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Tech Book 1

Tech Book 1 – Published articles Oct 2006 – June 2008

Note, the book is currently unavailable. If you want a copy, send me a note and I’ll get back to you when the new edition is printed and ready. (22/10/2009)

ISBN 978-0-9560813-1-5
£4.49 inc UK delivery – £6.50 (about $10 USD) inc worldwide delivery. When ordering do not forget to include your street address. At this time I can only accept Paypal payments. Also available as a free e-book, scroll down for download link.

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Tech Book 1 in its natural habitatTech Book 1 is a compilation of 15 previously published articles. The theme is technology with an emphasis on retro computing, speculative technology, open source software, GNU/Linux and gender politics in technology. The articles were published on OS News, and Free Software Magazine, amongst other places. Most of the articles can be accessed in their original form by following the links in the left-hand menu of this site. This is a chance to own a hard copy of updated versions of those articles in addition to some retrospective comments by the author.

I’d estimate that, taking into account expanded article sections, retrospective comments and previously unreleased material, the book probably contains about 20% new material.


In order to keep costs down, I have used a slightly unusual format for the book of 10.2″x6.62″, 166 pages. This is actually a comic book format and this made it possible for me to offer it at a low price while still ordering very small runs at a time. Despite the unusually large size, the binding and paper are of a professional quality.

Free e-book

As an experiment, I’m making the book available as a free e-book in PDF format. I’ve made the PDF version of the book smaller (9″x6″) and employed generous margins to improve screen readability.

If the e-book encourages you to buy a hard copy of the book, please let me know. If the e-book encourages people to take an interest in my work, I’ll consider doing the same for future projects.

Tech Book 1: Published articles Oct 2006 – June 2008 (e-book edition)

Here is an archive of the source LyX files required to build the project. The archive also includes a TeX version of the source.


I enjoy getting back comments on my work. Feel free to drop me a line via email (see contact page at top of site)


“Nice article, gives a good overview.”

“I enjoyed the article and have bookmarked it for passing on to others. ”

“That was a fun read […] thank you.”

“The folks at the top need to not only take a hard, objective look at this article, they need to pay particular attention to the comments”

“Entertaining and informative, and thanks for taking the trouble.”

“I hope that the Linux developers are reading this.”

(Note: The article links are to the old versions of each article. To see the updated version download the free e book)
I General Tech

1 The return of the home computer? (2007)

Retrocomputing and speculation. The 8 bit home computer had a great deal to offer the prehistoric humans of 1985. Having identified the laudable elements of this class of machine, I’m going to make some suggestions towards a modern equivalent of the classic home computer.

2 The iPhone: I don’t really want one (2007)

When computer company Apple announced that they were planning to make a phone, most pundits felt sure that Apple would produce something a bit different from the crowd.

3 The Ndiyo ultra-thin client (2007)

A look at the theory behind thin clients with particular focus on a new British device.

4 Building a home theatre PC on the cheap (bonus article)

In this article, I outline a plan to build a HTPC using free software and the components from an existing computer. To keep things affordable, I impose a £100 budget. This article was previously unpublished.

II Operating systems

5 Moving my mother onto Linux (2008)

An account of my project to move my mother from Windows to Ubuntu Linux.

6 I’m glad that IBM declined to release the OS/2 source (2008)

Responding to requests from an online community that had previously collected 11,600 signatures in support of its cause, IBM confirmed that they would not be releasing the source code of their OS/2 operating system.

7 Ten sticking points that Canonical need to unstick (2008)

Having spent some time scouring Canonical’s own forums, I have identified 5 ten points that seem to be common sticking points that turn potential new users off Ubuntu.

8 A look at OS re-creation projects (2006)

In this article I’m going to explore some of the issues surrounding operating system clone projects. In the second half of the article I focus on some attempts to recreate the Amiga operating system

9 What It Would Take For Me To Consider RISC OS Again (2006)

I’m a former user of the RISC OS operating system. I don’t use it now and that is the focus of this essay: Why did I stop using it and what would it take to make me use it again?

10 My Dream Operating System (2006)

This is a summary of the features that I would like to see in my dream FOSS based Operating System. Perhaps every time-served OS-geek has a fanciful project like this in their head?

III Software

11 DOSBox:An overview (2008)

I take an in-depth look at DOSBox, a games orientated PC emulator.

12 LYX – The multi-platform document editor (2007)

Occupying a position somewhere between a word processor and a mark up editor, LyX is designed to meet the needs of professional and academic writers by allowing them to focus on their content rather than on formatting and layout.

IV Gender politics

13 Defining equality (2007)

What do I mean when I say that men are women are equal? What do I mean by equal?

14 A look at two gender tech articles (2007)

A look at some contemporary gender politics issues in FOSS software development, with an analysis of two topical articles.

V Humour

15 Disadvantaged young offenders given computer crime tips (2008)

Police in Cambridgeshire are backing a new scheme that they hope will teach young offenders the value of information technology. The project, called Computers In Your Future, is the brainchild of social worker Susan Grolies.


The book was entirely created using free and open source software. I used the following packages:

  • LyX/LaTeX
  • Inkscape
  • Gnuemeric
  • GIMP
  • Freemind
  • Kdissert

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