I’ve been relatively quiet on the writing front, not in small part, due to everything happening around us over the past two years. I have about three books on the go; hopefully, the first of these is not far off.
All three are about specific computer languages, and one is a complete rewrite of a book I originally wrote for BBC Books.
In addition, I am currently evaluating installing a ‘store’ here on the website where you can purchase books directly. The plan is to discount items like eBooks and provide more free publications. Hopefully, this will be up and operating before Christmas. Books make great gifts!
A Russian Company (Yes, I know, but this was before the invasion of Ukraine) purchased the ‘Russian Russki yazyk’ language rights for RPi OS Assembly Language. So that has been an experience. At least I received the full payment from them crazily in US$. Go figure. It’s a weird experience to look at and compare the English to Russian editions.
That’s my fifth language rights deal with others being Spanish, Italian, Norwegian and Estonian. Thankfully the process only involves supplying the original text, illustrations and book cover artwork.
Recently (Oct22), we visited the Parkes Radio Telescope Dish in...well, Parkes, NSW. If you haven’t seen the movie ‘The Dish’ you should.
Essentially the first steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong in 1969 were received and sent around the globe for broadcast from here. The broadcast nearly didn’t happen, and it was a by-the-seat-of-your-pants job getting ready in time. The Goldstone receiver was expecting to receive and broadcast the historic images. Still, Armstrong and Aldrin were anxious to get onto the surface immediately, and Parkes was the only radio telescope facing the moon at the time.
I said on the 'Home' page that I have written around 75 books. True, but only a handful of the current bunch are detailed here, as they are either irrelevant now or simply out of print. But they still add to my author list, and I’m proud of them.
Even these current books gradually move out of date unless you are careful to update them continually. I often try this in the form of an errata sheet which you will find as part of the resources for the book or books in question. These I find often pointed out by readers, and I am thankful for the input, good or bad. These errata are applied regularly within the book, which is reflected in the book's subversion, provided on the Copywrite page.
Raspberry Pi Insider Guide is a case in point. The Operating System and Desktop move beyond the point of updating book-wise. As such, an erratum becomes virtually a book itself, so at that point, it becomes a stretch to call it vaguely up to date. There is still helpful information within, so it has some relevance in parts, thus the free eBook or an ‘at cost’ paperback.
The reviews included on the book pages are primarily taken from Amazon, so you can check these out for yourself. Average ratings would be about 4.7 stars across the board. I’ve included a couple of the least favourable in a couple of cases – just fair play! Check out the reviews on the Amazon pages and make your own decision.
Computer Books (Retro) Out of Print
As well to the BBC Micro (13 Books), I have also written books for the Amiga (seven books), Commodore64 (two books), Vic20 (one book), Oric (one book), QuarkXPress (one book), and a PC Beginners (Windows 3) book.
Pictured above are the front covers of the two leading word processors produced for the Beeb. Both were good and offered unique perspectives on how they operated. Interestingly they both came on Read Only Memory (ROM) chips plugged into the Beeb – no software loading from a cassette tape of those horrid disks (or disks) around then. Wordwise also had a built-in programming language that allowed you to add extra routines and operations. It was very clever. As the word processor ‘expert’, these books placed me onto the BBC’s 'The Software Show’! (This was just after the Ice Age.)
However, my favourite BBC Micro books would be Interfacing Projects for the BBC Micro, Advanced Sideways RAM User Guide, The BBC Micro ROM Book and Mastering Interpreters and Compilers.
Sports Books Out of Print
Many of my sports books were annuals. They were known as Pocket Books due to their format – they would fit in a large jacket pocket, certainly not your jeans' back pocket, as some had high page counts. Several were often used as promotions by sponsors and would be about 60-pages of relevant material.
There were 42 sports books in total. Several were Fact Files for Premier League, Formula 1, Cricket, and Arsenal. These were average paperback sizes and ran to 500 pages.
FA Carling Premiership (EPL): Seven Editions from 1993-94 to 1999-2000. Virgin took the other sponsorship for the last four years of publication. Carling the first set of years. (Pictured above.)
Formula 1 Pocket Annual: Ten editions in all running from 1995 to 2005. I thought it was a brilliant marketing idea for Reliant Motors to sponsor the first edition. Virgin and Rough Guides also sponsored and took other book marketing during the other years.
Miscellaneous: Other books in this format included four seasons of Non-League Football, European Football, Fantasy Football, Hockey, Cricket, World Cups and Olympics.
The books were fun to write but ultimately died a slow (or quick) death as the internet grew and everything about anything was online to search and find. I have found one or two on the internet being offered for silly prices; the rest are probably propping up desk and bin legs! You never know…