A new project in the making

Hi all, it’s been a long time since I posted up here, but that’s because I’ve been so busy with yet another project. That’s right guys and gals we’re making a game. It’s a Visual Novel called Convenience Wars. If you want more information, head over to our new blog, rakitstudios.wordpress.com.


Git In The Trenches : Final changes

As many of you know, I often play around with projects and ask people for their feedback. Recently I have been finishing up work on the Git In The Trenches book, which has taken me almost a year to complete. Usually, as a project nears its completion, I ask various friends and colleagues to check it out and give me their feedback. During GITT, I took a different approach of developing the book in public. It was fantastic and resulted in much greater community participation than I had originally envisaged.

The problem with this approach was that getting feedback on the project was more difficult. Either people were;

  • Long time friends of mine, in which case though I trust them to be honest, an outsiders opinion would give me something different.
  • Not interested in Git because, being a technical book, it has a far narrower audience than a fiction book.
  • Intimately involved in the project, in which case they are going to be biased towards it.

To overcome these issues, I decided to find someone in the open source community that used Git extensively and who has also been known to give rather good advice in the past. During the development of the book, I began listening to “The Changelog“, a podcast all about open source, and in particular the web and ruby. It’s a fairly well known fact that many Ruby developers use Git. I decided to send the book to Wynn Netherland, co host of “The Changelog” to see what he thought about it.

I could not have hoped for more useful feedback. I had been focusing the book towards a very specific subset of the Git community and I was exceedingly glad when Wynn summed up his thoughts on who the book would be geared towards.

Corp devs who cling to non-distributed source control and designer-y type folks that are intimidated by SCM (probably scared off from SVN)

Which was my exact target audience. Though the book is easily readable by anyone, the format of the book takes you through, week by week, as Tamagoyaki Inc. decide to implement Git in their workplace.

Another comment was pretty interested too.

I like the writing style. I think it makes a technical topic approachable. What i found difficult was scanning.

Wynn is exactly right. In my efforts to make the book kinda quirky and approachable, I used pun-like headings to each chapter section. Whilst this worked well for someone reading the book cover to cover, it made the book very difficult to navigate if you wanted to dip in and find out information on a specific subject. I do currently have an index and was pleased to see that it had been implemented well.

…but your index is solid

So, my major change to the book will be to include kind of dip-in guide, so that people can just jump to a chapter to get information on a particular topic. Wynn seemed to like the list of topics on the back and the idea of using that as a base for the dip-in index was well received.

I have to say I am pretty pleased with the end result.

…all in all, superb job.

So just a few more tweaks here and there and I’ll be ready to release this baby to the masses. A bit thank you to everyone who has helped out with the book so far and an extra big thank you to Wynn for taking the time out of a very busy schedule to look over the book and offer me suggestions.

Alchemy Reigns to continue

Well, it’s been almost a year now, but I think I have resolved all of the issues I needed to before starting work on Alchemy Reigns. Several other story ideas have been amalgamated into it and I think it’s now at the stage that I just sit down and continue writing. One interesting point is how I keep track of it this time. I am seriously considering posting it up on GitHub as I am writing it. The reasons for this are simple

  1. it will keep it under version control
  2. it will allow me to keep using Git (yay!)
  3. it will allow people to submit spelling/grammer fixes

Of course the downside is that people may read a section and then see that it has changed, or that certain events are cut/moved/revealed at a later date.

I guess it’s a risk the reader takes, but in all honesty, I rarely go back and change things. My books/stories are like films and I generally write them from start to finish. Except in this case, I can see it being a multi-book story. Which both pleases me and terrifies me to the very core. With time at a premium it takes a large push to finish a book. OK, so I did write about 150,000 words in a little under two months, but that was HARD GOING!!!

Well, we’ll see how it turns out


The GITT site is now live – still Beta-ish :)

Checkout the GITT site now to begin learning Git. The site is still in Beta, but we’d love to get your feedback 🙂

Git in the Trenches (GITT) Complete – Well almost

Recently I’ve been putting the final content into Git in the Trenches. I’m happy to say it has gone rather well and I’ve ordered a single print copy to allow me to edit and fix issues in print, as I find doing it on the computer screen makes me miss things.

Rest assured even once complete it will remain free on GitHub so enjoy.


Super Ambitious Robotics Project

So, a good friend of mine decided to do a robotics project. Not content with _just_ doing a robotics project Paul decided to make things pretty damn complex for himself. The task, as outlined on his blog, is to make a complete, 4 legged, walking robot from scratch in under 24 hours.

I thought the project was pretty damn impressive from the outset, but then I saw more information about how Paul was planning to implement the legs. Not just simple zero joint legs, oh no! That would be far too simple. These leg joints are going to allow the little beast to walk like either a mammal or an insect, depending on how the servos are set up. Highly impressive!

I have to say this is going to be absolutely awesome, especially as all the programming and controlling is going to be carried out using a little Arduino board, not dissimilar from the one I posted up a few weeks ago. Right now Paul is having a few 3D printer issues, that’s right folks, he’s even printing all the parts himself, so why not head on over to his blog and give him a little more encouragement.

Git In The Trenches – An update

So after 18 days, over 100 commits and 18,000+ words, Git In The Trenches is really starting to build up into a sizable book. I have only really just scratched the surface and now the sheer scale of the project is being to make itself felt. However, I will not bow to this negative pressure and I will continue to have the same amount of fun writing that I always have done.

Git In The Trenches is a breath of fresh air for me, as it allows me to combine together a little fictional work with technical work, both things I enjoy writing a lot.

I took the work I have done so far and asked the gitolite author, Sitaram Chamarty. As well as some very constructive comments about points in the book, he also had this to say about how GITT is shaping up.

Your writing style for the trenches part is awesome — you have all the makings of a real fiction writer! I particularly loved the bit about the guy who vowed never to eat pizza again — nice touch!

All I can say is that it does look nice so far, and once it is polished up it should be quite useful to newbies, especially in the corporate world.

I’ve also had some other great feedback from people who have read it so far – I know I still have a lot to do, please keep your comments and scenarios coming in. You can fine the project here.

Git In The Trenches gaining traction…

Thanks to my very good friend, and contributor to GeekDeck, Og Maciel, GITT is starting to gain a little traction. Og wrote a post about the GITT project a few days ago, and since then, there has been a flurry of activity. I have to say a huge thank you to ali1234 and themiwi for forking GITT on github and fixing some spelling mistakes and typos. I’d also like to thank all the people who have started to watch the project on github too. If you want to check it out, just go here https://github.com/cbx33/gitt

I’m really excited for the future of the project and almost everyone who has read the premise of the book has commented that it sounds like a very good way to present the material. I know that a few people who have read a little further into the book itself have liked the style.

We still have a long way to go and have to explain some pretty complicated topics, but I’m confident that with Git users behind me, we’ll win through.

Thanks to all who have contributed so far

Arduino Playtime

So the other night, myself and Mike started playing with Arduino for the first time. What a cool little toy that is! The great thing is it can be so much more than a toy. Here’s a video of my little board after 3 hours of learning from scratch and then tinkering.

Git Book up on GitHub

So – I’ve started putting the new book up on GitHub in case anyone feels the need to comment/fork and or generally help out. I’d like to thank both benc and mjj29 for their help in getting my started in LaTeX.


Creativity at a low = New Git Book Project

So, I’ve been trying to write more to Alchemy Reigns, but to be honest, it’s just not presenting itself the way I want it to. Maybe the story hasn’t solidified well enough. Anyway, I did decide the other day, that I enjoy using the revision control system GIT, so much, that I would really like to give something back to the community. To that end I am to compile and write a book on the subject.

The aim of the book isn’t to be a definitive guide. It isn’t supposed to be the most elite technical reference either. What I am going to try to do is show how to use git in a practical sense, using real world examples. The aim is to follow a group of developers through their daily lives using a version control system. This way, I intend to come across the same issues and problems that normal everyday people do.

What I would like is for people who read it to identify with the scenarios presented, therefore, when the same situation occurs whilst they are using git, they are not reduced to reading man pages necessarily, or jumping in an IRC channel. Rather, they should be able to go, “ahhh, I remember this exact situation was presented by that fictional group of developers”

To this end, I am asking for anyone that uses git on a regular basis, or even not so regular, to give me some ideas/scenarios that they themselves have faced. Did you have to do something funky in git? Was there more than one way to do what you did? These are the types of questions I want to answer.

So please help me out, anything you can contribute will be acknowledged and appreciated.