Pragmatic Programmers discount.

Pragmatic Programmers are having a sale this Friday. Use the coupon code ‘turkey’ to get a 25% discount.

Why do that? Really?

I have been searching for cheaper ways to buy textbooks (it’s crazy to pay $120 for a text, IMHO). I’ve chanced across www.textbookexchange.com.au. Let’s examine the workflow when trying to find a book there.

  1. Visit the site.
  2. Type in the name of the book or author.
  3. Press “Search”
  4. Be redirected to a login page.
  5. Have to type in the name again because you were redirected back to the home page, rather than your search results.

I mean, seriously. It’s not that hard to keep some handle on state and redirect to the search results.

If I hadn’t saved so much money buying my books this way I wouldn’t use their stupid site!

Turn of the Century. Again.

Back sometime before the year 2000, I happened across a book called “Turn of the Century”, but Kurt Andersen. I remember absolutely loving it, but the coolest thing was that one of my longest friends, who had not too long previously moved interstate, had started reading it at exactly the same time. It was like our own private Oprah’s Book Club, but without Oprah. So, better.

Today, I happened across a blog by Buzz Anderson, and for some reason, this reminded me of Kurt Andersen. I dunno why, you figure it out.

So, I decided I’d read the “Turn of the Century” again. Which is cool, as I can’t really remember what happens in it anyway. I just remember that I loved it. But I already said that, didn’t I?

Hillegass/Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X

I bought a copy of this fantastic textbook on Friday.

I won’t write a review, suffice to say it is the book to use to learn how to program on the Mac.

BookCrossing

I’ve heard of BookCrossing.com - lost of people have. The idea is that you find a book somewhere, read it, and leave it somewhere else. Until tonight, however, I’d never actually come across any BookCrossing books. I suppose I could have just printed out the stuff for one of my own books, but I’ve never been one to give books away. I like keeping them. So, the book I found tonight is Tall Poppies: Successful Australian women talk to Susan Mitchell. Not exactly standard fare for what I normally read, but I’ll give it a whirl. It was first registered by crossword, in Adelaide, SA. I might have to leave it somewhere a little more exotic. Perhaps in Hamilton.

Mini-review: The First Casualty

Ben Elton is pretty fantastic. He wrote for The Young Ones, and Blackadder, and has since written several books, most of which are pretty good. His latest is The First Casualty, a historical fiction (?) piece set during the Great War. I was gripped, and read it in one sitting. No comedy here, guys, but well worth the effort. The guts of the story: in 1917, a war hero and poet is killed, not in action, but while recuperating after being injured, and shellshocked. A disgraced police officer, who was sent to jail for refusing to fight in the war (not a conchie, as his grounds were “purely intellectual”) is ‘recruited’ to find the identity of the killer.

Big Plot Flaw in Da Vinci Code

I’m most of the way through the abridged version of the Da Vinci Code, as read by Jeff Harding. I think I’ve come across a Big Plot Flawâ„¢, but be aware that this post contains a plot spoiler.

Now, gazing up at the spires of Rosslyn… • Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code

Apparently, Teabing is The Teacher. He seems to have been the driving force behind the murder of the Grand Master, and the Senechals. However, there are two issues here: how did he get out of the back of the car, and how come Remy did not recognise him at their meetings? Or maybe I’m missing something here? Time to Google this… • Yup. Wikipedia shows that Teabing is the Teacher. But no mention of how he got out of the back of the car, nor how Remy did not recognise him. In fact, it says they are in cahoots. Yet Remy was approached by the Teacher to spy on Teabing. I don’t get this…perhaps this is dealt with better in the full text.

Everybody Hurts • R.E.M.Automatic For The People

Telling iTunes Audiobooks are not Music

I’ve just converted an Audio Book to AAC - I’m ashamed to say it’s The Da Vinci Code, but, well… Anyway, I was a bit peeved that it doesn’t show up as an Audiobook when you use the search feature of iTunes. And none of the tips I came across seemed to fix it:

  • Rename the file so it’s *.m4b instead of *.m4a
  • Use the Make Bookmarkable script from Doug’s AppleScripts
  • Set the Type Code to “M4B “

Then I read this, at macintouch (iPod: File Management):

If I remember correctly, an iTunes audio book is little more than a renamed AAC file. The steps necessary for making your own are pretty simple:

  1. Convert the file to AAC format (if it isn’t already)
  2. Make sure it’s not in the iTunes library. (Otherwise iTunes may not recognize the change.)
  3. Set the file type to “M4B “ if you’re on a Mac (only necessary if you’re using a Mac)
  4. Rename the file to have an “.m4b” extension
  5. Add it back to the iTunes library

Look at #2. That does the trick. Now, I just need to see if the Join Together and Chapterize script will ever finish…

Dymocks and Non-Fiction

I love to browse bookshops. Back in the day, when I had money, I always bought at least one book. Now, I spend more time at libraries and second-hand bookshops. On Saturday, as we tried to avoid the heat, we went to the movies at Marion Shopping Centre. We saw Mrs. Henderson Presents…, but more on that later. We ate at Shenannigans, but more on that later. We had a coffee at Coffee Club, and I won’t elaborate on that.

However, after all of this, we still had a little time free, so we went into Dymocks. I tend to looks briefly at the specials, and then head over to the Popular Science and Non-Fiction sections. After browsing for a little while, I came across a collection of the Onion. I read a bit of it, and took it over to show Jaq, as there was something funny on the front cover. I think it was:

US Military clears A-Team of all charges

I used to love that show. Anyway, back onto the story. After flicking through it for a few minutes, I returned to the shelf I grabbed it from. And imagine my surprise in what section that was: Now seriously, Dymocks. It doesn’t take a very long read of the Onion to realise that it’s not Non-Fiction.

Top 20 geek novels

Top 20 geek novels – the results! from Guardian Unlimited: Technology Ones in green are those I’ve read:

  1. The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  2. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  3. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip Dick
  5. Neuromancer – William Gibson
  6. Dune – Frank Herbert
  7. I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  8. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  9. The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett
  10. Microserfs – Douglas Coupland
  11. Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson
  12. Watchmen – Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
  13. Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
  14. Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks
  15. Stranger in a Strange Land – Robert Heinlein
  16. The Man in the High Castle – Philip K Dick
  17. American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  18. The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
  19. The Illuminatus! Trilogy – Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson
  20. Trouble with Lichen - John Wyndham

More than halfway!