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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Tuesday January 21, 2003
02:35 PM

Aieeeee! I dreamed I didn't exist for a month!!!

[ #10104 ]

(Points to anyone who can identify that reference.)

Being a new budding Oracle developer, I decided to make up for lack of experience with books. I debated subscribing to Safari (my nontechnical brother helped me decide ... "But you wouldn't own them when you're done, right?"), and instead settled on buying an O'Reilly Oracle book per month and trying to read a chapter each business day. However, discount opportunities have come up, so I've done some prepurchasing. A lot of prepurchasing, in fact. Since receiving Oracle Essentials at the end of last year, my first volume, I now own 14 physical O'Reilly Oracle titles, plus the Oracle CD Bookshelf, for a library that would make anyone jealous. (Okay, at least people like us with a passing interest in Oracle.)

After working here a few weeks, I met Frank. The first thing I noticed about Frank was the O'Reilly catalog on his desk. The second thing I noticed was the O'Reilly Perl books he owned, including a first edition camel (still the best for new programmers! I'll never forget Job.). "My mother tongue!" I exclaimed, and so began a long discussion of comparing notes, talking Perl ("How did you ever get them to send you to YAPC?"), and broadening the context out to UNIX, Linux, and O'Reilly in general.

The next week Frank led me out to the largest Half Price Books in Dallas. (Yes, I am actually in Dallas now, as opposed to the Tarrant County side of the whole Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex which is often erroneously referred to as "Dallas.") There I got the CD Bookshelf and several other O'Reilly Oracle titles, all for at least half off, as well as Docbook: TDG on closeout for a dollar! I already had Learning PL/SQL and PL/SQL Programming on the way from Bookpool (they are having a 43% off sale on O'Reilly titles!), so I thought I was building quite a library.

However, this weekend my girlfriend and I discovered a 75 percent off bookstore had moved in next to a religious bookstore we wanted to go to. There are apparently two chains of these stores in Texas. If you don't live here, you should come to visit, because they have two rules that will make your heart and wallet sing:

  • Every book is at least 75% off
  • Every book costs at most $5.

So I doubled the size of my library, buying seven books for $5 a pop, and got a Learning Red Hat book for my girlfriend's dad as well, at $3-something. Frank was off yesterday, so I brought him over to my cube today to see the solid block of orange on my shelf. (Except for the SQLJ book. Curse that ill-advised attempt to move the color to the tiny band at the top!) I have so much material that to find something I google to see which table of contents I find it in. My collection is still incomplete, of course, and it'll take me forever to read all this, but I intend to plug through it and become the best I can be.

Come to Texas. We have cheap books. :) Maybe future conferences should be held out here.

My only regret at the moment is there are no O'Reilly books on Oracle Financials/Oracle Applications. I'm at a real loss on these subjects, although I'm borrowing official Oracle training guides from coworkers and hoping to be sent to those courses myself.

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  • It's invaluable for reference books. If you're like me, you program at home and work and don't lug your whole bookshelf around every day.

    Also, you get to really try out books before buying. In one case, I tried a book I probably would have bought in a bookstore only to find that I could get by with other free on-line resources just as well.