Book Review: Learn To Program with Minecraft


Ok, I know it has been a long time since I did a book review but I really like this book and now I am trying to get my son to go through it.

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Book Review: jQuery Hotshot

Did you ever go to a web site and think, wow, how did they do that? Or, wouldn’t that be cool to write? I know I do.

Well, this book is filled with 10 small projects you can use in real life. So unlike an API book where it focuses on the small granular API calls this book focuses on completed solutions.

It starts off in the preface with a high level summary of what jQuery is and the basic concepts of the API so you really don’t even have to know jQuery to read this book. You do however need to know HTML and JavaScript basics but I will add, all of the source code is available and the massive 296 page book does a great job going step by step. The beauty of the book is it covers a lot of areas for where jQuery can be used – from developing games to building your own jQuery. Many of the techniques used in the book are very creative and well thought through.  Each project has plenty of screen shots and narrative to help you digest the content. Did I mention all of the source code is downloadable? Yep, so you can casually read the book and then go back and play with the finished source code if you wanted.

From beginner to advanced this book is a valuable resource to see how different things can be done with jQuery. It mixes some really good JavaScript API’s along with jQuery API’s to create real life projects.

Well done Dan Wellman.


Book Review: Creating an MP3 Player with HTML5

Don’t let the size of this book fool you, the content is extremely well written and while providing the very basics of programming in HTML5 it also highlights many tips and tricks all throughout the book. As the title states, the book is a step by step guide for creating the MP3 player from scratch in HTML5 and JavaScript. It covers a lot of material from page to page but presents it in a very easy to read way. I actually read the book from front to back first and then I went through and actually wrote the code and skimmed back through the book. The entire process took less than a couple of hours, if that. I am a pretty experienced programmer so much of the information was not new to me but I really liked the way the author has written this and I actually learned a few tips around the HTML5 player object. If you are trying to learn HTML5 I think books like this are excellent. Any book that is written in the “by example” format is a great way to learn programming.


Book review: If Not Mistaken by Ben Langhinrichs

If Not Mistaken Ebook By Ben Langhinrichs

Since I got my iPad I have really enjoyed reading short stories and articles. I even purchased a few larger books but I am really liking the short stories and eBooks. This book is by an industry colleague (Ben Langhinrichs), and when I saw his blog post about the book I had to give it a go. It is a very short story but don’t let that fool you. I started reading this and was captivated from the first page on. Ben is clearly a closet author and has an amazing talent. The story itself is a little strange but the way Ben structures the sentences and the dialog is absolute perfection. For 99 cents this is a steal. I hope to see more eBooks by Ben in the future.




For the last month or so I began a project to get kids reading and writing online. The project was!

I started KidWrite to promote reading and writing in children as early as possible. I am a writing advocate and want to see children advance in the art and science of writing and reading. I truly believe using the computer for writing is a way to get children comfortable with a computer in a safe and educational way. I hope to see KidWrite being used by all schools where they promote writing and reading in the cloud.

KidWrite was designed to let kids start writing and expressing themselves through written content. All kids are encouraged to write and share their work with others on this site. This site will promote writing through sharing and writing contests. Kids can optionally just use the Journal feature to keep a private online journal where their writing and thinking skills can remain private.

Check it out and send in any feedback on the site or back to me on this blog. The site is pretty new and some kinks are still being worked out but I feel it is in good shape to publicize.




The Inventor’s Guide to Trademarks and Patents

If you want to learn how to get money for your intellectual property or patent something in the software world then you should check out this book. I was just re-arranging my books and found this little gem. It has a lot of great ideas and pointers for where to get started.


Dojo and Duck Typing

JavaScript is powerful yet unruly language but through creativity, standards, and best practices you can control the unruliness. Dojo has put a lot of this into consideration and the topic I am writing about today is a technique called Duck Typing.  In the book, Dojo The Definitive Guide, there is a chapter dedicated to utilities and within that chapter there is a section on type checking.

“Duck typing is based upon the saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a dck, then its a duck.”

Dojo comes with a bunch of methods to help with this, like isString(), isArray(), isFunction(), isObject(), isArrayLike(), isAlien().

These kind of functions can make your code a lot more safe if you expect a certain type in your function and use them to test that you received what you expected.  Unlike in Java where you can use actual interfaces and class types, you do not have that in JavaScript.