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jakeone (Cambridge)

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Learning Website Development with Django (From Technologies to Solutions)
Learning Website Development with Django (From Technologies to Solutions)
by Ayman Hourieh
Edition: Paperback
Price: 23.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A useful companion book - but only that., 12 Jun 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're looking to learn Django from scratch, I wouldn't recommend this book. (Try Sam's Learn Django in 24 Hours or Django's own documentation found on their website). However, if you have a general overview of the Django framework and have decided to take your first web development steps using it, this makes a nice companion book.

The book comes in at a light 230+ pages and as such it does not cover the minutae of the framework. Instead, you are pretty much expected to accept a lot of what Django does - and how it does it - at face value. This isn't necessarily a problem but it may not suit everyone. The author often refers you to various Internet links to read up more on a specific topic.

The book's strength lies in showing you how to build a web site from scratch. Each chapter is dedicated to a different aspect of the framework (e.g. models, forms, tags etc.) building on the one before and creating a more sophisticated site as you go along. This is valuable to anyone (like me) who learns best from seeing something applied to a "working project".

My main disappointment with the book (and why I didn't give it 4/5) is that it neglects working with databases and general sessions which are an integral part of any web development project at this level. (Yes, there is a chapter that builds a user login feature but that relies on a returning and authenticating a User Object and doesn't show you how to work with sessions directly. And yes, there is discussion on setting up Models but hardly anything on working with data itself, e.g. searches, advanced queries etc.)

There's a world of difference between learning about something and being able to put it to use. This book is not so strong on the former, but quite good on the latter. Learn Django elsewhere then come back to this book to see how it all fits together.


32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely mesmerising..., 12 May 2008
My family and friends think I've gone mad - but there's something deeply fascinating and rewarding about the entire composting process!

I've recently moved to my first home and I'm making a concerted effort to make it as green as possible and composting is a huge step in the right direction.

The wormery is idiot proof: put organic waste in the top; let the worms do their stuff; empty the compost from the bottom tray and return the empty tray to the top. Rinse, repeat. There's even a tray which collects the nutrient-rich liquid by-product of the composting process. This can be drained via a tap; diluted and used in the garden. Nothing is wasted.

A couple of things:

1. Don't overload the top tray with waste to begin with. Give the worms a chance to bed in with little and often. You can gradually increase the amount after a few weeks. (By the way, this wormery comes with a voucher that you send off and in a few days, a big bag of live worms is delivered to your door. Cool huh?)

2. As well as this wormery, consider getting a kitchen composter as "phase one" of the recycling process. These magic buckets allow the composting of items you couldn't otherwise put in a composter, e.g. meat, fish and dairy products. Waste from this can be transferred to the wormery after a week or so.

My only quibble with the wormery is that it's a little expensive - although it will probably outlast me. If councils were serious about meeting green targets, this fantastic bit of kit would be offered at a subsidised price to households.

I love the fact that my wheelie bin now takes ages to fill. If you love gardening or love the environment invest in one of these worm factories. You won't be disappointed!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 7, 2013 1:55 PM BST

Think Big and Kick Ass: In business and life
Think Big and Kick Ass: In business and life
by Donald Trump
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You may not like what you read but..., 1 Mar 2008
Donald Trump is not everyone's cup of tea and he doesn't pretend otherwise. This book pulls no punches and it contains advice that many people may find downright unpleasant. However, it is honest. It is an honest insight into what it takes to accumulate the kind of wealth Trump has. I'm not a huge fan of Trump but he's the billionaire and I'm not.

To paraphrase some of Trump's advice: "If someone screws you, screw them back ten times worse"; "Win-win is rubbish. The best deal is when I win and the other guy loses"; "It doesn't matter if they don't like you, make sure they respect you"; "Life is brutal. Your friends want what you have - and they're your friends. Imagine what your enemeis will do." You get the idea...

What I like about the book is that he doesn't sugar-coat the pill. He doesn't pretend to be something he's not; he doesn't pretend to be a billionaire friend of everyman. He's tough and he's in your face. And there is advice in there that was a real eye-opener and, yes, some of it was quite inspiring and made me look at how I run my own affairs. Make no mistake, it's not for everyone and not everyone wants to be Donald Trump (a part of me included) and that's fine.

Trump's approach is not the only way to make a lot of money but it is certainly an interesting insight into what it takes if you want to take his path.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2012 10:10 AM BST

The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are
The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are
by Danny Gregory
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

185 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic in the making - and deservedly so., 6 May 2007
What makes this book so extraordinary? It addresses the three greatest obstacles facing any aspiring artist: 1) "I can't draw/paint/sculpt etc.", 2) "What do I draw/paint/sculpt?" and 3) "Why do I want/need to draw/paint/sculpt?". This book tackles all these issues with great intelligence and simplicity. (In fact, by answering 1 and 2, you'll find 3 takes care of itself).

As a beginner I always felt that artists were born, not made. That you were either born creative and artistically gifted, or not. The author quickly proves this is not the case and - incredibly - gets you to prove it to yourself through a series of simple exercises from the very beginning.

I admire the fact that here is an author that has not lost sight of the true value of art - to express deep emotion and meaning - in short, the artist's "truth". It's not a "how-to" book (although there is a chapter that will improve anyone's drawing ability within minutes) but a guide to helping the "ordinary" man/woman in the street express themselves authentically, individually, artistically and to begin making sense of their own world and their own lives. That's an amazing achievement.

The result for me is that I now draw constantly - rarely does an hour pass without me sketching something. I cook more adventurous meals; I'm learning about graphic design; I write stories and articles; I listen to more diverse music (and find myself liking stuff I never thought I would); I've turned my hand at typography, photography - even new languages. In short, I've awoken to the world I live in and have connected to a more authentic me. Life has become far more rewarding and interesting.

One word of advice however. The book does not hold concrete answers. The author correctly states that he cannot take the path for you but he can guide you along the way. But, therein lies the true value of the endeavour - and the fun: to uncover something about yourself (that maybe you never knew) and to express it sincerely. And you know what? It's hugely rewarding and really not very difficult.

Whilst the book uses "drawing" for its examples, it is certainly applicable to any artistic endeavour.

Being creative needn't mean taking the cliche dark path of the tortured artist. Indeed, this book shows it's in the reach of all of us, immediately, and far from bringing torment and anxiety, it's a well of joy and satisfaction.

Anyone who is genuine about wanting to be more creative needs to read this.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2012 11:29 AM GMT

UML Demystified
UML Demystified
by Paul Kimmel
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.96

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Because there's more to life than UML..., 29 April 2006
This review is from: UML Demystified (Paperback)
Purists won't approve but I love this book. Of all the UML books out there, this is by far the most accessible, practical and useful. What's more, it comes in at a light 200-or-so pages.

If you're looking for a tome that dissects the minutae of UML, this book is not it - nor does it claim to be. But if you, like me, recognise the need for UML (or UML-based principles) in designing an application but have neither the time, resource nor inclination to read 800+ pages of dry text, this is perfect.

The book is aimed at developers who need to produce useful, workable UML diagrams in a reasonably short amount of time as a *means to an end* - not UML for UML's sake.

As the author correctly points out, "you don't have to be an English teacher to communicate effectively... you don't have to know every detail about the UML to use it effectively". To some, this borders on heresy and if you feel that way, this book certainly isn't for you. It's not an encyclopaedic treatment of UML and I have no doubt it glosses over certain details. However, it does one thing very well - it teaches the jobbing-programmer enough about UML (or UML-principles) to plan their project intelligently.

Of course, software development requires careful planning but some UML books - in my opinion - go too far, creating diagrams so convoluted and detailed that they defeat their original purpose - namely creating a development model that people will read, follow and find useful.

This book recognises that coders only need to know enough to do their job and it doesn't pretend otherwise. I believe it's the correct approach: programmers plan intelligently and then program; leave the overblown UML diagrams and theory to the "project managers".

The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-step Plan to Live and Finish Rich
by David Bach
Edition: Paperback

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Won't suit everyone but good for what it is..., 12 Mar 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Automatic Millionaire outlines a method of becoming rich through a combination of scrimping and saving - despite its dynamic, exciting title, that really is all there is to it. The "automatic" part is no more than advising the reader to set up standing orders, direct debits or deductions from monthly wages, straight into a savings account (so you're not tempted to spend it). That's it.

The outlined strategy will work IF you start young enough. The examples given assume the aspiring millionaire is in their early 20s - plenty of time to make 1m through the power of compound interest - but too late for many people.

My main disappointment with the book is that the strategy outlined is for the long-run (40-50 years) so you'll be about 65 when you make that million. For anyone looking for a faster alternative, this isn't it.

However, if time is on your side and have no idea where to start, I would recommend you get this book and follow its strategy (about savings in particular, not sure I agree with the pensions advice). Doing so will virtually guarantee financial security upon retirement. But if you want a strategy that delivers faster-returns, look elsewhere.

In summary, the book outlines sensible (albeit widely-known) principles of personal money management so it's valuable for those who have no idea where to begin. But if you're already pretty savvy about "paying yourself first" and watching the pennies or if you want a faster route to that million, you will get limited value from this book.

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