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review 2018-03-11 19:31
Break Out
Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution - David Craddock

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

I never owned an Apple II, but my family did have a Commodore 64 when I was a kid, and I do have a soft spot for the history and evolution of computing (and computers) in general, and I was glad to read this book, for it reminded me of a lot of things. The Apple II, after all, was part of that series of personal computers on which a lot of developers cut their teeth, at a time when one still needed to dive into programming, at least a little, if one wanted to fully exploit their machine. (I’ve forgotten most of it now, and was never really good at it anyway since I was 7 and couldn’t understand English at the time… but I also tried my hand at BASIC to code a few simple games, thanks to a library book that may or may not have been David Ahl’s “101 BASIC Computer Games”, I can’t remember anymore now.)

In other words, due to a lot of these developers coding not only for the Apple II, and/or to their games being ported to other machines, C64 included, I was familiar with a lot of the games and software mentioned in Craddock’s book. Even though, 1980s and personal computer culture of the time oblige, most of what we owned was most likely pirated, as we happily copied games from each others to cassettes and 5 ¼ floppy disks on which we punched a second hole (instant double capacity! Just add water!).

A-hem. I guess the geek in me is just happy and excited at this trip down memory lane. And at discovering the genesis behind those early games which I also played, sometimes without even knowing what they were about. (So yes, I did save POWs with “Choplifter!”, and I haunted the supermarket’s PC aisle in 1992 or so in the hopes of playing “Prince of Persia”. And I had tons of fun with Brøderbund’s “The Print Shop”, which I was still using in the mid-90s to make some silly fanzine of mine. And even though that game wasn’t mentioned in the book, I was remembered of “Shadowfax”, which I played on C64, and some 30 years later, I’m finally aware that I was actually playing Gandalf dodging & shooting Nazgûls. One is never too old to learn!)

This book may be worth more to people who owned and Apple II and/or played the games it describes, but even for those who never owned that computer and games, I think it holds value anyway as a work retracing a period of history that is still close enough, and shaped the world of personal computing as we know it today. It’s also worth it, I believe, for anyone who’s interested in discovering how games (but not only) were developed at the time, using methods and planning that probably wouldn’t work anymore. All things considered, without those developers learning the ropes by copying existing games before ‘graduating’ to their own, so to speak, something that wouldn’t be possible anymore either now owing to said software’s complexity, maybe the software industry of today would be very different. And, last but not least, quite a few of our most popular post-2000 games owe a lot, in terms of gaming design, to the ones originally developed for the Apple II.

My main criticism about “Break Out” would be the quality of the pictures included on its pages. However, I got a PDF ARC to review, not a printed version, and I assumed from the beginning that compression was at fault here, and that the printed book won’t exhibit this fault. So it’s not real criticism.

Conclusion: If you’re interested in the history of computers and/or games; in reliving a period you knew as a gamer child or teenager; and/or in seeing, through examples and interviews, how developing went at that time: get this book.

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review 2018-01-14 22:50
Angel 1089 (Heaven Corp. #1) by C.C. Bridges
Angel 1089 - C.C. Bridges

For the life of me I could not connect with any of the characters. Some of them, I don't even know why they are there. Actually, I don't know why half the book is there.

I don't understand the world, there are bits of this and that and a glimpse of something else.

But why is the sun not shining outside the city? Why do soldiers (that's what angels are) live at the very top guarding warehouses, why not the richest and most privileged strolling through their high rise palaces?

Where is Rocco? I hoped Gabriel would recognize him in one of the other angels, or other modded. If Rocco loved Gabriel, he would have followed him and met the same (or almost) fate.

Jeff... nothing solid on him either.

I mean, you take every single character and they are just floundering around, barely afloat, flicking in and out of their cartoon-ish existence.

Someone told me not to bother with this book. It was on "my friends said no" shelf for a long time. But then I needed it for a challenge *ugh* I will NOT be buying book 2. 

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review 2018-01-14 20:23
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age
Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age - Susan Landau

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

An interesting foray into encryption and privacy, especially when considering the point of view of authorities who may need to access data on devices seized upon arrests.

The author makes a case for strengthened encryption, and I feel this makes more sense than the contrary. The book is positioned around the main controversy of including backdoors to allow police and intelligence services to access a device, so that when they need to do it during an investigation, to apprehend a perp or to follow the trail of other people potentially involved, they could do so easily; whereas strong encryption would make it difficult or impossible. However, as has been discussed during actual investigations (an example given in the book involves Apple), there’d be no guarantees that in-built backdoors would be used only by authorities: if they’re here, sooner or later someone with ill intentions is bound to find them and use them, too.

This ties into a general concern about how we have evolved into a digital age, and have to envision security from this perspective. Here also, while not going into deep technical details, the book explains the principles underlying this new brand of security; how this or that method works; the pros and cons of going towards more encryption or less encryption; what other solutions have already been tested, especially in military environments; how cyber-attacks can disrupt governmental operations in many different ways, such as what happened with Estonia and Georgia, and even the 2016 US elections. All very current and hot issues that deserve to be pointed at and examined, because whatever solutions get implemented, if they create less security and impinge on civilian privacy as well, they’re not going to be useful for very long (if ever).

Also interesting, even though it’s not the main focus, is the concept of encryption methods needing to be made public in order to be really efficient: the more people have a chance of poking at them, testing them, and finding faults, the more these methods can be revised and strengthened.

Conclusion: Not a very technical book, but that’s precisely why it makes a good introduction to such matters: easy to understand, while highlighting major concerns that not only deal with national security, but with our own (and with our privacy) as well.

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text 2017-08-10 15:31
The Advantages of Computer Tricks and Tips Hacks
How to Speed-Up your Windows PC like it's brand new again: Easy steps anyone can do to make your computer as snappy as it was the day you bought it! (Computer tips Book 1) - Kevin Meininger

You may even know if a person is hacking your PC. Not only are you going to learn the way to use each hack, you will also discover why it works. Eventually, they should learn how to find some suggestions and tricks for the iPhone. There are a few cool Facebook tricks and secrets which you can try and amaze friends and family with. Among the most fascinating ongoing hacker techniques is known as bait and switch. Or you could watch our custom made theme video tutorial. Also ensure you check out our big selection of guides on the best way to utilize Windows 10 to make certain you get the absolute most out of the new operating system.


Things You Should Know About Computer Tricks and Tips Hacks

A problem can be made in the event the keyboard isn't pointed to the overall direction of the receiver. If there's a network problem you would like an interface to reveal the range of the issue at a glance. Not all the questions are simple to answer but there is not going to be a problem if you concentrate on transmitting that you truly need work and you may be committed to it. It is possible to get questions regarding your own personal life which you don't expect, just answer honestly and don't attempt to delude the operator. Start to type a word and it'll find answers without needing to enter the full word or phrase.

Computer Tricks and Tips Hacks: No Longer a Mystery

If you often run numerous programs simultaneously, your desktop can become extremely cluttered. It makes it possible to in accessing your favourite programs easily and quickly. There are a number of programs installed in our PC. The most important reason to keep an eye on your network is to look at that your all your servers are readily available.

The Most Popular Computer Tricks and Tips Hacks

If your site hasn't updated its encryption protection in a couple of decades, you're probably in danger. All available sites are going to appear in a drop-down menu, which you are able to click to see on the present laptop. Other websites have the capability to provide images of nearby garage at which you might have hidden the car to prevent repossession. There are a number of websites that have many methods for iPhone. You may check this post that I have prepared earlier about the Top five Tools To accelerate Your laptop.

Windows 7 comes with some rather attractive new wallpapers, and it is not always simple to determine which one you enjoy the ideal. Windows does not supply you with a simple approach to switch the speed or fashion of the animation, though, an easy registry tweak can be applied to enable and manage the animation. If you're using Windows on a tablet, entering the password to be able to access the computer each time you login can be a little annoying. So now you know what things to do whenever you're working on a great deal of Windows together.

Now restart, and you will go right to your desktop. You could also restart the computer and check whether the keyboard works. If you prefer to shut off your computer after two minutes type the next command. You could also shut off your computer with command prompt. It let's users benefit from the hosted network (Virtualization) feature for making a digital wireless connection. In conditions where you don't need to allow users in order to get this done to be able to secure your PC. A great deal of avid Windows users aren't content with this substantial shift in the UI, and are annoyed by the extra step necessary to open the Desktop.

A new Windows 7 option, however, may not only explain the issue, but might get your program working again with no loss of information. This way that you don't have to at all times visit the Start Menu. More shortcuts are available here. The folder will then be launched in another procedure, and thus a crash is not as likely to affect anything else. Hiding a folder is among them. If you, similar to me, depend on folders to auto-expand so that you can quickly move files from subfolder to subfolder without needing to open all of them manually each moment, here's the easy fix which you want.

In fact, it isn't precisely the start button you're going to be utilized to from XP, Vista or Windows 7. As MIDI and audio parts show up on an identical screen in modern sequencers, it's quite easy arrange them in a song. After choosing the tile size, after that you can return to the Start screen and put it wherever you would like. It has come to be among the most well-known means of keeping in touch with long-lost family and friends members.

For good functioning, you ought to keep the keyboard clean and get a laptop cooling mat. Even though a regular keyboard may be used in such place, the replacement outlays, as a result of rough usage, would be astronomically large. Today, virtual keyboards are not only confined to computers. There are several kinds of virtual keyboards. You won't have the ability to work should youn't have a keyboard connected to the computer. It is well-known that the computer keyboard has become the most used portion of the PC.

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review 2017-07-30 20:18
The Comic Book Story of Video Games
The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution - Jonathan Hennessey,Jack Mcgowan

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Fairly interesting, although to be honest, in spite of the early chapters being educative in their own ways, I would’ve preferred to see the focus more on the actual video games (and industry) themselves, rather than also on the electricity/industrial revolution parts. The art style, too, was not always consistent, and sometimes too stiff.

On the other hand, I appreciated the inclusion of actual video games characters in panels, as watchers or part of the ‘narrative’; just trying to remember or find out who they were, was in itself another, different dive into history. (Well, maybe it wouldn’t work that well on someone who knows less about such games, but for me, it worked.)

I also liked how the book included some of the backstage workings behind the whole video games industry; they were plenty of things I didn’t know, for instance Sony and its Playstation, I had no idea there had been a deal in the plans with Nintendo for CD games, and that it completely fell through. (I’m not feeling younger, though. Being reminded that this PSX I got in 1998—and I made it a point to get a US model, too, since the European one didn’t run the games I wanted—was even a few years older than that... well...)

Conclusion: An informative and colourful read. I do wish it had spent just a little less time on the really early years, where ‘games’ per se weren’t so much concerned (to be fair, I already know a lot about computer history in general).

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