Mark’s #25: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

August 19, 2015 // 0 Comments

Ready Player One: A Novel After reading Ron’s somewhat raving review of Ready Player One, I too decided to take the journey back to the 1980s through this book. I am a fan of dystopian future novels, the development of technology (video games included), and social critiques of our increasingly connected world.   Thus I had very high expectation going into this book. While I enjoyed this book, I did not love the book.  As Ron pointed out in his review, at times the plot and dialogue seemed written by an amateur.  I suppose that was because the story is told from a first-person perspective of the teenage video game/1980s obsessed main character. At any rate, the writing style constantly grated on my nerves. What I appreciated about the book was the subtle warning about losing our real lives for the sake of digital avatars we create to our own liking.  While the real world around them deteriorated, the masses escaped through the OASIS online world.  This escapism problem linked to technology is nothing new, but it is increasing, pervasive, and destructive in our 21st century lives. In a moment of clarity, the main character Wade, saw his OASIS gear for […]

Mark’s #19 – Future Crimes: Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About it by Marc Goodman

June 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It We live in a world of exponentially explosive technological development.  In our insatiable hunger for the latest and greatest new device or technological advancement, few have stopped to ask difficult yet important questions. In Future Crimes, Marc Goodman, a leading authority on global security, takes the reader on a horrifying journey to the dark side of all these so called advances, and forces individuals, corporations, and governments to ask the tough questions regarding our security and privacy. The fact is, no computer ever built has been unhackable. Individual hackers, and a growing criminal underground understand this and have been working diligently to capitalize on the virtually limitless treasure trove of money, information, and explicit activities available to them through the dark web.   Yet, as Goodman repeatedly demonstrates, the public at large is generally unaware and/or apathetic to such crimes and violations of their privacy.   A couple of years ago, within a few days, Target and the Sony Playstation network were hacked.  All told, over 100,000,000 americans had their personal data and credit card information stolen.  Most people barely raised an eyebrow to all […]

Ron’s #15: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

June 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

A parent of a student I teach recommended this book to me a year ago. It looked interesting, but I do not run headlong into sci-fi books. Recently, I watched Atari: Game Over, a documentary about the company’s E.T. game. In it, the author of Ready Player One was interviewed, which reminded me about the book. I picked it up, and could not put it down again until it was over. Ready Player One is one of the most fun and interesting novels I’ve read this year. The story focuses on a teenager named Wade Watts, an outsider living in the year 2044. While his life living in a ramshackle trailer with an opportunistic aunt, he finds support, friends, and adventure in an online world called OASIS. OASIS started as a World of Warcraft-type of online game, but now has morphed into a complete online experience where people live and work and fight and love. At the start of the novel, the programmer of OASIS dies, but left his multi-billion-dollar fortune to the player who finds the secret Easter egg hidden somewhere within the world of OASIS. Wade spends years trying to find it. If I read this summary, I’d […]

Ron’s #44: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

December 11, 2011 // 1 Comment

Mark’s excellent review is here. I finished the last few pages of this biography in the following environment: My Apple TV played Cars streamed from my Mac that I controlled with my iPhone. All that was missing was an afternoon trip to an Apple Store somewhere. This illustrates not my dependence on technology (a topic that was addressed several other times in my reviews), but on the influence Steve Jobs has in my life. In many ways, Apple’s history is my history. Since I’m only a little older than Apple, I can connect aspects of my life with its. I bought my first Mac in 1998 and lived in an Apple-exclusive home every since. The history of Apple and the computer industry has been a favorite topic of study over the years, and I’ve read and watched many books and movies. I have been an Apple enthusiast/evangelist for over a decade. I, like many, fell into Steve’s charismatic spell. Because of this, reading the new biography about Steve Jobs was not an option; it was an edict from within. The author, Walter Isaacson, chronicled the lives of Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and now, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was a many […]

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