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Just Java book: Light Relief & e-books  RSS feed

 
Mark Vedder
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Hello Peter,

I have a couple of basic questions for you on two subjects...

1. Light Relief
Something I have always enjoyed about your book is the chapter ending "Light Relief" stories. Does the new addition have new stories, or are they the same one from the previous edition?

2. e-Books
I am a big proponent and user of e-books (usually in PDF format). I like having dozens of books available as references on my laptop. It saves me from lugging books back and forth between my home office and business office; it also prevents the situation of not having "that one book that I really need at the moment". E-books/PDF's also allow for quick searches for topics that may not be listed in the index. I have always been surprised that e-books are not more readily available in our industry, especially considering the dynamic nature of the content in such books. Do you know whether that is simply because there is not a heavy enough demand for such?

Manning Publishing makes all their books available in PDF format for half the cover price. These are fully indexed (with links) copies of the book. I further like that their PDF's are not locked down to the point to disallow the addition of notes and highlights using Acrobat (i.e. the program and not the reader). Would you be in favor of such an option by your publisher?

I currently subscribe to the Safari Bookshelf, which give electronic access to books (including your 5th edition, the 6th soon I assume) from many publishers. Safari recently added the ability, with the right subscription, to download individual chapters of books. While this is a nice addition, I think it falls short since I cannot get a cohesive copy of the book including hyperlinked cross-references, index, and Table of Contents. (Also the PDF's downloaded from Safari are locked down so tight that you cannot add notes or highlights to them). As an author, what is your opinion on e-book's? Do you know what other authors tend to think about them?

Thanks in advance. And thanks for putting out and keeping up to date a fine Java Book.

-Mark
 
Peter van der Linden
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for the good words!
I am delighted to hear from another person who enjoys the Light Relief, as much as I enjoy
putting them down on paper and adding them to the end of each chapter. Some people have
asked me to produce an entire book of Light Relief, and maybe I will one day!

In the meantime, these are the Light Relief anecdotes that are new in Just Java 6th Ed.
chapter 6: The Haunted Zen Garden of Apple
chapter 9: Think Big (and small)
chapter 10: Making an exception for you
chapter 15: "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem"
chapter 16: Early Names for Java
chapter 24: In which "I" spam myself
chapter 25: 500 mile limit on email
chapter 28: Googlewhacking!

I also noticed that I *did* include the Java program to stuff an online poll! I thought I had left that out, but I am delighted to see I skuck it in after all. It is the light relief to chapter 26!

That chapter 15 light relief is a real side-splitter - don't blame me if you're reading it over
breakfast, and coffee flies out of your nose, OK? The title
"On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem"
was the title of an incredible ground-breaking academic paper from Alan Turing in 1937. The
light relief describes my efforts to track down the inventor of the parameterized subroutine. (And
I succeeded too!) That paper was a key part of the detective work!

===

On the subject of eBooks - I did not know any of the information that you are sharing with me.
The publisher, Prentice Hall, calls the shots for things like this. (It may surprise people to learn
that the writer is the LEAST important of all people involved in the book business).

In fact, the writing business is a lot like the acting profession. There is a very small number of
people at the top of the profession making Gajillions of dollars. In the writing world, these are
the Tom Clancy's, Stephan Kings, and Dan Browns. Everyone else is doing the equivalent of
waiting tables, or at least not supporting themselves on the proceeds!

Anyway, that is useful and excellent information, and I will feed it in to the chief editor at
Prentice Hall and discuss it with him next time we talk (this week or next). Thanks for bringing
it to my attention! I know he will ask about piracy (emailing the PDF to other people) - if you
have any info about that, would love to hear by email. My email address is on my website in
the JJ6 errate sheet,

Cheers!

Peter
 
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Peter van der Linden:

On the subject of eBooks - I did not know any of the information that you are sharing with me.
The publisher, Prentice Hall, calls the shots for things like this. (It may surprise people to learn that the writer is the LEAST important of all people involved in the book business).


Peter, I am not qutie familiar with the publishers and their nature.

So I am wondering if your book is published

by Sun Microsystems Press as in the cover of the book on the book's home page at Sun site
or
by Pearson Education as in the Product Details section of the book's home page at Amazon site
or
by Prentice Hall as in your message above

Or are three of them kind of alliance? Could you explain a bit about the nature of your book's publisher? Thanks...
[ September 30, 2004: Message edited by: Ko Ko Naing ]
 
Francis Siu
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hi Peter
I want to hear more about the
chapter 6: The Haunted Zen Garden of Apple
Does it contain a story behind the chatper 6?
It seems to be an attractive chapter, if you do not mind, could you describe more about it?
thanks

[ September 30, 2004: Message edited by: siu chung man ]
 
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by siu chung man:
hi Peter
I want to hear more about the
chapter 6: The Haunted Zen Garden of Apple
Does it contain a story behind the chatper 6?
It seems to be an attractive chapter, if you do not mind, could you describe more about it?

Yes, siu chung man, the story is at the end of chapter-6... You can even download that chapter for free... It is available as a sample chapter for the book... Here it is!

hope it helps..
 
Francis Siu
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thanks Ko Ko Naing

�There are no shortcuts to Zen, Lefty�
I wonder why... I do not know the meaning behind on this statement.
 
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by siu chung man:
thanks Ko Ko Naing

�There are no shortcuts to Zen, Lefty�
I wonder why... I do not know the meaning behind on this statement.


Umm, siu chung man, I am in the progress of reading the texts before that story... So I haven't read that story yet...

I'm now in the middle of Enumeration Types topic... I'll surely share my opinion on that story, after I read the whole chapter today...
 
Peter van der Linden
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by Sun Microsystems Press as in the cover of the book on the book's home page at Sun site
or
by Pearson Education as in the Product Details section of the book's home page at Amazon site
or
by Prentice Hall as in your message above


Well, as you might expect, the answer is "yes".

When I worked at Intel in 1981 the company was a lot smaller, and success was by no
means as assured for them as it is today. In fact I was working on a project that was very
secret and very risky technically. I spoke to one of the executives about how an area of it that
was going well seemed to have a lot of people taking credit for it, including some people
that didn't seem (to me) to have made much of a contribution.

The exec (now an Intel VP) looked me in the eye and said "Success, Peter, has many fathers,
while failure is an orphan". I knew at once what he meant! When something is going really
well, everybody wants to associate themselves with the action and get a bit of credit for
themselves and their group.

Hmmm, what made me think of that? Anyway, getting back to your point, since the very
first edition nearly ten years ago (yikes!) Just Java has been published by Sun Press.
And Sun Press is a joint venture between Sun Microsystems and Prentice Hall. Similarly, there
has been a lot of consolidation in the publishing industry, and Prentice Hall is now owned
by Pearson Education. Pearson Education is a wholly owned subsidiary of Pearson - the
international media company. I haven't looked to see if they claim credit for Just Java on a
website somewhere, but well you know, if not they probably soon will.

Fact is that Just Java has been a very successful technical book indeed. And this is
because it gives you, the reader, information you need, in a way you can use it. Just Java
has been in print for about 9 years, when most technical books have a half life measured in
months. It has been published in countries around the world (you should see my mailbox!),
and been kept up-to-date with Java's evolution over six major releases 1.0 to 1.5, corresponding
to the six editions of the text.

I like to get feedback from readers, and I do my best to include the top suggestions. I also
get great input from the Java classes I teach at nearby beautiful Foothill College in Los Altos
Hills. And I was deeply honored to find the text was one of 3 books nominated for Java Book
of the Year in 2002. The new sixth edition (fully up to date with Java 5) has just been
nominated for Java Book of the Year for 2004.

So fingers crossed for good luck, and that is why so many groups in the publishing chain
are pointing out their involvement!

Cheers,

Peter
 
Ko Ko Naing
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Originally posted by Peter van der Linden:
I like to get feedback from readers, and I do my best to include the top suggestions. I also get great input from the Java classes I teach at nearby beautiful Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.


Since you like to get feeback from readers, I got a bunch of questions out there in this forum, all of which are from sample chapter-6... While I'm pretty familiar with static and final from that chapter, enum introduced in Tiger is really cool... I still remember the time when I studied enum of ANSI C in my university life...

Even though static and final topics are familiar to me, I got a lot of knowledge from that chapter... The examples are great! And I especially like the portion that is bounded with two horizontal lines. They are knowledgable...

Thanks a lot for your great explanation about the publishers...
 
Mark Vedder
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Hi Peter,

Thanks for the reply. I did read the "500 mile limit on e-mail" Light Releif standing in Borders last night (I�m hoping I might win a free copy here at JR before I purchase the sixth edition ) I found that story very funny and enlightening. It goes to show that sometimes end-users are not as dumb as we may first think. I'm going to rework that story into a trivia question to run by a couple of (self proclaimed) networking/unix gurus at the office. I know their initial reaction will be "The user's an idiot. E-mail doesn't have a distance limit!" I stopped at that one so I would have the other stories to look forward to when I read the book.

I can't wait to read the "On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem" - I�ll be sure that I'm not drinking any liquids when I read it

I think an entire book of "Light Relief" stories would be great. I'm sure you could solicit tons of stories from people (I have a couple for you that would have you rolling on the floor laughing).

Originally posted by Peter van der Linden:
Everyone else is doing the equivalent of
waiting tables, or at least not supporting themselves on the proceeds!

You mean you're not making millions from your book??? I have heard before that most technical authors write books for the love of the field and the experience, not for the money; it is a shame that the authors are not better compensated for their work, especially in a case like yours where you have put out a book that has endured the test of time in a field with a very fickle audience.

Originally posted by Peter van der Linden:
Anyway, that is useful and excellent information, and I will feed it in to the chief editor at
Prentice Hall and discuss it with him next time we talk (this week or next). Thanks for bringing
it to my attention! I know he will ask about piracy (emailing the PDF to other people) - if you
have any info about that, would love to hear by email. My email address is on my website in
the JJ6 errate sheet,


I figured that piracy is probably the biggest concern of the publishers. This weekend, I'll send you some more info on the subject, as you requested, via e-mail. Forum members can get info on the ( Safari Bookshelf ) at their home page and the subscription information page. (FYI, you join Safari through one of two portals: The official Safari Bookshelf portals are: safari.oreilly.com (O'Reilly) and safari.informit.com (Pearson).)
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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