Una serie de acotaciones al margen a medida que voy leyendo algunos libros... A series of annotations whilst reading interesting books... A collection of notes on books about science, SciFi, history, others topics... Una colección de notas sobre libros de ciencia, ciencia-ficción, historia, otros...

28 April 2016

Where are your Amazon Listmania lists?

Amazon Listmania List are gone already for a long time. I cannot evaluate how many people complained about it however it could be an interesting research project: are really cloud based companies listening to their customers? Of course that if you search for "Amazon Listmania list how to find" you'll get quite a lot of hits, but you cannot extrapolate that Amazon is not "listening" to its customers and have good reasons to deprecate the feature (a.k.a: how can Amazon can increase their revenue by putting its efforts in another more valuable feature?).

You can have several readings, economical and political, of previous paragraph but it is not the idea of this post.

Back on track: here a nice way to find yours (or other user's), and here another one.

I went back to mine and I realized last time that I have when I told a colleague at work "hum there is a good book about that, let me find it". In the moment I could not remind the title, I did a search and not getting the expected results, but I remembered that I have that book as an item in one of my lists. Finally I found it thanks to an old email in gmail with the link to them!

First things Firsts!
Here is the link to my Amazon Listmania Lists! (If you like a book, buy it from my link - Thanks in advance!).

Nice Lists, eh? However if you want to follow the links they did not work! (see entry below, now they work)
[Until March 2016 the links were not working, now, April 2016, they are working again - planning to write another entry on how to find the updated link to your lists - but like many other things in the cloud, Amazon finally updated the links in the "front" page and now you can follow the link to the Lists: Listmania's are back! Or partially: they are frozen: you cannot create new ones, or update your existing ones. New feature is Wish Lists]
This blog entry that should have taken 30 minutes to write finally ended in 1-2 hours of looking around how to recover the lists! Below the correct links to the full view lists.

The topics I went through them are more or less:
  • Science fiction
  • Biology and Darwinism
  •  Some Business

Science Fiction
There are several lists for science-fiction. The original idea came from a friend’s question: “I need to buy a present. What about a science fiction book? What would you recommend?”. These lists try to answer that question based on other questions:
  • Recommendations to first readers of SF: as a fan reader of science fiction since 8 years old (starting with Jules Verne 20000 and then Asimov robot and foundation stories, I have to think hard about these. When I “started" reading other books and I went back to some of my must-read science fiction books... Hum, depending on who is the intended recipient of the book, it can backfire the good intention! So I did my best here.
  • SF Ironic and Humor: if these selection will make you laugh or your day happier certainly depends on you, but Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker is certainly funny (I strongly recommend the audio version read by Stephen Fry)
  • Intro to SF - Cyberpunk: a whole category which the "classic" is Gibson's Neuromancer. I loved when young, hated later. I admit he made mainstream several ideas, however you will not find his books here (though I love the phrase "burning chrome” taken from homonymous Gibon’s book). Which books are here? Two Neal Stephenson's, and I strongly recommend Snow Crash and Diamond Age, both really! And John Varley's Steel Beach. This author is a pearl: with an style reminiscent of Heinlein, and exploring the most fringes topics. Not in the list, but if I could update it I would add The Persistence of Vision: amazing, get you to think, short stories... (I highly recommend Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
  • Intro to SF - Classic and Hard SF: you cannot say that you have read sci-fi if you cannot tell the arguments of any book from the master trio: Asimov-Clarke-Heinlein. If started late, liked the other books, and keep going on sci-fi you have to pick one of any from this list
  • Intro to SF - Exploring the Inner Space: and here came the sixties and the 70's, flower power, new age, self help and the last season of Mad Men... These are the books of that time. There was a change on the narrator and a clear improvement on creating "real" characters: the argument was secondary... Or not? Sturgeon, Dick, LeGuin and Alfred Bester... What if our species was hermaphrodite and naturally we could change sex - like many other species of animals, common in reptiles and fishes?
  • Intro to SF - Adventure: yeah also there are space ships, lasers, and mouse and cat races. Not for any reason there is a whole genre of movies called Space Opera. Some good entertainment here for sunny sunsets at the beach
  • Intro to SF - Politics: sci-fi for me was always about setting up some hypothesis and then exploring the consequences. Some authors worked around "today" conceptions, made an outrageous claim and then make you think. Only one way to run economic policies?  Here they are those strange thoughts. I always defended the idea that reading sci-fi as a topic in school will help to create more open and tolerant societies. War? Colonize Mars? Economics and the master piece on politics Dune (before Game of Thrones, and so actual today)
  • Intro to SF - Fantasy: no, Harry Potter is not sci-fi, and I think no one will disagree. However they share a fundamental characteristic: even if magic is magic they are internally coherent and consistent. This list is a summary of these books that are consistent, do not invoke super natural entities, however they are not based on "science" (the irony is that hyperdrive engines, positronic robots, psicohistory, warp drive, teletransporters are not science... Hard to tell, out of scope of this blog). And Borges? Yes, his Fictions is a masterpiece of SF! Written before that label was created.

Biology and Darwinism
  • Anti-Creationism: based on today sensitivities I should change the name. But I can't , Amazon unsupported that feature. However let's be clear: this is a precise title. Period. Evolution is True, and anything differently is an attack on good science and good education. Understanding Evolution is hard and deniers have became sophisticated. However most of the attacks are based on creationist's ignorance (and yours and mine), miss-readings or miss-understandings and finally plain lies. If you do not want to get stumped on the basic attacks (why there is no mid animal cross of a duck and a crocodile), to some a little bit more subtle (entropy, information theory, complexity), this list will help you find the reference, why they are wrong and how to answer back (if you want or need)
  • Darwin Basic - Origins: Biology and the Origin of Species is an interesting question, … not for you? so this list is not for you, fine. But if you are in the group that like these type of questions, nothing better to understand Evolution. Best place to start is Darwin itself. And other books more modern that include the latest advances, and others that help to “see” what Darwin figured out.
  • Darwin’s Dangerous and Outrageous Books: if you are not aware that one of the biggest and longest lasting impacts on our way to see ourselves, changes in other areas like philosophy or psychology, economics, ethics, etc come from Darwin’s insights and following the logical conclusion, where have you been? or reading? Here a good list of books to get you started!

Computers and IT
These lists are the most outdated, but still some books hold. Computer Science is science and a new mobile app is not going to change that.  But take them with care and with a look at the last edition date!
  • Datawarehouses: still a lot of ROLAP, MOLAP, OLAP, etc. There are some firsts here, with basic concepts that are still valid. I will include some of them, or their concepts in any BI 101 university course, or if you are mentoring a young team of developers, architects, software engineers or analysts. Yeah, I know, the latest cool and tip of the wave theories and developments are not here (big data, map reduction, columnar databases, and free schema models are not here: it needs an update)
  • A Tour About Ciphers: this list is not outdated, unless of course you are a real expert on this field. If you like history and some basic clues on cryptography: all books here hold the line. Latest developments you should go into latest web blogs or sites. The theory/foundations/algorithms hold still… (not there yet, but if some math genius find a way to get around NP problems, adn factor “quickly” prime numbers a lot of this will be as “history”)
  • Data Mining Books: like the data warehouse list take it with care, looking at the Edition dates. Some good concepts also, that I would include as an starter (and to read exercise) in a college course...

  • Bizz Books: I will keep few here. Not sure, but if there is something that its volatility is closer to food diets, are biz books… Next list on Economics. However I would like to rescue one title (the culprit of me writing all these): “Information Rules”. I didn't read lately, but it was not a fashionable book, if I remember well. Worth trying...
  • CRM Essentials: same as previous. Gurues, in any field, have the same transcendence than transcendental guru's… Is there any book I will read again? Yes, there are few, however no book here and any other I know/heard about explain why after 20 years of talking of CRM and the customer at the center of everything, still is a hot topic!

Gmail tip - now an Evernote tip
In the research hours I need I finally ended using several tools:
  • Google searches for you, however searching for your Amazon name + listmania + lists + “the name of a list”, does not bring back your lists, even paging up to the 5 page, then jumping in 2, 3, 4 until you are in page 15+
  • But Google brought several other entries of people that experience same frustration
  • Finally the best was to recover the link was searching Google’s style in my Gmail account: it happened that years ago I sent the links to this or the other friend: great! (the link finally didn’t worked, but it was an start)
  • And today I’m using more and more Evernote, and nothing better after recovering the good links of all my lists to Clip those pages to my Evernote!

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