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J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer (contractor)" (Near London, UK)
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Bulletproof Ajax (Voices That Matter)
Bulletproof Ajax (Voices That Matter)
by Jeremy Keith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.73

3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok, but not a huge amount of content, 6 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jeremy Keith’s “DOM Scripting Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model” is the best written tech book that I have read in years (and I read a lot of tech books). As a result, I had high expectations for his “Bulletproof Ajax”. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

At just under 200 pages (excluding the index), it’s the size of book that an experienced developer could get through easily in a weekend (I did). However, a significant number of those pages are not directly related to Ajax. Whereas in the DOM Scripting book it made sense to include a basic JavaScript tutorial, it seems unlikely that people would buy a book about Ajax if they didn’t already have some JavaScript knowledge. Remove the JavaScript tutorial and some trivia about the history of the name Ajax, and the book is a fair bit shorter. XMLHttpRequest is only introduced at page 45. For people who have read the DOM Scripting book (which anybody doing web-site development or testing really should), the chapter on Hijax can probably also be skipped. Hijax and Progressive Enhancement are things I wish more people would use, but if you've read the DOM Scripting book, you don't need to read it again.

On the plus side, in the remaining pages there are quite a few useful snippets of information and quite a few useful references worth following up. I would have liked stronger conclusions regarding data format choice and best practices for accessibility, but on accessibility at least it may still be impossible to provide a perfect or near perfect solution. I’ll take away from reading this book a few things to look for when code reviewing other peoples’ code, and a few things to take into account when developing my own, but not a huge number of either. I do like Jeremy Keith’s emphasis on Progressive Enhancement, but I think the DOM Scripting book covers it better.

So, it’s ok, but comes nowhere close to Jeremy Keith’s DOM Scripting book. Is “Bulletproof Ajax” worth the RRP? Well, yes it is, if you compare the cost of the book and the time to read it against the cost of time spent re-working systems that initially get Ajax wrong, or fail to use Progressive Enhancement. However, if you look at some other books around the same price and how much useful content they have, you might conclude that it's not great value, even if only relative to some other books.


DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model
DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model
by Dave Shea
Edition: Paperback
Price: £23.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Best written tech book I have read in years, 22 Jun 2014
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"DOM Scripting: Web Design with JavaScript and the Document Object Model" by Jeremy Keith, is by far the best written tech book I have read in a long time (and I read a lot of books). I cannot remember the last time I read a tech book where I just wanted to keep reading to find out what was in the next chapter, but I did with this.

This book has been written in a very readable style, not expecting too much previous experience from the reader, but also not treating the reader like a complete novice. Starting off by building up some basic JavaScript/ECMAScript knowledge, then working through how to use it with (X)HTML and CSS, the progression is easy but the coverage very good. Along the way, some useful code examples are built up, with a really strong emphasis put on separation of responsibilities between structure, behaviour and presentation. It's like reading the code of somebody who has done it for years, gone through all the obstacles, and come up with a set of working practices that are so simple, but that take into account all of the things that would make the code of others fail. A simplicity to aspire to.

I also like the emphasis on progressive enhancement, which provides graceful degradation - it might sound like semantics, but implementing progressive enhancement feels so much more positive than always thinking about degradation.

Whether developing systems using the DOM, or testing them (either via review, manual execution, or developing automated tests that access the DOM using tools such as Selenium WebDriver or Ranorex), this book provides the reader with a clear understanding of how to use the DOM, what practices web applications should follow, and how to implement useful code for querying and modifying the DOM.

It's good to see a book that has been well proof-read as well. I read the book very quickly, but think I only spotted a couple of typo's and one ambiguity (I don't like seeing "between" used in the context of ranges without specifying "inclusive" or "exclusive"). Great stuff.

Highly recommended (although note that there is a second edition available now - I bought and read the first edition before I realised). No caveats.


Stanley FatMax 0-10-819 Pro Retractable Knife
Stanley FatMax 0-10-819 Pro Retractable Knife
Price: £12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good size, good weight, comfortable to use., 21 Jun 2014
I could have done with this knife to get into the packaging! The packaging was seriously over the top, but the knife itself is very good. It’s a nice size, provides good grip, and the shape makes it comfortable to use. The way in which it opens up is a bit naff, and it sometimes takes a couple of attempts to close and tighten everything properly, but that’s not the end of world. Overall, very pleased – whilst it’s not perfect, it’s far more comfortable and, as a result, probably safer than my older, bog-standard, Stanley knife. It’s definitely chunky enough to be able to wear fairly thick gloves, even when extending and retracting the blade.


Smartwool Adult Hike Medium Crew Socks - Gray, Medium (5 - 7.5)
Smartwool Adult Hike Medium Crew Socks - Gray, Medium (5 - 7.5)
Price: £7.69

1.0 out of 5 stars Quality of latest purchase is very poor, 21 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I’ve been wearing Smartwool socks for years, and purchase again as old ones finally wear out. My latest order was of two pairs of Trekking socks and two pairs of Hike socks. I’m sad to say that whilst quality has varied from order to order over the years, these latest ones (both Trekking and Hike) are really poor. Despite re-ordering the same size as previously, these feel very loose (no, my feet have not shrunk) and slide around underfoot – not something that I want inside my boots, nor even when wandering around indoors without boots on. The padding is also much thinner than previously, to the extent that they barely offer anything beyond a cheap pair of thin socks from M&S. As a result, I won’t be buying Smartwool socks online again – I will go to a shop and check them before contemplating any future purchases, and if the ones in the shop are like these, I will be buying a different make in future.

Very disappointing after years of being mostly impressed by Smartwool.


How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2013
How to Do Everything Microsoft SharePoint 2013
Price: £9.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good and quick high level view of functionality, but no depth to help when things get tough., 21 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book provides only a very superficial look at Sharepoint, barely scratching at the surface of what is a very powerful tool when set up correctly. Did this book help my colleague with setting up Sharepoint reliably (without Corporate IT involvement)? Unfortunately not. Did it help with setting up sites and sub-sites reliably, including making changes to them to get them how we really wanted them? Nope (although this probably wasn’t helped by the underlying installation having issues). Did it even give useful information about setting up wikis, calendars etc, or advice on best practices? No. What it did do, is give an easy to read, very high-level, understanding of what Sharepoint can do, and give us (unfortunately false) confidence in how easy it would be.

So, if you are after a high-level , easy to read, view of what Sharepoint can do for you (if you really have to use it), then this book is absolutely fine. But having read the book, get your Corporate IT people (who probably work with deploying Sharepoint far more than you or I will ever do) to do the actual installation and support. Use this book to help identify and convey your requirements and get them to do the nitty gritty, painful stuff of getting it to work.

If, on the other hand, you are setting up Sharepoint yourself and hope to set up sites & sub-sites for your projects, this probably isn’t the book for you (and if you really just want a wiki and a team calendar, Sharepoint may not even be the tool for you, although Corporate IT might insist you use it). For our needs, we will probably end up with two Sharepoint systems, one that handles integration and reporting for Team Foundation Server (which it is really good at) and nothing else, and one managed by Corporate IT where we put our sub-sites for projects, wikis, calendars etc.


Energizer Special Lithium Battery (Pack of 2)
Energizer Special Lithium Battery (Pack of 2)
Offered by Fast Batteries UK
Price: £1.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, work well., 3 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good value, work well. Wish I’d bought them ages ago rather than put up with batteries from a different manufacturer that had been delivering less power. I use them in a range measuring device, for which these new ones work a treat.


OPSO® Apple Certified iLinker Sync and Charge Data Cable 30 Pin Dock Connector to USB Cable for iPhone 4S 4 3GS, iPad 2 3, iPod touch 2 3 4, iPod nano 6th and Previous Apple Models (4 Feet / 1.2 m)
OPSO® Apple Certified iLinker Sync and Charge Data Cable 30 Pin Dock Connector to USB Cable for iPhone 4S 4 3GS, iPad 2 3, iPod touch 2 3 4, iPod nano 6th and Previous Apple Models (4 Feet / 1.2 m)
Offered by Poweradd
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, high quality., 1 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I still use an old iPhone 3gs. Having changed car recently, I now have a car that supports Bluetooth calling. Whilst I very rarely make use of this, choosing instead to call people back after my journey is complete, there are rare occasions when I need to take an important call on the move. Because of that, I now keep the Bluetooth on my phone enabled. The downside of that is that my old iPhone burns up the battery life when Bluetooth is enabled. To cope with that, I wanted another iPhone cable to allow me to charge the iPhone whilst driving, hence buying this OPSO (Optimal Power Solutions) USB Cable. It seems to be good quality (my original Apple cable had pretty poor build quality, this IPSO one is better in that respect), the connectors fit securely to my iPhone 3gs at one end and the USB port on the car at the other end. It comes with a little Velcro strap to keep it tidy when not in use, but I don’t make use of that, instead leaving the cable plugged into the USB port in my car’s central console storage area.

It works, it seems to be high quality, and it’s cheap. Recommended.


JAMMYLIZARD Black Leather 360 Degree Rotating Stand Case Cover for The New iPad Air (iPad 5, 5th Generation released November 1st 2013) with Full Sleep Wake compatibility
JAMMYLIZARD Black Leather 360 Degree Rotating Stand Case Cover for The New iPad Air (iPad 5, 5th Generation released November 1st 2013) with Full Sleep Wake compatibility
Offered by Purplemoose007
Price: £14.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money. Very useful., 1 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With a Wi-fi only iPad Air, I rarely take my iPad out of the house. As a result, I just needed a case to give it some protection from accidental damage at home, particularly when we have visitors. This JammyLizard case does the trick perfectly. With the elasticated band that keeps it shut, it feels like an academic folder, which I actually quite like. The case allows the iPad to be swivelled without removing the case. The case itself can be opened folder-like, or can be folded back to create a stand for the iPad, which can be useful if watching videos - if I still commuted to work by train, I'd be making use of this feature to watch videos to pass the time. The stand option provides three different angles at which the iPad can be held, which is really useful. The range of colour options for the case is great too - I went for black, as it looks business-like, whilst also being the cheapest option.

[Update added 5th July 2014 - as my iPad Air has been getting more and more use, it is now being carried around with me in my overloaded laptop bag. The JammyLizard case is doing a grand job so far of protecting the iPad Air in what can be considered testing conditions.]

Recommended.


Selenium Testing Tools Cookbook
Selenium Testing Tools Cookbook
by Unmesh Gundecha
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but still very useful, and better than other Selenium books I have looked at., 10 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
“Selenium Testing Tools Cookbook” by Unmesh Gundecha is one of those books that is worth reading twice. It’s worth reading before starting work with Selenium WebDriver, then reading again after doing some real-life WebDriver test automation. Hit the difficult bits to automate, work out your own solution, then on second reading of this book see if there are any bits that with hindsight you could use to improve your solution.

This book contains enough information to automate cross-browser and mobile-browser testing, although to do it well it does help to have a strong background in asynchronous systems, HTML and GUIs. There are a few errors in the book, but they are things that the reader should spot quickly enough to not waste much time on.

The book is written for people developing automation in a number of languages. I am currently working in C#, but it also covers Java, Python and Ruby. Subject matter includes the various methods of identifying controls, working with common controls, synchronisation, the Page Object Model, data-driven testing, performance testing, HTML5 and mobile browsers (most using emulators and devices). It covers use of some other tools for extending the use of WebDriver, and it also includes some reasonable examples of extensions. It’s a good range of material, written in a way that is easy for anybody with reasonable coding experience to follow and utilise.

Whilst it could have gone into a little more depth on best practices, particularly around synchronisation, this is a very useful book that I would recommend to anybody working with Selenium. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the other Selenium-related books I have looked at.


Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, Frustration-Free Packaging (5Multi Device, 1 Year subscriptions) (PC/Mac/Android)
Kaspersky Internet Security 2014, Frustration-Free Packaging (5Multi Device, 1 Year subscriptions) (PC/Mac/Android)
Price: £36.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly better suited to less technical users, 8 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had used a competitor’s internet security products for years, but after buying a new machine from a company that builds them to order and installs software as required, I found that my new machine had a piece of malware on it. The competitor’s product missed the malware. As I thought it would be useful for them to see this, I let one of their support people remotely logon to my nice new machine to try to resolve the problem. The guy was clearly out of his depth, and I had to disconnect him when he tried doing something REALLY stupid. At that point, I figured it was time to try a different security company. That’s how I ended up installing this Kaspersky product.

Installation of the Kaspersky product was easy, including getting the latest updates from the internet. It did a complete system scan, which highlighted another apparent piece of malware (although I suspect this may have been a false-positive). Comparing with the competitor’s product, I found the reporting in the competitor’s product stronger, and found that Kaspersky used more CPU time.

I’m going to keep Kaspersky running for a while to see how I find it over time. My initial reaction is that it is easy to install, but not so great on CPU usage or reporting. To that end, it might be better suited to less technical users, rather than advanced users who need to be able to fine tune behaviour and analyse issues.


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