Tag Archives: books

Fall of Giants


The Welsh author did it again. It’s a skill, he can write a huge book that you can read in no time.

It is the first book of a triology, following the lives of different people scattered around the world as the Great War develops. A soldier that comes from the Welsh mines, a russian that will become an important part of the bolshevik revolution, an english earl that has a lot of money and pride, an idealistic american trying to get the best outcome, a german that sees how everything crumbles around him, and a long etcetera.

As it is usual with Ken Follet, those characters play different parts on the same story and their paths will cross multiple times in different places.

The main story is about these fictional characters, each one representing an archetype of person from that time. At the same time they meld perfectly with real life people like Stalin, Churchill and Wilhem II to name a few.

I am reading the second book now, “Winter of the world”, that continues with the adventures of those characters and their sons as the cherished peace comes to an end again. I am thrilled.

Totally recommended.

I realize that I recommend most of the books that I read… maybe I’m not a very good critic, or I happen to pick up nice books 🙂


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Ceros y Unos. And other history books on computing.

ceros y unos

The last book I read is “Ceros y Unos” (ones and zeroes), a present from my sister for Sant Jordi (23 abril).

This book itself is a compilation of the articles that can be found in libertad digital. If you feel that the topic is interesting but don’t like to read big/boring history books, this book is for you (and of course, you have to be fluent in spanish). It is just a pack of articles, that makes it the perfect book for a quick read in public transport, or the toilet :-P.

But at the same time it lacks part of the rigour of other books. I was not surprised to see that the book cites as references some books that I already read.

3 Other books

This is a very interesting topic, so I would like to list 3 other books that I read in the past.

Una història de la informĂ tica – Miquel BarcelĂł
This book is a light read that gets you up to speed in the topic. Miquel BarcelĂł has a fluent writing that makes it very easy to read. And again, I think it is only in catalan and spanish.

A history of modern computing – Ceruzzi, Paul E
This is for me the best book I ever read on computing history. It is a long (488 pages) book where you can find the foundations of computing. It gives a lot of emphasis on the old computers of yesterday.

IBM and the Holocaust – Edwin Black
Not a general picture, but a small period of one of the biggest companies. This book narrates the history of IBM and the Nazi regime.

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The Locked Room


I’m a big fan of Sjöwall and Wahlöö since a friend of mine lend me “Roseanna” (I’m reading those book series in spanish, following the RBA editions.)

I think it never happened with any book. I took a flight from Barcelona to Amsterdam. I started it in El prat, and while I was in the train between Schiphol and Enschede I finished it. Read it in less than a day!

The 8th book of the Martin Beck series, and as most of the series an amazing book to read.

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Flatland: A romance on many dimensions

Seems that I’m on a combo of good reads (Endurance, CODE and now Flatland).

This is the story of a square living on a 2D world and how it becomes aware of the 3D world. Does not sound interesting? well, I think it is.

The book was written in 1884 as a satirical novel on the Victorian stratified society, and an examination of different dimensions. Nowadays is still interesting, at least for the definitions on various dimensions.

If you run into a printed copy buy it! is one of those novels that I would love to have in my shelf. If you are planning to buy any digital version, stop right here! There’s an online version in HTML at the Minnesota Science and technology center. Is not difficult to use Calibre or Online convert to obtain a nice ebook for your reader.

Online version at the Minnesota Science and technology center ⇒GO
Online Convert ⇒GO
Calibre ⇒GO

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CODE. The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software

Electricity is like nothing else in this universe, and we must confront it on it’s own terms

Charles Petzold does an amazing job in this book. It explains how current computers work without a previous knowledge required. While there was no new information for me at all, I really enjoyed the way it presents the concepts, easy and with a lot of clarifying pictures. Is one of those books that you can say “I wish I read this book while I was studying the topic”.

Some argue that it has no relevance at all because it is old (1999). I would respond that while the computer world seems to advance very fast, the bases are almost the same, (1945 First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC), but with a lot of refinement (smaller, faster, smarter).

This book is a must-have if you want to learn how a computer works and you don’t feel like reading very technical stuff.

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Shackleton – Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition Map

Recently I’ve been reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. On the whole book they describe its current position, movement, etc.. but it’s difficult for me to understand certain positions on the poles. Also, the history is so astonishing that it deserved a cool map.

There are some maps of the Imperial Trans-Antartcic Expedition: http://www.kodak.com, http://www.wgbh.org, coolAntarctica, and a long etcetera. But I wanted to play a little bit.


Online Map:
Nice view of Shackleton Imperial Trans-Antartcic expedition. Information of each point and also photos.

Interactive Shackleton Map at MapBox

That’s interesting, show me how


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