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Erlang and OTP in Action
Erlang and OTP in Action
by Martin Logan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to the Erlang library, 30 Sept. 2012
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Unlike some software languages, Erlang is not blessed with a large amount of literature for those interested in learning the language. While it has improved somewhat from the early days, there still are only 3 books(including this one) readily available. Firstly there is Joe Armstrong's book 'Programming Erlang' which is a good beginners guide, Francesco Cesarini and Simon Thompson's Erlang programming builds on this to provide a more advanced view of the language.

So what does it bring to the party? As good as those previous books were, there was still a gap between learning the language and creating your first Erlang application with the type of enterprise features that Erlang so readily provides. This book by looking at Erlang and it's OTP library more than fills that gap.

This book shows you not only how to program in Erlang but also how to provide multi-processor fault tolerance though the OTP library and various standard templates such as gen_server.

Although it is some years since I used last used Erlang in anger(got the certificates and the tee shirt), it was an interesting experience to renew my acquaintance with it through this book. One thing that hit me while reading it was its description of Erlang use of processes as first class objects. While I have always been aware of Erlang's efficient threading mechanism, it had never really occurred to me before that in Erlang processes could be utilised in the same way another language may use integers. Coming from an embedded C background, this casual use of multi-threading is a revelation.

The book came into it's own when it provides an example of creating a HTTP caching server. This starts simply and is extended by adding more enterprise features, at the same time showing how OTP facilitates this.

Another thing the book will do is calm your nerves about the functional programming paradigm. People are often put off Erlang and similar languages because the syntax and operation are very different from most mainstream languages such as Java. In some ways the proponents of such languages have been at fault for this by emphasising their functional programming credentials rather than emphasising why the functional languages solves many real world issues such as large scale concurrency. By describing the use of Erlang and OTP together, the reader is somewhat insulated from some of the more theoretical sides of functional programming and can instead concentrate on getting the job done.

If you are new to Erlang and functional programming then I would not recommend this book on its own. However it is an essential companion to one or both the other books I mentioned previously. If you know some Erlang and wish to use the language to create a fault tolerant multi-processing application such as those which are routinely deployed around the world then I heartily recommend this book.


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4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says, 28 Oct. 2011
Protects my San Francisco and looks good. Some small customisation required to allow the power cord to be easily fillted


The List - A Thriller
The List - A Thriller
Price: £2.84

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money, 28 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Its hard to feel cheated for 99p, but even so after reading this book I feel like asking for my money back. 2-d characters, predictable storyline and ludicrous plot. Avoid and save your money


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Logitech LS1 Laser Mouse - Grape Flash Jaffa
Price: £17.38

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Mouse, 28 Oct. 2011
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This is a excellent mouse. Well made with very accurate tracking and seems to work on most surfaces. The only surprise was the lack of red glow that most mouses give due to the laser tracking teck.


Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography
Price: £4.72

131 of 154 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed man, Flawed autobiography, 28 Oct. 2011
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I was eagerly anticipating this biography. Steve Jobs is a man who has fascinated me for many years and I looked forward into gaining an insight into the man who has had such a big effect on the modern world. Another reason why this biography was so potentially interesting was that it was authorised by a man who for a long time was intensely private, but was now facing his own mortality.

The book itself is written by famed biographer Walter Isaacson, who had previously written critically acclaimed biographies of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. However interestingly this is the first time he had written one about a living person, especially one he knew well.

The biography itself starts off promisingly with a description of Steve Jobs early life, his adoption, his immersion in the counter culture and the early days of Apple. I think what is most fascinating is the ability for someone like Jobs to just walk into a job with no qualifications or experience, which shows a lot about Silicon Valley in those days. As the story unfolds we see the other side of Jobs, the petulant individual who could antagonise as much as inspire. It becomes clear that one of Jobs talents was his ability to understand the motivations and weaknesses of an individual. However he as often as not used that ability to destroy as much as achieve.

The story moves on to the breakup with Apple, his creation of NeXT and Pixar and his triumphant return to Apple. It is at that point that I feel the autobiography looses steam. The description of his success at Apple could have been written just as well by someone at Apple PR, and while his successes should be celebrated, there is not enough critic of the mistakes made on the way. We also lose Jobs the individual as it concentrates on Apple and some of the individuals there. Maybe its because the author was talking to people still employed at Apple, but we get less of Jobs the petulant tyrant and more of Jobs the inspirational genius. The book ends with Jobs fight against cancer. This is again where we get a better insight of his true character.

If you are buying this book like me to get a insight into the true Steve Jobs, you may be disappointed. I feel it is not often the biographer pierces the veil. Strangely, probably he is the most open when he is discussing the music he had on his iPod. There is also a nagging feeling that Steve Jobs was using this book to extend his famed reality distortion field beyond the grave and I feel the author to often did not go deeply enough into some of the issues raised. For example Jobs stated a number of time that he felt the use of LSD was an important contributor to his success, but the author never questioned his feelings on drug taking and how it affects society. Also the contrast of a man who was proud of his counter culture values, but at the same time amassed billions, sometimes at the expense of close colleagues, and never was a believer in philanthropy was never adequately explored. In some ways you feel the author got too close to the subject and at times loses his objectivity. In that he is not alone, Steve Jobs had that affect on people.

However despite its flaws it is still a recommended read and if nothing else provides a fascinating insight into the early days of Silicon Valley. It is also the closest anyone will now get to the modern day sphinx that was Steve Jobs.

Just one more comment. The kindle version does not include that iconic photo that graces the book versions cover, despite this being the only part of the book that Steve Jobs was directly involved in. If Steve Jobs was alive now I'm sure his reaction would be that that decision sucked.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 4, 2014 9:54 AM BST


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent replacement, 24 Feb. 2011
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The one issue with my MSi Wind netbook was the paltry battery performance, which meant that the netbook spent more time plugged in that on the battery. I chose this battery as a compromise over battery power against ergonomics(i.e how much it would tip the notebook up).

The battery worked out the box, roughly doubling the battery life. This has made a huge difference in its usage. While the netbook is a little more unbalanced, it does not make a huge difference. Also the parcel arrived next day so a excellent performance by the suppliers. Very Happy!


LiteOn ETAU108-02 8x USB 2.0 Slim Top-Load External DVDRW - Black
LiteOn ETAU108-02 8x USB 2.0 Slim Top-Load External DVDRW - Black

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent netbook add on, 24 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this to add DVD/CD capabilities to my netbook. Surprised that unlike a lot of these products only required power from one USB port. However worked first time out of the box and together with VLC I was watching DVD movies. Have not tried burning DVD/CD since this is not what I need the drive for


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