my recent reads..

Beginning Rails

Beginning Rails: From Novice to Professional by Jeffrey Hardy and Cloves Carneiro is one of the most approachable "learning rails" books I have found to date.

The writing is clear, and concepts are presented in a very readable way. I really appreciate the organisation of the book - they've done a great job of presenting key topic areas in a logical sequence that guides you up the learning curve without losing sight of the big picture.

Working through the examples right now...

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The Chancellor Manuscript

Poking around my bookshelves the other day, I stumbled upon my very old copy of Robert Ludlum's The Chancellor Manuscript. I've mentioned before that this was the first Ludlum I ever read. That was a very long time ago, and I'd forgotten all but the basic plot outline.

Fingering the pages, it took no time to draw me in again. This really is classic Ludlum. The pace is frenetic, the words raw energy. The story twists and turns, and then twists within itself again.

If you have only experienced "new" Ludlum - the Covert-One series, or the estate-produce posthumous novels - you really should go back and check out the classics.

In rediscovering The Chancellor Manuscript, it suddenly struck me what I was missing in the newer novels. Old Ludlum pulled no punches. Love-making was sex. Bad guys were not just simple terrorists, and their actions complex, ambiguous. Characters could be MCPs, and now law said they had to act politically correct. While I still enjoy "new" Ludlum, in comparison it does come off as over-engineered to modern sensibilities. Designed for a middle-American video-game generation, where headshots with shotguns are OK, but fade to black when things get intimate.

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Proven Enhancement

Never has Rails Trac been more entertaining than this. The change history is just too funny;-)
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Vulcan 607

Vulcan 607 is the story of the incredible raid on Stanley airfield by the RAF's aging V-Force that signaled the start of the 'shooting war' with Argentina over the Falkland Islands. This was Operation Black Buck.

Rowland White does a very good job of telling the story in immense detail, giving equal weight to the technicalities and personalities involved.

It's a rollicking read, especially if you enjoy reading the real stories behind military history. And the point is well made: considering the age of the Vulcan bombers and supporting Victor air-air tankers, the distances involved it is amazing that Vulcan 607 managed to take out the Stanley runway on the first flight. To put the single Vulcan 607 on target, it took: 1 Nimrod, 2 Vulcans, 14 Victors, 40 take-offs and landings, 42 1000lb bombs, 90 aircrew.

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