>Technical – "Agile Web Development with Rails"

>I’m always on the lookout for new tools and programming languages to play with. My latest fun language is Ruby. Ruby is an interpretted, object oriented scripting language that seems to combine features of Python, Smalltalk and Eiffel.

Rails is a framework based on Ruby that can be used to build web apps. At this moment I’m maybe quarter of the way through this book – I’m implementing the coding example as I read. The example is a simple book store app that lets you order books.

Rails uses a lot of code generating scripts, so it is real easy to get started and have basic applications up and running. The cool thing about Rails that the generated code is just a simple scaffold that then can be modified.

I will probably post more about this book as I get further into it.


>Science Fiction – "Software" by Rudy Rucker

>This is a book I read long time ago and re-read it recently because we’ll be discussing it in my SF reading group. The plot of the story involves intelligent robots, who live on the Moon, and their creator Cobb Anderson. At the start of the book Cobb is old and retired, spending his last days in a retirement community in Florida. He is a “pheezer”.

But his robots, who have rebelled against humans have better plans for him. They want to transfer his “software” – that is his conciousness and memories from his brain into the computer brain of a large robot. Too bad the process destroys the brain and the body.

Cobb makes the jump and is given a new, mechanical body. The cool thing is that once your mind is converted to “software” you can back it up. So, if your current mechanical body is destroyed the software is just loaded into a new one.

This book is written in the “cyber-punk” style and it was one of the early novels of the cyber-punk genre. It was still fun to read. It’s not very long and the open ending invites sequels. I believe that Rucker wrote follow up novels, but I haven’t read them.