Gift Guide: The Best Books to Buy for the Technologist in Your Life

14 Photos

Tubes, Andrew Blum

They make great presents, but books are deceptively difficult to give: You don’t want to buy some random bestseller off the front table at Barnes and Noble, but wander very far into the store and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with options. To lend a hand, we’ve combed through this year’s techie-targeted releases (and tossed in a couple of old favorites, as well). Read More

Internet Wants to Be Free

A Telecom-Independent Internet, Tested at Occupy Wall Street, for Just $2,000


This is a guest post from Cole Stryker, a writer and publicist working in New York. It is an excerpt from his book, “Identity Wars: Online Anonymity, Privacy and Control,” which is slated for a September release from Overlook Press.

On March 27, 2012 I had the opportunity to attend a private screening of a mini-documentary called “Free the Network,” produced by Vice’s tech site, The documentary opens at Occupy Wall Street, first depicted as a wacky, disparate band of activists which developed a curious techno-centric bent with the arrival of Anonymous, along with a more or less disorganized faction of hackers who wished to bring about social revolution through technology. The film centers on one of them, a 21-year old college dropout named Isaac Wilder, the executive director of the Free Network Foundation.

Mr. Wilder builds communications systems based around Freedom Towers, DIY kits that fit in a suitcase containing everything one would need to set up an ad hoc peer to peer network. The instructions are simple: “Plug it in. Press the big green button.” It creates a local network that stays up no matter what happens to the wider global Internet. All of this is mostly funded through private donations from family, friends, and fellow revolutionaries. Mr. Wilder estimates that the equipment required to assemble a Freedom Tower would have cost over $10,000 as recent as five years ago. Today: $2,000. And it’s completely grid-independent. That means solar powered batteries, a DC power system, a server, a router and a suite of powerful software, all contained in a suitcase. Read More

The Third Degree

4 Chan Vet ‘Chelsea M.’ Says Author Cole Stryker Glossed Over Child Porn

Seriously Cole. Why?

Shortly after publishing our interview with author Cole Stryker about his upcoming book, Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web, Betabeat received messages — via Twitter, Facebook, our work email, our personal email, and in the comments — from a man who claimed to be part of the hacker group Anonymous requesting to speak on the phone.

The source, who goes by the pseudonym Chelsea M. and tweets under the handle IJournalismBlog, emailed us both the home address of Mr. Stryker and this reporter. “No threat to you, just a demonstration,” he wrote.

In our interview, Mr. Stryker mentioned being unsettled that IBJ tweeted out his apartment number. After our interview went live, Mr. M tweeted Mr. Stryker’s full home address.

We spoke to Mr. M., on the phone yesterday afternoon about his qualms with Mr. Stryker’s book, which won’t be released until next week, and why he believes it will not accurately reflect Anonymous or 4chan. After we got off the phone, we asked Mr. M. to demonstrate his Anonymous bona fides by tweeting from an established account, he emailed back, “Anon twitter accounts do not represent the views of Anonymous any more than a man chalking his inane ramblings on the street.”

If nothing else, our conversation will make you rethink your Facebook settings.

Nitasha Tiku: Before we get started, can I ask how you got my address? Read More

The Third Degree

Author of New 4Chan Book Talks About Moot, the Memesphere, and What Happens When They Find Your Apartment Number


When Betabeat first met Cole Stryker on the roof of the Barbarian Group this summer, the very tall, very blond young man was recounting the story of how he and ex-Valleywager Nick Douglas used to try to out-gross each other with images from 4chan’s /b/ board. But it wasn’t just for the lulz, Mr. Stryker’s fixation with 4chan and Anonymous also carried into the workplace, where he amassed a collection of posts on the community’s mayhem and malwebolence for Urlesque.

The publishing world took note and next week, the 27-year-old Mr. Stryker will release his first book: Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan’s Army Conquered the Web. Naturally Betabeat wanted to know more. But before we could ask him a question, Mr. Stryker had something to report …

“They found out where I live. He tweeted me my apartment number!”

Are you serious?

I’m like freeeeeeeaking out. [laughs] Read More