The Blog and… the Book!

I’d like to apologize for the slowness of the blog. Fortunately, there’s a very good reason: I’ve got a book contract! “Good Math” will be published by “The Pragmatic Programmers” press. The exact publication date isn’t set yet, but my schedule plans for a complete draft of the book by summer. (And I used the scheduling rules proposed by one of my favorite managers. He said that when a programmer gives you an estimate of how long something should take, multiply it by two and increase the unit. So if they say it’ll take a day, assume two weeks. If they say a week, assume two months. In my experience, it’s actually a really good predictor.)

Anyway… For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been setting up a new computer to use for writing the book (gotta keep my Google work and my private work separate!), finishing the first three chapters, and trying to get comfortable with the PP markup system.

While I’m working on the book, I’m going to be posting drafts of some sections as posts on the blog. As a result, you’ll see some re-runs of older posts in a slightly different format. There will also be some brand new material in the book format. The book draft posts will be clearly marked, and for those, even more than usual, I’d appreciate feedback and corrections.

Of course, I’ll also be posting non-book related stuff. For example, I hope to have a new data structures post ready this evening. As a result of my work on the book, I’m back on a Haskell binge, and I’m working up a post about a fascinating functional data structure called a finger-tree.

0 thoughts on “The Blog and… the Book!

  1. DonH

    I’d like to know some of the details of how you are setting up your machine. What is the PP markup system you mention> Thanks.

  2. foole

    Congrats on the book deal. I can’t wait until it’s out (hey, you’ve already got at least one sale!)

  3. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    Re #1:
    Pragmatic Programmers has their own proprietary markup system. I’m not allowed to tell you about it. But I can say that I really like it.
    As far as the machine goes, I bought myself a very basic Compaq 15″ laptop. I’m running Linux, using the Ubuntu Intrepid beta distribution. I decided to try running Xmonad, and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. It’s a tiled window manager, all keyboard controlled – no mouse needed for window controls, and no screen space or CPU wasted on eye-candy. It’s taken a while to set up, partly because I haven’t done a full linux install and configure for myself in about 4 years, so I’m out of practice; and partly because there’s a gazillion things that I want installed on my machine. (Emacs, Java, Eclipse, Haskell, LaTeX, full development tools, networking stuff, etc.)

  4. Skemono

    Congrats on the book deal.
    What’s it going to be about / who’s the target audience? A basic introduction to certain math topics for educating and enticing the general public? Something more complicated and involved for math geeks?

  5. William Wallace

    Congratulations on the book. Do you know Bruce Schneier? Maybe you’ll roll the book into consulting into a start up, like he did.

  6. Mark C. Chu-Carroll

    Re #6:
    Not a snowball’s chance in hell.
    Why on earth would I want to go into consulting? I’m an engineer. As an engineer, I’m damn good, and I’m happy. Why would I want to quit that, and go into something where I need to deal with sales, business administration, management, etc?
    I’ve got the best job in the world right now.

  7. Robert E. Harris

    I was told many years ago that the formula for research projects is 2t+n, where t is the estimated time and n is a large number. I think the extension to next larger unit works for me, pretty much, if decades is the next unit up from years.

  8. William Wallace

    Regarding projects, if it is a small project, 6 months, if it is a big project, 18 months.

  9. Deen

    I once heard someone say that all projects go over schedule by about 30% – even if you included an extra 30% margin ๐Ÿ˜‰ But congrats on the book deal ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like you’ve got a nice start already.

  10. David Drake

    Congratulations on the book deal. Since I started reading GM, BM a couple weeks ago, I’ve neglected a lot of work looking at your archived posts–entries touching on apophenia (a term I didn’t know before) are particularly interesting. Having spent much of the last decade teaching university art courses (sculpture and drawing), and having just started a graduate program in architecture, I’d say while many artists and architects are enthusiastic about math and science, we are perhaps a little too quick to swallow myths about the Golden Section and other “canons of proportion.”
    Will the “Good Math” in your book still be spiced with a little de-bunking of “Bad Math?”


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