Sunday, 24 April 2011

Market Forces

Richard Morgan
ISBN: 978-0575081260

I did not like this book at all! Which is very disappointing because, despite some slow parts, I've loved everything else I’ve read by Richard Morgan. There were a few good sections, but the book never got going, there was no plot, the climax was quick and disappointing and I had a feeling the whole way through that I was missing something. Maybe I was. As I've implied before, I like my science fiction novels to have science fiction in them and it was mostly missing here. And of course Lackenheath is in Suffolk, not Norfolk. I'm told Black Man is very much better and I won't let one poor story put me off Richard Morgan.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Our House is Forsale

3 bedroom town house for sale
Marauder Road,Old Catton,Norwich,NR6

MODERN 3 story home in Catton which features living room with Juliet balcony, separate dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, downstairs cloakroom, 3/4 bedrooms with en-suite shower room to master, bathroom, gardens, parking & garage. CALL LINK UP PROPERTIES ON (01603) 76 40 40 TO VIEW.

See this property on rightmove.co.uk

Dive Into Python

by Mark Pilgrim
ISBN: 978-1590593561

I used to do the odd bit of Python programming a few years ago and as part of a recent position. I hadn't done any for a year or more and when I came to pick it up again, to write some acceptance tests for a .Net command line application, I found I could hardly remember anything. So I asked some people about good refresher books. Dive Into Python came dubiously recommended.

Dive Into Python is a great book, once you get used to the chatty style and things like “...actually, what I just told you was a lie. The truth is....” and “....you didn't really think that did you? Go and sit in the naughty corner!” Each chapter builds on the next and has copious amounts of examples, all of which are explained in detail line by line. The domain of all the examples are simple and extremely well thought out.

The web service chapters aren't really about web services, but web service clients. I found this rather disappointing. I skipped the chapters on XML manipulation and regular expressions. The chapter on dynamic functions says that you should read the chapter on regular expressions first, but there's really no need as all the regular expressions are explained in detail. The unit testing chapters are very good. The functional chapter is really just an extension of the unit testing chapters. Following the optimisation chapter, the final 20% of the book is appendices.

Dive into Python is available for free here.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Nested Types

The ideas behind encapsulation and abstraction, to a certain extent, are about you as a developer keeping control of your code and how others use your code. For example if there's an operation in your library that would have bad consequences, you make it difficult or impossible to do.

Developers being able to understand your code is also very important. Putting things in context makes understanding your code easier.

What's my point? Nested types, enums, constants etc, not only help you control the way your code is used, they also identify those nested things as belonging to the context of the class in which they are nested.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Firstborn: A Time Odyssey Book Three

by Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
ISBN: 978-0575083417

I read the other two Time Odyssey books some years ago I seem to remember enjoying them more. It could be of course that since I've discovered Alistair Reynolds and Richard Morgan, Arthur C. Clarke's relatively soft style just doesn't cut the mustard.

I did enjoy this book. I also discovered I'd forgotten most of the story from the previous two. The story develops on three different fronts, Earth, Mars and Mir and I had trouble following the characters from one switch to the next.

Nothing very exciting happens throughout, but it does get better towards the end. In fact I couldn't put the book down for the last 80%. I'll still read Arthur C. Clarke and I do hope Stephen Baxter writes another in the time Odyssey series.