John Biggs

I live in Brooklyn, NY and write about technology, security, gadget, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, Linux Journal, Popular Science, InSync, and I’ve written a book called Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age.

I am currently East Coast Editor of TechCrunch and I supervise the BWL family of blogs, SlushPile.net and WristWatchReview.com.

You can reach me at john at bigwidelogic dot com or Tweet me at @johnbiggs. My latest book, Mytro, is available now.

Star Star Narayan

A short story by John Biggs, taken from his new anthology, School Police. (Reading time: <5m)

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The Cold Dark

John Biggs presents a vignette from the world of Mytro, his new young-adult novel about a secret train system that can take you anywhere in the world. [5m read time]

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Kingmaker, by Christian Cantrell [review]

While no one can match the razor-sharp intensity of Neuromancer, there is plenty of room for writers to slot their books in the midst of William Gibson's later works, those multi-faceted stories that intertwine like a mutant caduceus to bring three tales to a head. Kingmaker by Christian Cantrell is one of those books.

The book, published last year by Amazon's 47North imprint, is a straight-ahead tale of a "heartless" assassin (his real heart is replaced by a mechanical one) named Alexei Drovosek. Drovosek's goal is to watch the old world burn and a new world take its place. With the help of an AI named Emma and a team of children he is training to take down the world's major business entities, he aims to bring freedom back to the planet.

It is, in short, a tall order. Does Cantrell pull it off? I think he does.

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A review of Prof. Jim Gaffigan's philosophical treatise "Dad Is Fat"

Dad is fat. Is Dad fat? How fat is Dad? Why is Dad fat? When did fat Dad move from skinny Dad? Can Dad get skinny doing the 7-minute workout? How, in the end, is the female gaze responsible for the fat Dad as expressed in media and literature? Was Joyce the epitomized skinny Dad and, in reflection, Bukowski the fat one? Was Bukowski a Dad?

These are the questions philosopher Jim Gaffigan explores in his treatise entitled Dad Is Fat.

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The Skies Belong To Us: Love And Terror In The Golden Age Of Hijacking

The next time you're patted down and pornoscanned, remember that there was a time in American history that skyjacking was so common it was almost comical. Between 1968 and 1973, there was a hijacking per week. Teenagers hopped on board with fake dynamite and asked to go to Canada. Disillusioned working stiffs jumped out of airplanes at altitude after gathering thousands in ransom money. Hijacking insurance could be had for $75 and ensured that fliers could sit back, drink free booze, and enjoy the windfall of having a wild-eyed miscreant yell “Take this plane to Havana.”

After all, the insured got $500 per day of captivity – enough for a nice vacation.

To be clear, this was mostly the airlines' fault. They didn't want to reduce the efficiency of their operations. In that era there was no airport security and you could, without issue, alight from your Ford Fairlane and waltz right to the gate in any airport around the world. You could rush onto a flight an buy a ticket from the attendants on board, all the while fiddling with your revolver, baseball bat, or bottle of Jack Daniels. You could even traipse around the baggage handling area with little interference. In short, flying used to be crazytown.

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In The Boy Kings, Zuck's personal ghostwriter reveals little

Katherine Losse was present at the creation. Employee 51 at Facebook, the English major became first a major player in the company's customer service team and then rose to prominence in i18n, Facebook's internationalization initiative. She ended her seven year career there as Mark Zuckerberg's blogger. She mimicked his voice in posts and emails, starting with "Hey Everybody" and ending in world domination.

Now, Losse offers a book about her experience there. Covering the period between 2005 and 2012, she sunk into the soft comfort of corporate life just as early Facebook's miasmic jelly hardened into serious business. Losse, because she's not a wonk, is the kind of person that you want writing about this kind of rise: she writes like she's working out a Lorrie Moore story set at Xerox/PARC and, as a result, she leaves out the nerdiness and attempts to replace it with humanity.

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Sober Is My New Drunk, by Paul Carr

Sometimes enough is enough, and memoirist Paul Carr exemplifies this maxim. His previous books – Bringing Nothing To The Party and The Upgrade – were tales told from the bottom of a champagne glass.

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Rocker Mike Doughty recounts travails in memoir

We needle our cultural heroes and then are delighted when they dissolve in front of us. It happens again and again, in Whitney Houston and in Michael Jackson and in Don Cornelius.

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The Big V

The beach at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Photo: BBM Explorer

I had my vasectomy on January 19, 2012, the date memorialized with the iCal notation “Vascect [sic] no lunch 34th st.” At this writing the objects in question are still apparently live, pumping out spermatozoa like a dying pulsar that will soon dwindle into white noise. It takes a certain number of ejaculations to completely clear the pipes, as it were, and by try number twelve I’ll be as barren as the surface of binary moons rising over an alien landscape.

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The 1,000 Words Rule of Blogging (Book Excerpt)

Want to be a successful blogger? Every new endeavor requires a period of ascetic dedication. You must write a minimum of 1,000 words a day.

Some bloggers make this their ceiling, but many make it their floor. Either way, you must produce on a daily basis. How do you do this? You can crank out, perhaps, three posts of a few hundred words each in the morning and three in the evening. Or you can write one big post. Either way, do the word count. Why is this important? Because if you have a goal, you can meet it. After his heart attack, blogging great Om Malik set this number for himself to ensure he produced quality content in a timely manner and did not kill himself in the process. Sadly, Om’s heart attack was brought on by the blogging lifestyle, as well as too much booze, cigars, family history and bad luck. It took a massive change in his everyday life to reorient him toward a saner blogging schedule, and he found this 1,000-word limit invaluable.

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