I've been reading a lot more than usual (which is saying something, because I really like to read) since I got home from Eureka. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I realized why I've wanted to do little more than work my way through the gigantic pile of Books I Want To Read* for the last couple of weeks: I've had my brain set to CREATE OUTPUT for so long, I think I've emptied the tank again. I feel like this from time to time, usually when I finish a big project or wrap a particularly satisfying acting job, but never for this long or this intensely.
It's a great problem to have, since solving it is as simple as consuming all kinds of stimulating and inspiring content, but I have a Memories of the Future Volume 2 that needs finishing, as well as a journal filled with story ideas that need telling, and reading
My business sense tells me that it's stupid to post so infrequently in my blog, because there have been tens of thousands of new readers since my most recent Big Bang Theory, but my brain gives me the old ACCESS DENIED whenever I try to browse /usr/wil/creative (yes, even when I run as the superuser; it's an undocumented WheatonIX feature, so I've stopped filing bug reports about it.)
In order to prevent this from becoming a post about not posting, here are a couple brief reviews of books I've recently enjoyed:
I understand that it's fairly polarizing among Gibson's fans, but I loved this book from page one. It isn't anything like his Sprawl series, so if you tried Neuromancer because your geek friends wouldn't stop talking about it and didn't like it, this may be a good place to try Gibson again.
This book was written and released shortly after Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown took the world by storm. It chronicles the exploits the infamous hacker group Masters of Deception, and gives an interesting perspective on their feud with the Legion of Doom. Like all of the stories written about the LOD/MOD feud, the subjects contest most of the facts as presented in the book, and like all of the stories written about hackers in the 80s and early 90s, it's difficult to tell what's fact and what's myth.
I think that's a big part of the fun, though: when I interacted with a lot of these guys in the early 90s, they all seemed larger than life and mythical. Nobody really knew the truth except the guys who dialed into Tymnet, and then as now it was in their personal interest to make themselves seem a little bigger, their conquests a little more epic, their accusers a little more dastardly than they may have been.
It's not as comprehensive as The Hacker Crackdown or as technical as The Art of Deception, and I found the author's efforts to strike a stylized, defiant, teenage tone distracting at times. Ultimately, though, it's a very quick and easy read, and the story they told was compelling enough to keep me engaged all the way through. In fact, it inspired me to go back to Textfiles.com and Phrack.com to reread a lot of those old philes that fascinated and intrigued me when the internet was 80 columns wide, built entirely out of text, connected by telnet, and delivered to your VT100 terminal emulator at 14.4K.
Every issue of WIRED since November of last year has been fantastic, and I've read them all cover to cover.
The current issue of 2600 has an important editorial about trust, privacy, and cloud computing. It's a good companion piece to this article at Ars about the Cloud and the Fourth Amendment.
Yeah, there's clearly a theme here: I've had technology on my mind, both its (underground) history and its (uncertain) future. I'm not sure if I'll be able to convert any of this input into useful output, but I'm enjoying it so much, I don't really care.
*also known as The Tower That May Kill You Or At Least Hurt You A Lot If It Falls On You.