Review: Smashing Physics by Ron Butterworth

Butterworth is one of the experimental physicist responsible for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In Smashing Physics, he gives a glimpse of the modern physics world, the theory, the knowledge and some of the concerns that shakes the community.

Butterworth’s writing makes it very easy to understand the concepts. Although he does not dwells into the mathematics behind the theories, he has given his readers a rather deep overview of what modern physics consist of.

Throughout the book, there are sections filled with explanations, explaining and describing to the readers are quarks are, what the standard model is, how the experiment works. All this is very interesting knowledge.

To contrast the inherent technical nature of the book, Butterworth also includes many short stories about his travels around the world as a physicists attending conventions. All these provide the much needed mental break after each information dump.

The book is a great introduction to particle physics. Butterworth has put in much effort to explain his concepts by describing his thinking process. It is a great book to get you hooked to learning more about modern physics.

As for the sketchnotes, I tried as hard as I can do include the information, but if there are any errors or mistakes about the physics, do drop me a comment to inform me. Thanks.



Review: Logo Design Love by David Airey

A great introduction to brand and identity design. The book showcases different design projects, placing emphasis on showcasing the design thinking process of the designers, taking the readers through the design journey.

Although it may not be a step by step instruction manual, the concepts introduced are fairly useful and can be applied to various forms of design in general. It will serve as a good guide for a beginner to learn the workflow of different established designers.


Review: Accidental Genius by Mark Levy

This is a piece of work inspired by Peter Elbow’s Writing with Power. Many of the concepts here are introduced in Writing with Power as one of the tools for writing.

In this book however, Levy chooses to focus on use of free writing to generate ideas and organize process thoughts. He applies it to his own experiences to show us how to free writing has helped in his article writing assignments. Along the way, he also provides many tips to help writers get on with generating new ideas.

It is a great book compliment to Peter Elbow’s Writing with Power, providing a more directed and practical approach to writing.

Review: Gambling Theory by Mason Mulmuth

A great introduction to gambling concepts. However, Mason did not really wrote this book with beginners in mind, hence does not go in-depth as to the “step-by-step” of gambling. That said, this book is rather easy to follow, and gives a general sense of what to expect when you go pro gambling.

The book list at the end of the book was especially helpful. It culls all the great books and separated them from those with dubious content. It makes sure you gets it right the first time round.


How I learnt basic morse in 3 days

In cheaper by the dozen, it was mentioned in one of the childhood stories that her father managed to teach morse to kids over a short span of an holiday.

Then I thought to myself, considering my age and my access to technology, I could probably be able to do it in a week, could I?

Starting with the trick

The method used in the story was to use phrases to help memorize the dots and dashes of the alphabets, using the emphasis of certain syllabus as hints.

The first few of the alphabets were given in the book, I went online and googled the rest. I settled on this list that I found on wikipedia.

I read through them a few times. It wasn’t really to memmorize it, more of trying to get the phrases in my head.

Testing it out

Armed with the knowledge, I went online to search for a morse training app. You could probably download any of them, I think it doesn’t really make much difference if the funtionalities are the same.

I downloaded the morse trainer, and tried out the transmission mode. I tried to transmit some words, I couldn’t really get the hang of it, I was too slow, the pause makes the app thinks that I am between words, I couldn’t continue.

Getting hang of tapping morse

This isn’t the way to go. I went on to the freepad mode and tried to enter some words. There was a guide in the app. Apparently, between letters the pause should be the length of a dot, and between words, the length of a dash.

I practice really hard. And after a while, I got the hang of it. The trick was to type the letters and say it out at the same time. Somehow, you will insert that pause automatically. But lets say you are pausing too long and the spaces keeps appearing, You can try saying out the letter faster. Similiarly, if your tapping are all jumbled up, you can slow down the recitation to get the right speed.

How do I push this to the extreme? When practicing in the word mode, I switched off the sound and looked away while tapping out the code. I find that this helps me grasp the momentum better as I learn not to rely on the use of audio and visual feedback.

Memorising the alphabets

It finally the main part. I still remember my first word – “elements”. When I was training the tapping, I wrote out this word in morse (with the appropriate spaces) and tried tapping it out. After trying out for really long, I found that I memorise morse best in the visual form.

What do I mean visual form? It means that I memorize the alphabets in blocks. Take “L” for example. Initially, I used the phrase method, so I have got “he LOST his lid”, which translate to “._..”.

After a while I realized that when I actually tried to recall “L”, the block of dots and dashes came to me really quickly. So when I got “L”, the image “._..” just came very quickly to me. For me that seemed like a shortcut.

This works for the more common letters such as “E”, “T”, “L”, “Y”, etc. Interesting these patterns are opposite pairs, which means that exchanging dots for dashes, you get “T” from “E” and “Y” from “L”. Maybe that’s why it was easier for me to imagine it as blocks.

For the rest, I still use the phrases. For example, “G” for “GOO GLE ad”, “V” for “vic to ry Vee”. These are the less common letters, so the phrase still prove to be a great help, especially if the phrase jumps up to you very quickly. (tip: choose a weird and memorable phrase)

But after tapping morse for a long time, I suspect that it will be very easy to imagine the letters of blocks of dots and dashes. Take “R” for example. I learnt it as “ro TA tion”, but now when I encounter it in my tapping, the block of “._.” jumps up to me immediately.


After 2 days of practicing, I am proud to say that I have some basic mastery of morse code. Without refering to any sheet of information, I can type out the words with relative accuracy (except for the occasional pausing too long problems) without any form of feedback (audio or visual).

I took 10 tries to tap out 10 words
score for morse tapping

Now that I am suffuciently capable of transmitting morse, I will be moving on to receiving morse and decoding it in real time. The practice mode in the app does not really provide a very good practice (I feel), as it does not use real words. I will find another way to hone my morse receiving skills before reporting any results.


Over the short span of 3 days, I have learnt to transmit morse. That might be long for some people, but I feel that being able to reach such level of efficiency is rather commendable.

But to be fair, I had a lot of time to practice, and didn’t have much other things to distract me from my learning.

So, if you are wondering if you can spend a weekend learning morse, no worries, start today and you will be tapping morse in no time.

Review: Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone

This book gives an interesting insight into the world of magic. In Fooling Houdini, Stone described how his own fascination with magic have so deeply affected how he interacted with the world around him, giving him a whole new perception on the world.

This book is a great inspiration that gives impetus to hone one’s craft. In Stone’s search for his unique form magic, he took advantage of his awe of the mysterious to gather new knowledge and finally produced a trick of his own.

Stone’s book serves as aspiration for amateur magicians to start working on their craft so that they can one day showcase a performance they can truly call their own.


Review: The Nature of Software Development by Ron Jeffries

Jeffries included many of his personal insights into the book. Although this book does not really provide an actual framework that one can easily “plug and play”, it explains the rationale behind many modern management frameworks targeted at tech startups and firms.

Although this book is not exactly useful in itself, it is a great compliment to books that details how to execute certain agile framework such as scrum and XP.