21 January, 2008
The X Window System has been around for over twenty years and is the display system for an incredibly wide range of operating systems. With the number of Linux users growing, there are more people working with X than ever before. Most modern desktop environments provide user friendly interfaces that make modifying X rather simple. There is not so much need to dig into config files and settings as in the past but for those environments without such tools or for the user who loves to dig deep into their environment this book can be a simple way to understanding how X works and how to tweak it in any number of ways. If you want things that ‘just work’ and have no interest in digging around below the surface this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you think the best thing to do with a shiny new tool is to take it apart, well “X Power Tools” by Chris Tyler may be just for you.
13 January, 2008
In 1988 Infocom put out a book called “Planetfall.” It was based on the interactive fiction game of the same name. The game was a huge success for infocom. The book, not so much. But what does this have to do with modern day and John Scalzi? Well, I remember reading “Planetfall” and really enjoying some parts. At the same time I felt like there was a lot of potential that was missed. It wasn’t as funny or as exciting as it could have been. Going for just funny – say something like what Douglas Adams could do with such genius would have been cool. But “Planetfall” was shooting for some action and adventure along with the laughs. (Unfortunately there were not enough of either.) Well with “The Android’s Dream”, Scalzi has show that it can be done. An incredible action/adventure sci-fi book with an incredible sense of humor. Sometimes crass, other times dark and twisted, but never boring or disappointing.
10 January, 2008
It has been well documented that the reception for Microsoft’s Windows Vista has not been all that warm. Yet, visiting the web site of many PC manufacturers or visiting a retail outlet selling computers will show that most new hardware is being offered with Vista as the primary if not only option. O’Reilly’s newest in their Annoyances series, “Windows Vista Annoyances”, by David A. Karp, seeks to alleviate some of the pain for new Vista users. For the Vista owner who is able to put the book’s suggestion into place, the edge should be taken off. For the individual considering a purchase of Vista and wondering if it can really be that bad, this book seems to indicate that yes, it is that bad.
2 January, 2008
In honor of Isaac Asimov’s birthday I’d like to do a quick review of his Foundation Trilogy. More books were written beyond the trilogy and so I guess to say the Foundation Series is more accurate, but I’m going to stick to the first three books as those are my favorites.