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Old 12-31-2009   #16
Council Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,444

While we're talking about the wishlist...

I would add, regarding the programming books, that you can skim through the books relatively quickly and then rely on online help sites as you work through problems (meaning you don't need to bring the books with you). Some books are now offered in .pdf or other e-book format at a reduced price if you buy the hard copy book (usually log onto a website and answer some question such as "what is the fifth word on page 255?"). E-books are nice when they're reference books, because you can run a search for key words.

In working on my site with MS Visual Studio, I have often run into stumbling blocks that I couldn't figure out even with the books. I've found that the easiest way to find the answer is to just input the search terms using the syntax or topic of what you're trying to do, plus the site-specific search in Google (recent example for me: XslCompile Xslt and you can pretty quickly find a forum where someone else has already asked a question about what you're trying to figure out. In the rare cases when I haven't found an answer, I've posted the question at and then gone to bed. By the time I woke up, an answer was usually posted. I've hardly cracked the stack of books that I own in months - I just rely on the help forums.

And, yes, this is on topic for the thread. As I noted several comments earlier, the internet can be a far more powerful tool for learning than a library. My experience certainly confirms this. I've got a stack of about $300 of books on various programming and web development topics, yet I've come to rely on online help forums.
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