Just one geek's opinions and epiphanies

Greenworks 20 Inch Reel Mower; how I spent the first 20 minutes of my evening

Let's play a little game of catch up for those just joining, or not in my little circle of people I actually talk to. I live in Daybreak, a great community in South Jordan, Utah. Daybreak is known for it's amazing master plan including a lake, parks and trails, and much more. It is also known locally for having notoriously small yards, if any at all. My house is the epitome of that, having a yard that is about 200sq.ft. total. I didn't want to waste a lot of time mowing grass each week, instead I wanted to get out and live it up on the lake, or poolside. Under 200 sq.ft. of grass is perfect.

I looked into having a lawn service, and they were just too expensive for such a small yard. Plan B was a mower. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on maintenance or gas and oil for a conventional mower, so I opted for a push (or reel) mower. A quick search on Amazon.com found a great deal on a Greenworks 20 inch Reel Mower. Snagged it up with Amazon Prime (so shipping was cheap).

It arrived yesterday, and I put it together today. Assembly probably took 20 minutes, simple assembling of the handle and then snapping it into place on the mower. The mower also comes with the grass catcher, so I had to put that on too, but it just hooks right on.

2 minutes later, my lawn was mowed (I am not kidding, less than 2 minutes to be honest). The reel mower was smooth, and whistled along as I went. It was amazing to think I was cutting grass for the first time in my 31 years without gas or oil in the mix. Me, nature, and the reel mower. It was blissful. When I was done I detached the catcher, and dumped the grass in my garbage can (I will probably get a compost turner soon).

Overall the Greenworks mower was perfect! I had a slight hiccup when the wheels jammed, still not sure why, but all seems to be ok now. With a 4 year warranty I am not really worried about the mower locking up just a little.

The only real complaint I have is that the grass catcher wasn't as effective as I would have liked, I bet it caught 50% of the grass I cut. Still it was a great experience and I would recommend the Greenworks 20" Reel Mower to anyone.

Review: Making it Big is Software

I'd like to first thank the team at InformIT for making books like Making it Big in Software. I love these titles!

Making it Big in Software is a great read, it is something I think that every software developer would have loved to have had when they were breaking into the software world. I know I would have loved to have had it.

Sam Lightstone has put together what could easily be called the blueprint to a successful career in software. He covers college, post-college pre-career, interviewing, resumes, fitting into the work environment, salary discussions, and more, much more.

The book is broken into three parts each covering an aspect of the flow of becoming big player in software, or at least a medium sized player in software.

The book is spattered with great interviews with some of the greatest minds of our time, including:

  • Marissa Mayer, Google VP, Search Products and User Experience
  • Linus Torvalds, Creator, Linux operating system kernel
  • Steve Wozniak, Inventor, Apple computer
  • John Schwarz, CEO, Business Objects
  • James Gosling, Inventor, Java programming language
  • Bjarne Stroustrup, Inventor, C++ programming language

Sam keeps the tone of the book very light, and I found it quite entertaining.

The chapters are broken into sections and each section is only a page or two long, which makes this a great short reader.

I have praised the writers of interview books before, and I will do it again, I think you can learn a lot from the old dogs (and some new dogs). I think that hearing the war stories and the victories and defeats are important in knowing where you are going, and where you are coming from. I love books like this one.

So again thanks to the team at InformIT and Sam Lightsone for taking the time to write Making it Big in Software.

Coming Soon...

It seems it's been a while since we have posted any reviews, so I thought I would make mention of some reviews we have coming soon.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="140" caption="The Essential Guide to Flash CS4 AIR Development"]The Essential Guide to Flash CS4 AIR Development[/caption]

TagGerr is reading The Essential Guide to Flash CS4 AIR Development. This book not only covers the essentials of using Flash with AIR (and AIR with Flash), but also shows you how to extend application functionality in new ways. once you've got Flash on the desktop, you're no longer constrained by the limitations of running inside a web browser. You'll have access to the local desktop file system, and AIR adds SQLite functionality for native database support. And just as Flash animations have a consistent look and feel across browsers, AIR allows you to create applications that work consistently across operating systems—Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="140" caption="Flex 3"]Flex 3[/caption]

Monnok is reading Flex 3, A Beginner's Guide is an easy-to-follow, fast-paced tutorial that allows you to fully grasp the fundamentals, including MXML, ActionScript, Flex Builder, states, transitions, and behaviors. You'll learn how to customize your applications with styles, skins, and themes; access remote data using the XML HTTP Service Request; profile and debug your applications; and manage media assets.

Finally Utahcon is polishing up a review on Flexible Web Design: Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts with CSS, currently reading for review the Absolute Beginner's Guide to Project Management.

Past those four reviews we have a lot of books we are cranking through, so we can make sure you know what books are more important in this ever changing field of IT, programming, and all things technology.

Weekend Report

Things have been mighty quiet here. I have been working on getting setup with more publishers so I can read and  review more books on Open Source and Programming with you. I have also been working with friends to establish some partnerships to hopefully get a chance to write reviews for video games as well. All in all things are moving quite nicely on all fronts.

This weekend looks to be packed with a lot of fun. Tonight I am attending a party to get some free software, probably nothing OS, but hey free is free. The company hosting the party is also giving us free tickets to the Jazz game, I don't much care for basketball, but again free is free.

Gears of War 2 released today, so I will of course be getting knee deep in some Locust blood, can't wait to chainsaw in an upward fashion. You can find me on Xbox Live as "ut dragon", I hope to be changing that soon.

Finally I have a slew of books that should be hitting the PO Box this weekend. I know for sure I am getting RESTful PHP (Packt Publishing), I should also be getting Ubuntu Kung Fu (O'reilly), as well as Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship(InformIT), and PHP 6:  A Beginner's Guide (McGraw-Hill). This will make for some great reading and growth in the peronsal category.