Friday, August 31, 2012

Balance of August

During the month of August, I read/watched and/or reviewed the following:

- "Xcode 4 Unleashed" by Fritz Anderson. Read my review.
- "Crater" by Homer Hickam. Read my review.

- "Natural View Anti-Glare Screen Protector for the New iPad (3rd Generation) and the iPad 2 (NVAGiPad3RTL)" by 3M. Read my review.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Book "Crater" by Homer Hickam

About the Book: A Helium-3 miner named Crater makes a treacherous journey through space to find a mysterious and priceless treasure. It's the 22nd Century and a tough, pioneering people are mining the moon to produce energy for a desperate, war torn Earth. Crater Trueblood, an orphan, loves his life in Moontown, a frontier mining settlement. Just turned sixteen, Crater is already a seasoned Helium 3 miner, hoping someday to be a foreman on the scrapes. But "the Colonel," the man who owns the mine, has a different plan for Crater which includes Maria, the Colonel's daring young granddaughter. Crater, accompanied by Maria and his gillie--a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells--must shepherd a convoy of Helium 3 trucks across a forbidding river of dust while also looking for a mysterious, historical artifact that could mean the difference between life and death for every inhabitant on the moon.

About the Author: Homer Hickam (also known as Homer H. Hickam, Jr.) has been a coal miner, Vietnam combat veteran, scuba instructor, NASA engineer, and now a best-selling author. Homer has always loved to write. In the third grade, his teacher, after reading one of his short stories, predicted he would make his living as a writer. He did a lot of other things and had a lot of other interests but writing was always his true passion. After returning from Vietnam, Homer started selling his work. At first, he mostly wrote about his scuba diving adventures for a variety of different magazines and then branched out into writing articles on history, mostly World War II but also some NASA-related work. His first book, Torpedo Junction (1989), the story of the U-boat war along the American seaboard during World War II, was a military history best-seller. It was published by the Naval Institute Press and Bantam. It is still popular and in print. In 1998, Delacorte Press published Hickam's second book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, which became an instant classic. It is often studied in schools and picked as a community or library read of the year. It has been translated into a dozen languages, most recently Vietnamese and Chinese. In February, 1999, Universal Studios released its critically-acclaimed film October Sky, based on Rocket Boys. When speaking to groups, Homer often apologizes to the young women in the audience for not actually being Jake Gyllenhaal (Jake played him in the movie). Jake Gyllenhaal, when speaking to groups, often apologizes to adult women for not being Homer Hickam. They're actually good friends. In 2011, Rocket Boys the Musical continued development on its march to Broadway ( Homer is co-writer of the musical. Homer's first fiction novel was Back to the Moon (1999) which has proved enduringly popular for more than a decade. There are three more books in the "Coalwood" series after Rocket Boys (aka October Sky). They are The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone, and We Are Not Afraid. Homer also has a series of popular novels about Josh Thurlow, a Coast Guard officer during World War II. The series began with The Keeper's Son (2003), followed by The Ambassador's Son and The Far Reaches. In 2008, his novel Red Helmet, a romantic love story set in a West Virginia coal town, was published. My Dream of Stars, the memoir of Anousheh Ansari, was published in March, 2010. The Dinosaur Hunter, a mystery/western novel set in the ranch lands of Montana and reflecting Homer's love of both Montana and paleontology, was published in Nov. 2010. His  novel, titled Crater, is set on the moon 120 years in the future and was published April, 2012. It is the first in a planned trilogy known as the Helium-3 series. Mr. Hickam continues to love the sea. He scuba dives and snorkels in the world's oceans. A new avocation is amateur paleontology. He has discovered two of the approximately forty T.rexes ever found. Mr. Hickam is married to Linda Terry Hickam, an artist and his first editor and assistant. They love their cats and share their time between homes in Alabama and the Virgin Islands.

My Review: This is quite an interesting reading. The initial idea is great, a colony of humans on the moon mining the energy source (Helium-3) for an earth that is completely devastated by wars and depleted of all its natural resources. The plot is simple: Crater is a young orphan that just turned sixteen. His best friend (Petro) is a boy of his age that should be a royalty, if earth had continued its normal path. Maria is the granddaughter of the "Colonel", the owner of the mines they work on. She caught the attention of both boys and here we have our love triangle. Crater is a very kindhearted and naive boy, and after saving the life of a miner and avoiding a major accident in the mine, he was asked by the Colonel to participate in a mission with his granddaughter Maria, working as scout of a convoy carrying Helium-3 across the moon to be shipped to earth and also retrieve a mysterious package that two other persons had already lost their lives trying to retrieve it. Petro manages to be part of this convoy, as a driver of one of the trucks.
This is a full action book, magnificently written and I recommend this book to any science-fiction lover who wants to spend some hours entertained by a nice reading. It took me around 11 hours to read the whole story.

This book was written by Homer Hickam and published by Thomas Nelson in April 2012 and was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book "Xcode 4 Unleashed" by Fritz Anderson

About the Book: In Xcode 4 Unleashed, renowned Mac/iOS developer Fritz Anderson shows how to use Apple’s powerful new Xcode 4 integrated development environment to develop outstanding software with the least effort possible.
 Anderson demonstrates Xcode 4 by walking through the construction of three full applications: a command-line tool, an iOS app, and a Mac OS X application. These case-study projects offer practical insights and realistic best practices for efficiently utilizing Xcode 4 in day-to-day development.
Next, he drills down to offer an even deeper understanding of Xcode 4’s most powerful capabilities. Through practical examples, he shows experienced Apple developers how to move to Xcode 4’s “browser” model from older document-based approaches. You’ll also find thorough, up-to-the-minute coverage of key tasks ranging from builds and profiling to documentation.
He concludes with a chapter-length roundup of “tips, traps, and features” for maximizing your productivity with Xcode 4—whether you’re writing iOS apps or Mac applications, working solo, or as part of a large development team.
Detailed information on how to…

  • Get started fast with Xcode 4 project workflow.
  • Master Xcode 4’s new features and development paradigms.
  • Construct modern iOS and Mac user interfaces with Interface Builder.
  • Implement Model-View-Controller designs in iOS apps.
  • Use Storyboard to specify an iOS app’s entire structure in one file.
  • Leverage Xcode’s first-class unit testing and measurement tools.
  • Master the essentials of iOS provisioning.
  • Use Mac OS X bindings to simplify the link between data and screen.
  • Quickly localize Mac and iOS software for new languages and markets.
  • Package and share subprograms that can be integrated into any OS X application.
  • Use the Xcode Build System to move from source files to executable products.
  • Fully understand and optimize performance and resource usage.

About the Author: Fritz F. Anderson has been writing software, books, and articles for Apple platforms since 1984. He has worked for research and development firms, consulting practices, and freelance. He was admitted to the Indiana bar, but thought better of it. He is now an iOS and Mac programmer for the Scholarly Technology department at the University of Chicago. He has two daughters.

My Review: This is a book written by someone who knows what he is talking about. The author provides in 28 chapters divided in 4 sections (plus appendixes) a lot of information on how to master Xcode 4.
Although some of his code is not complete, the purpose of the book was to make you get familiar with the development tool. Mission accomplished!
You can download all examples and source code presented in this book on-line.
I recommend this book to all developers who want to get up to speed into Xcode4, even the ones who already used Xcode3.

This book was written by Fritz F. Anderson and published by Pearson Education, Inc in May 2012 and was kind enough to provide this book for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Product "3M Natural View Anti-Glare Screen Protector for the New iPad (3rd Generation) and the iPad 2 (NVAGiPad3RTL)" by 3M

About the Product:

  • Fits the New iPad (3rd Generation) and iPad 2. 
  • Reduces glare, even in bright sunlight. 
  • Highly durable, protects your screen from scratches and damage. 
  • Fingerprint and scratch resistant. 
  • Easy to apply, dry application -- online instructions and tips available. 
  • Made in the U.S.A. 
  • Seamless touch screen functionality. 
  • Smooth touch, easy-glide surface, and works with a stylus.

My Review:
This is a very convenient product if you use your iPad outdoors. I use my iPad a lot with a softball application to log all plays from my daughter's games, so must of the action happens in sunny days.
But the deal is the following: It really reduces glare if you are outside, but I just wish I could take it out when going inside. That would be perfect. As the surface for application of the film is large, you can count on a hard time to take out bubbles, if you do not want to damage the finishing of your iPad. After it is installed, it really protects the screen from scratches. Overall, a nice product that does what it advertises it should do. It takes the glare off. was kind enough to provide this product for me through their Vine Program for reviewing and I was not request to provide a positive review. Opinions expressed here are my own.

 If you read this review, fell free to leave a comment!