Charlie Harvey

December 2014 Reading

  • Definitely Maybe, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

    Cover of definitely maybe

    This was a fantastic book. It very much reminded me of Dostoyevsky. The basic plot is about a mathemetician who is on the verge of making a theoretical breakthrough. Suddenly all sorts of distractions appear in his life, and it is the same with friends in other fields of endeavour. Perhaps aliens are trying to stop their work, or maybe the universe itself is trying to keep itself from being understood. An undertone of political satire and some extremely odd characters (think Kurkov) make the novel highly entertaining. Recommended.

    2014-12-28 by Charlie Harvey
  • If Hemingway Wrote Javascript, by Angus Croll

    Cover of if Hemingway wrote Javascript

    This is hilarious. Croll gives us javascript interpretations of a number of standard programs as literary figures from Jane Austen to Franz Kafka may have written them. There is a serious point behind the book — something about reading code being an important way of learning to be a better programmer, and diversity of approaches being one of the strengths of javascript. But I just read it for entertainment value and it worked on that level.

    2014-12-28 by Charlie Harvey
  • Theoretical Writings, by Alain Badiou

    Cover of Badiou's theoretical writings

    Badiou is a very interesting philosopher, taking seriously mathematical approaches and ideas when in the process of doing philosophy. This book was probaby a little too hard for me, particularly as my knowledge of some of the material about which he is talking (Plato, and Hegel) is rather lacking.

    2014-12-28 by Charlie Harvey
  • Introducing Elixir: Getting Started in Functional Programming, by Simon St. Laurent & J.David Eisenberg

    Cover of introducing elixir

    I’m currently in the process of reviewing Introducing Elixir for the FLOSSUK newsletter. Elixir is a dynamic, functional language that runs on the Erlang virtual machine. Introducing Elixir is a fairly slow paced, short intro to the language. As ever, O’Reilly have produced a solid book, though it is very much an intro, the pace is quite slow and the repeated use of the ssme example throughout the text may be annoying to some.

    2014-12-15 by Charlie Harvey
  • Information Security for Journalists, by Silkie Carlo and Arjen Kamphuis

    Cover of Information security for journalists

    This is a solid intro to infosec, targetted at investigative journalists. I got hold of it at the Logan Symposium which I recently attended. It manages to give just enough information on what threats you may face and the technical means for mitigating those risks. Recommended for journos and those who are keen to learn more about privacy online. You can download Information Security for Journalists in various formats for free.

    2014-12-15 by Charlie Harvey
  • The Maya Pill, by German Sadulaev

    Cover of The Maya Pill

    An odd and disturbing satire of life in Russia — its all very postmodern, with lots of pissing about with the form of the book. I found the meditations on the nature of alienated capitalism insightful. There seemed to be a fair number of references to Russian political and social life that went over my head.

    2014-12-04 by Charlie Harvey


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