Spent most of this weekend past reading. I was out and about a bit, managed to take friday off due to accumlated overtime so I again was able to see the benefit of my iPaq. A library in my pocket.
I read two pulp adventure books (the first two in the Richard Blade series) which are not literary classics by any measure but are quite entertaining. The main character is a big, muscular, brave, manly man. An MI6 agent (in the vein of bond, but tougher and less classy) who was chosen to be a guinea pig in a weird computer experiment that tried to pump memories and knowledge directly into his brain. It malfunctioned and instead sent him/allowed him to percieve another dimension. (This part isn’t well explained but hey, whats to expect.) The novels then seem to be based on his explorations of these new dimensions, a new one every book. Whilst there he has adventures, kills bad guys, meets beautiful women and throws them down and has manly sex with them in such a way as to leave them quivering with desire and love so they go on to despair when he is away from them and build massive jade statues in his god-like image. (That actually happened in the second book.)
Mindless, exciting escapism. When did that become such a dirty thing? I love the dark realities of Steven Erikson’s novels, the alternate histories of Sara Douglass and the sweeping epic of Robject Jordan as much as the next man – they are books that have seriously altered my outlook on both life and what is possible in fiction. When though did these works of art become the -only- thing that was on offer?
Perhaps action movies have stolen a lot of the need for pulp action novels but I for one mourn their passing.
Another book I read this weekend was entitled Pgp and Gpg – Email Security for the Practical Paranoid. An excellent book on the practical matters of using public key encryption to secure your email, either with the commercial Pgp program or the open source GnuPG program. Both are fairly similar and run under the OpenPGP framework, this book covers the generalities and the explicit quirks of each.
Its not really aimed at people who have a lot of experience or knoweledge of cryptography and pki, much of the main meat of the book was just a rehash of things i’d already done and already knew. The first chapter on the history of PGP is interesting for those who don’t know the full story.
In anycase, it is a practical book about how to get up and running in your home or organisation, rather than a deep technical or theoretical treatise. As such, its an excellent book that I wholeheartedly recommend.