The Hawking Fallacy

It's amazing how dated the story has become. Set around 1987 when I was at school, Clifford Stoll talks about how he single handedly tracked down a hacker in 'The Cuckoo's Egg'. The internet seemed like a new thing and there wasn't a WWW.

Stoll paints himself as a long-haired leftish alternative type, wearing an old pair of sneakers (his only pair of shoes) and a beat-up jacket. He's obviously a bit of a know-all. I've met plenty of people like this. What really annoys me is when they talk about recipies for food.

Anyway, the book is very readable. I felt that it was as much about his lifestyle as the chase. Hunting down the hacker was good too, both aspects of the book complement each other. Stoll doesn't have a car, he cycles everywhere. So do I! It doesn't make me a computer genius, that would be to fall for the Hawking fallacy (not everyone with motor neurone disease is a brilliant theoretical physicist).

Note: My friend Bill lent me this book (note to Bill: pick it up on Tuesday if you're coming round). He warned me not to look up the accompanying video clips on U-Tube, they'll destroy your illusions apparently!

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