A Blog by Scott Isaacs

Tag: Books Page 1 of 2

On Visual Studio Project Templates

If the Blank App template were a sheet of white printer paper, the Navigation App template would be a sheet of graph paper — both are essentially empty, but one provides some helpful structure. By contrast, the Grid App or Split App templates might be pages from a coloring book, where the outline of your application is provided and only the details must be filled in.

(from my upcoming book)

Beginning Windows 8 Development (book)

You may or may not know that I am currently writing a book.  If you didn’t, now you do.  That’s a picture of the cover.

It’s a book about writing software for Windows 8 using HTML and JavaScript.  The first few chapters are heavily based on a similar book which introduces building Windows 8 applications with C#.  I’m really excited about it, and it should be available by the end of summer.  I’m not done yet, and I have a fair amount more work to go, but it’s getting there.  

A few weeks ago, the publisher, Apress, made an alpha version of the book available on their site.  Buying the alpha version gives you access to draft versions of the chapters I am writing as I submit them, even before the editing process has been completed.  Then I found out earlier this week that you can also pre-order the book on Amazon.  I thought that was pretty cool, and it’s kind of a boost to the ego to see that, not to mention adding motivation to complete the process.

Imagine my surprise today, though, to come across this advertisement “in the wild” when checking the weekend weather.

.NET Micro Framework

Just got a book in the mail from Amazon: Embedded Programming with the Microsoft .NET Micro Framework.  It was only about $6 from the "Used and New" section of alternate sellers.

An upcoming project at work is currently planned for Compact Framework, but, if my limited understanding is right, hardware needed for the Micro Framework is cheaper.  So as long as it will perform as needed, this might be the way to go.

Has anyone done any development with the .NET Micro Framework yet?  Any pointers or pitfalls?

A Christmas Shopping Story

Charlie Reading So Charlize and I were out Christmas shopping for Kelly a couple months ago.  We went to Barnes and Noble to see if there were any good books for Mommy.  We entered the store on the second floor through the kids section, so I grabbed a book for Charlie to read while I was shopping.

Charlie Reading While walking through the store, we got lots of looks.  I guess people have never seen a (then) 15 month old reading in her stroller.  What do they expect her to do in a bookstore?  Just sit there?  Well, apparently, the book was too elementary for her because, as you can see from the pictures, she finished it in a hurry.  She even read it 2 or 3 times.

Well, I was browsing the books and saw one that interested me, even though I was supposed to be shopping for my wife.  I stopped the stroller on the side of that aisle and took a quick look at the book.  (I don’t even remember what it was anymore.)  Since Charlie had already read her book 3 times now (maybe even 4 by this point), she started looking around and found one that looked particularly interesting to her.  She leaned forward in her stroller and grabbed this one off the shelf by herself.  Seriously.  She almost dropped it, but when I saw what she was doing I helped her out.

Charlie Reading The book she picked?  Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers.  I’m not sure what interested her most: the interview with Mary Jo Foley or the one with Robert Scoble.  In either case, she really seemed to be attached to this one and had no interest in me putting it back on the shelf for her.

Charlie's BooksShe read this book for a while, but never finished it.  I think it was physically just too heavy for her little hands.  Either that or she got frustrated reading about The Unofficial Apple Weblog.  Eventually, we left it with the first book on a table in the coffee shop after drinking a venti something-or-other and a bottle of Fiji water.  I’m thinking I should add it to her Amazon wish list.

I know I will undoubtedly miss many moments in her life, but I want to keep that to a minimum.  When possible, Kelly and I try to capture as many things on camera as we can so that we always remember those moments that we don’t miss.  And so we can share them with family and friends who don’t get to see her very often.  Thank God for camera phones.

Sunday Afternoon Reading

Work has been killing me lately (the last several months), but things are starting to calm down and I think I only worked about 45-50 hours last week. 

I spent yesterday with the family at the zoo.  Charlie has been to the zoo more times in her 12 months of life than I had been in the 31 years before she was born.  She likes any animal that is moving, and she absolutely loves the carousel.  Kelly’s sister has a zoo pass and the three of them (Kelly, Charlie and Aunt Katie) have gone many times over the past spring and summer.

Book CoverSo anyway, today I thought I’d take some time to either work on some side projects or try to pick up some knowledge on some newer bit of tech that I haven’t been able to use yet.  I decided to finally try (again) to play around with some WPF stuff.  I don’t have an immediate use for it, but there is some upcoming stuff at work that I might like to create with WPF.

Previously I’ve played around a little with it in VS and Blend, just to sort of get a feel for it.  Today, though, I thought I’d read and have a little more structured learning.  Fortunately, I had a copy of Charles Petzold’s WPF book in the home office (Applications = Code + Markup), so I grabbed it and started flipping through it — structured flipping, of course.  I read a few pages and then started scanning through the book to see if there were any topics that seemed to particularly interest me.  That’s when I finally got to page 611.

Page 611As you can see, Mr. Petzold must have been busy with other things at the moment he was writing this page.  Maybe he was thinking, “Hmm, 611.  That’s the number I call to connect directly to my phone company.”  Or maybe he knows someone born on June 11?  I don’t know what it was, but he forgot to include part of the page.

Or maybe it’s not his fault at all, and some rogue employee at the publisher decided to sabotage the book?

Page 612The strangest part of all of this is that there is also part of page 612 missing.  Coincidence?  Unlikely.

I’m not sure what to do.  This is very discouraging.

Maybe I should give up on reading and go outside or something.

Do You Like Catfish?

If you think back, you may remember that I blogged about a being a technical reviewer for an upcoming O’Reilly book.  Well the book has just been published, and I got a copy in the mail today.  In the O’Reilly tradition, it has an animal on the front cover — a catfish.

If anyone buys a copy, I’d be happy to sign it for you.

You know, now that I’m famous… and published…  sort of…  in that “I didn’t really write anything — I just read the book” sort of way.

Update: A co-worker pointed out that my name was listed in the credits at the end of the introduction.  I didn’t even realize that I had been mentioned in the book.  Now you have to buy it.

Reading List

It’s not really a New Year’s resolution, but I’ve decided to try to read more.  Here is a list of books that Auren Hoffman — a friend, and former boss — has read in 2005.  He has highlighted his highest recommendations in orange.  Unfortunately for me, I am color blind and can’t seem to see the color difference on my latpop screen.  So I picked through the HTML, found the most recommended ones, and have listed them here.

Since I don’t have a list of my own, I’ll probably use Auren’s list as a starting point.  I’ve already read the Feynman book, and I have recently purchased Blink (audiobook) and Freakonomics (hardback), so I should be busy for a while.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions.

Head First Design Patterns (Part II)

I bought Head First Design Patterns (“Part I” here) today.  There are lots of exercises in the book, and they apparently (according to the Introduction) are a very important part of the learning process.  My dilemma, though, is that I don’t know if I should write in the book, or keep notes separately.  I normally don’t like writing in books, but I don’t know why.

BTW, I decided to post about “Head First” as much as possible because it makes caseygiggle“.

Update: I just saw this.  It’s a C# implementation of the various source files from the Head First book provided by Mark McFadden.  (Via Sean, via Darrel.)

Head First Design Patterns

Has anyone bought and read Head First Design Patterns (or as Gerry calls it, “The Hot Blonde Patterns Book”)?  I’ve been slacking off on learning more about patterns, and have recently rekindled my interest.  I have Refactoring to Patterns at home, and have started to read that one, but a few people have mentioned this one to me as well.

The problem is, though, that I have focus problems when … Ooh!  Look at that bird!  Oh, sorry.  I have a hard time reading.  I understand it just fine, but I often lose interest quickly (unless I’m getting paid for it).  This book (image borrowed from Amazon), though, looks like it might actually be able to hold my interest.  I read a sample chapter (linked from this page) — the whole chapter — so there might be hope.

I just need someone to verify this and to vouch for its content.  Aside from being easy to read, is there enough information in the book to make it worth while?  Any takers?  Thanks.

Update: I should have mentioned that I have the GoF book, but for me it seems more like a reference than a tutorial.

I Am A Tech Reviewer

Well, it looks like I am officially a tech reviewer now.  About a month ago, I mentioned that I had met a Sr. Editor from O’Reilly while in Orlando.  Well, last week he e-mailed me to ask if I was interested in reviewing a new VB book that they’re putting together.

Of course, I said yes, so he sent me the book (actually, just a few chapters of it so far), and I read it.  I finished reading it a few days ago, but wanted to review one chapter again, so I just sent it back to him today with my notes.

To top it off, apparently, I actually get paid for this stuff.  I might have been willing to do it for free until he mentioned that.  🙂

Surprisingly, this whole process seems to be pretty informal.  I got a bunch of Word docs (one for each chapter, appendix, etc.), and an 8 question survey.  That was pretty much all I got.  I made my notes using Word’s revision functionality and just sent back the updated files.

Hopefully I’ll get to see the rest of this book before it’s published.  There are a couple chapters that sound interesting.

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