Archive for the 'Semi-Geekery' Category

Nikon 1 V1: after three weeks

I like the V1 camera. I like it a lot. It takes excellent photographs, is light weight, and is generally easy to use. It’s reasonably flexible. But there are issues. What follows is largely a discussion of things I wish Nikon had done differently, so there’s some danger you’ll think I dislike the camera. That would be a false impression.

Read Full Post »

The Dream Machine by Mitchell Waldrop: a short review

This is a terrific book. The writing is lucid, the research–though predominantly from secondary sources–is excellent. If you plan to read one book about the ARPA computing effort, this should be that book.

Read Full Post »

I’m Feeling Lucky by Douglas Edwards: a short review

This is a better book than I anticipated. Edwards was obviously fascinated by Google’s founders, and the culture of the company they created. We watch as they repeatedly reorganize the leadership structure–an important concern for a middle manager–and as the author learns how he can contribute to the company. It’s an interesting, nitty-gritty view of the office (and its politics) from a privileged seat. This is well worth your time.

Read Full Post »

Nikon 1 V1: after one day

Joan and I have contrasting viewpoints about the Nikon 1 menu system. To Joan, coming to the J1 from a point-and-shoot background, the menues seem long and complicated. Compared to my D300 the menues seem abbreviated and occasionally disappointing. I already know I’m going to miss my D300 presets. (I’m old enough to remember IBM’s PCjr. Some of Nikon’s design decisions have that feel.)

Read Full Post »

Computing in the Middle Ages by Severo Ornstein: a review

The author was involved in computing from the mid-fifties to the early eighties, and played fairly important roles in the SAGE, TX-2, and Linc projects, all of which are key to understanding how computing developed. He also was heavily involved in BBN’s pioneering Arpanet efforts, and moved on to Xerox PARC in its prime, where he helped design the first laser printer. So he had a first-hand view of the development of electronic computing in the period between the pioneering efforts and the beginnings of microcomputing. This is a different, quite personal, account of what his computing projects were like, and his assessment of the issues as they looked to the participants during the period.

Read Full Post »

Electronic Computers by Saul Rosen: a review

This is easily the best short survey of the early history of computing I’ve seen, and is well worth a read. It’s an excellent 30 page survey of electronic computing history through the late 1960s, with most significant projects and companies briefly sketched and their contributions–and failures–described. The essay is organized by technological era (vacuum tube, transistor, early ICs), with each era’s discussion organized by company or project. Some effort is made to put each project into historical and technical context.

Read Full Post »

In the Plex by Steven Levy: a short review

Good book, but probably a hundred pages too long. If you’ve followed Google’s history over the years, you’ll learn some interesting things but you’ll have to slog through lots of stuff that you already knew. (Not a sin, really; just a fact.)

Read Full Post »

Mac OSX Lion Pocket Guide by Chris Siebold: a short review

Decent, short, helpful; but mainly for beginners. I was often bored.

Read Full Post »

Beautiful Code edited by Andy Oram: a short review

Parts are over my head, of course; the book’s clearly intended that way. But parts are just wonderful, and make the book worthwhile. I’m guessing each reader will prefer different essays.

Read Full Post »

Beloit Snappers @ Quad Cities River Bandits, September 3, 2009

We’ve straightened out the pitching situation–Scott McGregor’s magically appeared on the mound. And we’ve released Ingram from his baserunning duties so he can return to QC’s CF. emBut: We’re still lost track of one out. That will haunt us.

Read Full Post »

a dabbler's journal is using WP-Gravatar