Book Reviews

Database Modeling Made Simple

I read this book as a primer to some more in depth titles. I was looking for a quick overview of the entity relationship model and this book served that purpose. I wanted something I could read and comprehend quickly over a weekend. The book is 144 pages and includes some simple exercises. I do wish the author had gone a little more into denormalization.

3D Math Primer for Graphics and Game Development

This semester I had a course in interactive computer graphics. Prior to the course I wanted to brush up on some of my trig and linear algebra skills. I read this book during the course of a vacation and was overall pretty happy with it. The author starts out with a good sense of humor, but the book loses that humor pretty quickly. Still, the content was pretty good and the provided exercises were extremely helpful.

Mathematics for 3D Game Programing & Computer Graphics

As per my usual approach, the previous book was meant to provide an overview. I bought this book with the intention of getting a little deeper into the math. Unfortunately I didn’t make it very far. The book has absolutely no personality. I felt like the entire book was just a set of bullet points with equations. I guess it just didn’t suit my learning style.

*NOTE: Neither of the graphics books had any content in direct relation to games outside of the math… I wonder how many extra copies get sold if you put “Game Development” in the title.

Operating Systems

This book is big, typical for a Deitel book. Weighing in at 1209 pages, I avoided taking it to class. However it has one major difference from the majority of Deitel books… It’s actually enjoyable to read! The material is presented really well and the code samples are crystal clear. There are a lot of neat little tidbits that help break up the material as well.

I have a number of books on deck at the moment, but not sure which I’m going to dig into next. Probably another book on databases to supplement Database Modeling Made Simple.

Book Reviews

Career, Interviews, School

Been a busy couple of weeks. I attended a career fair at my school. I was able to scout the participants early on and narrowed my focus to just one company. Most of the companies there were looking for helpdesk or software support staff. Been there, done that. Anything other than an internship in software engineering/development would be a waste of time.

From the career fair I landed an interview, which I think went well. I did suffer a slight brain freeze on parts of the technical interview, but overall I thought it was positive. There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing an answer to a question on your way out or long after it’s been asked (ie 6/10 = 3/5, 6/15 = 2/5, 2/5+3/5 = 5/5)… I also got the normal questions that interview guides tell you to avoid answering at all costs (pay, current offers, etc). I had trouble stonewalling the interviewer on those questions, it’s just not in my personality. Hopefully they see my honesty and forthrightness as an asset. I should know in the next week or so if they feel I’m right for the job. (fingers crossed)

My career services department has sent my resume to a few places as well. Only one of which looked interesting. I’ll know in a few days whether I’ve been pre-selected for an interview.

In the mean time I’m continuing to seek out opportunities. One thing I’ve learned from this experience… don’t just look at Monster, Dice, etc. When I first began looking I got pretty worried as there wasn’t a lot in the area. Directly visiting an employer’s website produced a lot more results.

All in all, internship or no internship.. it’s been an enlightening experience. Interviewing reminded me of just how far I’ve come in the past few years. I can still remember my first real interview, what a disaster that was. I had no idea what I was doing!

Career, Interviews, School

Prediction: .NET is coming to Linux and OS X

WPF and WPF/E are the first step.  I watch a lot of Channel 9 videos.  In the past month or so I’ve seen not one, but two open admissions that Microsoft is looking at bringing C# and .NET to other operating systems.  Doing so would, in my mind, remove THE major barrier for .NET adoption.  Of course it’s possible they’d just bring C# over to support WPF.  Time will tell, but of course I’m hoping for full-blown .NET. 🙂

Prediction: .NET is coming to Linux and OS X

Mad Dash to read as much as I can before I graduate

I enjoy school in a lot of regards, it has been and continues to be a life altering experience. However, I feel like the academic world just doesn’t understand what businesses are looking for these days. Last spring I read Code Complete and How To Win Friends & Influence People. Where are the courses on software development best practices? Where are the courses on creating lasting business relationships? In my Computer Science 2 class I had a really good professor. He was constantly dropping tidbits of hard earned knowledge. Universities need to make a push for more of that.

There are so many books I currently want to sink my teeth into in order to better myself as a programmer. In particular I want to read Rapid Development and Writing Secure Code. As of late I’ve been tasked with writing a small application as part of an internship contest. Since this project will be read by other people, I feel I have a duty to provide clear documentation. Any recommendations on books for writing software specs/documentation?

Mad Dash to read as much as I can before I graduate

Google Tech Talks

Google hosts all sorts of presentations, ranging from wilderness survival to nuclear power proposals. Fortunately they record and post the videos on Google Video. The presenters are for the most part really good. Even if the topic isn’t particularly interesting to me, the presentation techniques usually are.

One thing I’ve learned is that humor is essential to keeping the attention of an audience. The presentation doesn’t need to be punch line after punch line, but a joke or comical graphic tends to perk up the listeners. Sounds a little gimmicky, but when proportioned with information correctly it doesn’t come off as a ploy.

This goes back to my Professional Communications course, know your audience. If your audience is Google you can take a few comical liberties. 🙂

Google Tech Talks