PragDave: Writing a Book

Dave Thomas, co-author of “The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master” among many others, has been writing a series of blog posts, PragDave: Writing a Book, giving some excellent advice on how to write a book. True to his pragmatic roots, it is the best, most practically useful advice I’ve ever read on the topic. The link above takes you to the collection of posts in the series, ordered in typical blog style with the latest at the top and the earliest at the bottom. I suggest you take the time to scroll to the bottom and read them in order.

The first addresses the all important question of “Why?” I’ve long wanted to write a book for all the wrong reasons but have only recently begun to considering writing one for more defensible reasons. I’ve gotten to the point where I really like to write. I realize that writing is hard work but I’m certainly going to give it a try. I have decided, however to start by writing shorter pieces. Writing articles will give me a chance to “find my voice” while I wait for the inspiration for the book that must be written to strike me. I’m passionate about a number of technical subjects. I just need to refine my focus some.

The series goes on to give tips on how to read your own writing with a critical eye, how to accept reviewer criticism, along with a number of other extremely practical pieces of advice on successful writing practice. I’ve resolved to try them all myself. I’ll be using this blog as a place to capture early drafts of essays that may grow into articles or books. Watch this space for examples.

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I Love My Coffee, I Love My Coffee Supplier

Several years ago I got the Senseo bug. I’ll admit, it was originally largely due to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast. But it made me realize that when you make a pot of coffee at home, either you have to drink several cups in quick succession or most of them are going to taste worse than the first cup. For the sake of this blog I’ll leave out a discussion on the relative merits of various coffees in the first place. I had already been through the exercise where I bought gourmet coffee, kept it in the freezer and ground the beans fresh right before I brewed it. I had also already been through the whole home espresso machine thing. But I digress.

The Senseo brews a single cup of coffee from a filter pod containing just enough grounds for that one cup. I was immediately enamored of the idea of every cup tasting as good as the first. My wife and I both immediately became fans of the Senseo. Being the frugal person that she is, Pam started shopping around online for alternate sources of pods. She soon discovered BetterPods (subsequently renamed to BetterCoffee) and we have been ordering from them ever since. We subsequently went through several Senseo machines and finally moved up to a Bunn pod coffee maker. When the Bunn stopped working, BetterCoffee worked with us to get a replacement for it.

Today, the replacement Bunn exploded. BetterCoffee told us that they had received several reports of this happening to other customers and immediately sent us out a replacement, overnight. It doesn’t get much better than that.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have NO interest in BetterCoffee other than as a very satisfied customer. Sometimes you just have to make sure that a good deed gets a little recognition. Thanks, BetterCoffee!

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