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Comment: Avogadro Corp by William Hertling (Score 1) 647

by glarvat (#38450508) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Do You Like To Read?

The best book that I've read in a long time is William Hertling's techno thriller Avogadro Corp. It's fast-paced, exciting, and chillingly thought-provoking. If you have a block of time, like a plane ride, it's perfect. If you have somewhere to be in a couple hours, you might consider waiting to start it because you won't be able to put it down.

Here's my "official" review of it:

William Hertling sets "Avogadro Corp" in modern day Portland, Oregon. Avogadro Corp is a thinly veiled fictional Google, with AvoMail as key aspect of the story. While "Avogadro Corp" is the first in a series of three (so far), it easily stands alone as a terrific, and stunningly believable, account of how the first sentient artificial intelligence might accidently arise. In a man vs. machine conflict, our protagonist David Ryan, as a contemporary Dr. Frankenstein, battles to destroy the thing he creates. A majority of the characters are well-developed and distinct; the ones that are a bit one-dimensional are minor characters. The pace of the book is quite fast with only a few tangential story arcs to mentally maintain. In fact, I made the "mistake" of starting the book at bedtime; I was finished by lunch the next day. I simply could not put it down.

David Ryan, a software engineer at Avogadro Corp, is working on a recommendation engine for their flagship product, AvoMail. The recommendation engine, Email Language Optimization Program (ELOPe), is designed to provide suggestions for better wording for your outgoing emails so that the recipient is more receptive. When the project is in jeopardy of being cancelled, David inserts a hidden self-preservation directive into ELOPe and allows it to autonomously rewrite outgoing emails related to the project. Once ELOPe begins redirecting corporate funds and arming itself in offshore floating data centers, David and coworker Mike set about trying to take down ELOPe with the help of I-trust-paper-not-computers internal auditor Gene.

One aspect of Hertling's novel that I found intriguing was that by never revealing the internal motivation of ELOPe, you too are brought on this journey of how to destroy the "ghost in the machine." Also, as a resident of Portland, I enjoyed that the book was set here and incorporates its coffee culture.

Book Reviews

+ - Book Review: Avogadro Corp 3

Submitted by
glarvat
glarvat writes "William Hertling sets Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears in modern day Portland, Oregon. Avogadro Corp is a thinly veiled fictional Google, with AvoMail as key aspect of the story. While Avogadro Corp is the first in a series of three (so far), it easily stands alone as a terrific, and stunningly believable, account of how the first sentient artificial intelligence might accidentally arise. In a man vs. machine conflict, our protagonist David Ryan, as a contemporary Dr. Frankenstein, battles to destroy the thing he creates. A majority of the characters are well-developed and distinct; the ones that are a bit one-dimensional are minor characters. The pace of the book is quite fast with only a few tangential story arcs to mentally maintain. In fact, I made the mistake of starting the book at bedtime; I was finished by lunch the next day. I simply could not put it down.

David Ryan, a software engineer at Avogadro Corp, is working on a recommendation engine for their flagship product, AvoMail. The recommendation engine, Email Language Optimization Program (ELOPe), is designed to provide suggestions for better wording for your outgoing emails so that the recipient is more receptive. When the project is in jeopardy of being cancelled, David inserts a hidden self-preservation directive into ELOPe and allows it to autonomously rewrite outgoing emails related to the project. Once ELOPe begins redirecting corporate funds and arming itself in offshore floating data centers, David and coworker Mike set about trying to take down ELOPe with the help of I-trust-paper-not-computers internal auditor Gene.

One aspect of Hertling’s novel that I found intriguing was that by never revealing the internal motivation of ELOPe, you too are brought on this journey of how to destroy the ½Âoeghost in the machine. Also, as a resident of Portland, I enjoyed that the book was set here and incorporates its coffee culture.

Slashdot readers will find some of the context for social engineering and tech a little redundant, but I understand they are wholly necessary for the wider audience.

Full disclosure: The author is good friends with one of my good friends."

Comment: Re:Patent Busting (Score 5, Informative) 629

by glarvat (#23630747) Attached to: Nominations Open For "Most Likely to be Shut Down By Government"

Yeah we need to end Patent Busing. Why should a patent have to go all the way across town to the same type of schools I moved to get away from?
I doubt the parent was trolling. It was an obviously misunderstood attempt at humo(u)r referencing School Desegregation because of the typo in the GP (busing instead of busting).

For what it's worth, I thought it was funny.

Upgrades

+ - No closed video drivers for next Ubuntu release

Submitted by
lisah
lisah writes "Ubuntu's next release, Feisty Fawn, is due out in April and, according to company CTO Matt Zimmerman, proprietary video drivers failed to make the cut for the default install. Zimmerman told Linux.com that although, the software required for Composite support is not ready for prime-time and therefore will not be included in Feisty, Ubuntu hasn't given up entirely on the inclusion of video drivers in future releases. '[T]he winds aren't right yet. We will continue to track development and will revisit the decision if things change significantly.' Ambiguous or not, the decision to exclude proprietary drivers for now should satisfy at least some members of the Ubuntu Community. In other Feisty Fawn news, the Board also decided to downgrade support for Power PC due to a lack of funding."
Windows

+ - Microsoft says no plans for new Windows in 2009

Submitted by Janqie
Janqie (666) writes "Microsoft has disavowed any announced plans to ship a new version of Windows in 2009 (previous /. coverage), issuing a statement saying that the company is not prepared to offer any guidance on when the next version of Windows might ship. Kevin Kutz, Director of Windows Client development, said: "We are not giving official guidance to the public yet about the next version of Windows, other than that were working on it. When we are ready, we will provide updates.""
Encryption

+ - DRM breaks DRM?

Submitted by CompMD
CompMD (522020) writes "I've been noticing that there are a lot of people using newer Dell machines that are running into trouble with FlexLM, a common license manager. What worries me is there are no FlexLM configuration problems. The issues experienced run the gamut, from not being able to check out a license to the service spawning thousands of server processes until the machine crashes. In the end, people can't use their legally licensed software. It took a while to find something in common with everyone, but eventually I discovered that a program implementing Trusted Computing that Dell preinstalls along with and what appeared to be a Broadcom TPM driver were causing this. This seems to be specific to Dell Precision laptops and perhaps a few other models. Can anyone else corroborate this problem of Trusted Computing breaking an industry standard license manager? What does this mean for the thousands of users of FlexLM licensed products? Is this problem specific to a faulty TC implementation, or is it systemic across all new computers with TC?"
Google

+ - Windfall Profits Tax on Google..?

Submitted by
bricko
bricko writes "Should there be a Windfall tax on Google..? http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/capitalcommer ce/070212/windfall_profits_tax_some_mode.htm — Exxon made 37 Billion on sales of 397 Billion for return on sales of about 10%. Google made 3 billion on sales of 10 billion for a return on sales of 30%. Should these proposed "windfalls taxes" be spread more widely, or just on the "perceived" evil companies. If 10% return in evil...is 30% return MORE evil? And would Intel's 20% return. twice that of Exxon be twice as evil..? Since the last time windfalls profits taxes were implemented resulted in an 8% reduction in product availability...is it good policy to start with, or mostly a politicians wet dream."
Sun Microsystems

+ - Sun announces winners of "Try and Win" con

Submitted by
david.emery
david.emery writes "Sun Microsystems had a promotion where you submitted a proposal to evaluate one of their new multi-core machines. They lent you the machine for 90 days, and if they were sufficiently impressed with what you did with it, they'd let you keep the machine.

Here are the results: http://www.sun.com/tryandbuy/prm/perf/winners.jsp

Most of these projects demonstrate the ability of the machine to do transaction kinds of things, like web servers, where you load up the cores through the transaction load. A few, such as the Grebyn Corporation project, instead loaded up all of the cores working collectively on a single problem. In other /. postings, various people have commented on our inability to write software that makes use of large numbers of multiple cores. The Grebyn application demonstrates that at least some people on some problems can keep 8 cores fully occupied."
Software

+ - How much are the new DST rules costing you?

Submitted by vanyel
vanyel (28049) writes "As the new daylight savings time change date nears, we're having to go around and make sure all our computers and routers are updated with the new changes. It seems to me to be a lot of work for no good reason, and I'm wondering just how much our Posturing Leaders are costing us?"
Businesses

+ - Movers and Shakers - Q&A with Matt Coddington

Submitted by
JaneMay
JaneMay writes "We recently had the pleasure of interviewing a young, up and coming entrepreneur — Matt Coddington, creator of NetBusinessBlog.com. This 22 year-old web developer from Columbia, South Carolina (USA) has had great success with Net Business Blog. It is not even 2 months old and has experienced extreme traffic growth and a solid reader base. He shares some of his experiences and wisdom with us. He shares some of his experiences and wisdom with us. MORE: http://www.careerramblings.com/2007/02/13/movers-a nd-shakers-qa-with-matt-coddington/"

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