Tempted by the new Kindle?

I am back on the should I buy a Kindle train of thought. Todays announcements are certainly interesting, I am not talking so much about the new Kindle Fire, but the new entry level version and the Touch. For me the tempting feature is still the E-Ink and battery life.

The point is I have got used to reading on my phone, a Kindle might be easier on the eye, but it is more kit to carry, and I just don’t think I want to carry any more things.

The slow slide to a paperless life

I posted in the past about my though processes on getting a Kindle, they boiled down to to

  1. Why do the books cost virtually as much as paper edition when the author gets no more royalties and the production/distribution costs as far lower?
  2. I don’t want an extra device to carry about

Well I have been using the WP7 Kindle Client to read free classics and actually buying current novels. When I finished my first purchased novel, it was virtually automatic to go and buy another. No going to the bookshop or waiting for Amazon to deliver.

The reading experience, even on my LG phone was fine. I actually found I was reading more, as my phone is always with me (the novel would have been a bit bulky at 800+ pages).

So I think I am a convert to the format, but I did not really doubt that. It is now whether to get a Kindle itself to make the experience even better. Maybe as the read a home device, but keeping my phone for the quick read at the railway station.

Professional Foundation Server 2010

Over the holiday I have been reading Professional Foundation Server 2010 by Ed Blankenship, Martin Woodward, Grant Holiday and Brian Keller, yes I know how to have time off and have fun!

So who is this book for? It is a comprehensive guide to TFS 2010, the components and their usage, but this does not mean the book is only for teams new to TFS or people planning to take certification exams. Spread throughout there are useful little titbits of information where you find yourself going ‘I never know that’ or ‘arr.. that explains so much

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So I would suggest it is well worth a look for anyone who is working, or planning to work, with TFS.

It is even available as Kindle edition, how times change, used to be only novels for the Kindle!

Kindle on the Phone 7

I asked the question a while ago if I should buy a Kindle? I still think that new books are too expensive, but as there are loads of out of copyright books available for the platform so I did not hesitate to download the Windows Phone 7 Kindle app today. You never know when you need something to read and what could be better to dip into than a bit of Sherlock Holmes?

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Ok the experience on a phone is never going to be a good as on the Kindle hardware, but first impressions are good. It is nice and clear to read, much like the experience on the older Microsoft Reader on my old Windows Mobile 6.x, but with far easier navigation.

I am sure it will help we pass time when waiting at airports, train stations etc.

Should I buy a Kindle?

I have always read a lot of novels, and I like to have a book with me for those unexpected moments when I get a chance to read. Of late this has meant I use the Microsoft Reader on my phone. It is not too bad an experience, using Project Gutenberg I can get a book (fiddle a bit in Word) and export to the Reader format. However I would like a slicker experience and be able to read new releases, so the Kindle seems just the job.

As a device it seems perfect, about the size and weight of a paperback, excellent battery life (as power is only used to turn/display the page, not to view pages), excellent in natural light and now the price has dropped to the point that if you did lose it you are pissed off, but not bankrupt. Oh and dropping in the bath, though it might ruin the device will not electrocute you!

My problem is the price of new books, take William Gibson’s Zero History as an example. On Amazon this is £12.29 in hardback but £9.99 for the Kindle edition. So from this we assume the production costs, shipping warehousing etc for the physical copy total £2.30, seems a bit low to me! How is the £9.99 justified, there will be the writer’s royalty, the file production costs and the marketing and other publishing overheads but £9.99 seems steep, especially give the royalty rate that I know friends who are writers gets for their novels. Someone is making a tidy profit, and it is not the writer.

If we look at one of Gibson’s older books, Spook Country, now in Paperpack for £2.99 we see the Kindle price is £2.84. So it seems the Kindle price is set at (very roughly) 10% below the lowest physical edition cost.

So I am being asked to buy a eBook at almost the same cost as I can get a paper copy, when the publisher/supplier chain do not have to make the physical copy or ship it. I get the convenience that I can carry around 3500 books at a time, but I can only read one! Also I cannot lend a book to a friend, thus I admit reducing the potential royalties of a writer, but also removing any viral marketing opportunities.

So should I buy a Kindle? At this price for the eBooks I think not. I will stick to buying my new books on paper and keep a selection of out of copyright classics on my phone. I will wait until the publishing industry reviews it sales model for these editions, maybe increasing the writers royalties to reflect that it is their efforts that are being purchased not examples of the book binders art!.

New book on Refactoring with Visual Studio 2010 from Packt Publishing

Recently Packt Publishing sent me a copy of ‘Refactoring with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010’ by Peter Ritchie, I have to say I have rather impressed by it.

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My only major issue with it is that of the title, this book covers much more than the refactoring features of 2010. It provides a very clear example driven discussion of the use and application of both refactoring patterns and design patterns. I think this would be an excellent book for a developer who want to start to apply design patterns to their C# code. The examples being more real world than Head First’s ‘Design Patterns’ (and the examples are in C# as opposed to Java) and the book being a far easier read than the classic ‘Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software’

It is telling how much the book contents differs from the title that one of the most common sentences seems to be ‘that this is a not a build in automated refactoring in Visual Studio 2010’. Even though this appears fairly regularly the author goes onto explain how this limitation can be addressed in nice practical ways, interesting choosing to not mention third party refactoring tools until virtual the last page of the book.

Basically this book discuses theory in a nice accessible manner. It is not a simple ‘click here to do this’ tooling reference, don’t let the title fool you. It is well worth the read, you can see a sample ‘Chapter No 6 "Improving Class Quality’ online at Packt

Great book on Kanban

I won’t bother to repeat what Gojko has said on David J, Anderson’s book on Kanban, other than to say I agree wholeheartedly.

I too have been looking for a good introduction book on Kanban as applied to software development (so Kanban as opposed to kanban, not the capital K). This is exactly what with book does. OK I know that this information is out there on the web (http://www.limitedwipsociety.org/); but there times, especially for introducing potentially non technical people to development methodologies, where you want to point people at an easily accessible introduction they can dip into. This is that book, have a look it is worth it

Looking for a good overview of Visual Studio 2010 and ALM?

Visual Studio 2010 provides many new features to aid Application Lifecycle Management. Learning its capabilities can be a bit daunting, especially if you are new to Team Foundation Server.

So enter the new book ‘Professional Application Lifecycle Management with Visual Studio 2010: with Team Foundation Server 2010’ by Mickey Gousset, Brian Keller, Ajoy Krishnamoorthy and Martin Woodward. This provides a great overview of all the the key features of Visual Studio and TFS 2010, presented with a view as to how TFS gives an end to end delivery of an ALM process.

Don’t go expecting this book will tell you everything about TFS, even at 600 pages it cannot be that detailed, it is a huge product, you think SharePoint is big, well it is just a subset of TFS! To address this potential problem the book contains many links of to relevant sources both on MSDN and blogs to fill in the extra detail you are bound to need concerning TFS and general development processes. Think of it as a “get you started” book, or a “what’s new in this release”, not a day to day administrators guide.

My one complaint, and it is very minor, is that it does read a bit like a collection articles as opposed to a single book. However, given it has four authors and the scope of the subject it covers this is forgivable.

So if you are are considering TFS 2010, whether as a developer, a sys-admin or manager this book will give you a good introduction into that you can achieve in your ALM process. Well worth a read.

 

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