Monday, May 31, 2010

New Kindle Wireless Reading Device

I waited with anticipation for this latest Kindle. I love reading like many of the reviewers on here, and I anxiously prayed for the Christmas morning when it would be under my tree. Well, it happened and from the moment I opened it I was in a wireless trance.

The device gives you the ability to buy books instantly right from Amazon, it didn't take that long to charge, Amazon has a ton of books to choose from, and while the look of the books on the Kindle isn't the greatest I think that in time it will be perfected. The Kindle is also light weight and can fit easily in a bag or purse, but not in your jeans. The cons I found and this is what kept the Kindle from getting a 5 star rating was no lighting system. I know the Kindle makers wanted it to be just like reading a paper book, but still the loss of the light is a little annoying. Secondly there is no pages for the books.

When I read I love to know what page I'm on, it's a psychological thing that the Kindle fails to deliver on. Speaking of psychological negatives, the Kindle is not the same as a book. The biggest fault of the Kindle and it's probably not even the Kindle's fault, but mine, is that it doesn't have the feel of a book. I love that it can hold thousands and makes the day at the beach lighter, but the look and the feel of a book in;t there. Reading books on the kindle as opposed to paperback is not the same.

I love everything about paperback books from the way they feel in my hands to the smell they give off. Books also are a part of you. When you finish a novel you put it back on your shelf and it stands as an accomplishment, something you did, a moment in your life that you can point to and say look! I read that. If the book is really good you get to loan them out. With the Kindle you can't do that. With school as well the Kindle becomes a nuisance. While the books are cheaper, without pages you can;t really keep up with reading in class.

I understand we are in a technology age and probably in another ten years electronic books will be more widely accepted. For now I still like the Kindle and I read from it often, but the paperback still remains my main reading device.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beginning iPad Application Development

Eager to start developing applications for the iPad? Then look no further than the book in your hands. This comprehensive, hands-on approach to iPad development walks you through all the necessary tools and skills required for successful iPad app programming. You'll first familiarize yourself with the iPhone® SDK, Xcode®, and Interface Builder tools, all of which provide a solid foundation for developing apps.

You'll then explore the features and syntax of the Objective-C® language, which is essential for creating most iPad apps. Plus, you'll discover how to best implement the many features of the iPhone SDK into your apps so that you can deploy your applications to the Apple AppStore.

Beginning iPad Application Development:

* Explains the various types of iPad applications supported by the iPhone SDK
* Discusses the various types of screen orientations and ways to handle rotations
* Covers the new Gesture Recognizers available in this release of the iPhone SDK
* Covers the new Split View-based Application project type
* Zeroes in on database storage using SQLite3
* Examines Web Services, Bluetooth programming, and Bonjour programming
* Covers Apple Push Notification Services programming Programmer Forums

Join our Programmer to Programmer forums to ask and answer programming questions about this book, join discussions on the hottest topics in the industry, and connect with fellow programmers from around the world.

Code Downloads

Take advantage of free code samples from this book, as well as code samples from hundreds of other books, all ready to use. Find articles, ebooks, sample chapters and tables of contents for hundreds of books, and more reference resources on programming topics that matter to you.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

Continue >>

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gigabyte LGA1366 SATA3 ATI CrossFireX ATX Motherboard GA-X58A-UD3R

I picked up one of these for my latest system build, and I'm pleased to say that it booted up perfectly the first time and has been running rock-solid ever since.

Here is the hardware that I'm using with it:
1) Core I7 920 CPU
2) 12GB Corsair DDR3 1600 memory (9-9-9-24)
3) Seasonic M12II 620w PSU
4) Radeon 5770 1GB (running 2 screens @ 2560x1600 & 1200x1600)
5) Intel X25M-G2 160GB SSD

I am a Java and Python programmer and I tend to use my system heavily. A typical work load would be running Windows 7 x64 with copies of Netbeans and Eclipse + VMware Workstation 7 with up to 4 or 5 VMs running simultaneously, and all the other source control and debug utilities that I am using at any given time. This system breezes through that like butter.

The main issue I typically have is that I keep my PC locked in an enclosed cabinet with only one 92mm intake fan and a 120mm exhaust fan vented into the garage - both are running at low speeds to keep it quiet. Because of that, my hardware needs to run solid at fairly high temps. In this system, the CPU temps have gotten as high as 160F and I haven't seen any instability at all.

I used to only buy Asus motherboards until a few years ago when their quality started to drop off. Now I only buy these Gigabyte 'durable' boards and they have all been true to their name for the kind of stress I run them under. This board hasn't had any problems at all going in or out of standby (S3) either.

Personally, I don't overclock anything anymore (I got sick of burned up hardware when I blew up my P90 system 15 years ago); but this motherboard is extremely flexible if you are inclined to do that.

Overall, I highly recommend this board if you are looking for a solid entry in the socket 1366 space.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NIER by Square Enix

I wasn't impressed with the Wii looking Graphics when I turned it on. I also forgot to load it to the HD so the loading killed me.

After I loaded it to the HD I found myself starting to get comfortable with this game. (Get the kids out of the room!)

The Graphics are better than the Wii, the blood is very fun to watch, the combat was interesting, the story was interesting, the score was great as well as the voice acting.

There is repetition, the loading sucks when you go in and out of areas, I wish I could have avoided the menus a bit and was able to Hot key. A save feature is need. I don't know why the Japanese think we need to travel somewhere to save a game. If my phone rings or I have to go, I don't have time to mess around for 30 minutes to save the game if i have something to do.

I started to appreciate NIER when I was able to whistle, get the sheep to run up to me and then I slaughtered them (after getting kicked by one of them), brought them to market for $$. I was concerned about the graphics until I had to save my Daughter early on from two huge Golden Monsters, they looked great, reminiscent of FF13. The combat was fun, as i slashed away and then had to switch to magic which amounted to massive BLOOD GUSH,,, I was hooked!

The game looks good and bad but its fun anyway and that what its all about.

I would recommend this game for purchase or rental. It was more fun than FF13 to me and less repetitious. Some of the battles are cool and big!

Monday, May 17, 2010

jQuery in Action, Second Edition

jQuery is a Javascript framework that aims to let you think structurally and conceptually, rather than worrying about syntax and other details. In that largely succeeds, and so does this remarkable book.

Every technical book should be like this one; having written a few myself, I know that's a tall order. "jQuery in Action" is concise but clear, humorous but not silly, and answers all the questions it raises, quickly. The reader is never left wondering "But what about..." for more than a sentence or two. The authors clearly gave a lot of thought to pedagogy, because things are explained in a clear way which progresses naturally from chapter to chapter. Factor in the extremely readable style and the handsome diagrams, and it's easy to see why reading this book is a sheer joy.

For each major feature of jQuery, this book provides a "Laboratory page", a kind of interactive HTML playground where you can try the feature out using different options. The remarkable flexibility of these pages is a testament to both the power of jQuery and to the imagination and creativity of the authors.

Perhaps the most commendable feature of "jQuery in Action" is, however, its unflinching honesty. All too often authors are interested in selling you on an approach or a product, and they tend to gloss over the rough spots to win you over. These authors refuse to do that. They present their topic just as it is, describe its merits, and let the reader decide. You should, of course, decide to buy this book!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And Thereby Hangs A Tale

Product Description
Millions of readers around the world have relished Jeffrey Archer's short stories. Taking inspiration from his favourite short story writers - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Maupassant, H. H. Munro, W. Somerset Maugham and O. Henry - Jeffrey Archer has written five bestselling collections over the years and Macmillan are proud to announce the publication of a sixth volume of stories in May 2010.

Jeffrey has a natural aptitude for short stories which are stylish, witty and entertaining. His mastery of characterisation and suspense, combined with a gift for the unexpected, jaw-dropping plot twist, show him at the height of his powers and demonstrate why he is one of Britain's bestselling authors.

All of Jeffrey's collections of short stories have been top ten bestsellers and he is undoubtedly the bestselling English-language short story writer of our times.

About the Author
Jeffrey Archer, whose novels and short stories include Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, Kane and Abel and A Twist in the Tale, has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 210 million copies. Paths of Glory, his most recent novel, was a global number one bestseller and remained on the Sunday Times bestseller list for ten weeks. The author is married with two children, and lives in London and Cambridge.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iomega Prestige 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive 34275

I have been using the Iomega Prestige 500 GB external hard drive for over a month now, and it's been flawless. I have an iMac and I am using this hard drive as my backup-drive via Apple's "Time Machine" feature.

"Time Machine" backs up my computer's hard drive to the external drive regularly. When it does so I hear the gentle hum of the Iomega drive spin up as it does its job. Though I can hear the drive spin up, the sound is not distracting. I am actually happy to hear it since that lets me know that it is doing its job.

This is a USB-connected hard drive, and the installation was a breeze. The hard drive is ready to plug and use as is if you are a PC user, but I use a Mac. This does not pose a problem because the instructions that come in the box walk you through the process of formatting the drive for Mac compatibility. The formatting did not take long to complete.

The design of the Iomega drive is attractive, yet unobtrusive. it just sits on my desk behind by computer and quietly and competently does its job. I use the removable stand that came with the drive unit so that it stands on my desk. The drive comes with the stand and USB cord...everything I needed.

5 stars! Thanks Iomega!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)

This review doesn't contain any spoilers as the Amazon description of the book says it all.

Like many readers stated before, this is a watered down version of the previous books. If you just read a one page summary of the book and then read the last 50 or so pages, it has the same effect. The questions from previous books get barely answered, and new questions are introduced. The characters have lost their characteristics, what makes them who they are and the pace doesn't come near to the previous books. A reviewer here has said something along the lines, if you are expecting Jane Austin, go read Jane Austin. I wasn't expecting Jane Austin. I was just expecting another Sookie Stackhouse book and that's why I am so disappointed. Because this doesn't feel like one.

I am not a writer and I cannot claim that I know how writing supposed to work. I do respect any writer for their craft but as a reader I reserve the right to follow the writers whose stories I come to like and I do reserve the right to expect a certain level of writing from them.

I have read somewhere after I have read the book, that Charlaine Harris, got an additional 3 books deal for the series and then it all clicked. This is exactly what it feels like. CH has planned for a certain amount of booked-series, then she got the additional 3 books deal and this book, instead of being the final and all concluding book was used to introduce further plot lines for the next few books to come.

IMO this is disrespectful towards the reader. It makes me angry because I paid for the hardcover version and I didn't get my moneys worth. I will end the series, just to conclude it for myself, which is obviously the publisher and the writer are counting on, and they will get their money, but I don't intend to read any other books by Charlaine Harris. I am disappointed in this book and more importantly I am disappointed in Charlaine Harris.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch Articulating LCD

Canon PowerShot SX20IS 12.1MP Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch Articulating LCD I read and read, researched and the end I was suffering from info overload. I had selected the Canon Powershot SX20IS, a Sony and a Panasonic as the finalists. I chose Canon because I have used Canon cameras off and on for thirty years. The reasons I chose the SX20IS were;

1. It was a canon
2. My current camera was a canon it
3. Stereo sound recording for Hi Def videos (720p)
4. Longer zoom.
5. Color swap (download the PDF manual for more info)
6. Familiarity with the canon menus and buttons.
7. Amazon Customer Service *****
8. Amazon pricing!!!


1. Heavy and bulky (2 1/2 pounds ) not unlike a DSLR , but much lighter price wise :)
2. A small percentage of pics look over saturated with color ( an easy fix if you have Photoshop )
3. Amazon free shipping (almost 2 weeks)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

ProBlogger Book 2nd Edition Available

Darren from ProBlogger has just released his 2nd edition book: ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. I'm sure this is well worth the read for new and experienced bloggers looking to get into blogging or to take their blogging to a whole new level. I haven't read the first edition but this was one of the books that I wanted to read and never got around to, so I'm going to read it this time around.

It's available for $16.95 on

(Yes that is of course a referral link - you know how much I love Amazon's Associates program right?)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day

Any user of Facebook needs this book. If you are a small business owner or active online promoting your brand it really helps to have a guide and a shortcut to being effective online.

I first met Mari Smith online as I was getting my profile and fan pages up and operating.

Since then I found that she is THE leader in anything Facebook and is accessible from her fan page to help with any updates or questions that might come up.

What I liked about Facebook Marketing An Hour a Day is that it gives you a background on Facebook, defines it, and then helps guide you into developing a strategy and how to measure it.

In addition it also teaches you how to use pages and groups, how to use ads, and advanced tactics--so it is great for the average user or the small business person or online marketing teams.

I selected the Kindle edition because of the rapidly changing nature of social media so I could get it right away.

Things in social media change so fast (just like Facebook's new revamps over the last two weeks) so I do encourage you to download and begin using it right away.

This book is well worth the investment--go get it now and then go find MariSmith on Facebook!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Burned (House of Night Novels)

I wasn't paying attention and thought this was the last of the series. I was wrong. Once again we are left wanting. Unlike the other HON books this one is all about Zoey Redbird, but doesn't actually focus on her charachter nearly as much as the others. It flashes from one point of view with another, slowly tying in everyone piece by piece.

Stevie Ray is imprinted with the Raven Mocker Rephaim, having to deal with the stress of Zo's shattered soul, and keeping her secret all at once. As if being the only Red Priestess wasn't hard enough. She is finally forced to deal with the rogue red fledglings.

Heath is in the otherworld having to deal with Zo and her literally scattered self. He is trying to convince her to pull herself together. He will have to make the hardest decision of all. To leave her or stay.

Stark has to learn the true meaning of being a warrior in order to save Zo. He has to dig deep inside and figure out what is most important. Will he pull himself out of his pit of despair and save her or wollow in the guilt of his mistakes.

Aphrodite has realized there is more to her power than just visions of a possible future. Will her new abilities help her to heal Zo while giving her a little more patience and compassion. All of these stories mixed together come down to one thing. Will they choose Darkness or Light. Each ones decisions affects the world as they know it.

This book was a fast read. I enjoyed it most of the way through. There were some parts that seemed to drag a little, but not much. The hardest part was reading Zo's parts until the end. She is erratic and scattered and it gets almost to the point of annoying and then Cast changes to the next POV. Still one of my favorite series, I can't wait to see what the outcome will be.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Professional C# 4.0 and .NET 4

C# and .NET are reintroduced in this one book for the 2010 audience of programmers. The two subjects are wedded in the text to form one complete reference. I have just finished reading this book and I can tell you that it will take another two readings to fully absorb the contents because of the numerous details. At just over 1400 pages, this is a compendium of the two programming areas that has enormous scope. I am impressed that the authors and the publisher were able to complete this project before the release of the two in April. Operations specific to the .NET v4 release are noted in the text.

I found the information in this book to be comprehensive and detailed in many ways. With 47 chapters and an appendix this book is going to be the cornerstone of my .NET computing from this time on. My previous references are getting dated and don't give me enough information to pass the employment interviews. This book and one other are going to be my entire reference library for C# programming in general.

I found the information to be very well written to the point that even after six years of using C# it increased my knowledge and understanding of this wonderful new computer language. I have over a dozen books on .NET and C# in my library and this is the best written of them all. For this reason I am giving it 5 stars. I believe that this is the best introduction to these two subject areas

Of course, if you want to work in depth on one of the chapters covered in this book, another reference that expands on the material will be required.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

iPhone for Programmers: An App-Driven Approach

In the process of learning a new computer language or software development environment, I have found that multiple books are needed, each with a different focus: a good intro book with simple examples (Beginning iPhone 3 Development), a great language reference book (Programming in Objective-C), and a first-class advanced applications/topics book. This book, iPhone for Programmers: An App-Driven Approach, is the first-class advanced applications/topics book in my set.

Chapter 2 describes the process that follows the design step for an app: testing the app on an iPhone/Touch device, preparation for submission, pricing, managing, and marketing your newly created app. Chapter 2 lists common characteristics of great iPhone/Touch apps. Some of the reasons that may cause an app to be rejected by Apple are also described. Chapter 2 is a much appreciated chapter and a rare topic for an application programming book.

For the next fourteen chapters, example apps are provided; one per chapter. The apps look good enough to be listed on the app store. Each of the chapters follows a consistent organizational structure: Introduction, Test-driving the App, Overview of the Technologies, Building the App, and Wrap-up.

On the page just before the Table of Contents is a listing of the topics available at the resource center on the authors' website. The resource center is an extensive collection of well-organized current information about computer languages, internet business, open source, programming, and web2.0. This is definitely not your typical book-support website.

Although I am still working my way through the last few chapters, I am pleased with the depth of technical material and the variety of real application examples. After learning the basics, nothing beats further learning than developing, compiling and debugging your own code to create your own software application. It is also the most humbling part of the learning process. Dare to dream...
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