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Ben Waugh

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Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope
Celestron 31051 Astromaster 130EQ-MD Motor Drive Reflector Telescope
Price: £159.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, 26 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought this for my (then 5-year-old) daughter and me, and it is a very good telescope for the price. The Moon is easy to look at, of course, and we have seen Jupiter too but this take more patience as you have to be very careful not to knock the telescope.

The only problem is that Celestron's customer service is non-existent as far as I can tell: they don't respond to e-mail, phone calls or on Twitter so I spent a year trying to get them to replace a faulty part of the mount. Eventually I contacted Amazon and they sent a replacement promptly. So ignore the instructions in the box telling you to contact Celestron because you can't!

Salter Arc Electronic Scale, White
Salter Arc Electronic Scale, White
Price: £9.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worked for a while, then stopped, 26 Mar. 2014
This worked for a year or so, then stopped. Seems this problem has been reported by many reviewers for the black version, so look there before buying this:
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2014 7:38 PM BST

Functional Programming for Java Developers: Tools for Better Concurrency, Abstraction, and Agility
Functional Programming for Java Developers: Tools for Better Concurrency, Abstraction, and Agility
by Dean Wampler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Guess I have to learn Scala after all..., 21 Jan. 2012
When I saw this book on Amazon I thought I had a chance to learn why people get so excited about functional programming, before deciding whether to learn a real functional language. Unfortunately, it really is too superficial to add much to what I already knew from a brief time browsing Wikipedia and a few other online articles.

As the author admits in the preface, some topics are not discussed because they are difficult to represent in Java, so the book covers only a few of the important aspects of functional programming. Some of these, such as the emphasis on immutable objects, are useful even in Java, but are already well known from books like "Effective Java". Others, such as recursion, are generally useless in Java because it lacks the appropriate optimisations. While I can see, from other sources, why recursion can simplify code, this does not come across in this book.

Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (Addison-Wesley Signature)
Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (Addison-Wesley Signature)
by Jez Humble
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Automate everything!, 26 May 2011
"Automate everything" is the take-home message of this book. That is to say, not only building and integration but everything from pre-commit unit tests up to the packaging and release or deployment of the finished software. Only in this way can the entire process of producing software be made reliable, reproducible and auditable.

This is an ambitious aim, and one book cannot tell you how to achieve it. The authors freely admit in the preface that they cannot address the topics involved in detail, and are trying to present an overview of their approach to software development. The lack of detail, while inevitable, can be frustrating, and there is some repetition that does make the book feel like a bit of a slog at times. However, it does provide a good starting point for further reading on more specific techniques, along with some general encouragement to believe that the end goal is, while not easy to attain, at least not impossible.

JUnit in Action
JUnit in Action
by Petar Tahchiev
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent introduction to testing in Java, 23 May 2011
This review is from: JUnit in Action (Paperback)
This is an the best introduction I have found to JUnit and to testing Java software in general. One reading has provided all the help I needed to implement a unit test framework for my current project, a few pointers for the next steps to build on this foundation, and some background knowledge about tools that I don't need yet but may well use in the future.

The authors take the view that "an example is worth several pages of explanation", and their examples are simple enough to understand quickly, but complete enough to be adapted for use in a real project. The explanation, which is of course also necessary, is clearly written.

JUnit itself is introduced in Part 1 of the book, followed by a more general guide to unit testing in Part 2, which covers such topics as using stubs and mocks. Part 3 explains how to include a test stage in the build process using Ant or Maven, and finally Part 4 covers extensions to JUnit. This final part is less detailed than the rest of the book, but gives some understanding of more specialised topics such as testing web applications and database access, and provides pointers to further information and software.

Java Testing Patterns
Java Testing Patterns
by Jon Thomas
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 1 April 2011
This review is from: Java Testing Patterns (Paperback)
There is something ironic about a book on testing that is as riddled with errors as this one. Proofreading cannot be automated, but here it seems to have been pretty much skipped entirely.

Having inherited a Java application that, while working quite well, is hard to maintain and extend because of its ad-hoc structure, I was looking for a quick-start guide to the more Java-specific techniques I need, to complement Robert Martin's Working Effectively with Legacy Code. There is some potentially useful material in "Java Testing Patterns" but it is presented in a way that makes it hard work to dig it out.

I have the impression that the authors have rather hurriedly put together a first draft, keen to latch onto the "Design Patterns" bandwagon, and not taken the time to review and refactor their work before publication. Material is shoehorned into the "Name, Intent..." format favoured by the Gang of Four, even when it does not make a natural fit, and even they admit in one case that their "Use Case Testing Pattern" is "less of a traditional design pattern and more of an implementation strategy or template." Use case testing is certainly a topic of interest, but it could be presented much better in a different format. The Gang of Four book is hard to read because the material is complex, but it is well written and rewards study. This book covers much more basic material, but is hard to read because it is poorly constructed.

As for the actual errors, I gave up listing them. Most are distracting rather than seriously misleading, as in the frequent use of "it's" as a possessive pronoun, the reference on page 3 to "Allen [sic] Turing" and his famous and much misunderstood Halting Theorem, and the testSetDateOfBirth() method that actually sets a dog's eye colour.

The appendices provide a brief overview of relevant tools such as JUnit, but not in a form that adds much value to a simple listing of available methods. The appendix on UML describes, understandably, only a subset of the available syntax, but it is a pity this doesn't coincide with the subset used in the rest of the book. And as for UML, I am no expert, but is ImplementingClass1Test really "composed" of instances of ImplementingClass1 as illustrated in figure 12.1?

A second or third draft might have been worth the price, but the authors seem to have passed up on the opportunity.

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