like Marc Prensky’s Don’t Bother me mom, I’m learning refering to him as a futurist. I think Marc is report current events; Kurzweil is a futurist – and Bauerlein hasn’t even touched “The Singularity” or Kurzweil’s idea of merged human-machine intelligence yet….
Declare, Powers – fin 3/09. Sort of got too long. Similar to Stross’ Atrocity archives, but less fun. Stross’ book took this story and crossed it with a Douglass Admas wit = awesome.
Body of Secrets, Bamford – fin 2/09 – from Stross’ book list at the end of The Atrocity Archives. An interesting book describing behind the scenes of the cold war. Reminded of Skunk Works by Rich and Janos. The Cold War was pretty hot.
Ancestor, Sigler – Awesome. Biotech gone horribly wrong. fin 1/09
Coaching Youth Lacrosse
Plague Ship – Cussler, fin 1/2009, a comic book with no pictures. Lots of fun brain candy. A tale from the Oregon files.
Atrocity Archives – Stross. Bond meets Cthulhu. I am reminded of Butcher’s Dresden files and McCullough’s Webmage. This book is a lot of fun. I read jennifer Morgue first. This story predates it.
How to Succeed in Evil, McLean – fin 12/08. Excellent and fun. Superheros supervillians, and an efficiency expert gone bad.
The Demon-Haunted World: Fin 12/08Science as a Candle in the Dark, Sagan – This is one of the best books I’ve read. Sagan argues passionately as an advocate for science, the scientific method, and a skeptical eye when encountering the pseudo-mysterious. He carefully questions religion asking parallel questions like why is it people don’t believe there is a fire-breathing dragon in his garage? But he is very sensitive and points out that shoving atheism and agnosticism (terms used rarely in the book) down people’s throat is not a good approach. This is a much different book than The God Delusion or God is not great.
7th son book one descent, Hutchins – fin. 11/08, freaky. How would you feel if you found out you were a clone? And one of 7? And your “original” was a psycho? Lots of fun – looking forward to reading book 2.
Lacrosse, Urick – fin 11/08, reading again, preseason.
Guns, Germs, and Steel, Diamond, fin 11/08. Some interesting ideas. Essentially human societies developed at different rates not due to innate “racial” differences but differences in ecology: plants, animals available led to fixed communities and stratification of the populace, and an autocatalytic growth of civilization. Reminded me a lot of the Bloom books, Global Brain and the Lucifer Principle.
The Judas Strain, Rollins – Sort of a Ludlum Covert One Jon Smith meets Dan Brown so far. fin 11/08
Singularity, DeSmedt – from Podiobooks.com, fin 11/08
A different Point of View – fin 8/08from Podiobooks.com – an entertaining view of the Start Wars movies from a Storm Trooper’s point of view. Awesome but too short.
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Sanction – Lustbader, fin. 8/08 – An enjoyable Bourne roller coaster ride with predictably unpredictable plot twists.
Earthcore – Sigler – fin 9/18/08 or so. An exciting read about mining and murder. And aliens.
Club Dumas – fin 9/3/08
The Golden Compass, Pullman – fin. 8/08 –
Color of Money – Prachett fin. 8/08 –
Robert Ludlum’s The Moscow Vector by Larkin – Another entertaining Jon Smith escapade.
Skunk Works – Rich and Janos – fin 8/7/08 – The story of Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works, I am reminded immediately of The Zenith Angle, by Sterling: “Be quick, be quiet, be on time.” A very entertaining history of building airplanes during the cold war. Which was actually pretty hot. Some of the stories in the book are pretty unbelievable and take us to the brink of war and back. It’s hard to believe how much the American public didn’t know about some of our black opps. Even the Russians knew more in many cases. This book is the true story behind the backplot fiction in Sterling’s Zenith Angle.
Odd Hours – Koontz – fin 7/08. Another Odd and entertaining read. It’s hard to put it down.
The Historian – Kostova, fin 7/08, a very entertaining book with a style that reminds me of Stoker, Lovecraft, and Eco – a literary detective story with rare and obscure books and personal letters telling parts of the tale, and managing to keep things very exciting! I’m listening to the audio book in which the characters are read by different actors complete with accents.
Skeleton Coast, Cussler – fin 6/2008, a traditional Cussler, thoroughly entertainment reading, and I enjoyed it a lot. This was the first ‘Oregon’ novel I’d read. Not bad.
Robert Ludlum’s The Arctic Event – Ludlum, Cobb, an enteartaining read (listen). Not that deep. Smith get call. Smith form team. Team go. Someone try kill team. Team have problems…etc.
The big switch – Carr – fin 5/2008 – Draws analogies between the evolution of electricity production into a public utility and the current evolution from computing power as internally-managed-by-an-IT-department to a world-wide computing utility. The implications are wide-ranging for entrenched software companies like Microsoft. Continued to discuss the implications of a World-wide-computer on our society and our species in general with allusions to Kurzweil type discussions.
Infected – Sigler – fin 5/2008 – An exciting and disgusting read. The story of a (maybe) engineered virus and the incredible damage (mostly self-) inflicted on one of those infected. Fun to read after World War Z.
Blasphemy – Preston – fin 5/2008 – An entertaining read. Science meets religion. Science wins….only to become a new religion. Touches a lot of topics from other books, like Dawkins’ and Kurzweil’s.
World War Z – fin. 5/2008 – Brooks an awesome book so far, about armageddon ala zombies along the lines of or with similar plot lines as ‘I am legend’ or ’28 days’ or ‘The Stand’ except told as an oral history via interviews of the war, years after is was over. A little tiresome and preachy at the end, but overall a great premise and a scary book.
Bit Literacy – Hurst; fin 5/2008 – this is a good book, addressing the need for establishing basic literacy in our current information environment. It is much more practical, and is targeted to a different audience, than Personal Information Literacy or Keeping Found Things Found that I’ve read recently. But I disagree with some of the ‘solutions.’ That’s a good sign though, in that Hurst has put forward some actually practical ideas to help us with information overload, and it’s easier to edit than create. Now that his suggestions are out there, each of us can mold and modify to get something in place that will work for us. This is the book I wanted to write.
Murder on the Orient Express – Christie, fin 2/08. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie Mystery. It was a lot of fun, but I’m not sure I liked the protagonist Poirot. Of course it could be the reader – I listened on tape.
The Professor and the Madman – Winchester, fin 5/08 – The fascinating story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, told from a different point of view than Winchester’s other book, The Meaning of Everything. This book is about one of the contributors, a certified lunatic.
Esau – Kerr, fin 4/08 Missing Links, ambominable snowmen, blood, and violence. A nice diversion.
The complete idiot’s guide to world religions, Toropov, Buckles – a good overview of the high points
The Family, Puzo – think The Sopranos (or, really, the Corleones) in the 15th century. Follows the family of Pope Alexander. Entertaining so far
Keeping Found Things Found, by Jones – fin. 4/08 More defining and explaining of what PIM is and isn’t and not so heavy on solutions yet.
Cat Chaser, Elmore Leondard – fin 4/08 classic Leonard, ex-marine, hotel-owner, revisits the Dominican Republic for old times sake and is caught up in a love triangle mess with an ex-DR military leader’s wife, and then there’s the matter of a couple million bucks and ….
Personal Information Management, Jones, Teevan – fin 2/2008 – More of a review of research than a compendium of solutions, the book lays out a discussion and a framework for research for PIM. Any book dealing with information these days is bound to be immediately dated as soon as published and this book is no exception. A lot of the reviewed research, though, is decades old. Does that make it les relevant? Not sure. I am still unsure why this book was written and how it’s related to the seemingly identical book Keeping Found Things Found, by Jones. Maybe this is more of a review and that book will offer more solutions?
Innumeracy, Paulos – fin 2/2008 – an interesting a fun book to read. Yet another piece of ‘life literacy’ to keep up with!
Dark Matter, Kerr – fin 2/2008, a very entertaining read about Isaac Newton’s time as Warden of the Mint. A sort of Holmes/Watson tale, told through the eyes of his clerk Ellis.
Fluke, Moore – Sort of an Elmore Leonard style novel set in the realm of whale research. An entertaining read. 2/1/08. OK the book got very strange. Now it’s like a combination of Elmore Leonard, Douglas Adams, and Charles Stross (ala The Jennifer Morgue – James Bond meets Cthulhu)
Rule the Web, Frauenfelder – Like an O’Reilly Hacks book, without the numbered hacks. Some of the tips and tricks are real gems. Others are contradictory, e.g. use RSS feeds to avoid visiting a bunch of individual site, then later, here’s how to open a bunch of individual web sites all at once… I find the organization of the ‘hacks’ pretty unorganized, like a bunch of blog posts jammed together into a book. Which is almost surely what it is. Frauenfelder means ‘women fields.’
White Night, Butcher – fin ca. 1/20/08 – Harry Potter? Don’t waste your time. Butcher’s Dresden Files are awesome. Interesting differences between these books and the Webmage books by McCullough . Amazon tags the latter as Science Fiction and Fantasy and Urban.
Emotional Intelligence, Goleman – fin ca. 1/20/08 – This is a pretty interesting book, and Emotional Intelligence, as described in the 10th anniversary preface, should probably be a part of early childhood education. He overdoes it a little with the computer circuitry analogies for the brain. In other places I’ve read how we tend to describe the workings of the brain using the “hot” technology of the time, like hydrolics and steam-power (unintended pun) purportedly the source of the ‘feeling under pressure’ idiom for stress. Though it seems that I din’t mention it explicitily, this sort of metaphor was argued against in Lakoff’s Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things – that the brain is not a computer. The book reminds me of How to Win Friends and Influence People, in that the key points could be summed up on a couple pages; the bulk of the book is background, corroberation, and stories that add credence to the concepts. Other metaphors abound: “In the calculus of the heart it is the ratio of positive to negative emotions that determines the sense of well-being”
The Wheel of Darkness, Preston, Child – fin 1/3/08 Entertaining and diverting. Mostly set on a cruise ship, action scenes include cruise ships heading toward rocks and meditation(!). A little heavy with the psychic mind power stuff, but still pretty fun.
Steal this File Sharing Book, Wang
Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman – The bible is the ur-wikipedia
Steal This Computer Book 3, Wang – information literacy from the dark side.
Up in Honey’s Room, Leonard – Girl from the moonshine hills of Kentucky mixed up with Nazis and G-men in Detroit during WWII. Priceless.
Nemesis, Napier – an asteroid turned weapon is headed for the US. 11/14/07
Art of Deception, Mitnick, 11/07
Global Brain, Bloom, 10/07
Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman, Feynman, 9/07
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, Clarke 9/07
Glut, Wright, 8/07
Cult of the Amateur, Keen, 8/07
Broken Angels, Morgan, 8/07
God is not Great, Hitchens, 9/07
Bad Luck and Trouble, Child, 9/07
The Perfect Thing, Levy, 10/07
The Godfather, Puzo, 8/07
Hood, Lawhead, 8/07
Disinformation, Miniter, 7/07
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Adams, 7/07
Envisioning Information, Tufte
To Reign in Hell, Brust – Chaos, Heaven, Angels, Deception, Rebellion, Hell. Great story.
Alexandria Link, Berry
Ride the dark trail, Louis L’Amour
Applied Cryptography, Schneier
Seize the night, Koontz
Shutter Island, Lehane
Intelligent Universe, Hoyle
Everything is Miscellaneous, Weinberger
The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Henderson
A new kind of Science, Wolfram, very interesting, ambitious, arrogant, and incredibly long book. I don’t know if I can finish this one, but it’s mentioned a lot in futurist-style works. 4/2006, after renewing 5 times, I had to return it to the library. I guess I’ll try the online version.
Buddhism for Dummies, Landaw, Bodian
Brother Odd, Koontz
Parallel Lies, Pearson
Diamond age, Stephenson
Fragile – Gaimen
Mostly Harmless – Adams
Briefer History of Time
Breakpoint – Clarke
Covanent of the Flame
Tools for Thought
Dead Beat –
Bots: The Origin of New Species by Andrew Leonard
The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier – Howard Rheingold
World without secrets, Hunter
Your privacy is my business
Age of spiritual machines
The Anarchist in the Library – Vaidhyanathan – Social aspects of changes in our digital information environment, read 1/06
The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki, read 2/06
The future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig, fin. 4/2006, lawyerish (obviously), but thought-provoking. Copyright enforcement is out of hand and just because control is ‘possible’ doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. Changes in the architecture of the internet and the web may undermine innovation in the future.
The Social Life of Information, John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid, fin. 4/2006, a cautionary tale, remind all those (us?) infoenthusiasts to remember that people actually have to be involved in using/developing new technology. A little overbearing on that topic, but a good reminder when dealing with the intersection of new and technology and people actually using it. Written “pre-web 2.0” some arguments have been rendered mute, but the points are still valid.
Leondardo’s Laptop, Ben Shneiderman, an interesting book to read after The Social Life of Information, taking the point of view of the infoenthusiast, and what they (we?) should expect from information technology, and what we might do with it, using Da Vinci as a “muse.” fin. 5/06.
FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop, Neil Gershenfeld, begins by discussing the inter-relationships of bits and atoms (reminded of Kurzweil and Stross) and points out that personal fabrication (common centuries ago during the Renaissance or in modern third world countries, because in both cases: if you need it, you have to make it) is on the verge of a comeback. There are a lot of refreshing, enlightening, and empowering ideas discussed here. On one hand, personal fabrication seems far-fetched. How could I really make electronic components on my own? Yet just about everyone owns a personal scanner/printer. You don’t have to go to a print shop to create high quality 2D items. Now how about 3D? Also, he takes the time to concisely describe common technological terms (what you wanted to know but were afraid to ask) like the difference between parallel, serial, and USB ports. Or the definition of the term ‘pixel’ PIcture ELement) yet with an X not a C so it doesn’t sound like something off a deli menu. Or the difference between bitmap and vector graphics. A fascinating book.
Information Anxiety 2 by Richard Saul Wurman, fin 7/06. Rather than give cures to information anxiety, though it offers a few, this book ends up describes the author’s philosophy, in a ‘this is how I do stuff, and it works for me so it should work for you’ kind of way. I still like the book, though, as it challenges you to think differently about a lot of things. For example, RSS feeds are often touted as a key to reducing information overload, since you can create your own news channels, cutting down on the noise. But Wurman says this is a horrible thing to do, since it’s often the noise that leads to the creative breakthroughs. OK, but. How do I know how much noise to let through in order to have that breakthrough? But still, an interesting read.
Scrolling Forward, David M. Levy
Being Digital, Negroponte fin. 9/06 written in 1995, discusses topics like atoms vs. bits, long-tail, AI, copyright, information literacy,…. years before everyone else. Dated, but in a fascinating way. The things he predicts are often reality today. And where they’re different, the way that things are different from his predictions is very interesting.
The Long Tail, By Anderson. fin 10/06. Post-Napster how is the marketplace changing? The long tail discusses the roots of our current niche-laden market as far back is Sears and Roebuck.
The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil fin. 12/06. I finally finished this tome. I’ve summarized it in blog posts. Kurzweil paints an amazing picture of the future. I started wondering though, the difference between believing in god and believing in the singularity. In both cases you need faith. Granted Kurzweil offers page after page of convincing data that all suggests that a singularity is coming. But we haven’t reached it yet. It seemed near the end, when discussing spirituality, etc. that he was offering “singularitarianism” (heheh) as a replacement for traditional religion or god. I didn’t feel I needed to replace god so this discussion was superfluous. In any case, Kurzweil offers a utopian view of the future, even when he mentions potential derailings of the eventual evolution toward the singularity. Thought-provoking book, but in the end hard to completely grasp.
Beyond Fear, Schneier – I read Schneier’s Beyond Fear (http://www.schneier.com/book-beyondfear.html) and found it interesting and relevant. I think “Security Literacy” is sorely needed in today’s everyday life.
Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What they Know, Davenport & Prusak
The internet in the workplace, Wallace
Idiots guide to KM
The Wiki Way
The meaning of everything, Simon Winchester, read 2/06
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, I find I avoid reading this so I don’t finish it. Savoring it. Fin. 7/6/06. I finally finished this book. The first half was very interesting, discussing the concepts of Information Architecture and describing ways to enable better information retrievability and access. The latter half of the book was more practical and described how to actually work on an IA project, design a site, etc. There were a few case studies discussed as well. The latter would have been more interesting if I were still actively working on an IA-type project.
Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences by Geoffrey C. Bowker, Susan Leigh Star. A pretty academic (yet extremely pragmatic) book about classification and its affect on people. Fundamental reading for the topic.
Don’t make me think, Krug fin. 8/06
Thinking for a living, Davenport, fin. 10/06
Science and Technology
Pattern on the Stone, Hillis – didn’t finish
Weaving the web
On Intelligence, Hawkins
Questioning the Millennium, by Stephen Jay Gould, fin. 2/06
John Dee by Sherman offers a fascinating look at the way books were ‘digested’ during early modern history ca. 1600 through the context of the philosopher extraordinaire, Dee. fin 10/06
The Art of Memory, Yates. A description and the history of the ‘art of memory’ used by the ancients. A process of storing a memory using places and images in a ‘castle of the mind.’ Gave up 10/06. A very ‘academic’ book. Interesting, but too long for me. Essentially the art of memory involves using images in the mind as mnemonic devices in order to fix the things to remember there. The book followed the changes in this art from ancient times through the renaissance. Associate things to remember with striking images, was pretty much what I took away. The author made it clear she’s a student of the art, not a practitioner.
The History of Reading by Fischer, gave up 10/06. Too dry for me right now. Interesting but not interesting enough….
Glancing through Flickr Hacks
Decoding the Universe, Seife, fin. 1/30/07. This was a fascinating book that touched on chemistry, biology, physics, quantum theory, computing, electronics, black holes, and astrophysics. Seife started with classical views, pulled us through the renaissance, to the modern day, and dropped us off at the door to cutting edge ideas about the universe. He lost me near the end, but what a ride. It’s all about information, Information as the basic building block of the universe.
Fine art of Small Talk
Dude, Where’s My Country, Michael Moore. Raises some good points. Like, why were we told ‘terrorists attacked us on 9/11’ when the hijackers were all Saudis? Also, at one point Moore pretends to be interview by his grand daughter years in the future. The main point – why didn’t you do anything about your dependance on oil, didn’t you care about us? The thing that hit me is, it’s not just cars and gas and transportation. Just about every manufacture item relies on petroleum products. And we’re running out. I also like the term, ‘opposite truth.’
Demon in the Freezer, Preston fin 9/06 The story of the Anthrax scare post 9/11 and associated story of biological weaponry that you might not want to know about. Scary stuff.
The map that changed the world, Winchester, fin 10/06, a really well written book about the father of Geology. It follows the story of his life. Basically Smith realized that he could figure the layers in the earth by the fossils contained, allowing him to predict whether coal might be nearby, etc. Interesting, it described the tension between religious doctrine and the emerging scientific realization: the realization that the earth is much much older than the church said it was. People actually believed or pretended to believe that fossils were placed by god in the earth to show his skill at creation or something? Kind of like casting away the models before you create the final piece, I guess?
The God Delusion, Dawkins, I find the book compelling and validating – many of the arguments are ones I’ve expressed in the past. Yet the us vs. them confrontational tone and the stated goal of converting the reader to atheism become abrasive. It doesn’t feel good reading parts of the book. And he meant it to be that way. But in all, it is a very thought provoking and god-killing book. I am still uncomfortable with the ‘how did the universe create life’ discussion, which relies on quite a bit of luck. If I understand Dawkins, though, not as much luck as the presence of a creator would take. I guess the biggest validation is the observation that religion and god are used to fill in the blanks when we don’t understand something. The eternal fudge factor. Science can explain a lot, but not everything. Dawkins points out that there is no need to use the equation, Everything = science + god so that we have “all the answers.” We just need to wait for science to find the answers.
“How to win Friends and Influence People,” by Carnegie, fin 1/22/07
Brimstone, by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
Dance of Death, by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
The Holy Thief, Ellis Peters
Storm Front, Jim Butcher – Harry Potter grew up and started a detective agency
Altered carbon, by Richard Morgan
Frankenstein – koontz
and Frankenstein II
The Rule of Four
The Jester, Patterson?
Tyrannosaur Canyon, Douglas Preston
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth, Cory Doctorow, read 1/06
Forever Odd, Koontz, read 1/06
After the Siege, Cory Doctorow, read 1/06
For Love of Evil, Piers Anthony. Sorcerer gets hitched, loses wife, becomes a monk, falls for a demoness, becomes satan. Nice. read 2/06
Human Readable, Cory Doctorow, read 2/06
Beowolf, fin. 3/25/06
The Third Secret by Steve Berry, fin. 4/5/06, entertaining, not too deep, catholic-church thriller.
Hit list, Lawrence Block, I really like the style of writing. A hitman runs into complications, a hit man is hitting hitmen. fin. ca. 4/10/06
Life Expectancy, by Dean Koontz, fin. 4/2006, fun, scary, thriller. Koontz is a great author. The character development of the protagonist dealt a lot with the wonder of life and the joy of family – a heartwarming…thriller….about psychotic clowns. Really, Koontz is a great author.
The Taking, by Dean Koontz, fin. 5/20/2006, A very uncomfortable, disgusting, slimy ETs-take-over-the-Earth story. Koontz has an amazing way with words and can paint a scene like no one else. But oh, the scenes in the book…. Who else uses words like phatasmagorical. Maybe Lovecraft? I did not find this book entertaining, but more like a train wreck that you could not stop watching. I was reminded of War of the Worlds (Cruise, screen version), and Xtro, yes even with the freaky dwarf with the hammer, and Phantasm. Huh, interesting that I thought of a bunch of cheesy movies. The whole book is a take off on the Arthur C. Clarke oft quoted phrase: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ….and it’s reverse.
The Call of the Wild/White Fang, Jack London, this book is amazing. Fin. 6/06. Though “wordy” a couple of beautifully told stories of the wild and man’s influence upon it told from the point of view of a dog and a wolf, respectively.
The Hard Way, Lee Child A fast moving Reacher story about kiddnapping. fin 5/06
Sleeper, Gene Riehl, follows the personal problems and recent case of an FBI agent who thinks he might be succumbing to Alzheimer’s while investigating a string of art thefts that turns out to be tied to assassination plots. Entertainment defined. fin 5/06
Whiteout by Ken Follett. Crime, Bioterrorism, Computers, Family squabbles, Sex. Classic Follett.
Gold Coast, Elmore Leonard fin. 6/06 Dolphin Trainer falls for Mob widow. OK, but I’ve read better Leonard.
Altman Code, Robert Ludlum, Gayle Lynds fin. 6/06 cookie cutter Ludlam story. Diverting but tired of the formula.
The Game, Neil Strauss. fin 8/15/06 A book about penetrating the pickup artist subculture. Not sure where I heard about this, but Neurolinguistic programming is mentioned several times as one of the ‘techniques.’
Templar Legacy Steve Berry fin. 8/06 The Templars are still around and some of them want revenge. Diverting, yet not too deep.
I, Robot, Isaac Asimov. Fin 8/2006. Much different than I expected – after seeing the movie. The story is actually a series of stories describing the ‘history’ of robotics from a post-singularity (?) viewpoint. Pieces of the stories are reminecent of the movie. Or visa versa. I enjoy how he develops and evolves the technology over time. He had a talent for creating an entirely self consistent worl that reminds me of Tolkien’s works.
Hammerjack, by Giller fin. 8/06
The Bug, Ellen Ullman fin. 8/06. A neurotic, depressing, exciting, disturbing, story of a programmer who goes nuts from the viewpoint of a software tester. A very well written book though not really heartwarming.
Foundation, Isaac Asimov, Just started. Described is the ultimate knowledge management project: preserve all human knowledge through creation of the Encyclopedia Galactica so that the predicted dark ages after the fall of the Galactic Empire won’t last so long, survivors of the race being able to refer to this collection of human wisdom. This Encyclopedia will take generations to complete. OK. Fin 8/06. Turns out the Encylopedia wasn’t the real project…. The story is engaging and the character development is superb. What a great tale.
Ellis Peters, The Hermit of Eyton Forest, fin 9/06 Classic, wonderful book. Cadfael solves the mystery again.
The Amazing Morris and his Educated Rodents, fin 9/28/06 Terry Pratchett I’ve never read any Prachett and I’m enjoy this a lot. A group of talking rats, a talking cat, and a dumb looking kid get into a scrape with their latest con. This was a great book. Entertaining for adults, yet probably great to read to kids.
One Shot, Lee Child, Deliciously diverting. fin. 9/06. Reacher solves the mystery, kicks some ass, and disappears, as usual.
Ambler Warning by Ludlum, fin 10/06. Entertaining – guy escapes government-run psycho clinic in an elaborate plot to take out a Chinese diplomat.
Italian Secretary, Carr fin. 10/06. A further adventure of Sherlock Holmes. A great book much in the style of Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle.
Lost City, Cussler, fin. 10/06, oh man, brain candy, diverting, but really dumb. A comic book without pictures. I don’t know if it’s just me but Cussler books seem to get dumber every year. I’m certainly not getting smarter. The story had a multiplot as usual, one plot dealt with ‘enzymes’ that would cause worldwide havoc if not lassoed into submission. Gad. Enzymes.
Ambler Warning, Ludlum, fin 10/06, a fairly forgetable story of spy, turned insane asylum inmate, turned escapee, turned vengeful…I forget the rest.
The BFG, Dahl, fin 11/06, what a fun kids’ book. The words and vocabulary alone are enough to read this for.
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Doctorow, fin. 12/06. I started reading this book and had to put it down. It is weird, and uncomfortable to read. The whole Father-is-mountain, and Mother-is-a-washing-machine? What? The wireless network stuff that ties pieces of the plot toegether is pretty interesting, but man I didn’t really enjoy this book.
By the Light of the Moon, Koontz, fin. 12/06. This was a diverting book. It was pretty well written, but the ending really blows. It was very strange to read this immediately after finishing The Singularity is Near, with its discussion of nanobots. This story is a cautionary tale about the potential Frankenstein scenarios that nanobots may unleash. At the end, the characters decide they are superheros and name their ‘team’ the Moonlight Club. Gag. It got smarmy at the end, but the rest of the book is OK. Diverting.
Orbit, by Nance, fin. 12/06. Entertaining story about a guy who ends up trapped in orbit with no communication – so he thinks. He ends up writing (and rewriting) his life story that somehow gets miraculously sent to Earth. On Earth everyone stops what they are doing and follows along, leading to arrests, divorces, reconciliations, and other second-coming like events.
The Italian Secretary, Carr, fin 12/06. A pretty good Sherlock Holmes book.
Cuba Libre, Leonard, Leonard is simply a great author. He is excellent at developing characters and describing the history behind the story. Really great book.
A Canticle for Liebowitz, Miller, fin 1/22/07, I finished A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Miller. It’s the story of the human race post-nuclear Armageddon. The story is told through the eyes of monks of the Abbey of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz. We watch as humans crawl back from the dark ages toward nuclear apocalypse yet again. We leave the story as the bombs are dropping and as a spaceship takes off carrying some monks and the collected knowledge the Abbey has saved through the years. The story was well written and engaging, yet smacks of 50s nuclear hysteria. The idea of the monks guarding all human wisdom is reminiscent of How the Irish Saved Civilization. The parallels were probably not a coincidence.
Stationary Bike, King, fin. 1/07 An artist starts working out only to raise the ire of the (imaginary?) roadcrew working to keep his blood pumping. The moral might be to take it easy, be healthy, but don’t worry about having a beer once and a while.
Jennifer Morgue, Stross, fin. 1/07 James Bond meets dread Cthulu. Pure entertainment.
Want to Read
A Mathmatician’s Apology, Hardy
Mathmatical Magic Show, Garndner
The last problem, Bell
Deals with the Devil, Anthology, Poges, “The Devil and Simon Flagg
Templar’s Apprentice, Jecks
Pythagorian Solution, Badal
Presenting Windows Workflow Foundation
Game Programming kit for Teens
David Hahn Guitar
C++ programming in easy steps
Dante’s Club, Pearl
The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved: How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry Mario Livio
Philip K Dick books
Hacking Matter, McCarthy
Books to look at:
A hacker manifesto / ?McKenzie Wark.
No place to hide – Robert O’Harrow, Jr.
Pattern on the stone
Black Ice: The Invisible Threat of Cyber-Terrorism(Hardcover) by Dan Verton
“The Human Stain” – Philip Roth
“Applied Cryptography” – Bruce Schneier
“The tragedy of the commons” Hardin, G. 1968, Science, 163, 1243-1248
Based on phamphlett by William Forster Lloyd, in 1833.
Richard Dawkins A Devil’s Chaplain
By Joy, Why the Future Doesn’t need us
Code and other laws of cyberspace, Lessig.
Century of the Gene, Keller
Number the language of Science, Dantzig
A beginner’s guide to constructing the Universe, Schneider
Godel, Escher, Bach, Hofstadter
Enlightening the World, Blom
How the mind works, Steve Pinker
Blank slate, Pinker?
“Tycho and Kepler”
Selfish Gene, Dawkins
IBM and the holocaust
Multimedia from wagner to virtual reality
Everyware : The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing, by Adam Greenfield
Design Rules, Carliss Y. Baldwin, Kim B. Clark
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Michelangelo’s Notebook (Paperback)
by Paul Christopher
Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
I Am a Strange Loop (Hardcover)
by Douglas R. Hofstadter
Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software (Paperback)
by Steven Johnson
The Ghost Map (Hardcover)
by Steven Johnson
National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Night Sky (Audubon Society Field Guide Series)
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
by Steven Pinker
The Numerati by Stephen Baker
The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
by Leonard Susskind
Evil, Inc. by Glenn Kaplan