2 June 2009

The Taliban of Swat

“A large Pakistani flag flaps in the wind atop a tree-covered mountain… In the past two years the army has twice failed to defeat the Taliban of Swat.” — BBC News, 2009-05-23. The Taliban of Swat (with apologies to Edward Lear) Who, or why, or which, or what, are the Taliban of Swat? How did they get where they are today? Were they funded and trained by the CIA, or NOT, ... Read more

27 May 2009

15 books in 15 minutes

There’s a meme going around: in 15 minutes, come up with a list of 15 books that “will always stick with you”. Since lists on their own aren’t all that interesting, I’ve added some notes about why I’ve chosen these books. “The Man Who Folded Himself”, David Gerrold. One of the great SF time travel novels. Take one ordinary guy, a time machine, and the many-worlds hypothesis, and watch everything go completely nuts. ... Read more

21 May 2009

Guilty luxury

I am cheap. I don’t think I go quite as far as being a tightwad, but I’m frugal. I buy generics at the supermarket and drugstore, and when I order from Amazon, I always choose the free shipping option, even though it sometimes drives me crazy waiting for the item to arrive. I don’t mind spending money on functionality, but I find it tough to spend extra for luxury. Today, however, I did something I found difficult: I paid the extra money for seat upgrades for our trip to the UK later this year. ... Read more

6 May 2009

Kindle DX thoughts

My initial thoughts about the Kindle DX: The price seems surprisingly reasonable. The iRex with an A4 size screen was over $800. I’m not convinced that textbooks are workable on an e-book reader. You don’t read textbooks linearly. (Or at least, I never did.) The ability to flip around between marked locations is limited on the Kindle 2, and I’m guessing it will be on the DX as well. On the other hand, the size and weight benefits are hard to deny. ... Read more

6 May 2009

Kindle 2 review: followup

As the promised followup to my review of the Kindle 2, I’m going to go through some of the common objections to the Kindle that I see reposted every time it gets mentioned. I have no financial stake in Amazon’s success; it just annoys me to see the same misconceptions crop up time and time again. ... Read more

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