Friday, May 28, 2010

Free shipping on Lulu books all summer long

Lulu is offering free shipping on books $19.95 and over during this summer. This means that you can get any of my books (A Mentoring Course on Smalltalk, or Hashing in Smalltalk: Theory and Practice, or Fundamentals of Smalltalk Programming Technique Volume 1) with free shipping. The discount is applied automatically, so you do not have to do anything special. Here are the details. Enjoy!

Assessments 1.38

I just fixed a small bug in Assessments validation, and also amended a couple prerequisites. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

eBook devices not good for demanding works

In short: if you plan to plow along a book that doesn't require heavy work, sure, go ahead and use a reader device. If, on the other hand, you plan to study from a book, then things change and devices are not good anymore.

But I didn't say that --- 80% of students said it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wireless network at home? Bad idea

Wireless networking at home seems so convenient: you go everywhere with your laptop, and connectivity follows you. However, it does have a number of drawbacks.

  • So you wanted to plug in to your nice 30" monitor, right? Betcha you won't haul the monitor around.
  • Do you really need to work with your laptop everywhere? Under the trees in your yard, where your laptop will be exposed to birds and pitch from trees? Or do you really need to work in a couple places at most? What kind of convenience is this?
  • If you get wireless, then you will have to secure it against intrusion. And how can you be sure you didn't get hacked into? Do you really want to give yourself a good dose of wireless admin homework?
  • You can easily get an internet connection that has more bandwidth than the best wireless available. Why don't you get less expensive wired networking equipment that moves data faster and has less latency than wireless? Or, for the same money, how about getting business-capable equipment?
To these problems, you need to add this: for years, Google's Street View vans captured wireless network payload data. Why bother with this nonsense? Unless wired is not available, wired is the way to go.

Update: Google captured passwords and other sensitive information...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

90% of consumers want books to stay as paper books

How about that... it's not that easy for the digital book to just take over. Or, not all that glitters is gold. I guess it doesn't matter for inconsequential content (e.g.: the latest best seller novel which is quickly forgotten after a few years). For more serious stuff that you will have to go back to, though, do you really want device compatibility problems, DRM, somebody deciding you are no longer supposed to read the stuff, etc? Hmmm...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Exercise from Fundamental's volume 2

Fundamental's second volume draft just reached 100 pages. I thought I'd mention an exercise from the book that I think it's quite nice. Suppose you concatenate a lot of strings with a stream. Of course, this is much more efficient than using straight string concatenation with messages like #,. But what is the efficiency of the stream method? Assume the strings are byte strings. If the resulting string has size k, what is the worst allocation scenario for the stream method expressed in terms of k? What is the best case scenario?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Too much TV

According to the ratings company Nielsen, people in the USA watch an average of 5 hours of TV a day. What a loss of time...

Jazz question

The Buddy Rich band had a tune called "The Words" (or "The Word") in their book. You can listen to two quite different renditions here and here. Now the question... does anybody know who composed the tune, or where it came from?

Fundamentals volume 2 gains a new chapter

So I had started writing about threading, and now I find myself with a huge list of topics related to Smalltalk processes that could really use a written explanation. I have no choice other than to insert a new chapter about threading between chapter 6 (On enumeration) and chapter 7 (On recursion). It really looks like the optimization chapter (now chapter 10) will come out in volume 3...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

GemStone bought by VMware

Yes, the same GemStone. Wow. I wish the article had more details.