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Rick Cook

2004-04-29 14:11:51.956939+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

A few weeks ago I downloaded the two books by Rick Cook available from the Baen Free Library. Not high literature, but good "my brain is too toasted to do anything else" escapist reading, and I think the free availability had its intended effect: I'll probably be buying the rest in cheap paper for boring plane flights.

The general theme is: Silicon valley hacker gets transported into magical realm, discovers that magic can be manipulated in programming terms, with assorted geek in-jokes. But what struck me most was how much attitudes about software have evolved in the decade and a half since these were written. One of the lead quotes he uses is:

The three most dangerous things in the world are a programmer with a soldering iron, a hardware type with a program patch and a user with an idea.

Recent experiences make the first speak to me, but I remember that point at which I switched from looking down on the users, even in jest, to trying to accomodate them. And I'm not sure that in the race between applications programmers to build more idiot-proof software and the universe building more and bigger idots that we're in any way winning, I just found it interesting to be exposed to that historical precedent.

[ related topics: Quotes Books Software Engineering moron ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-29 21:33:34.480442+00 by: Shawn

Welcome to the Wizardry series :-) I ate the first book up back in high school - around the same time (and with similar style, although more technically oriented) as my introduction to The Spellsinger[Wiki]. I was excited to see them on the Free Library. Unfortunately, they haven't seen fit to make some of the middle books available in Palm[Wiki] format, though.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-29 22:10:48.755922+00 by: Dan Lyke

Are they in HTML? iSilo was worth the registration and works just well enough to be a reasonable way to read random text on my Palm[Wiki](not that I've carried my Palm[Wiki] in ages).

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-29 23:25:28.32782+00 by: Shawn

Sorry, not just Palm[Wiki]. Baen doesn't have them online at all - only paper.

#Comment Yay, Wiz. made: 2004-05-01 02:06:54.547256+00 by: baylink

Being not overly fond of fantasy, I like the Wiz books because they have just enough rivets on them to make me happy. Rick is a longtime Byte writer, and a Unix geek, unsurprisingly. And he answers his mail. :-)

I'd recommend his Mall Purchase Night, too, if you like his style.