The Last Colony

The Last Colony Cover

John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War universe now spans four novels, The Last Colony is the third. Of those initial three this is the one that is most a sequel. The first, Old Man’s War and the second, The Ghost Brigades each stand alone. And I think that The Last Colony actually can do so as well, but this is the first where the main characters are both from the previous books. That said, this is still a complete story and may even appeal to readers who may have not been crazy about the previous books.


Posted under Fiction, Sci-Fi Tags: ,

Shroud – Short Story

This is a little outside the norm for me – but a friend of mine from slashdot won a short story contest and it is a pretty great story in my estimation. So if you would like to enjoy a quick but well done read – head on over and check out Shroud. I guess I am a bit biased by the fact that my nick over at the dot is stoolpigeon – and this story has a lot of pigeons in it. But it really is very well written.

Posted under Fiction, Sci-Fi Tags:

Dojo Using the Dojo JavaScript Library to Build Ajax Applications

The number and functionality of web based applications has exploded recently. Many of these applications rely heavily on AJAX to provide a more desktop-like experience for users. As the number of people using JavaScript grew, libraries were developed to assist with commonly encountered issues. Jim Harmon’s new book “Dojo: Using the Dojo JavaScript Library to Build Ajax Applications” aims to introduce readers to one of those libraries, the Dojo Toolkit.


Posted under JavaScript Tags: , ,

Intellectual Property and Open Source

There is not a single person writing code in the US who is not impacted by the countries intellectual property laws. I think that it is safe to say, that not all of them have a strong understanding of just what those laws are, let alone what they mean. At the same time, there are a number of people, who may or may not be qualified, but are more than willing to share opinions and advice. Some take the time to slap a warning label on such input and IANAL is now widely understood. (I Am Not A Lawyer – Because widely does not mean everyone.) Stepping into this gap is programmer become lawyer Van Lindberg with his new book “Intellectual Property and Open Source.” Lindberg has really done something special with this volume. I don’t think I’ve ever read a tech oriented work where I’ve felt so convinced that I was reading something that would become a standard by which others would come to be judged.

Posted under Networking, Programming Tags: , , , , ,

The Ultimate CSS Reference

Cascading Style Sheets are now the dominant method used to format web pages. Even something as simple as modifying a WordPress blog can involve digging around a bit in CSS. A quick search at Amazon on CSS returns over 7 thousand books in the computer category alone. This book claims to be the ultimate though, and that made me approach it with a bit of skepticism. Sure, it could be a decent reference, but is it truly the ultimate reference? I admit I was curious to see.

Posted under NonFiction, Web Tags: , ,

New Tor Site – Free E-books

Tor has launched their new social, sci-fi, fantasy and much more, blogging, new fiction, super duper site. Right now there are 2 short stories up and available to read/download. They are “After The Coup” by John Scalzi, and “Down On The Farm” by Charles Stross. Both in worlds developed by the authors in full novels. Scalzi’s story is in the Old Man’s War universe and is a great read. Stross’s story is from his “Laundry” stories, which I don’t know but I liked this story. Nice mix of magic, math and computing.

On top of all that, for a limited time every ebook and piece of art they made available during their promotional period leading up to the launch of the site are all available right here. Every book is available in multiple drm free formats. I’ve read 3 so far and loved all 3. I’m working on my fourth now. There are over 20 total and so I’ll have lots of fun stuff to read for some time.

If they stick with what it says in the post – all this will no longer be available 7 days from now. They will shut it all down after the 27th. The artwork is also amazing and available in a wide number of sizes. This is when the Down Them All plugin for firefox really comes in handy. Right-Click, Save As just wont cut it for this much awesome stuff.

Posted under e-book, Fantasy, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Social Tags: , , , , ,

WordPress Theme Design

I’ve been using WordPress blogging software for about four years now. I started messing around with themes pretty early on in the process. My approach has not really changed too much over that time span. I start by going on-line and just browsing through themes that are available to down-load and use. There are tons of them available and usually I’ll hit more than one that looks pretty good. I download it, and then I start messing with it, making changes so that it perfectly fits what I want. I am not really inclined to learn all about CSS, PHP or exactly how WordPress works. I just change, save and refresh and usually I eventually get where I want to go. But now, those days are over. Tessa Blakely Silver’s new book “WordPress Theme Design” has made it possible for me to quickly learn the basics, without getting bogged down in minutiae and tons of documentation. This has been a real life-saver for someone who just wants to knock out a nice WordPress theme. I do have to admit though, I’ve learned a number of things about web design that relate to quite a bit more than just WordPress.

Posted under NonFiction, Web Tags: , , , ,

Foundations of Programming – Free Ebook

A few days ago Karl Seguin made available a free e-book, Foundations of Programming. The link will take you to his blog, where there are two different links for downloading the book. It is released under a Creative Commons License.

I haven’t read the book yet, but intend to do so and do a full review. I thought it would be good to point it out now for those that might want to grab it. I do know that Seguin was an MS MVP and the book is MS centric in the technologies described, code samples, etc. This may help you decide if you want to go grab it or not. It looks to deal with rather broad issues that are applicable to other languages, so I’m not saying it is useless if you aren’t using .net or something, but that is the orientation of what I saw skimming quickly over the book.

Posted under .Net, e-book, Programming, Windows Tags: , , ,
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