Why would I ever read a Technical Book?

When I was in college, I used to laugh at the “technical books” section of the bookstore in the mall. Well, actually I didn’t, because at the time, I would go there exculsively to drool over all the science fiction books.. $3.50 or so each.. that I could not afford, as I was living on ramen noodles and cans of peas, because that’s all I could afford. (link)

Then, when I became a working stiff paid professional, I would go to the technical books section and laugh, because.. I knew all that stuff. There was a lot less to know in the early 1990’s, and there was a lot of stuff “beneath me” (Dbase II, FoxPro, etc). (I was cool, I was porting apps from Clipper S87 to 6.0, and nothing came even close to the beauty of LPC)

In the late 1990’s, I would sneer, because I was a close-minded anti-microsoft pro-linux-perl guy, and I really did not want to know MFC. I did, however, buy and own the Perl Cookbook, which opened my mind to the amazing ways to hack things into place to get things done. I used that book a LOT. (The next year, i got sent to C# class because they had an extra spot, and I have changed my mind about Microsoft) actually, I would say that Microsoft changed, and no longer annoyed me. C# was almost as awesome as LPC. (link)

For a while, in 2006 – when I found myself facing unemployment (it lasted all of about 2 weeks), i found myself browsing technical books, lamenting: so much to learn, what shall I learn? I ended up gravitating towards unit testing and Asp.Net WebForms, which I learned almost entirely via google, not from a book. Thank you .Net Rocks and http://www.hanselminutes.com/ for the pointers! In this case, the dead-tree books did not do anything for me, and being unemployed, I felt I shouldn’t be spending $$$ if stuff was available on the internet for free.

I did buy some technical books in 2008 to read on vacation – wow, that was a rousing success. (Not). I hardly picked them up. A waste of $100+. (Patterns and Practises in C#, something else). They’re still too expensive, when all of that knowledge is available for relatively free on the internet.

So, i repeat the question:

Why would I ever buy a technical book?

My answer:

I bought one two nights ago. I wanted to know about how to use EF Code First – I couldn’t sleep – I bought the book on my iPad Kindle – and I read it, cover to cover, in about 45 minutes. And my lightbulb was born.

Here is what is different:

  • I have a very specific application, for which I might need the technology. This is not “reading for fun”, but rather, reading to get a specific job done.
  • I don’t know enough about the technology to know what to search for. (searching online only gave me introductory examples, nothing with real meat.)
  • I’m approaching it not as “a ton of money spent for a dead paperweight that I’ll never look at again”, but rather as a fairly inexpensive class briefing me in a specific subject which i can refer back to later. Most of these books cost me less than an hour’s work, after taxes. (I am a professional, and I need to know as much as possible, as quickly as possible, to give my client the kind of service that I want to give them.)
  • I have an e-reader. on my iPad, and pretty soon, on an e-ink device. I can archive with impunity, without killing bookshelves.

And thus, I’m sold. Here’s what I choose to read up on for my current client, to ensure I’m giving them the best that I can:

  • PostgresSQL (done) (pdf, free)
  • EF CodeFirst (done) ($10)
  • EF (general)
  • Asp.Net MVC 3 +/- Razor
  • Dependency Injection (Structuremap vs Unity)


Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

.net 3d 3d-printing 4k abc15 algorithms ames android anonymous types asp.net audio editing aws backup basecamp beatunes biorhythm bittorrent blender blog boston marathon bpm c# caffeine campfire candycrush car carmax charity chiropractor cities-skylines clog clone codelouisville codepalousa coding coffee collaboration color run ComputerElbow ComputerVision configuration consulting cooking crash course crashplan crestwood cycling dabda dan dapper DataSet ddl diabetes dictation dotnetcore dotnetmud downtown e-cycling elite excel exercise expiration facebook feature-branching firefall flipflops Flow FL Studio focus food forecastle fortresscraft franklinplanner gadgets game-design games git github google docs google maps gopro gps grandpa greenshot hack half marathon headless health heart rate hiren ignew integration testing interop inventory ios ipad itunes javascript jobs karma kdf keyboards keys kittens lamont laptop lavalamp lego life lifehack linq linqtotwitter linux los angeles louisville mandelbulber massage therapy mastery-teaching maths merge metformin Minecraft miniature modeling monitor mud muhammad ali institute music mvc mycartracks netfabb nexus10 node nostalgia nutrition nwipe oldham county grand slam opal openjscad openscad owin pacedj paper mockup pepakura performance photoscan politics pomodoro postgresql powershell premiere prius process product-management project-management qa resharper review rmi roman road 5k RSI rubiks running samsung 700t sandals schedule scooter scribblelive selenium service shapeways sleep slic3r sneakersync snot software software-engineering solidoodle soylent spacegame speaking sql sqlite SSDT SSIS standing state-machine stayfocusd stonehearth sunset tablet teaching team teamcity teamtreehouse terraform testing tfs time timelapse torque touch tracks trs80 Tuple tutor twitter ubuntu unit testing utilities video video editing visual studio vscode vsvim warp stabilizer windows 8 windows home server wordpress wpf xml
%d bloggers like this: