The Ultimate Spy Book

Title: The Ultimate Spy Book
Author: H. Keith Melton
Published: 1996 by DK Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 0-7894-0443-5

Just over 2 weeks ago my local PBS affiliate, Idaho Public TV, started running a BBC show titled Spy. It's a reality show about 8 regular Brits who are going through spy training. Their instructors are former CIA and MI6 officers. So far it's been a really great show and I highly recommend you check your local listings.

So, I got really curious about how to be a spy. Not like I'm thinking of actually becoming a spy or anything, but I'm insatiably curious. And I want to be a spy. Oops, I hope the feds didn't hear that...


The King of Torts

Title: The King of Torts
Author: John Grisham
Published: 2003 by Doubleday
ISBN: 0-385-50804-2

John Grisham is an excellent, and rich, writer so I was a little disappointed by the quality of this book. The last one I read was The Rainmaker and it was a lot better. It did finally end better than I expected, which I was grateful for, of course, but the middle of the book was rather lacking.

The story is about Clay Carter, a D.C. lawyer stuck in a low paying job as a public defender. It's a job he's been working for 5 years since he passed the bar, but not one that he's enjoyed at any point along the way. He has the bleak resposibility to deal with the worst part of society, and in a city where crime is a major occurance no less. To think that only a few years ago he had such grand plans of graduating from Georgetown and going into practice with his father.


Not all digital music is created equal

You've probably heard of the iPod, Apple's foray into the digital music world. It's been immensely popular and along with the iTunes Music Store, has really created a major push toward digitally purchased music. They've popularized a new trend in grabbing songs that you

Napster really started it, I'd say. People loved Napster and the way you could get any song your heart desired with a simple click. Of course, we all knew it wouldn't last. The semi-illegal (at best) trading of songs over the internet was bound to be pushed to the background as legitimate retailers began selling the same thing for a fair price. I think that's great. The mission that Napster really needed to fill was to knock some sense into the music industry, mainly the musicians, and wake them up to a new way of distribution.


Ender's Shadow

Title: Ender's Shadow
Author: Orson Scott Card
Published: 1999 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
ISBN: 0-312-86860-X

I decided my second foray into scifi should also be a sure fire good read. I've known of Card for a while and have heard plenty of good things about his books, but choosing where to start was a tough one. I can't just jump into the middle of a series, but it seems that my library has the fewest of the the first books. It was either wait a few weeks or try to find a suitable alternative. Luckily, Ender's Shadow was in, probably because this particular book was pretty haggard and beat up.


Have Spacesuit - WIll Travel

Title: Have Spacesuit - Will Travel
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Published: 1958 by Charles Scribner's Sons
ISBN: 0-684-14857-9

I have long meant to read some good science fiction but just never gotten around to it. My wife is out of town for 5 weeks so I guess now's a good time. TV just bores me to death any more and the Gamecube gets old after a few hours. So I dropped by the library and picked up a classic Heinlein novel. I figured I should start with a good one, and it definitely was.



Congress is set to pass a bankruptcy reform bill which aims to close loop holes where people who can repay debts are getting out of them. Sounds fair, and maybe it is. I haven't done a ton of research on the bill but on the surface I can support something like that. Certainly people shouldn't be cheating out of debts which they could pay.

This bill strongly favors creditors. I think to really do any justice we need to also introduce credit reform that will benefit potential debtors. There's no point in forcing people to be responsible for their debts without helping them stay out of problems in the first place.


Free music. Come and get it.

Apparently there's an annual musician's festival in Austin Texas called South by Southwest. I've never heard about it either, but this year they are offering downloads of tons of mp3s from attending musicians. When I say tons, I mean tons. We're talking 2.7 GB worth of music in 758 files.

Sparking Hotdogs

Last night I warmed up a hotdog for my 2 year-old son. Normally I warm up the dog first and then cut it into slices but it struck me that I would burn my fingers less if I reversed the process. So that's what I did. The upshot was that the dog started sparking! Yeah, I was pretty amazed too.

Here's the question I sent off to Bar-S, the maker of my otherwise tasty meat:


IAX2 peering with Asterisk

At work I've been pushing my boss to use Asterisk for our phone system. It's a voice over IP (VoIP) based PBX for Linux and boy is it awesome. Over the last few weeks he's started to succumb to my threats and I've got a basic system up and running. Tonight I set up a peering arrangement with a friend of mine.


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