sushi, software and success

Just finished watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi  – a film about Jiro Ono, a 85 year-old sushi master and owner of Michelin 3-Star restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, on his continuing quest to perfect the art of sushi.

“Once you decide on your occupation,” says Jiro, “you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

Reminds me of a lot of things I try not to forget:

1- make a choice, then move full speed ahead

2- you must love what you do (otherwise find another one)

3- excellence and quality

4- art

Just around the time when I am in the process of reading Seth Godin’s book Linchpin. Probably safe to call the master sushi chef the linchpin that ties together vendors (shrimp, fish experts) and the rest of sushi hungry and foodies of the world.

I would recommend this movie to everyone. Most especially to my fellow technologists.

We don’t have to learn how to make sushi but we definitely could learn a thing or two on how to make software/products that can make everyone say “Ahhh……”

Jiro_Dreams_Of_Sushi_2011_DVD_Cover

Free Foundations of Programming Book by Karl Seguin

Came across this Foundations of Programming Book by Karl Seguin (ebook actually) when I looked into CodeBetter.com

It contains articles that were previously posted on the site and I had the chance to scan/skim over it and wow, I’d have to say this is a must read for developers at any level (probably even the “guru”s need to have a look at it).

The book is 79 pages short. [more] Yes that is considering the the comprehensive content and not to mention that it includes cover, table of contents and other pages aside from the content itself.

I believe the samples are in C# but since it is really a foundation about programming don’t expect foundations of C# or any other language.

It covers very interesting topics like Agile Development (Test Driven, Domain Driven development/design, Continuous Integration) and other basic stuff like Memory, Exception Handling. Topics where the CodeBetter folks are really good at.

Honestly I haven’t read those articles/post yet but will definitely sit down with this ebook and hold on other readings I regularly do (My Journeyman to Master on Safari is not yet finished).

Thanks to Karl for the effort of putting this together. It’s one thing to write sporadic, uncoherent posts through blogs. It’s another thing to come with such a well written series of articles worthy of a full blown book.

My Safari Online Subscription and The Pragmatic Programmer – From Journeyman to Master

A few weeks earlier I decided that I should get my personal Oreilly Safari Books Online subscription so I did. Although it does cost something (what doesn’t) and something that might not be a good idea for others I’d have to say that I find it very useful and effective. Let me share my thoughts [more]

I enjoy buying books and I do entertain stuffs like speed reading and other techniques but as most of you will attest, reading technical books might not be really applicable for speed reading (though again I’m no expert). I definitely try to use speed reading for news or pleasure reading but my mind has conflicting ideas about speed reading and the concept that the more senses are involved in learning, the more it becomes effective. Thus it does help if 1) you are holding, feeling and somehow smelling the book (not sniff it but even at a distance you can technically smell it) and 2) doing the examples in it.

But even with the points above about buying hard copies the fact is that here in the Philippines not much good books are available; even those considered by some as must reads. I see a lot of books about Java, C#, C++, HTML and books about how (how to do this and that) but not books about the why. (I could be wrong but mind you for someone who goes into bookstores when I see one, I do know). So most of the books I have and need to read I get from Amazon (and yes the amount bieng paid for Customs/Tariffs is not helping either) and most of good programmers/developers I know does that too. I also have tons of ebooks stashed away in my portable external drive and although I always bring along with me but I haven’t even read 1% of them.

I like to scan, read a little and jump to the next book, it may be good but if you keep on buying and just reading 1/3 of it then that’s a problem coz books cost money. It is worth the money if you do get a lot from it but as I’ve said, not reading in full is my problem and there’s also that valid argument that you only have limited knowledge of whether or not the book is good like book reviews, table of contents or excepts but it’s not always available or reliable. I also sometimes spend hours just trying to organize (categorize, unzip and rename) my ebooks (yes admitedly some of them are copyrighted books which I haven’t purchased but a little read and I like them I do) and books which is such time consuming if not a complete waste of time.

So to make the long story short, I got a safari subscription. Apparently Safari Library is not available here so got the Max 10-slot Bookshelf (along with 5-slot is the one ones available) which I eventually downgraded to Basic (no feature to download PDF chapters – don’t really need it) and so works pretty well so far. I haven’t read much so there might even be a chance that I’ll get it lower to 5 and just upgrade again if necesary. Turns out I don’t really need much slots. Safari Library (the no slot/limits plus access to rough cuts (early access to upcoming books) and videos still sounds like a good idea for me if it does become available to the Philippines but for now, it’s a good thing since I’m forced to select and decide well on what the best books to read and somehow gives me focus on what to read. And weird enough, although the books I’ve purchased costs more (a lot more) I feel that I must make the most of what I pay for monthly with this subscription so I tend to want to read more when I can (note: busy with work and stuff so only “want” and don’t always have the luxury to read aside from those directly related to the project at hand.

So this is my safari bookshelf story and for those who might just have the same concerns with path to learning as I do, try to look into safari if you haven’t yet. For me, it’s well worth my money. You can also ask your employer to subscribe for your team and that would work but I’d probably still get my own personal subscription just for the push/pressure to learn more from it (yes I enjoy my work and reading but the push is for the time constraints).

For my first recommendation. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master

You might you know a lot there is to programming but have a little look and if the concepts are new to you then you should read this book. Truly, it a book from journeyman to master. You’d also be surprise how some of the concepts have been around for some time but still applicable for today and that you might even applied in your previous works unknowingly, how you thought things should be done but not how your company or people around you do it. It always feel good to be assured that there are people out there who think the same way you do or at least makes you think again if you’re really doing things right or wrong.

This not your typical book about “comment your code”, “indent your code”, limit lines of codes to X lines but more. Those concepts are good but there’s not everything that makes a good programmer/developer and a good software eventually.

I’ve read a couple of other books, a few of what other’s consider are of the same rating as this one but so far if you have to pick a book to become a good developer, start with this. For book on software developer this is pretty short and concise but IMHO every point is worth noting. And though different from Head First books (which I enjoy too) you’re likely to enjoy this one. 🙂 If you didn’t then let us know why we should think otherwise.

If I do find and read a book worth putting this aside then I’d be happy to but for now, again grab this one and let’s work building a world with less code/apps that are nightmare to read and maintain.

pragmatic

  • Fight software rot;
  • Avoid the trap of duplicating knowledge;
  • Write flexible, dynamic, and adaptable code;
  • Avoid programming by coincidence;
  • Bullet-proof your code with contracts, assertions, and exceptions;
  • Capture real requirements;
  • Test ruthlessly and effectively;
  • Delight your users;
  • Build teams of pragmatic programmers; and
  • Make your developments more precise with automation.

Wrox Blox – Professional ASP.NET 3.5 Upgrade

I’ll hopefully (likely) be taking the ASP.NET 3.5 MCTS beta exam this week and though I’m quite aware that there are more than enough articles and videos in the web to review for the exam I just felt like treating myself to this wrox blox Professional ASP.NET 3.5 Upgrade. These are [more]selected chapters in their new ASP.NET 3.5 books which are targetted for those with knowledge on ASP.NET 2.0 but wishes to have a quick start for 3.5.

Given lots of new things to learn lately (may or may not be directly related to technology), the skill to select the right things to learn at the quickest possible time must be a requirement for great developers (or at least those aspiring to be one, including me probably). So it does cost something but I don’t mind because to me buying these stuff is likely treating myself to the mall. 🙂 Unfortunately I can’t share it with everyone (so as Wrox says) since it will be violation of terms but I’ll hopefully be able to paste a thing or two I come across while exploring things outside this book/blox triggered by the curiosity of reading it or if you happen to be on the same area code as me, we can discuss offline. 😀 or you can of course you could always purchase it too and give the authors what they deserve. (the best in the field by the way, Evjen, Hanselman and Rader)

Feel free to check out my learning links from time to time too. Will try my best to update as much as I can.

Learning Resources

Post on ASP.NET 3.5 beta exam

Finally, I might be posting the list books that I have physically have with me (yes yes, i love books) some time soon. which means if you happen to be on the same area code and be trusted enough I might be able lend it for free 🙂 Coming soon…

Six Head First Books in Oreilly Top Ten

I just thought I’d share that as of today, six of the top ten books at safari.oreilly.com comes from the Head First Series. Namely: [more]

  1. Head First C#
  2. Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
  3. Head First Design Patterns
  4. Head First JavaScript
  5. Head First Servlets and JSP
  6. Head First SQL

For me, this says a lot. I’m sure the Oreilly library has a good number of users, they can’t all be wrong and Head First books must be good.

And yes, I’d have to agree. I have a Head First PMP and though I never had the chance to finish it yet and it’s not in the top ten list (probably because not everyone enjoys PM) I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. And having read a thing or two about learning styles and cognition, I’d have to say their approach is very effective.

So, if you have a topic you want to learn (beginner/immediate) and Head First has a book for it, I would recommend you go for it. The fun and learning will be worth your money.

You can also check out the safari library samples and if you’re comfortable reading online, you’d save more.

Microsoft Connect is back up

The new and improved Microsoft Connect v3.0 (a way to share and connect with Microsoft regarding their products) is up as of Saturday, March 22, 2008. [more]

“You can participate in Microsoft Connect in several ways, such as
downloading the latest software and written material, taking surveys,
exchanging ideas in newsgroup forums, and, most importantly, providing
and reviewing feedback about your experiences. Your feedback enables
Microsoft to make software and services the best that they can be, and
you can learn about and contribute to exciting projects.”

This project was down for sometime but the MCHelp Team is confident that our customers will be pleased with the changes
and feature upgrades in this release.”

Another good site to track.

My bookwormr Account

Just came across this site for bookworms. There you will books I’ve read, reading and will read (hopefully) as well as reviews for those books if I have time and if I’m even good at it.

I was thinking of [more] having my book list and reviews here in my site or my blog but I figured I’ll let some other site (and people) work on these stuff and I’ll deal with other things instead like making this site/blog a useful resource for developers. I’ll probably have a separate permanent link for this but for the meantime you might be interested to join too. (admit it, most of us are bookworms one way or another)

My BookWormr profile (ohh and not sure what the R at the end stands for – probably bookworm-er?, dunno)

My Picks at CodePlex

Been up for around 24 hrs yesterday and guess what I’ve been doing? Browsing projects in CodePlex

This is the first time I did this and for sure there are a lot of benefits you could think of but here’s my list:

  1. finding interesting starter kits
  2. some basis / base code for future projects
  3. getting new ideas inspired by some of the projects there
  4. finding a solution to a problem you never realized you had until you came across someone (project) having a solution for it
  5. and of course, having to read other people’s code: how to write good code or how NOT to write bad ones

There a tons of projects there from simple to complex ones, from those supported by a community to those supported by one, from active to dead ones and even those from Microsoft like Sample Projects for products.

Here are my interesting picks (so far) [more]. I haven’t looked at each one of them yet but sounds interesting:

  1. ASP.NET – Projects from the ASP.NET Team (eg. ASP.NET MVC Framework)
  2. SQL Web Data Administrator – Manage SQL Server Installation from a Web Interface
  3. Hawkeye – The .Net Runtime Object Editor
  4. BlogEngine.NET Extensions
  5. .NET Configuration Manager
  6. Bugtracker.NET
  7. Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer with ASP.NET Plugin
  8. LiveChat Starter Kit
  9. .NET Pet Shop MVC
  10. The Family Tree Project – this was one of my reasons for surfing around. was hoping to work on a family tree project (web based) just seems interested to have one. But doesn’t seem to have been released or will ever be
  11. NMVP Software Factory – Model View Presenter
  12. ASP.NET MVP Framework – Model View Presenter
  13. AdventureWorks Starter Kit – seems to have lots of technologies involved
  14. DotNetSCORM – elearning sounds interesting and not to say noble
  15. AspQuestionnaire
  16. Spider.NET
  17. SEO toolkit
  18. InstallKey – license validation
  19. IRC#
  20. Design Pattern Finder – finds GOF (and user defined) patterns in code
  21. WikiEngine.NET
  22. Wedding Starter Kit – yeah you read it right, wedding
  23. DotNetSecurity
  24. User Group Web Site
  25. Resource Refactoring Tool – move hard coded strings to resource file et al

If we have similar taste/interest then I’ve done you a favor of picking the list from the hundreds (if not a thousand or so from CodePlex). Otherwise, go to CodePlex and pick your list. If you don’t find interesting stuff there then your works must be more interesting and worthy of sharing.

Will move this content to a separate page including review/notes on each of the projects if possible. Hope this helps for now

Beginner Developer Learning Center

While surfing around Developer Center links in msdn online I came across the interesting Beginner Developer Learning Center.

a centralized learning environment specifically targeted to beginning programmers. Here you’ll find a rich array of learning content that starts with the very basics, and guides you through step-by-step to becoming a fully-fledged developer!

No experience or programming knowledge required – so dive right in! [more]

In most forums and in real life, one of the most common questions is where to I start if I want to learn programming. The answer would (IMHO) take a very long time to discuss with regards to what language (this in itself could take ages to debate on), learning design vs. syntactics and semantics of a language, web/windows  and the list goes on.

But if you want to skip the issues above and as the site says “dive right in” with primarily Microsoft technologies then this is a good place to start. And though again the debate could go along way with choosing the right tools and platform, being a .NET Developer (with very minimal knowledge on other languages and platform) I can safely say that development with Microsoft is a very good start (if not very till the end).

Currently the first step is figuring out whether the aspiring developer would like to start on web or windows development and then moving forward with Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 developement.

Of course in addition to this, there is always the ASP.NET GetStarted and Learning Site and Windows Client GetStarted and Learning Site (just knew about this too and got redirected when i typed in windowsforms.net)

Will see if I could update this from time to time or maybe a separate links for learning links. Hope this helps anyone. Enjoy coding!

Introduction to SQL Server 2008 Free eBook

I belive all you need is a Windows Live ID.

The book is not complete yet. Only chapter 1 (Declarative Management Framework) is currently viewable without signing up and signing up includes Chapter 11 (Transact-SQL Enhancement). But when the book is completed the whole content of the book will be available for free. The 1st Chapters is enough for a teaser.

Click here