Keeping the Fiction Flowing

As I announced in my last blog post, I’m starting to publish all of my fiction through Patreon.

There are two books I’m actively publishing right now:

  • NAPE – a sci-fi story featuring a missing artificial intelligence.
  • Kings Courier – a fantasy featuring a boy who is a courier and gets pulled into a deeper role than he ever expected.

In case you’ve already missed the previous instalments:

NAPE

Kings Courier

Of course, you can head to Patreon and sign up for the regular updates over there.

 

2015 is that way, 2016 is this way

The last year has been something of a change in direction in my life. Not only was it a year of a large number of ‘firsts’ for me, in all sorts of ways, I also changed a lot of what I was doing to better suit me. Actually that’s really important.

2015 turned out to be a really significant year for me, not because of any huge life changes, but because so many different and interesting things happened to me

What did I change?

‘Official’ Studying – I have for many years been doing a degree in Psychology with the Open University. I was actually on my last year – well, 20 months as it was part time. I had my final two modules to go, and although I was hugely enjoying the course, it was a major sap on my personal time; what little I have of it after work and other obligations (see below). I also reached a crunch point; due to the way the course worked, changes in the rules, and the duration of the work (I started studying back in 2007), I had to finish the course by June 2016, and that meant there were no opportunities for retakes or doing the entire course all over again. I either had to get it right, first time, for each remaining course, or I would have to start again. That kept the pressure on me to get good marks massive when I have a very busy day job, and it got harder to dedicate the required time. In the end I decided that having the piece of paper was less important than having the personal interest in the topic. And that was the other of problem. I’d already stopped reading, I stopped playing games, I stopped going out, all to complete a course. I realised that my interest in Psychology wont disappear just because I stop studying. I can still read the books, magazines, articles that interest me without feeling pressured to do so.

Book/Article Writing – Given the above, the lack of activity on here, it wont surprise you that writing books and articles was something else I stopped. I deliberately changed my focus to the Psychology degree. But I also stopped doing anything outside work in any of the areas I’m interested in, despite some offers. I was working on a book, actually two books, but ultimately dropped them due to other pressures. Hopefully I’ll be converting some of that material into posts here over the course of the year.

Working Hours – I have very strange sleep patterns; I sleep very little, and have done since the day I was born. As such that means I normally get up very early (2am is not unusual) having gone to bed at 10 or 11pm the previous night. However, last I spent even more time up late on the phone with meetings and phone calls to people in California. That would make for a long day, so I switched my day entirely so that I now start working later and finish later, doing most of my personal stuff in the early morning. It’s nice and quiet then to.

2015 Firsts

  • First time staying in a B&B – I know, this seems like an odd, but I have honestly never stayed in a B&B before. But I did, three times, while on a wonderful touring holiday of the North of Scotland, taking in Inverness, Skye, Loch Ness and many other places.
  • First touring holiday (road trip) – See above. For the first time ever, I didn’t go to one place, stay there, and travel around the area. We drove miles. In fact, I did about 2,800 over the course of a week.
  • First time to the very north of Scotland – Part of the same road trip. I’ve done Dunbar, North Berwick, the borders, Edinburgh.
  • First music concert (in ages) – I went to two, in fact. One in Malaga and one in San Francisco about two weeks later. Enjoyed both. Want to do more.
  • First time driving in the US – I’ve been regularly going to the US since 2003, when I first started working Microsoft, and even for companies in Silicon Valley, I’ve always taken rides from friends, or taxis. In April, I hired a car and drove around. A lot. I did about 600 miles over the course of two weeks.
  • First Spanish train journey – I flew to Madrid on business, and then took the train from there down to see a friend in Malaga. The AVE train is lovely, and a beautiful way to travel, especially at 302km/h.
  • First Cruise – I’ve wanted to go on a cruise to see the Fjords of Norway since I was a teenager. I love the cold, I love the idea of being relatively isolated on a boat with lots of time to myself. In the end, I spent way more time interacting with other people than I expected, and did so little on my own, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. I went from Bergen to Kirkenes in the Arctic circle and back on the Hurtigruten and it was one of the most amazing trips of my life.
  • First time travelling on my own not for business – I travel so much for work (I did 16 journeys in 2015, most to California) it made a nice, if weird, change to do s full trip on my own. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to everybody.

What’s planned for 2016?

I’m starting to publish my fictional work on Patreon with the express intention of getting book content that I’ve been working on for many many years out there in front of other people. I’ve got detailed notes and outlines on about nine different fictional titles, crossing a range of different genres. I’ve started with two of my larger ‘worlds’ – NAPE and Kings Courier and will be following up with regular chapters and content over the coming months.

I’ve also created a new blog to capture all of my travel. Not the work stuff, but things like the Scotland tour and the Norwegian Cruise, plus whatever else comes up this year and beyond. Current thoughts are Antartica, Alaska or Iceland, work and personal commitments permitting. Plus I’m in Spain in August with my family and friends.

Converting my unfinished technical books to blog posts. I’ve worked on a number of books, some of which contain fresh, brand new material I’d like to share with other people, including the book content I was working on last year. I’m still trying to reformat it for the blog so that it looks good, but I will get there.

Smart-er Watches | Safari Books Online’s Official Blog

Smart watches are the next big tech/consumer product that will hit the mainstream, but are they really mature enough yet, or is there still work to be done?

I’ve collected some of my thoughts on the Smartwatch revolution here:

Smart-er Watches | Safari Books Online’s Official Blog.

But it will surprise nobody when I say there’s a book on the topic on the way!

Developing with Couchbase Server

catI’ve just completed my latest book, this time looking at the development side of using Couchbase Server for building applications. The book goes through the basics of the Couchbase Server data store, the mechanics of storing and using data, the API and operations available, and a quick overview of the different client libraries available for building applications.

With the core details out of the way, I move on to building a sample application using the PHP client library as the base, showing the different operations in context, and then looking at the indexing and query system for searching for data from Couchbase Server.

You can read more, and get the table of contents and description here: Developing with Couchbase Server

BeOS: Porting Unix Applications

Back in 1998 I wrote my first book, all about how to port Unix applications to what was then seen as a brand new operating system set to take on the world. BeOS was at the time seen as a revolutionary OS containing a number of radical features and…

Back in 1998 I wrote my first book, all about how to port Unix applications to what was then seen as a brand new operating system set to take on the world. BeOS was at the time seen as a revolutionary OS containing a number of radical features and departures from many of the traditional current operating systems, but with some new and improved functionality, like an improved GUI layer, better networking and subsystem interfaces, and a new filesystem.

At the time I’d spent a lot of time porting applications to HP-UX and Solaris, and took to BeOS immediately, which is when I was contacted about writing a book.

The history of the book development is unremarkable, but after troubles at the original publisher it was eventually published by Morgan Kaufmann. After some negotiation, I’ve now had the book copyright signed back over to me, and with the burgeoning Haiku community, I’ve decided to release the book freely under a Creative Commons licence.

You can download it here: http://inside.mcslp.net/downloads/BeOS Porting UNIX Applications.pdf

This is a rough-ish copy of the book, based on the original content I submitted over 15 years ago. It’s complete, and formatted but understandably quite dated. Please comment or email if you have changes of improvements that you would like to see.

Getting Started with Couchbase Server Published!

Having not published a book in years, I’ve just published my second book in as many months. Getting Started with Couchbase Server provides an overview of the main administration and user information that you need to install, setup, manage, and dev…

Extreme Scalability at Your FingertipsHaving not published a book in years, I’ve just published my second book in as many months. 

Getting Started with Couchbase Server provides an overview of the main administration and user information that you need to install, setup, manage, and develop against Couchbase Server. 

In the book, I’ve tried to cover the installation, and then the main admin tasks, such as rebalancing and expanding your cluster, along with backups and restore. 

Also in the book is some basic information on developing an application, including using the main operations and how you store and retreieve information in the cluster. 

The book is on Couchbase Server 1.8, so no views, but there should be enough for you get going. 

Get more information here.

Getting Started with CouchDB published!

I’ve just published my first book for a few years. The book is Getting Started with CouchDB with O’Reilly. The book is a quick guide to everything you need to know to start working with and building applications with CouchDB. Some highlights of th…

I’ve just published my first book for a few years. The book is Getting Started with CouchDB with O’Reilly.

The book is a quick guide to everything you need to know to start working with and building applications with CouchDB. 

Some highlights of the contents:

  • Install CouchDB on Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, or (if you must) from the source code
  • Interact with data through CouchDB’s RESTful API, and use standard HTTP operations, such as PUT, GET, POST, and DELETE
  • Use Futon—CouchDB’s web-based interface— to manage databases and documents, and to configure replications
  • Learn how to create, update, and delete documents in JSON format, and how to create and delete databases
  • Work with design documents to get the formatting and indexing your application requires