Books : reviews

J. D. "Illiad" Frazer.
User Friendly.
O'Reilly. 1999

rating : 2 : great stuff
review : 28 December 1999

A book of the famous cartoons -- so you don't need to wait until your net connection downloads today's cartoon -- and you don't need to wait until tomorrow.

Tech Support and the Dust Puppy fight ignorant customers, Evil Operating Systems, and the Crud Puppy. More upbeat than Dilbert, and laced with great techno-nerd and SFnal humour and references (especially the Star Wars finale). A must read.

J. D. "Illiad" Frazer.
Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell: aUser Friendly guide to world domination.
O'Reilly. 2000

rating : 2 : great stuff
review : 13 May 2000

More wonderful surreal days in the lives of geeks versus Marketing, Clueless Users, games, and evil operating systems. There's a great Lord of the Rings riff, as the Dust Puppy dreams he must take the One True Ping to Mount Doom -- what's a Nazgul like you doing in a place like this?. And AJ finally manages to talk to Miranda face to face, rather than using a chat link.

You probably need a good score on the hacker test to appreciate some of the more computer-specific jokes. Sometimes the humour builds up slowly over a number of strips, sometimes a single strip can be hilarious in isolation. Whatever, this is really funny.

J. D. "Illiad" Frazer.
The Root of All Evil.
O'Reilly. 2001

rating : 2 : great stuff
review : 17 December 2001

Often labeled as the “Dilbert for Geeks,” User Friendly has captured the attention of the worldwide audience of information technology professionals and computer hobbyists alike. Known for poking fun at some of today’s Geek issues with wit and aplomb, the comic strip has become recognized as the jester’s voice in the court of technopolitics.

The Root of All Evil is the third compilation of Illiad’s gentle-humored comic strip, another collection of odd and raucous experiences and perspectives from the world of Columbia Internet. From Pitr’s incessant war of wits with Sid, to Erwin’s acerbic poetry, to Dust Puppy’s wide-eyed and childlike philosophies, these pages read like a diary written by anyone who has had to work in that shadowy place where computers and people interact. Buy the book and look in the mirror.

More wonderful stuff from our favourite ISP. Stef is still useless at Quake. AJ picks the worst possible day to put his feelings in an email to Miranda. Sid gets hired, and clashes with Pitr. Miranda gets promoted and takes the guys camping. And so on. You just have to be there.

J. D. "Illiad" Frazer.
Even Grues Get Full: the fourth User Friendly collection.
O'Reilly. 2003

rating : 2 : great stuff
review : 8 November 2003

Take five parts geek, three parts twisted humor, four parts social commentary, and a splash of irreverence, and you get User Friendly, the comic strip sensation that has livened up the World Wide Web since 1997. And “World Wide” is accurate—the comic strip is read by fans on every continent, even Antarctica, where snow-besieged systems technologists rely on the cartoon for their daily dose of the geek gestalt. With a loyal audience of millions, it’s no surprise that UF has become more than a comic strip—it’s an icon on the Net that has generated an active community.

The comic strip is packed with references to geek interests, from obscure movies to old computer games. Yet non-geeks are also able to enjoy the story lines and character quirks, from Erwin’s acerbic humor to Miranda’s constant angst; from the Smiling Man’s Machiavellian machinations to A.J.’s dysfunctional naïveté. At the center of this lies Dust Puppy, the strip’s gentle-hearted mascot and the character who has endeared himself to readers.

In Even Grues Get Full, the fourth collection of this hit geek comic strip, watch the antics of the characters once again as Stef contends with an enormous Tequila worm, Mike is tormented by Mr. Cola, and the techs move their shop into an abandoned missile silo! Also included in this collection are the 9/11 tribute cartoons that have been widely praised.

Rated as one of the top 50 most influential people in the Linux community by Linux Magazine, J.D. Frazer changed his name and appearance as people began to seek him out to answer questions regarding “channel binding” and “SYN packets.” The only thing that J.D. knows about binding involves his underwear.

The fourth great collection of User Friendly cartoons. Acid comments on the industry. The introduction of Sid, his daughter Pearl – she’s named after a scripting language – and Cthulhu. Geeks in a missile silo. And a particularly poignant September 11th set.