Review: “Google Apps Script, 2nd Ed” by James Ferreira; O’Reilly Media

http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920032557.do?sortby=publicationDateI’ve taken way longer to write this review than I intended to, but frustration kept me from getting through all of the examples in a timely manner. I struggled with code examples that didn’t work and other things that didn’t work the way the book said they would.

Granted that Google Apps Script is probably a moving target and the version I’m working with is obviously a bit different from what the author was using. I also found that my ebook reader did not properly render some of the code snippets for some reason. I switched from the .mobi format to the .epub format and that helped.

I have given up on trying to follow the code examples; I found them hard to follow the way the author is progressively building them and changing them along the way. I can not recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t have a thorough understanding of JavaScript and some experience with web development; this is not a book for beginners. I would recommend that you refer to the author’s Drive site for this book as you work through the examples (http://goo.gl/zqy3VQ).  You’ll need to open them from the site in order to copy and paste them.  If you try to download them, they will be in .json compressed format and you won’t be able to open them in Apps Script.

Reviewer’s Note:  I am a member of the O’Reilly Blogger Review program and received a free copy of “Google Apps Script, 2nd Ed” which was used to write this review.

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Review: “Business Matters” by Elizabeth Frick

Business MattersThis is a review of “Business Matters”, which is based on the author’s blog of the same name.

I’ll have to be honest, I put off doing this review because I was conflicted about this book and because I wanted to take some time to absorb it.

Based on the description of the book, I expected a practical guide to help freelance writers improve their business acumen. To be fair, there are certainly strong elements of that.

But this book is also very much, if not more, a motivational book with tips and anecdotes from the author’s experience. It’s understandable, since the material was adapted from the author’s blog. It’s very well organized, but it still reads very much like a blog and somewhat less like a “how-to” book.

There is a lot of good information in here, if you make a little effort to sift the material. The author provides many useful references but also takes the time to explain the essentials of what she’s referencing. The book is mainly targeted at the freelance technical writing business, with a specific slant toward medical writing and editing. Some of the ideas can be applied to other independent businesses. Continue reading

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Budget Crash

I was working on the budget late one night,
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight:
Harry Reid from his lair began to arise
And suddenly to my surprise

(He made it crash) He made the budget crash.
(The budget crash) It was a power snatch.
(He wants the cash) The money’s gone in a flash.
(The budget’s hash) Reid can’t do basic math.

From the Senate floor up in old D.C.,
To the lobby where the special interests feast,
The liberals all came from their humble abodes
To grab all the cash when the debt limit goes

(He made it crash) Reid made the budget crash.
(The budget crash) It was a power snatch.
(He wants the cash) The money’s gone in a flash.
(The budget’s hash) Reid can’t do basic math.

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I’m talkin’ to the Man in the White House

“I’m talkin’ to the Man in the White House,
I’m askin’ him stop laying blame.
O-bamacare’s a big-time disaster;
If you wanna make the world a better place,
Stop spendin’ our money on your golfing ga-ame!”

(Sung to the tune of “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson)

Note: This whole shutdown thing is inspiring me to write catchy songs about it.

Well, okay, to write parody lyrics about it.  ‘Cause, you know, the whole thing lends itself well to satire.

I would’ve posted this on Twitter, but it lost something with the 140 character thing.  Like about half of it.

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Heaven For Geeks

I was in church listening to my pastor talk about Heaven from the book of Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, and it got me to thinking… What will Heaven be like for geeks?

Being a “geek” is such a large part of my personality — who I am — that I believe God has planted the seeds of that in my life.  I am not what I am ultimately intended to be, but I do believe I must be a shadow of that.  If I am right, then Heaven is for geeks, too.  We won’t have our “geekness” removed from our souls like a bad appendix.  We will express ourselves perfectly through the reality of who we are in God.

But what will that look like?

Mind you, this is all totally supposition.  Aside from any direct quotes from the Bible I might give here, I speak with no authority.  This is just my geek imagination working.

The implications of “death shall be no more…”

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’  And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'”

If you believe in the truth of that passage from the Bible, geeks in heaven will get at least one “super-power”: Eternal life.  And it changes everything.

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Review: “WordPress: The Missing Manual”

wptmmReview: “WordPress: The Missing Manual”
by Matthew MacDonald; O’Reilly Media

The Missing Manual series covers practical how-to information for popular topics for which there is no official manual. This book covers the popular WordPress software that powers blogs and websites worldwide. I am reviewing the Mobi e-book version for the Kindle.

I highly recommend this e-book to anyone with an interest in blogging using WordPress. This book is mainly targeted at users who intend to run the WordPress software on their own web server, but even those (like me!) who use the free WordPress site (http://wordpress.com) can get a lot of useful how-to information out of this e-book.

In fact, “WordPress: The Missing Manual” can take you step-by-step from signing up for a free WordPress blog to your own customized and professional WordPress site complete with the plug-ins you’ll need to monetize your blog. Appendix A contains the crucial how-to you’ll need to migrate your existing blog — and more importantly, your followers — from WordPress.com to your new custom site. There is plenty of advice along the way about how to set up your blog’s layout and how to run your blog professionally. Continue reading

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Reblog: 7 reasons to use 3rd party DNS

How-To Geek recently posted the following:

“Your Internet service provider runs DNS servers for you, but you don’t have to use them. You can use third-party DNS servers instead, which offer a variety of features that your ISP probably doesn’t.”

Continue to the article here.  This has useful information that I didn’t cover in my previous blog.

I’d just like to add the comment that this is more about DNS resolution than about hosting your own domain, though third-party providers can do that for you, too.

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