What am I reading and listening and doing at the moment? Well.

Thought I would do a quick update on what is floating my boat at the moment, have made a push to find some new things to occupy me.

Podcasts

I used to love the Adam and Joe show on Channel 4. A pair of chaps who talk rubbish about things they love. What more do you need to know? It sounds an awful lot like 99% of all podcasts. Well they have been doing it for years and years on the telly, so they are very good at it. This podcast is actually highlights of their XFM show, and is incredibly funny. I would strongly recommend starting with the show where they discuss the astonishing R Kelly HipHopera, Trapped in the Closet.Try it yourself here.

I’ve listened to my first Hospital Records Podcast today, and it is some wonderful Drum and Bass to get you woken properly on a morning.

Books
After enjoying Douglas Copeland’s latest book JPod, it has been down to the grindstone with my geek reading. So I have read Head First HTML & CSS, which is a starter book on writing web pages, but with a very standards-based approach. It is a very good read as a refresher for anyone who has done HTML in the past, but has fallen behind a little. Mine is pretty good, but I had never had any good training on CSS, and it was very helpful to be taught that properly in a current manner. I think the way I would put it is that if you still lay out elements on a page using tables, other than data that should go in a table, you really need to read this book.

I’ve moved onto reading a book about design theories called Domain Driven Design. Very heavy going, but some of the concepts have been very helpful, one of them is a very sensible approach to design called Ubiquitous Language. This is, namely, that in order for you to design a product for a customer, you all have to know and understand the terms you are talking about to a high standard. I suppose the classic explanation of this is an old story about a Brit asking a German to build him something out of bricks, and being very angry when instead of using the small british housebrick, he used the standard large German brieze block. The problem being that both sides had a different idea of what a brick was. These sort of definition issues can crop up a lot in software design, and the theory is that before you get going, you hammer them out. Makes good sense.

TV

Actually slowing down a little on the telly front, not masses around. Have been watching the World Cup and Big Brother, and then Lost, Desperate Housewives and 24. 24 came to what was almost a wonderful conclusion, they tied up the series 5 storyline perfectly, but then totally spoilt it all with the last twist, that basically made the man whom is always saving the planet, Jack Bauer, look like an utter plank.

The main thing I am looking forwards to is a repeat of 80s drama/comedy GBH, which detailed in effect the rise and fall of someone suspiciously like Derek Hatton in Liverpool. It stars Robert Lyndsey, but I had forgotten that it also has a fair bit of Michael Palin in. Cannot wait.

Gaming
It is all about the Nintendo DS these days. I have been mainly playing New Super Mario Bros, which is a wonderful old skool style scrolling platformer. Simple, but effective. Lots of planning and thought and twitch gaming in the sort of style that causes RSI in a good way. Also have Brain Training, which is interesting but slightly shallow, could do with more variations to keep the player coming back. I think it is more a statement of intent from Nintendo that they are really determined to break the age barrier on gaming, and open it up to a far broader audience. They have been very successful with this approach for Brain Training in Japan, and got a lot of mainstream press coverage over here because of it.

I have also played a little Nintendogs and Project Rub, as I picked both up very cheap.

Doing
Few projects at the moment, mainly to do with websites. I think my main is to try for a redesign of this place. I may do that as part of a move to WordPress. I also have a couple of other web projects to get on with, that I will reveal as we go along (wooooooo).