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Bob Books on the iPhone

Thursday 18 November 2010

OK, this is really cool. Bob Books are tiny charming books with doodly drawings and simple phonetic text. All my boys learned to read with Bob Books, including my middle son Max.

Now Max is 18, and has a job wrangling media with a firm making iPhone apps. Their latest app is now available: Bob Books #1 – Reading Magic. Max edited sounds and images for this app, so I guess Bob Books has come full circle with him.

Screenshot of Bob Books Reading Magic

Buy the app, it's great. I'm so proud of Max, first for learning to read all those years ago, and now for helping to bring Bob Books to new learners on the iPhone.

Happy Birthday Nat

Monday 15 November 2010

Today is my oldest son Nat's 21st birthday. I'm very proud of him. Although he is not the 21-year-old I had imagined, he is a fine young man, doing the most with what he has.

Susan and Nat went to Disneyworld a few weeks ago as part of celebrating his birthday, so she made him a roller coaster cake:

Roller coaster cake

I actually had nothing to do with this cake, I napped through the entire construction. But I think it's one of our best: the yodels are perfect as cars, and the Lego people fit perfectly. The hill is a bundt cake, filled with blue M+M's to make it Splash Mountain. Don't look too closely, though, you'll see that the two trains of cars are actually headed in opposite directions, and therefore will collide shortly!

Nat's birthday can be a tricky day, but a good cake is a good centerpiece:

Tabblo: A Roller Coaster Birthday

Leaving Tabblo

Sunday 14 November 2010

My last day at Tabblo and Hewlett-Packard is in five weeks. It's been almost five years since I joined Tabblo, and three and a half years since HP acquired us.

It's been a really interesting experience. First, building a consumer web site in a startup environment, launching it, and encouraging its growth. Then steering the group within HP, a large complex environment, equally as chaotic as a startup, but along different dimentions.

HP allowed us to do deals we never would have on our own: a book editor for Disney, applications promoted on the Myspace front page, print buttons on AOL.com. It's been fascinating to adapt our code to new applications, test the flexibility of our abstractions, and build new experiences at times faster than we did as a startup.

But the large company environment is not best for me. The challenges are becoming more organizational than technical. I'm ready for new problems. I'll be freelancing, something I've never tried before. I already have a few really interesting possibilities lined up.

I'll miss the people and work at Tabblo, but it's time to go. On to the next.

Pythonic

Tuesday 2 November 2010

A nice question on Stack Overflow today drew good answers, but one of them chided,

Stop saying "pythonic" when you mean "clean". It's just a cheesy buzzword.

It made me think about what people mean by "pythonic," I think it is more than simply "clean." I think it also involves appropriate use of the language and standard library features. It of course includes "clean" but I think you can write clean Java-like code in Python, and it will not be pythonic. The pythonic label has to do with a minimalism, getting more done than seems possible with a small amount of code.

But I also wonder, why does Python have an adjective, when other languages do not? We don't hear about code being Javanese, or Pearly, or Rubinesque. Why don't we speak of code that is C-plush-plush, or PHPleasing? Why does Python have an adjective?

PS: any other interesting proposals for language adjectives?

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