Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

LEGO Technic Idea Books


As we grow up and get more mature some things become taboo and thought childish if to be partaken in as an adult, LEGO building being one of these activities. Let's be honest, every time you see a pile of LEGOs all you can really think about is digging in and seeing what you can build in the time available. Maybe a car, maybe a house, maybe the final battle of Mordor from Lord of the Rings? But alas, this is taboo.

In the fight against adulthood No Starch Press has come forward with a beacon of hope, a shining sword thrown directly into the heart of the beast that is adulthood, and sent it running, that sword? LEGO Technic Idea Books. A three part series that simply shows you more about LEGOs than you really ever thought about.

The three books are Simple Machines, Wheeled Wonders, and Fantastic Contraptions. They focus heavily on the Technic line of LEGOs but a lot of the stuff in all three books can be done without any Technics pieces at all.

Written by 42 year LEGO building veteran Yoshihito Isogawa, known for computer manuals he wrote while at Tokyo University of Science, and two time grand prize winner of Japan Manual Contest held by the Japan Technical Communicators Association.

If you are looking for long words, this is not a set of books for you. Comprised of hundreds of full color photos of LEGO pieces and how they fit together, and their purpose there is hardly a word past the intro of the books. This is pleasant as it means even your kids (yeah, they play with LEGOs too) can pick up the books and flip through them and learn a thing of two.

I was particularly impressed with the note to parents explaining that playing with LEGOs and praising the works of your children can be a strong relationship, and educational tool. I think it is great that they remembered that geeks have kids too!

I personally will find hours of enjoyment and success thanks to these books from No Starch Press, and I hope you will pick these up too and learn with me.

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Glyde.com: Book Sale


So a while back I found a cool little site called Glyde, and their About Us page really sums up what they are all about:

Glyde.com is a new marketplace that combines the great deals of a person-to-person online marketplace with the ease, simplicity, and safety of a retail store.

So I think the best thing about Glyde is they already know 95% of the details for anything you want to sell on their site, and they make doing business super easy.

Start a Sale

Getting started is easy, simply sign up (free), and start listing products. You can sell DVDs, CDs, Games (console) and Books. Listing is as easy as typing in the title of the product, or ISBN (or other unique identifier). They will load your store with all the images and descriptions you need.

Price to High?

One thing I find particularly handy about Glyde (beside their very easy to use interface) is the notifications that my products are not within market price. Let's say I list a book for $25 (market value) and two weeks go by and no one buys. As time goes by books lose value and so prices in the market adjust. Glyde doesn't auto adjust your price, but they do tell you what the system considers fair market value and you can decide to accept that and change your price, or ignore it and try to sell your book for more.

Shipping Sucks

Now let's admit that we all hate having to deal with shipping details and figuring out pricing for books etc. Well Glyde makes this easy too! When you sell an item on Glyde they handle the shipping. What they do is mail you an envelope ( or other mail package ) which you put your item into and drop in the mail. That's it! Your item you sold is then sent to the purchaser and all is grand.

Glyde Fees

So how much is this awesome service? Well cheaper than some, and more than others. Glyde takes 10% of the sale (not bad), plus the cost of the shipping materials. The listings are always free.

Go Glyde!

Glyde is really a great way to look at purchasing new media, and I hope to see good things from them in the future.

Head on over to Glyde now for the Utahcon.com Book Sale!

Python Web Development with Django


[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Python Web Development with Django"]Python Web Development with Django[/caption]

Frameworks and patterns are really becoming strong fixtures of the web development community. They are giving developers the ability to do more and do it faster. Django is a great example of a framework that is enabling developers to developer faster. I just a few lines of code you can create a blog (Chapter 2), a photo gallery (Chapter 7) or a content management system (Chapter 8). Where Django is a quick way to learn Python and create great applications, Python Web Development with Django (the book) is a great way to learn Django.

The first chapter is a great quickie on what Python is and about the parts of Python. It's a quick explanation of variables, tuples, lists, and more. The subsequent chapters walk you through all the inner workings of Django.

Jeff Forcier, Paul Bissex, and Wesley Chun really give you a great book, and plenty of great examples of what Django can do. In detail you are shown, explained what each part of Django you are working with is for, and the secrets to it's inner part. Often you are given options and directions on how to expand and change your application.

Probably the sweetest parts of this book is the appendix on Google App Engine. GAE allows the use of Django, and this appendix explains what it takes to add that to the mix so your app can move seamlessly into the cloud with Google App Engine.

The book is published by Addison Wesley in their Developer's Library. Check it out here or at Amazon.com