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GeekNights Monday - Tech Books

Tonight on GeekNights, we talk about tech books. As in, the ones with animals on the cover. As a reference or as a teaching aid, they're not entirely obsolete. In other news, Netflix releases its Meridian test/reference footage under the Creative Commons, the Apple II gets an update, and some good camera stuff was announced at Photokina 2016! We also streamed the production of this episode live for some reason.

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  • The episode we already did on typing, which is why we didn't do THIS episode on typing.
  • I haven't listened to the episode yet but generally the ones I find the most handy are the ones where someone basically wrote the documentation for some open source tech. I had to do some stuff with Lucene once and the book someone wrote for that library was basically essential.
  • You could make your Lootcrate a Patreon perk.
  • You could make your Lootcrate a Patreon perk.

  • Coldguy said:

    You could make Inflatable fucking crowns a Patreon perk.

  • I like a good tech book for all of the reasons listed in this show, but also another: forced self control. Sometimes sitting at the computer is just too distracting if you are not fully committed to learning something new. Have to do a little forced disconnect.
  • While I used a lot of tech books back in the day to learn languages, the ones I read nowadays are strictly in the vein of best practices and doing things correctly, since online searching only goes so far in those areas. Code Complete, as Scott mentioned, is definitely a good one. Recently I've been using the Effective C++ books a lot now that I've moved back into that world, plus other books about test methodologies.
  • I forgot to mention that a Safari books subscription is a great thing for an employer to offer. I get a monthly dose of credits for that website, and, I make sure to spend them every time, even if I don't need anything for work. Build up quite an eBook library doing that.
  • Best use of tech books in 2016:
  • One of those isn't a tech book, I recognize Burning Wheel gold just from its unique colour scheme and accent.
  • There is no Burning Wheel Gold under that monitor.
  • But did NYC cycling increase by 25% in the last fiscal year?
  • Parsed more closely, there were 1,056 ambulance crashes in FY 2016—almost three per day on average—up from 806 last year. There were 2,625 crashes involving sanitation trucks in FY 2016—about seven per day—comparable to last year's 2,616.

    And people are afraid of terrorists? 3 ambulance crashes per DAY.
  • edited September 2016
    Can we get a list of books mentioned up in here?
    Post edited by Pegu on
  • I had an old GoPro that needed a case to be waterproof. It was a pain to use, and also the case would steam up if I left it sealed up and running.

    This year I bought a GoPro Session that has no screen but also doesn't need a case. It is teh awesome.

    My only problem so far is that I made a timelapse of us driving in Iceland, similar to one I made of us driving across the Serengeti with my Hero 2. Turns out the quality of both video and photos is soooo much higher that the file sizes are much bigger... and my laptop really struggled to deal with 11,000 photos in Final Cut Pro X all at once.

    I already knew my laptop isn't good enough to do real-time cutting of four streams of 1080p 60fps video. Now I have another reason to upgrade my laptop as soon as new MacBook Pros come out. IF THEY EVER FUCKING WILL.
  • edited September 2016
    My dad and uncle used to have a few of those old For Dummies books from back in the 90s. They were mainly the Windows 95-era books that were relevant for their day. I didn't seriously read them, though. I mostly just skimmed them for the cartoons.

    I didn't start getting into more serious computing until I got into college, where we'd made the jump to Windows XP by that point. I was required to take a couple of Computing For Babies classes first (MSPaint, HTML, crap like that). After I got past that, I got to use Adobe CS3 and learn ActionScript. It was pretty sweet using such cool programs in the computer lab for the first time. I also took a video editing course and learned how to use Final Cut Pro 5. I still have those books to this day.
    Post edited by Daikun on
  • edited September 2016
    My thoughts on learning something like photoshop is you just need to learn how the tools work so you do baby tutorials. Then once you learn that you do the tutorials that show you exactly how to make something specific even if they show you all the values. The point is that you start to see how it all comes together.

    When they give you those specific values I always used to tweak them to see what types of effects you'd get. Once you start learning those type of things you either need to do independent research on what that functionality does or get a general gist of what it does to achieve your goal. I equate it to reading others code. You learn about all these tools and at a point you need to start getting creative with what you know about them. Not everyone is going to do it the same way but they may get the same effect. There's a point where your artistic side has to take over. And you can't really teach someone to be creative in that way.

    When I took a class on 3D animation our first assignment was to make a bunch of very specific scenes which just show you where the lighting tool is or how to make a character out of elementary shapes. Within a month or so we were expected to make our own animation. I didn't fully understand how everything worked exactly but I knew enough to get my vision realized.

    I actually found the end of that class to be really interesting. A couple students came up with these really lame stories that were barely stories and were mostly just showing off their abilities to make good models. There was this Asian kid who did some impressive work from the modeling and lighting side but trying to figure out what he was trying to convey was impossible. It was basically a tech demo. Me and my girlfriend actually had a coherent story end to end and yeah our characters were pretty basic but they worked well for what we were doing. We got a lot of compliments from others that thought we had by far the best animation.

    For the record our animation was about sentient food items in a fridge who were fearing "judgment day", the day when all the expired food items get thrown out. It focused on a jar of mayonnaise that was attempting to break out and teamed up with this evil rotten apple to escape.
    Post edited by MATATAT on
  • I have that Doom mod book somewhere. I can't remember if it was a for-dummies or a different one but I know it came with a CD with a bunch of WAD's on it and there were a Christmas level and some other weird ones.
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