21 June 2011

Upcoming book

Well, a little time ago I asked your opinions on how to publish a book, what to do, what to expect and directions to take. I didn't get too much feedback, but some, and I've at least had some interaction with my good old friend Slobodanka which I worked with at the National Library of Australia.

I've come to a realization; my book is pretty much unpublishable by any sane publisher, so I'll publish it here, free in PDF form, when it is reaching publishable shape. I know there's outlets like Lulu or Balboa Press where I can do it through them (and I might still consider that), but I kinda like the freedom of tinkering with my own book at my own leisure as well. I know that these things take time, and that a good editor is a must, however I'm thinking three things ;

  • My wife is a school teacher with strong academic background, and shall be editor
  • Some of my friends are literate and damn smart, and they could be editors, too
  • I used to work in publishing (technical side), so I can set my own book reasonably well

One of the most difficult parts of this whole thing is that I couldn't explain to anyone what the book was about. It's somewhat eclectic, binding together my years of experience in software development, working with information architecture and usability, my life as a film-maker and professional musician, my fervent scientific outlook on the world coupled with a penchant for epistemology and other nasty philosophical terms, my love of ideas, language and people, and all the little things I've crashed into while stumbling through life.

What's it about, again? How about I quote from the introduction instead, and you tell me ;
The wrong book

Oh, I'm sorry, you probably thought this book was about software development or some-such, maybe a framework, or at best how to deal with hard computer problems. Maybe you thought this book was about how to be a better programmer, showing you slick tricks and fancy algorithms. Maybe you wanted me to help you design better applications, or take you gently through various middle-ware stacks on offer. Or maybe you thought – silly you, looking at the title like that! - it had something to do with being a nicer developer. It's not.

Well, what I mean is, not really, not specifically, but perhaps rather that I won't talk about such things; they are, after all, what I do for a living. But talking about all of that stuff up there sounds really boring. Why would I write a boring book? That's right, that would be a bit silly of me. However, I can't guarantee that this won't be boring for you, especially if you expected any of those things listed at the top. All of that stuff are general problems that really are manifestations of other, deeper and more troubling problems. Like people.

I like people. I'm a people-person, and I thrive on being with people. Humans. Human beings. Folk. Crowds, big and small. Opinions. Feelings. People. You see where I'm going with this? Therein lies the solution to anything we can ever think of; interacting with other people, sharing our ideas, let thoughts simmer and talk about them, written down, talked about, discussed, shouted, ranted. Words. People.

At this point you're probably wondering if you wandered into the library and got the wrong book or something. And perhaps you did, but wouldn't it be grand if you wandered into the library to take out a book, and ended up taking out the librarian instead?"

15 June 2011


Another round of links to bits and bobs stuck in my browser's tabs ;


The architecture of Open Source projects : Pick some of the top open source projects around, and let the lead developers write about their design and architectural concepts and models. Amazingly good stuff.

Fuel PHP Framework : Fuel is a simple, flexible, community driven PHP 5.3 web framework based on the best ideas of other frameworks with a fresh start.

ID Policy : The OBO foundry documentation on identification management, and interesting tack even though I don't agree completely.

Understanding JQuery UI widgets : a tutorial.

Best Linux multimedia applications : "Today's category is multimedia applications. This is a pretty broad one - photo organisers, audio and video editors, drum machines, podcatchers, synthesisers and most anything else related - so if you think it counts, it probably does!"

Schema.org : The rest of the universe has waffled on the news of this site launching. I found their data model page the most interesting.

Gephi.org : "Gephi is an interactive visualization and exploration platform for all kinds of networks and complex systems, dynamic and hierarchical graphs. Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Gephi is open-source and free." Looks fantastic!

PHP-classes : Just an interesting collection of useful PHP classes (or, more specifically, functions, but who's counting?)

Science and mixed bag

Latest earthquakes around the world : Brilliant resource for those of us who follow the crusts till the end of the world!

Evolution : Perhaps the best resource I've seen yet about evolution; massive, extensive, thorough, clear, and recommended.

Photo.stockexchange.com : "I was thinking at the differences between SLR and DLSR (in Manual mode). In both cases you can change aperture and shutter speed as it suits you. But with SLR you are stuck with the ISO of the film which you happen to have in the camera at the moment, while with DSLR you can vary ISO as you wish, too. Now maybe the question is naive, but how is this handled in practice?" Perhaps more than you ever wanted to know.

Roger Ebert's two-thumbs up : The latest line of movies deemed good by perhaps the worlds best movie reviewer (and by best, I mean smart, thorough, sharp, well-rounded and honest and spot on after all these years I've read his stuff. This guy thinks about movies the exact way I do).

Philosophy and religion

Something rather than nothing : The Unpublishable Philosopher keeps bringing the goods! I want to follow this one up in the future, it's really good stuff.

A taxonomy of fallacy : As brilliant as the title sounds.

Thomas Hobbes : "Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury (5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679), in some older texts Thomas Hobbs of Malmsbury, was an English philosopher, best known today for his work on political philosophy. His 1651 book Leviathan established the foundation for most of Western political philosophy from the perspective of social contract theory"

Gettier problem : One of the more interesting problems of epistemology.

Atheism Is the True Embrace of Reality : The brilliant Paula Kirby writes; "Until 2003 I was a devout Christian. And I mean devout. I believed absolutely, and my faith was central to my life at that time. Various clergy thought I had a calling to “the ministry”; one even suggested I might have a vocation to be a nun. Now I am an atheist: the kind of atheist who is predictably referred to by religious apologists as “outspoken” or “militant.” So what happened? What happened was four little words: 'How do I know?' "
Philosophical Ignorance : What happens when a theology-based Calvinist proclaims that a statement of reason needs splitting hairs in order to complement his world view. I have my own follow-up at Sheltered Objections.

Historical Jesus : Jutified true beliefs? Epistemologically interesting take on the historicity of Jesus that must be taken seriously by believers for the rest of us to accept your claims as anything more than mere opinion.