Category Books

The Robot Economy

We live in a world in crisis. Comparisons to the 1920s and 1930s are inevitable, but the crisis, similarly to the ones before it, conceal not economic, but political roots: It is a crisis born of the fallacies of a…

KF8. The path to fragmentation.

Amazon announced Kindle Format 8, a new format for ebooks destined for its popular ebook reader. The new format, based on html5, promises books with small file sizes, excellent rendering performance, varying typefaces, tables and, in general, much more complex…

The Kindle and the 1970s.

Electronic Paper was invented at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (sic) in the 1970s. In 2007, Amazon, one of the largest online retailers in the world and probably the only corporation capable to even think of trying this given the combination of its vast inventory, business relationships to the publishing industry and technological know-how, made the first large commercially viable attempt at bringing it to the masses. I don't know if the Kindle, as it's called, is going to succeed or not (I can already think of a number of problems with it), but the idea of an electronic book becoming a reality seems fascinating. If only it didn't look like a prop from a 1970's sci-fi TV show... The product and associated service are only available in the U.S. for the time being. Europe is a technically much more difficult market: as the device is using 3G broadband, and more specifically EV-DO, it will need to be modified to use the 3GSM/UMTS variant, HSDPA. Then, Amazon would need an agreement with the cellular network operators in the countries it's planning on launching the product/service before it could become an even remote possibility. And that's not counting the publishing rights on each country etc. My guess is that, if the Kindle comes to Europe by Amazon, it's probably going to be limited to the UK, Germany and France. The other problem, of course, is the lack of WiFi. With mobile internet rapidly becoming the norm, the choice of 3G networking might not prove to be a good one in the long run, no matter what Jeff Bezos thinks.

Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle

I got to know of Neal Stephenson from a good friend in the winter of 1999, some months after Cryptonomicon was published. He used to read it during the long boring lecture days at Imperial and over the course of…

Mac OS X Internals

Mac OS X took the unassimilated, thinking and computer-literate world by storm since its release on the 24th of March 2001. Its combination of commercial, high quality software applications, a state-of-the-art, ever-evolving and well thought out desktop environment and the…