Jim V. (virginiajim) - Reviews

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Approaching Zero : The Extraordinary Underworld of Hackers, Phreakers, Virus Writers, and Keyboard Criminals
Review Date: 7/11/2010


From Publishers Weekly
Entertaining but hardly comprehensive, this study offers a somewhat European angle on the "technological counterculture." The authors draw on interviews and technical literature to examine the techniques of American and British phreakers (who tap into phone systems), profile "Captain Zap"--Pennsylvanian Ian Murphy, the first American computer hacker to be prosecuted--and describe the biggest international gathering of hackers, which took place in Amsterdam in 1989. Particularly interesting is an account of how Bulgaria, a would-be high-tech power, spawned hackers and a flood of computer viruses--approximately 200 since 1988. But Clough, an English accountant who has specialized in international computer security, and Mungo, an American freelance journalist, rarely offer in-depth portraits of their subjects, nor is their treatment sufficiently thorough to lend credence to their warning that we "may no longer be able to trust technology."
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Mungo, a newspaper and magazine feature writer, and Clough, an English accountant specializing in computer security, have put together another portrait of the world of computer hackers from the early days of the phone "phreaks" to the Eastern European efforts to commission targeted hacking and virus development. While the treatment of worms and viruses is more complete than in Katie Hafner and John Markoff's Cyberpunk ( LJ 6/1/91) or Bruce Sterling's Hacker Crackdown ( LJ 9/1/92) by virtue of later publication, this work does not add substantially to the available literature. Written more informally, with less technical detail, it will probably appeal to younger and/or more recent computer enthusiasts.
- Hilary D. Burton, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Livermore, Cal.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.


The Best of John W. Campbell
The Best of John W. Campbell
Author: John W. Campbell
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/21/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Contents are exactly as described in the write-up accompanying the title. Most of the material is around 80 years old, yet the concepts and writing quality equal any present-day story. These are thought-provoking stories.


BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World
BioEvolution: How Biotechnology Is Changing Our World
Author: Michael Fumento
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/20/2010


Copyrighted in 2003, but some references are for that year, so the lag time is short. Over one hundred pages of notes are included for those wishing to pursue topics.


BIPOHL
BIPOHL
Author: Frederik Pohl
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.8/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 9/17/2010


Two complete stories, both well-structured and still relevant despite decades after creation.


Dawn (Xenogenesis, Bk 1)
Dawn (Xenogenesis, Bk 1)
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 55
Review Date: 8/31/2009


Very well crafted story with great characterization, many layered, complex social understanding, realistic portrayal of human interaction, intellectual, scientifically well-done. One of the few I rate 5 stars.


Deep State (Dagmar Shaw, Bk 2)
Deep State (Dagmar Shaw, Bk 2)
Author: Walter Jon Williams
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 3/10/2014


I like Williams work, but felt this effort was mediocre; sorry.


Earthling
Earthling
Author: Tony Daniel
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 8/15/2009


Evolution of machine and mankind: Orf is a sentient drilling machine designed to probe the very center of the earth. But the world is dynamic, changing through earthquake and cultural upheaval. The Pacific Northwest secedes from the US. Civilization changes almost beyond recognition. New societies arise. Humanity encounters strange new beings from within the earth and beyond until human life is changed almost beyond recognition. Now Orf must change as well, becoming both myth and monster, savior and mentor to future generations of humanity. A complex, dynamic and well-constructed set of intertwining plots.


EMPIRE DREAMS
EMPIRE DREAMS
Author: Ian Mcdonald
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/9/2010


Here, from the author of Desolation Road, are nine previously uncollected tales by one of the boldest new voices in contemporary science fiction. Filled with magic, humor and the stunning realism that can surface only in the most well-conceived fantasies, Ian McDonald's EMPIRE DREAMS is an exhilarating rollercoaster ride through the ever-changing landscape of the human imagination -- a ride that will eave you breathless with wonder and awe. You'll encounter:
A terminally ill boy who dreams himself to the brink of life in a space war game against a cancerous invader...
A wealthy composer who orchestrates a unique and hideous murder with the services of the Brothers Ho Taxidermists...but with unexpected consequences...
A newly widowed husband who seeks his wife on an island where the dearly departed live in a state of computer simulation...
And many more dazzling fantasies by a master dreamer whose vision will challenge, delight, and awaken you to the dark brilliancy of your days.


Hammer
Hammer
Author: Armand Hammer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/11/2010


"Few private citizens have led so distinguished a public life, few businessmen have had so dazzling a series of careers. Statesman, envoy, industrialist, entrepreneur, physician, philanthropist, collector extraordinaire -- this is the remarkable autobiography of a truly remarkable man.
"From Lenin to Gorbachev, from FDR to Reagan, from presidents and prime ministers to shahs, sheiks, and monarchs, he has known all the great leaders of the world. With humor, insight, toughness, an astonishing energy, and small taste for fools, Armand Hammer lays his extraordinary life before us, from its beginnings on New York's East Side in 1898 to the drama of Chernobyl in 1986. It is a book filled with achievement and inspiration -- and by its end we feel we have indeed been witness to history" from back cover. 544 pp. 16 pp. photos

From front cover: "18 weeks on the N.Y. Times Bestseller List!"

by Armand Hammer with Neil Lyndon

Inside view of prohibition, Soviet Revolution, evolution and culture; antique collecting and sales.


In Siberia (Wheeler Large Print Compass Series)
In Siberia (Wheeler Large Print Compass Series)
Author: Colin Thubron
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 7/22/2010


Good overview of Siberia.


Lifeblood of War: Logistics in Armed Conflict
Lifeblood of War: Logistics in Armed Conflict
Author: Julian Thompson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/16/2010


Logistics, the art of movement and supply of troops. Julian Thompson's study of the place of logistics in the the military campaign uses a number of them to illustrate how the problem of supplying forces has been tackled over the centuries. From the earliest standing army - that of the Assyrians - to the later years of the nineteenth century, warfare was constrained by logistical limitations. As Thompson demonstrates, the advent of the railway and mechanical transportation immeasurably increased operational possibilities, while bringing new problems in their wake. By examining the changes in logistical operations over selected campaigns he identifies the essential elements in successful supply and how campaigns have suffered as a result of logistic deficiency. The unpreparedness of the United States before the Korean War and the failures of the French in Indo-China are contrasted with the 'logistic triumph' of Burma in the Second World War. Full consideration is given to the techniques of supply, from the sea for Alexander, to the air-drops into Khe Sanh. Thompson, as Brigade commander in the Falklands, brings his unique experience to the description of the maintenance of a land battle at the end of a supply line 8,000 miles long. Finally, the logistic plans for the Central Front war 'that never was' are discussed and pointers are given to the future when mobility will be even more important than before. Julian Thompson served in the Royal Marines for 34 years and commanded the 3rd Commando Brigade that led the initial landings to re-posses the Falkland Islands in 1982 and saw most of the action in the battles that followed. He is now a Research Fellow at the Depart of War Studies, King's College, London. This is his third book. Over 30 photographs and a half dozen maps are included.


Metatropolis
Metatropolis
Author: John Scalzi (Editor)
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 3/10/2014


This is a collection of five short stories with a common theme. I liked a couple but wasn't impressed with a couple others. Still, it's worth a read.


Natural Obsessions: Striving to Unlock the Deepest Secrets of the Cancer Cell
Review Date: 12/23/2014


Terrific book for anyone interested in scientific research. The type people in the field, their dedication, problems and rivalries; the research process; how much time required to unravel each small piece of the complex biological process that operate within cells. Complex issues are described in lay terms, but you may need to study many of them with some independent research to gain a better grasp. Terrific introduction for any teenager with an interest in research to gain an overview of the field. Very insightful.


Norstrilia
Norstrilia
Author: Cordwainer Smith
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 7/16/2010


The review I see when I click this title indicates the book is a hardcover, but it is a PAPERBACK.

The first 10 or 20 pages can be difficult to read because of specialized terms and concepts being introduced without background. Still, a very interesting read.


The Prince of Frogtown
The Prince of Frogtown
Author: Rick Bragg
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 10/30/2013
Helpful Score: 1


My wife and I have read most, if not all, of Bragg's books and find them all informative, entertaining and insightful. There's some repetition since they all cover the life of his family, but still enjoyable. We were led to him though his monthly column in Southern Living magazine.


Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman
Review Date: 6/7/2009


Pages are 546 rather than the number that shows and probably coupled to the ISBN.

Don't expect any actual stories, but here one finds the background for all of them, including, comic books, and scripts are here. A moderate number of photos are included of Gaiman, some of his associates and of the covers for his books.

I found most interesting the interview of his assistant's activities.


The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
The River of Doubt : Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Author: Candice Millard
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 4/25/2016


Excellent and incredible story; very informative about Brazil, T. Roosevelt and his exploration team. Includes references, a few photos, and what happened to team members afterward.


The Road
The Road
Author: Cormac McCarthy
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 2007
Review Date: 2/23/2011


Excellent book.


Something in the Cellar: Ronald Searle's Wonderful World of Wine
Review Date: 7/11/2010


Quirky and funny series of cartoons about wine aficionados.


Songs of Leaving
Songs of Leaving
Author: Peter Crowther
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/11/2009


Science fiction and science fantasy stories, 12 in all, plus a few pages of notes about the stories published in 2004. For Crowther followers here are the titles of the 12 pieces:

Some Burial Place, Vast and Dry
The Killing of Davis-Davis
The Invasion
Palindromic
Surface Tension
Heroes and Villains
A Worse Place than Hell
Halfway House
Elmer (my favorite)
Setting Free the Daughters of Earth
Late Night Pickup
Songs of Leaving


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