Working the command line

Working the command line

Last week A Book Apart, released a couple of new brief books. For anyone who has read any of the A Book Apart books you could call them all “brief” books, but these are about half the size of the regular books. I have quite the collection of the books from them (not all), and they are great small reads that get across all the required information on the subject of the book in an easy to read manor, also allowing you to try out the techniques (if it’s a technical book) straight away.

When A Book Apart released two new books in their brief collection last week I instantly bought and downloaded the “Working the command line” by Remy Sharp. For someone who uses the command line on a daily basis I was intrigued to see if there was anything I did not know, or any tips, techniques I could pick up. Knowing it was a small book, I thought if there is at least one take away from it then that would be perfect. Also for just $8 it’s a way to support people from the industry who spend time creating these items.

I recommended this book to anyone who does things with the command line and doesn’t consider themselves an expert. I am comfortable using the command line, and sometimes have to Google my way around. Some of the commands I need to use Google for Remy has done an excellent job of explaining what they do and how to use them. With this being a short book you might think it’s covering just the basics but you will be happily surprised at some of the depths Remy has gone to in his examples. The piping examples are something that I learned a lot from, and now understand far more.

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way


How many times have you set yourself new year resolutions and never completed them? Ever wanted to make big changes in your life and never quite managed to make them?

Kaizen is a Japenese philosophy of continuous improvement. Rather than aiming high and failing it’s about taking small steps regularly that build up to the big goal.

kaizen asks us to be patient. It asks us to have faith that with small steps, we can better overcome the mind’s initial resistance to change

Part of the process is training your brain to accept the changes you are planning, and by doing small steps it allows for your brain to adjust to the changes, rather than it being highly resistant.

Never force the process of kaizen; it works only if you let change happen in a comfortable and easy manner.

Kaizen is not just for personal change, it can be applied to anything. This book gives examples that cover business and personal. Giving real life examples and stories and how kaizen has improved people’s lives and help businesses. If it’s something as simple as reading more, spending more time with your family or increasing sales. Applying kaizen thinking and methodologies to these goals can give you a better success rate of improvement

If you ever feel yourself dreading the activity or making excuses for not performing it, it’s time to cut back on the size of the step

One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way on

Four Thousand Days


I came across this book via Twitter, and actually picked it up on a special promo some time last year. I finally got around to reading it on my trip to USA last month.

It’s a very easy read and keeps you very interested and wanting to keep on read to find out what happened next. Duane got tied up in something bad to help pays some bills and then turned his life around from entering prison to selling his on-line business and becoming a very wealthy man, all within 4000 days. Prison is an interesting subject, and a majority of the book focuses on Duane’s time behind bars. Later on in the books he talks about running a business and going through the process of selling his business. If you are interested in the “start-up” culture and knowing more of what’s involved and goes on in big companies buying the small fish this book gives you a great insight to this including lots of details of the steps and money involved.

Rather than giving away too many details of the book, I recommend you pick the book up and give it a read.

Four Thousand Days: My Journey From Prison To Business Success on

The world of cycling according to G

The world according to G

Not your normal kind of cycling book, autobiography or biography. This book takes a look at cycling as a whole, it is from the point of Geraint, and he does have a fair few stories related to him and the teams he’s been with. The idea of the book, to take the reader into the world of cycling and explaining all the different parts of what’s involved for rider, partner, mechanic, soingueur, and all the others involved. If your just getting into cycling this is a great book to help you understand cycling as a whole, and also the racing. If you are a season professional of the cycling world this book is just as good a read.

Have you ever sat and watched a stage of the Tour de France and wondered why the peloton has given a group of riders 9 minutes advantage, Geraint explains this and many other tactics involved in racing. Wonder what happens after all the racing has happened for the day, Geraint explains it all.

This book doesn’t just cover the professional side, it has some great stories from the early days, from youth racing in the UK up to last years Tour.

Just a small note he did spell my brothers name wrong when mentioning him, but I’ll not hold him to that.

The Martian

The Martian

Not being a huge fan on fiction books, I have made more of an effort to look past this and start to widen my search when looking for books to read. I first heard about this book when people were starting to talk about the upcoming movie (this was a few weeks/ maybe a month or two ago), and how they where looking forward to seeing it after reading the book. After a few visits to Amazon to look at the book and reviews, I mentioned it to my wife and she decided to purchase it for us both to read. If you have a kindle I recommend looking at the family library with the kindle. Over the past couple weeks we have both read the story and are looking forward to seeing the movie.

Space, it’s an interesting topic. Yes man has been to the moon, but Mars, this is something different. It’s much further and less known. The unknown of this and it’s space is what makes it so interesting.

Mark Watney ended up being left on mars after him and his crew had to evacuate their mission base due to a storm. All bar Mark made it off Mars, due to protocol his crew were forced to leave him behind. But little did they know he was still alive and doing very well at keeping alive too. As soon as Mark realises what’s happened and he’s been left on Mars, he starts to plan how he can live the longest, and some plans on how he might have a chance of rescue. Over the course of his time on Mars you are reading his log entries he makes on a near daily basis. While this may sound a little boring, they are full of science and physics. Sometimes a little over my head but very interesting and well written.

The books goes into some great depth at points in the story as Mark has to tackle some very difficult tasks while all on his own on Mars. The depth of these points help paint a very good picture of what Mark is facing and the items he has with him, and the type of stuff an astronaut has to do.

Without giving too much away on what happens, I urge you to grab a copy and read it. It’s not a particular difficult read, while some points go into depth with science and physics, it’s still easy to follow along. You might find yourself reading along thinking I know what’s going happen next, but with a few plot twists it keeps things interesting. Who said it was easy to live on Mars?

The Martian – Available on Amazon

Remote: Office Not Required

Having read their two previous books as soon as they came out, I finally got around to picking up a copy of Jason Fried’s and David Heinemeier Hansson’s latest book: “Remote: Office Not Required“, somewhat a bit late to the party on reading this one.

I decided to pick up a copy for a few reasons; I was looking for a new read and this came to mind, also for the past few months I have begun working much closer with a team based in the U.S.

I figured if anything I could pick up a few tips on working remote, while I technically don’t work remote as I am employed by a Scottish company and do work for a client that is based in the U.S. But I thought I should be able to pick up some good advice as I am close enough to remote working in the way we do our work.

The books is a collection of short essays each one to two pages long. While they don’t tell you how you should remote work they explain things they have found work for themselves as a company with remote employees world wide. Some of the items they discuss are items you may have already read about or think are simple ideas, but all the ideas presented in the book adds up to some great information.

One thing I took form the book, is when they speak of remote working, they are not speaking of people in other countries, they call everyone a remote worker, while some employees have desks in their office they are still remote workers as they don’t have to work from the office 9 till 5. With this methodology treating everyone as remote workers even if they are all in the same city, or some office based and some remote you have to work as if everyone is remote, and employ certain methods of communication and work flows to avoid leaving people not in the office out and to ensure everyone is treated the same.

Now You See Me

Now You See Me by Pamela L. Todd

You may or may not be aware that my amazing wife has had her second book published it’s has been available to buy for a couple of months. Over the christmas break I decided I would go out of my comfort zone a pick up an eBook copy to read. This is not generally my pick of book, I am not one for fiction (I call it made up nonsense), but everywhere we were going people where commenting on my wife’s book and how good it was. So I decided that I had to pick up a copy and read it for myself. Boy was I shocked!

I say I was shocked, but not shocked in a sense that things she has written about make me embarrassed or blush. But shocked in a very good way. As I was reading through the book I kept stopping and having to pinch myself that I was reading a book that was written by my wife!

Being a person who would go out of their way to not have to read a fiction book, I was super surprised when I started reading the book and I could not put it down, I just kept telling myself, more more page and I’ll stop. That turned into half hour, then an hour. The story was very written and at points you thought you could see what was coming but quite the opposite happened, and then you think you are getting towards the end of the story, as you think not much more can happen then it changes and goes on for a few more chapters.

This being my first fiction book I have read since leaving school, and as I enjoyed it so much I am going to start considering a few more fiction books to add to my to read pile for the year.

You can buy a copy from Amazon or from the publisher TotallyBound.

Responsible Responsive Design


The day Responsible Responsive Design was released I asked my boss if he would purchase a copy. The release of the book fell perfectly, as at work we had just started to embark on a new project that would be multi-device.

“Serve the right content across platforms, and tune for performance”

The book contains a lot of great information, and while the information contained within the book might not be anything new to yourself if you are constantly keeping up to date with HTML5/CSS3 and the latest ideas/features. What this book does do is consolidate all the latest information into a very small space and shows you real life examples of how some of these techniques have been applied on huge websites that are online today. Also, it shows you how this techniques can be used within your projects today.

Rather than spilling the beans on what’s in the book, as it’s a short book, only four chapters long, I urge you all to just purchase a copy from A Book Apart. For $9 (eBook) it’s an absolute bargin, and I am sure you’ll learn something from it.

Now You See Me by Pamela L. Todd

Now You See Me by Pamela L. Todd

My wife‘s second published book is now available to purchase as an eBook via early download over at her publishers website. If you prefer to have a paper version, you are in luck as it will be available to buy in print format on 21st November 2014 at Totally Bound, and will be available via Amazon as eBook on the 21st too.

“Powerful, chilling, engaging and provocative! Now You See Me was brilliantly written and had me anxiously turning the pages all the way to the end.”

Read what others are saying about it on Good Reads.

Cabin Fever: The sizzling secrets of a Virgin air hostess…


Cabin Fever: The sizzling secrets of a Virgin air hostess… by Mandy Smith – I came across this book while I was scrolling through the biography section on the Amazon Kindle books section. I do my fair share of travelling, and quiet a few trips over the Atlantic, and was curious about this book when it came up in the list. I read the product description, and one of the quotes was:

Mandy Smith spent twelve years strutting down the aisles as one of Richard Branson’s sexy and sassy flight attendants. In Cabin Fever she tells the good, the bad and the downright naughty tales of life in the air.

Without reading much else about the book apart from the product description I decided to purchase it and give it a read. I don’t like to read reviews on a book before buying in case it puts me off. I like to start the book without having other peoples views in my mind, and based on the quote above I thought the book would be an interesting read to find out some of the things that go on in the air that are not known about.

But, this book is not quite as I expected, this book is more “Secret diary of a call girl” style rather than “tales of life in the air”, while there are some stories about things going on in the air, more of the book is about what goes on off the plane.

The book is a nice easy read and does have stories about strange thing in the air, but more aimed at the life of Mandy and what goes on after the plane has landed.

Hatching Twitter

Hatching Twitter Book CoverHatching Twitter: Nick Bilton – I would call myself a bit of a Twitter addict/nerd. I love the service, and the power of it, not everyone understands the system and to me it’s still finding it’s feet in a very tech heavy world, but it’s starting to break through and show what it’s capable of. Having a soft spot for the service made this a great book for me to read, and it did not disappoint.

This books is not about Twitter as a product, but more on how Twitter was born and the struggles along the way of the four co-founders (Noah Glass, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Ev Williams). The books is a focus on these four co-founders and goes into details of each of their part of the creation/ upbringing of Twitter as a tech start up and into a public company. The author Nick Bilton has had a great deal of access to the current and former Twitter staff, investors, and board, in order to put together such detail.

While this books reveals a lot of details you will never of heard about the early stages of Twitter, and the people involved, it may be enough for some readers to make judgement on the four co-founders, but to me it’s still missing a bit of information to make those judgements. As people say, business is very cruel, and this is a great insight in how a business conceived betweens friends can turn into a nightmare and each person thinking they are being treated unfairly. This may put some people of trying to create a business between friends.

On top of the backgrounds and the struggles between the four co-founders the books also gives you a glimpse into the world of the tech start up world (The whole “Silicon Valley” bubble), it has some very interesting parts to it, while this may not be how all start-ups are in there early stages, it could put a lot of people off trying to do a start up. While it may put some people off, it may also just cement the details of what goes on in a tech start-up in their early stages. While this is not the main focus on the book, I found it very interesting and wondered about what it was like for other tech companies that are a huge success now in their early stages. (We obviously know about Facebook form the movie “The Social Network”, but I would quite like to read more about this sort of stuff).

The Climb: The Autobiography

The Climb: The Autobiography

The Climb: The Autobiography by Chris Froome the 2013 Winner of the Tour de France gives a great insight to his back story and how he was not an over night success at winning the Tour de France. Being an avid cycling fan and having been very involved with the sport at young age, I still follow along with great interest. Some people, even myself may have wondered where did this Chris Froome come from? and how did he win podium at the Vuelta, then go on to win the 100th edition of the most famous bike race int he world!

This book gives a great and deep insight into this. Not having the most conventional upbringing that you would expect of a British person. The highs and lows of Chris being brought up in Kenya, and eventually making the switch to become a British rider and give up his roots of Kenya to be able to get the highest possible level in cycling is told in great depth, and gives insight into the struggles of what non european athletes have to contend with.

Another great insight this books gives you is the hard work that Chris has put in to get where he is, some people may think that Chris all of sudden came from nowhere to finish second in the Vuelta, then to stand on podium twice at the Tour de France, with one of being the top stop.

I recommend reading this book if you are anyway interested in cycling, or if you are unsure of the cycling scene post “Armstrong” era.