18 Nov 2011
(updated 18 Nov 2011 at 02:13 UTC) »
Neal Stephenson's newish book REAMDE is classic romp in the Cryptonomicon vein: unpredictable, stuffed with authentic local detail and engaging, slightly larger-than-life characters, and (almost) deadpan send-ups of practically everything, not limited to: jihadists, a junior MI6 agent, Russian mafiosi, Hungarian and Seattlite hackers, Chinese gold farmers, overprolific fantasy authors both trashy and donnish, a palletload of bricks of RMB, leased business jets, an aging Iowan former smuggler and MMO startup founder, a proto-Pak Chechnya veteran, US spooks competent and not, and north Idaho anarchists, among others. The central theme of the book, though, appears to be the adjective "backseat" used as a noun in place of "back seat". He seems to be needling somebody who criticized the usage. "Cooling their heels" figures prominently, too, but it's less obviously deliberate.
I have finally caught Iceweasel in the act of crashing over the weekend when it's unused. Probably Mozilla don't get many reports of this particular failure because I'm running a 32-bit build on a 64-bit kernel. Apparently it runs out of address space during a GC cycle-detection pass. On a regular 32-bit host it would get OOMed long before that point. The 64-bit version happily blows past such arbitrary limits until it takes to thrashing.