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Book Review: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Posted in Book Reviews, Lifehacks, Technology by engtech on May 28, 2006

7 Habits is one of those books that everyone always recommends that you read. While it falls head-on in the category of "general self-help" that should often be avoided, it is still a good read. This gist is that you are in control of your life, and you have the ability to shape who you are in a way that is beneficial to your goals and the goals of the people around you.

Here is a collection of quotes/phrases that I found particularly insightful:


Free CVS Book – Open Source Development with CVS, 3rd Edition by Karl Fogel and Moshe Bar

Posted in Book Reviews, Links, Programming Tools, Technology by engtech on May 27, 2006

"Open Source Development with CVS, 3rd Edition" by Karl Fogel and Moshe Bar is available as a free PDF download under the GNU GPL. It can also be browsed online in HTML. There is also a lengthy article available talking about CVS best practices.

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Recommended Hardware Verification Books

Yet another page of recommended books. What stood out for me:

  • Debugging by David J. Agans (actually available at the local library for a change)
  • Comprehensive Functional Verification by Bruce Wile

Book Tips

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Recommended reading for software developers

Posted in Book Reviews, Links, Technology by engtech on May 19, 2006

This is a pretty good list of recommended reading for software developers. What interests me:

  • Code Complete 2 (sitting on my desk beside me, about 80 pages in)
  • The Mythical Man Month
  • Rapid Development
  • Peopleware
  • The Pragmatic Programmer

Coding Horror: Recommended reading for developers

(note: that all of those books are also on Joel Spolsky's list that I mentioned here)

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User Interface Design for Programmers – Joel On Software

Posted in Book Reviews, Links, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on May 02, 2006

Joel Spolsky has a book on User Interface Design. It is also partially available online.

User Interface Design for Programmers (Paperback)
Joel Spolsky

Most of the hard core C programmers I know hate user interface programming. This surprises me, because I find UI programming to be quintessentially easy, straightforward, and fun.It’s easy because you usually don’t need algorithms more sophisticated than how to center one rectangle in another. It’s straightforward because when you make a mistake, you immediately see it and can correct it. It’s fun, because the results of your work are immediately visible. You feel like you are sculpting the program directly.

I think most programmers’ fear of UI programming comes from their fear of doing UI design. They think that UI design is like graphics design: the mysterious process by which creative, latte-drinking, all-dressed-in-black people with interesting piercings produce cool looking artistic stuff. Programmers see themselves as analytic, logical thinkers: strong at reasoning, weak on artistic judgment. So they think they can’t do UI design.

User Interface Design for Programmers – Chapter 1

To summarize, designing good software takes about six steps:

  1. Invent some users
  2. Figure out the important activities
  3. Figure out the user model — how the user will expect to accomplish those activities
  4. Sketch out the first draft of the design
  5. Iterate over your design again and again, making it easier and easier until it’s well within the capabilities of your imaginary users

Watch real humans trying to use your software. Note the areas where people have trouble, which probably demonstrate areas where the program model isn’t matching the user model.

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Book Reviews from Joel on Software

Posted in Book Reviews, Links, Programming and Software Development, Technology by engtech on April 14, 2006

Book Reviews – Joel on Software

Recommended reading for programmers from Joel on Software.


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