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Islands in the Clickstream: Reflections on Life in a Virtual World [Paperback]

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Item description for Islands in the Clickstream: Reflections on Life in a Virtual World by Richard Thieme...

Islands in the Clickstream is a series of thousand word essays exploring social and cultural dimensions of technology and the larger concerns of our lives. Their focus ranges beyond the impact of technology to spirituality, psychological insight, and social commentary. The author's credibility and work as a professional speaker immersed in technology who was also an Episcopal priest for sixteen years provides a perfect platform for supporting the book.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   360
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6.85" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   1.23 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 22, 2004
Publisher   Syngress
ISBN  1931836221  
ISBN13  9781931836227  

Availability  0 units.

More About Richard Thieme

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Digital Business & Culture > Culture
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > General
3Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Networking > Networks, Protocols & API's > Network Security

Reviews - What do customers think about Islands in the Clickstream: Reflections on Life in a Virtual World?

A Physical Compilation of Mind-Opening Virtual Content  Aug 10, 2006
I've had numerous oportunities to see Mr. Thieme speak, each being utter pleasure. Richard's command of the english language knows virtually no bounds. My professional life draws me to many hacker and security conferences throughout the year and I make it a priority to see Richard's talks when available.

Islands in the Clickstream is a bound compilation of Richard's ongoing articles and essays that he publishes on his web site. Each an exercise in viewing the world from a new angle, and accepting that things are not only not what they seem, but the exact opposite.

Instead of reading countless reviews on the contents of the books, see for your self by visiting Richard's web site and read a few articles and decide if this is something for you. Google should be able to point you in the right direction.

Although this book is a rehash of Richard's digital library on his web site, I still give it 5 stars for the quality of the content and the portability of the information in book format. It's one of my favorite travel companions.

If I were to craft a title for Richard Thieme, it would be "Master of Perception".
Challenge your wetware, change your life  Aug 11, 2005
I had an opportunity to obtain and read "Islands in the Clickstream" while at BlackHat 2005. I devoured the book in the airport and on the plane ride back to my home.

The thoughts and ideas that are conveyed in this book dissolved me to tears several times, both in the airport and on the plane, because those words mirrored exactly thoughts that have been bumping around in my own head for years and have sadly and strangely made me feel disconnected from my community. I now discover, through "Islands" I am not alone in these thoughts.

Richard's ability to create such strong imagery regarding technology and how it impacts the human tribe is remarkable. I admire him for his bravery in codifying his thoughts and sharing
them. "Islands in the Clickstream" will sit happily on the shelf next to those of two other amazing technical philosophists' - Buckminster Fuller and Doug Hoftstadter - and just like them, be taken down again and again to refresh, renew and rechallenge my thought processes.

This book could very well prove to be life-changing for the reader; it changed mine.
Food for thought: 1 article a day  Aug 9, 2005
I was pleased as I turned the last page. I read an article each day and I had almost 4 months of thought provoking entertainment. Beyond on that, I got a lot of new ideas to think about and many memorable quotes.
Short articles on technology philosophy  Nov 8, 2004
This is a collection of short articles that blend technology and philosophy. The writing is excellent and the insights are profound. There is little technical detail in the work. But that's not the point. This book is all about having a larger view of technology and it's place in our culture and how it is changing us.

If technology is a lifelong passion for you, then you will want to have a look at this. If the computer business is just a day job then you probably won't get anything out of this.
Amazing book--don't miss it!  Nov 4, 2004
It took me a long time to digest this book, which is jam-packed with quoteable insights, new perspectives on familiar ideas, and inspiring thoughts. Reading this collection of essays, which were written as periodic email columns over a span of seven years, felt like trying to eat a rich, dense dessert in one sitting. This is a book that should be savored slowly--by everyone who has any connection to technology. It's an amazing work.

I can't think of any book that's quite like Islands in the Clickstream--it doesn't fit into any established categories. Syngress Press, the publishers, describe themselves as providing "Career Advancement Through Skill Enhancement," and say it should be shelved in "Computers/General." But what this book actually contains is a collection of secular sermons. They fill the niche of an idealized homily--a short talk that reconnects its listeners to a larger context for their daily lives, inspires them to be better people, and makes them think about deeper issues than the everyday grind--but without any religious context, and addressing technology specifically. Thieme says "...these are the sense that sermons form and inform a community that chooses to gather to hear them." It's not too surprising, then, that Thieme tells us he was an Episcopalian priest for sixteen years.

These essays do have a few flaws I associate with a genre like sermons, ie basically ephemeral and not designed to be read en masse--sometimes there's a palpable stretch for the inevitable clever final sentence, and we get some repetition of favorite concepts and quotes like "sanity is contextual." There's also a hint of bombast, not exactly pretentiousness, but a weakness for over-stated metaphors and over-heated symbolism. Thieme's got a liberal hand with buzzwords: nexus, fractal, cyborg, panoptic, granular, convergence, paradigm, morphing, etc. I also think he's barking up the wrong tree in one or two essays where he talks about UFOs and remote sensing, but he's not credulous by any means.

These are minor quibbles. To give an idea of how much this book impressed me: I typically collect a quote or two from a book I read. A great book will yield four to six. I copied down about FIFTY quotes from Islands in the Clickstream--new ideas, brilliant encapsulations of thoughts that have vaguely crossed my mind, inspirational statements. Here's just a small sampling:

"The edge is the new center. The center of a web is wherever we are."

"When things are going well, accountability diminishes. Then when things don't go well, there's chaos." (written in 1997, with a prescient reference to the financial tech bubble)

"'Out of the box' thinking is just a name for climbing out of one box into a little bit bigger box."

"Good tools work regardless of why we say they work. Technical tools and spiritual tools alike."

"That's the problem with oracular truth: the opposite is nearly always just as true. Oracular truth is more like a mobius strip than a yes/no binary system."

If you're someone who's been involved with computers long enough that "hacker" doesn't sound like a dirty word, you'll feel like Thieme is speaking directly to you. If you ever wonder about the effect of technology on how we think and communicate, you'll find a lot of food for thought here. If you're professionally involved with the Internet in any way (as a techie or in business), you ought to read this book. If you're looking for inspiration to be a better person, without being expected to believe in a personal god, check this out.

I would love to hear Thieme speak. He seems like a truly amazing person. (...)

Review cross-posted from Blogcritics and my book blog.

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