Back from vacation

For already some days i’m back from vacation (the first real summer holidays since a couple of years) and am still coping with the backlog (especially in catching up with the feeds in Google Reader).

Instead of feeds i finally read some books (in reading order)

Some quick comments on them:

  • Exit Music: If you are into mystery books and don’t know about Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series you definitely should give it a try. But don’t start with Exit Music because it is no. 17 of the series and presumably the last one.  It has, as ever been a really great read.
  • The last lecture: Typical americon big ego professorship  and pathos shines through the whole bokk. Nevertheless an interesting read. Favourite quote already from the introduction (and is only indirectly related to the books content): “Engineering is not about the perfect solution, but about the best you can do given limited ressources”
  • Myths of innovations and Competing on the Edge: I wanted to get some more “business perspectives” on innovation and innovation strategies. We had these two books sitting on the shelf for some time and i finally found the time reading them.  I remember nothing specific about the first one , which mostly says that i was not surprised by anything in it. The second is a typical HBS book, it  is sufficient when you read the summaries. But given the time at vacation i read through all of it.  It would be really interesting waht happened to the companies discussed in the last 10 years, at what the pseudonyms of the companies stood for. Does anybody know?

Visited Stanford and the Bookstore – Bought only five

Between Where2.0 and WhereCamp i used the spare time to write bit more on some posts for my GoignPlaces miniseries (they are not quite finished but have gettting close) . I also paid a visit to Stanford and especially the bookstore. Very impressive selection of real computer-science books.

Too much to actually carry back home to Germany. Hence i decided not to buy various fascicles of TAOCP and quite some other books.

Finally i settled on the following five books: 3 computer science and two more popular science related books.

CS Books:

  • Jewels of Stringology (Maxime Crochemore, Wojciech Rytter) | Amazon (US)
  • Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art (Ira Greenberg) | Amazon (US)
  • Aesthetic Computing (Paul A. Fishwick (Ed.) | Amazon (US)


  • One to Nine – The Inner Life of Numbers (Andrew Hodges) | Amazon (US)
  • Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman – Adventures of a Curious Character (Richard P. Feynman) | Amazon (US)

BTW. : Does anybody know if and when Delicious Library 2 will finally get through the doors?

My Amazon aStore (US)

PS.: Couldn’t get the image upload working with WP2.5 (Covers will be added later)

More books

I’ve been quite busy in the last weeks, first on the job and then being on a one week skiing holiday. Hence i wasn’t able to report on a couple of new books i bought recently. So lets do this. In order to be chronical first the ‘oldest book’

The Definitive Guide to django – Web development Done Right

The definite Guide to django - Web development done right (Adrian Holovaty, Jacob Kaplan-Moss)I nearly finished reading “The Definitive Guide to django – Web development Done Right” by Adrian Holovaty and Jacob- Kaplan Moss. As you already might have guessed i’m a great fan of Adrian’s efforts on “data-based” / “data-backed” journalism. What you might not be aware of (unless you are following my DailyDeli posts) is that i’m very interested in all things Python. Being originally an AI researcher doing most of his work in either Smalltak or CommonLisp/CLOS, i guess Python is something like a natural fit (at least i learned from quite some other with the same background that they had the same motivation).At least when you started looking for a “mainstream” alternative for these two computer languages more than a two of years ago and did not get caught by the “RoR” hype.

At work i personally started using Python in conjunction with Zope for some serious web development (like the web frontend for the music download store used among others by AOL Germany and a number of mobile news websites) around six years ago. Being the only serious python-based web framework, Zope back then was a natural choice. But it brought as an added bonus that was working with media companies.

I started looking for alternatives to Zope 2 around 1 1/2 years ago (and no Zope 3 didn’t look like an alternative back then and does not look like one today). At Europython2006 i had the chance to get an overview about the python web framework state of the art. For me personally django stood out from the crowd due to the fact being based on the needs of a newspaper website and it’s pragmatic but nevertheless principled and clean design.

Since i hadn’t found time to write some code in order get a “real feeling” i was eager to get the book and read through it while commuting. All in all i liked reading it. There were only a few places where i found some minor errors, and generally the questions that formed in my head were answered only a few paragraphs later. So my positive view on django has been confirmed and i’m ready to get my hands dirty.

Hence i tried to set some spare time aside and go through the book (a least selected chapters) a second time, this time with my MBP sitting right next to it. And to do some coding in django, and learn about GeoDjango, how to use S3 and investigate on other non RDBMS data backends etc.

Website | Buy at Amazon (US)

Other books

I also bought some more books on Javascript and jQuery in particular (I intend to focus on jQuery as my main JavaScript library), a book on open street map (in german) and a more research oriented book on TextMining.

Pro JavaScript Techniques (John Resig)jQuery in Action (Bear Bibault, Yehuda Katz) OpenStreetMap - Die freie Weltkarte nutzen und mitgestalten (Frederik Ramm, Jochen Topf)The Text Mining Handbook (Ronen Feldman, James Sanger)

BTW: Relations is intended to be ads free: Forever. This is the reason why i still holding back on embedding deep links to the books in the various amazons stores (International and German). But i’m on the verge of considering these links rather a service than an ad. What do you think