Monday, January 07, 2008

first real week

Having survived the holidays, it's time to get rolling. I view this week as the first week of whatever I am going to do next. Jed Smith, one of Linden Lab's early investors via Catamount Ventures, is letting me gaffle some space, so I'm currently hanging out in their downstairs office. It's quiet and perfect for blasting through the various O'Reilly books on my reading list.

The holiday book was "Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML," which served as a nice, broad primer for building modern web pages. Remember, the last time I looked at the Web in any serious way was Mosaic on Sun computers at Sanders in 1995. Since then, I've written embedded code for custom hardware while building arcade games, embedded code for several consoles, and finally lots of C++ for Second Life. In the meantime, the Web has come an awfully long way. Rather than building off of my pockets of web knowledge, I think this is a good time to do a bit of a mental reboot, so I'm starting at the beginning. Today I'll crack "Head Rush Ajax."

The Head First and Head Rush books are fun, quick reads. I've read plenty of O'Reilly books over the years -- and consider the llama book the best language book I've ever read -- but my initial reaction to the Head books is positive. Obviously, they aren't reference guides so Tim's evil plot is clearly to get you buy extra books, but as a first pass on a topic that you can plow through in a day or two, they seem quite good. The examples hit the questions I wanted answered and the writing style isn't so glib as to annoy. Amusingly, a friend still at Linden who has done a fair amount of Web site coding but who hadn't caught up to current standards also settled on the Head First book as a starting point, so we'll compare notes later.

Beyond that, this week I'll be working with my co-teachers on the curriculum for APOC, so more to come on that as it falls into place. With APOC's ambitious goals for a one year program, the difficult part will be figuring out what to cut out of the schedule. I've also been asked to help pull together a faculty seminar at Annenberg on new technology in the social/virtual/game space, but fortunately I have a couple of weeks before that kicks off.

My schedule is filling up surprisingly quickly!


Anonymous said...

Those are a good start but don't miss Richardson & Sam Ruby's book on RESTful web services:

Ajax + REST make the web a pleasant place to code.

cory ondrejka said...

Thanks! Already have it downloaded and waiting on my desktop :-)

Oren Raboy said...


I know: off-topic, but I can't resist recommending after I have just done the same.

In case you have the need & time to catch up on TV after 7-years:

Netflix/rent/download HBO's "The Wire".

Probably the best TV series ever (Yes, that good) and especially important perspective with the 08-election coming soon...

Mark said...

Congratulations on your move... good luck with working out what is next!

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