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Month: October 2010

Eli Videos

Eli’s First Giggle

This was last night, I saw a photo of a dad fist bumping with his baby and so I gave it a try. After a couple times I added sound effects which Eli really liked.

Eli Talking With Giraffe

Eli really like his swing, he is calmer in the swing than he is when he is sound asleep in his crib. In this video he is focused on his stuffed giraffe and appears to be having a conversation with it.

Skinny Eli Wiggling Around

At a month old Eli was still really skinny and he wiggled around even more than he does today.

Three Day Old Eli

This is a 3 day old Eli, it is amazing seeing how small and skinny he was.


The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide by Allan Bedford

I have really gotten into Lego lately. I am an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) and really enjoy putting the kits together as a way to wind down and relax. I also like the challenge of taking a handful of bricks and creating something totally original.

The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide is a great starting point for someone getting into Lego building with tips on how to build solid and stable structures with a minimum of bricks, how to calculate scale so your models look “real” or at least recognizable, tips on sorting and storing, and a brickopedia to help with describing and categorizing different bricks.

With what I learned in this book I hope to build bigger and better models that include more realistic details. It has already helped with ideas for my current project, a chassis dynamometer that spins the wheels of other models so you can watch the internals moving.

Although I do like this book and feel that I got my money’s worth from it, I feel like there is a lot missing for a book with 344 pages. There was a lot of content I have no interest in, like how to build models of large pieces and how to build a sphere, and the sections I was interested in were not very satisfying.

I did like this book, but I guess the reviews and testimonials on Amazon hyped it up to a point that no one book could ever actually be that good.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 for those who are interested in building with Lego.


Dresden Files Books 4 through 8 by Jim Butcher

I have continued listening to the Dresden Files books from Audible narrated by James Marsters.

The series continues to be a great mixture of adventure, action, paranormal and mystery genres. I have enjoyed every book and look forward to listening to the next while dreading the day that I finish the last book.

Harry Dresden is maturing as the story progresses and the other characters in the series are growing with him. I find that a rare quality among series like this. Seeing Charity and Michael’s children grow and change draws me deeper into the story line and makes me want to continue reading until the very last word.

I highly recommend the series and rate it as an 8 out of 10.


Firebug 1.5: Editing, Debugging, and Monitoring Web Pages by Chandan Luthra and Deepak Mittal

Firebug is a debugging tool for the Firefox web browser and as I continue ramping up my JavaScript skills knowing how to quickly find and correct bugs is essential.

A lot of what is in this book can be learned by using Firebug to deconstruct other people’s web sites, I find it very educational to see how others are coding their web sites, and Firebug is great for that. It is so easy to use that I have been unaware of advanced features even after years of using it.

From this book I learned that it is possible to place a breakpoint on an HTML element that will stop the browser if anything about that element is changed and show you the JavaScript that made the change. I also learned a lot of useful features I did not know about the console, like using “console.debug” and “console.dir” to learn more about what is going on with an object.

The section on extensions was also helpful as it introduced me to “Firecookie” and “Firefinder” which I have not used before. Firefind appears to be really useful for finding elements that match a particular CSS selector on a web page.

It didn’t take me very long to read Firebug 1.5: Editing, Debugging, and Monitoring Web Pages as I was already familiar with Firebug, I skimmed over quite a bit of it. But the sections that covered features I did not know about were great and I feel like I learned a lot that will help me be a better developer.

I read Firebug 1.5: Editing, Debugging, and Monitoring Web Pages by Chandan Luthra and Deepak Mittal using Safari Books Online.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to all web developers that use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build web sites. If you are a longtime user of Firebug you may get by with skimming it in a bookstore.


High Performance JavaScript by Nicholas C. Zakas

I read this book from Safari Books Online using various computers and an iPad, which worked great for me. I used Evernote to take notes and have them available in all the computers I used.

Of the programming languages I have used JavaScript is the one that I currently use the most. I chose to read this book hoping to learn techniques that will make me a better programmer, make my code execute faster in a web browser, speed-up page rendering and the snappiness of my interfaces, and to use the latest coding conventions.

High Performance JavaScript did not disappoint. The book covers the topics that I expected to see and a few that I didn’t. The techniques that I have been reading about on “expert” blogs are all there along with great insight as to why the techniques work.

Looking through my notes I learned a lot about data access, batching DOM changes, types of loops, if/else versus switch, regular expression optimization, lazy loading, using bitwise operators, and various tools available.

I give this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to any JavaScript developer that has moved beyond the basics and is looking to write fast clean code.