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Mr. Paul J. Grenyer (Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom)
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On the Steel Breeze
On the Steel Breeze
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! I loved this book, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: On the Steel Breeze (Hardcover)
I really struggled to put it down and was reading it at every opportunity. I was even reading it for the three minutes it took to microwave my lunch at work each day.

It’s great not to have to start my review saying that this book is excellent, but not as good as Revelation Space, because it is, although it’s not as broad in terms of the scope of the story.

Unlike Blue Remembered Earth, you’re straight into the action with On the Steel Breeze and there’s none of the slow character building. It sits so well on the foundations created by Blue Remembered Earth that I wish I’d gone back and read it again first. I also liked all the characters this time.

There’s a great sense of mystery right up to the end. Most science fiction stories based around a paranoid machine intelligence remind me of HAL. However, HAL was a well intentioned, mislead child. Arachne, at least the version of her integrated into the Earth mech is clearly evil.

Science fiction is usually a look at possible future societies and many of them are utopian futures where there is no more conflict or murder and all of them are wavering on the brink of falling back into chaos. It’s the same in the future painted by On the Steel Breeze. And of course the characters acting for the good of everyone push it over the brink.

Following an experiment that went catastrophically wrong and destroyed a holoship, all development of the engines needed to slow the holoships down and allow them to reach their goal was prohibited. I was frustrated with the authorities making this decisions all the way through the book. It just felt so short sighted, but this is often how governments are. I also missed why the holoships couldn’t turn themselves over and use the engines they’d used to reach their transit velocity to slow down.

The end only answers about 90% of the questions asked by the rest of the book and sets the scene perfectly for the third and final part of Poseidon's Children. In the meantime I’ll be readying Doctor Who: Harvest of Time, also by Alastair Reynolds.


Little Miss Geek: Bridging The Gap Between Girls And Technology
Little Miss Geek: Bridging The Gap Between Girls And Technology
Price: 6.18

3.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start., 10 July 2013
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Although I didn't get on well with the style of the book and felt that it was a little verbose and repetitive in places, also the images did nothing for me, especially on a kindle, I did feel it helped me understand some of the reasons there aren't many women in IT and, more importantly, why we want more women IT. It also has some good suggestions for ways of getting more women into IT, although these were very much focused on large organisations. There weren't any suggestions for start-ups or SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprises), who face very different problems.

If you do want an insight, this book is certainly a good place to start. Also, at only 192 pages and a lot of images and single statements on a page, it's an easy and fast read.


Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great foundation for an even better series (hopefully)!, 28 Jun 2013
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Alastair Reynolds is still by far my favorite author and I loved this book, once it got going. I understand how important it is to build characters, but I like to get straight into the action and that started from about a third of the way through. This book is clearly the foundation for some much bigger stuff and I'm really looking forward to it.

I love books that force you to concentrate. Blue Remembered Earth takes you on a mystery tour and there is always something you don't know that feels imperative to find out, right to the end. I also didn't see most of the twists or surprises coming, which is always refreshing. I didn't like the main character Geoffrey much. He was just too reactionary and angry with everyone all the time.


Kanban
Kanban
by David J. Anderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 26.84

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Find another Kanban resource, 24 July 2012
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This review is from: Kanban (Paperback)
Kanban seems like a really good methodology. It even got me thinking that maybe you don't need to have iterations to be Agile. However, I really didn't like this book at all. Everyone says that when you explain something you should use lots of real world examples. David J. Anderson took this to far. In the book there are only a few examples that he uses, but he uses them over and over again in far too much detail and it gets boring. I like real world examples, but I want the mechanics of a process. The book doesn't cover that until several chapters in. When it does, it's good and I really learnt a lot about Kanban. I finished the book out of pure stubbornness, but I couldn't recommend it. Do learn about Kanban, but find another resource.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2012 11:52 AM GMT


Getting Started with Kanban
Getting Started with Kanban
Price: 1.53

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you want to learn about Kanban quickly and easily, read this book., 3 July 2012
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Other than Allan Kelly's 10 things to know about Kanban software development blog post, which is awesome, Getting Started with Kanban by Paul Klipp is the only Kanban material I have read so far. I really like these short books which seem to be coming out thick and fast at the moment. I really must get mine ready! It took me less than an hour to get through this book. I suppose it could have been presented for free as a long blog post or an article, but I'm really not bothered paying 1.54 for it. It was worth it.

I literally had no idea about Kanban other than it was a looser Agile (than something like Scrum). I enjoyed reading this book and I learnt a lot in a very short period of time. I am now comfortable with what Kanban is and how it works and I can really see the appeal. I may even have to revise my thinking that to be Agile you have to have iterations.

About half the book is dedicated to an overview of Kanban with a list of other books you should read, including Kanban by David J. Anderson which is next on my reading list, and the final half to a description of the Kanban process that Paul Klipp uses. This really helps give some context to Kanban.


The Noise Revealed (Noise 2)
The Noise Revealed (Noise 2)
by Ian Whates
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.34

4.0 out of 5 stars Surely A Trilogy Filler, 28 Jun 2012
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One of the things that I love about sci-fi is that you can never, ever be sure that someone is dead, even if they are shot through the head. When one of the leading characters in this book betrays the others and shoots one of the other leading characters I'm not ashamed to say it broke my heart. Strangely enough though, it all worked out in the end.

A lot of The Noise Revealed is set in virtually. All the characters and scenes there, with the significant exception of Tanya, were boring and I could never wait to get back to the other thread of the story. Ian Whates clearly knows very little about how computer software actually works, so when he was describing the characters trying track down pieces of code to work out what was happening it rang so untrue that it really irritated me. And when he described how the virus was attacking the software it was worse.

That aside I loved this book even more than the Noise Within. I could really relate to the characters and the way they were feeling and why. There are plenty of twists and surprises that made this a very enjoyable and surprising read. It's an obvious middle book in the middle of a probably trilogy. There are questions from The Noise Within that still go unanswered and even more questions asked. Hopefully Whates is already working on the next book. My advice would be to move a little more out of his comfort zone and really push his imagination.


The Noise Within: 1
The Noise Within: 1
by Ian Whates
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly an early novel for Whates. Lots of potential., 23 May 2012
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This review is from: The Noise Within: 1 (Paperback)
I really liked this book. It's quite short at only 336 pages, which meant it was a fast read and I could get into quickly. Of course it's not Alastair Reynolds. It's a good story that is clearly heavily inspired by Peter F. Hamilton and Arthur C. Clarke's 2001/2010 novels. I loved the talking gun, the conspiracies, the action and the risque parts. My favorite scene was towards the end when one of the characters is killed by a kiss from a beautiful woman.

Is it space opera? Almost. I think there's a wider scope of imagination needed. There's certainly potential. This feels like a first novel and a quick look at Ian Whates' website certainly suggests that it's one of his early ones. I will be reaching for the sequel very soon as I need the answers to the cliff hangers.


Black Man (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Black Man (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Richard Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.46

2.0 out of 5 stars It's just not the same withoug Kovacs, 11 April 2012
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I'll cut to the chase. I didn't enjoy this book. It wasn't anything like as bad as Market Forces, but not as good as other people I've spoken too have said they thought it was. Black Man actually began really well. When the ship crashed and details of the crimes of the killer became apparent I actually got quite excited. Then there was the really, really lengthy character building followed by the rather implausible wild goose chase. There is some mystery until about 75% of the way through the book. The revelation is disappointing and what is basically one long revenge story sporns another mini and rather predictable revenge story at the end. Of course there is always the chance that I've missed something vital, but I suspect this book was just not for me. It's a predictable thing to say, but I think we need Kovacs back. Currently I'm not inclined to try the two Richard Morgan books I've yet to read.


Business Patterns for Software Developers
Business Patterns for Software Developers
by Allan Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: 25.52

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting developer focused business patterns language, 22 Mar 2012
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Nat Pryce, one of the authors of Growing Object Oriented Software Guided by Tests, is quoted as saying that pattern books generally have two sections. First is the is a highly interesting preamble, then come the patterns. Allan Kelly has certainly written a patterns book in the traditional two parts, the difference is that both parts are very interesting indeed. The description of software company lifecycles was both informative and sensational to read and is by far my favorite part of the book.

I had genuine trouble putting the book down. Gone is the often dry pattern descriptions common among other patterns authors. What give this book the edge for me is that I'm learning about something other than software and I am easily able to relate the patterns to my own experiences. This is the first time I've really understood what a pattern language is and, like all good patterns books, it taught me names for, and gave me a greater understanding of the patterns I see around me. It helped me understand the forces and the solutions in greater detail.


Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Price: 19.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 3 Programming Book, 22 Sep 2011
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I knew this was going to be an excellent book from the moment I heard Uncle Bod describing his ideas of Clean Code at his key note at an ACCU conference. I bought the book there and then, but didn't start reading it until a couple of years later. More recently I got it signed by Uncle Bob at Skillsmatter. After just a few pages it propelled itself into my top three books every programmer should read (behind Kent Beck's Test Driven Development and The Pragmatic Programmer by Andy Hunt & David Thomas) and at the end it's still there.

The chapter on comments is worth the price of the book alone. I have worked in places over the last few years, where comments have been encouraged to explain the code, rather than writing code that explains itself. Another great chapter is the one on functions and the advice to keep them small is especially good and compelling. As I look back over the table of contents now, every chapter that describes how to improve an aspect of code is an absolute mine of good advice.

The final few chapters contain a number of refactorings. One on an application from the ground up and the others on existing code written by other people. This is the only place where the book got gratuitous and I must admit I skipped most of the final refactoring.

The final chapter is a summary of the advice given in the rest of the book and something I will find myself referring to again and again.

If you've read Test Driven Development and The Pragmatic Programmer, make sure you read Clean Code next.


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