Archive for Books

It’s Not All Political Paranoia

Ian

Boy, been awhile since I posted anything here.

The Evens
Saw The Evens on Monday night at the Chop Chop Gallery. It was a pretty cool show, and a lot more intimate setting than the last time I saw Ian play. I’m guessing there were probably 70 or so people max.

For those interested, it looks like someone posted a couple of videos from the show to YouTube:

Cryptonomicon
Finally got around to finishing Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It was as good as everyone has said it was, but I have a hell of a time actually sitting down and reading a fictional book anymore. It must have taken me over two months to get through it. 😦

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Honey, I shrunk the Constitution

Finished reading Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig this week. It deals with how Copyright law is being used to shrink the public domain. Lessig gives numerous examples of how copyright law has changed over the years to the advantage of the big media companies. For example just look at Disney, whose many animated features are based on public domain work (Snow White, Cinderella, Pinoccho, etc), but is one main parties that pushed for the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Pretty hypocritical. The most interesting chapters in my opinion, were chapters 13 and 14, where Lessig writes about arguing Eldred v. Ashcroft before the Supreme Court, and where he thinks he made an error in that argument. Of his three books, this would be the one I would most recommend for people to read. BTW, the title for this post is from a line in his book, which I though was pretty funny.

Speaking of Lessig, he has placed a presentation about Google Book Search (which I haven’t had a chance to view yet) on his blog, in case anyone here is interested.

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More Books…

Finished reading a couple more books this week:

  • Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad. Tells the history of some of the more prominent bands (Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, Minor Threat, Replacements, Fugazi, etc.) in the indie music scene during the 80’s. Pretty entertaining book, and a nice change from the more philosophical/legal books I’ve been reading lately.

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General Musings at the End of the Year

Cup O' Joe

I’m finally over that nasty case of the flu that I had the week before Christmas, which means that it is once again time to hang at my favorite coffee shop, Cup O’ Joe. Of course, the crew that works there are fairly slack, so it’s only open to 6:00 tonight. Oh, well.

One good thing about being sick was that it gave me some time to finish a few books I’ve been taking forever to finish. Here’s what has been occupying my reading time for the last week or so:

  • Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace by Lawrence Lessig. Considering it was written in 1999, it’s amazing how many of his predictions are coming to pass. Truthfully it’s a little sad, since the book is fairly bleak in it’s view of the future. For example, just look at the craziness of what AT&T and BellSouth are trying to do with their current lobbying for a two-tiered Internet.
  • Eisner/Miller by Charles Brownstein, which is basically a conversation between Will Eisner and Frank Miller about the history of comics, and its relationship with other forms of entertainment. Pretty good read if your interested in comics and its history.
  • Programming Jabber by DJ Adams. Fairly dry read, but it gives a lot of good information on the Jabber protocol. I’m still working on adding PGP support to Gossip, but at least the Jabber requirements are fairly straightforward. Now, I just need to read up on the API documentation for GPGME, and I can finally get around to writing a patch.

I think one of my resolutions for 2006 will be to read more fictional books, since this year the only one I read was The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Let’s see, what else has been happening here? Oh, I updated my WordPress installation to the latest version. It looks real nice, but they use a WYSIWYG editor now if you post from a web browser. It totally sucks. I’ve spent more time screwing around with this than I care to admit. It doesn’t help of course that all the hot keys used for formatting, conflict with the key bindings used by my browser, Epiphany. Of course, all this frustration might finally motivate me to work on a patch for Gnome Blog that adds category support. There is one sitting out in Bugzilla already, that just needs to be modified, so that if you don’t use categories on your blog, it won’t even show the category drop-down box in your interface.

Update: It turns out that you can get the WordPress hot keys to work in Epiphany by using Alt+Shift+<letter>. Of course, this doesn’t change my opinion about the crappiness of the editor.

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Revolution In The Valley


Revolution in the Valley Cover

Just finished reading Andy Hertzfeld’s Revolution in The Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How The Mac Was Made. It’s a collection of stories about the development of the Macintosh, which where collected from Andy’s website, folklore.org. I’m not really a big fan of Apple, but it is interesting to read about the genesis of the Macintosh, and the team that created it. The book really does bring back memories of what computing was like back then (using cassette tapes for back-up, having very little memory, etc.). Regardless if you are a Apple enthusiast or not, it’s definitely worth a read.

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