Talking Shop Down Under podcast about Windsor

Not too long ago Richard Banks was kind enough to have me on his podcast – Talking Shop Down Under. We chatted a little bit about Windsor, including what we’re working on for the next version. If you have spare 30-something minutes head over to the link below to listen to the podcast. And if you’ve never heard about Talking Shop check out also some of the other episodes – there are some really great interviews with some super smart people.

 

Episode 46 – Castle Windsor with Krzysztof Kozmic

Rant – Avoid ebooks from Packt Publishing

Since I got my Kindle DX over 6 months ago I’ve been buying lots of Ebooks. Some from the kindle store, but actually most of them directly from publishers. mostly O’Reilly, and Pragmatic Bookshelf but also few others. Both publishers offer ebooks in variety of formats, including .mobi which works on Kindle (including Kindle apps for Windows/iOS and Android), epub which works on IPad and many other devices. The books are nicely formatted, including great formatting of source code, links are clickable etc.

android_kindle_pragProg

Above you can see an example of that, from a Prag Prog book, screenshot comes from the awesome Kindle for Android app.

I do this introduction to show you that I am used to a high standard of books. Also the fact that most publishers offer books in several formats (.mobi and .epub as a bare minimum, but most of them also offer PDFs that work on mobile devices and O’Reilly even offers .apk for some books). That’s the quality I’m used to and that I expect. And then I bought a book from another publisher – Packt Publishing.

Please be advised that the following is a rant.

tl;dr version – Packt Publishing absolutely sucks. Don’t buy from them.

Fail one – “yes, we have .epub” (no you don’t)

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The above comes from their website. I really wanted to get .mobi to read it comfortably on my Kindle, but I figured the epub will do. I can read epub on my phone and I thought I’ll just convert it to mobi if I needed. To my surprise and unlike advertised the .epub version of the book was nowhere to be found. I obviously learned that after I payed. To be fair, I checked few weeks ago and there was the epub version. It’s still a fail as they didn’t let me know in any way that it became available.

Fail two – “here’s your epub” (are you kidding me?)

I thought that (finally) getting the epub version would be the end of my problems. I was wrong – turns out they screwed up the formatting of code samples – there’s no indention at all, which makes reading them a horrible experience (and the book I bought has lots of code samples).

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Screenshot comes from fantastic Aldiko app for Android. To make sure that the formatting issue is not the fault of the app I checked it on two other apps including one on my PC – it’s broken everywhere.

Fail three – “you can read the .pdf on Kindle” (no I can’t)

Back to the purchase day – oh well, I thought, at least I have the .pdf version of the book. I opened it on my PC and it looked all right. So I copied it to my kindle and to my phone to read it on the bus the following day. The following day though when I tried to open it, it would show me the cover but when I tried to move forward to where, you know – the content is, the Kindle would freeze and show me white screen and .pdf viewer app on my Android would just plainly refuse to operate and crash. So the only option I was left with was to read the pdf on my PC.

Fail four – “Our commitment is to reply to all e-mails within 48 business hours.” (Well, it’s been four months…)

That really pissed me off, so I found contact info and send them an email:

image

I’m still waiting for the response.

Fail five – “We won’t spam you anymore. Promise” (oh, btw, here’s our latest offer)

After giving up on them I noticed that they started sending me spam with offers for new books they publish. I complained and (to my surprise) quickly got an email with apologies and promise they won’t spam me again. However here’s what I found in my inbox today (the mail above, below is the other email from some time earlier):

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Bottom line

I now really appreciate the effort other publishers put into the high quality ebooks they produce I’m now even more happy to pay for them, knowing how horribly experience with ebook publishers can be.

The other blog

I started another blog. The topic range is much different from the usual topics discussed here, so instead of polluting this blog and alienating my audience I decided to start a dedicated blog/posterous about it.

This blog will stay as my programming/design/software development blog and is still going to be maintained. The other one is going to be about things I find on the web. Useful apps, interesting and innovative startups (mostly non-US based, that tend to get less publicity in the mainstream media like Techcrunch, Engadget, or Mashable), and all things related to that. Those who follow me on twitter know I tweet that stuff pretty often. Now I wanted to take it to the next level, not be constrained by 140 characters limit and make it less volatile.

If you feel that’s something that might interest you hop on and subscribe.

address: http://foundontheweb.posterous.com/

yum.my… tas.ty… delectab.le…? no! Devlicio.us

Who is this guy?

Tim already let the cat out of the bag – I’ve been accepted as a blogger to Devlicio.us.. I’m very thrilled to be onboard and blogging alongside of so many great people, many of whom I know from twittering, gtalking etc…

If you’re subscribed to this blog, don’t worry – it’s not going away. It’s still going to stay around. I think I’m gonna cross-post technical posts to both blogs, and keep more personal stuff, and things not really in line with devlicio.us here.

So, having said that, thanks guys for having me, and I’ll do my best to keep up with your level of professionalism.

Tags are now fixed

Ever since I changed the skin of my blog to the current one, if you clicked any tag from the tag cloud you’d get an error 404. Few people pinged me about it during past few months, but I thought it would require some time to make it work, so I never got around to actually fixing it. Until today.

As it turned out it was just a matter of copying missing control from another skin’ folder to my current one. Can it be any simpler? Anyway it works now (at least on my machine smile_wink) so enjoy.

And thanks to all the people who bugged me about it.

Call for CSS ninja

As few people pointed out, my blog sometimes renders incorrectly in Firefox. The right pane, moves left, and it makes things look less than ideal.

As my knowledge of CSS is very poor I call for help to you, dear reader. I will give a free license for NHibernate to the first person who helps me with this.

Contact me via GTalk, email, or Contact form of this site if you want to help.

Books books books…

It took quite longer than I had expected, but by the end of the year I bought few books from Amazon, and finally, they’re here.

(HINT: You can use the wl-btn-74-b._V46774601_  link to see some more books I’d love to have… and then buy some for me smile_regular).

Anyway, here’s what I bought:

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After I placed the order, I noticed that I have very similar taste to Casey Charlton, but I digress.

This is one of all-time classic books on software engineering so it was an easy choice, given my goal for this year, is to stop being just a coder, and get deeper into architectural part of software engineering. This is the book, that anyone keeps on referring to over and over, so it’s good to have it on my shelve.

Since the project I’m working on, is hugely distributed, and a lot of work I’ve been doing lately was designing and coding WCF services I really wanted a solid book on grand picture of distributed systems. At first I thought about buying one of WCF-specific books, but then I decided, that considering how quickly this technology is evolving, such book would quickly get outdated. Also, I don’t really like API-centric books, and most of the books I’ve found seemed to be falling into this category. Since I’m already quite proficient with using the API, that would not provide much value to me.

Instead, this book concentrates on patterns, and design issues, which is both, more important to me, and more timeless.

This is another classic, and it fits very well with the other two books, creating together one big repository of patterns and design ideas that proved to be very successful and popular, especially among ALT.NET circles. So I thought it would be a shame, if I didn’t know this one first-hand.

Actually at first I wanted only to get the first three books (they’re already quite expensive), but then I thought that I should really get something, dare I say, lighter. Something I could read without causing my brain to overburn, and so, based on Ayende’s recommendation I picked “Release It!“. It nicely plays with the topics touched upon in the other books, while it seems to be more narrative and reflectional than the other books. We’ll see how that will play out.

I know that last time, I had promised to put up reviews of the books I bought, as I read them, and I didn’t. No excuse here. However I thought that there are already tons of good reviews and I really didn’t have anything new to add to the mix. So, this time, if I have something to say, I will, but I make no promises.

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Good comments, bad comments

As developers from our first years we are taught by our masters: “Comment your code you should, my young apprentice”. I even found this article, that outlines 13 rules, on how you should comment your code. I only have two rules for that:

  1. Don’t comment what your code is doing. If you find it necessary, it’s a code smell, and you should start thinking about refactoring it, so that it’s obvious.
  2. Do comment why your code does what it does.

Other than that, merry Christmas and happy new year everybody.

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