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).

Posted under NonFiction, Web Tags: ,

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.

Posted under Fiction, Linux, Web Tags: , ,

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.


Posted under MySQL, NonFiction, PHP, Social, Web Tags: ,

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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Groovy Recipes

The Groovy language is relatively new on the scene. I confess that I had not even heard of it until early this year when I came across a Developer Works article about unit testing with Groovy, written in 2004. So I am a little late to the party, but the article did intrigue me and the new addition to the Pragmatic series, “Groovy Recipes” came along at just the right time for me to jump on board. This book is a no-nonsense, solid introduction to groovy. It is specifically written with the experienced Java programmer in mind, but I found it useful even though my Java experience is primarily as a hobbyist. Davis brings his extensive experience with Groovy and Java to the table and has written an excellent primer and reference that is fully worthy of the Pragmatic label.


Posted under Java, Programming Tags: , , ,

Infected – Free e-book – Update

The free pdf deal is over. Hope you got it if you wanted it.

I just found out about this and it is only good for a couple more days. I read about it over at Whatever. Scott Sigler’s Infected is available as a free download in pdf format. I haven’t read it, just downloaded it now, so I have no idea what it is like. But it is Sci-Fi and it is free. The site said the download will be available until March 31st. That’s Monday, so get hopping.

Posted under e-book, Sci-Fi Tags: ,


I remember the first time that I read “Childhood’s End”, the classic by Aurthur C. Clarke. Clarke wrote the story well before I was born and I came across it at a young age. This tale of the end and beginning of the world had a profound effect and I was entranced. As I recently read Robert Charles Wilson’s “Spin”, I was reminded once again of that same sense of awe and the weight of humanity and its dreams. It was just as I finished the book that I saw in the news that Clarke had died, and I guess that cemented the association in my mind. “Spin” is an incredible tale, and not just a copy or derivative of Childhood’s End. In fact what they have in common is a mood or sense of gravity, not plot or devices. That Wilson won the Hugo Award for Best Novel with this book is absolutely no surprise.

Posted under Fiction, Sci-Fi Tags: ,
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