Summary of reading: April - June 2024

Create: July 7, 2024

I didn't read as much as I had expected this quarter.

  • Algorithms for Modern Hardware — This is a good introduction to some performance challenges we encounter as system programmers. The content isn't too deep, making it suitable for light reading before bed. Even though I'm already familiar with much of the material, there are still enlightening sections, such as how to conduct valid and reliable benchmarks.
  • Quantum Country — The explanations are solid, and it has helped me grasp some of the mathematics behind quantum computing. I also began to understand concepts that I had previously only encountered as buzzwords. However, some sections could still be explained better. For example, I find the mathematics behind the quantum search algorithm challenging to understand.
    • I also like the "mnemonic medium" and flashcards. They definitely help solidify the concepts, especially since quantum computing isn't something I encounter daily. One annoyance is that the site doesn't list all its flashcards anywhere, so it is very hard to migrate the cards to Anki. And there is no way I will remember to revisit this site after months or even years. Some provided questions can also be asked better. There are still some yes-and-no questions and "give me an example of" questions, which are anti-patterns when designing flashcard prompts.
  • Git from the Bottom Up — It is commmonly said that "you can't use git well if you don't understand the internal," and this short book tries to distill the core git concepts. It is definitely enlightening even if I already know a lot about git. There are useful details such as what is under the hood of git commit, and the book also talk about a few great tricks like stash every day's WIP work so it will be in reflog. On the other hand, it definitely show its age by doing a lot of comparisons with archaic tools such as SVN and Quilt.
  • Piano for all Book one: Party Time – Rhythm Style Piano — Rewrite: This book takes a unique "chords and rhythms first" approach, in stark contrast with traditional piano tutorials that focus on melodies and sheet music. As an amateur pianist who already can play sheet music, I'm unsure if this book could be a standalone learning tool, but it's definitely a fun addition. The constant reminder of "don't worry why, just memorize" feels a bit condescending. One thing that rubs me wrong is the constant "don't worry why, just memorize." While I agree that music proficiency largely comes from memorization and practice rather than comprehension, the book doesn't need to repeatedly emphasize it.

In progress