Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Overall the authors do a good job of coaching how to use the 2010 features of both products effectively. Some chapters may seem long and cumbersome. The authors provide useful stories to keep things in perspective. The authors now only focus on the "how" to use specific features but also on the "why" it is important. One can easily relate to the situations mentioned in the book. If people treat time as money, then they would probably spend it wisely and not waste it. That is the crux of this book. I would definitely recommend reading this book even if you have read other books on time management.
Friday, September 16, 2011
The format of this book is very different from the regular O'Reilly books. It is written by a geek for geeks. So it doesn't start with a smooth introduction about the basics. It seems to have a rocky start since a lot of assumptions is made about the reader. The diagrams also seem to be hand-drawn on napkins. Chapters 1 and 2 contain a bit of what the author self-admittedly confession to be "fluff". Things start getting interesting from Chapter 3 where the author covers installation on the different OSes and how to figure out connecting the board to your computer.
Chapter 4 really rocks. I think I finally got what Arduino is in this chapter. I immediately ordered my Arduino UNO since I got the hang of it in this chapter. Chapter 5 takes you to the next level by talking about advanced I/O. The author keeps your interest piqued by informing you about the various I/O sensors that can sense the environment. Chapters 6 talks about some advanced circuits using a breadboard, components, and some wires. Chapter 7 ends the book with troubleshooting techniques. Appendices at the end of the book provide reference material for breadboard, reading resistor and capacitor values, and Arduino programming reference.
Overall the book is excellent for getting started with Arduino. It has rekindled mlove for microcontrollers that I hadn't touched for the last 15 years since I pursued a career in Java development. It inspired me to buy an Arduino UNO board and I hope to nurture the interest in electronics in my kids by showing them and let them do stuff as well.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
This book stands out in the number of screenshots - there is virtually one on every page. The author has take great pains to explain each concept systematically. Chapter 1 starts off with the typical "Hello World" program which ends with simplifying the complex technique of importing the Apple key so you can develop and debug your precious iOS application. Chapter 2 talks about the different application layouts. Progressively the author goes on to talk about configuration settings, APIs, File System, interacting with the OS, and designing for iOS. The last chapter elaborates the process of publishing your spectacular iOS application to the App Store.
In my opinion, no book has made it as easy as this. The author has provided all the sample codes in a zip file on a website so you can save precious time typing out the code.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
If you were not able to go to the OSCON 2011, don't lose heart. O'Reilly has done a wonderful job of recording the HTML5 sessions into this series. I was amazed at the quality of the recording and the content of the materials. Clearly, this series is presented by the best of the best techies. If you can devote roughly 11 hours of your time to go through these presentations, you will be well ahead of your peers. I believe it is extremely valuable to me. I learned quite a few new things related to architecture, technologies, and tips and tools.
I totally recommend buying this series or getting your employer to buy it for you. It will definitely improve your productivity, expand your thinking into creating better design, make your applications scalable, help you think about managing a large project, etc. I could just go on extolling the virtues of the presentations. I definitely look forward to next year.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The book is an interesting read. The author makes it akin to keeping scores in sports. He explain each metric with formula and examples. He categorizes the metrics into skill, response, and value metrics.
Overall, I think the book is very well-written. However, in practice it might be an extremely manual process to capture this data. Software development is a fast-paced activity leaving very little time to maintain data on each coder manually, especially in a large team. I would stick to the automated way of TeamCity + Sonar way of capturing coder metric data for now.
Monday, August 22, 2011
If you have been wondering about Software Transactional Memory, The Actor Model, MapReduce, and other buzz words that have been going around lately, its time to pick this book. The author does a fine job of explaining what FP is, what it aims to solve, when to use it, and how to get started with it. The author explains very well the differences between imperative (OOP) and declarative (FP) programming.
This book is a brief introductory book that scratches the FP arena. By no means there is any depth provided. Developers looking for developing expertise in a particular FP language have to look elsewhere but might benefit from reading this book to get a good overview.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
In just 5 chapters, I learned a great deal about the fundamentals of Spring. Enough to get me started on enterprise level projects where I can build on my foundation. The power of this book lies in its simplicity. Most books on Spring are around 300-400 pages. This book is 62 pages. What can one learn in 62 pages, you might ask! Here's what I learned in one weekend - Basic mechanisms of dependency injection, bean life-cycle, bean instantiation techniques, autowiring techniques, event handling, JMS, and data integration. You might complain that it didn't cover bells and whistles like Spring Security, Spring Webflow, etc, etc, but these are add-ons that you can grasp easily once you get your foundation strong. I applaud the author for keeping it simple yet useful and O'Reilly for publishing it.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Book Review: Practical Packet Analysis using wireshark to solve real-world network problems by Chris Sanders (No Starch Press, Inc)
Recently I had a crisis at work. A group of hackers had attacked the corporate network and as a result everything was shutdown for security reasons. As the network was gradually opened up for business, our business partners were not able to call some of our web services. That was a puzzling thing as other web services were reachable. As a lead for the application development team I had no idea how to debug this except to set up a SWAT team meeting with the infrastructure and networking team. I was the weakest link in the room as I had no idea what the terms and terminologies meant. Needless to say, I was embarassed. The one thing that was spoken about frequently in those meetings was Wireshark. I couldn't find a good book on Wireshark at that time so the moment this book came out, I decided to review it. I am really impressed by this book. Not that I am waiting for a crisis at work, but the next time I would definitely be well-prepared thanks to this book.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Highlights of this book:
- Easy to follow, lots of examples. I was able to run most of the examples without any hassle.
- You don't have to know Groovy to understand this book
- The last chapter covers how to do enterprise level multi-project builds. That was really helpful.
- No clutter or unnecessary information that you can find elsewhere. Nice, small book of 110 pages.
- I was able to complete this book in about 3 hours and I am a slow reader!
I had the pleasure of attending the No Fluff Just Stuff conference in 2011 and boy, was I impressed! Both the authors are very well respected in this field. If you have been living in the complex world of Maven where you are afraid to touch something because it might break something else, then this book is of you. If your enterprise is going to continue to use Maven, it does not in any way mean that you cannot unleash the power of Gradle. This book will teach you how to do that. As an added bonus, this book has been reviewed by Ken Sipe, the CTO of Gradleware, someone I know and respect!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
The author has neatly put "My Recommendations" at the end of each major section and "My Conclusions" at the end of each chapter. This would help in refreshing your memory periodically since you wouldn't have to read the whole book over again. This book cleared my understanding of things I didn't follow in the user manual. Example, "Auto Gain" when shooting with "Multiple Exposure". Thoughout the book valuable tips are given plus the author has provided supplemental material (thus reducing clutter in the book) on his website (firmware upgrade, video editing software, understanding depth of field, aperture, and shutter speed, etc).
This book will help you get the "oohs" and "aahs" from your family, neighbors, friends (including facebook friends), and curious strangers. Master this book and become an instant celebrity like I did!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The first chapter gives an overview of the entire stack of virtualization - Access, Application, Processing, Network, and Storage along with the broader aspect of Security and Management across each layer. Chapter two explains Access virtualization with a nice flow of what it is, when is it the right choice, providers, and a few examples. This flow is maintained in the remaining chapters covering the other types of virtualization mentioned above.
Overall, I found this book to be very concise as a pocket guide covering virtualization broadly. Indeed, it is targetted at managers since it is at a high-level. If you are a techie looking for depth, you are better off looking elsewhere.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This book is divided into seven chapters starting with networking models (OSI, TCP/IP) and ending with subnetting. Most of the material is dry but the author keeps the flow going steadily by providing screen printouts of Wireshark and explaining it with his pedantic style. Questions, answers, and exercises at the end of each chapter reinforce your learning. I liked chapter 5 (Network equipment) and Chapter 7 (Subnetting) very much as it is explained well and also I can relate it to my work.
This book is certainly not for the faint of heart. It is not your grand-father's "Hello World" book. In fact, it reads like a computer science text book. The author has pain-stakingly tried to simplify it as much as he could. As Einstein said, "Keep it simple but not any simpler". A background in networking would help refresh your knowledge and this book serves exactly that. If you are an absolute beginner looking for a basic book on networking, this book is not for you. However, if it's been a few years since your last networking class, you should be able to pick things up with the help of this book.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I was delighted by the author's simple style of explaining these concepts. It makes this book a pleasure to read and easy to follow step-by-step. I highly recommend this book to anyone doing AIR development on Android. This book and videos on the Adobe developer site for connecting to server side would (Java/Spring/Hibernate) would be a great resource to keep handy.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
mobile programming with the latest release of their Flash Builder IDE.
Without much fluff, this book dives straight into the "hello world" application. Within the first 10 pages, you are all set to write your first app and debug it. Most other books waste pages and pages in the first couple of chapters going into the history of computing and how we have arrived today at mobile programming. I am sick of that! So this book was a pleasant surprise in that respect. Once you are done with Chapter 1, you have gained enough momentum to just breeze through the rest of the book. Chapter 2 covers layouts which is useful info about the various UI design choices you have to make. Chapter 3 covers permissions, scaling for screen, orientation, etc. Again, delightfully no fluff! Chapter 4 is the best chapter (for me!) as it covers using the various device features like accelerometer, GPS, Camera UI, Camera Roll, Microphone, Multitouch and Busy Indicator. All this within the Flex mobile framework! The book concludes with a chapter on publshing to Android Installer.
What I like about this book is that it is pretty light-weight, quick and easy to follow with step by step instructions! Most books that I have read have at least 30%-50% wasteful material which makes them exhausting to read. I can't believe I finished reading this book in about 4 hours (and I am a slow reader!) and fully grasped what it takes to develop a solid Flex mobile application. I look forward to more from this author.
Monday, May 16, 2011
If you are wanting to learn Android in a hurry and want to finish in a couple of weekends, this is the book to go for. Otherwise, just go through the official documentation and spend months trying to write a decent application.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The book is divided into two parts - Mechanics and Practice. The first part talks about the various productivity tools for different platforms. It is very thoughtful of the author to cover all major Operating Systems. The second part talks largely about high-level approaches to productivity.
Neal's hand-on approach to ditching the mouse and getting the control back to the keyboard emphasizes on being street-smart with your machine. The best thing I liked about this book is the variety of tools explained for various situations, including acceleration, automation of repititive tasks, using virtual desktops, avoiding distractions, writing Ruby scripts to enhance productivity, etc. I would definitely keep a copy of this book close to me and periodically refer to it. I look forward to Neal's suggestion of having an online repository for tools, tips, and mechanics for creating more productive programmers. Some of the tips won't sweep you off your feet but most of the tips were a delight to read and start using right away.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
- Developing large web applications
- Designing Web Interfaces
- Cloud Application Architectures
- App Inventor
- Analyzing Business Data with Excel
- Event Driven Applications with Flex 4
- Facebook: The missing manual, third edition
- Learning Flex 4