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Book review: Where Good Ideas Come From

Book review: Where Good Ideas Come From

Westerners, in particular, seem to like to believe in the myth of the lone inventor: the mad scientist who after much agony comes up with the Next Big Thing. Or unlocks the secrets of the universe — it doesn't much matter which.

published April 7, 2011 by

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Book review: The CIO Edge

Book review: The CIO Edge

The position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) hasn't existed for all that long, and so there aren't a lot of manuals explaining how to do it. The CIO Edge attempts to be that manual.

published March 14, 2011 by

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Movie review: Astroturf Wars

Movie review: Astroturf Wars

The great thing about social media is that they allow a very small number of people to create a potentially very large movement: those overlapping social circles give even just one or two people a surprising amount of leverage. Which is how two guys in a pub in Merseyside managed to launch a worldwide demonstration of the ineffectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

published February 11, 2011 by

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Book review: Texture

Book review: Texture

If we're drowning in email and past the point of keeping up with everyone we've reconnected with on Facebook, why are we flocking to Twitter? If we can't settle down to work because instant messages keep popping up on top of the document, why are we adding to the load by uploading videos to YouTube and answering questions on Quora?

published January 31, 2011 by

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Book review: The Master Switch

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.

published January 24, 2011 by

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Book review: Cooking for Geeks

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).

published January 4, 2011 by

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Book review: Law and the Internet

Book review: Law and the Internet

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

published December 8, 2010 by

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Book review: The Silent State

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.

published November 11, 2010 by

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Facebook: the film and the books

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.

published October 19, 2010 by

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