Noel Rappin Writes Here

August 24, 2010: Um.. Hi?

Posted on August 24, 2010

It’s very easy to let this blog habit slip through your fingers. You go from, “put something up every weekday”, to “nobody reads this on Friday”, to “I’m tired this mornng”, to “wow, I haven’t posted in a week, and nobody noticed, why post today”. Anyway, here’s a post.

Book Status

Beta 6 came out last week. I’m now going through the RSpec chapter, which is taking longer than I thought. It’s not just because of the changes between RSpec 1 and RSpec 2, though tracking down those changes has been part of it. It’s also that it’s been about 18 months since I wrote the Lulu version of the chapter. In that time, I’ve used RSpec a lot, and used it differently than I had before, so a lot of the tone and conclusions of the chapter need to change. Anyway, if I get lucky and there’s a strong tailwind, the draft will be done today.


I assume that everybody reading this knows that since the last time I posted, new versions of Ruby (1.9.2 final), Bundler (1.0rc6) and Rails (3.0rc2) are all out the door. I really wish I had some time to play with Ruby 1.9.2. I think it’s probably not appropriate to have the fake legacy app for my WindyCityRails tutorial (tickets still available…) be in Rails and Ruby 1.9.2. Probably not a lot of legacy Rails 3 apps yet.

Other Book Recommendations

It’s been a while since I recommended random books here, so I’m gonna.

Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach.

Roach is nearly unique, she writes science books on odd corners of the world with precision and wit, kind of a cross between Malcolm Gladwell and Dave Barry.

This book is about space travel, particularly the various research on the mundane details of how the human body and mind live in the wildly unnatural environment of space. Chapters include what happens to astronauts who can’t exercise, or can’t bathe for weeks, or whether free-fall zero-g has long-term effects. Oh, and the engineering achievement of space toilets.

Love this book. Funny, not shy about it’s subject matter, but not juvenile. As with all Roach’s books, she’s unfaillingly respectful toward what might otherwise seem like crazy scientific pursuits. And you’ll never look at a group of astronauts the same way again.

The Fuller Memorandum, by Charles Stross

Programmers who are SF geeks who have not read Stross’ Laundry books are advised to start. Now. (Hint, if you are a person who would laugh at a reference to Knuth’s lost fourth book, covering computational demonology, your in the target group) It’s a series where computer programs can be used to summon Lovecraftian horror monsters from the etherial depths, and the civil service that protects us. So it’s a crazy mix of horror, spy novel, mundane office politics, and programming textbook.

Stross knows the coding well enough to make the book geek-convincing. Or as geek-convincing as you can get when talking about iPhone apps that act as magical wards or summon demons. So this is your typical “IT-guy needs to save the world from demons” book.


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Copyright 2024 Noel Rappin

All opinions and thoughts expressed or shared in this article or post are my own and are independent of and should not be attributed to my current employer, Chime Financial, Inc., or its subsidiaries.