Category Archives: Books

DRM Free Please

I try to be a voracious reader and just over a year ago, I purchased a nook touch. There were three primary drivers for that decision.

First was I wanted to have an e-ink display after sitting and looking at a computer monitor all day, the e-ink is easier on my eyes, especially late at night in bed before I go to sleep.

Second was from the recommendation about epub being better support from publishing perspective from the Pragmatic Programmers when I asked over twitter whether to go with the Kindle or KindleDX. Their reply was that epub is a more open and extensible format to work with and software books tend to come out better in that format.

Third one was that the epub is a more open format than the others I had encountered and the nook supports that format.

On the down side though, the Barnes and Noble store has all of their books with DRM on them.

For using my nook, I will always try and buy from publishers and stores that give DRM free books, and if not, I would rather buy a print version. I could give a number of reasons that I am against DRM, from being free to share books with another person, being free to read my books on whatever device I decide without being losing any content I paid for, lack of trust in major publishers or booksellers being able to survive the shift into digital publishing and taking away my content if they don’t.

I want to give thanks to the following publishers for their support of DRM free publishing, and these publishers will always get my support: The Pragmatic Bookshelf, O’Reilly Media, Manning Publications, and Apress.

As part of this I would also like share the Readers Bill of Rights for Digital Books.

I will gladly support any additional publishers and sellers who put their support behind DRM free digital books.


How Changed My Reading Habits

“But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
–LeVar Burton

This past year I wound up coming across Goodreads and have been very impressed with what I have seen so far. Before finding Goodreads, I had been looking for a bookshelf system, as I have historically been bad about tracking what I read. While I can remember that I read something usually, I am bad about gauging when I have read it. It had been on my things to do, but it became reinforced after reading Apprenticeship Patterns by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye.

Goodreads helps solve this problem for me. I can go mark books as being read, and then when I complete it, I move it to my “Read” shelf, and it sets the date of completion for me. I have also noticed that it helps me focus on finishing books more as well. I have the occasional habit of picking up and starting other books while I am reading one, and have even had three or four books going at the same time. These are not just reference style books as well, but different topics on different subjects some times. By me seeing a notice on my shelf that I am reading this, it helps to remind me to come back and finish reading the book, especially if it is a reference book, that is not setup that it is expected that it will read all of the way through.

The other reason that I had been looking for a good bookshelf tracking software, is that the way I was tracking books that I wanted to read, was by using a folder of bookmarks in my web-browser. Now I primarily use Chrome as my browser of choice, so I could see a list of books across a couple of different computers as I enabled the synchronization feature in Chrome, but to go through and find books was getting so that I could not even see the whole list when I was viewing it on my 30″ monitor. Goodreads helped to give me a good way to manage that list. They even have an iPhone app, so I can manage my “To-Read” shelf even when I am away from the computer.

The other feature I am loving about it that helps make it amazing in my book is the social aspect of it. I can add people I know as friends, and I can see their updates in a news stream. I have it setup so that I can see when one of my Goodreads friends adds a book as something they want to read, what progress they are making, and when they rate books. This has lead me to find a whole number of books that I likely would not have encountered normally.

The social aspect has a secondary benefit in that I can start to find out how my friends tastes in books correlates to mine. Not only can I see their ratings show in my news feed, so I can start to notice if our interest in topics align, but I can also browse their bookshelves and look at their history of books they have marked as reading, and go dig for new book ideas to add to my “To-Read” list. Goodreads aslo has a feature that lets me run a comparison of our tastes, and see how much of our lists overlap, and how we rank within that list.

I highly recommend this to anybody looking for a good bookshelf tracking site, as I am sure I have only scratched the surface of the features they provide, but am loving it and recommending it to anybody when they mention they are reading a book. If you are interested in checking out my profile or following me on Goodreads, my profile can be found at:

Happy Reading, and

“I’ll see you next time.”
–LeVar Burton

Books I’ve Recently Read

This is my quick entry for helping to track the books that I have recently read, are currently reading, and are in my queue to read soon.

First up is the books I have recently read since around Christmas.   My Christmas list this past year was simply a listing of books that were on my To Read list.  Having gotten those and finished reading those that were in progress, I determined that I should make a note of what books I have read since then.  They are as follows, in no particular order.

  • Extreme Programming Explained – Kent Beck
  • The Passionate Programmer – Chad Fowler
  • Apprenticeship Patterns – Dave Hoover and Ade Oshineye
  • Continuous Deployment – Jez Humble and David Farley
  • A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives – Cordelia Fine
  • Javascript Patterns – Stoyan Stefanov
  • The Book of Lies – Brad Meltzer (Fiction, for the sake of a mental break)
  • Web Design for Developers – Brian P. Hogan

To go with the list of books that I have recently read, here are the books that I am currently reading.

  • Pragmatic Thinking and Learning – Andy Hunt
  • Programming Ruby 1.9 – Dave Thomas

These are the books that are in my queue to read soon.  These have been through other developer’s reviews or recommendations, recommendations from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel based of books I have read, or books I have just browsed through or stumbled upon and which looked interesting.

  • The Humane Interface – Jef Raskin (Have from Christmas)
  • Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug (Have from Christmas)
  • Release It! – Michael T. Nygard (Have from Christmas)
  • Domain-Specific Languages – Martin Fowler (Have from Christmas)
  • Object-Oriented Software Construction – Bertrand Meyer
  • Software Craftsmanship: The New Imperative – Pete McBreen
  • The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master – Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas
  • Designing Object Systems: Object-Oriented Modelling with Syntropy – by Steve Cook and John  Daniels
  • The The Annotated Turing – Charles Petzold
  • Switch – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • Why We Make Mistakes – Joseph T. Hallinan
  • Javascript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford

Any other suggestions are open and welcome. recommends….

Yesterday morning I get an email from with the following subject: recommends "Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship" and more

containing the latest product recommendations from Amazon for me.  After I skim it, I realize I have to go back and give it a deeper look.  After that second pass, I can’t help but laugh at their book recommendations for me:

  • Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship – Robert C. Martin (Uncle Bob)
  • Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code – Martin Fowler
  • Working Effectively with Legacy Code – Martin Feathers
  • Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests – Steve Freeman and Nat Pryce
  • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture – Martin Fowler

Now looking at that book list, you may be wondering what prompted me to laugh at those recommendations, well I own and have read them all.  Time to go update as marking that I own all of them, and see what new recommendations it has for me.