Books vs. Internet

Programming Books

I’ve been getting some email from interested readers wondering what I’m up to lately. It turns out that being a tech entrepreneur isn’t all that exciting day-to-day, especially when you’re in stealth mode… because there isn’t much to talk about!

Especially in my case, since I’m in full-on learning mode. I hereby present exhibit A, my stack of programming-related books. (I’ve run out of space on my bookshelf so they’re sitting on the ground.) The top 8 books have been acquired within the last month, and I still haven’t even gone through 10% of any one of them. On the other hand, in the last month I’ve probably learned more than I have in all of 2006!

This leads me to a tangent — books are still the best way of learning stuff, even in this age. I first thought I could do away with books and just rely the internet for what I need to know, but it turns out that when I find a webpage or a forum posting about how to do something, I can never be sure what version of the software the answer applies to. Is the answer about Apache 1.x or Apache 2.x? Is it about PHP 4 or PHP 5? I can make a guess based on the date, but that obviously sucks. However, when I buy a good book, I know that the quality of the writing will be high, and I can be sure that it covers the latest revision of the software.

Anyway, all this to say that I’m in hermit-hacker mode these days, with the accompanying hermit-hacker schedule in full effect. This means rarely going to bed before the single digits, and rarely waking up before the double digits. But don’t get me wrong… it’s freakin’ fun.

Besides, it’s minus double digits outside… What else could I possibly be doing? :)

  1. Glen said:

    I see room at the top of your photograph for one more book–don’t forget XSLT, it’s a very powerful and elegant programming language. The APress title on XSLT 2.0 may be a good bet.

  2. Antonio said:

    What’s your time frame for getting through all these books? I read the gazette article which mentioned your name and found your site. I agree with your book vs internet … I’d let to get involved in web dvlpmnt. Where do I begin? I do UNIX support for a living and have not been exposed to much dvlpmnt besides some small korn shell stuff.


  3. Fred said:

    Hey Antonio,

    Thanks for dropping by. Only the top 10 books are new to my collection so it’s not as bad as it looks. :) Mainly I just use them as reference books, to look stuff up when I have a question. Otherwise the learning process is simply through hacking! As with anything else, to get involved in something (e.g. web development) I’d simply start hacking on your own little projects… Like a blog for starters. :) Take care.

  4. Looks like you are planning on building your site. Man, it took me quite a few years part time to get to this point. I don’t think you’ll have any problem tackling all these in 6 months full time. Travel well on this road friend.

  5. Books rocks man, I love sinking into a good one on a technology that I’m really into. I always admire the author’s patience in writing and structuring the text. I’m also always impressed when an author sneaks in some humour…I’m like: this is page 947 and the dude is still in a good mood!

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