Thursday, 04 November 2010


On a recent trip to London I had a bit of time to wander round the Barbican's art gallery. In there, there's loads of interesting designs for things from seats to buildings. However one of the most interesting things I found was in the gift shop. It's a small book with a relatively plain cover, however the very title just jumped out at me "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be". The very attitude in this title made it jump out more than any fancy cover every could have.

Steve Jobs once talked about 'how the original Macintosh designers had read 'beautiful books', well in my opinion this book could fall into such a category. It's the prefect combination of simple witty writing combined with attractive fonts and good use of pictures and colours.

Although the author is from a marketing background there is advice here that's applicable to anyone from any field especially IT. We all want to improve our ability as programmers well this quote from the book is very relevant to us "Firstly you need to aim beyond what you are capable of."

Another useful comment relates to criticism "It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are likely to tell us what we want to hear" it goes on to point out how we edit out the bad so that all we hear is the good stuff that keeps us feeling warm and fuzzy. This book comes from the perspective of delivering something graphical to a customer and handling that customer, see an similarities in what we do?

I'll leave you now with my favourite line from the book "If you can't solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules".

posted on Thursday, 04 November 2010 20:05:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Sunday, 26 September 2010

Chad Fowler - The Passionate Programmer

Software development to me is a career that offers an excellent opportunity to be passionate about what you do. On the flip side it's also easy to slip into a mundane routine buried beneath layers of bureaucracy in which case your passion fades and instead to the outstanding career you dreamed of you become an average programmer drifting from day to day ticking boxes to climb a corporate ladder in the belief that titles and promotion are the keys to a safe job and happiness. Often this is not the case many climb the ladder only to find that they were only really happy while writing code.

If this sounds familiar this is a book you must read! In the music industry recording artists constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant in modern times, this is what has separated the one hit wonders from musical legends that last for decades constantly massing new fans and producing new material. The same rings true with software development. The book has an example of a person pinning their entire career on becoming a J2EE architect the book points out do you really want to pigeonhole yourself into a specific technology from one specific company?

Another thing developers my fret about is loosing their jobs to cheaper overseas competition, the book offers very good advice to this prospect by reminding us that the rapid changing nature of IT was why many of us got into programming in the first place due to the constant challenge of learning something new. The book suggests embracing the change to hone your skills and constantly critique where you're at so that you can be ready for the next change. Just as a company wouldn't try and sell outdated stock make sure your not caught trying to sell yourself based outdated or unsellable skills.

The author Chad has a very clear writing style and his analogies between his career as a programmer and his earlier days as a Jazz musician are informative and an enlightened way to look at our careers as software developers. I can't recommend the book highly enough its full of excellent advice and is a very easily read book that won't take too much of your time but will give you so much.

The book will help you get into the mindset of always looking to improve adding value to yourself in such away that the outstanding career you dreamed of can become a reality. As the saying goes "A rolling stone gathers no moss" ensure you're not gathering moss. 

posted on Sunday, 26 September 2010 10:28:40 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Monday, 26 April 2010

On Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th July are running a two day conference PyCon 2010 at the Dublin School of English.

The early bird registration is great value and is open until 31st May.

        • Early bird: €40
        • Standard: €60
        • On the door: €70
        • Extra dinner place: €30




posted on Monday, 26 April 2010 21:09:45 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Sunday, 25 April 2010

Prodata are bringing Paul Randal & Kimberly Tripp back to Dublin this summer to deliver some intensive SQL training. prodata001

The course and dates are:

  • SQL Immersion: Dublin 2010

    4 days June 28th - July 1st

  • Performance Optimization Masterclass

    2 days July 5th & 6th

  • Disaster Recovery Masterclass

    2 days July 7th & 8th

This event happened last year and received very high praise from all who attended I can't recommend this highly enough to anyone working with SQL Server.




Plus NW-MTUG members qualify for an addition 5%

discount! Use code NWUG when registering.



posted on Sunday, 25 April 2010 15:57:13 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Wednesday, 21 April 2010

reWork Buy this book!! I can't emphasis that enough, this book is clear advice on how to got about starting up a project and growing it from your pet project to a product that you can be passionate about and make work for you as a business.

This is not a very wordy book and as a result it's a book you can read very quickly, each point the authors whish to raise is presented in only a few pages at most with quit large clean fonts that are easy on the easy on your eyes. But don't for one minute think that the larger font and the cut down content leads to a book that contains less advice. The complete opposite is the case the authors have basically produced a book with no cr@p!! As they say themselves in the introduction that the reader will thank them for the stuff they left out, I really do thank them for this, the book is perfect.

As Seth Godin said in his review stop reading and go buy ReWork.

posted on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:28:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]