Margaret (pling) wrote,

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I've decided what my current 'serious' book is going to be - last summer I read a book about the Reformation while I was sitting in the sun (and at other times, but the point is to do something improving while I'm just lazing about in the garden), this summer (and probably longer) I'm going to work my way through "The Art of Computer Programming" by Donald E. Knuth. We bought a fancy box set of Vol 1-3 a few years ago for rather a lot of money, because it's one of those books one should have (if one is into computer programming anyway). But neither of us have ever read it, so I thought I would. Should keep me out of mischief for the foreseeable future ;)

The first parts are some reasonably hairy looking maths - much as it pains me to admit it I'm taking the advice in the very first section & skimming it (reasonably carefully) rather than absolutely trying to understand it. I'll have to come back to it later as I'm sure it'll be necessary. It's a little embarassing to put myself in the class of people that are 'not mathematically inclined' because, well, I am mathematically inclined, and I was really rather good at pure maths back when I was in practice. But I don't think I've done any maths since first year at university, and that doesn't really count as I didn't work at it (didn't need to pass the course, and there was too much mechanics for my tastes, so I didn't bother). So it's 14 years since I last seriously looked at a mathematics problem. And it shows :/ I think I need to get hold of an A-level standard pure maths text book and work my way through it. I wonder if my old school still have the one we used, and if they're likely to sell one if so. Wish I could remember the name of it, or the authors or anything, as I rather liked it.

Other geeky things - installed gourmet, finally, which I'd not been using since I reinstalled linux on this machine a few months ago. And found a bug in it (which I've duely reported). I was quite pleased with myself as I had to track down all the dependencies & install them (there's no gourmet ebuild). Small things, eh ;) Despite all that I've read about Gentoo being a hard distribution to use as a newbie/end-user now that it's actually installed I find it easier in some ways to use than any of the previous linux distributions we've used. OK, I don't do anything to the kernel myself & I get J to do the config file stuff that needs doing after rebuilds of stuff, but there's not very much of that. And it's offset by the fact that I can install my own software, on a whim mostly, with very little trouble, which certainly hasn't been the case in the past.
Tags: books, computer, maths
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