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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Cliff Stoll on Everything September 19, 2008 10:12 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Education, Technology
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In the movie Conspiracy Theory, Mel Gibson’s character is compelled to buy copies of The Catcher in the Rye which is a play on the fact that numerous assassins and murders have had on their possession or made reference to the book when caught. For me, the book that randomly liters the house is Clifford Stoll’s The Cuckoo’s Egg. I have a hard copy over there. There’s a paperback version on my headboard. That bookshelf has a tattered paperback and I think there are several other copies laying around. At the time Cliff Stoll tracked his spy, I was deeply ingrained in computers and learning about databases, telcom, and obsessed with assembly language. Two years later I was working on Unix machines at the same level as Cliff Stoll so each read of the book brings vivid memories. Two years later his book was released and became mandatory reading for computer science majors. Shortly after that, if my memory serves correct, he spoke at the University of Tennessee (but honestly, that could be a fabrication of my aged brain). Clifford Stoll ranks on my list of fascinating people. See if you can get through Stoll’s 18 minutes at TED. It’s worth it!

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1. Jason Jarrett - September 19, 2008

We have a copy in our kitchen and his recipe for chocolate chip cookies is still our gold standard!
A very interesting book!

2. Doug McCaughan - September 19, 2008

Haha! When I suggested Tommy, the self-proclaimed uber geek, read The Cuckoo’s Egg, it was the cookie recipe that grabbed him too.

3. Barry - September 19, 2008

I actually emailed him after I read that book to tell him how much I enjoyed it. He emailed back himself not long after to thank me. I wonder if I still have that email…it’s been a long time.

4. Doug McCaughan - September 19, 2008

He’s one of the good ones!