Whil I was on holidays, I read Stealing the Network: How to Own a Continent. This is the sequel to "Stealing the Network: How to Own the Box," and like the previous volume, it consists of short stories written by extremely talented hackers in which the computer bits are reported so faithfully that the books can be thought of as especially colourful HOWTOs, technical documents dressed up with narrative.
As such, they are terrific. I would much rather read a Stealing the Network volume than any hundred HOWTOs and Anarchy Filez: STN has the tone of a really good bullshitting session at a DefCon or Hackers on Planet Earth, hackers spinning war-stories about hacks they've pulled off, or have conceived of. Make no mistake, these are imaginative and brilliant technical people.
As stories, these pieces are sometimes clumsy. The prose rarely rises above journeyman level (it's at its best when the authors stick to declarative, Hemingwayesque sentences, but too often they stray into "colourful" similes and descriptive phrases that can be cliched and even unintentionally funny), and there's not a lot of characterization to be had, and virtually no character development. That said, the book is still a rip-snortin' read, mostly because while it's not the best fiction ever written, it is some of the best, most engaging technical nonfiction you're likely to find.
A couple of the stories are very funny -- I'm particularily fond of the "A Real Gullible" piece, which is an homage to one of the great hacker farces of all time, Real Genius. There's a lot of that kind of nerd humour and nerd folk art sprinkled throughout this volume, and for that alone, it's worth reading.
It's a good formula and a smart one, too: how else could you produce a tech book that was still worth keeping in print 18 months later?
The office I work in is full of things old people buy to make themselves feel young again. I can honestly say that our awesome new toy, The Swagtron T3 Hoverboard, makes me feel very, very old. I’ll explain why later. Swagtron T3 Pros There’s no way to overcharge the battery and that means no […]
One thing that’s consistent among amateur pool players is that they unknowingly stand up during their shots. Just as in golf, pool players need to keep their heads down and stay still after they shoot in order to hit straight. The DIGICUE helps keep shots consistent by letting you know every time you’ve had extra […]
A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump — a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security — explains the rationale: “tax reform.”
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]