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27 December 2006

Holiday Reading List

Sitting lazy, reading

Christmas break is high time for some slacking and reading for me. Last year I went and bought lots of books, this year a held back a bit more, but I Eleni brought me some books from Munich that I had left there on route from Switzerland. Let's see: First of all I went and bought "Οι τέσσερις τοίχοι" from Βαγγέλης Χατζιγιαννίδης ("Four Walls" from Vangelis Hatziyannidis, also available in an english translation, this book was recommended to me in a comment by Catheryn Kilgarriff)...

I have a problem with lots of Greek authors, their books seem to be stuck to me, nothing ever happens, things move slow and I don't see any life in there. When I started with the "Four Walls", I was afraid it would come out like that. I can't really give a verdict yet, as I'm only on page 35, but the beginnings of an actual story have appeared and I like that. I'm reading in Greek, which still hinders me a bit and takes more time. But then it also offers me reward in how much I understand, and how few times I actually have to look something up.

From Munich a couple of books reached me: I started with a quick reread of Think Unix from Jon Lasser. This is an unusual computer book. It tries to teach newbies Unix, but not by taking them by the hand and giving them a list of commands. Rather Lasser teaches the spirit and meaning of how Unix works or "thinks". You might not learn every detail of how exactly you do something, but you get the tools so you can find out and do it yourself. Highly recommended and fun even to browse through after a couple of years (and even though I notice that I passed the level he teaches for a while).

I also got back my copy of Exploring Expect by Don Libes. This is (AFAIK) the only book about Expect. In case you don't know, "expect" is a programming language that helps to automate interaction with programs like passwd or telnet. I've done some simple things with expect and it's on my "I want to do more with this" list for a long time now. Maybe I'll write that command line "adduser" script for Mac OS X server that I need with expect after all.

Amongst the others coming from Munich was "Enigma entschlüsselt" by Michael Smith (original english title: "Station X: Decoding Nazi Secrets"). This is a collection of anecdotes, short stories, and facets of the code breaking effort at Bletchley Park and some other places in the second World War. By no means is it a full account, but for a crypto nut like me it is a fun diversion. Some of the pieces are easy to browse through, others (where it gets into the detail of decrypting some code system) take a lot of effort to read and understand. A book for me to get lost in for some hours!

Posted by betabug at 16:12 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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