Meditations on programming, startups, and technology
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Pebble Smartwatch Review: A Useful Dumbwatch

Just before Christmas I received a Pebble Smartwatch (Manufacturer | Amazon). This is a brief review, but I’ll try to share everything that you realistically need to know before deciding on whether to get this gadget. After a few weeks of use, I affectionately call it my “dumbwatch”, because I find it to be a lot dumber than what you might expect from an electronic device in 2014, yet it still manages to be...

An In-depth Review of Fitbit One, Fitbit Aria, and Fitbit Premium

According to Wikipedia, the Quantified Self is “a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs, states, and performance (mental and physical)”. I find data to be a catalyst towards improving my behavior and habits, so I decided to quantify an area of my life that I have often neglected in favor of others: my fitness level (or lack...

A Review of the TV Show Start-Ups: Silicon Valley

Several years ago I remarked to my wife about how mainstream media was largely ignoring the world of startups. The amount of coverage in books, news, television and movies was sparse for such a revolutionary industry, let alone one with a track record of producing billion dollar companies. In some ways it still is, but things have slowly improved, as I conjectured at the time. Startups have garnered much wider...

Eloquent Ruby Review

In 2007 Russ Olsen published Design Patterns in Ruby (US | UK | CA). Right around that time there were several other Ruby books hitting the shelves (as Rails was really reaching the peak of its popularity), however Olsen’s book managed to distinguish itself as a highly valuable resource for readers who wanted to better understand how to apply design patterns to Ruby programming (in an organic rather than dogmatic...

The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-4A Boxed Set

There’s exciting news in Computer Science-land this week, as the 4A volume (on Combinatorial algorithms) of The Art of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth is now complete and is available for preorder on Amazon. To make things even more intriguing, and to really get all of us CS/programming/math enthusiasts salivating, the boxed set is also made available for preorder (it’s slated to ship out next...

In-Depth Book Review: Authoring eBooks

Jeremy McAnally is a fairly well known name in the Ruby community. Among other gigs, he’s published three Ruby related books: Ruby in Practice, Humble Little Ruby Book, and most recently The Rails 3 Upgrade Handbook. The latter book earned him over $40,000 in a year. That’s excellent, considering that we are talking about passive income from a single, relatively small, self-published ebook. Jeremy has...

In-Depth Book Review: Practical Clojure

Title: Practical ClojureAuthors: Luke VanderHart and Stuart SierraTrue pp.: 198Publisher: ApressPublished on: June 2010ISBN-13: 978-1430272311Rating: 6.5/10 Published in June 2010, Practical Clojure by Luke VanderHart and Stuart Sierra is the latest Clojure book to hit stores. Despite the Clojure 1.0 jar shown at the beginning of the book, this title tries to cover the current version of the language, including...

Ten recent programming books that will make you a better developer

Programming is the type of discipline that requires countless hours of dedication to reading and writing code, rather than purely theoretical learning from books. Yet programming books can be enlightening and provide guidance while one attempts to hone their craft in the pursuit of mastery. In this post I’ll share a (necessarily incomplete) list of relatively new books that I believe will make most developers...

Recommended Ruby and Rails books (August 2009)

I finally got around to updating the Ruby and Rails book pages. The existing list was getting a bit obsolete and I didn’t like the idea of recommending old books to newcomers. I also had some interesting new entries. Without further ado: Recommended Ruby Books Recommended Rails Books A few people may disagree with the choices, but I think most experienced Ruby and Rails programmers, who’ve read those...

Review of the screencast series The Ruby Object Model and Metaprogramming (episodes 1-3)

Even if you’re new to the Ruby community, you are unlikely not to have heard about the Pragmatic Programmers, who are well reputed for publishing great programming books. You may not have noticed that lately though, they’ve also been releasing several series of screencasts. Each episode lasts about half an hour and sells for a mere $5. This strategy will work well in their favor because screencasts are a...

Ruby on Rails for Microsoft Developers

Last Friday I sent the first chapter of my book to the Development Editor. It’s only one chapter, which is about 30 pages or so of text and figures. I foresee and fully expect that the real challenges are still to come; yet a great deal of work already went into this first stepping stone and I feel very satisfied by the initial results. While I briefly mentioned, on Twitter and here, that I was going to write...

On The Last Lecture

Starting today, Amazon will be shipping the hardcover version of “The Last Lecture”, by Prof. Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow. While I wait for my copy to arrive, I feel the need to express a few thoughts on the subject of this book. Over the past several months I’ve been following closely Randy’s story and was often tempted to write a few lines about his touching message and courageous...

A preliminary review of three Cocoa and Objective-C related books

As announced before, I got interested in Mac development, bought a bunch of books and spent a few nights reading and coding. Here are my first impressions on those books which thus far I’ve picked up. I only had time to read 3 chapters from Stephen Kochan’s book and I must say that I’m not impressed! The pace is extremely slow and experienced programmers who read it will be bored to tears. An...

Rails hosting review, 7 months later

March 2010 update: Please understand that this post is very old and completely outdated. The Rails hosting spectrum has changed drastically over the past few years. Read updated reviews here: The Best Ruby on Rails Hosting Services Exactly 7 months ago, I wrote a very popular article about the various Rails hosting providers on a budget (shared hosting). That article is the most popular to date, and every month...

Rails Hosting review

March 2010 update: Please understand that this post is very old and completely outdated. The Rails hosting spectrum has changed drastically over the past few years. Read updated reviews here: The Best Ruby on Rails Hosting Services During the last couple of days I’ve been searching for a good Rails hosting solution at an affordable price. My principal requirements were: Ruby and ROR support (of...

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