Drowning in books to read

I love books, i enjoy being given them at this time of the year and I enjoy buying them at any time. Unfortunately I sometimes fall behind with reading them.

The to read pile has grown to the point where I decided I needed to create a list to keep track of them - Omnifocus to the rescue. Listing them like this should discourage me from acquiring any more until I have reduced this backlog.

The Tufte and Alexander books were acquired as sets and are works I have been keen to have in my library for years. Christopher Alexanders' A Pattern Language is one of my favourite books. I'll take my time with these and expect to revisit them often.

Dark Mountain and eaarth share themes of coming to terms with a changed world and looking to the future.

The Adventures of Jack De Crow will appeal to anyone who has sailed dinghy's especially Mirror's. We built on of these in our garage during the 70's.

And a smattering of IT books the most interesting of which is hopefully the Design of Design by Fred Brooks of Mythical Man Month fame. Still a relevant book although not everyone thinks so.

Now all I need to do is polish up my speed reading skills…and then there are the numerous magazines...


Inspiring blogger - Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell is such a good writer, his post Dear TextMate is a beauty and must reflect the thoughts of many former Textmate fans.

His recent Simplicity post has me looking into Octopress.

Another great piece by Matt, Accessibility for iPhone and iPad apps is must read for anyone designing a User Interface. I sent this to a friend who suffers the condition Matt was referring to and he was blown away by the insight shown.


How to accomplish more by doing less

Rings true to my own experience How to Accomplish More by Doing Less

It's not just the number of hours we sit at a desk in that determines the value we generate. It's the energy we bring to the hours we work. Human beings are designed to pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. That's how we operate at our best. Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy — physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually — requires refuelling it intermittently

Stress isn't the enemy in the workplace. Indeed, stress is the only means by which we can expand capacity. Just think about weightlifting. By stressing your muscles, and then recovering, you gradually build strength. Our real enemy is the absence of intermittent renewal.

(Via HBR.org)


Dark Sky - how it works

This post is a fascinating description of the design of Dark Sky.
I enjoyed the way the development team used a combination of open source tools, publicly available radar data and some clever numerical analysis rendered into a form that allows the iPhone's GPU to be employed. Great read.


A book apart

Just bought a bundle from A Book Apart, excellent value - especially as eBooks.

I already had the CSS3 book by Dan Cederholm and its a good little book. Its the little part that I particularly like, these days I find I do not have the time to work through large technical books and much prefer condensed focused works like the ones published by A Book Apart. Another thing they have right is providing multiple formats so I can read this on my Kindle and the Macbook Air, the prags led the way on this and another favourite publisher.


US police under the spotlight

A video of a US policeman calmly capsicum spraying unarmed sitting protestors has created an international storm. James Fallows has exhaustive coverage and Mark Bernstein summarises the story with key links and adds his own view in this excellent post Shame

The walk of shame, as UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car before rows of silent students, was extraordinary. James Fallows wrote of the affectless sadism of the campus police, captured forever in film. If the euro collapse does usher in the second great depression, that video is going to become an icon and this behind-the-scenes account will someday be treasured the way we cherish stories of riding in the car with Martin.Bob Ostertag wrote a terrific piece on the shameful militarization of campus police. He doesn’t go far enough. Chancellor Katehi claimed that the quad was cleared because of “the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns.” Ostertag argues treats this as an error, a stupid failure of understanding and planning. But it’s not just a mistake.It was a lie. (Via Mark Bernstein)

Perhaps all law enforcement officers should be trained in the fundamentals of non violent action to enable them to more appropriately respond to these situations. Thoreau's essay) is a good starting place (full text here), Ghandis' biography is another valuable source.

Book - Ghandi Biography


VW and the darkside

Sophisticated campaign orchestrated by Greenpeace using the same Star Wars theme that feature in the latest VW adds. The aim is to raise pressure on Volkswagen to put more effort into bringing its green technology to bear across its fleet. Worth checking the video's out and sign up..

There is good in Volkswagen. We feel it -

Volkswagen is a big part of many of our lives – indeed many rebel vehicles are VWs. But it seems the bosses at Volkswagen have been seduced by the dark side of the Force and left us with little choice but to challenge them. But it’s not too late. There’s a chance that together we can turn Volkswagen away from the dark side and into a Force for good, leading to a brighter future for us all. via vwdarkside.com