Showing posts with the label Reading

Today Was a Good Day for Surgery

I have this beautiful great sounding Kurzweil K2600X. Loaded with all the extra ROMs available; Orchestral, Contemporary, Triple strike piano, Vintage keyboards. Its a great instrument and its been part of our family for a long time now. Here's Filip at the time not quite 4 yet, composing on the imposing machine . Well a couple of months ago I spotted on eBay a SCSI memory card interface which fits the Kurzweil. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and decided that today was a good day to perform the surgery. Out with the 1.44 Mb floppy and in with the CF reader and an 8 Gb CF card. The card is partitoned into 4 x 2 Gb partitions. Two of them are loaded with samples, programs and setups. Expanding even more the machine's already impressive sound producing capabilities. A photo album illustrates part of the process . Dr. Kurzweil recently joined Google, where he is working on transforming search . His latest book How to Create a Mind is a very insightful work. I rec

Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash

So after reading Cryptonomicon and Anathem I finally found the time to read Snow Crash. Out of order, but hey, better than never. Neal's writing is rich, full of surprises. The prism he uses to look at the world is intricate and well polished, playing with humor and always cutting through our times. Here's a taste of it. "Since then, he's been putting a lot more emphasis on his auxiliary emergency backup job: freelance stringer for the CIC, the Central Intelligence Corporation of Langley, Virginia. The business is a simple one. Hiro gets information. It may be gossip, videotape, audiotape, a fragment of a computer disk, a xerox of a document. It can even be a joke based on the latest highly publicized disaster. He uploads it to the CIC database -- the Library, formerly the Library of Congress, but no one calls it that anymore. Most people are not entirely clear on what the word "congress" means. And even the word "library" is getting hazy. It used t

God is not Great

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. This book has many reviews already, there's no point in trying to write one more. Hitchens brings vividly the inconsistencies in religious philosophy forward and he finds these in every major religion of contemporary times. Whereas some reviews compress his writing into a simplified label "radical atheist", his book is much more than so often seen scribblings by barely literate fundamentalists or even worse, in this day and time, the sending of messages by beheading people on poorly taped TV. The book brings facets of the interplay of society and religion, the long history of this relation and some of the sour fruits of it including those of religious power over society. The best word for the book is given by Mr. Hitchens himself, I had the privilege to attend Mr. Hitchen's talk at Google in Mountain View and I am happy we are able to share this talk with the public.

The Oil and the Glory

The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea by Steve LeVine. Steve LeVine covered Central Asia and the Caucasus for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times for 11 years — starting two weeks after the Soviet collapse through 2003. From 1988-1991, LeVine was Newsweek's Pakistan-based correspondent for that country and Afghanistan. While the book doesn't have the documented rigor of say Taubman's biography on Khruschev it is quite clear that Steve knows very well the region; central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia. Moreover the book is vivid in both historical detail and the well rounded detail on the cast of players. It's importance is not only in shedding light the light on the region it covers, but even more so into understanding the dynamics at play in some of world's most influential corporations. The book has a great balance of historical context and a detailed account of the power struggles around the oil in the Caspian basin