Category Archives: Books

Running Mac OS X

Congratulations to James Duncan Davidson, whose Running Mac OS X Panther has gone to press just in time for him to enjoy the holidays. I had the opportunity to review the book, and it’s a solid achievement. He covers many topics that will be useful to new and long-time Mac OS X users alike. Even in the most basic chapters there was nuggets of goodness, little tricks that will make working with your system easier. I particularly like how he covers the command-line tool equivalents for many features, which makes the book a good resource to turn to later.

Mike Clark has a fun review which will surely make the back cover. The official web site is also now up.

Rustboy book

My copy of the Rustboy book arrived the other day. It is an incredible achievement, one of the best “making of” books I’ve seen. Like the upcoming film, it was put together by one guy, a Mac with off-the-shelf software, and some good design sense.

Much of the book contents can also be found on the main Rustboy web site, but there is new stuff in the book too, plus some great insight. And hey, it even comes with 3d glasses.

I only hope that he can finish the film itself relatively soon. Yesterday I caught myself saying that he would never finish it at this rate, or that it would take 5 years, but the truth is that I can see it being completed in another year or two. My only concern is that the story might not be strong enough to engage an audience for 25 minutes, but his work is beautiful so it hardly matters. And he has been such a perfectionist up to this point, it’s better to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Fragments

Enrico's cat

I just received my copy of Fragments in the mail. It’s a great collection of sketches and paintings by Pixar story artists Ronnie Del Carmen and Enrico Casarosa. (Pixar, for those not paying attention, is the new Disney — where artists control the process, and good storytelling still means something.)

There’s a shift occurring in the animation and comic world, a change that favors independent artists. Fragments is self-published. So are Michel Gagne’s popular books. The RustBoy book should be out by the end of the month, and all indications point to great sales that will help fund the film. Countless comic artists are publishing sketchbooks, or moving their comics online. The other piece of the puzzle is the technology: producing an independent short film at home has never been more possible, if you’re willing to put in the work to see it through to completion.

Why does this matter? It enables artists to create what they want, if the audience is there. And it provides a personal touch that big companies can’t match, such as this little cat sketch from the Fragments mailing package.

What would Dumbledore do?

I finished the fifth Harry Potter book last weekend. It was easily the best so far, and as usual a lot of fun to read.

Snitch tattoo Here are two pictures from the bookstore party last month. I picked up my copy at midnight with hundreds of other fans. I half expected a lot of crazies to show up, but it was all normal folks. Just people of all ages exciting about reading. A few dressed up. One woman let me take a picture of her Golden Snitch tattoo.

I guess I should go back to reading adult books now. Yawn.

Bookstore party

Reading list

I’ve added a list of books I am reading or have recently read to the right column of this web site. Just a friendly reminder to stick your head over the walls of RSS-land every once in a while.

I love Amazon Light already.

I love Amazon Light already. Great for when you want to lookup something quickly. I wonder how long it will be before native apps start providing features that use Amazon’s API (or Google’s, for that matter). I’d love a simple OS X app to catalog all my books, for starters. Leveraging the Amazon database would provide instant categorization, etc.

Yesterday I finished reading Steven

Yesterday I finished reading Steven Johnson’s Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. It was one of those rare books that leaves you with a dozen different things to think about.

It’s a fascinating book, and the topics are woven together beautifully. I get the feeling that Johnson did thorough research, planned out the entire structure of the book, but then wrote many sections straight through without stopping to edit — it flows with a rhythm and pace that makes for an easy read.

A related ant story in the news two weeks ago: “A supercolony of ants has been discovered stretching thousands of miles from the Italian Riviera along the coastline to northwest Spain.”