Monday, January 18, 2016

Another Sale!

The last one was "Best Sellers." Now the video is also "Best Reviewed." Nice! - Best of 2015 Sale

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sale on My Git Under the Hood LiveLessons!

Well, I haven't blogged much lately, have I? :-)

Heather Fox, from Pearson, tells me that my Git Under the Hood, LiveLessons, is a best-seller, and ison sale this weekend.

InformIT Labor Day Sale - Save up to 70%

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seeing My DNA

There's a photomicrograph of my chromosomes on my living-room wall. I made it myself in a Human Cytogenetics course. When folks ask, I say it's a self-portrait.

I've been thinking about subscribing to 23andme, which analyzes your DNA, for several years, but the price was always too high. I knew it would drop over time.

Two things kicked me over the edge. One was posts by folks like Razib Khan about recent moves by the FDA to shut down or hyperregulate 23andme. The second was a trip to the Boulder Android Meetup, where I met G. Hussain Chinoy.

Chuck Coughlin and I went over to recruit an Android developer or two for a project we're working on, and Hussain sent me email saying he was interested. He wasn't a great fit for the particular slots we were trying to fill -- it happens -- but I told him I was very interested to see that he was a 23andme customer.

A few days later, Hussain dropped me a quick note to say that 23andme was having a "free day." Normally, the base price had been $199, but for that day, it was free.

That did it.

I'm now a happy customer.

I should say more about 23andme, but this post's long enough for now. Go look for yourself.

My company's still hiring, by the way -- contract and full-time positions.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Audiobooks, Sort Of

I began looking for mp3 audiobooks to put in my Amazon Cloud Storage, so I could play them on my Android tablet, and ended up somewhere I hadn't guessed.

I've read that folks use their phones as MP3 players. Mine has its battery run down so fast when I use it as a phone that I can't imagine doing that. Perhaps I'm missing something.

But my NookieTab is a toy I'm exploring the boundaries of, so I bought some music, put it up in Amazon's free, Cloud Storage service, and tried playing it with their Cloud Player. Works fine.


How about an audiobook? Amazon doesn't sell many audiobooks in its MP3 store, because of DRM, but I saw Indian Tales, by Kipling and bought it. Kipling spins great yarns -- very listen-able.

Then I tried it. The book is machine-read. The synthesized voice has a British accent, which is a nice touch.

I went back and saw a book on Italian. This time, I sampled it before buying. Yup! It's lessons in synthesized English on how to speak Italian. Hearing is believing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Nookie Tablet

The Web is filled with instructions on how to root and re-flash the Nook Color.

It has much richer hardware than, say, a Kindle, so although it's sold as a locked-down, e-book reader, a chunk of its market is folks turning it into something else.

Think pogoplug. Think LinkSys WRT54G. Think DEC PDP-7.

BestBuy had stacks of Kindles, but the shelf under the Nook was cleaned out. The salesman had to go to the stockroom to find me a box.

It comes as a locked-down reader, but the base OS is Android so you have two choices: root or re-flash. They'll both void your warranty, so it's a matter of personal taste.

If you re-flash it, there's plenty to choose from. Google will find you instructions for putting on anything from vanilla Froyo to Ubuntu. Someone probably has a port of Windows CE. To each, his own.

I opted for my usual route: I asked the nearest beautiful woman, "Could you help me turn this into an Android Tablet?"

She said, "Sure. It'll take about five minutes, unless you want to back it up first."

Five minutes was not hyperbole.

She had a micro-SD chip with the necessary files on her -- the OS, the Google Android apps, and an over-clocker. We sliced off the Nook's shrink wrap, took it out, popped open the SD port, slipped in her card, brought it up, reformatted the disk and loaded on the new software, and re-booted.

Never even un-boxed the instructions.

"Don't we need to charge it first?" I asked.

"I'm sure it comes with plenty of power," she said.

We looked after it was back up. The battery was 97% full.

It found someone's near-by, open WAP easily, so I configured it to use my Google account, checked my email, and downloaded a couple of apps from the Android marketplace.

I'm running Cyanogenmod's Gingerbread port (Android 2.3.4, with a 2.6.29 kernel).

The display is beautiful, but before I could watch a free movie, from Amazon Instant Video, I had to download Flash Player from the Android Marketplace. Their service does whine that I'm using an unsupported device, and the video's a little jerky, but I don't know whether that's the tablet or the format and bandwidth.

The rest is fiddling. For example, making the terminal usable meant using the menu key (it's all soft keys) to make the fonts bigger. Pairing with a blue-tooth headset required figuring out how to turn the blue-tooth headset on.

The earphone jack works. There's no built-in camera or microphone, and I don't think the hardware's there to turn it into a standard cellphone, but it seems like I should be able to make VOIP calls with the blue-tooth headset. I've poked at that one a little, but not succeeded. Yet.

I'd wiped out the Barnes & Noble book reader, so no Nook e-books for me; instead, Amazon's free, Kindle-for-Android app lets me download and read the books I buy for my Kindle.

I suppose this is a great time to plug the Kindle. Want a tablet computer? Lots of choices, including the Color Nook. Want an e-book reader? Buy a Kindle.
Sturdy, simple, beautiful, easy-to-read, dirt cheap. Connects free everywhere. Electronic paper that's as foolproof and power-thrifty as an Etch-a-Sketch. Unbeatable selection of books.

It is the C-47 of e-book readers. Jeremy Hinegardner tells me his grandpa's on his second one.


Jealous of Steve Ballmer's buying Skype, I drove to Best Buy, Thursday afternoon, and bought a Color Nook.

The salesman offered me a protection package for $99. I said, "I'm going to void the warranty on this so fast it'll make your head spin."

The board has roughly the same chip set as the phone we're building at work. As a Nook, it was a locked-down, single-purpose reader. So far as I know, B&N won't even let you get to some of its hardware, like the bluetooth. Reflashed, I can now even load on whatever we write for our phone and play with it.

He said, "Next few hours?"

I said, "I'd guess the warranty on this will be void fifteen minutes after I leave the store."

I wasn't wrong. I now own a $250 Android tablet.

Before I went to bed, I slammed on Amazon's Kindle for Android app. Heh.

I'm waiting to see what Skype looks like after Ballmer re-flashes it.

Friday, April 22, 2011



'bout time. See you there.