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doctorcongo (London, UK)

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The God Delusion
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover

162 of 208 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, polemical piece of writing, 10 Oct 2006
This review is from: The God Delusion (Hardcover)
I hadn't planned to read this book, at least for a while, because I don't need further convincing about the manifest absurdities and tyrannies of religion (to me, religious people themselves have made that abundantly clear through their own actions within the last three decades, let alone the last two thousand years or so). However, I chanced upon a copy at a relative's house and I couldn't stop reading it, eventually reading the whole thing.

Dawkins has a fantastic writing style, punchy, precise, witty and impassioned. Well-researched too. Indeed I'm now daunted by the number of references and web links that I'm tempted to follow up after reading this book. If the text has a weak point at all, it's in the middle of the book, where Dawkins labours perhaps a little too long on his pet subject of memes. He risks losing some readers here, which would be a shame because the final chapters, dealing with morality, fundamentalism, and the indoctrination of children, are the best in the book. Importantly Dawkins broaches the (ever so delicate) subject of how so-called "moderates" are the unwitting progenitors and nurturers of fundamentalism. This is an area where many commentators, politicians and religious 'leaders' fear to tread, but tread they must if the cycle of extreme violence is ever going to wind down.

This book is a classic, and I hope the high sales figures on Amazon imply that some policy-makers are reading it too.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 18, 2009 6:53 PM GMT

McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 (PC)
McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006 (PC)

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An aggressive piece of software, 25 May 2006
Aggressive towards me and my PC that is.

It came pre-installed on my Dell desktop box, purchased in January 2006. I never chose it as a `friend'.

OK, so it can search for viruses. Great. Well done. So can some Freeware these days.

However, McAfee exhibits a number of other, undesirable features:

- The endless pop-up reminders to renew or update the McAfee software. One starts to feel almost bullied after a while. Some of these reminders cannot be switched off.

- The way it clashes and crashes with all sorts of other programs on my PC (e.g. MS Outlook, ActiveSync)

- The stream of harassing junk mail it sends me reminding me how lucky I am that I can get a discount if I renew my version etc. Oh, how I wish I hadn't registered.

Well I'm the sort of (fairly technical) user who's extremely careful anyway and I rarely get caught out (fingers crossed). Indeed, when I have been infected in the past I've managed to sort it out with some help from some rabidly geekish websites and some useful bits of Freeware (e.g. Spybot Search & Destroy).

So, bye bye McAfee `Security Centre'. The only security you are really interested in is the security of your own future cash flows. I'll be doing one last virus scan and then you are being un-installed, never to darken the door of my PC again.

Like banging your head against a wall, it's lovely when it stops.

Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)
Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series)
by Scott Meyers
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for C++ programmers, 28 Mar 2006
My heavily annotated and well-thumbed copy of this book is testimony to the amount of use it's had in the last seven years. It contains some very useful advice on how to write robust, reusable, efficient C++ code that is hard to find in the standard texts. If I have one quibble it's that the frequent witticisms Meyers makes in the text can wear a bit thin after a while and it's chatty style can make the book more verbose than it needs to be. Having said that, the book would probably lose a lot of its appeal if it didn't try to 'humanise' some of the dry, arcane detail that is necessarily covered.

The War Against Intelligence - The Fontana Years
The War Against Intelligence - The Fontana Years
Offered by the_record_factory
Price: £11.95

5.0 out of 5 stars This CD made me go to a Fall gig in Croydon (!) in 2006, 17 Mar 2006
Of course, today, Mark E Smith rarely plays live any of the fantastic tracks on this compilation. However it was such an impressive introduction to The Fall sound (or one particular era thereof) that I immediately put in an order for "Heads Roll" and sought out some tickets to their gig in Croydon in March 2006. Well, I went to the gig on Sunday (the worst of the 4 nights apparently as they played only for 40 mins) and I can honestly say that I now understand why The Fall have such a hard core of devoted followers. Wish I'd listened to them 10, or 20, or (almost) 30 years ago (a bit fanciful as I would have been 10 years old!).

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