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Review: Makers by Cory Doctorow

I loved this book.
Forget my review and go get it now, it’s wonderful. If you don’t have the scratch right now, that’s ok:  Cory Doctorow walks the talk and has published his book under a creative commons license.  You can get “Makers” for free at his site as a pdf, as html, ePub, or as an audiobook.  Just go get it and read it. Why?
The characters felt right and true and good and wonderful, like people you’ve always wanted to be friends with.  It’s the story of people playing around and doing the creative work that felt right to them, pushing to stay free and work on beautiful things.  Their hard work takes a damn beating from the world around them and they rise up after that beating.

I was sad closing it, because I wanted more from them, more for them, and another thing…

I always wanted to be Perry, but I looked in that book and I’m Sammy.

Review: Where Men Win Glory

I’ve finished Jon Krakauer’s “Where Men Win Glory: The Oddysey of Pat Tillman” in the air above the middle of America and I’m furious.  This story begins with the hero dying and it ends with his betrayal by the people who promised us all they would put our interests above theirs.
Krakauer builds a sculpture out of words, and it is an angry art.  In a flat, journalistic style he begins with the creation of Pat Tillman, the birth of the Taliban, and the disturbing story of their meeting in the Graveyard of Empires called Afghanistan.   Instead of the hero meeting his enemy and vanquishing or being vanquished, he is destroyed by the common fuckups of scores of lesser men. He is part of a string of other common tragedies and Krakauer pulls together the infuriating betrayal of Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman and scores of other men and women of the US Armed Forces by their leadership, carving a bleak relief of giants mired up to their knees in a vast, broken septic system.
The horrible coverup of his death is a crime that’s gone unpunished, and it’s only come to light because Tillman was a famous football player.  Joe and Jane Smith get no such scrutiny, and fall into the trash heap of history.
If you care about honor, this is a good book. If you care about truth or valor, this is a good book.  It’s well written, with a slow, burning build up that leads to an ashfield.  Because this is a story about real life, the villains are not caught, the hero isn’t crowned and the story doesn’t end at the climax.  If you’ve got friends in the US Armed Forces, please make sure that they read this.  When we send our heroes to war we know that they might die, but we don’t expect that they will be used so cheaply and with so little respect.

The Nanny State

My coworkers were chortling behind me about some hilarious commercials.

I couldn’t help but remember that once upon a time seat belts were after-market add-ons. When the legislation came out requiring them in cars, the same kind of folks were saying the same sort of things. Security and Liberty are always a balancing act – you can’t ever trump one with the other.

How to Deal With An Irate Person

I’m working on getting my team to have a sane support rotation so that folks can spend most of their time on development instead of constantly switching between tasks. It’s good because I’ll get more opportunities to do work. I’m thinking about sending tips like this: “How to Deal With An Irate Person” out to folks. I’m pretty good at handling people on the phone in tense situations, and it might help folks who don’t come by that naturally.

On the other hand, it might look a little preachy.


Moves moves moves

I’ve switched roles within my group – now I’m working on a new real-time application. I’ve also moved up a floor. I miss my old seat, pictured empty below in Tim’s post.

On the other hand, the new floor has a blender. Smoothies ahoy!