Book review: Propose, prepare, present: hot to become a successful, effective and popular speaker at industry conferences

•June 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for reviewing]

In this (really!) short book, Alistair Croll presents you several tips on how to improve your chances of becoming a good professional speaker. Alistair starts by introducing the conference industry world. Having an idea about how it works is important for understanding the risks and obstacles you might face. After this introduction, you’ll see how you can adapt an idea to a specific type of event. As you’ll find out (if you read the book), having a good idea is not enough for making into the conference as a presenter. You’ll probably need to have one or two good topics, write a good CFP about it and, if you get picked, you’ll probably need to adapt it to the available sessions/slots.

Chapter 3 is a great one because it will present several tips that will help you get chosen from the available candidates. It also presents several things which will probably hurt you during the process, so you should really pay attention to this chapter. The last two chapters give you some tips on how to improve your presentations and on how you can improve your chances of making money at these conferences.

Typically, this is not the sort of book I read. However, I was looking for something to give me some tips on this subject (conferences) and this book was really what I needed to get an overall look on the topic. Overall, I’m giving it a 7/10.

Book review: UX for Lean Startups

•June 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for reviewing.]

Nowadays, there are no doubts about the role UX plays in getting a great product. Unfortunately, UX is generally associated with costly processes which involve lots of design. In this book, Laura Klein does an excellent job in showing you how to apply several techniques in  order to reduce the time and money which is typically spent in this area.

Even though the book has UX in its title, the truth is that book concentrates on showing you several techniques that will help you continuously test the user experience. No, I’m not talking about color use or stuff like that. I’m talking about techniques which will help you validate if the problem you’re trying to solve deserves to be solved (ie, should you be wasting your time and money building this product) or that will improve the way you run your qualitative and quantitative research and testing. In other words, Laura introduces several approaches which will help you apply lean principles to UX design.

Looking at its title (UX for Lean Startups) might mislead you into thinking that this book is for someone who wants to create a startup. In my opinion, it’s not. In fact, I’d say that given the importance that UX plays in software, the book’s title should be something like UX for Lean Developers. But hey, that’s just me Smile

Overall, I’m giving it a 8/10.

My ASP.NET 4.5 is out

•April 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been so busy that I’ve forgot to mention that my ASP.NET 4.5 book (written in Portuguese) is out.

Book review: CLR via C#

•February 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

[Disclaimer: I’ve received a copy of this book for reviewing]

Yesterday I’ve finally finished reading Jeffrey Richter’s last book CLR via C#, 4th edition. I’ve been getting a copy of this book (buying or being lucky enough to get a review copy) since it was called Applied Microsoft .NET Framework Programming. Each new edition ends up adding new cool stuff and this last edition didn’t disappoint. Besides Garbage Collector chapter rewrite, this latest edition introduces the new Reflection API (introduced by .NET 4.5)  and presents several new concepts associated with the new WinRT framework. If you’re a die hard C# programmer, you should be pleased to know that the book has been updated to illustrate the new C# 5.0 async features introduced by the latest .NET framework release.

So, this is really a book I love and fortunately for us developers, Jeffrey has been doing an excellent job of maintaining and updating it during these last years. In my opinion, this is still the .NET reference book every developer should buy and read. My score: 10/10.

Book review: The art of SEO

•February 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

[Disclaimer: I’ve received a free copy of this book for reviewing]

In these last couple of days, I’ve spent most of my free time reading this book. It’s a really thick book (I must confess that is was way more thicker than I was expecting initially). It does cover a lot of ground and it’s probably the best reference on the subject available on print. It’s a little dense and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is just starting doing web development. Even though it covers several topics in depth, I must say that chapter 7 is really a must for anyone interested in understanding how links are used for ranking pages.

Even though the book has lots of examples (I think it would be better to reduce them, specially the ones presented in the first chapters), this isn’t a platform specific book. In other words, don’t expect to get instructions on how to perform a specific task for server A or platform B. Instead, expect to find lots of examples that can be used across all platforms. Overall, I liked the book and that’s why I’m giving it an 8/10.

The–LiteralPath parameter

•February 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It’s 2013, we’ve got Powershell for a couple of years now, so it’s only natural to automate things, right? At least, that’s what I try to do. So, one of the things I’ve ended up doing some time ago was writing a simple script for copying files from an USB pen to a specific folder. As you can see, it’s really simple:

ls j:\ | foreach { 
  $itemName = $_.Name.Replace('.', ' ') 
  $destination = ls | where { $itemName -match $_.Name } | select -First 1 
  if( $destination -ne $null){       
   mi $_.PSPath $destination.PSPath -Verbose -WhatIf  
  } 
}

After some time where everything seemed to be running ok, I’ve noticed that some of the files weren’t being copied. After further analysis, I’ve noted that files contained the [ and ] chars weren’t being copied. Fortunately, we have StackOverflow and I’ve ended posting my question over there. One of the answers suggested to use the –LiteralPath parameter for the move-item cmdlet. According to the docs, the –LiteralPath parameter :

Specifies the path to the current location of the items. Unlike Path, the value of LiteralPath is used exactly as it is typed. No characters are interpreted as wildcards. If the path includes escape characters, enclose it in single quotation marks. Single quotation marks tell Windows PowerShell not to interpret any characters as escape sequences.

Did you notice the wildcards part? Yep, wildcards…unfortunately form me, I had completely forgotten that [] define wildcards which match a range of characters (note to self: do read the PowerShell docs). For instance, and this is just copied from the docs, here’s a quick example:

[a-l]ook matches book, cook or look, but not took.

Aha! ok, now it makes sense…that’s why those files which contained the [ ] on its name weren’t being copied. PowerShell was translating the values defined within [ ]  into ranges. Another note to self: don’t forget about wildcards when you’re writing PowerShell scripts.

And that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more.

Updated material for ASP.NET MVC book

•February 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

If you’ve bought the ASP.NET book I’ve written, you’ll probably be happy to know that I’ve added a new online chapter that deepens the initial cover of the Web API presented in chapter 9 of the book. If you’ve bought the book, just head to the web site and download the extra material associated with the book.

 
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