Code in the Cloud: My Book Beta is Available!

As I've mentioned before, I've been spending a lot of time working on a book.
Initially, I was working on a book made up of a collection of material from blog posts;
along the way, I got diverted, and ended up writing a book about cloud computing using
Google's AppEngine tools. The book isn't finished, but my publisher, the Pragmatic Programmers,
have a program that they call beta books. Once a book is roughly 60% done, you
can buy it at a discount, and download drafts electronically immediately. As more sections
get done, you can download each new version. And when the book is finally finished, you
get a final copy.

We released the first beta version of the book today. You can look at
excerpts, or buy a copy, by going to
the books page
at Pragmatic's website.

If you're interested in what cloud computing is, and how to build cloud applications - or if
you just feel like doing something to support you friendly local math-blogger - please take
a look, and consider getting a copy. I'm not going to harp about the book a lot on the blog; you're
not going to see a ton of posts that are thinly veiled advertisements, or updates tracking
sales, or anything like that. If there's something that I would have written about anyway,
and it's appropriate to mention the book, then I'll feel free to mention it, but I won't
waste your time hyping it.

In other news, here's the main reason that things have been dead on this blog since
the weekend:


That's the view from my driveway as of monday morning. Over the weekend,
we had one of the worst windstorms to hit New York in about thirty years. That
mess is two oak trees, each close to 2 meters in diameter, which came down on
our street on saturday. (If you look closely towards the right hand side, you
can see the remains of my neighbors car.) The telephone pole in the picture
was snapped not by getting hit by a tree, but simply by the wind. Since that
pole had our electrical transformer, and those trees took out the wiring that
fed that transformer, we are (obviously) without electricity, internet, or
(most importantly) heat.

Con-ed is promising to restore our electricity by friday. I'm not holding my

Anyway, back to the happy stuff. The book exists in electronic form! Buy
a copy for yourself, your friends, your neighbors, and your dog! We've got lots
of wonderful new expenses to deal with recovering from that storm! :-)


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Good luck on finding a warm place to stay in the meantime. The reason we didn't get any power outages from that storm around here (SE New Hampshire) was that everything that would have come down had already come down in a nasty gale two weeks earlier (power went out on a Thursday night, and my neighborhood didn't get it back until the following Tuesday evening). By the morning after several streets around my town looked very much like yours in that photo. (The recent storm did produce our second major flooding episode of the year, and the town is saying they will probably have to rebuild at least one road that is being washed out by the still-high flood waters.) It could be worse: from the weather forecast you probably aren't worrying about frozen pipes.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink

Sorry about the damage.

But I have a question, to wit: what exactly is cloud computing (so far I have only been able to find corporate hype on the net.) And what advantages does AppEngine confer?

By complex field (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink

Delurking just long enuff to say: bought it. Painless ordering process, nice touch issuing in multiple non-DRMed formats. Oh, and I should be getting into cloud development anyway...

Umm. DIAMETER of over 6'? Not those trees. Circumference, maybe.

Still a tragic loss of a couple of real oldtimers. Was that the only loss?

By featheredfrog (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink

Is that cloud computing or tornado computing?

Math in the news (NYT):
Caracter was happy to attend St. Patâs, summing up his public school experience with Doherty by saying, âA good guy, but he was a math teacher.â

By j a higginbotham (not verified) on 17 Mar 2010 #permalink

"we are (obviously) without electricity, heat, or (most importantly) internet."


I bought your Beta Book, reading through it. So far, so good. I'm looking forward to what you have in store for the 'Advanced AppEngine' section. Good luck!

Mark, this is a great idea for a book. Cloud computing seems kind of mysterious and intimidating to me, but here you are walking us through the process and making it seem like a piece of cake. I can't wait to read my copy.

Will you be entertaining questions about the book here on the blog?

Congratulations! Looks both interesting and useful.

Topic suggestion: are you aware of the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF), a forthcoming online of the classic book by Abramowitz and Stegun? It'll be out soon ( and should go straight into the Good Math category.

By Hermagoras (not verified) on 07 Apr 2010 #permalink