Blackberry:

The Inside Story Of Research In Motion – Rod McQueen

(Hachette India, Rs. 495)

The BlackBerry is — quite literally — everywhere. President Barack Obama admits he can't live without it. Oprah Winfrey declared that it is one of her ‘favourite things.'

The bio of Research in Motion (RIM), a company which had modest beginnings in 1984 but went on to become a global giant after it launched the BlackBerry in 1999, is absorbing.

Founded by Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie on a $15,000 loan, RIM had sold more than 50 million BlackBerry pieces; the sales figures show annual profits in excess of $11 billion.

Bestselling author and journalist Rod McQueen's fascinating story offers never-before-seen glimpses into the company's origins and development — and the geniuses who were its inspiration.

It's much more than a business book… it's a success story of a brilliant global brand.

The Comet & The Tornado

– Reflections on the legacy of Randy Pausch, The last Lecture — Don Marinelli

(Sterling, Rs. 499)

This is a story of friendship — between two people and two streams of thought. Randy Pausch, a computer scientist professor, and Donald Marinelli, a professor of Drama. Both met at the Carnegie Mellon University and this book is an ‘inspiring diary' of the six years that Randy and Don spent together to set up the Entertainment Technology Centre at the University.

Randy instituted what may be the most broadly cross-disciplinary course at Carnegie Mellon, titled ‘Building Virtual Worlds', where artists and technologists came together to build a virtual reality world.

Randy and Don launched ETC in 1998, as a joint programme between the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts, thus bridging the technological divide between the arts and science.

This book traces the co-founding of ETC, Randy's inspiring Last Lecture where he referred to Don as a ‘Tornado, a whirlwind of energy and creativity,' and most of all, Don's fond memories of his friend whom he affectionately referred to as ‘the Comet.'

The Facebook Effect:

The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World — David Kirkpatrick

(Random House India, Rs. 599)

500 million users, 75 languages and one purpose — connecting people. Truly, this is the age of Facebook. One of the arterial tools of communication today, it is increasingly affecting the way we live and think.

Kirkpatrick's narrative pieces together the voices of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and its key executives, and tells how and why this company has flourished. The prologue reveals how one angry man's midnight post on Facebook in Columbia of 2008 led to the largest demonstration ever in the world.

To appreciate Facebook, one needs to understand the working of the mind of a restless and irreverent 19-year-old whose brainchild is now part of a social consciousness. And that's what this book attempts to do.

Ubiquitous Computing:

Smart Devices, Environments And Interactions - Stefan Poslad

(Wiley India, Rs. 354)

Ubiquitous Computing (commonly referred to as Pervasive Computing) discusses ways in which the prevalent technological models, based upon three base designs: smart (mobile, wireless and service) devices, smart environments (of embedded system devices) and smart interaction (between devices), relate to and support a computing vision for a greater range of computer devices, used in our daily lives. Divided into three sections, this book talks about the rich potential of ubiquitous computing, the challenges involved in making it a reality, and the prerequisite technological infrastructure.

Voyager:

Seeking Newer World in The Third Great Age of Discovery — Stephen J. Pyne

(Viking Press, hardback, Rs. 1,080)

This brilliant account of the Voyager space programme may not fit this column. But the spacecraft is a symbol of scientific and technological advancement and a reminder of how technology is a powerful tool to understand the universe at large, and the earth, in particular.

The Voyager, launched in 1977, and the two unmanned Voyager spacecraft are the first man-made objects to exit our solar system. Truly, a remarkable story of planetary exploration in human history, the tome discusses the impulse that the West has had for more than 500 years to push new frontiers. In this book, Stephen Pyne takes the reader through the history of exploration and its impact on human life and technology. It follows the pair from launch in 1977, covering their historic encounters and reflecting on the history of exploration during their long hibernations, or cruise phases.

Keywords: books