Make Smarter - Free Interactive JavaScript Book, Integrating SQL Server and Bing Maps, Patent Absurdity

First up in this week’s Make Smarter comes via Download Squad and is a free, interactive book called Eloquent JavaScript. It’s targeted at the beginning programmer, but there’s enough in there to keep most folks entertained. The unique thing about the book is it’s totally interactive. It includes a console to allow you to view and run the code being discussed. This is a great way to learn a programming language, and I hope other books do it in the future (although doing this in a browser is admittedly much easier with JavaScript).

Via the All Points Blog, simple-talk has a great introduction to integrating SQL Server 2008 with Bing Maps. It includes geocoding addresses and creating a pin map. It’s a well written tutorial, with all the code in .NET (C#) and JavaScript.

Nettuts+ is a great site for tutorials, and they recently had one on using local storage with HTML5. It’s a quick video, but it shows the power and simplicity of the technology, and there’s enough browser compatibility right now for it to be useful.

This is a little out of scope, but learning real languages is a lot like learning (really awful) programming languages. If you’re tired of waiting for either a universal translator or a babel fish, the US Foreign Service Institute has put all of its language courses online. The material is in PDF and MP3 files and covers more than 40 languages, with the Cantonese language course having 30 lessons with two PDF’s and 45 audio files. On a side note I think the FSI guys might want to hire a web designer or two because, well, damn.

And finally, via, the free video Patent Absurdity has been released and is ready for viewing or download (in Ogg of course). It’s about our incredibly busted patent system, particularly how it relates to software and the Bilski case. It’s dry material, but it’s very interesting, and includes some big names in free software like Stallman and Moglen and others. Here’s to hoping the Supreme Court doesn’t botch this one.