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30 October 2011 @ 10:22 am
Books and tutors  
When you're looking to get into a subject, and you're pretty much at ground-level, it may very well be the case that everything you need to know is already out there, but you don't know where to look.

A search engine query for a problem[1]turns up some really specific solution to a really specific problem[2]  Does it apply to you, in your just-getting-started state? Who knows? If it's analogous or indirectly applicable, it'd take a quasi-expert to correctly realize how. You ask, and people around you may not know, may not think they know, or may simply tell you to google for it.[3] Sometimes, you don't even know who to ask.

Having the right book in this scenario is like having a personal tutor. A good tutor will help you with your problems around core concepts, and will have good answers to your immediate questions. A good tutor just gets you on your feet; once you're there, you can gain experience and learn where to find answers to your next sets of questions.

[1] "Why is my program getting terminated without a crash dump?"
[2] "That's a bug in that particular version. It's fixed in VCS, grab the latest sources."
[3] Which may well be the first two or three responses in a search engine query. "I'm feeling lucky" indeed.

(This the first part of a series of thoughts I had about how I don't think for-pay books are going away.)

thargol: teteyethargol on October 30th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
I don't think for-pay books are going away

Going away? No. Being relegated to expensive, niche markets. Almost certainly.