Reading Update

Back in December, I blogged the books I was planning to read in January and February. Here are the quick summaries:
  • Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages: too much "gosh wow" for me (and also too much shaky science).
  • The Online Learning Idea Book: to paraphrase, what was new wasn't interesting, what was interesting wasn't new.
  • Patterns for Fault-Tolerant Software: nice set of patterns; pity there weren't examples to bring them to life for those of us who don't have the author's first-hand experience of real-time problems and their solutions.
  • Practical API Design: still working on it---started with some philosophy (never a good sign), but by Chapter 3 gets into meatier stuff.
  • e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: on pg 42, the authors say, "Shavelson and Towne eloquently [my emphasis] summarize the argument for evidence-based practice in education: 'One cannot expect reform efforts in education to have significant effects without research-based knowledge to guide them.'" By comparison with the rest of the book, that is eloquent: there might be good ideas lurking in its turgid Brezhnevian prose, but I gave up before finding them.
  • Workflows for e-Science: like most collections, hit and miss---there are a few thought-provoking articles, but most spend their time repeating things readers will already know, or describing successes without any reflection on failures.
I also read: Thankfully, there are lots of interesting books coming out in the next few months. I'll be lucky if I get to read any three of them, of course, but I can always dream: (Ironically, I now have to be much more careful which technical books I gamble on: since I'm no longer DDJ's book review editor, and don't have any research money to spend on books, I have to buy them myself. How barbaric... :-)
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