Why I Fast

I’m not a doctor, and you shouldn’t consider me an authority on any health issue, but this is what I’m reading now... It’s a new book from Canadian nephrologist (kidney doctor) Jason Fung, M.D. Much of what is in this book is also available on his YouTube channel. Everything in here makes total sense to …

Younger Next Year

A big thanks to Larry Barnard via Frederick Van Johnson for the recommendation of Younger Next Year. (Audible abridged version here.)The book is aimed at men in the "next third" of life (aka the last third, or 50+)  who, like me, are looking retirement, and the inevitable slide into senility and death, square in the eye. I …

Don’t Buy My Book

I love this time of year. The leaves are starting to change into their fall motley, there's a chill in the air, and the smell of wood smoke lingers like childhood memories. It's also the time when Leo Laporte's Technology Almanac typically tumbles from the presses to land with a thud on your bookstore shelves. …

The Tivo Guide is Out

I've just received my author's copies of Leo Laporte's Guide to TiVo and I must humbly say it's the best Tivo book ever. All credit to Gareth Branwyn who knocked himself out writing it, Rick Kughen, my editor at Que who polished it to a gleaming shine, and the guys at Weaknees.com who gave us outstanding support all along the way. Life of Leo image

This is the book that should come with every Tivo sold.

Focus Groups Never Lie

I've been re-reading George Gilder's fascinating Telecosm and I came across this telling anecdote about focus groups. In 1980 when Bob Metcalfe, inventer of Ethernet, came to pitch the industrial megacorporation General Electric on behalf of his fledgling company 3COM, GE executives explained that they had done considerable research on the new personal computer and networking industries. In focus groups composed of GE customers held all over the country, executives were told over and over that there was no consumer interest in personal computers. PCs, the focus groups said, only were of interest to businesses. And the same could be said for networking.

The GE execs came to the conclusion that there was no home PC market, and never would be. They decided to stick with refrigerators, nuclear reactors, and light bulbs, and to this day the company has never touched in personal computing or networking thereby missing the fastest growing businesses in the past 20 years.

Quicksilver

An Atlanta fanPatrick and I are having a blast, as usual, meeting fans at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta. We stayed four hours signing autographs with Michaela Pereira. I'm told we met 273 people. We usually get to more but we took our time today. We'll have to work a little faster tomorrow; we both have planes to catch so we'll be leaving at 3p sharp. Come early - they'll probably cut off the line by 2pm. I needed a little escapism after watching the Giants season end so suddenly this afternoon. Fortunately, Patrick and I had picked up copies of Neal Stephenson's newest book, Quicksilver, at the airport bookstore. We were both big fans of Snow Crash and Stephenson's last, Cryptonomicon, and couldn't wait to get our hands on this one.

It's very good, but very different from Neal's previous works. It's definitely not sci-fi. So far it takes place in the time span between 1655 and 1713 and deals with the birth of modern science. We meet Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton as children and see the earliest days of the "Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts," already home to investigations of computing machinery and far in advance of its neighbor, Harvard College, whose dons are still stuck in the scholasticism of the Dark Ages. We also meet the author of the original Cryptonomicon. But that's only in the first hundred or so pages. I've still got 800 pages to go, and it's just the first book in the three-volume "Baroque Cycle," so who knows where we'll end up. So far it's a great read, though, and best of all... there wasn't any baseball in the 18th century.

Here Comes the Alamanac

I just received word from Peachpit that the rebound 2004 Almanac will be released on Wednesday, October 1st. The Amazon listing should return today and they should be shipping by next Monday. Phew!

Ping-Pong, Pathos, and Passing the Bar

My buddy Alex Wellen's book, function popUp(URL,NAME) {amznwin=window.open(URL,NAME,'location=yes,scrollbars=yes,status=yes,toolbar=yes,resizable=yes,width=380,height=450,screenX=10,screenY=10,top=10,left=10');amznwin.focus();}document.open();document.write("Barman");document.close();, is out, and it's a peach. Sexy, funny, and a great read.Barman, the book Alex will be doing a reading at Cody's on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, 7:30 tonight. I'm going to have to miss that one, but Megan and I plan to attend his reading Wednesday at 7:00p at Book Passage in Corte Madera. See you there?

Focus Groups Never Lie

I've been re-reading George Gilder's brilliant Telecosm... function popUp(URL,NAME) { amznwin=window.open(URL,NAME,'location=yes,scrollbars=yes,status=yes,toolbar=yes,resizable=yes,width=380,height=450,screenX=10,screenY=10,top=10,left=10'); amznwin.focus();} document.open(); document.write("George Gilder's Telecosm"); document.close();

...and I came across this telling anecdote about focus groups.

In 1980 when Bob Metcalfe, inventer of ethernet, came to the industrial megacorporation General Electric on behalf of his fledgling company 3COM, the GE executives explained that they had done considerable research on the new personal computer and networking industries. In focus groups composed of GE customers held all over the country, executives were told over and over that there was no consumer interest in personal computers. PCs, the focus groups said, only were of interest to businesses. And the same could be said for networking. The was no home PC market, and never would be.

General Electric decided to stick with refrigerators, nuclear reactors, and light bulbs, and to this day has never dabbled in personal computing or networking.

Second Printing

In one week my book will go into its second printing. That's a good thing; it means we've sold out the first printing of 50,000 copies. It also means I can correct any typos or errors in the first edition. Laura and I have been going through it, and we've found some errors. If you've found any yourself, please let me know. Send me an email or add a comment to this blog entry. No error is too small to ignore - I want to make the second edition perfect!

I'll send a Leoville mug and t-shirt to the person who finds the most errors.

Thanks for your help!