Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tech manuals are DOOMED!

I have loved reading for almost as long as I can remember but, with very few exceptions, I do not like reading tech books.  In general I find them to be rambling, poorly organized in relation to my learning process and quite frankly, boring.

With the wealth of information available on the Internet these days I am far more likely to reach for a my mouse and the nearest Web browser than my bookshelf.  Search engines offer a faster, more seamless means of finding the data I want, the Web itself contains pretty much anything I need to search for (unless it is proprietary or really obscure) and the information is typically available in bite-sized chunks - stackoverflow answers / blog posts / public API docs / ..

So why would I pick up such a book, even an electronic one?  Answer: I don't.

The few tech books that I do actually read do not follow the classic pattern of attempting to progressively introduce the reader to the subject matter over a series of long, dry chapters.

Instead they offer up a smorgasbord of insights into various aspects of the subject matter, in no particular order, allowing me to pick and choose my intellectual meals.

The books I choose invariably offer a deeper / broader level of insight than I can expect to find from the aforementioned online sources:  What are the aspects of the subject that I should be considering?  How should I approach key problems?  How are things conventionally done and why?

And in general I choose to read them away from the keyboard or at the very least away from my screen.  I read them like a book.  I read a few pages and absorb the knowledge they impart.  And later, when I am sat at my computer, that knowledge may have percolated through my consciousness and made the right connections to influence my work.

If I want information right now, I'll just Google it.

The tech books on my shelf quake in fear.  And well they should...

And it is done.  One week to the day since my revelation, I have cleared out my bookshelf.  Quite literally: 32 of 50 tech books gone to the used bookstore, a whole shelf cleared.  What remains are such repositories of wisdom as 'Effective Java 2nd Edition', 'Eloquent JavaScript' and '24 Deadly Sins of Software Security'.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Through the looking glass
By Antonio Zugaldia (via Wikimedia commons)
Dear Diary,
I have been recently been following the discussions around Google Glass with great interest.

Many people, including the CEO of a certain fruity tech company seem to think that this is just a fad and that it will not stick.  They look dorky, regular people wont wear them, yadda yadda.

I respectfully disagree.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

To dream, perchance to blog

Dear diary,
This afternoon, out of the blue, I had a most unexpected revelation: I miss blogging.

I read several blogs regularly but it had been a long time since I last considered writing anything. (And two years to the day since I actually did so, apparently)  No wonder I have so many ideas spinning around in my head.. they are looking for a way out!  :)

I still love my mobile devices, though the lineup looks a little different these days: I traded my Windows laptop for a Macbook, upgraded my phone to a Nexus 4 and haven't touched my tablet in ages.  I am intensely interested in the Google Glass experiment* and I work in mobile application development.
(* sorry Apple but you are dead wrong about wrist devices being the way to go)

Since I already started jotting down ideas for more posts, I guess the monkey is back...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dear Diary, welcome to the future...

The future of mobile computing that is, generously brought to use by the Seattle Technical Forum group.  Apparently the future involves red fuzzy dice and they are helpfully labeled “Dice” just in case you have issues figuring out what they are! Isn't that nice. :)

Well, the future seems to be popular at least, with four speakers and lots of folks there to find out about about it...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Google, please stop logging me out

I appreciate that when I am logged into Gmail a blogger-linked account, you will automagically log me into blogger if I open up a new login page.

Unfortunately I have two Gmail accounts, one of which is linked to this blog.  If I sign into into the other Gmail account while I am logged into blogger you will autoannoyingly change my Gmail login to this account the next time I [Refresh] my mailbox.  I don't want to change that login.

Likewise, if I am logged in to with the linked Gmail address and then I log into Gmail to check my other mailbox, you will autofrustratingly log me out of blogger.

I appreciate that you are trying to be helpful but it backfires in a most frustrating fashion because I have more than one Gmail account.

How about an account setting for logout behavior:
- Log out of all Google apps,
- Only log out of the current Google app, or
- Ask each time: a simple dialog box, "Do you want to log out of all Google apps?" [Yes] [No]

I can't be the only monkey with this problem...

Ian the Codemonkey.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Big Fat Geek Wedding

(The post title is a play on the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'... If you haven't seen the movie it's really quite funny and you don't have to be Greek to appreciate the humour)

Dear Diary,
How does a Codemonkey plan his wedding?  Why with a computer of course!

At least that 's what I have been trying to do but documents and spreadsheets were only getting me so far.  What I really wanted was something that would allow me to see the big picture.  A mind map might work but I have yet to find a piece of software I really like.

Then I got chatting to a gentleman named Arun Kumar in the pizza line of a networking event and he told me about a project collaboration tool he was working on.  It's a web based tool called Kerika - - and it allows you to co-operatively build and share persistent electronic white boards.

By using your Google account as a log in Kerika allows you to pull in documents from Google docs, as well as from your hard drive.

I jokingly mentioned that I had a wedding to plan and suddenly we were both intrigued by the possibilities...