Quote: Don’t Try to Remember it All

November 5, 2009

Don’t even try to remember it all. Remember that what you’ve seen is possible. Remember what is an integral foundation to what you’re doing. Remember what you work with every day. Then remember to build a good reference library … for the rest.

— Robert Vieira (Professional Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 Programming, Page 20)

Book Review: Make Today Count (John C Maxwell)

September 11, 2009

This post has been moved to MarksInTheSand.com.

Great Programming Books: 2008

December 10, 2008

Last year, I made a list of Great Programming books. Here is an update to that list.

I have read and highly recommend the following:

These are often recommended by people who have read the above:

  • Alan Cooper, “The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity
  • Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister , “Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams
  • Martin Fowler, “Patterns of Enterprise Architecture
  • Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman, Kathy Sierra, Bert Bates, “Head First Design Patterns
  • Erich Gamma et al, “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
  • Andrew Hunt and David Thomas , “The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
  • Bertrand  Meyer, “Object-oriented Software Construction

Other people’s ideas about great programming books:

Mini Book Review: Graphics Programming in Windows (Charles Petzold)

November 14, 2008

Graphics Programming in Windows

My personal library is overcrowded, so over the years I have found it necessary to dispose of many books on outmoded technology. This book by Charles Petzold is different. Indeed, its unparalleled coverage of graphics programming techniques make it worth every inch of the space it takes up on my shelf.

Indeed, this book is a timeless classic. Although this it was written some time in the 1990s, its contents apply equally well to modern versions of Windows. Of course, it lacks details of the innovations that have occurred since it was written, but the programming techniques that it espouses will be as useful now as ever they were. Indeed, it is hard to find fault with a single example given in this volume.

Some people may find the book a little brief in places. Indeed, it does lack the depth of cover found in Petzold’s other books. Nevertheless, this book is without comparison in its subject area. If anyone is looking for a book on Windows Graphics, you’d be hard pressed to find one that is as informative as this one.

Sadly, Amazon lists this book as out of print. But, if you can obtain a copy of this book, I urge you to buy it. You won’t be sorry.

In short, highly recommended!

The Ultimate Library

July 31, 2008

A copy of computing ( 31sth July 2008 ) has just landed on my desk. It carries an article about the British Library‘s need to digitise information. I was reminded of an idea that I had some time ago…

Apparently, the British Library already holds “a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland”. I believe that the availability of digital versions of these publications is at the voluntary discretion of publishers.

My proposal is that:

  1. Any new edition of a book should be obliged to provide an electronic copy of that book to the library.
  2. Once copyright on that book expires, all those books should the be made available on the Internet for anyone to read.

This would:

  • Ensure the digital preservation and availability of those publications for future generations.
  • Enable the library to reduce the shelf space allocated to books by maintaining books in digital form rather than in print (currently, library increases shelf space by some 12km a year).
  • It would encourage (but not necessitate) publishers to provide e-versions of more of their books. There is a growing number of readers who already prefer non-paper versions of books.
  • Books could easily be copied to multiple physical locations, so the loss of one location would not result in the loss of the books.

Of course, there would be costs:

There would be a burden on publishers to provide the electronic documents. However

  • The majority of books already exist in digital form at the point of publication.

The remainder would need to be digitised by the publisher, but the cost of digitisation could be spread amongst the beneficiaries of publications:

  • Publications that are not made commercially available could be given an exemption.
  • Books with small print runs (say, less than 500 copies) could be given an exemption.

The other cost is the maintenance of equipment and knowledge needed to actually read all these publications. However:

  • The British Library already holds a vast collection of digital material, so future readability is already a concern.

In my view, these measures would leave future generations with access to the Ultimate Library.

Reading Goals 2008

January 17, 2008

In 2008 I plan to read at least 12 books:

3 Great Novels

Great Programming Books

3 Personal Development Books

3 Spiritual Development Books

Great Books

December 20, 2007

It is not enough to read good books, nor even vert good books. Life is too short for all that. We must resolve only to read great books, and to read them again.