A Month with Mango (Windows Phone 7.5)

Nokia Lumia 800In an effort to keep my mind open to changing technologies and avoid drinking the Mac Fanboy kool-aid, I have spent the last month using a Nokia Lumia 800 as my primary smartphone. It has been an eye-opening experience and I will say at the outset I am not yet ready to switch back to my iPhone 4S.

(20 June 2012) I was disheartened to learn that Nokia decided to orphan my phone a couple days after writing this. I feel quite shortchanged to be honest and this stems from complicity between Microsoft and Nokia. As the following discussion shows I was very impressed by Mango 7.5 but found that there are some shortcomings. When I purchased this phone I deliberately acquired what was the best WP7.5 phone available. Little did I know its days were already numbered and with the announcement of WP8, existing Lumia’s will not have an upgrade path. I have never participated in such an intentionally orphaned platform before and feel shortchanged for having made a commitment to give WP a chance. Apparently Nokia was aware on shipping that future version soy the OS would not be supportable on its shipping hardware. They are selling hardware today that will not run the current software in a few short months. As a consumer – shame on Nokia. I gave them a chance but honestly feel that they have not done the same for me. Nokia got my €450, but it is the last they will get from me.

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The Day Yeltsin Bested Gorbachev

Screen Shot 2012-01-18 at 09.42.02.pngConor O’Clery’s Moscow 25 December 1991 follows a notably growing trend for picking a pivot point in history and revolving round it to find a popular audience (witness 1066, 1421, 1434, 1491, 1492 etc. All good books by and large but adopting a very similar tact). The date provides a recognizable focus and then the space is open for provide the background and the aftermath in a popular fashion. O’Clery breaks the mold though in a most engaging fashion with the book. Continue reading

Keeping Score: Project Management for the Pros by Frank Ryle

fr_PMP.jpgHere’s a bit of a diversion from recent reviews. Keeping Score: Project Management for the Pros by Frank Ryle is a lively, yet deceptively prescient look at adapting a variety of management styles to the PM process. Using a narrative centered on golf – both because it offers a shared passion to the project managers and also as superb metaphor for exploration of the PM process – Ryle delivers an engaging exploration of current thinking in project management. The short book explores a variety of ways of seeing the processes, techniques and approaches to PM (and I use these terms some trepidation as their precise meanings are an important aspect to this topic). Continue reading

Big Data Glossary by Pete Warden

bigData.gifThe *Big* Data Glossary is actually a relatively *short* book, best enjoyed as an eBook in my estimation. This volume is similar to a number of recent releases from O’Reilly that have moved from being deep and comprehensive to providing a higher-level taste-test overview from a more conceptual standpoint. In this instance, the Big Data Glossary by Pete Warden could also be described as an annotated bibliography of the variety of tools and platforms recently emerged to work with linked data or large and rich datasets.

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Designing Data Visulisations by Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky

dataVis.gifInsightful, substantive and a must read for anyone working with data visualisation as consumer or designer. Julie Steele andNoah Iliisky’s new volume – Designing Data Visualisations – from O’Reilly succeeds in applying a long overdue and well crafted taxonomic process to the art of Data Vis. Building on their previous volume – Beautiful Visualisations – the authors take to the underpinnings of the pretty pictures and case studies presented in their edited volume. This shorter work would form a superb basis for an introduction to Data Vis course. Continue reading

Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfeld et al

revolution.gifIconic and authentic. I remember being mildly amused by the first incarnation of Andy Hertzfeld’s collection of anecdotes when it was first published. Revolution in the Valley was an intriguing and engaging set of reminiscences by many of those involved in making the Macintosh a reality collected from folklore.org. Newly re-released in 2011 here I find myself re-reading the stories and enjoying them even more.

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Quick Guide to Flash Catalyst

catalyst.gifBefore I jump into the book I thought I would quickly note what my expectations are so that these are clear in the evaluation. Flash Catalyst is a high-level web development tool that allows for creation of flash-based web pages directly from Photoshop or Illustrator. Although these can be deployed to production environments from what I understand and perceive these are more useful as prototypes for user testing prior to actual production and deployment using more standards-compliant tools. So, here’s a quick guide and I judge from the end matter I will gain a quick understanding of how the tool is positioned as well as some rapid hands-on exercises to gain appreciation of its capabilities. That’s just what I am looking for. So let’s dive in. Continue reading

Anglo Republic by Simon Carswell

s.pngI wouldn’t typically review my more general reading material here, but Anglo Republic: Inside the Bank that Broke Ireland by Simon Carswell warranted an exception. A thoroughly satisfying and compelling read, Carswell documents the rise and fall of the bank demonised by the Irish media in a superb fashion. Eagerly anticipated, the volume brings together many of the tantalisingly shocking stories surrounding the high-flying executives of Anglo Irish and weaves them together with technical explanations and thorough research into an eminently readable and ultimately fulfilling expose of the big decisions and the the mindsets that led to the downfall of the institution.

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Getting Started with GEO, CouchDB and Node.js by Mick Thompson

geo couchdb.gif Why? Unfortunately I quickly come to this question and don’t get an answer when reading Getting Started with Geo, CouchDB and Node.js. The brief summary and end piece of the book enticed me. The premise appeared to be: today’s technology tells us where we are, so how can we best work with this locational data? Good premise. Anticipating that this might be a deeper than I would typically attempt to go programmatically, the idea of putting together a useful application as an exercise appealed to me.

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Mastering the Nikon D7000 by Darrell Young

D700 Manual.gif Wow! This is the manual that should come with the camera. If you, like me, come away from the stock manual disappointed, frustrated, or just feeling that it simply leaves out all the practical ‘why’ type information…get this book. Coming on the heels of Young’s previous Mastering a variety of other Nikon DSLR’s this latest iteration is simply superb. Mastering the Nikon D7000 by Darrell Young goes deep on every single feature, switch, dial, bell, whistle and possibility that this camera offers the novice or advanced digital photographer.

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