Geek Reading List

Wil Wheaton (Wesley from ST:TNG) writes a weekly column for Suicide Girls (NSFW). In a recent article, he writes about 5 books every Geek should read. He has some pretty good picks, but I’d like to add some more. Keep in mind though, I’m nowhere near as eloquent as Wil is.. :)

Diamond Age

Author: Neal Stephenson

Published: 1995

This, for me, was one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. In the future, where nanotechnology is the norm and matter compilers offer the basic necessities of living for free, a young girl is given a unique gift in the form of a book. But this is no ordinary book. This is the Young Ladies Illustrated Primer. What follows is a whirlwind of activity as the true nature of the primer is discovered, the balance of power is shifted, and a new class is formed.

The Illuminatus Trilogy

Author: Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

Published: 1975

The ultimate conspiracy theory. From beginning to end, Wilson and Shea wrap theory after theory together creating, at times, a semi-plausible theory about the government and who truly runs it. Complete with Atlantis, Nazis, and even Shoggoths, this story will keep your head spinning. This is definitely not a tale for the faint of heart!

Discworld Series

Author: Terry Pratchett

Published: 1983 – Current

A flat world held up on the backs of four elephants, all standing on the shell of the Great A’Tuin, the star turtle. Enter hilarity. These are some of the funniest books I’ve ever read. If you like Douglas Adams’ novels, then you’ll love Pratchett. A mixture of magic, stone age technology, and general mayhem is presented in each book of this massive series. From the wizard Rincewind to Death himself, there are characters for every occasion.

The Lord of the Rings

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Published: 1954-1955

Tolkien is commonly known as the “father of modern fantasy”. This three volume series continues where The Hobbit left off, following the tale of the Ring as it passes into the hands of Frodo the hobbit. Frodo’s task is to take the ring to Mount Doom and destroy it. A journey of epic proportions follows as Frodo becomes the center of a battle for Middle Earth.

Windows Live Writer Beta

I’m writing this post using the new Windows Live Writer Beta. It’s a blogging tool that allows you to write your blog entries offline and upload them later. Useful, I guess, if you’re not connected all the time. For me, it’s just something to play with. Time will tell whether I like it or not.

To use Writer with a Serendipity blog you’ll need to install the XML-RPC plugin. Once that’s up and working you need to tell Writer what kind of blog you’re using. After it fails the auto-detect you’ll need to choose the API to use. I’m using the Metaweblog API and it seems to be working fine. It also asks for the URL for publishing. For the XML-RPC plugin, the URL will be something like this :

So, for now, I’m just messing around with the system to see what it’s capable of. It seems to be a fairly nice system, pretty at least. Just a document editor with the standard font options on the surface. Hyperlinks are available (as they should be), and it seems to handle media as well such as pictures, movies, audio, etc. I’ve haven’t dealt with media yet on this blog, so I’m not that interested in those capabilities.

Writer won’t download the categories I have set up on my blog, so I’ll have to hand-edit that after I publish. No big deal I guess, but kinda defeats the purpose of this utility. I also don’t see a way to add serendipity tags, so that’s another hand-edit. You can add third party tags such as those from Technorati, LiveJournal, and others, but I have no interest in that.

The web preview is pretty nice. It shows you exactly what the web page will look like when you publish it. It’s pretty cool and seems to work well.

Well, I guess it’s a little nicer than the JavaScript WYSIWYG editor that’s built into serendipity, but between the need for XML-RPC and the lack of serendipity features, I don’t think I’ll be continuing to use Live Writer. While trying to get Writer to work, I also ran across two other tools, w.bloggar and Performancing. The first is a program similar to Writer that seems to allow offline editing. The second is a Firefox plugin that seems to have a ton of features. I’ll be checking both out in the near future.