Random update

Just dropping by to mention that I am still interested in developing STG FolderPrint Plus further, and rewriting it in C#.

It still works fine in Windows 11, and I use it regularly.

I haven't posted here in over an year, but I post frequently on my Twitter/X account. Mostly about AI, usually LLMs or image/video generation.

Book Review

The Scout Mindset – Book Review

The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't, by Julia Galef, is an interesting book.

For whatever reason, I see Amazon categorizes it as Business & Money > Management & Leadership.

I wouldn't say this is wrong, per se, but feels a little weird.

While I imagine the book would be quite helpful for people in leadership, it is also useful for everyone.

The book talks about the scout mindset vs the soldier mindset.

The soldier mindset uses a combative view of their ideas and concepts versus the world. Whenever something they think is challenged, they react against it, either ignoring or coming with reasons why it is not true.

The scout mindset tries to learn about “the terrain”, instead – when an idea/concept you have is challenged, they try to pay attention and see if it has actual merit.

People use both mindsets, and even the same person can behave with one mindset in some situations and some in others.

I found the discussion of the evolutionary point quite interesting – on ancient situations, you had very little choice about a lot of things – including the people you spent time with, profession, place you live, etc. In this situation, it is quite useful for the brain to fool itself that everything is ok, just like the dog in the burning room on the “This is fine” popular meme.

However, fooling yourself can be quite dangerous, as you are navigating with an incorrect map, and thus making mistakes and poor decisions you could avoid if you had a clear picture.

The book goes on about the many ways cognitive biases can warp your view of reality, and how to avoid them.

I felt it was quite useful, and entertaining as well.

Overall, strongly recommended.

Also, first post (of the year). I actually read a bunch of books (this was number 8) and 8 different courses, but none seemed like a great fit for this blog…

Book Review

How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers – Book Review

I just finished How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers, by Mihir Desai.

This is based on finance course taught by a Harvard Business School professor (that does sound funny – just repeating the blurb here).

This covers a general view of capital markets, how companies allocate their capital, how to value is created, and how to fund companies.

I have actually had a lot of this in more complete courses in the MBA I am doing online (Saint Paul/LIT), but I have to say that the coverage here was quite excellent, with a nice amount of quizzes and examples.

And all of that in a relatively short book.

I read this one on O'Reilly Learning, which I usually like a lot. It had to be on the PC browser, as the android app decided to not load some of the images (unfortunately this happens sometimes)…

Overall, strongly recommended.

Course Review

Visual Studio 2022 PlayBook – Course Review

I took about 50 courses this year. A lot of those were short tech courses from Pluralsight, which I really like overall (which they had more practical projects, though), some were longer ones from a MBA. Most are not worth posting about here (although I do post some in my personal blog).

Visual Studio 2022 PlayBook is a nice set of short videos with tips on how to do things in VS 2022 (duh) in ways that can help you.

I imagine almost everyone will already know some of the tips, but also learn something.

I particularly liked the deployment section, specially for the ones I didn't do yet (say, via GitHub actions or One-click deployment).

Book Review

The Pragmatic Programmer, 20th Anniversary Edition – Book Review

The Pragmatic Programmer, 20th Anniversary Edition, by David Thomas and Andrew Hunt, is obviously a new version of a twenty year old book. I read the original back in 2005, and I thought it was pretty nice.

This one is a significant refresh on the original, which many new programming practices, as well as new examples (the 1999 examples were sometimes very dated). Some of the old recommendations still apply, and so they remain.

Overall, pretty good, and much improved.


STG FolderPrint Plus and Windows 11

I have had a few queries about it, and I am happy to say that I have used FPP on Windows 11, and everything worked.

Book Review

The Programmer’s Brain – Book Review

The Programmer's Brain, by Felienne Hermans is an uncommon off-shoot of a common book topic – improving your programming and how you learn programming.

The uncommon part is that it looks at the problem in a different way – what happens to the brain, say, when you are learning a new programming language? And how can you optimize that?

The book talks a bit about the different parts of memory – short term memory, working memory, and long term memory, and then looks – based on actual research – on the best way to do a number of tasks, including learning a language, adding a feature, problem solving, onboarding a new team member, and others.

It also has exercises to support it.

The one practice I have used for a while, and it is easy to do, is using a spaced repetition system (or regular flashcards, although to me that seems harder to keep up with) to learn syntax or important details on a language or framework. Personally I like Anki.

I will certainly look into several of the other suggested practices.

Overall, strongly recommended for programmers.


FolderPrint Survey

Recently I sent a survey to the Starglider Systems mailing list.

It only had a simple question – the response percentage after each answer:

Do you still use STG FolderPrint Plus, or plan to use it in the future?
() Yes – 29%
() Yes, and I'd be interested in buying upgrades to new versions – 61%
() No – 5%
() No, and I never used it – 5%

I was happy to see that looks like most people in the list are still interested in the program, and willing to pay for upgrades (OR, if you don't use the program you just don't bother to answer).

If you didn't get the chance before, you can answer the survey here .

Course Review

Creating Maintainable Contexts for Automated Testing – Course Review

I have just finished Creating Maintainable Contexts for Automated Testing by Mel Grubb, on Pluralsight (yes, that title is quite a mouthful!)

I haven't really bothered with reviews of most courses I take – counting this one I watched 43 this year – a bunch on Pluralsight, some MBA courses, and 14 non-fiction books. This one was interesting enough that it was worth mentioning.

It covers ways to make your test code cleaner. What I liked:

  • using a Random library to document what is boilerplate on a test is what is important – name = library.RandomName() is very different from name = “Luiz Marques”, as it shows that it has no particular importance.
  • From the next step, adding Mother objects, which are simple static classes that return ready to go instances – such as .Simple() and .Typical(). If you need to, you can then change anything that is important for the test, and it will be very obvious. As a bonus, any changes to the objects (such as an added property) can be dealt on a single place, instead of having to be fixed on possibly dozens of tests.
  • Converting the mothers to the Builder pattern, which makes thing slightly clearer (but adds a lot of code), improving discoverability and makes it easier to change objects.
  • Using CSX to auto-generate most of the builder objects on each build.

Overall, very interesting, and well worth the time, specially if you already have Pluralsight.

Book Review

The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Book Review

The Most Important Thing Illuminated, by Howard Marks, covers a few principles for what he calls the superior investor – as if you are not going to be superior, you might as well just invest in index funds and not waste any time.

When I heard about the book, it was the regular version, but I believed the extra blocks of explanations – by famous investors as well as the author of the book – would be worth the extra time, and they were (I really which the font on the comments wasn't so small, though).

Most of the insights seem a little silly in summary form, but the details on how to handle them felt very useful to me – and I am very far from being a pro in the area.

Overall, strongly recommended.