Finished “Practical Perforce”

The day before yesterday I finished reading “Practical Perforce” (by Laura Wingerd, from O’Reilly books). I liked it more than I thought I would. My first impressions of Perforce, hadn’t been that favorable, mostly because of its unusual paradigm of keeping track of client workspaces, which can lead to a lot of unintuitive behavior. Reading the book helped solidify my understanding of Perforce’s view of the world and demonstrated that Perforce can be a very powerful tool. For sure there are warts, like the sometimes strange syntax of the p4 integrate command and a section that was downright humorous, showing how simple it is to back out a change, using 7 commands piped through various sed filters (in fairness, backing out changes in CVS is also complicated and actually much worse because CVS doesn’t have changelists – I wonder if any version control system has bothered to actually make the simplest of tasks actually simple. At work we have a p4 wrapper command, written in Perl, that adds a backout command, but I wonder why Perforce doesn’t build this simple feature in?).

The best part of the book for me was the later chapters, where the book describes the bigger picture of managing branches in shrink-wrap and Web development software shops. A lot of the material in these last few chapters is about general SCM and branching methodology and is largely independent of what version control system you’re using, though naturally this book concentrates on the application of this methodology with Perforce.

Finished The Rise of Endymion and the Hyperion series

A few nights ago I finished reading The Rise of Endymion and thus, the entire 4-book Hyperion series.

  • Total # of books read: 4
  • Total # of pages read: 2336

That’s a lot of pages and if that scares you, then I might suggest reading only the first two books. The first two books comprise one cohesive story and the second two books comprise another story which is related to the story in the first two books, but largely independent and different (the events of the second two books occur hundreds of years after the events in the first two books and with mostly different characters). The first two books were more enjoyable to me then the latter two (and also shorter!). This is not to stay that the latter two books were not enjoyable – they are. However, if you read them looking for answers to the mysteries in the earlier books, you might be disappointed in the end. In fact, some earlier explanations get a bit muddier and there are some new mysteries, some which are explained well and others which aren’t. In particular, the origins of the enigmatic Shrike seem a bit different in the latter two books and never get satisfactorily explained, IMHO. Also, the first two books are more pure science fiction, whereas the latter two get a lot more into mysticism and “quantum love” and a sort of sci-fi spin on some of the ideas of Buddhism. Some elements of the first two books like an oft-mentioned future war between deities get ignored. I did still enjoy the latter two books, so if you have the time, go ahead and read all four books.

Book # of pages (paperback)
Hyperion 512
The Fall of Hyperion 528
Endymion 576
The Rise of Endymion 720