Posted by simon on 2017/04/24
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: book review, psychology, Steve Taylor |
I wanted to enjoy this book. I mean, I really did – the premise is really good:
Why time seems to pass at different speeds and how to control it
That’s the tag line on the cover. And it does sound interesting – a quick stroll through the psychological processes that make time seem to shrink or expand. And the first part is exactly that: it postulates a series of laws that govern how human mind perceives time, and then goes into detail with evidence to back up these assertions. Along the way, there’s fascinating detail that explains why children experience time as longer, and how adults feel that the years are passing quickly.
And all of this psychological insight is fascinating, but around chapter six, the “how to control it” part kicks in. Read more
Posted by simon on 2017/04/24
Posted in News | Tagged With: site news |
I’m happier with the theme, although it looks a bit bland right now. I’ll fix that soon…
/edit: no, sorry. Reverted.
Posted by simon on 2016/12/06
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: book review, Robin Neillands, war, World War I |
Of course, we’ve all seen Blackadder Goes Forth. The Allied generals used to just throw men at things, not care how many casualties there were, and kept on doing that until… somehow, the Allies won the war. Neillands’ main topic – in fact the whole reason for this book – is to answer the question: if the generals on the Western Front really were so incompetent and didn’t care about casualties, then how did they win the war in the first place?
It’s an interesting question, and he takes 500+ pages to answer it. It’s actually a fascinating read, covering not the what or the how (there are soul-crushing accounts of Passchendaele or the Somme that will haunt you forever, should you choose to read them) but instead asking ‘why’ – why did they choose to attack here, or there, why didn’t they think of x or y or z? Read more
Posted by simon on 2016/12/04
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: book review, Jack House, murder, true crime |
Having rattled through this in just over – ooh, 31 years – I thought I’d just quickly write about it.
The reason it took me 31 years to read is simple. In 1984 the BBC adapted it into a series. I watched, absolutely fascinated (coming from a family of fans of Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell, Ngaio Marsh and the ilk, that’s hardly surprising). What amazed me was the “not proven” verdict – that strange halfway house between “well, you might have done something, but they’ve not actually proved there was a murder there in the first place”. The series of four dramatic reconstructions having finished, I took the book on holiday to read. Alas, I left my copy on the boat on the way to France, having read only the first chapter.
So, 31 years… a record for me. Was it worth the wait?
Actually, yes. Read more
Posted by simon on 2016/12/03
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: book review, Ernest Hemingway, Spanish Civil War, war |
I hadn’t read this one when I picked it up in Cash Converters (yes, they sell books as well). It’s hard to find English books in Lisbon, so the two choices in the shop were Dan Brown’s Deception Point and this. Deception Point I read in three days and you can pretty much imagine that it was like his other books, should you choose to, because it is – as with most genre authors, you get the experience you expected. Having finished Dan Brown, I picked this up not really knowing what to expect. I knew that it was about the Spanish Civil War, but not much more than that.
For Whom The Bell Tolls follows Robert Jordan, a university Spanish teacher turned dynamiter for the Communist cause. We’re first introduced to him sizing up a bridge that needs to be blown up as part of a major attack. The inevitability of death figures throughout the book – Jordan initially believes he won’t survive the bridge attack and having accepted that, meets a woman named Maria who had escaped Franco’s forces. (So far I’ve not mentioned anything not on the back cover of my edition of the book – I’m trying to avoid spoilers, if you can believe that’s relevant for a book that’s currently 77 years old.) Read more
Posted by simon on 2016/11/29
Posted in Comment | Tagged With: spam |
Just been through the spam pile. I like to do that manually from time to time, just for fun.
“Quit your job today and earn less than you do now writing nonsense for us” – don’t care.
“Your SEO isn’t very good. Buy expensive thing from us and you will get lost of traffic” – don’t care. I’m happy with the SEO I’ve got, which is pretty much none. That’s high maintenance enough for me.
“Writing is hard, we have a thing that will do it for you – search blahblahblah’s tools” – nope. I’ll write something on here when I can be bothered. When I can’t, I won’t.
And then there’s the usual set of “asdasdasdasdasdasdf” type spams too.
Sometimes, I wonder why people bother. Does this nonsense actually sell anything?
Posted by simon on 2016/11/28
Posted in Technology | Tagged With: Azure, free ebook, Microsoft, Windows Server |
Here’s two free eBooks:
Spoiler: they’re about computer-y stuff. Don’t read if you’re hoping for a whodunnit.
Posted by simon on 2016/11/28
Posted in Technology | Tagged With: Linux, Microsoft, SQL Server |
Microsoft have a preview of SQL Server for Linux now. There’s even an install guide. Good times.
Posted by simon on 2016/10/16
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: Drik J Struik, history, mathematics |
I found this book in a branch of Cash Converters in Lisbon. Actually, scratch that – I found the 1966 edition in a Cash Converters in Lisbon. However the cover of mine is rather beaten up so I borrowed this image from Amazon. You can go buy that edition from Amazon if you wish – that’s not an affiliate link, by the way, as having moved out of the UK they don’t let me do that any more. But I digress…
The early chapters of the book are fairly easy to follow. This is probably because there’s not a lot of change in quite a lot of time, and it’s fairly easy(ish) to document that for the general mathematically ignorant (such as me). Generally speaking even my high level of mathematical ignorance is capable of coping with zero, and negative numbers and so on.
Posted by simon on 2016/05/28
Posted in Reviews | Tagged With: vintage computing |
Bcpl: The Language and Its Compiler by Martin Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Published in 1981, I bought this when I saw it mentioned in an article on compilers, and someone mentioned this as being a model of what a book about a computer language should be.
It’s interesting to see the way in which this book works, and it’s probably a good model for low-level programming. A fascinating insight into a little-used language these days, and still quite readable even if you can’t get your head round BCPL. Modern programmers new to antique languages will find it strangely fascinating: no strings, no classes, no memory management. It’s about as low level as you can get, and yet there’s concepts in there (write once, run anywhere) that are bang up to date in the latest languages.
A fascinating read for anyone seriously interesting in the history of computing.
View all my reviews
/edit: I originally had the name as “BCPL: The Compiler and its Construction”. Doh.