Welcome to Green Comet

Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequel Parasite Puppeteers, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 9 Comments

The Lafayette Campaign


Review – The Lafayette Campaign – Andrew Updegrove

Available at Amazon in both digital and paper form. Link through the author’s site.

Author’s website.


You might remember Andrew Updegrove from the post What is Open Source Pharma. His law firm works in that area, among others. Andrew also has a blog where he’s exploring “the evolving self-publishing labyrinth.” Part of his exploration is experimentation, where he tries various things and reports on the results. To give himself material to experiment with, he writes books. Today’s review is on one of those books.

The Lafayette Campaign is a thriller, the second in a series about Frank Adversego, a tech prodigy who uses his skills to stop nefarious plots. The first book is called The Alexandria Project. From the description of The Lafayette Campaign:

America is rushing headlong into another election year, but something is wrong – the polls don’t match reality. It’s up to cybersecurity super sleuth Frank Adversego to find the Black Hats who are trying to hack the presidential election, and stop them before they do.

Frank Adversego is a grumpy middle-aged man. When we meet him, he’s on the road looking for some isolated wilderness where he can get some writing done. His quest for freedom from people and their annoying demands is frustrated, first by an attractive French woman with a broken bicycle wheel, then by government agents in a helicopter. He wants to tell them to get lost. He’s done being a hero. But they know his weakness. He can never resist the urge to solve an interesting problem. In this case, someone is spoofing poll results, which is threatening to have the wrong person nominated to run for President. And there’s nothing to suggest that they won’t so the same for the election.

Updegrove has written a thriller, but that doesn’t stop him from presenting it with a cheeky sense of humor. His protagonist’s disdain for the antics of politicians and those who report on them is demonstrated with vivid clarity. In fact, Frank is an intellectual with an obvious contempt for fools. Even sports aren’t safe, as shown in his opinion of hockey.

The book is written from the omniscient point of view, so we learn all the characters’ motives first-hand. That can be tricky, but Updegrove manages to pull it off. I found some examples of dialog that felt forced, as if he wedged in too much to be sure he told it all. And I found some of the descriptive passages to be too wordy, as if he was indulging a love affair with words. The book would benefit from some ruthless trimming.

These cavils aside, I can still recommend Andrew Updegrove’s The Lafayette Campaign. As it says in the description:

The Lafayette Campaign provides a satirical take on American politics and our infatuation with technology that will make readers pause and wonder: could this really happen?

All this and some lessons in computer security too.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty – The New Yorker

With the recent revelations about the misuse of closed software, this celebration of Free Software is timely and welcome. The linked New Yorker article focuses on Richard Stallman, an idealist who has lived by his principles in the face of vicious opposition and ridicule. It would have been much easier, and more profitable, to abandon them, as demonstrated by those who continue to denigrate him. Free Software survives and thrives today largely because of his perseverance, and that of thousands of people inspired by his example.

The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty

Stallman was uneasy over the increasing encroachment of proprietary software. He’d seen evidence of it in his own lab, when he found himself unable to adapt a new Xerox printer with a program he’d created to alert users to paper jams, and he believed that he had an obligation to protect and nurture the hacker ethos he’d experienced at M.I.T., which valued intellectual curiosity, esprit de corps, and fun over profit. In late 1983, he posted to two newsgroup discussion forums an idea to create an alternative to Unix. “If I get donations of money, I may be able to hire a few people full or part time,” he wrote. “The salary won’t be high, but I’m looking for people for whom knowing they are helping humanity is as important as money.”

Stallman expanded and formalized his ideas in the GNU Manifesto, which he published in the March, 1985, issue of Dr. Dobb’s Journal of Software Tools, thirty years ago this month. “So that I can continue to use computers without dishonor,” he wrote, “I have decided to put together a sufficient body of free software so that I will be able to get along without any software that is not free. I have resigned from the AI Lab to deny MIT any legal excuse to prevent me from giving GNU away.” The nearly forty-five-hundred-word text called for collaborators to help build a freely shareable Unix-like operating system, and set forth an innovative method to insure its legal protection.

Source: Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty – The New Yorker

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Stallman’s GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty – The New Yorker