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Google Apps Hacks


It seems that it wasn’t long ago that Google was just a search company. The number of on-line products that fly under the Google moniker, today, is impressive. Google has moved well beyond it’s office-suite-like applications and excelled with everything from mapping to blogging to 3-D drawing. “Google Apps Hacks” is a new book from O’Reilly, published in conjunction with their Make magazine. This volume presents the reader with 141 hacks in an attempt to get the most out of a wide array of Google’s on-line applications. The result is a quick ride that is rather fun and while a bit shallow at times, provides a great overview of just how much is available out there.
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The Happiest Days of Our Lives


I’m a big Wil Wheaton fan. Probably the first time I ever saw him was when I went with my brother to watch Stand by Me at the movie theater. My next exposure, was of course, when Wil played Wesley Crusher on STNG. After that I mostly lost track of what Wil was doing. It wasn’t until a number of years later that I bumped into a post by Wil on slashdot, did some googling, and discovered his blog (currently though he blogs at WWdN in exile).
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Hackerteen: Internet Blackout Vol. 1


Hackerteen is an interesting new project, a graphic novel being published by O’Reilly. What makes it interesting is not just that this is a rather new direction for O’Reilly but that this is, to my knowledge, a rather unique publication in that it seeks to educate teenage youth about an array of issues ranging from privacy, free software, security and the impact of politics on personal freedom as it relates to the use of technology. Making topics like that exciting, and understandable to a young person may sound like a tall order, and I think it is.
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Joomla! A User’s Guide

It doesn’t seem like it has been 3 years since the Mambo dev team split and a new content management system, Joomla! was born. Over the last few years Joomla has grown to be very popular and has very strong developer and user communities. Joomla is extremely flexible and a wide array of extensions exist that allow the system to provide many different capabilities. In “Joomla! A User’s Guide”, Barrie North provides everything needed to get anyone up and running with a Joomla based site, even if they have little or no experience with creating web sites or applications.

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Visual Communication in Digital Design

I remember the first time I saw a program I had written after the interface had been revamped by a designer. I had been pretty happy with what I had made. It worked very well and met the client’s requirements. It was extremely functional and I thought it didn’t look bad either. But when I saw the new interface, not functionally different, just so much better looking, I was really blown away. My application had gone from useful to cool. (That might be a slight exaggeration, it was still just a database app but it sure looked cool to me.) Since then I’ve learned to primarily leave the user interface work to the experts in that arena, and I stick to the getting the functionality in place. But sometimes I don’t have the luxury of a design team at my disposal. Or when I do, I still need to be able to talk to them and discuss what is going on. I found Dr. Ji Young Park’s new book “Visual Communication in Design” to be a friendly and accessible introductory primer in visual design.

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Wikipedia The Missing Manual

Much like anyone else who spends a decent amount of time on the internet, I find myself turning to Wikipedia quite regularly. I am unaware of any resource as thorough or as quick for many of my information needs (or whims) on a day to day basis. Detractors point out that anyone can edit Wikipedia and this can lead to inaccurate information. For me, the open editing is one of the draws. I’ve been reading Wikipedia for some time, and each time I find myself thinking that it would be fun to be more than a passive consumer. There are a few topics where I might be able contribute in a meaningful way. A brand new addition to the O’Reilly Missing Manual series, “Facebook The Missing Manual” was the last nudge to push me into full involvement.

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Facebook the Missing Manual


E.A. Vander Veer’s “Facebook, The Missing Manual” is exactly what it says it is. A manual explaining how to sign up for and use the social networking site Facebook. Not very long ago Facebook was relatively unknown outside University students and those who knew them. Now it is reported to have over 64 million users world wide. As that number has grown, it is inevitable that some of those users could use a manual to help them to navigate the site. This is who I think some of those folks might be and how I think the book might help them.
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Apache Cookbook

The Apache web server has been the number one http server on the internet since 1996. It has also become an integral part of many open source and proprietary software systems. It runs on diverse hardware, in locations all over the globe, hosting sites large and small. In November of 2003 Ken Coar and Rich Bowen had their “Apache Cookbook” published by O’Reilly. The duo brought years of experience in working with and documenting the Apache server to the plate. Now, over 4 years later they have published the second edition. Four years is a long time, but it would be reasonable to ask if this new edition is worth purchasing, especially if one already owns the first edition.

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