Recent Books & Periodicals Posts

April 12, 2007

Vonnegut dead at 84. So it goes.

No celebrity death in the past decade has affected me as much as that of Kurt Vonnegut, yesterday in his sleep at age 84. Ronald Reagan, John Paul II or Anna Nicole Smith? No, none of them were as intimately real to me, as comfortingly cynical, as this modern day Mark Twain.

Full story at Washington Post.

May 18, 2006

Book Review: Play Between Worlds

It's no surprise that massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have caught on. They're unique to the video game industry in how they portray social interactions. In fact, they rely on that element to draw players into their worlds. And, beyond the capabilities of one's avatar, whether it be orc, human or goblin, there's a lot more to MMOs than people realize. Author T. L. Taylor's goal in Play Between Worlds is to make sense of it all.

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February 6, 2006

Book Review: PSP Hacks

Months after the release of Sony's first handheld, people still found new features built into it they didn't even know were there. Those a little more inclined dug deeper and broke open the world of PSP homebrew. Whether you're playing it safe and using it as intended or breaking it open to find things to play with, PSP Hacks covers everything.

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January 9, 2006

A Million Little Lies: James Fray

"Book Club" author's best-selling nonfiction memoir filled with fabrications, falsehoods, other fakery, TSG probe finds

Oprah Winfrey's been had.

Three months ago, in what the talk show host termed a "radical departure," Winfrey announced that "A Million Little Pieces," author James Frey's nonfiction memoir of his vomit-caked years as an alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal, was her latest selection for the world's most powerful book club.

Source: The Smoking Gun

I am posting this for my Step Mom Melodye. She watches Oprah and I am sure she has read this book by now. It is still #1 on as it is. And this news will sell even more copies! Oddly enough, he was first shopping it around as fiction - though no one would publish that.

Blogcritics also has an opinion piece on the mess.

November 9, 2005

The Simpsons Library of Wisdom: Comic Book Guy and Ralph Wiggum Book Reviews

Setting a new standard for characters, The Simpsons is a TV show that can barely be followed anymore by someone who hasn't been around from the start. It also makes it one of the deepest shows on TV, and with only a half hour of airtime, it's not always easy to learn the basics for each character. That makes these small Library of Wisdom Books invaluable.

Continue reading "The Simpsons Library of Wisdom: Comic Book Guy and Ralph Wiggum Book Reviews" »

November 4, 2005

Book Review The Simpsons One Step Beyond Forever

Catching The Simpsons on a Sunday night is a religious experience for some. The new episodes bringing with them a new set of laughs, most of which are easy to miss. That's what makes these guides so necessary for the die-hard fan. In fact, you probably shouldn't even consider yourself a fan unless you have them for each season.

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October 19, 2005

Halo 2 Hacks Book Review

Now is the time for something like Halo 2 Hacks. The fans have ripped it apart inside and out, and this book goes deeper. While it starts somewhat like a strategy guide, it quickly dives into actual hacking of the game's code. This is where you can have the most fun with the game, creating textures, maps, and new features for weapons.

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October 13, 2005

The eBay Survival Guide Book Review

If you've been on eBay for any amount of time, you've surely dealt with someone we'll call "the idiot." This person can be either a buyer or a seller, but the stubbornness of some people is what makes the otherwise necessary online auction site a pain for some people. The eBay Survival Guide will get new people started, providing far more information on "the idiot" than the actual site does. Veterans know everything in here though.

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September 14, 2005

Belated book review: Max Barry's "Jennifer Government"

Until I picked up a copy of the paperback the other day, my familiarity with Max Barry's ubercorporate dystopian Jennifer Goverment came only through its corresponding web site, Nation States. The site, where you can design your own little government and shape its fate, was meant to generate interest in the young Australian novelist's 2003 book, which was much applauded by critics, named a notable book by New York Times and a Campbell Award finalist for best sci-fi of the year. And even before publication, Soderbergh and Clooney's Section 8 films optioned the rights, which they and Warner Bros. recently renewed.

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August 10, 2005

Start Your Engines: Developing Driving and Racing Games Review

Unlike a lot of recent set of game design books, Start Your Engines has a focus, and it's a good one on top of that. A dominant genre, racing titles take up a large market share, and this is a book that will get you moving on designing one. That's assuming of course you know what you're doing.

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July 14, 2005

Clickers book review

Clickers is one of those great throwbacks to classic sci-fi, just with a hard, brutal, gory edge. It's not one for the weak stomached, and that's the books strongest asset. It does lose itself as the final act starts in, but that doesn't mean getting there isn't fun enough to make it worthwhile.

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June 21, 2005

Sinatra: The Life Book Review

There is no entertainer whose career spanned the 20th century and who can elicit so many different feelings than Frank Sinatra.

His first recording came 60 years before his last, Duets, in the late 1990s.

He saw Las Vegas through its infancy as a party town, and came back when odds were stacked against him (no voice, no job, and a wife who got more attention than he did).

Continue reading "Sinatra: The Life Book Review"

June 12, 2005

The Art of Game Characters Book Review

Game characters are probably under-valued due to the glut of character-based platformers in the 16-bit era. Remember Rocky Rodent? There's a reason you don't. Now we have fully realized 3-D worlds and of course, characters need to populate them. The Art of Game Characters tries to make sense of it all, explaining the basic process, interviewing those who have created them, and showcasing both rendered and hand drawn art to show off the process.

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June 11, 2005

Everything Bad is Good for You Review

The mainstream media takes a shot at pop culture every chance it gets. Politicians join crusades to ban video games. Reality TV is brain-dead entertainment. Steven Johnson says it all makes us smarter, a gutsy cry for people to use common sense when dealing with these things, and he pulls it off.

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May 21, 2005

Alan Deutschman reviews "iCon"

The Steve Jobs "iCon" book got early attention, even before it was published, because Jobs pulled all the publishers books from the Apple Store. So I earmarked the book on Amazon. But after reading Deutschman's review, I think I will pass. It seems that "iCon" is not only a rehash of "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs." - Deutschman's book - but a rehash of a number of previously printed books about Steve Jobs.

Deutschman gives a number of side by side examples of the text from his book, and that from "iCon." What a joke, and a con.

April 17, 2005

Videogames in the Beginning Book Review

Chances are you don't know who Ralph Baer is. It might help if you knew that he started a multi-billion dollar industry, but if that's not enough to jog your memory, nothing will. What he's credited with is creating the home video game, working alongside Magnavox to create the first home console, the Odyssey. He would of course go on to create much more, setting standards and creating ideas still in use. "Videogames in the Beginning" tells his side of the story from the start back in the early 1960s up until the early 1980s.

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March 9, 2005

Free tech/business Magazines

Lots to choose from. Take your pick.

March 2, 2005

Free digital sub to ExtremeTech

This is not print, but I've heard this is a decent magazine. Covers gaming and computers.

Editors Note: This is a Zinio subscription. If you don't have an account, you can get one for free (I think). I have an account as half my magazines I get via Zinio. PC Magazine's ExtremeTech web site is pretty cool, and from flipping through this magazine has info on all kinds of mods and in depth technical stuff. Just like the web site.

January 29, 2005

Opening the Xbox Book Review

With a title like "Opening the Xbox," you should likely assume it's one of many hacker type books geared towards Microsoft's game console. It's not. There's not a single line even mentioning the hobby. What author Dean Takahashi has written is an excellent history on the console and how it came to be. It's a great companion to other books like "The Ultimate History of Video Games" which don't have the space to discuss the latest systems at length.

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January 11, 2005

Free Sync Magazine subscription


January 8, 2005

Tons of free magazine subscriptions

Clicky clicky.

December 11, 2004

Xbox Fan Book Review

Out of the three major consoles vying for dominance, the Xbox is easily the most confusing. With it's built in hard drive, Xbox Live, DVD playback, and variety of connections, this is the system you'll spend the most time with. "The Xbox Fan Book" tries to make owning the system less of a trial, but most of the information can be found in the user manual included with the system.

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December 7, 2004

Gaming Hacks Book Review

"Gaming Hacks" is yet another in a recent string of books on the topic. What's different is that author Simon Carless approaches it from a unique viewpoint that varies wildly from that onslaught. It's a book that is probably wildly different from what you would expect when you first pick it up, but contains enough pertinent information to make it a worthwhile purchase.

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December 1, 2004

Game Console Hacking Review

Hacking video game consoles is a popular pastime for many gamers. It's amazing what some of these people have discovered by opening their systems and looking around. "Game Console Hacking" puts all the information you need in one convenient place. It's not just a great source for those who have already taken their systems apart either. The basics are all here too.

Continue reading "Game Console Hacking Review" »

November 30, 2004

50 free magazines

Scroll down about half way...

November 21, 2004

Windows IT Pro magazine for free

Yet another free mag subscription.

October 11, 2004

6 free issues of CE Lifestyles magazine

CE Lifestyles Magazine targets digital electronics enthusiasts and avid computer users who like all things digital. Each issue of CE Lifestyles includes hardware reviews, buying advise, and tutorials for getting started on a broad range of devices. CE Lifestyles provides all-around gadget hounds with the latest advancements in computer electronics.

Get a Complimentary Subscription to CE Lifestyles

October 7, 2004

Get PC Magazine's Essential Guide to the Digital Home Free

This is for the "Essential Guide to the Digital Home" as well as one (digital) copy of the current issue, dated October 19th. So you get two issues for free. The Guide to the Digital Home comes out 10/08/04. So I have not seen it yet.

September 29, 2004

Free computer magazines

These are mainly trade magazines, but some I have found are not bad at all. (Computer Shopper, Dr. Dobb's, and an assortment of others.)

Thanks to Matt for the links.

August 9, 2004

High Score Book Review

Video game history has made its way into the pages of books more than just a few times. Steven Kent, Leonard Herman, and J.C. Herz are just a few of the authors to tackle the subject. "High Score" is the first to do it with such style, however. Every page is filled color photos, but it's a shame they don't follow the console industry closer, like one would expect. "High Score" gives fans over 300 pages to flip through, covering games as ancient as "Space War" all the way up to a brief look at the current crop of consoles in stores now. Each section of the book is supposed to follow ten years of history, though it never really seems that way once you begin reading. A second, revised edition is also available which covers imports and adds more information as well. Co-authors Rusel Demaria and Johnny Wilson hardly hide their love for PC games. They constantly quote themselves on their love for "Dungeons & Dragons" styled games. If it's some sort of strategy game or one that features orcs and warriors, they like it. Countless pages are devoted to companies who specialize in this style of gameplay. In fact, starting with page 57, over 200 pages are devoted to computer gaming companies. The 70's and 90's combined don't account for that much. Even more jarring is that most of those pages talk about games that clearly came out later than the 80's. It makes for very disjointed reading. Granted, no book has ever so thoroughly looked at the PC industry like this. Almost every book written on the subject focuses on the home consoles and arcades, rarely (if ever) getting involved with the home computer side of things. The main problem with this though is the book's full title, "High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games." If you say you're going to cover it all, do so. Even more saddening is that on the single page they devote to Sega's ill-fated Saturn, two obvious errors are made (NiGHTS was not a launch title nor did Virtua Fighter 3 get ported to the console). Not all is lost of course. The pictures of rare documents, hard-to-find games, and game schematics are great. It's obvious that much time was spent gathering up what they needed. How they even found some of the featured items is even more baffling. The cover price alone is likely worth it just to see some of the great pictures, just don't take all of the text as fact. If you spend hundreds (if not thousands) on your PC to enjoy all the latest games, this is certainly something that should be in your home. Die-hard console gamers should also probably pick up a copy, but everyone else can do better elsewhere. Steven Kent's "The Ultimate History of Videogames" is probably the way to go though a strong case can be made for the latest edition of Leonard Herman's "Phoenix."

June 23, 2004

One Year FREE sub to PC Magazine

You can only get the digital version (I.e. Zino) but still it is a year fo' free. The offer is apparently a hot one and the print subs are all gone. You can thank McAdee for the offer and Kevin Rose at TSS for the link. Thanks! On a side note, I love Zino! It is really nice. I don't understand why, but it runs a lot better on my PowerBook then it does on my PC desktop, even thought my PC is much more powerful. Its just sluggish in Windows. Zino is a great application. It is so nice being able to click on links that so many computer magazines print these days. Zino has not by any means stopped me from reading print magazines. You still need a magazine for sittin' on the can. I now read Zino versions of Macworld, Popular Science, and now PC Magazine. Funny thing is, I have print subs to these mags as well. It is just nice to have both. Sometimes I want to read it on my laptop, sometimes I don't.

May 3, 2004

1 YR. Free XBOX Nation Magazine

I do not know how long this deal is good for, but sign up as a member of and get a free 1 yr. subscription to XBOX Nation and/or Computer Gaming World. Thanks to Matt for the link.

April 21, 2004

Adbusters Subscription

You can't tell if I have been busy can you? Its the end of April and I have not posted about all the great loot I got for Christmas! Last week I got my first issue of Adbusters, and today I got my second (dont know why so soon together) that my cousin Seth got me for Christmas. This magazine rules! Thanks Seth. (I finally got the subscription)

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