About the GNOME 3 Application Development book

Yesterday I read Danielle’s review of GNOME 3 Application Development: Beginner’s Guide and I would like to write some comments about it because my name figures in there.

I was involved in the book as a technical reviewer and I reviewed a total of 5 chapters. This was the first time I did so for a printed book.
After reviewing those chapters, I asked my contact at the Packt Publishing to give me a final draft before publishing it and associating my name to it because I really wanted some of the issues I pointed out to be addressed.
After a while, to my surprise, I received an email from that contact announcing that the book had been published and thanking me for my contribution. Turns out they didn’t respect my request and included my name directly! After I asked that contact about our “arrangement”, he apologized for that and said it was his fault…

I am still waiting for my printed copy and I was hoping that some of the issues I had told them were corrected but after reading Danielle’s review it is pretty clear to me that they weren’t. That’s surprising to me because I made it clear that some issues were very important things and I assumed it’d be the editor/publisher’s work to take care of that.

Writing and producing a book is a difficult thing and in no way I intend to bash the author or the publisher (I haven’t even looked at the final version yet) with this post but I wanted to clarify how I my name is associated to it.

Hopefully next time Packt will take into consideration what their technical reviewers say and not just use their name for the book.

Another year has passed

Today is the last day of 2011 and it is once again when people look back in time and realize what they have done throughout the year and if they stuck to their promises. I don’t give that much importance to events like new year’s eve or even my birthday but I decided to write a blog post and to think about what happened on 2011.

December is also the month I’ve joined Igalia, I have been in the company for 3 year and the changes seem to have been quite some.
I feel 2011 was not a very productive year from the point of view of side projects. I have been working on the toolkit that powers the MeeGo Harmattan (Nokia N9) for a year and a half and that, together with other tasks in Igalia and in my personal life didn’t leave me much time for creating new projects. Still, I released 5 new versions of OCRFeeder; 4 versions of SeriesFinale and ported it for the Nokia N9. Also I have given once again presentations in some nice events like FOSDEM and LinuxTag.

On the personal side of things the big event this year was my wedding with Helena. After that we had a nice time travelling in Turkey after having cancelled the plans to visit Japan due to the earthquake.
We also spent 10 days in Berlin, we are still in love with the city and we wish one day we’ll experience living in there (could it be 2012?).
After 3 years living in Spain, I feel comfortable here, I recognize its virtues and flaws but I want to know more cultures, more languages and thus more ways of seeing life. As for Portugal, it is part of what defines me but Helena and I are not planning on living in there for the foreseeable future, especially these times when the government(s) is(are) making things difficult for everybody.
Related to this and the economic crisis that is going on, this year I joined a demo and a strike for the first time and I keep hoping that things get better for everyone.
I also realized I am now used to donate to some institutions throughout the year and it is something that makes me feel good.

As book counting is something often present in this kind of year’s review, in 2011 I read 10 books and a short story. The most important ones, in case you’re interested are: The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins), Through the Language Glass (Guy Deutscher) and Citações e Pensamentos de Agostinho da Silva (“Quotes and Thoughts of Agostinho da Silva” by the philosopher).

The future

People often say “next year is gonna be a year of change” but things do change and some situations that happened this year have made me think about my life so I really feel there are going to be changes in 2012. Hopefully they will be good ones.

I wish you all a happy 2012.

Book review: Through the Language Glass

Through the Language Glass: How Words Colour Your WorldThrough the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you speak more than one language or like languages in general than you must read this book.

“Through the Language Glass”, from the linguist Guy Deutscher, talks about the particularities of languages and the way it influences people’s thoughts.

The book offers an overview of different theories from linguistics on how speakers of certain tribes could be color blind or unable understand the concept of time like the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis advocated.

While Deutscher recognizes we do not know much about the brain to know how different people really think from each other, he uses a good deal of experiments’ reports that show how language plays an important role in what comes to understanding concepts like color, spatial orientation and gender. Still, do not make the mistake of thinking that maybe this limits people’s thoughts because a good part of the book explains how even if a concept does not exist in a language, it can be explained to and perceived by speakers of that language.

Many interesting differences among cultures are presented, ranging from the simple concept that a tree might be a he, she or it, to the fact that many cultures treat blue and green as tones of the same color.

All this is written in a very smart and funny way like the sarcastic comments about linguistics’ daring theories or by temporarily borrowing other languages’ features and using them in English.

This is no doubt one of the best books I have ever read and thus I give it 5 stars and recommend that you add it to your “to-read” list.

View all my reviews