This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.



December 2008

Curmudgeon’s Corner: Swindle and Fraud

Sam and Ivan talk about:

  • Bush Shoes
  • Witness Ivan
  • Spots Wanted
  • Madoff and Company
  • The Two ‘Flations
  • Blago
  • The Corruption Line
  • CNN Sucks (Again)
  • Summer Whitehouses
  • Biden’s Role

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Kindle Ratio for 17 Dec 2008 – 35%

I’ve decided that while I am very tempted by the Kindle, and Brandy loves hers and swears by it now, that I do not want one quite yet. But I have determined what my threshold will be, and when I will want one (and most likely get one soon thereafter). After I finish each book, I’ll look at the last 20 books I have read and if more than 50% of them are available on Kindle, then I’ll officially start wanting one. This will be affected by two things of course, if new books I read are available on Kindle, and if the earlier books that were not available on Kindle originally have become available.

At the moment, 7 of the last 20 books I have read are available on Kindle, making for a Kindle ratio of 35%. We’re not quite there yet.

Once we are though, I’ll jump all over that. And I imagine after that point, reading an old fashioned physical book would immediately become a rarity, to be done only when there is something I either must read, or really really want to for some random reason, that is not available on Kindle. But I know now, that once I’m mostly on Kindle, I’ll be pissed off every time there is a book I want to read that is not on Kindle.

Book: Java: The Complete Reference, Seventh Edition

Author: Herbert Schildt
Started: 24 Feb 2008
Finished: 30 Nov 2008
1024 p / 281 d
4 p/d

So, this was one of these “I really should read this to improve my knowledge of things relevant to my job” books. I must say, I did an awful job of it. At least in terms of keeping up a decent speed going through the book. Rounded to the nearest whole number, I averaged 4 pages a day. (Really, it was more like 3.6 pages a day.) Sad. It is somewhat typical for when I read books of this type, but of course if I really prioritized it, I would spend more time. The pattern here was to read a few sections one day, then put the book down and not pick it up again for a month. And of course, the way I manage my reading, that blocked any other book reading in the meantime.

I wish I could use the excuse that it was slower because, I didn’t just read, but instead I went through all the examples, tried them on my own computer, made sure I understood exactly what each line of code was doing and why, and that I internalized the syntax and such. I did do that for the first chapter or two… basically the “Hello World” sort of stuff, but after that I rapidly transitioned into a mode of reading for the concepts and for getting a general sense of things rather than the mode I would have needed to be in to finish the book being able to actually sit down at a computer and do much with it.

Having said that, I did manage to get the general overview. It did give me a bit more depth than I had, although probably not as much as I would like. I still have on the agenda for 2009 to actually try to DO some simple Java stuff, going back and using this as a reference guide rather than an overview.

In terms of the book itself, I guess it was a fine overview, organized in such a way as to start with the simple stuff and build up, rather than just as a true “reference”. So it was good for starting from scratch and getting the basics. If there is one thing I would have liked, it would be examples that were more grounded in some sort of real activity… perhaps linking all the various examples to build a toy application of some sort, showing how all the bits could fit together. As it was, many of the examples were things like kicking off two threads and having them count independently, or having a method print its own name, or having a button that when clicked would print a message saying “Button was clicked” or whatnot. Those are fine I guess, but I tend to like examples that seem like they have a point of some sort. They are easier to engage with.

It was obviously not a big page turner though. I can’t say that each evening I’d find myself so drawn to see what was in the next chapter than I’d grab the book and read for hours. Just not that kind of book I guess. At least not for me. :-)