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Into the Wild Spaces :: Written Work

Also see Currently Reading/Writing.



Moon Nicaragua 4th ed.
Moon Nicaragua: now on its fourth edition (2010) and still the authoritative voice on Nicaragua.
Living Abroad in Nicaragua: the comprehensive guide to living, investing, and settling into Nicaragua. New 2nd edition (2010)!
Dictator's Handbook: a practical manual for the aspiring tyrant. This is how the rest of the world works, and it's increasingly how our world works, too.


Papers and Presentations

The documents listed here may be downloaded and redistributed provided they are attributed to me and this notice is preserved with the document. Larger documents are not stored on the server due to bandwidth limitations. You may contact me to have me send them to you or if you have any questions. Docs are cross-listed under multiple categories where warranted. In all cases, these papers reflect my own opinion and not that of my employer.


Politics, Development, and Economics


PDFThe Development Challenge: Indonesia and Malaysia, 1960-1990

(52 pages) A look at the policy choices Indonesia and Malaysia made in the latter half of the 20th century, and what they teach us about economic development.

PDFControlling Immigration: A Global Perspective

A book review of Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective by Wayne A. Cornelius, Takeyuki Tsuda,, eds. First published in SAIS Review, an academic journal for which I was assistant editor.

PDFNon-Proliferation Strategies for India and Pakistan in the Aftermath of the May 1998 Tests

A 20 page paper that examines what political, military, and economic levers we have at our disposal to pressure compliance with the nuclear non-proliferation act (short answer: very few).

PDFPrivatization of Public Utilities: What Are the Gains? Why the Public Opposition?

A 30+ page overview of the economic effects of privatizing pubic resources, and a look at, if privatization can be so beneficial, it is so bitterly opposed.

PDFOverwhelming Force: Promoting Democratization in Cuba will Require a Radical New Approach.

First published in the Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs, which you can download in its entirety from that site. I was the layout editor for the publication.

PDFDemocratic Consolidation in Nicaragua: 1979 - 2003.

Looks at the growth and strength of Nicaragua's move to democracy since the overthrow of the Somoza dynasty.

PDFIncentives and Capacity at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Compares the design and implementation of the first two years of the MCC, with a look towards this institution's future. First published in SAIS Perspectives, an annual academic journal devoted to issues of development.


Open Source, Technology, and Software


PDFExtending Thunderbird: The Best of All Worlds

This two pager about the well-loved Thunderbird email software was published in the now defunct Tux Magazine (Issue 6, September 2005).

PDFThe Internet in the Open Source Age

The Internet was built on open standards that encouraged its rapid growth and adoption. Is the open source paradigm the magic bullet that will prevent it from being co-opted, controlled, or manipulated? (quick answer: "it will be highly useful but no magic bullet").

PDFThe battle for your data

A look at how document formats are being used to the consumer's disadvantage. First published in La Dotta magazine, Bologna Italy (HTML|PDF).

SXITeX, LaTeX, and Lyx

A presentation I delivered 7 May 2003 to the PBCLUG. I have used LaTeX to write several of the documents on this web site.


A review of SuSE Linux 8.0 I prepared for PBCLUG in September 2002.

PDFWoodnotes Guide to Emacs for Writers

A 23 page manual on how to use the Emacs text editor for writing text documents - books, fiction, and so on. First in a developing series of Woodnotes. Or read it on-line here.




PDFThe Nicaraguan Energy Sector: Characteristics and Recommendations

(58 pages) An energy policy paper for Nicaragua in the year 2005. Key word: geothermal.

PDFDemocratic Consolidation in Nicaragua: 1979 - 2003.

Looks at the growth and strength of Nicaragua's move to democracy since the overthrow of the Somoza dynasty.


This is a presentation I have delivered to promote tourism in Nicaragua and the travel guidebook I co-authored (Presentation: March 2003, Book: November 2002).

SXINicaragua - its people and geography

I delivered this presentation in 2004 in Italy as part of a cultural seminar series.

MOVNicaragua - an overview

I delivered this presentation at American University in February 2006. Apple's Keynote provided some really beautiful effects, plus export to Quicktime.




The Dhows of Zanzibar

This was published in Wooden Boat magazine in the June/July 2008 edition. Here is a (very similar) version from my web site.

PDFBologna Visas

A guide for SAIS students going to Bologna. Collected experiences and tips on how to acquire a visa for your spouse and/or family. (Revised April 2004)

Technical Manuals (Woodnotes)

My Woodnotes guides to open source software have proven to be somewhat popular. That makes me happy, since I put a lot of time and effort into them. Here they are:

PDFWoodnotes Guide to the Mutt email client: over seven years, this has been downloaded over 42,000 times. I've even found older versions on pirate/warez sites, silly since it's been free and freely-distributable since day one.

PDFWoodnotes Guide to Emacs for Writers and Emacs Cheatsheet have been downloaded well over 20,000 times since first published in 2005.

PDFWoodnotes Guide to Vim for Writers: in the same trend, Vim has lots of useful tools for writers.

PDFWoodnotes Guide to using Jedit to code manuscripts for Avalon Travel Publishing: produced for a potential reading audience of probably only myself. But I'm proud of it, and Jedit made the manuscripts I submitted to ATP immensely higher quality as a result.

Key to Document Formats:
PDFAdobe Acrobat PDF format. or StarOffice Impress format (XML). MOVApple Quicktime
You can download the free Acrobat reader here. You can download - an office suite compatible with Microsoft Office and better in some ways, here for free. StarOffice is available from Sun Microsystems here.

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