The SoftWare And Technology TEAM of Syncor Systems, Inc.

Read about and buy some of our favorite books and music CDs below. We have categories for Programming, Great Fiction, Great Non-Fiction, Outdoors/Sports. Music for rocking blues, stuff on the radio, and best albums you've never heard.

Programming Books

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship (Robert C. Martin Series) While I don't agree with all the advice in this book, I found it a very entertaining read and I kept an open mind. It has changed several aspects of my programming style. I must admit I still prefer  the leading underscore _memberName convention as opposed to no convention that this book proposes. In fact the examples frequently end up using a prefix of "its" which to me is a much uglier, less readable convention than "_". But that's a minor nit compared to some of the gems you'll find here. The book uses Java for the samples, which I don't speak, but for the most part as long as I remembered it was Java and not C# it wasn't a problem and 98% of the advice is still relevant. Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# (Robert C. Martin Series)
A denser read, than Clean Code, but still enjoyable and the payoff of practical applications of Agile techniques and patterns is bigger. The examples are all in C#, however they read like they were translated by someone who wasn't a C# expert, and I found dozens of errors in the July 2008 version. Still I found the book well worth the time to read.
cover C# and the .NET Platform  by Andrew Troelsen - This should be the book you start with if you are interested in learning C# and .NET. If you want to do web based database applications you should also check out  Building Web Solutions with ASP.NET and ADO.NET by Dino Esposito . The C++ Programming Language Special 3rd Edition - The ultimate reference for C++. Not the place to start but this is a must have for any C++ programmer that wants to truly understand the language.
Effective C++: 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your Programs and Designs- The This book can take you a long way towards writing bullet-proof C++ programs. The sequel is also worthwhile but not as generally useful. Effective C# - 50 Specific Ways to Improve Your C# Just as valuable as the C++ version.
Code Complete, Second Edition  by Steve McConnell - The single best book on the craft of writing software has gotten even better, the Second Edition is now out. Code Complete McConnell has read several years worth of computer science literature and distilled it into an extremely readable format. It is a hefty 800+ pages but you will rip through it and enjoy every minute. McConnell combines wit and valuable information into a gem of a technical book. If you program and you haven't read this book you are doing yourself a great disservice. Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (2nd Edition)  - If you want to program for Mac OS X you need this book. A clearly written tutorial style introduction to the most important elements of the Mac Framework. All the major components are covered and the examples and challenges are well-designed. A great book, but who would expect anything less from a New College graduate!
Great Fiction

Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen -There are so many rip roaringly funny books by this man you can't go wrong. Don't let  the fact that they made a horrible movie out of Striptease prevent you from reading Hiaasen. Sort of cross between John D. McDonald and Tom Robbins.

Still Life With Woodpecker - Tom Robbins 
Well, we just had to include one of the best, funniest, and most thought-provoking books ever written. The only strange thing is he keeps talking about something called a typewriter.

 

 

Thank you for Smoking - Christopher Buckley 
This book is a funnier than thou,  hilarious send up of the merchants of death.

 
Night of the Avenging Blowfish - John Welter 
OK, the full title is Night of the Avenging Blowfish : A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat. In addition to being another very funny book, you should read it just because it has the best novel title of all time.
Great Non-Fiction  

Made in America -Bill Bryson  - a highly amusing (although not entirely pleasing to language history pedants) romp through American history by examining the evolution of our language.

  

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea - Gary Kinder Ten years in the writing, this historical, suspensful telling of the sinking and recovery of the SS Central America 200 miles of the US Coast in 8,000 feet of water is educational and entertaining. This book is as much fun as any non-fiction suspense novel I have read. The fact that it is a true story just makes it educational and more fun.

Outdoors/Sports

Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer - The telling of the ill-fated Everest expedition of a few years ago that cost about a dozen people their lives including the talented leaders of two expeditions, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher. Come on, everyone else you know has already read this, what are you waiting for?

 

The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger -  Into Thin Air for fisherman. People that live or have lived in New England will probably remember this storm of the century.

Rocking Blues

Visions of an Inner Mounting Apocalypse: A Tribute in Guitar 
Better (way better) than the original Mahavishnu recordings. Vinnie Colaiuta's on drums so you know you're about to be schooled. After years of listening this disc just never gets old. A Guitar player and drummer's delight.
Robben Ford's Talk to your Daughter
This is some no holds barred rocking blues. If you like rock and roll you need to own this album. Robben's playing is phenomenal, his singing voice has great personality and meshes beautifully with his guitar. Vinnie Colaiuta plays some of the most intricate and tasteful drums you are ever likely to hear. I think Sting must have heard this record and then hired Vinnie for Ten Summoner's Tales, making that the best Sting CD ever. Don't miss this record.
Buy the best rock to come out of Syncor EVER! OK so this is my band but if I don't plug it who will? This is all original music. We cover a varitey of styles from british pop to classic rock to alternative country. You can hear the influences of such bands as the Beatles, U2, Oasis, The Jayhawks, Train, The Doors etc.