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This month kicks off a new series on the Scala language and a series of Pragmatic Bookshelf staff profiles.

With this September issue we introduce a new series on the Scala language by Venkat Subramaniam.

Scala has been called the future of the JVM. It’s an inspired blend of object-oriented and functional features. Simple but powerful, it’s the language the developers of Twitter chose to implement the back end of their system. If you don’t know Scala, it’s time to get acquainted. If you’re already acquainted, there are probably some features you’re not all that familiar with.

Either way, Venkat is the guy to make the introduction. He wrote Programming Scala and if you’ve attended many conferences, you’ve probably heard him speak. And you know you’ll enjoy his introduction to this important language.

To kick off this ongoing Scala coverage, we're sharing another Scala article, this one by frequent contributor Brian Tarbox.

But wait, there's more.

Jeff Langr and Tim Ottinger are back with another in their ongoing series of agile insights. Here they reveal the only agile tools you’ll ever need.

We also have another history article by Dan Wohlbruck. This one is about the origin of that familiar cash-dispensing machine, the ATM.

Ours is a small company, but it can still get confusing for readers to know who’s who. Plus, some new people have joined the Pragmatic Bookshelf staff this year. So it seemed like a good time to start cataloguing who does what around here. Our new series of staff profiles kicks off with an introduction to Miles Forrest, who does our screencasts and podcasts. A good man to know.

And of course that’s not all. As usual, we culled the collective wisdom of Twitter for some Choice Bits, and at a time when everyone is insisting that they know the real secret of Steve Jobs’s success, John Shade admits he has no special insight into Steve at all.