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Aussies in London - What are you doing here?

March 2, 2007
1 comment Books

Aussies in London - What are you doing here? I've just finished Dylan Nichols book called "What Are You Doing Here" which is a funny little book about Australians in England (London especially), why they came, what they do here, what influences they bring with them and why they keep coming and last but not least what gets them to go back home.

Dylan is a good friend of mine and I book my signed copy at his book launch a couple of weeks ago. A lot of my friends here in London are aussies and reading this book will only help me understand them and possibly whats going on in their head. Reading this book has given me some profound understanding about Australians' feelings about coming here that I didn't understand before.

The only bad thing I can say about the book is that it wasn't meant for me. It's got a very strong Australian taste to it and I don't think Dylan and his aussie reviewers even noticed that it could be accepted as almost a bit condescending towards the britons.

The first couple of chapters are about the history of arriving aussies and the responses on that. I love the way Dylan has plenty of little facts about very small things such as quotes from old Australian prime ministers and certain celebrities and what they added to British culture.

As the story is told Dylan often pops back to himself and his feelings and actions when he came here and this happens throughout the book which gives it a nice personal touch to it and not just history lesson.

There were also some interesting sections about "brain-drain" and how it might not be a brain-drain since a lot of these brains actually come back enriched. This I think applies very much to Swedes too.

There's a good review/article also on on the same subject worth reading if you're too pennywise to part with £6.64

Martial Arts by Pen Rance

February 27, 2006
0 comments Kung Fu, Books

Martial Arts - A book about Kung fu films Got my copy today! I'm excited to read it.

Martial Arts is a book about martial arts films such as Enter the Dragon and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon etc. written by my "kung fu sister". Within the club you sometimes refer to other people in club as brothers and sisters. Pen and I train both train with Dave in Islington.

Have you seen Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? Do you understand it all or are you, like me, just watching for its fascinating effects, scenery and swordplay? Apparently, all the questions that you've always wanted to know is in the book. I remember asking Pen once: "Why does she jump off the bridge in the end?" To which Pen replied: "Buy my book and you'll find out". So I did. Can't wait!

Geek entrepreneurs' reading list

December 13, 2005
1 comment Books

FogGreek is putting together some sort of management training course and Joel has put up a reading list for the course. They're all either technical computer or modern management books that new-age web entrepreneurs should read.

Of all those books I've only read five but I recognize almost half of them.

Here are the ones I've read:

Don't Make Me Think Web Publishing The Inmates Are Running the Asylum Peopleware The Tipping Point

It's a shame they've missed out on Maverick! (or at least The Seven Day Weekend) by Ricardo Semler but it pleases me that he skipped the micro$oft propaganda book Joel on software

DOM Scripting

December 5, 2005
0 comments Books

DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith I just finished reading DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith to learn more about how to use the DOM (Document Object Model) to manipulate web content with JavaScript. The book teaches you how to write JavaScripts to create, change and animate content with scripts using document.createElement and stuff. The book starts with refresher on JavaScript which I must confess to reading much faster than I'm able to. However, it did explain the importance of declaring variables with var and why it matters well.

After chapter 4, you've been taught more or less everything there is to know about the DOM and the rest of the book is just big and explained exercises that iterate the importance of separating Structure (XHTML), Presentation (CSS), Behaviour (JavaScript) with examples and code from all three disciplines. By the way, don't worry when I say "exercises". You can read the book in the bath tub without having to do step-by-step exercises; Jeremy does all of that for you in the book.

In retrospect the book was probably a few thousand words "too simple" for me. I'm not an expert at DOM scripting but the XHTML, CSS and stuff was a bit basic. For example, I've already used AJAX, I didn't need to know what it is. Did that sound too cocky? Sorry, I hope you see what I mean.

If you're quite new to web standards, DOM scripting and AJAX and stuff; get this book! Or, you're an old-school web developer still using Flash, tables and popup windows; get this book!

Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

March 31, 2004
2 comments Books

"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin."

On Sunday morning I heard that Project Gutenberg has started to provide some of their books in MP3 format. I did a "random" search and eventually started downloading The Trial by Franz Kafka. Whilst waiting I started to read Metamorphosis also by Franz Kafka.

We read it at school many years ago and I appreciated it even more this time. What a fantastic book it is. So incredible many subtle hints that you easily oversee. This time around I understood it much more. Maybe it's that I've matured more or maybe I read it too quickly last time. Last time I understood it as Gregor Samsa just felt forgotten and dying. This time I realised that it abstracts so many other forms of social development. I had not understood the importance of the mother, the father and the sister. They in themselves represent different layers of social groups in a very well hidden way. Before I used to think of the members of the family all as one entity.

This was also the first I've ever read a book on screen. It's definitely not an alternative to read long novels on the computer but Metamorphosis isn't very long and I was curious what it'd be like to read a book on the screen. The biggest problem I think is the sitting position. If laid back and comfortable and it becomes hard to focus on the little letters and to close you end up with neck strain and tear running eyes. Nothing beats the paper alternative. The question is, what's the next ideal digital alternative to reading from paper?