Music

The Resistance by Muse

The Resistance by Muse album coverRight now i am listening to the new album ‘The Resistance’ by Muse. I willingly admit to be a big fan of Muse, and can clearly remember the first times I heard Showbiz and Absolution. Not to say their other albums are not great, but these two both blew me away. So how does The Resistance compare?

This is a grandiose, ambitious and over to the top album, but not in a bad way. In the Muse way, very theatrical and uplifting. I couldn’t imagine anyone listening not to have a strong opinion, and mine is very positive. Maybe not as initially mind blowing as Showbiz, but I would recommend everyone give it a listen. I know I will listen many times in the weeks and months to come. Some thoughts while listening: a quiet piano recital, Doctor Who, Queen and ‘I want the truth’.

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Software Development

Review of Coder To Developer

I was a little disappointed after reading this book. I am a fan of Mike Gunderloy’s writing style (print & web), but I feel this book wasn’t quite honest. Yes there is plenty of great info for those new to programming or with limited experience, but the book is very C#/.NET centric. Anyone who doesn’t use C# may feel a bit ripped off. All code examples are in C# and many of the tools mentioned are relevant to .NET only. A number of sections are very helicopter in view, with links to relevant in depth information that can be found elsewhere. For example, patterns get just 2 pages. Those with limited programming experience (possibly self taught), or coming from non object orientated or 4GL environments will get the most out of this book, others will find it a light read.

Readability 4 from 5
Subject Depth 3 from 5

Title Coder To Developer
Year 2004
Author Mike Gunderloy
Publisher Sybex
Pages 352

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Software Development

Review of The Art of SQL

Starting with a small negative. This book frustrated me at times. There is no shortage of great (and essential) information from start to finish, but the constant ‘battle’ references, and over explanation on non essential points drove me crazy. eg. In the discussion of atomicity, an extra couple of sentences on its 5th century Greek origins is a distraction. That aside, this is the best practical SQL/Relation model book I have read. Chapter 6, ‘The Nine Situations’ is perfect to make yourself look at data situations in different ways, and the different ways of handling them. I had not thought of breaking them down like this. Don’t even think of reading this book unless you have a number of years of RDBMS experience & some failure, as you will be left behind. Even experienced database developers will be challenged, and may have to come back to a topic later (like I did a number of times), for it to make its point. An almost brilliant book.

Readability 3 from 5
Subject Depth 5 from 5

Authors Stephane Faroult & Peter Robson
Publisher O’Reilly
Year 2006
Pages 367
ISBN 0596008945

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Software Development

Review of Code Complete 2nd edition

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Many programmers with years of experience (including myself), can become a little lazy or narrow in their thoughts about programming and software construction. This is the book to break this. The breadth of the book is amazing and makes you think about your code and coding style in different ways. Examples are numerous and finely grained to get the individual point. Also they cross languages such as C++, Java, VB, APL and pseudo code so they point is not obscured by language differences. Chapter 20 on ‘Software Quality’ is the stand out, and will expand all developers minds from narrow short term considerations that can often prevail.

Readability 4 from 5
Subject Depth 5 from 5

Title Code Complete (2nd edition)
Year 2004
ISBN 978-0735619678
Author Steve McConnell
Publisher Microsoft Press

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Software Development

Review of ‘Producing Open Source Software’ by Karl Fogel

Anyone who has searched through the massive list of projects at Sourceforge and other places will know they are full of interesting ideas that never got off the ground, or stall after a couple of releases. And it is not an outrageous statement that a group of developers with all the required technical skills does not necessarily make a successful project, especially when the target audience are not fellow developers. At the same time FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) has the ability to draw on such a diverse range of people in both background and abilities and the potential is enormous when properly harnessed and directed.
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