Hacker teens in the near-future fight the evil Department of Homeland Security after being caught up in a crackdown after a terrorist attack on San FrHacker teens in the near-future fight the evil Department of Homeland Security after being caught up in a crackdown after a terrorist attack on San Francisco.
One of my main reading interests is popular technology and tech history books. They are generally spectacularly interesting to me, but not always very fun. If you're lucky, a book about the foundations of the computer industry or software development will briefly mention some impish behavior on the part of an engineer during a lull in the project.
Despite its all too real world of civil liberties crackdowns and constant surveillance, Little Brother is all about having fun. Marcus is a geeky teenage boy who loves to figure out ways to confound the controls put in place by his school to track him and his fellow students. He runs a parallel operating system on his school district-issued "School Book" laptop and he puts pebbles in his shoes whenever he needs to trick the gait-recognition cameras on campus so he can skip class. When he and his friends are detained after the attack and brought to an undisclosed location and humiliated, beaten and tortured by our own government, Marcus decides to uses his skills to fight back.
He starts by installing a version of ParanoidLinux on his Xbox to connect to the net away from the prying eyes of the government. More and more kids follow his lead and they create the XNet, a hacker and dissident-friendly corner of the Internet. Kids start jamming the RFID chips that track everyone wherever they go and they use their cell phones, cameras, and cryptography to expose the DHS.
As I read, I kept thinking back to the time right after 9-11 when it almost felt like a crime to say anything that might be considered anti-government. There is a lot of discussion of security and cryptography tools that I now know I could employ if I really needed to. Thank you, Cory Doctorow, for preparing me for the next crackdown. If 17 year old Marcus can hack his Xbox, set up a secure internet, and get laid for the first time while fighting the Man that wants to kidnap him and put him in a dark hole in Syria where no one will find him, anyone can.
Part one of a planned four part plus series. The illustrations are great, especially the lovely cover, endpapers and wonderfully detailed title page.
TPart one of a planned four part plus series. The illustrations are great, especially the lovely cover, endpapers and wonderfully detailed title page.
Tonoharu starts with a first-person account of an Assistant English Teacher, or AET, at a middle school in Japan mulling over whether to renew his contract for another school year. He reviews some of his experiences over the previous 8 months, wonders a bit about the AET who taught before him, and doesn't come to a decision.
The story continues as an imagining of the experiences of the previous teacher, who turns out to be kind of a schlub who is grossly underqualified for his job and barely interested in the world around him. The character is intensely boring and not very fun to read about, even with pictures. I pressed on, hoping for some transformation or resolution. Sadly, Tonoharu comprises only the first act for each of these characters and fails to make me clamor to find out what happens next....more
Maisie Dobbs is a reliable gal for a turn around the park. I know she won't run off into some obscure literary lane to act coy; topics of conversationMaisie Dobbs is a reliable gal for a turn around the park. I know she won't run off into some obscure literary lane to act coy; topics of conversation/investigation are always delightful and not too grisly; and she's deep: The War, man, The Great War. Her experience as a nurse in France colors every choice she has made since, including her choice to pursue her studies under the tutelage of her mentor, French psychiatrist and detective, Maurice. He plucked her from her life "below stairs" in an English manor house and divined her talents.
As an independent woman in the early 1930s, Maisie Dobbs has set out her own shingle and takes on cases with complications that somehow always reach back to The War. Her personal experiences, broad network of acquaintances, and her natural intuition all help her solve her cases. There's not always a dead body, but there are many buried secrets.
The son of the family that had once employed her as a servant hires Maisie to investigate the village and estate of a piece of property and brick works factory he is hoping to invest in. She finds inappropriate behavior on the part of the Lord of the estate, villagers who seem to be harboring a dark secret, and a group of Gypsies settled in for the hop-picking season. True to form, buried secrets are revealed, the deaths are all in the past, and it all goes back to The War.
I love prolific mystery masters. Simenon just never misses. I've read around a dozen and all have been stellar. I just wish the edition I'm reading haI love prolific mystery masters. Simenon just never misses. I've read around a dozen and all have been stellar. I just wish the edition I'm reading had such a foxy cover! Mine has two guys at a cafe table in a Diego Rivera style. Ho-hum.
Speaking of covers, I fell in love with Simenon by actually judging a book by its cover. Penguin published a series of these lovely art-deco pocket size editions, the design of which so directly spoke to me that I thought about sending a letter to the Penguin Marketing staff with all my personal information and buying habits because they obviously made these books especially for me and I was very grateful.
As I said, they've all been great, but I suggest The Bar on the Seine....more
I'm scanning this one. I just wanted to know what it's about and how well its written. It's well-written. Florida's research is all about the CreativeI'm scanning this one. I just wanted to know what it's about and how well its written. It's well-written. Florida's research is all about the Creative Class and how the people in it strengthen the local economy. This book analyzes age cohorts and the amenities and characteristics they require in a city and ranks U.S. cities based on how well they meet them, accounting for a range of factors, like affordability, educational opportunities, beauty (i.e. parks and environment), and gay and lesbian residents.
Apparently, where you live is the most important decision in your life. More important than your college or who you marry. Who knew?
FYI, Portland is not a super-high ranker for any of the cohorts. I guess paradise is just not good enough for some people.