• Traction: If you build it they will come

    Photo of Traction book in a corn field

    Kevin Costner’s film ‘Field of Dreams’ is responsible for more startup failures than any other Holywood film ever created. In this film Ray Kinsella, a farmer played by Kevin Costner has a vision (AKA great idea), digs up his crop of corn and builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere on the promise that ‘if he builds it, he will come’. Low and behold after some tense moments a famous dead baseball player turns up and eventually car loads of people turn up to watch baseball. So, it turns out, that if you build it, they will come. What the film fails to show (at least to my recollection), …

  • Bridge statistics, manga and SQL

    I didn't enjoy stats at school very much. It seemed a very dry subject that involved a lot of tedious calculations and I didn't really see the point. Perhaps if we'd been encouraged to use computers to do the tedious stuff and been given data sets that were more interesting I'd have realised that actually stats can be a very interesting subject.

    After reviewing and enjoying The Manga Guide to Relativity, I was excited to be sent a copy of The Manga Guide to Statistics to review. It inspired me to look at statistics again. Perhaps they do have a point, perhaps with some interesting data and a …

  • The Manga Guide to Relativity

    I knew I had a sort of idea what relativity was, but I also knew I didn't actually understand it. I thought it was probably one of the things that I would never get round to understanding. Then I was presented with The Manga Guide to Relativity, and I knew that if anything could explain it, then this book would be that thing.

    The guide starts in manga form and tells the story of Student Body President Ruka Minagi who is challenged by Headmaster Iyagi to write a report on relativity over the summer vacation. The beautiful physics teacher Alisa Uraga steps in to teach Minagi all he needs to …

  • The book every programmer should read

    Code Complete is a book that talks you through how to construct computer programs. It doesn't look at any specific language and the things covered apply equally to web applications and pacemaker software.

    It talks about the process and really makes you think about the way you do things and the best way to do things. Every chapter has really made me think and hopefully I'll be a better programmer for it. It's the sort of stuff I wasn't taught at university, but think I should have been.

    It's been like having a wise programmer share with me a wealth of experience and knowledge. It's made me …

  • Reviewing The Mythical Man Month

    In my first job out of university my assigned mentor Alex always had a copy of The Mythical Man Month on his desk. He urged me to read it and said that the world would be a better place if everyone in charge of projects had read it.

    That was almost six years ago, and I've just got round to it. I went through a period after uni where I'd had enough of reading text books. I've recently felt quite a strong urge to learn more, and this book seemed like a good place to start.

    The author Frederick Brooks talks from his experience of working for IBM in the 1960s. In some ways this book is timeless. …

  • Your guide to Leeds Film Festival 2006

    Photo of the printed Leeds Film Festival Guide 2006

    The guide to Leeds Film Festival is huge. You better get it way before the festival begins or you don't stand a chance. Luckily I did and I've been reading it on the bus. Here are my first impressions and recommendations so far.

    To amuse or confuse the films are split into six categories with fun sounding names. Some of the names are more meaningful than others. Here is my run down of the categories and my chosen few films based on my first impressions.

    Official Selection

    This section aims to highlight some of the best new films of the year. They've been selected by the festival organisers …

  • Behind the scenes at Leeds Film Festival

    Photo of my Leeds Film Festival t-shirt

    Leeds International Film Festival is the biggest cultural events in England outside of the capital. For two weeks every year, Leeds is overtaken by a frenzy of film and cinema. Hundreds of films are shown that you might not otherwise see. By the end, you feel like you've experienced the best that cinema has to offer and maybe you've even learnt something. At least, that's what I've heard.

    I've never been. I've lived in Leeds for the past eight years. Every year I get really excited about the approaching film festival. I get the brochure, and try to pick which of the hundreds of films deserve …