DavePress bookshop

I’ve always wanted to own a bookshop. Somewhere nice and quiet, with tables to sit down and read, some sort of tea and coffee arrangement and plenty of books to browse and buy.

I’m obviously not ever going to have one – after all, if Borders can’t cope, then how could I? But I can have a virtual arrangement, thanks to Amazon’s astore service.

You can find it here. I’m still stocking the shelves, but you should find some good stuff in there. In fact, they are all books I have read and liked, so you can blame me if they’re crap.

Disclosure – I get a few pence every time you use the bookshop. I’m not going to get rich out of it, though!

Leaving the Asylum

I read this post with some sadness, as John is giving his blog a break. He writes book reviews, great pieces about proper books. He says it’s going to be temporary, I hope it will be.

John’s blog is an example of why handing the process of publishing into the hands of everyone is a good idea. Amongst the egos, the idiots and the talentless are the gems like John, who make sifting through all the shit worthwhile.

Without the internet, and without the development of the technology that democratises the power to publish, I would never have bought the books he recommended and my life would have been less rich as a result.

Just another reason why this stuff matters.


My Kindle arrived today.

I can haz Kindle

For those that don’t know, it’s Amazon’s own e-reader, a portable device that can hold around 1,500 books in its memory which can be read by turning pages using the buttons.

Even though I knew the screen was 6 inches, it still seemed smaller than I was expecting. The device is also a lot thinner than I thought it would be:


The screen is really weird, it’s like nothing you’ve looked at before – other than the page of a book. Very odd.

Another interesting thing is the wireless – the Kindle uses the cell network, the cost of which is covered by Amazon and is presumably a part of the cost of the device.

Anyway, I can buy and download books from Amazon.com – not from the UK store yet (which may mean spelling issues…), or add books or documents from my computer. This can be done either by plugging the Kindle into my computer with the supplied USB cable (also my only way of charging it, since the plug supplied is US only too), or by sending a file by email to a special address, which is pretty neat.

You can also use the keyboard to add annotations to documents or books, so this could be really useful for students.

As well as established e-readers like the Sony Reader, the Kindle also has competition from Barnes and Nobles’ new Nook. Crunchgear has a useful comparison chart.

Tech books

A year or so ago, I wrote about my dead tree web 2.0 reading list, which was all about what books were being published about the interactive web. I’ve bought most of those on the list, plus a bunch of others that folk suggested.

There are other books one can buy about this stuff though, which don’t just talk about the issues and culture of the web, but which actually tell you how to do things.

I don’t tend to buy too many of these, as a lot of the help one needs one can get from the web itself, but I got a couple through the post from Amazon the other day.

Using Drupal is a really good entry level guide to what is a fiendishly complicated, but amazingly powerful CMS. It’s genuinely readable and am really pleased I got it.

Ning for Dummies is a guide to using and setting up your own networks on Ning. As someone who Ninging is entirely based on playing with stuff, it’s great to have a resource to pick up and find out what some of those options I dare not touch do. Again, recommended reading.

One book I have had for a while, which I have to mention here, though, is WordPress for Dummies:

Which isn’t for Dummies at all, in fact it’s for very sensible people. It takes you right the way from setting up a WordPress.com blog to writing your own themes and plugins – awesome stuff.

What techie books do you swear by?

Happy birthday to me

It’s my birthday today, I am now in my 30th year. 29 years old! Hopefully this won’t mean lots of pontificating over the next 12 months about what I have achieved, and what I am going to do with myself in the future.

Anyway, I had some lovely gifts, including a top selection of dead tree web 2.0 reading material:

The Future of the Internet Everything is Miscellaneous Groundswell
The Future of the Internet
Johnathan Zittrain
Everything is Miscellaneous
David Weinberger
Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

Plenty to get my teeth into there.

I also got lots of lovely birthday well-wishes via Twitter and Facebook – so thanks to everyone for that. Best of all though was this from Paul Caplan via Flickr:

Birthday greeting from Paul

Dead tree web 2.0 reading list

There are a number of books out there which are covering a lot of the stuff I am interested in with regard to the web and collaboration. It might be worth coming up with a reading list – how about a challenge to read them all by the end of the year?!

These aren’t necessarily all web 2.0 specific books: some cover background and the history of the technology too.

1. Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky

2. We-think: The Power of Mass Creativity – Charles Leadbeater

3. A Brief History of the Future: Origins of the Internet – John Naughton

4. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything – Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

5. Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder – David Weinberger

6. The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual – Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, and Doc Searls

7. The Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand – Chris Anderson

8. Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can’t Get a Date – Robert X Cringely

9. Naked Conversations : How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers – Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

10. The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture and Assaulting Our Economy – Andrew Keen

Are there any classics that I have managed to miss? Or are some of my picks utter dross that shouldn’t be touched with a bargepole?

Disclosure: the links to Amazon are associate links, which provide a bit of money towards Palimpsest, the arts and politics discussion forum I run.


Am currently reading Pat Barker’s Regeneration, all about Siegdried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and other fictional soldiers recovering at Craiglockhart War Hospital during WW1. I must admit to, shamefully, not knowing an awful lot about the ‘great’ war before reading Oxford University Press’ World War One: A Very Short Introduction. It so interested me that I immediately spent a Christmas book token on David Stevenson’s 1914-1918, which looks a beast of a read.

Here are some of the links I have been looking at, hunting down background information: