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Computers

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  1. 9.6 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    You are a four-dimensional human. Each of us exists in three-dimensional physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection. Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives? Laurence Scott―hailed as a “New Generation Thinker” by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC―shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

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    The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott

    The Four-Dimensional Human

    9.6 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 4.6 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    Why did the New York Stock Exchange suspend trading without warning on July 8, 2015? Why did certain Toyota vehicles accelerate uncontrollably against the will of their drivers? Why does the programming inside our airplanes occasionally surprise its creators? After a thorough analysis by the top experts, the answers still elude us. You don’t understand the software running your car or your iPhone. But here’s a secret: neither do the geniuses at Apple or the Ph.D.‘s at Toyota-not perfectly, anyway. No one, not lawyers, doctors, accountants, or policy makers, fully grasps the rules governing your tax return, your retirement account, or your hospital’s medical machinery. The same technological advances that have simplified our lives have made the systems governing our lives incomprehensible, unpredictable, and overcomplicated. In Overcomplicated, complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman offers a fresh, insightful field guide to living with complex technologies that defy human comprehension. As technology grows more complex, Arbesman argues, its behavior mimics the vagaries of the natural world more than it conforms to a mathematical model. If we are to survive and thrive in this new age, we must abandon our need for governing principles and rules and accept the chaos. By embracing and observing the freak accidents and flukes that disrupt our lives, we can gain valuable clues about how our algorithms really work. What’s more, we will become better thinkers, scientists, and innovators as a result. Lucid and energizing, this audiobook is a vital new analysis of the world heralded as “modern” for anyone who wants to live wisely.

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    Overcomplicated

    4.6 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 8.9 hrs • 5/19/2016 • Unabridged

    Two companies. Two opposing cultures. One multi-billion-dollar video-game empire. Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire - Book 1 invites readers to discover the origin of Blizzard North, a studio built by gamers, for gamers, and Blizzard Entertainment, a convergence of designers driven to rule their industry. Composed from exhaustive research and hundreds of personal interviews, the Stay Awhile and Listen series divulges the fated meeting that brought the two Blizzards together, the clashes that tore them apart, and their transformation from grassroots democracy to corporate empire. At the center of it all—Diablo, a hack-and-slash adventure through the darkest recesses of Hell that changed online gaming forever.

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  4. 9.1 hrs • 5/17/2016 • Unabridged

    Computers have changed since 1981, when Tracy Kidder memorably recorded the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company’s efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. The Soul of a New Machine is an essential chapter in the history of the machine that revolutionized the world in the twentieth century.

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    The Soul of a New Machine

    9.1 hrs • 5/17/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 5.3 hrs • 5/1/2016 • Unabridged

    Most of the information available on cloud computing is either highly technical, with details that are irrelevant to non-technologists, or pure marketing hype, in which the cloud is simply a selling point. This audiobook, however, explains the cloud from the user's viewpoint -- the business user's in particular. Nayan Ruparelia explains what the cloud is, when to use it (and when not to), how to select a cloud service, how to integrate it with other technologies, and what the best practices are for using cloud computing. Cutting through the hype, Ruparelia cites the simple and basic definition of cloud computing from the National Institute of Science and Technology: a model enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources. Thus with cloud computing, businesses can harness information technology resources usually available only to large enterprises. And this, Ruparelia demonstrates, represents a paradigm shift for business. It will ease funding for startups, alter business plans, and allow big businesses greater agility. Ruparelia discusses the key issues for any organization considering cloud computing: service level agreements, business service delivery and consumption, finance, legal jurisdiction, security, and social responsibility. He introduces novel concepts made possible by cloud computing: cloud cells, or specialist clouds for specific uses; the personal cloud; the cloud of things; and cloud service exchanges. He examines use case patterns in terms of infrastructure and platform, software information, and business process; and he explains how to transition to a cloud service. Current and future users will find this book an indispensable guide to the cloud.

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    Cloud Computing by Nayan B. Ruparella

    Cloud Computing

    5.3 hrs • 5/1/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 11.8 hrs • 4/19/2016 • Unabridged

    A fascinating exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind. All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they’ve found have much to teach us. In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one’s inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

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    Algorithms to Live By

    11.8 hrs • 4/19/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 1 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5 (1)
    13.8 hrs • 3/15/2016 • Unabridged

    A timely and important book that explores the societal and ethical implications of artificial intelligence as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution George Zarkadakis explores one of humankind’s oldest love-hate relationships: our ties with artificial intelligence, or AI. He traces AI’s origins in ancient myth, through literary classics like Frankenstein to today’s science fiction blockbusters, arguing that a fascination with AI is hardwired into the human psyche. He explains AI’s history, technology, and potential; its manifestations in intelligent machines; its connections to neurology and consciousness, as well as—perhaps most tellingly—what AI reveals about us as human beings. In Our Own Image argues that we are on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution—poised to enter the age of artificial intelligence as science fiction becomes science fact. Ultimately, Zarkadakis observes, the fate of AI has profound implications for the future of science and humanity itself.

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    In Our Own Image by George Zarkadakis

    In Our Own Image

    13.8 hrs • 3/15/16 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5 (1)
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.0 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    As cyber-attacks dominate front-page news, as hackers join the list of global threats, and as top generals warn of a coming cyber war, few books are more timely and enlightening than Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Slate columnist and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Fred Kaplan. Kaplan probes the inner corridors of the National Security Agency, the beyond-top-secret cyber units in the Pentagon, the “information warfare” squads of the military services, and the national security debates in the White House to tell this never-before-told story of the officers, policymakers, scientists, and spies who devised this new form of warfare and who have been planning—and, more often than people know, fighting—these wars for decades. From the 1991 Gulf War to conflicts in Haiti, Serbia, Syria, the former Soviet republics, Iraq, and Iran, where cyber warfare played a significant role, Dark Territory chronicles, in fascinating detail, an unknown past that shines an unsettling light on our future.

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    Dark Territory by Fred Kaplan

    Dark Territory

    9.0 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  9. 18.1 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    Microsoft commands the high ground of the information superhighway by owning the operating systems and basic applications programs that run on hundreds of millions of computers around the world. Beyond the unquestioned genius and vision of Bill Gates, what accounts for Microsoft’s astounding success? Drawing on almost two years of on-site observation at Microsoft headquarters, eminent scientists Michael A. Cusumano and Richard W. Selby reveal many of Microsoft’s innermost secrets. This inside report, based on forty in-depth interviews by authors who had access to confidential documents and project data, outlines the seven complementary strategies that characterize exactly how Microsoft competes and operates, including the “Brain Trust” of talented employees and exceptional management; “bang for the buck” competitive strategies and clear organizational goals that produce self-critiquing, learning, and improving; a flexible, incremental approach to product development; and a relentless pursuit of future markets. Cusumano and Selby’s masterful analysis successfully uncovers the distinctive way in which Microsoft has combined all of the elements necessary to get to the top of an enormously important industry—and stay there.

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    Microsoft Secrets by Michael A. Cusumano, Richard W. Selby

    Microsoft Secrets

    18.1 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  10. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    4.3 hrs • 12/1/2015 • Unabridged

    With Obfuscation, Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum mean to start a revolution. They are calling us not to the barricades but to our computers, offering us ways to fight today’s pervasive digital surveillance—the collection of our data by governments, corporations, advertisers, and hackers. To the toolkit of privacy protecting techniques and projects, they propose adding obfuscation: the deliberate use of ambiguous, confusing, or misleading information to interfere with surveillance and data collection projects. Brunton and Nissenbaum provide tools and a rationale for evasion, noncompliance, refusal, even sabotage—especially for average users, those of us not in a position to opt out or exert control over data about ourselves. Obfuscation will teach users to push back, software developers to keep their user data safe, and policy makers to gather data without misusing it. Brunton and Nissenbaum present a guide to the forms and formats that obfuscation has taken and explain how to craft its implementation to suit the goal and the adversary. They describe a series of historical and contemporary examples, including radar chaff deployed by World War II pilots, Twitter bots that hobbled the social media strategy of popular protest movements, and software that can camouflage users’ search queries and stymie online advertising. They go on to consider obfuscation in more general terms, discussing why obfuscation is necessary, whether it is justified, how it works, and how it can be integrated with other privacy practices and technologies.

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    Obfuscation by Finn Brunton, Helen Nissenbaum

    Obfuscation

    4.3 hrs • 12/1/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 3.9 hrs • 11/1/2015 • Unabridged

    The history of computing could be told as the story of hardware and software, or the story of the Internet, or the story of “smart” hand-held devices, with subplots involving IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. In this concise and accessible account of the invention and development of digital technology, computer historian Paul Ceruzzi offers a broader and more useful perspective. He identifies four major threads that run throughout all of computing’s technological development: digitization—the coding of information, computation, and control in binary form, ones and zeros; the convergence of multiple streams of techniques, devices, and machines, yielding more than the sum of their parts; the steady advance of electronic technology, as characterized famously by Moore’s Law; and the human-machine interface. Ceruzzi guides us through computing history, telling how a Bell Labs mathematician coined the word digital in 1942 (to describe a high-speed method of calculating used in anti-aircraft devices), and recounting the development of the punch card (for use in the 1890 US Census). He describes the ENIAC, built for scientific and military applications; the UNIVAC, the first general purpose computer; and ARPANET, the Internet’s precursor. Ceruzzi’s account traces the world-changing evolution of the computer from a room-size ensemble of machinery to a “minicomputer” to a desktop computer to a pocket-sized smart phone. He describes the development of the silicon chip, which could store ever-increasing amounts of data and enabled ever-decreasing device size. He visits that hotbed of innovation, Silicon Valley, and brings the story up to the present with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social networking.

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    Computing by Paul E. Ceruzzi
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  12. 5.1 hrs • 11/1/2015 • Unabridged

    When “metadata” became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured that the NSA was “only” collecting metadata about phone calls—information about the caller, the recipient, the time, the duration, the location—and not recordings of the conversations themselves? Or does phone call metadata reveal more than it seems? In this book, Jeffrey Pomerantz offers an accessible and concise introduction to metadata. In the era of ubiquitous computing, metadata has become infrastructural, like the electrical grid or the highway system. We interact with it or generate it every day. It is not, Pomerantz tell us, just “data about data.” It is a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form. For example, the title, the author, and the cover art are metadata about a book. When metadata does its job well, it fades into the background; everyone (except perhaps the NSA) takes it for granted. Pomerantz explains what metadata is, and why it exists. He distinguishes among different types of metadata—descriptive, administrative, structural, preservation, and use—and examines different users and uses of each type. He discusses the technologies that make modern metadata possible, and he speculates about metadata’s future. By the end of the book, listeners will see metadata everywhere. Because, Pomerantz warns us, it’s metadata’s world, and we are just living in it.

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    Metadata

    5.1 hrs • 11/1/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 20.4 hrs • 10/26/2015 • Unabridged

    Levy profiles the imaginative brainiacs who found clever and unorthodox solutions to computer engineering problems. They had a shared sense of values, known as “the hacker ethic,” that still thrives today. Hackers captures a seminal period in recent history when underground activities blazed a trail for today’s digital world, from MIT students finagling access to clunky computer-card machines to the DIY culture that spawned the Altair and the Apple II.

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    Hackers

    20.4 hrs • 10/26/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 8.6 hrs • 10/20/2015 • Unabridged

    The gripping and revelatory story of the dramatic race to merge the human brain with machines. Leading neuroscience researchers are racing to unlock the secrets of the mind. On the cusp of decoding brain signals that govern motor skills, they are developing miraculous technologies to enable paraplegics and wounded soldiers to move prosthetic limbs, and the rest of us to manipulate computers and other objects through thought alone. These fiercely competitive scientists are vying for Defense Department and venture capital funding, prestige, and great wealth. Part life-altering cure, part science fiction, part military dream, these cutting-edge brain-computer interfaces promise to improve lives—but also hold the potential to augment soldiers’ combat capabilities. In The Brain Electric, Malcolm Gay follows the dramatic emergence of these technologies, taking us behind the scenes into the operating rooms, start-ups, and research labs where the future is unfolding. With access to many of the field’s top scientists, Gay illuminates this extraordinary race—where science, medicine, profit, and war converge—for the first time. But this isn’t just a story about technology. At the heart of this research is a group of brave, vulnerable patient-volunteers whose lives are given new meaning through participating in these experiments. The Brain Electric asks us to rethink our relationship to technology, our bodies, even consciousness itself—challenging our assumptions about what it means to be human.

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    The Brain Electric

    8.6 hrs • 10/20/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 10.7 hrs • 10/19/2015 • Unabridged

    The utterly gripping story of the most outrageous case of cyber piracy prosecuted by the US Department of Justice A former US Navy intelligence officer, David Locke Hall was a federal prosecutor when a bizarre-sounding website, CRACK99, came to his attention. It looked like Craigslist on acid, but what it sold was anything but amateurish: thousands of high-tech software products used largely by the military, and for mere pennies on the dollar. Want to purchase satellite tracking software? No problem. Aerospace and aviation simulations? No problem. Communications systems designs? No problem. Software for Marine One, the presidential helicopter? No problem. With delivery times and customer service to rival the world’s most successful online retailers, anybody, anywhere―including rogue regimes, terrorists, and countries forbidden from doing business with the United States―had access to these goods for any purpose whatsoever. But who was behind CRACK99, and where were they? The Justice Department discouraged potentially costly, risky cases like this, preferring the low-hanging fruit that scored points from politicians and the public. But Hall and his colleagues were determined to find the culprit. They bought CRACK99’s products for delivery in the United States, buying more and more to appeal to the budding entrepreneur in the man they identified as Xiang Li. After winning his confidence, they lured him to Saipan―a US commonwealth territory where Hall’s own father had stormed the beaches with the marines during World War II. There they set up an audacious sting that culminated in Xiang Li’s capture and imprisonment. The value of the goods offered by CRACK99? A cool $100 million. An eye-opening look at cybercrime and its chilling consequences for national security, CRACK99 reads like a caper that resonates with every amazing detail.

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    CRACK99 by David Locke Hall

    CRACK99

    10.7 hrs • 10/19/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 15.0 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    As the world becomes ever more dominated by technology, John Brockman’s latest addition to the acclaimed and bestselling Edge Question series asks more than 175 leading scientists, philosophers, and artists: What do you think about machines that think? The development of artificial intelligence has been a source of fascination and anxiety ever since Alan Turing formalized the concept in 1950. Today, Stephen Hawking believes that AI “could spell the end of the human race.” At the very least, its development raises complicated moral issues with powerful real-world implications—for us and for our machines. In this volume, recording artist Brian Eno proposes that we’re already part of an AI: global civilization, or what TED curator Chris Anderson elsewhere calls the hive mind. And author Pamela McCorduck considers what drives us to pursue AI in the first place. On the existential threat posed by superintelligent machines, Steven Pinker questions the likelihood of a robot uprising. Douglas Coupland traces discomfort with human-programmed AI to deeper fears about what constitutes “humanness.” Martin Rees predicts the end of organic thinking, while Daniel C. Dennett explains why he believes the Singularity might be an urban legend. Provocative, enriching, and accessible, What to Think about Machines That Think may just be a practical guide to the not-so-distant future.

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    What to Think about Machines That Think

    Edited by John Brockman
    15.0 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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