Command Line

A blog and podcast exploring the rough edges where society, public policy and computers meet.

Book Reviews

Write Great Code

By Randall Hyde

I talked about this in Podcast #18, at about 39 minutes in. As I mentioned in that episode, I think this is an excellent book for both the novice and experienced hacker. Academic curricula used to cover the topics covered by it, but not so much these days. Even if you have a CS degree, this book might still be a valuable introduction to the concept of machine organization. I particularly enjoyed the survey of logical cricuits and memory heirarchy. If you’ve read and enjoyed Jorl Spolsky’s essay, The Law of Leaky Abstractions, then you will enjoy this book and the knowledge it contains for helping you to get to just about the lowest level with an appreciation for how all the layers of abstraction are built on top of it.

Randall’s other books are on Assembly programming, so his code examples are in C and HLA, but if you’ve worked with any C-like language, you should not have any problem following along. I did not find any obvious errors or problems with the code samples. The writing style, overall, is very enjoyable. Even when dealing with drudgery topics, like designing a simpified machine language to illustrate how they work in generally, it never really bogs down.

Best Software Writing I

Edited by Joel Spolsky

From episode 35.

Java Puzzlers

By Josh Bloch and Neal Gafter

From episode 35.

Century Rain

By Alastair Reynolds

From episode 65

The Authority

By Garth Ennis

From episode 65

The Lifebox, The Seashell and The Sould

By Rudy Rucker

From episode 75.


By Charles Stross

From episode 77.

Free Culture

By Lawrence Lessig

From January 7th, 2007’s episode.


By Christine Harold

From July 5th, 2007’s episode.

Mathematicians in Love

By Rudy Rucker

From October 7th, 2007’s episode.


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