Reading

I've been reading books all my life. Many people stop reading books after school. They move on to video, movies, newspapers, etc. I enjoy other mediums as well, but I still like books. I like e-books as well as physical books. I buy e-books when I want one fast or I don't care to shelve it. For classics, I like to have the physical book on my shelf. In addition to pure entertainment reading, I have a large collection of computer knowledge books. Some tend to become obsolete and I trade them in for new ones, but I have a lot of computer books that will be valid for years (i.e. software estimation, debugging techniques, etc.). Sometimes I come across a really good computer book and I blog about it (like this one or this one or this one).

For entertainment I read a lot of Sci-fi. Yeah, I'm a bit stereo-typical. A computer nerd that can cite lines from Star Wars at the drop of a hat. I've read most of the classics, Dune (everybody is right, the book is better than the movie or mini-series), I-Robot (a collection of good short stories), The Foundation Trilogy (I've read these books more than once, the story is intense), The Hobbit (movies are almost identical to the book), and others that I can't think of off the top of my head. I have also enjoyed a few computer subject books based on the history of the computer. One of my all-time favorites is "The Soul of a New Machine." I've read that book twice, and it's the kind of story that I can't let go of. Another is "The Cookoos Egg" which is about a university computer technician who discovers the trail of a hacker that put a backdoor into their Unix server. This story ends at an espionage case from a spy in Germany. Touring's Cathedral was an interesting historical reading. This book details the intense computer building effort that took place during World War II, when scientists were researching the atomic bomb. The book is broken into separate, but overlapping stories about each scientist who worked on computer projects at Princeton, New Jersey. There are a lot of interesting stories about the technologies they were attempting to use to solve the problem of performing a large amount of complex calculations in a short time.


Other subjects I like to read about involve the history of NASA and the early space program. "Stages to Saturn" was a really good book on the history of how the Saturn V rocket was designed and built. It's interesting to read about the challenges that NASA contractors faced when they designed and built hardware that had never been built before. The F-1 engine is an example of a difficult piece of hardware that took years to design and build. Therfore, NASA built another rocket (the Saturn I) out of available parts (Redstone rocket tubes) just so they could get the Command/Service modules and the Lunar module into Earth orbit for testing. This is how they parallelized the tasks to ensure they could minimize their project time to get to the moon before the Soviet Union.

"Dark Sun" was another interesting book on the history of the invention of the fusion bomb. This book covered a lot of the back story of the espionage that occurred during the construction of the first two atomic bombs. Richard Rhodes is a good author and "Dark Sun" is a difficult book to put down.