I Heart Firefox - Part 2 Waypoint @ Harbourfront

O'Reilly on my radar (Or: two book reviews)

Posted Mon, Aug 22, 2005 at 11:16 PM
Modified Sun, Dec 8-, 2005 at 11: 0 PM

Better known as the publisher of various computer technology bibles, O'Reilly has really started to diversify their collection...


I recently picked up -- and finished reading in a mere week... a major feat for a procrastinator such as myself -- Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age by Paul Graham. With it's glossy cover and theoretical writing, I was suprised to see the O'Reilly name on it but this one is definetely a keeper.

In a collection of 15 short essays, Graham tackles such topics as:

Q: Why are nerds unpopular?
A: They have better things to do

Q: How do you get rich?
A: Generate 'wealth' (making things other people want) instead of stealing it

Q: Which programming language reins supreme?
A: Lisp (according to him, but he's got some good arguments for dynamic data typing over static typing, critiques of the OOP frenzy, and why 'hacker' languages like Perl, Python, and Ruby might be messy now but give it a few years....)

And, of course, why hackers are more like painters than (computer) scientists.


You all know that I love DIY. So when I first heard about Make magazine, I've been lusting after a copy for months.

Chapters/Indigo in Canada doesn't carry them so I've been planning to order it from Amazon for eons while sustaining myself with the Make blog.

However, a friend just got back into town having been away doing intense nerd-related business for a year, including a Microsoft conference where Make makers had made an appearance. And so he bestowed upon me the best travel souvenir a geek girl like me could get: the premier issue.

I was so inspired after reading it that I pulled out my sewing machine (remember, I'm still a girl) and craftied up myself a cute shirt, among various hemline fixes. I was even enthusiastic enough to pull out my screwdriver and fix the broken toilet seat in my apartment that has been falling apart for a week.

But I digress... back to the magazine! Among my favourites:

- The Life Hacks article on yak shaving (which refers to "Any seemingly pointless activity which is actually necessary to solve a problem which solves a problem which, several levels of recursion later, solves the real problem you're working on") and why problem solving geeks are most prone to partaking in this activity.

- The "toolkit" resource section in the back which reviews essential must-haves. One such review for Kleer Drain (a gadget that de-clogs drains) was so eloquently written, I felt myself wanting to run to Home Depot right then and there.

I Heart Firefox - Part 2 Waypoint @ Harbourfront
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