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Book review: The Master Switch

There is a mythology about the internet, going back to its earliest days, that says it cannot be controlled. As evidence to support this idea, adherents point to a long line of rebellions, from the renegade propagation of the alt Usenet hierarchy — after the newsgroup creator gods refused to allow groups for discussing sex and drugs — to peer-to-peer file-sharing and Wikileaks.

January 24, 2011 by Book Reviews


Book review: Cooking for Geeks

Cooking and geekery should go together like strawberries and cream or bacon and chocolate. A recipe is just an algorithm, but few cookbooks do the equivalent of defining standards and functions — like telling you why you don't want to over-mix pancakes (cross-linked strands of glutenin and gliadin from the flour will make the pancakes chewy), or what temperature a hot frying pan should actually be (154 degrees C for the Maillard reaction, 180 degrees for caramelisation and browsing).

January 4, 2011 by Book Reviews


Book review: Law and the Internet

WikiLeaks, network neutrality, internet service provider liability for copyright the moment, the headlines are full of the kinds of cyberspace issues that geeks have been debating for years.

December 8, 2010 by Book Reviews


Book review: Being Geek

Want to understand the technology industry? Then you need to understand geeks, because they're responsible for it.

November 23, 2010 by Book Reviews


Book review: The Silent State

The thing about immigrants is, they don't get the joke. Heather Brooke arrived in the UK fresh from a career in the American South as an investigative journalist covering murders and other nasty stuff.

November 11, 2010 by Book Reviews


Facebook: the film and the books

"You're going to be successful and rich," Erica (Mara Rooney), the departing girlfriend of Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), tells him after a conversation of escalating intensity and social dysfunction at the beginning of The Social Network, which is based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires. "But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a tech geek.

October 19, 2010 by Book Reviews


Hackers - 25th Anniversary Edition

Twenty-five years ago the term 'hacker' didn't mean a cybercriminal, and the few who used it meant it as high praise. When Hackers first came out in 1984, Steven Levy was documenting how thirty years of brilliant and eccentric geeks (who were more interested in bending technology to their will than in building businesses, or even in what computers can actually do) had somehow produced a personal computer revolution that was about to sweep into every home.

September 7, 2010 by Book Reviews