'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the internet
All mimsy were the routers,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky')
I am the designer and programmer of Federation 2, an economic themed multi-player game. Federation 2 is the longest continuously running multiplayer game on the internet. While no longer run as a commercial enterprise - text based games are no longer in vogue - the game fills a niche and maintains a large enough user base to be viable as a game. I still maintain and extend it in my copious (hah!) free time.
My web site contains pieces I've written, talks I've given, reviews of books I've read, and information about things I'm interested in. Like me, it's somewhat chaotic, but if you dig around a little you will, I hope, find some interesting material. Most of the stuff on the site is written for the non-specialist; if you find something that isn't very clear drop me a line and I'll try to clarify things. The address to write to is email@example.com and if you include the word 'fed2' in the subject line my spam filter will pass it by on the other side and not junk it!
I also produce a free weekly newsletter, called Winding Down, which features information, reviews, and analysis on computers, the Internet and society. It's available via an e-mail list, and you can get the subscription details here.
You can find more detailed information about me here.
The Basics of Cyber Warfare by Steve Winterfeld and Jason Andress, published by Synrgress
Cyber Warfare is one of the two really hot topics in the US Military-Industrial establishment (the other is drone aircraft, in case you are wondering), and this book is for those who wish to get in on the ground floor. With the reduction in budgets (actually, reductions in increases), all the armed forces are casting around for new justifications for larger shares of the pie, and all have set up their own 'cyber-commands'. This book is firmly rooted in that milieu.
Needless to say, you won't find a reasoned analysis of the subject, or even a justification for it, in this book. The section headed 'Cyber War - Hype or Reality' occupies less than one page in a 150 page tract. I'm sure I don't have to tell you what its conclusion was! What this book does do, and does very well, is to provide the senior management of companies wishing to become part of this highly lucrative business with the jargon and enough of a basic understanding to not make fools of themselves.
Along the way it provides the largest selection of military bureaucratic acronyms I've ever come across - in just one page it introduces the reader to TTPs, InfoSec, Net Centric Warfare, IA, CNO, CNE, CNA, CND (Computer Network Defense - not Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament!), and IO... And that's just the start. I read the book with a kind of warped fascination. This stuff would make a great basis for a game about cyber-warfare, but would provide little of use for most people in IT, or even IT security.
Oh, and one comment for the publisher, the days when it was acceptable to use bad photocopies of leaflets (in this case an old Verisign leaflet) as an aid to understanding are long since passed!
American Nations by Colin Woodard, published by Penguin
Colin Woodard has written an interesting book. His basic thesis is very straightforward: that it is possible to have nations that don't have their own states. Using this thesis, he explores the idea that in North American there are multiple nations spread across north Mexico, the USA, and Canada. Woodard traces the origins of these nations from their founding through the various key historical events, such as the American Revolution, the framing of the Constitution, and the Civil War.
Along the way he explains the culture of each nation and discusses how it relates to where the original settlers that constituted each nation came from. Later settlers sought out and settled in areas with a similar background and thus reinforced the original culture. An almost subterranean thread running through the book is an understanding that nations without states aspire, either overtly or instinctively, to become nation states. If there are indeed, as Woodard postulates (and one should note that he is not alone in advancing this idea) multiple stateless nations in North America, then some sort of a redrawing of boundaries is going to take place sooner or later.
Woodard admits as much in his epilogue, but is - correctly in my view - unwilling to speculate on how, when or where. If you accept his initial thesis, and I'm inclined to, then Woodard makes a very persuasive case for there being 11 stateless nations, each with its own ideology and culture, spread across the continent of North America.
Whether you agree with the idea or not, and many won't, I'm sure you will find in this well written book much food for thought. Recommended.