Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

27

Twenty years before my meeting with the vice president, I was a communist. I joined an underground party. I took a nom de guerre. If I had been clever enough to write a bug fatal to world banking, I would have been promoted to party leadership, hailed as a heroine of the revolution. [...]

Now the thought terrifies me. The wave of nausea I felt in the vice president's office, the real fear of being responsible for her system, followed me around for days. And still, try as I might, I can't envision a world where all the credit cards stop working. The life of normal people-buying groceries, paying bills-would unravel into confusion overnight. [...]

[...]

The global network is only the newest form of revolution, I think. Maybe it's only revolution we 're addicted to. Maybe the form never matters- socialism, rock and roll, drugs, market capitalism, electronic commercewho cares, as long as it's the edgy thing that's happening in one's own time. Maybe every generation produces a certain number of people who want change-change in its most drastic form . And socialism, with its quaint decades of guerrilla war, its old-fashioned virtues of steadfastness, its generation-long construction of a "new man"-is all too hopelessly pokey for us now. [...]

interesting point of departure for the problems with non-systems thinking. in this case, if banks crashed overnight, it might feel good on a semiotic level for those who have associated "banks" with "exploitation" and "capitalism", but of course it's not a lasting solution. you can't get rid of what banks represent unless you change the forces that produced banks in the first place. on the other hand, that's not a justification for keeping banks around!

basically not thinking dialectically enough. unsure if she knows that, and thinks other people don't, or if she missed that point somewhere down the line.

[1] Transactions (17) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Twenty years before my meeting with the vice president, I was a communist. I joined an underground party. I took a nom de guerre. If I had been clever enough to write a bug fatal to world banking, I would have been promoted to party leadership, hailed as a heroine of the revolution. [...]

Now the thought terrifies me. The wave of nausea I felt in the vice president's office, the real fear of being responsible for her system, followed me around for days. And still, try as I might, I can't envision a world where all the credit cards stop working. The life of normal people-buying groceries, paying bills-would unravel into confusion overnight. [...]

[...]

The global network is only the newest form of revolution, I think. Maybe it's only revolution we 're addicted to. Maybe the form never matters- socialism, rock and roll, drugs, market capitalism, electronic commercewho cares, as long as it's the edgy thing that's happening in one's own time. Maybe every generation produces a certain number of people who want change-change in its most drastic form . And socialism, with its quaint decades of guerrilla war, its old-fashioned virtues of steadfastness, its generation-long construction of a "new man"-is all too hopelessly pokey for us now. [...]

interesting point of departure for the problems with non-systems thinking. in this case, if banks crashed overnight, it might feel good on a semiotic level for those who have associated "banks" with "exploitation" and "capitalism", but of course it's not a lasting solution. you can't get rid of what banks represent unless you change the forces that produced banks in the first place. on the other hand, that's not a justification for keeping banks around!

basically not thinking dialectically enough. unsure if she knows that, and thinks other people don't, or if she missed that point somewhere down the line.

—p.27 [1] Transactions (17) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
43

He grinned at me.

"You're very strange," I said.

"I used to think that was a compliment," he said. And his pleasure vanished.

It was at that moment that I thought there might be a bit more to Brian. Yes, he was weird. Yes, he barely belonged to this world. But a part of him knew all too well that he was odd, and he suffered from it.

inspiration for that guy in intern's storyline?

also: introduce people slowly (don't fall into the neal stephenson/chaos monkeys/this book trap of condensing someone's entire life story into one paragraph just to get it over with)

[2] Sushi (39) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

He grinned at me.

"You're very strange," I said.

"I used to think that was a compliment," he said. And his pleasure vanished.

It was at that moment that I thought there might be a bit more to Brian. Yes, he was weird. Yes, he barely belonged to this world. But a part of him knew all too well that he was odd, and he suffered from it.

inspiration for that guy in intern's storyline?

also: introduce people slowly (don't fall into the neal stephenson/chaos monkeys/this book trap of condensing someone's entire life story into one paragraph just to get it over with)

—p.43 [2] Sushi (39) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
46

[...] The only difference was that Brian wanted to smuggle money itself, and he had no compunctions about it. On the contrary, he reveled in the very idea, turned it over and over in his mind, found in it an entire life philosophy. And there he sat on my sofa, drinking my tea, explaining, completely without apology, how he was going to "arbitrage" the United States legal code so that he could build himself a banking system that afforded complete privacy for wealth. A system that, incidentally, made the world safe for crooks, thieves, money launderers, and any average citizen who should just not feel like paying his taxes - a side effect of freedom, he said, the price of liberty, can't be helped.

this is great inspiration wow

[2] Sushi (39) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] The only difference was that Brian wanted to smuggle money itself, and he had no compunctions about it. On the contrary, he reveled in the very idea, turned it over and over in his mind, found in it an entire life philosophy. And there he sat on my sofa, drinking my tea, explaining, completely without apology, how he was going to "arbitrage" the United States legal code so that he could build himself a banking system that afforded complete privacy for wealth. A system that, incidentally, made the world safe for crooks, thieves, money launderers, and any average citizen who should just not feel like paying his taxes - a side effect of freedom, he said, the price of liberty, can't be helped.

this is great inspiration wow

—p.46 [2] Sushi (39) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
84

[...] How would it help if, in the awful and explicit way of computer systems, Reggie made clear what everyone knew-that there was a little fudging going on around the edges, so that providers could get a little extra and give a little more. In the absence of the machine, everyone could wink at these small rough edges. But Reggie-cute little Reggie with its guacamole-colored screens and the smiling face of an African-American man with AIDS-could make it all plain beyond deniability. "Don't do this," I said to the director. "Once you have this information, you'll have to do something about it."

But she was adamant. "The people paying for this system have a right to good data!" she declared.

In this way, the system became the justification for the system. We collected data, therefore it had to be "good" data. And since we could link one database to another, since it was possible to cross-check data here with data there, well, we should link them. And what was designed to store patients' information as a service for them, had somehow become the property of the "people paying for this system"- an agency of the federal government.

[4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] How would it help if, in the awful and explicit way of computer systems, Reggie made clear what everyone knew-that there was a little fudging going on around the edges, so that providers could get a little extra and give a little more. In the absence of the machine, everyone could wink at these small rough edges. But Reggie-cute little Reggie with its guacamole-colored screens and the smiling face of an African-American man with AIDS-could make it all plain beyond deniability. "Don't do this," I said to the director. "Once you have this information, you'll have to do something about it."

But she was adamant. "The people paying for this system have a right to good data!" she declared.

In this way, the system became the justification for the system. We collected data, therefore it had to be "good" data. And since we could link one database to another, since it was possible to cross-check data here with data there, well, we should link them. And what was designed to store patients' information as a service for them, had somehow become the property of the "people paying for this system"- an agency of the federal government.

—p.84 [4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
89

Many years and clients later, this greed for more data, and more again, had become a commonplace. It had become institutionalized as a good feature of computer systems: you can link them up, you can cross-check, you can find out all sorts of things you didn't set out to know. "I bet this thing can tell me what everyone is up to all day," said the insurance agent whose employee of twenty-six years knew all his customers by name. "The people who own this system have a right to good data!" said the woman who had set out to do a favor for sick people.

I'd like to think that computers are neutral, a tool like any other, a hammer that can build a house or smash a skull. But there is something in the system itself, in the formal logic of programs and data, that recreates the world in its own image. Like the rock-and-roll culture, it forms an irresistible horizontal country that obliterates the long, slow, old cultures of place and custom, law and social life. We think we are creating the system for our own purposes. We believe we are making it in our own image. We call the microprocessor the "brain"; we say the machine has "memory." But the computer is not really like us. It is a projection of a very slim part of ourselves: that portion devoted to logic, order, rule, and clarity. It is as if we took the game of chess and declared it the highest order of human existence.

a pretty disturbing story of a client who wants his secretary's keystrokes monitored. she thinks of it as getting seduced by the promises of the system, though, whereas i would just call it drift

[4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Many years and clients later, this greed for more data, and more again, had become a commonplace. It had become institutionalized as a good feature of computer systems: you can link them up, you can cross-check, you can find out all sorts of things you didn't set out to know. "I bet this thing can tell me what everyone is up to all day," said the insurance agent whose employee of twenty-six years knew all his customers by name. "The people who own this system have a right to good data!" said the woman who had set out to do a favor for sick people.

I'd like to think that computers are neutral, a tool like any other, a hammer that can build a house or smash a skull. But there is something in the system itself, in the formal logic of programs and data, that recreates the world in its own image. Like the rock-and-roll culture, it forms an irresistible horizontal country that obliterates the long, slow, old cultures of place and custom, law and social life. We think we are creating the system for our own purposes. We believe we are making it in our own image. We call the microprocessor the "brain"; we say the machine has "memory." But the computer is not really like us. It is a projection of a very slim part of ourselves: that portion devoted to logic, order, rule, and clarity. It is as if we took the game of chess and declared it the highest order of human existence.

a pretty disturbing story of a client who wants his secretary's keystrokes monitored. she thinks of it as getting seduced by the promises of the system, though, whereas i would just call it drift

—p.89 [4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
92

10:30 AM: programmer commute hour on the freeway. South toward Silicon Valley, the remnants of the fog are just lifting off the bay, and the sky breaks through, a washed-blue-jean blue. Four sparsely filled lanes, stock-option sports cars like mine pushing 80, delivery vans riding at the limit-a freeway the way God meant it to be. The car in front of me tailgates everyone out of the way, then zooms off. The carpool lane, defunct at this hour, has turned back into the fast lane, and its painted diamonds stretch out ahead for miles.

[...]

[...] Now I drive north back to the city, and again I've missed the traffic. My little car hums along at an effortless 75. I play a Vivaldi chorus-loud-on the CD. Just as I round the edge of the bay, the last lines of fog are catching the edge of the sunset, writing a furious red calligraphy across the sky. The city glows in the last light, the sky darkens and-Magnificat!-the red strokes blaze above the skyline.

not a bad description

[4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

10:30 AM: programmer commute hour on the freeway. South toward Silicon Valley, the remnants of the fog are just lifting off the bay, and the sky breaks through, a washed-blue-jean blue. Four sparsely filled lanes, stock-option sports cars like mine pushing 80, delivery vans riding at the limit-a freeway the way God meant it to be. The car in front of me tailgates everyone out of the way, then zooms off. The carpool lane, defunct at this hour, has turned back into the fast lane, and its painted diamonds stretch out ahead for miles.

[...]

[...] Now I drive north back to the city, and again I've missed the traffic. My little car hums along at an effortless 75. I play a Vivaldi chorus-loud-on the CD. Just as I round the edge of the bay, the last lines of fog are catching the edge of the sunset, writing a furious red calligraphy across the sky. The city glows in the last light, the sky darkens and-Magnificat!-the red strokes blaze above the skyline.

not a bad description

—p.92 [4] Software and Suburbia (65) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
115

I didn't want my experience to be useless. I wanted it to be of value that someone could remember the lovely compactness of Release 3.0. [...] He would see it all as landfill, fit companions to my long disposed-of Kaypro II personal computer, first letter-quality daisy-wheel printer, and 300baud modem with acoustic coupler. * But all this history had to be worth something, I felt. There had to be some threads, some concepts, some themes that transcended the details, something in computing that made it worth being alive for more than thirty-five years.

:(

[5] New, Old, and Middle Age (95) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I didn't want my experience to be useless. I wanted it to be of value that someone could remember the lovely compactness of Release 3.0. [...] He would see it all as landfill, fit companions to my long disposed-of Kaypro II personal computer, first letter-quality daisy-wheel printer, and 300baud modem with acoustic coupler. * But all this history had to be worth something, I felt. There had to be some threads, some concepts, some themes that transcended the details, something in computing that made it worth being alive for more than thirty-five years.

:(

—p.115 [5] New, Old, and Middle Age (95) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
121

But I can't take this in. I want the conversation to move on. "And the women next to us," I say, "how old are they?" I had been looking at them, wondering if I were there yet.

He looks. "They're in their fifties," he says. For a moment I feel relief: I look younger, Oh good, I'm not there yet. But I can't erase the sound of the word "fifties"-the tone, the mild disdain, the dismissal, as if those women had crossed over into another reality, so that I can't for long glow in the knowledge that I look younger than they do. In their fifties : it speaks volumes of resignation, another country, a depressed, uninteresting region where older women are supposed to go.

[5] New, Old, and Middle Age (95) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

But I can't take this in. I want the conversation to move on. "And the women next to us," I say, "how old are they?" I had been looking at them, wondering if I were there yet.

He looks. "They're in their fifties," he says. For a moment I feel relief: I look younger, Oh good, I'm not there yet. But I can't erase the sound of the word "fifties"-the tone, the mild disdain, the dismissal, as if those women had crossed over into another reality, so that I can't for long glow in the knowledge that I look younger than they do. In their fifties : it speaks volumes of resignation, another country, a depressed, uninteresting region where older women are supposed to go.

—p.121 [5] New, Old, and Middle Age (95) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
144

I had to explain that companies would make everyone a contractor if there weren't laws against it; that they would jump at the chance to unload the cost of medical coverage, overtime, holidays, sick leave.

"You think so?"

"Jesus, Joel. Companies don't give benefits because they like to. People had to die in the streets-literallyto get these benefits."

"Did they?" Suddenly he seemed suspicious of me. Maybe I was indeed a decently successful software developer. Maybe I did read The Economist. Maybe we did get along quite well in nice restaurants. But there I was talking dead people in the street,just like some sort of commie.

We sat in the beautiful restaurant. Before us was a bottle of old, red wine. The vases of fresh cut flowers surrounded us. I lifted my glass. I talked labor history of the '20s. For the five-day work week, people did indeed get shot by company thugs and die in the streets; and there we sat, two independent contractors who brag about working all the time. Virtual employer and virtual employee, sipping their wine.

[6] Virtuality (123) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I had to explain that companies would make everyone a contractor if there weren't laws against it; that they would jump at the chance to unload the cost of medical coverage, overtime, holidays, sick leave.

"You think so?"

"Jesus, Joel. Companies don't give benefits because they like to. People had to die in the streets-literallyto get these benefits."

"Did they?" Suddenly he seemed suspicious of me. Maybe I was indeed a decently successful software developer. Maybe I did read The Economist. Maybe we did get along quite well in nice restaurants. But there I was talking dead people in the street,just like some sort of commie.

We sat in the beautiful restaurant. Before us was a bottle of old, red wine. The vases of fresh cut flowers surrounded us. I lifted my glass. I talked labor history of the '20s. For the five-day work week, people did indeed get shot by company thugs and die in the streets; and there we sat, two independent contractors who brag about working all the time. Virtual employer and virtual employee, sipping their wine.

—p.144 [6] Virtuality (123) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago
171

"It can't just be the money," I pressed.

"Well, it might be that they have what they think is a good idea ... " He trailed off then sat looking at his hands , which were fine-boned and pale.

But there are many ways to express a good idea, I thought. One could talk to people, give a speech, write an article, perhaps a book. But it was clear these were not the sort of good ideas he had in mind. No, his were the sorts of ideas whose goodness could be expressed only through the amount of revenue they generated, the size of the company that was grown, the grandeur of the CEO's house, the price of the stock.

"So it is the money," I said finally.

The whitest man I ever met looked into his lap then gazed out the window. On the other side of the French doors edged in bronze from Paris, the sky was the bright, deep blue of early autumn in San Francisco. The two bridges stood against a sparkling bay. The searchlight of Alcatraz blinked rhythmically against the water. Toward the northwest, a tanker was slowly sliding out the Gate, about to pass under the bridge on its long ride west to Japan.

[7] Money (149) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"It can't just be the money," I pressed.

"Well, it might be that they have what they think is a good idea ... " He trailed off then sat looking at his hands , which were fine-boned and pale.

But there are many ways to express a good idea, I thought. One could talk to people, give a speech, write an article, perhaps a book. But it was clear these were not the sort of good ideas he had in mind. No, his were the sorts of ideas whose goodness could be expressed only through the amount of revenue they generated, the size of the company that was grown, the grandeur of the CEO's house, the price of the stock.

"So it is the money," I said finally.

The whitest man I ever met looked into his lap then gazed out the window. On the other side of the French doors edged in bronze from Paris, the sky was the bright, deep blue of early autumn in San Francisco. The two bridges stood against a sparkling bay. The searchlight of Alcatraz blinked rhythmically against the water. Toward the northwest, a tanker was slowly sliding out the Gate, about to pass under the bridge on its long ride west to Japan.

—p.171 [7] Money (149) by Ellen Ullmann 11 months, 3 weeks ago