This is as Esoteric and Difficult as it Looks


My first time playing Twilight Imperium. Eight players with the expansion. I only have the slightest idea what I’m doing, the only thing I’m sure of is that I’m losing.

PS – I wrote this post from my phone!? I’m pretty sure we are living in the future…

DiMortuiSunt April Book Giveaway #3

Technology Books!

Welcome to week three of the book giveaway here at DiMortuiSunt! Congratulations to Nicolas Rycar and Richard Smith for winning! This week I’m giving away three books (are you seeing a pattern?) all of which have something to do with technology. From my reviews at Sacramento and Portland Book Review:

Hacking: The Next Generation

Computer security has never been an easy job. The advent of the internet only complicated things, and now with social media it has become even more so. Hacking: The Next Generation is an in-depth, extensive look at how hackers are using new tools to get their hands on and in other people’s business. This book is not for the casual reader, and it isn’t even for the savvy computer user; IT workers, systems administrators, and computer security professionals are the target audience here. Dhanjani and Company go through the entire inventory of security breaching in this book, with real-world examples and sample code to show just how easy it is for hackers to get a hold of information in today’s world. Phishing, Social Engineering, Using Social websites for Data Mining, Cross-Site Scripting, Abusing SMTP and ARP, Blended Threats, Cloud Computing Vulnerabilities–it is all here with case studies and code. As computing becomes ever more complex and heterogeneous hackers and attackers will have an increasing array of options to use, security professionals need to be aware of these new threats and how the traditional methods (fortress like defenses) are ill equipped or, worse, completely unable to rebuff them. Hackers: The Next Generation is a guide showing where the hacking scene is now, where it is trending and how best to combat it.

The Net Delusion:

The Internet has been sold as a panacea for the world’s ills. Economic equality, totalitarianism, social justices are all problems that the Internet has been proposed to be an answer to. Much like its forebears: telegraph, radio, television, the Internet has failed to deliver on those promises. Despite this the Internet has eagerly been embraced by Washington D.C. as the weapon of choice against totalitarian regimes. Evgeny Morozov addresses these issues in The Net Delusion, a comprehensive look out how the Internet is not as simple a tool as politicians in the West believe it to be, how Authoritarian regimes can, and have, used the Internet to increase their hold on power, and how centering policy on technology blinds policymakers and citizens as to the nature of the issues they must deal with. Morozov’s culprits are cyber-utopianism and its child Internet centrism. The first is the belief that technology is always the answer to any problem and its offspring is the philosophy that the best answers to these problems should be addressed through the World Wide Web. Morozov thoroughly highlights the deficits of these views and reminds readers that “the promotion of democracy is too important an activity to run out of Silicon Valley.”

Cult of the Amateur  – I don’t have a review of this book (anymore.) I must have lost it somewhere along the way. I recall thinking Mr. Keen had an interesting take but was a little too worried about civilization falling apart. We do need professionals and they do need to be compensated for their work. I don’t think blogs or amateur created content  are going to replace them, unless of course the amatuers are doing a better job at a better value. A good read, just one I don’t agree with.

You can win one of these books by leaving a comment below. Next Friday, I’ll pick three winners at random from the comments and mail them a book. If you’ve already entered you can enter again. If you’ve already won you can still enter!

You Want to Eat This Sandwich

All the deliciousness. All of it.

Devere’s Irish Pub has these delicious BLTs that I tell everyone about.  They use their own housemade Irish bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo, just like any other BLT. But, then you can have a fried egg put on your BLT too. I looked at that option many a time before actually trying it. I wish I hadn’t wasted all those opportunities! I am the last person who’d have thought that a fried egg on any sandwich, let alone a minimalist masterpiece like the BLT, was a good idea. I was wrong and so are you. The egg adds so much flavor and depth!

Stop whatever it is you are doing right now, go home, make yourself a BLT, fry an egg, combine them, and eat it. I’ll be waiting here when you want to thank me for giving you the idea.

For something even more decadent try the grilled cheese and egg sandwiches in this month’s (April ’11) Bon Appetit. That is the sandwich seen in the picture above: pancetta, provolone, arugula, green onions, and a fried egg on sourdough bread. Truly, to die for.

DiMortuiSunt April Book Giveaway #2

Fantasy Realism or Classic Science Fiction? You Choose

Welcome to week two of the DiMortuiSunt April Book Giveaway. Congratulations to Denton Froese on winning a copy of Rebirth of a Nation! This week I’m giving away two books! One is a piece of fantasy literature that doesn’t have any magic or wizards or dragons, it has Roman legions in a fictional land. The other is an old American written sequel to H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds that most people have never heard of but set a surprising number of firsts in the genre. My reviews for both are below.

My review from the San Francisco Book Review:

Paul Kearney’s Corvus is the second book to take place in the fictional classical world of Kef. Kearney again focuses his story on a legion of mercenaries with magic armor. The protagonist, Rictus, is the leader of these mercenaries. He is aging and thinking of retiring to his farm with his wife and two daughters. Unfortunately, fate has plans that drag Rictus, his legion, and his family into a war of survival as their homeland is invaded by an army from across the sea lead by a mysterious young man who calls himself only Corvus.  Kearney is a talented writer who has a knack for presenting the chaos of the ancient battlefield in such way that excites the reader without reducing the horror of melee combat. This book is full of descriptions of battles, perhaps a few too many; Kearney doesn’t have the time to develop his characters as much with all that fighting going on. So, instead of having characters we have quick studies and archetypes. This is hardly going to be an issue for fans of the genre though; most characters in fantasy are nothing more than archetypes and Kearney certainly makes it work.

From my upcoming review in either the Sacramento or San Francisco Book Review:

H.G. Wells was a visionary writer, rightfully considered one of the founders of Science Fiction. One of his most famous works is The War Of The Worlds, a chilling tale wherein humanity is saved from the predations of more technologically advanced Martians not by any of their own actions but by mere microbes. The story when it was first serialized in the United States that the Hearst newspaper group commissioned a sequel to be written by one of their own writers. The result? Garrett P. Serviss’ Edison’s Conquest of Mars which for the first time since originally appearing in 1898 is now in print complete and unabridged.  Serviss’ Edison’s Conquest of Mars despite being a product of its time, whose science has, mostly, been surpassed or discredited the book remains a charming, pulpy, adventure tale that holds a number of “firsts” in genre fiction: ancient astronauts, disintegration rays, alien abductions, and more. The story takes place shortly after the events of Wells’ book: the governments of Earth have united to act together and with the helpful genius of Thomas Edison take the war to Mars and succeed in defeating those aliens who caused so much destruction on Earth.

Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win one of these books. Random winners will be selected on the 15th when the next book(s) go up.

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