Thursday, March 7, 2013

My favourites tech books

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By Andrew Scotting

The necessity of writing, and of doing it this way, here. Just as fan-fiction must inhabit the network because it is verboten, not doable, not writable elsewhere, it is at the same time the necessary form of expression online. But all online writing is fan-fiction, replicating not the characters but the concepts of the meme-space, the context. All writing has always been fan-fiction, merely awaiting the network to reveal its true form. We declared the death of the author prematurely. Barthes was a futurist, like BS Johnson. Technology is our modernity.

Those who understand the history of technology and the people who made it happen can probably figure out more quickly how to build on the shoulders of giants and advance technology further. Here's some books that are great fun to read because they either relate great ideas that influenced a generation of technologists or because they chronicle the lives of people who changed the world.

But that upswing in reading-through-technology is also taking place as parents are worried that students aren't doing enough reading for fun. Just 47 percent of parents said they were satisfied with the amount of time their children spent reading for fun, down from 58 percent two years ago. And when children read for pleasure, they usually aren't doing it with e-books. Eighty percent of children surveyed said they rely on print books for fun reading, as opposed to just 20 percent who either read through e-books or a combination of e-books and print.

Everything beckons to us to perceive it. My appreciation of a contemporary text is an appreciation of the network: will this text link me to further texts which will, knowingly or unknowingly, connect me to other texts that will expand or heighten my appreciation, not of it or the other text, but holistically, will raise the network value of texts and experiences in general. And the texts want this too: they are longing for the network.

So, to everyone who's recently emailed me, and has not heard back yet, I'm sorry. I will get to your email, but it's going to take me some time to read them all and reply individually (which I feel everyone deserves even if the book does not appeal to me). I hate form emails and imagine that authors and publishers hate form rejections. Have you ever gotten this behind before? Is it just me, or is saying 'no' really hard to do?

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