Mark studied economics, science, and computer programming, and has worked in the computer software industry in several roles, including as a technical writer and QA engineer.
He is currently working on both fiction and non-fiction writing projects.
In his spare time, he occasionally volunteers with disaster preparedness and environmental groups.
Where to find Mark Gilkey online
by Mark Gilkey
As a severely ill truck driver lies in a hospital bed in Africa, an untested 3-man team struggles to stop the epidemic that the driver has unwittingly spread. Carrying a new vaccine into remote villages spread across the African plain, and overcoming obstacles generated by both man and nature, can the team save the lives of others — as well as their own — before it’s too late?
Mark Gilkey's tag cloud
Smashwords book reviews by Mark Gilkey
on June 01, 2018
This is a difficult book to review.
I'll start with the negatives (but please don't give up on this book immediately):
* The book contains at least one serious error, which is that on page 12 it has several lines like
but that should actually be something like:
In other words, the function call is missing!
* It seems as though quite a bit of the book is devoted to getting you to buy his other books and products, although I'm not entirely sure whether this is a a seriously obnoxious piece of marketing or just a running joke that I took too literally.
* The English is pretty mangled. Like most engineers, this guy can't write.
Overall, the book is short, shallow and annoying.
That doesn't sound very promising.
So why is it still worth considering?
And although the humor was mostly annoying and distracting, there were a few slightly funny lines. And, let's face it, most programming books are dry and dull. This author went waaaay too far in the other direction, but a less intense injection of humor might have been a welcome change.
Most of his stories are dumb and annoying, but a few have a purpose. For example, he uses a story about repetitive chores to introduce the idea of putting re-usable code in functions. He doesn't do this very well, but the IDEA is good -- take something people are familiar with, and use it to introduce a concept that many people will find new.
So rather than trash this book, with its many flaws, let me do something else: let me tell you what (small) audience might actually like this book. If you or someone you know has ALL of the following characteristics, you MIGHT like this book:
* You are too poor to afford any other book; free is crucial to you.
* You know HTML well. (The author explicitly lists this as a pre-requisite, and I agree.)
* You are either very young (I don't mean fresh out of college -- I mean like 7 years old), or like extremely silly humor, or are seriously intimidated by computers and want a book that will distract you from your fears.
For myself, as an experienced programmer (and a person whose English is far better than this author's), this book is a 2-star book -- and that's being generous because it's free.
But for the right audience, this could be a 3-star book.
I admire people who are willing to spend their time to share their knowledge and enthusiasm at no charge. Rather than trash this author, I would like to encourage him to fix the bugs in his code, improve his English, drastically reduce (but not eliminate) the silly stuff, and try again.
on June 01, 2018
Ouch! I included some buggy HTML in my original review to point out the bug, but apparently the HTML was interpreted as HTML, not part of the review, and was not displayed. I can't fix that by putting HTML in again, so I'll put in a small amount of text without the surrounding bits of HTML.
The original has
but should have
In other words, the function call is missing; only the parameter to the function call was included.