NYTimes Reviews of net.books
Arentt, Nick. "The Net and the Anti-Net" Chicago: WWW3 Conference
Proceedings. 1994. I've used Nick's conference talk/paper since I started
teaching Internet classes. He does a great job of making a case for both
an educational/research network and a commerical one.
Arthur, Brian. Increasing returns and path dependence in the economy.
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1994.
The book that changed the thinking on monopoly and anti-trust. Subject of
New Yorker article, Jan 12, 1998, on the Department of Justice's new
economic theories for protecting competition.
Hear Arthur speak and answer questions at the Ralph Nadar
"Appraising Microsoft" Conference.
Auletta, Ken. "Annals of Communications: The Microsoft Provocator."
New Yorker. May 12, 1997. Vol. LXXIII. No. 11. Pages 66
obviously a planned personality piece managed by the Micro$oft PR folks,
Auletta is an important writer and Myrvold is an important player at M$.
Some good insight into M$'s vision and visionary.
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reporduction"
in Illuminations. Translation by Harry Zohn. Editted and introduction by
Hannah Arendt. New York: Schocken Books. 1968. Needs a follow-up called
"The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction" but still
thoughtful and applicable as ever (which says I disagree with Bejamin
Boyle, James. Shamans, Software, and Spleens: Law and the Construction
the Information Society. Harvard: 1996. Best on the theory of Information
Law and Intellectual Property. Too much for undergrads, but fine I think
for grads. Booyle never stops thinking and writing--expect more good work
from him. http://unclib.lib.unc.edu:5555/MARION/AOX-0398
Branscomb, Anne W. Who owns information?: from privacy to public
New York, NY : Basic Books, c1994. As I write this I have just learned that
Anne has died of cancer. She was a wonderful woman and a very clear
thinker and writer. In the notice I just read an update of this valuable
book promised based on her final notes. I am much stronger for annonymity
than she, but she has always been wiser in the long run when we argued.
Brin, David. The transparent society : will technology force us to choose between privacy and freedom? Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1998. Brin who also writes science fiction and was until not too long ago a practicing researcher. Parts of the book, interviews, reviews, and more can be found at Brin's WWW site. http://www.kithrup.com/brin/ and in particular http://www.kithrup.com/brin/privacyarticles.html#ts
Brown, John Seely and Paul Duguid. The Social Life of Information. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2000. Brown was the Chief Scientist at Xerox and the Director of Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). But the book is for the general reader. This can be great in places and disappointing in others.
Bush, Vannevar. "As We May Think" The Atlantic Monthly. July
invented it all including the National Science Foundation and MIT (as we now know it).
Several good versions on the net including at www.theatlantic.com
Christensen, Clayton. The Innovator's Dilemma. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1997.
Coyle, Karen. Coyle's Information Highway Handbook: A Practical File
the New Information Order. Chicago: American Library Association Press,
1997. New to me, but looks very useful so far. She has an intro to an
important issue then a net-obtainable resource on the subject. I think I
could have done the same with a few WWW pages myself tho.
Dempsey, Bert and Jones, Paul editors. Internet Issues and Advanced
Applications 1997-98. Baltimore: Scarecrow Press, 1997. The truth and
nothing but the truth. A must buy and must read ;->
Diffie, Whitfield and Landau, Susan. Privacy on the line : the politics of wiretapping and encryption. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1998.
Whitfield Diffie invented encryption as we now know it with the public key algorithum.
Here he starts from a fine explanation of privacy and encryption and moves on
to informed and thoughtful policy proposals.
Dyson, Esther. Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age.
New York: Broadway Books, 1997. Dyson, an experienced net.watcher
and net.activist, touches on most of the major areas of development in
Internet policy and issues--albeit a bit lightly in many cases. Dyson is a
dedicated Libertarian which should make for complicated thinking when
viewing a network that is almost entirely the result of federal government
research expenditures--but she conveniently forgets that part of the Net.
Edmundson, Mark and Shorris, Earl. "On the Uses of a Liberal Education"
Harper's Magazine. September, 1997. Pp 39. ME writes "As Lite
Entertainment for Bored College Students" and pretty much touches on
things we have all felt--the more priviledged the students the more we've
been in similar situations. SE writes "As a Weapon in the Hands of the
Restless Poor" Perhaps they should switch jobs for a semester or two. A
must read (no joke).
Fisher, David E. and Fisher, M. J. Tube : the invention of television.
Washington: Counterpoint, 1996. Sloan Technology Series. Most applicable
book in the very good Sloan Series. The saga on inventors and businesses
in creating television is very instructive for folks looking at Net
Gilder, George. Telecosm. forthcoming in 1997 by Simon &
Schuster, but in
Forbes ASAP and on-line at: http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~gaj1/ggindex.html
Extreme pro-business liberterian take on technology with some insight and
always good for inciting discussion. Intelligent interviews and reports
from the front--in their own way.
Goldstein, Paul. Copyright's Highway: The Law ans Lore of Copyright
Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994. Master
of copyright law (from a propertist prespective) explains the history and direction
of copyright law clearly, but unfortunately in a way that leads to pay-per-view
without the benefit of "fair use." See Boyle for the other side of the story.
Hafner, Katie and Matthew Lyon. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins
the Internet. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1996. Dwelling on the major
ARPA contractor, but that's a good place to dwell. Many visionaries noted
and described; many myths corrected. Readable.
Also Cyberpunk : outlaws and hackers on the computer frontier / Katie
Hafner and John Markoff. New York : Simon & Schuster, c1991.
Hafner, Katie. The Well: A Story of Love, Death & Real Life in the Seminal Online Community. New York:Carroll & Graf, 2001. This one is Katie on her own. Her take on community and the Well is interesting to compare with Howard Rheingold's. Not everyone in the book agrees with Katie and Howard either -- see http://www.angelfire.com/bc3/dissident
Howe, Irving. Editor. Orwell's 1984: Text, Sources, and Criticism New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1982. A wonderful edition of Orwell with Orwell's own notes on the making and acceptance of the book, selections from Huxley, Zamiatin, Connolly and Trotsky as well s early reviews of 1984.
Jacobs, Jane. Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations
Commerce and Politics New York: Random House. 1992. One of my favorites
about conflicting cultures, but not for everyone. Modeled on the
Jones, Paul. "Poetry and Technology." Educom Review. Jan/Feb
A spirited discussion with poet Betty Adcock.
_________. "Open(Sourcing) The Doors For Contributor-Run Digital Libraries." Communications of the ACM. May 2001.
_________. "Choices taken from parents: clear censorship". Oped in special feature on Internet Filtering in News and Observer. August 12, 2001.
_________. "Whither Humanities and Advanced Technologies." Educom
Review. Jan/Feb 1997. For your amusement.
_________. "Java and Libraries." D-Lib Magazine. March 1997.
_________. Stump the Geeks Weekly newspaper column archive.
Lardner, James. Fast forward : Hollywood, the Japanese, and the onslaught of the VCR. New York: Norton, 1987.
The best and most readable book on Sony vs Universal aka the BetaMax saga.
Lessig, Lawrence. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace New York: Basic Books, 1999.
The book on policy so far. All others pale beside this clearly argued, smartly referenced, deeply thought book. Not yet in our library, but at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/046503912X/o/qid=947106403/sr=8-1/102-6969219-0112013
________. The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York: Random House, 2001. The latest Lessig and a very good challenge to the state of media monopolies and the ownership of ideas.
Licklider, J. C. R. Libraries of the Future. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1965.
Litman, Jessica. Digital Copyright. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001. The best and most accessible book on the subject.
Logan, Robert. The Fifth Language: Learning a Living in the Computer
Toronto: Stoddart, 1995. He started out writing on the Alphabet Effect and
turned his attention to learning and to computers. A good book for anyone
thinking about learning and teaching in the computer age.
London, Jack. Iron Heel. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1907. Or on Project Gutenberg at Greenstone or other places on the WWW. This early dystopic tract is sometimes considered London at his political best, but the Socialist turn-of-the-centry phrases really date the work for most readers. The manuscript is in a woman's voice, unusual for London to say the least, and tells of a workers' revolt in the US -- long before the Russian Revolution. Orwell knew of and likely read this book. Compare with 1984.
Mander, Jerry. Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television. New York: Quill, 1977. "The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images." and that's only one agrument.
Marvin, Carolyn. When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric
Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University
Press. 1988. Like TUBE, this book, which has much more of a cultural
studies base, is helpful in understanding massive technological changes.
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
introduction by Lewis Lapham Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 1994. (original
1964). He's baaack and more relevant than even the first time round.
Lapham's introduction is a great added attraction.
Milosz, Czeslaw. Captive Mind. New York : Vintage International, 1990. Intellectual life in Communist Poland. A good read beside Orwell.
Mitchell, Joan L. Pennebaker, W. B. Fogg, Chad E. and LeGall, Didier
editors. MPEG Video Compression Standard. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1997.
Digital Multimedia Standards Series. Geekaziod to the max! Not for norms
or pinks. Leave it on your desk to impress visting CS students.
Moravec, Hans. Robot, Being: mere machine to transcendent mind.
Oxford University Press, 1998. "The book is a sequel, update and
better-illustrated expansion of last decade's Mind Children." By the
director of the CMU Mobile Robot Laboratory, birthplace of mobile robots
deriving 3D spatial awareness from cameras, sonar, and other sensors. see:
Also Mind children : the future of robot and human intelligence / Hans
Moravec. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1988.
Neilsen, Jakob. Alertbox!. His columns and papers are online
http://www.useit.com/ Especially good on User Interface and Writing on the
WWW. His October 1, 1997 paper on reading and writing on the WWW is very
good and the study on which it relies is also online at the same site.
Jakob is one of the heaviest (and most controversial) writers on WWW and
user interface; his top ten WWW design mistakes are not to be missed--or
Neuman, W. Russell. The Future of Mass Audience. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1990. When McLuhan speculates, Neuman has charts. Where
McLuhan is poetic, Neuman is emperical. I love this book.
Nock, Steven L. The Costs of Privacy: Surveillance and Reputation in America. New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1993.
Norris, Cleve and Gary Armstrong. The Maximum Surveilance Society: The Rise of CCTV. Oxford, UK:Berg, 1999. THE study on extensive Closed Circuit TeleVision in the UK especially within London's Ring of Steel.
Oppenheimer, Todd. "The Computer Delusion" The Atlantic Monthly.
1997. Pp 45. "Schools around the country are dropping traditional subjects
to lavish scarce time and money on computers and computer education--with
results that may be at best negligible and at worse harmful." The key word
here is "may" Lots of talk and stories, but not much to show in the ways
of studies. Still provocative.
Picard, Rosalind W. Affective computing. Cambridge : MIT Press, 1997.
Can and should human/emotional/emmotive elements be added to computer interfaces
or would be just be looking at a rationale for the helpful paperclip in Word
or its forebearer, Microsoft Bob?
Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works. New York : Norton, c1997.
This modestly titled book serves as strong argument for/explaination of
Darwinian evolutionary psychology. Pinker is noted for his work on language
particularly for his best selling Language Instinct
New York : William Morrow and Co., c1994. A disciple of Choamsky with a mind
of his own, Pinker is a clear writer although in his anti-Marxist zeal, he
missed that Das Capital is dedicated to Darwin.
Pool, Ithiel de Sola. Forecasting the Telephone: a retrospective
technology assessment. Norwood, N.J. : ABLEX Pub., 1983. Invaluable and
brief review of claims for (or again) social impact of the telephone. Pool
is one of the greats. I'm looking forward to finally reading his Talking
back: citizen feedback and cable technology [Cambridge, MIT Press, 1973]
and The out-of-classroom audience of WGBH; a study of motivation in
viewing [Cambridge, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, 1963] in the context of distance education and
Pool, Robert. Beyond Engineering: How Society Shapes Technology.
Oxford U. Press, 1997. Another Sloan Book and again very good. This one
focuses mainly but not entirely on the nuclear industry while managing to
touch on electricity, bovine growth harmones, computers, etc etc.
Popper, Karl. Open Society and its Enemies. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966. (5th edition, revised). The spirit behind the Soros Open Society Fund and behind much of the thinking about modern democratic societies.
Postman, Neil. Technopoly : the surrender of culture to technology
Postman. New York : Knopf, 1992. Cassandra.
Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. The collapse of social capital in America chronicled (see also http://www.bowlingalone.com/ which includes his research data, reviews, and more). Does the Net play a role in the decline of social capital or does it promote a social capital not measured by Putnam?
Rawlins, Gregory. Moths to the Flame: Seductions of Computer Technology.
Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Also on-line in a beautiful version at:
http://www.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/rawlins/moths/ More balanced than
the title would lead you to believe. Rawlins is a wonderful explainer and
a natural (in a great sense) writer, funny and clear. Written so his
father in Trinidad can understand what Rawlins, A CS professor at Indiana,
does for a living.
____________. Slaves to the Machine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
explaining how computers were developed, how they work and how they fail
to do the job for us that they should do, Rawlins devises a tract in
support of his own research in AI. Worth a read and very readable and not
Reingold, Howard. Virtual Community. Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley
Co., c1993. or in paper from New York: Harper Collins, . or on the net at:
http://www.well.com/user/hlr/vcbook/ on hte WELL itself. His
study/story/hyperbole of the community of/at/in the WELL (Whole Earth
'Lectonic Link). Inspiring, but aging.
Riordan, Michael. Crystal fire : the birth of the information
Michael Riordan, Lillian Hoddeson. New York : Norton, c1997. What was
behind the development of the transistor, semiconductors, and integrated
circuits particularly the personalities (Shockley and Moore for two),
finances (the creation of Silicon Valley) that lead us to Intel.
Schneier, Bruce. Secrets and Lies: Digital Security in a Networked World. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2000. The security and crypto guru speaks.
Slatalla, Michelle and Quitner, Joshua. Masters of Deception: The Gang that Ruled Cyberspace. Boston: HarperCollins, 1995. Phone phreaks as hackers. MoD vs Legion of Doom. Eric Bloodaxe once had a login on a UNC BBS...
Tapscott, Don. Growing up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998. Also see Douglas Rushkoff's Playing with the Future.
Tomita, Tetsuro. "The New Electronic Media and Their Place in the
Information Market of the Future," in Anthony Smith, ed. Newspapers and
Democracy: International Essays on a Changing Medium, pp 49-62. Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press. 1980. Best seen first as a reference in Neuman.
Torvalds, Linus and David Diamond. Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary. He who invented Linux speaks. You should listen.
Turkle, Sherry. Life on the screen : identity in the age of the Internet
New York : Simon & Schuster, c1995. A post-Freudian psychologist who has worked
with MIT's Media Lab for several years, Turkle is a major observer/writer on
how virtual lives/identities are formed and animated in the cyberworld.
What happens when she meets a character named "Dr Sherry" in a MOO? Is Dr. Sherry
one person, several people or a 'bot?
Vinge, Vernor. with notes and intro and editting by James Frenkel. True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier.. New York: Tor, 2001. "True Names" is the little story that started it all -- before Neuromancer, before cyberpunks, before cyberspace had even been named. Written in the summer of 1979 and published in 1981, "True Names" was a cult classic among the creators of the Internet and all CS graduate students for over a decade. This edition includes not only the novella, but essays in response from Marvin Minsky (of the MIT AI Lab), Danny Hillis (founder of Thinking Machines and the first Disney Fellow), Timothy May (former chief scientist at Intel), Richard Stallman (Free Software Foundation), and others.
Wells, H. G. World Brain. New York: Doubleday, 1938. Yes, H.G. beat Bush to the Memex. These collected talks on a World Encyclopaedia were given in London (1936), America (Oct and Nov 1937) and France (August 1937). They describe "A World Encyclopaedia" which "no longer presents itself to a modern imagination as a row of volumes printed and published once for all, but as a sort of mental clearing house for the mind, a depot where knowledge and ideas are received, sorted, summarized, digested, clarified and compared." p. 69. Additionally, "This Encyclodpaedic organization need not be concentrated now in one place; it might have the form of a network. It would centralize mentally but perhaps not physically." p. 70.
Young, Robert and Goldman Rohm, Wendy. Under the Radar: How Red Hat Changed the Software Business and Took Microsoft By Surprise Scottsdale, AZ : Coriolis, 1999.
Bob founded Red Hat with Marc Ewing. This is his story. "All royalties earned [from sales of this book] are being donated to the Free Software Foundation to further their important work."
Zachary, G. Pascal. Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer of the
American Century. New York: The Free Press, 1997. Best biography of
Vannevar "As We May Think" Bush describing the man and his times and how
those times changed out from under him. Good insights to be had here.