Having not read Plato's The Republic, I May be lacking the right lens through which to evaluate this book. Nevertheless, there is some interesting stufHaving not read Plato's The Republic, I May be lacking the right lens through which to evaluate this book. Nevertheless, there is some interesting stuff going on in here. I'm especially taken in by Walton's take on relationships and sexual politics. (The bit with Apollo in particular? A+)...more
Fantastic. Not as edgy (perhaps?) as Dhalgren, but experimental at enough points, while still retaining a more/less linear superstructure to keep itFantastic. Not as edgy (perhaps?) as Dhalgren, but experimental at enough points, while still retaining a more/less linear superstructure to keep it accessible. Gets a bit G.E.B.-ish at the end there, but it's a satisfying space romp (even if Rydra comes off as a bit Mary-Sue-ish in the depth and breadth of her abilities, though not at all Mary-Sue-ish w/r/t/ her being an authorial wish-fulfillment and/or personal insertion (though I'd stand by assessments that Dhalgren's "The Kid" is such a character))...more
An interesting way of thinking about teams and teamwork, and the ways it can go wrong. I'm grateful for the fable -- it makes it easier to digest theAn interesting way of thinking about teams and teamwork, and the ways it can go wrong. I'm grateful for the fable -- it makes it easier to digest the "teaching" portion in the form of a story. (Though as a story it has some cringe-worthy moments.) I also believe the part where he describes the five dysfunctions as "simple but requiring discipline to mitigate."...more
Would've been nice had this been an object lesson in dealing with disappointment. I guess the bit with Seymour goes a long way w/r/t/ "making things rWould've been nice had this been an object lesson in dealing with disappointment. I guess the bit with Seymour goes a long way w/r/t/ "making things right" when you goon up. But still anyway I guess kind of a cute story....more
Cute, I guess. But I could have done without the word "hate". (Also: I'd rather not need to explain "Good Samaritan" to the kids. "Nice" would have woCute, I guess. But I could have done without the word "hate". (Also: I'd rather not need to explain "Good Samaritan" to the kids. "Nice" would have worked just fine.)...more
Very solid introduction to D3.js. Written primarily for a non-technical audience, but includes just the right amount of information to get you orienteVery solid introduction to D3.js. Written primarily for a non-technical audience, but includes just the right amount of information to get you oriented to the library without feeling like it's patronizing or too shallow. (And/but/so Murray uses a colloquial tone which was fine with me but can rub some people the wrong way.) Despite being so long, it's actually a quick read -- which is good because you really ought to get through *at least* the chapter on scales before you try and go do anything with D3.
I learned quite a bit about Play, though most of what I learned feels like "guess I need to go learn Scala?" As the3 stars is generous; more like 2.5?
I learned quite a bit about Play, though most of what I learned feels like "guess I need to go learn Scala?" As the title suggests, the book does a pretty good job of laying out the essential parts of Play Framework (the foundational components, tools, and techniques), but I feel like you're only going to get a "scratch the surface" view of Play unless you're already familiar with Scala. Granted: Play also comes in a "plain Java" flavor, and the author includes equivalent examples (where possible) that are in Java, but these wind up feeling more like a distraction -- like you keep context switching.
I really feel like this book could have been made much better by two things:
(1) A quick introduction to Scala -- just like the quick introduction to Groovy that shows up as Chapter 2 of Grails in Action.
(2) Drop the Java examples -- or move them into some kind of appendix. They just feel like they distract from the main point. (And honestly, I just skipped most of them.)
As the book stands right now, it seems like it's a pretty good introduction to Play (again: I learned most of what I was hoping to learn) but it does gloss over some points, and (more importantly) if you don't know Scala, you're probably going to feel a little lost....more
I'd like to write a review at some point but for now, just some notes: (potential spoilers?)
1. Ending was pretty right-on. With that epilogue it was aI'd like to write a review at some point but for now, just some notes: (potential spoilers?)
1. Ending was pretty right-on. With that epilogue it was almost like trying to say "and everything went back to normal and they lived happily ever after" except that like two pages before that we know that that's simply not true.
2. Overall: chilling, esp. in light of Haldeman's own war experience. How much of it is extrapolated? vs. echoes of that experience?
3. Easy to see how much this informs a lot of the other sci-fi (Mil. or otherwise) that's out there, even if it's at arm's length, indirect, or incidental....more
Review forthcoming but short version: lots of good ideas, mostly overlapping nicely (or directly) with Scrum; still some unanswered challenges w/r/t/Review forthcoming but short version: lots of good ideas, mostly overlapping nicely (or directly) with Scrum; still some unanswered challenges w/r/t/ larger organizations. ...more
Much like the the original Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate, this is a great idea that is really hard to pull off, and more than a littlMuch like the the original Seven Languages in Seven Weeks by Bruce Tate, this is a great idea that is really hard to pull off, and more than a little bit challenging to take in as a reader. Trying to tackle this subject is very ambitious, particularly because the promise of this particular series is that the authors are going to take you beyond pure theory and demonstrate the practical applications of each of the seven highlighted paradigms (even if those "practical applications" are somewhat contrived and/or trivial). But that's also what's so goddamn enticing here: reading a bunch of academic baloney about the Actor model is all well and good but sometimes you need that little nudge that will carry you right into the loving arms of a Real World Example™. And it's those Real World Examples that are worth the price of admission, getting your hands dirty and really seeing why (and not just how) to apply a given concurrency/parallelism paradigm to a particular class of problem.
But this is also where things can be a bit challenging for (some) readers. If you are unable or unwilling to fully engage with the text -- to really dig into those examples and follow through on each of the FIND and DO follow-up sections... Well, it winds up just feeling like more of the same academic and/or in-the-abstract discussions. If you've read any of the other 7-in-7 series books, you're likely familiar with that point and are nodding vigorously there. But what makes this book doubly so is that not only are you learning the concurrency/parallelism paradigms, but you may also be having to learn "just enough" of the languages that go along with it.
Unfortunately for me, this one hit me in the sweet spot where my interest was very high, but my patience was at an all time low -- a double-dose of frustration and disappointment. Which is not to say that I didn't get anything out of this book -- it's certainly possible to take in quite a bit of academic and/or in-the-abstract information about the seven paradigms even without digging deep into the exercise. But... you'll miss out if you can't or don't. (I missed out.)...more
Decent intro reference to several of the bread-and-butter commands of the Unix/Linux/OS X command line world. It also introduces several of the importDecent intro reference to several of the bread-and-butter commands of the Unix/Linux/OS X command line world. It also introduces several of the important operators re: I/O redirection. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for a little bit more (e.g., differentiating between STDOUT and STDERR) but I would still strongly recommend it to anyone that needs to quickly learn their way around a modern shell....more
I borrowed this one from a friend; he said: "It gets pretty mathy toward the end." I think he meant in Part IV ("Theory") but "it gets mathy" happenedI borrowed this one from a friend; he said: "It gets pretty mathy toward the end." I think he meant in Part IV ("Theory") but "it gets mathy" happened for me on like... page 2. Which is fine because we're talking about feedback control loops which need to make continuous inferences about the state of an observed system &c. but... heads-up: there's some calculus.
Which isn't to say that you can't get anything out of this book if you are not yourself "mathy". Janert does an excellent job of explaining the principles behind feedback control (esp. w/r/t/ applying them to computer systems and software problems), and by the end of the book you should have at least a good enough understanding of the types of questions to be asking when assessing a system that you expect to put under some kind of feedback control mechanism. In other words, you may not know how to do the math ("yet!") but you'll know to ask things like: "If I increase servers, I should see a decrease in... overall latency?"
The other thing to take away from this is that Janert knows that despite the math, applying the feedback control principles is as much an art as it is a science. It's hard to get these exactly right on the first try, and it's expensive to experiment in production. So he also provides a bunch of simulation code to help bootstrap you.
Lastly: the colorized graphs are a nice touch....more
Disclosure: I didn't read it cover-to-cover as I have most other technical books over the past... couple years? (Always?) Regardless: I read the GC biDisclosure: I didn't read it cover-to-cover as I have most other technical books over the past... couple years? (Always?) Regardless: I read the GC bits in-depth and skimmed a lot of the rest of the text. There is a ton of useful information here -- some of it (like the sections on alternate JVM languages ) is mostly just for curiosity's sake, but there's also lot of really good stuff about the JVM itself (like the performance tuning bits). With the recent release of Java 8, this book (which was new when Java 7 was new) feels a little bit dated. But only a little bit.
Required reading for anyone doing anything more than just dabbling in the JVM.
Ian Darwin's Java Cookbook is out and it's a great resource for developers working in Java that are out there and scratching their heads asking "How wIan Darwin's Java Cookbook is out and it's a great resource for developers working in Java that are out there and scratching their heads asking "How would I go about...?"
The thing that makes Java Cookbook stand out is its comprehensive scope. Darwin has done an excellent job of gathering a wide array of common problems faced by Java developers and presenting solutions to those problems that are decipherable using just the language's standard library features. (Which isn't to say "ignore libraries" -- just that there are few (any?) recipes in this cookbook that require external dependencies.) By and large, the recipes are practical and are organized into sensible categories. This isn't a book that I'd recommend you read front-to-back, but if you're programming in Java, it's worth having it handy to help kickstart your thought process on a number of different problems. (Plus, 3rd edition has been updated to include solutions that highlight Java 8 features.)
In addition to the above, it's worth noting that while Java Cookbook isn't a great book to learn from, that if you have stumbled your way into Java with an otherwise solid software engineering background, that you could use it as a leg-up or crutch while you're otherwise getting up to speed....more
Reading this book, I am reminded first of my friend Mike. Of an evening in Baltimore at a mutual friend's home. Of vodka consumed and books given convReading this book, I am reminded first of my friend Mike. Of an evening in Baltimore at a mutual friend's home. Of vodka consumed and books given conversational chase and perhaps not a small amount of hero-worship on my part as he accelerated into his chosen field and I languished behind a copy machine at the worst-performing Kinko's in the country. [^1] House of Leaves may have been involved.
And I am reminded of my friends David and Jeffrey. Of our many lunches together and how they would veer wildly from one niche subject to another. Obsessive discussion of the high-precision clock in the Web Audio API lapses into puns cobbled together from pop songs which climb slowly into something about the Stoics.
And in this, it is delightfully illustrative. [^5] It shows those many approaches. It shows off those many language features. It shows off what one might accomplish with them. And in this, the astute reader [^6] will get some cheer from the light-handed (if overt [^7]) mockery Croll has made of The Good Parts -- but that same reader will also recognize the places where one's personal style and whimsy might become impenetrable to others. (But we'll acknowledge that those are all decisions we must make for ourselves, and at runtime.)
To Angus Croll: thank you for asking me to read this, and thank you for sharing it with the world. It's a real treat, and a book whose time has come.
[^1]: The actual performance ranking of that particular store is apocryphal.
[^2]: And looking again at that quote, it maybe doesn't say exactly what I remember it. But the gist is basically the same. And I know an awful lot of front-end developers that are formerly (and/or aspiring) musicians or physicists or novelists or farmers or what have you.
[^3]: And the Fibonacci assignment is so well-executed it's almost absurd. (And did you enjoy that progression? And did you get the joke re: from Hemingway to Brown?)
[^4]: And in so doing, takes a little dig on Java and its verbosity and ceremony and its own idioms and maybe just maybe he's being just a little hard on Java in the introduction there, but it's still worth laughing aloud.
It's got some great pictures, and it's not that it's not informative, but it's just not as detailed as something like How to Brew or The Complete JIt's got some great pictures, and it's not that it's not informative, but it's just not as detailed as something like How to Brew or The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. What's weird about this book is that because there's so little detail, it seems to jump right into all-grain brewing. This is fine (all-grain is something that at least this homebrewer aspires to) but that translates into the author seeming to gloss over some of the fundamental mechanics. (Example: how exactly does one rack for secondary fermentation? Example: there's only like two pages on sanitation which let's face it isn't as sexy as choosing malts but is maybe way more important.)
Despite those criticisms, it's a pretty good book. The many (and large) color pictures are attractive, and make it a good book to show to beginners to get them excited. (...and/or interested children.) The pictures help to give a good picture of what the equipment looks like and how to use it. (Which of course was part of why I was disappointed that there wasn't more in there about racking (though maybe I wasn't reading closely enough?) and sanitizing.) There's also a couple of good quick reference charts (e.g., for different types of hops, grains, yeasts) and a ton of recipes, some of which even have malt extract variations.
I don't know that I'd recommend this as a stand-alone homebrew book, but it would make a good companion to one of the classics (i.e., Palmer or Papazian)....more