Manager’s Path

The Manager’s Path, Camille Fournier, O’Reilly 2017

This book on management for tech leaders is excellent. It is very readable, well thought out and is supported by the author’s experience as CTO of the start-up RentTheRunway.

Just 200 pages so you could read it quickly, but you will want to read a bit slower and at times follow references to other thought leaders. I particularly liked ch. 9 on improving the culture of the team.

This blog site features books which will become obsolete rapidly, and Fournier’s book is an exception. The book is timeless in my view, apart from a few paragraphs that refer to current technology.

Backyard Wilderness 3d Movie

An image from the Backyard Wilderness 3d movie

The Nature Museum in Ottawa is playing an amazing movie showing wildlife in the north america forests. Backyard Wilderness has a feel-good family oriented theme.

It is amazing how close-up the photography is. The foxes, wood ducks, mice and salamanders are at times just inches from the camera. Clearly the photographer would be using a sensor to trigger the camera, but still, how could she set up the equipment in such a perfect position?

The theatre’s 3d vision is much better than what you see in the Cineplex with their disposable polarised glasses. Nature.ca has non-disposable glasses which give a bright, clear 3d view. The glasses use active shutter technology.  The left lens ‘opens’ for a fraction of a second, and the projector/screen shows the left view. Then the right lens ‘opens’ and the projector/screen shows the right view, and the cycle repeats. You cannot see any flickering or hear any mechanism. The 3D effect is more striking that what you get with polarised glasses, because they do not perfectly block your left eye from seeing the right image and vice versa.

There are some human actors in the movie, but they are upstaged by the wild animals. The human family lives in a rather nice two storey house, which is in a forested setting and harmonious with nature. Any neighbouring house seems to be out of sight. Any vehicles or roads are almost out of sight. This is an ideal living arrangement that would be difficult to attain for most of us!

The cost is $4 in addition to the regular museum entrance fee.

Algorithms Online Book

Jeff Erickson, professor at the University of Illinois, has published an excellent book on algorithms. He will be self-publishing this content as a paper book, but the online copy will remain available.

“I never hear anybody mentioning him but Jeff Erickson’s ‘Algorithms’ textbook [1] has some of the most lucid explanations I’ve come across. CLRS is often times impenetrable and for the times I didn’t like its explanation of something I turned to Jeff Erickson’s book and it hasn’t failed me yet. I’d urge anybody trying to solidify algorithms and data structures to take a look at it.” — stuxnet79

Asset Attack Vectors

by Morey J. Haber, Apress 2018

The author works for a vendor of expensive computer security systems for large companies. In his role, he visits customer sites to install and customize the product. This book talks of the kinds of vulnerabilities these products address. But jump ahead to one of the last chapters, ‘Tales From the Trenches” and read this first to understand his point of view. Then you may want to read the rest of the book, which is strong on project management and customer support.

Apress needs to do more editing. It seems possible that no editing was done on this book, at least the parts that I read.

Java by Comparison

Java by Comparison, Simon Harrer et al, Pragmatic Programmers, 2018

I really wish I had read this book about two weeks after I started working with Java.

The book gets straight to the point, as it works by example, not by dry description. Each two page example shows half a page of Java code, unremarkable, code which would be normal for many programmers in many companies. On the facing page, it shows slightly changed code, and the changes might seem trivial. Now read the description and see that the changes are very important for readability and maintainability. Just common sense, you will say. But more than this, it is a matter of code quality. Maybe you are already writing quality code, but if not then read this book and you will start writing better code automatically without much thought.

This book is for Java, but much of it applies to Python or other languages. For example, p76, Always Catch Most Specific Exception. And the chapter on naming conventions will be different in the details, but the core suggestions ring true.

Read more about the book at the book’s website.

CSS Definitive

CSS
The Definitive Guide : Visual Presentation for the Web
By Meyer, Eric A.
O’Reilly, 2018

Topics:

  • Selectors, specificity, and the cascade
  • Values, units, fonts, and text properties
  • Padding, borders, outlines, and margins
  • Colors, backgrounds, and gradients
  • Floats and positioning tricks
  • Flexible box layout
  • The new Grid layout system
  • 2D and 3D transforms, transitions, and animation
  • Filters, blending, clipping, and masking
  • Media and feature queries