The other side of technical books

As a rule, I am usually reading at least one technical book for my own purposes. At the moment, this is being taken over by one for work. As part of some tasks at work, I am reading a new book. The material isn’t bad, but the prose itself is painful:

Deeply inspired to the classic client/server request model, the WebForms model worked beautifully and…

Page 4

I skimmed the book first just to see what it covered and it seemed OK. As I go back through in more detail it’s clear that this is going to be a slog. Not because of the underlying material, but because the phrasing is so baroque. 

I have included the by now traditional link if you want a copy of your own. But I recommend staying away unless the material is particularly critical for you. 


I’m going to play around and go through the NAND 2 Tetris course. Well maybe. I have the book,, so I don’t know if I’ll do the Courseara courses, just go though the book, or what.  I’ll Probably start with just the book, and do Coursera if it seems like it will help. 

This is a tough one to categorize. But since the early parts of the book use  an HDL (not sure yet if they use a “standard” one, or if they have rolled their own simpler one for the course) it seems close enough to hardware to count. A case could probably be made for embedded as well, but it seems more of a stretch.

I don’t think the book is necessary, but if anyone else is interested, here it is:

Building KiCAD

In addition to personal projects, I’d like to contribute to some larger efforts. And if doing so, might as well contribute to something I use. This makes KiCAD an obvious possibility since I’ll likely be using it as my EDA tool while working on hardware.

KiCAD is not a simple piece of software, so I may revisit this. But step one is going to be to 1) Get this to build in windows or 2) Setup a Linux environment (probably virtual) and built it there instead. Just getting it to build looks like it’ll take some effort, but I have been wanting to dive into more modern C++ for a while.

Even if I end up not contributing, looking into the details of the KiCAD codebase will probably be interesting. 

Art of Electronics (3rd)

Kicking off a new book to work through.

I remember going through the second edition and running into lots of questions/things I wanted to explore further. So why not work through the 3rd edition? If you’re feeling particularly brave, a link to get your own copy is below. 

I’ll probably do the lab book as well once I clear some space on a bench.

Restarting YARG

A while back, I was kicking around a few roguelike game ideas. YARG 1 is a relaunch.

I haven’t worked in Java in a while, so that will be the language for now. Once I get underway a bit farther I’ll get code repositories and Project management up and shared. 

The first phase is going to be working out the display system. I’m currently thinking of using SVG based tiles. This will allow me to create alphanumeric tiles programmatically, but also allow for future expansion into other tiles.  The downside is that even the “ASCII” tiles won’t play too nicely with terminal based play. I’ll try to leave the GUI abstract enough that a terminal replacement is at least possible (even if I don’t make it myself).

Working on the visual interface will give me time to decide which of the roguelike ideas I want to pursue.. Plus I can try to package it up as an independent library.

Software Introduction

This category contains assorted software projects and topics.

I try to work on personal projects that aren’t too closely related to work. This is mainly to help keep me interested, but also helps with any IP issues. 

I will be putting code up somewhere (probably github) as the actual projects get underway and hope to get some of the project management/task tracking organized and made public as well. 

Hardware Introduction

This category contains assorted hardware projects, inclusive of the hardware portions embedded ones.

I plan to setup some git (github?) repositories for sharing schematics/layouts etc. Git isn’t really a great tool for it though, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for a better solution. 

I am not a hardware person by any stretch, so exploring in this direction should be fun. 

Books Introduction

Welcome to the Books section of Sparking Squirrel.

Books are important to me. In technical endeavors, I generally find myself using them to build knowledge from the bottom up (vs top down like projects tend to promote).

My pal is to use this section to track progress through various books that I am working my way through, and probably write some book reviews along the way as well. 

Obviously, this category will overlap with the others depending on the subject matter involved. I’m not yet certain that separating them out into a distinct category is worthwhile, but I figured I’d give it a shot. Each book should also have it’s own tag, so that might be sufficient. Time will tell. 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I don’t really intend for this to make money, but if I’m going to be linking to Amazon for books I’m discussing anyhow…

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