You Might as Well Be a Great Copy Editor

An early draft of a paper, blog post, grant proposal, or other piece of technical writing typically has many problems. Some of these are high-level issues, such as weak motivation, sections in the wrong order, or a key description that is difficult to understand because it lacks an accompanying figure. These problems need to be… Continue reading You Might as Well Be a Great Copy Editor

Secret Coders

Although I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned it here before, I’m a pretty big comic book nerd. So I was psyched when, late last year, Gene Luen Yang mailed me asking if I’d like a review copy of his upcoming graphic novel. I love Gene’s Avatar comics, which I had been reading with my kids,… Continue reading Secret Coders

Atomic Accidents

Although I was six years old when the Three Mile Island accident happened, I clearly remember grownups talking about it and being worried: the house my family lived in was only about 60 miles away from the meltdown. In those days there was also plenty of free-floating nuclear angst due to the cold war; this… Continue reading Atomic Accidents

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Reading Iain Banks, Part 1

One of the enduring pleasures of my adult life has been the arrival of a new book by Iain Banks every year or two. Although that is over now, I thought it would be interesting to read his books in order of publication, and to write a bit about each. His first four books were… Continue reading Reading Iain Banks, Part 1

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A Few Good Books

I haven’t been getting a ton of reading done this summer, but here are a few books that you might find interesting or fun. The Psychopath Test I’m sort of emphatically not a fan of those lightweight nonfiction books we’ve been seeing a lot of in the past few years that would have made (and… Continue reading A Few Good Books

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Funniest Computer Book?

The other day Eric Eide noticed The UNIX Hater’s Handbook on my desk and remarked that there aren’t enough funny computer books. This is undeniably true. So now I’m trying to find the funniest computer book and I’d appreciate some help. Here are a few guidelines: Not really looking for a Dilbert collection. Let’s just… Continue reading Funniest Computer Book?

Cyber War

I recently read Richard Clarke’s Cyber War. Although I didn’t learn anything new on the technical side, that isn’t the focus of the book. Clarke’s main agenda is to build awareness of the uniquely vulnerable position that the United States finds itself in as well as proposing national policies that might lead to a more… Continue reading Cyber War

Book Beginnings

If a book starts out just right, I’ll keep going back and rereading the first few sentences long after I’ve finished the book. Here are a few that did that to me. Fagles’ translation of the Odyssey: Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off… Continue reading Book Beginnings

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