Geeks With Blogs
Caffeinated Coder A Grande, Triple Shot, Non-Fat Core Dump by Russell Ball
I've been spending a little too much time reading blogs over the last several months and am starting to crave some more in-depth study, so I decided that I am going to be "old-school" and try to spend more time reading books instead.

What I'm Reading Now

Here are the three books that I have been bouncing back and forth between lately. As you can tell, I am a little ADD as far as books are concerned and rarely read one at a time (probably why I like blogs so much). On the positive side, I stay motivated because I only read about topics that I am curious about or feel are most relevant at the time. On the other hand, I am also a little embarrassed by how many half-read tech books I have on my shelf.

Tonight I read a few sections from Effective C#. Here's a random geek fact I learned. Changing a public variable to a property or changing a constant to a read-only variable will break binary compatibility. That means that your dll's won't work with clients anymore without a recompile even though the client source code is identical. This is due to the IL that is generated behind the scenes. The book gives much more practical advice than that, but for some reason that stuck in my brain because it was interesting.

What I Plan to Read Next

I've only really used Generics for strongly typed collections and am getting tired of not fully comprehending some of Ayende's code samples, so I plan on devouring this Wrox book on Generics soon.

As far as the book on web services is concerned, you're probably wondering why I don't just jump to WCF, but there is quite a bit of 1.1 web service infrastructure at my new job and I am feeling the need for a refresher.

I also thought I should brush up on the coding standards with my Brad Abrams book since standards are pretty strictly enforced through formal code reviews here as well. Perhaps I can even find evidence that would help me convince my boss that if (isMyBoolVarTrue) is just as clear as if (isMyBoolVarTrue == true)... :-)

Favorite Books

These are the three books that have been most influential on my professional career and that I would most recommend to other developers.

I don't think any of them have .NET sample code in them, but all three do an excellent job of explaining core developer concepts that transcend languages.

Fowler's book on Refactoring is probably the book I've read the most. I am glad it is hard-cover, because it would have fallen apart long ago if it was paperback like the rest of my tech books.

Books I'm Not Smart Enough To Finish Yet

These are three books I would love to read, but will probably never get through them unless I suddenly find myself on a deserted island for 6 months with an endless supply of espresso and only these three books.

I've read several chapters of each book at some point, but the majority of the content went over my head because the samples were all done in low level C.

The PC Ph.D. book has chapters on Assembly, device driver programming, and low level hardware interfacing, which is just not my strong suit since I majored in history rather than electrical engineering in college.

The Rootkits book is actually the one I most covet. I got it on a whim a couple years ago because security is one of those topics that I love, but can never seem to find enough time to gain any real expertise in it because it never matches up conveniently with my day job.

Nostalgic Books

Finally, for a trip down memory lane, here are the first three technical books that I ever read. I haven't looked at them in quite a while, but for some reason I can't manage to get rid of them.

The C++ book was actually my first introduction to programming. I read it from start to finish one summer way back when I was still an elementary school teacher. I locked myself in a room from sun-up to sun-down for 3 months going over every sample in that book as well as the samples in a few other C++ books I picked up. It was geek love at first sight...:-)

I actually ended up getting my first job as a VB6/ASP programmer, so I never got a chance to use any of that C++ goodness. However, I am glad that I started out with that mindset because I think it really helped my transition to .NET a lot easier than it otherwise would have been if I had never been exposed to an object oriented language before.

Does anyone else still read books? I certainly don't use them as technical references anymore, but I think I still prefer this medium whenever I feel the need to dig deeper into a technology. But, perhaps I'm just old school like that...

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2007 11:09 PM Reviews | Back to top

Comments on this post: Geeking Out The Old School Way

# re: Geeking Out The Old School Way
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>...just as clear as if (isMyBoolVarTrue == true).

Must not have gone to NWMSU. We actually lost points if we bool'ified a boolean.
Left by Dewayne Christensen on Oct 22, 2007 7:57 AM

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