Wednesday, 27 April 2011

calibre-logoSince getting my Kindle I've amassed more and more eBooks and one of the best tools I've found to manage all these books in Calibre. This is a free and open-source tool that helps you manage your library of eBooks and best of all it's available to Windows, Mac and Linux users.

Calibre is rather like iTunes for your eBook, it allows you to define metadata for your books such as tags that allow you later to search for books. Alongside helping you to manage your collection calibre also allows you to convert books to different formats such as PDF to MOBI. Although the Kindle does support PDF I tend to prefer converting the PDF to MOBI before dropping it onto my kindle. All of which is very easily achieved using Calibre.

If you have any eBooks I highly recommend that you check out Calibre. More information and the latest version can be obtained from:

posted on Wednesday, 27 April 2011 19:40:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I'm a fan of the effective series of books (Effective Java, Effective C# etc.)and was therefore looking forward to this book hoping to pick u a few gems I'd yet to discover. To be blunt I was disappointed. The book is well written and concise, however having done considerable Java development I found this book more of a nostalgic reminder of the advances Java had given us when it first appeared in the late nineteen nineties.

I think this book might be of use to somebody newer to the Java language who has already gotten to grips with the basics of the language as it does cover many of the topics I found I had already learnt with a combination of playing with the language and reading during my early days programming Java. However for those more experienced I think Effective Java would be a better investment of your time as I feel any reasonably experienced Java developer will find very little new information in this book.

posted on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 18:04:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Sunday, 13 March 2011

51uSFVY7zjL._SS500_ Following on from "97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know" and the less heard of "97 Things Every Project Manager Should Know" is this book full of 97 things we programmers should know. Born from the same community process this book contains insight from many of today's best developers cutting code day after day.

Like the other books in this series this book is extremely well written and presented in a very digestible format as each of the 97 points has a maximum of two pages. This has lead to a book that is very easy to pick up and read cover to cover while community to work or even reading one or two points while waiting for a build to complete.

Alongside being a really easy to read book it is also an excellent reference book and thanks to the well laid out table of contents which can be flicked through very quickly this is a book that can be used easily to help resolve the occasional cubical dispute.

Some of the topics will seem blatantly obvious while other topics were thought provoking and will maybe bring things more to your attention that you were subconsciously doing. The book isn't as hard core as other classic titles such as The Pragmatic Programmer, Code Complete and the Art of Computer Programming, I still feel that this is a book that every programmer should have a go at reading. It isn't that expensive and it's a very easy read so it won't take up too much of you time and you'll probably pick up a few things to think about will knocking out code.

posted on Sunday, 13 March 2011 15:37:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Upgrading to Android 2.2 (Froyo) on the Samsung Galaxy can be a relatively painless task. Simply followAndroid-2.2-Froyo these steps to get the official upgrade:

  1. Connect your Samsung Galaxy phone to your PC
  2. Launch Kies
  3. In the Kies taskbar click on the phone icon at the far right to upgrade your phone's firmware
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions


Now that you have upgraded to Froyo you'll also want to root your phone. A quick Google will reveal a few options for rooting a Samsung Galaxy running Android 2.2. This will tell you to download a tool such as 'One Click Root' which simply requires you to click a button to root your phone. However I found after upgrading using the official upgrade from Samsung this didn't work for me resulting in me getting the error "E:signature verification failed"

This seems to be a problem for a number of people based on comments I've read however not to worry it is still possible to root your phone even if you've used the official upgrade from Samsung all you need is z4Root. When I rooted my phone I was able to download this from the Android Market Place however it appears to have been removed but you can obtain a copy from xda-developers.

Once you have downloaded z4Root start the app and click the 'root' button as shown in the screenshot and that's it you've now rooted your phone.


posted on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 20:48:59 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Add Comment | Comments [0]
 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]