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WebDev, UX & a Pinch of Fantasy

Barbarian Goat-Skin Reading Digest September 2012

Barbaric Goat-Skin Reading Digest is just a series of blog posts in which I review the books I read each month, be it literature, programming books or any other kind of treatises.

It has been a while since I wrote a book review I see… Why is that? You may be wondering and I shall obligue and be kind enough to answer your question. The reason is simple, the cause straightforward, I just have not read as much as I used to as of late.

Image of the front cover of The Phoenix Guards

Apparently, one of the reasons why I did not progress as much on my side-projects before, was that I spent an inordinate amount of time reading, yes! As you read it… and so, now that I am working on an actual project per month looks like all my reading is limited to audio books on my commute to work or at the gym, two of the few activities where I am blessed to be able to multitask.

Hmmm reading these last two paragraphs, and a study I recently wrote at work I would venture myself to say that I have been remarkably influenced by re-reading The Phoenix Guards, which is a wonderful tribute from Steven Brust to Alexandre Dumas and one of my favorite books of all time: The Three Musketeers. It has the same witty conversations, the swordplay, the courtesan intrigues and entwined plots, and, of course, the particular and colourful way of speaking of the nobility in the French court of the early 17th century (or so Dumas will have us believe). Way of speaking like this below, as when Khaavren (our D’Artagnan) and his party of six meet an invading Easterner army of thousands upon thousands (EPIC):

Khaavren talks to the leader of the invading Easterner army

“How? You cannot be here to invade, therefore…”

“But, my lord, why can we not?”

“Well, because as you have done us the honor to observe, there are six of us.”

“Well, and?”

“Therefore, you perceive, you are outnumbered.”

or when the group discusses about Khatana e’Marish’Chala and how she came to fall in disgrace with the emperor:

As Khatana first displayed a painting of a dragon she had been working on for years

“He felt it was too melancholy to be a dragon, and not fierce enough. The Baroness, I am told, wished to demonstrate that she knew as much about ferocity as did he, and removed his head with her broadsword in the course of demonstrating this.”

“And it was well done, too,” affirmed Tazendra. “I’d have done the same, only…”

“Yes?”

“I don’t paint.”

Great book indeed. I also had the chance to read Field Of Dishonor, the fourth installment of the Honor Harrington series, and I have to say it is probably my favorite book of the series so far. Because it is a great book of course, but also because David Weber is, if not as virtuous as Patrick O’Brian, great nonetheless in creating a bond between the reader and the characters, in this case Honor Harrington, that makes it a pleasure to anticipate and recognize Honor’s behavior and reactions and achieves the same effect as to make her as known and familiar to us as a close friend.

Wrap up

As customary and in summary:

Barbaric September: Expectation is a Bitch

Barbaric Monthly is my attempt at building/improving a coding project per month so that I can experiment with old and new technologies, learn ad infinitum, remain excited about the craft and nurture my passion for software development. This Barbaric Monthly is about developing a windows phone application, in this case a simple quiz game called quiz4couples, and releasing it to market.

A sneak peek of Quiz4couples

Yesterday was bittersweet. On one side, I did a huge sprint and advanced a great deal in the development of quiz4couples, moreover, the tiny app took such an interesting shape that I have even considered making it a paid app :O, go figure. On the other side, I was not able to finish it, not by a long stretch, I think it will take a good week to get it to a point where I will feel if not comfortable, at least not embarrassed releasing it. And therein lies the problem, I completely failed my own expectations and therefore rewarded myself with self-contempt and mental spankings.

Thank the sacrosant deities that I am a joyful and forgiving person, and this very morning I was so kind to forgive myself :). So moving on… I am going to extend the Barbaric September for at least one week, and we will see how it goes.

I am thirsty for shipping, so it won’t be long…

Barbaric September: One Week To Release My First Windows Phone 7 App!

Barbaric Monthly is my attempt at building/improving a coding project per month so that I can experiment with old and new technologies, learn ad infinitum, remain excited about the craft and nurture my passion for software development. This Barbaric Monthly is about developing a windows phone application, in this case a simple quiz game, and releasing it to market.

The word focus in a dictionary

The power of focus is absolutely amazing. I remember spending indefinite amounts of time exploring Windows Phone 7, learning every detail I could, making uncountable little exercises but never building anything for real.

A clear goal, a tight schedule and a near deadline later, I have my first app almost ready. It is a very simple app that is true, and I have cut scope like a maniac, but I think I will release it nonetheless and go iterating on it from there. It will definitely provide a nice foundation where to start from and continue playing with other different aspects of the Windows Phone SDK, WCF and Windows Azure.

That is all for now. Below you can appreciate a screenshot of this piece of mastery:

Quiz 4 couples application screenshot

Now I just need to bend time and space during this week to have something not to embarrassing to publish :).

Passion is Beautiful

Malin and I have just watched the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance and it was so wonderfully beautiful. There is something magical, enchanting, something enthralling about seeing passionate people doing what they love most. Be it dance, be it music, be it writing, be it whatever rocks your world. Joss Whedon said it better than I could ever do:

Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.

Please, do the world a favor and follow your passion. Enthrall us. Inspire us.

Epic Articles And News Week 37

Welcome stranger, sit down by the fire and let us hear the epic deeds, the tales of joy, of woe and of note that occurred these past seven days.

Epic News

Epic Articles

Epic Podcasts

Books

P.S. Have you guys tried Pocket? It beats the crap out of Instapaper

P.S.2 Mental Note: Next time I will try to build a story from the weekly articles and news. Now that… would be a thing XD