Filed under: Books, Ideas — Developer42 @ 19:32

Most books about psychos focus on the negatives, but I’m sure there must be a yang to the yin; people with positive mental disorders. This idea came about from my own condition of “polite tourettes”; not a real condition, but a habit of saying words such as “cool” or “awesome” at random or awkward moments (which can be as bad as real tourettes if one of these words pops out just after someone says “my mum just died”)!
I haven’t started writing this book yet, since I haven’t got enough ideas to make it interesting, but I thought I’d pop it on here to see what people thought of the idea.
Other possible symptoms are:

  • People hear voices in their head telling them to make tea for people.
  • People who can get stuck holding a door open for days, never wanting to go in front of anyone else.
  • Not being able to eat whilst listening to someone else talk, as well as when talking yourself.
  • The inability to be negative about another person, regardless of what that person’s done.

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts

Filed under: Books, Comedy, Culture, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Developer42 @ 18:18

Publisher(s): William Heinemann Ltd
Author(s): Douglas Adams
ISBN: 978-0434003488
Link: Amazon; Google Books

The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a modern classic. Many of you will have predicted that I’m a fan of Douglas Adam’s work from my blog title (42 is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, according to a supercomputer built with the specific task of answering the ultimate question). The story follows a man called Arthur Dent, a normal, suburbanite man who unknowingly befriends an alien on earth to write a report for a guide for hitch hikers. Adams creates a number of comedic situations stemming from ideas in science, philosophy and religion, as well as observations from real life (e.g. bistromathics; a branch of mathematics based on the missing amount after a restaurant bill has been equally split and everyone has paid). There are five books in this series, all building on the previous ideas, but without much planning as to how it’s all going to end. As a result, the books get darker and weirder in an effort to bring all of the plot lines to a satisfactory close, and here, the end of the series holds a few unexpected surprises. This has been my favourite book for a number of years, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in science, technology and comedy.

Sophie’s World

Filed under: Books, Culture, Philosophy — Developer42 @ 17:20

Publisher(s): Phoenix
Author(s): Jostein Gaarder
ISBN: 978-1857992915

Link: Amazon; Google Books

Sophie’s World is one of the most unusual books I’ve read. It starts out when a 14 year old school girl discovers a note in her postbox asking two questions “who are you?” and “where does the world come from?”. In searching for the answers to these questions, the author guides you through the history of philosophy, presenting the main historical figures and key concepts which have been raised over time. Much of the book is factual, but with all of these complex philosophical ideas being wrapped in a fictional story to keep it light hearted and readable. There’s also the slightly worrying sub text of the philosopher’s relationship to his student, but I’ll leave you to read into that one yourselves.
Despite being so unusual, and partly because of this, this book is amongst my favourite books. In the same way Wild Swans made me realise how little I knew about the history and politics of other countries, Sophie’s World has taught me about areas of philosophy I’d previously not delved into.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Filed under: Books, Culture — Tags: , , , , , — Developer42 @ 17:08

Publisher(s): HarperPerennial
Author(s): Jung Chang
ISBN: 978-0007176151
Link: Amazon; Google Books

Wild Swans is a fascinating story following the author’s family history from her grandmother to herself, covering on some of the most interesting years in Chinese history. The story begins in the time of the great warlords, and brings us up to the death of Chairman Mao. This story is both moving and informative. The author evokes your emotions with tales of the brutal and idiotic violence of the mob mentality created under Chairman Mao, and with accounts of what was being done to her parents during this time. She also made me discover how little I knew about China; I knew it was a communist country, and had heard of Chairman Mao and Tianneman Square, but never knew the stories of how these events came to happen, or understood how they could be allowed to happen. For anyone interested in history, psychology, politics, or the world around them, this is a must read. It’s also great if you just want a gripping novel.

Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture

Filed under: Books, Technology — Tags: , , — Developer42 @ 14:02

Publisher(s): Addison Wesley Press
Author(s): Martin Fowler, David Rice, Matthew Foemmel, Edward Hieatt, Robert Mee, Randy Stafford
ISBN: 978-0-321-12742-6
Link: Amazon; Google Books

This is an excellent book for anyone programming in an OO language developing applications of an enterprise nature (e.g. with data, business logic & presentation tiers in multi-user environments). Many of the ideas presented are ones you’ll have discovered for yourself at some point, but having the pattern clearly extracted, and additional points which you may not have considered raised, enables you to see how you can improve your code, and get into better practices. Additionally, by presenting these patterns, you’re given names for these solutions, allowing you to use these terms in your code, making it more readable by others.
The book is easy to read without being patronising, code samples are given in C# and Java, and the author expresses his opinions about each of the patterns presented, guiding you when to use each, and what areas to avoid (with the relevant justifications).

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