Agent Palmer

Of all things Geek. I am…

A Book Review of “A Mind At Play: How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age” by Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman

A Mind At Play How Claude Shannon Invented the Information Age

Before I get into this book and it’s subject (Claude Shannon), I must borrow from the authors in their acknowledgements, because they have succinctly described the reason that I picked up this book and others, like Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Where Wizards Stay Up Late, even Masters of Doom, countless others on tech innovators like Bill Gates, The Steves (Jobs and Wozniak); and will continue to do so.

“…it is not the Internet that is unnatural, nor our feast of information, but a refusal to consider what their origins are…”

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Len Deighton’s Bomber: The First Novel Written by a Word Processor

Len Deighton's Bomber: The First Novel Written by a Word Processor

I always read through entire books. I’m not saying that to be a snob, but most Acknowledgments at the end of a book, give you a glimpse into a short commentary on the book process itself. However, I was thrown for a loop when I was reading the Acknowledgements of Bomber by Len Deighton, when I read the sentence; “This is perhaps the first book to be entirely recorded on magnetic tape for the I.B.M.72IV.”

Deighton’s modesty aside, “this is perhaps,” is definitely modest, the sentence was something that I couldn’t just read, it had to be looked into.

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Declarations of War by Len Deighton: Classic Deighton but Shorter

Declarations of War by Len Deighton

Declarations of War is a collection of short stories; 13 to be exact, a baker’s dozen if you will. Of, exactly what you would expect, war… But the title goes deeper. Each of these short stories contains a declaration about war. But that’s not as good of a title, though it could be argued that these stories are declarations on war, which makes sense despite the fact that my spell checker thinks “declarations on war” was a mistake. No, I meant it.

And like Deighton’s full size novels, I’m basing this off of the one’s that I have read. this story is a wealth of great intelligence in storytelling, dialogue, and of course, precisely written descriptions and detail.

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The Underappreciated Innovator: A Review of George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones

George Lucas A Life by Brian Jay Jones

Before I picked up George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones, I had seen most of his movies and presumed to know much of his story building an empire, making movies and innovations. And well, I was wrong. I knew very little, but I know more now, because the book is a fantastic read.

As biographies go, specifically unauthorized ones, this one may be one of the best, because it is so well researched that citations at the back of my hardcover copy merit 51 pages to list them all. Here’s the other thing, I didn’t know it was an unauthorized biography until I read the “Acknowledgements” at the end of the book. That’s how in depth and well written and thoroughly researched it is.

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‘Console Wars’ and How the Revolution was, in fact, Pixelated

Console Wars by Blake J Harris

Despite the fact that Console Wars by Blake J. Harris is about Sega rising to the top to dethrone Nintendo before slowly, painfully, and publicly falling out of consoles all together, this book is mainly about marketing, big ideas, and Tom Kalinske.

Now, I don’t mean that as a slight. Kalinske is a fascinating individual; the man came up with He-Man when he was at Mattel, after all. But the book does generally paint Nintendo as the bad guy despite the fact that Nintendo ultimately wins or at least won the 1990s.

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