TCLP 2010-05-19 Interview: Cory Doctorow, “For the Win”

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, a few quick announcements. I will be at Balticon Memorial Day weekend and posting my speaking schedule soon. If you are going to be there, come and say, “Hi”. May’s CopyNight will be next Tuesday, the 25th, with special guest Carl Malamud. Next month’s CopyNight will also have a special guest, Cory Doctorow as it happens. That CopyNight will be June 28th, a Monday. For more details about the DC CopyNight, visit the web site.

Due to the length of the interview, I didn’t get to any listener feedback this week. There also is no new hacker word of the week for the same reason.

The feature this week is an interview with Cory Doctorow discussing the issues explored in his latest book just released from Tor, “For the Win“. I caught up with him over Skype on his current book tour. We mention quite a bit of material, roughly in chronological order:

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Cory Doctorow’s Latest, “For the Win”, Launches Today

Long time listeners and readers know I am a huge fan of Cory Doctorow’s writings, both fiction and non-fiction. I am thrilled that his latest novel, “For the Win“, is out today. I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy and can definitely recommend the book highly for those that enjoyed Cory’s previous young adult novel, “Little Brother“.

I would say without hesitation that I enjoyed “For the Win” even more than “Little Brother”. I dug the ideas explored in the book more than I expected–organizing labor, virtual economies, the effects of online games on globalization and youth culture. The dialectic is very well woven into the stories of all the characters, you rarely if ever feel like you are receiving an info dump. The only thing I suspect some people may not like, depending on their tastes, is that the narrative is shared across the points of view of several characters. I don’t mind that, personally, but I have friends who do. For the younger readers, there is a bit of violence but it isn’t gratuitous and should be fine for teen aged readers.

I read my copy during the big blizzard earlier this year, when we had no power for a few days and no heat. It thoroughly kept my mind off of a very worrying situation and held up to non-stop reading over the course of a few days. Not many books would have held my interest well enough to read pretty much continuously like that, “For the Win” definitely did.

Of course, as with all of Cory’s books, you can download a free electronic copy of the book, in a number of formats, and see for yourself if you enjoy it enough to pick up a print edition. I love that this time out he included my favorite format, ePub. That format is a fan conversion and is made possible by the liberal license Cory uses. You can remix or convert the book any which way you like as long as you share your changes and don’t charge for the end result.

As with “Little Brother”, Cory is working with educators and librarians to get this book into the hands of kids. There are more details on how you can help with that effort at the book’s web site. You’ll also find a link to the book tour that is kicking off this week. I encourage you to go out and see Cory if he’s coming to your town. He’s a dynamic and engaging speaker and reader plus you can pick up a signed copy of the book if you are a fan.

Lastly, I will be interviewing Cory while he’s on the book tour specifically to dig into various aspects of the book and the tropes he explores in it. If you have a relevant question you’d like me to pose, send it to me before Thursday the 13th and I’ll include as many of your questions as time allows. That interview should go out next week, Wednesday the 19th.

TCLP 2010-05-09 News

This is news cast 213, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, thanks to new monthly donor, Jamie. Also, I was interviewed for Uber Leet Hacker Force Radio, part of Hacker Public Radio. My part starts around minute twenty-three. Lastly, I will be interviewing Cory Doctorow about his latest YA novel, “For the Win“. I’m scheduled to do so on Thursday, the 13th, so if you have any questions for him, get them to me before then.

This week’s security alerts are a new attack technique that bypasses most common antivirus programs demonstrated by matousec.com and study that shows programming language choice doesn’t affect security.

In this week’s news Hugo Gernsback as futurist (I’ve read more about him as a publisher) including some criticism of his views of the place of science in science fiction, why computers crash but biology does not, a rallying cry for parallelism even though the trend is well established and the challenges hard then first supposed, and Google releases a code lab and sources to teach and learn security through reading code and hands on exercises.

Following up this week the FCC’s third way to pursue network neutrality and the FCC allows selectable output control with some qualifications.

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TCLP 2010-01-31 News

This is news cast 205, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, information about a couple of great upcoming events: Free Culture X and the Southern California Linux Expo.

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This week’s security alert are fighting spam with captured botnets and examining an exploit kit.

In this week’s news what history can tell us about HTML5, open video and h.264 with confirmation that patented codecs aren’t compatible with free software, a framework for a folk or para-copyright, Amazon and Macmillan go to war over a price point at the expense of their customers though the fate of an open e-book market may be at stake, and Google proposes extending DNS.

Following up this week Jammie Thomas is offered a settlement but she refuses as the RIAA appeals the judge’s reduction of their damage award against her and a guide to speaking out against ACTA.

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Video of My Recent Interview with Cory Doctorow

My friend Dan has finally finished the herculean task of uploading an edited and high resolution video of my recent interview with Cory Doctorow during the final stop of his MAKERS book tour at Philcon. Dan shot this video on his new HD flip that he bought for the occasion while I conducted the interview. He also took a bunch of great photos. Thanks, Dan!

The video is available in a few formats, including Ogg Theora. It clocks in at just under forty minutes so the HD version is a hefty download. The Ogg and standard definition mpeg versions are much more manageable.

Apologies in advance for the audio, you’ll need to crank it up a bit though I imagine the video may help at softer volumes with understanding Cory’s responses. For those familiar with my previous out of the studio recording struggles, I have a new bit of gear on its way that should help: a Giant Squid Lab mic that I can use as a pair of lavaliers, or clip-on, microphones.