Archive for December, 2014

Why do I need a book when it’s all on the web?

31 Dec

 

Raspberry Pi Insider Guide

Do I really need a book where all the information is in one place, and always readily available?

People often ask me why they should purchase one of my books when they can get all the information and learning they need from the web? It’s a fair question, and over time it is one I have thought hard about, so much so that my response nowadays is simply: ‘Can you?’

We all know there is a vast amount of information on the web, but a lot of it’s repetitive, and without structure or depth. Some of it is also of dubious quality and, on occasions, just plain wrong. Of course, there is the exception to the rule and I can think of several websites that are amazing works and both comprehensive and accurate in their coverage. But they are few and far between. If your intention is only to occasionally dabble in a particular subject then there are sites that will provide you with exactly what you need. If you are serious about leaning and mastering a subject then a book wins hands down.

I received an email from an interesting character a few months back who was asking me some questions about various aspects of programming in Raspbian. I answered briefly and also suggested that he would find exactly what he need in one of my books (I am a salesman at heart!). His response was that he didn’t need a book and could get everything he needed off the web. I could only assume he meant from me, as the information he was after wasn’t presented by any search engine I tried afterwards.

Most of my books come in at around 80,000 words; some like Raspberry Pi Insider Guide exceed that by more than 30,000 words. That’s a lot of work and I have yet to see that sort of textual commitment on any website. Books are therefore often more comprehensive in their overall coverage of a topic. And once you have the book, printed or electronic, it remains with you, and that cannot be said of a website which can disappear without trace overnight.

 
 

The Digital Human

01 Dec

 

Cast me away on a desert island and the one thing I would ask to take with me would be podcasts. Being able to listen to my favourite radio shows when and where I want is amazing. Often it is on the drive from here to there and back again, or going for a stroll and loosing myself in my earphones. Every morning my iPhone is primed ready to go as subscriptions are downloaded seamlessly to memory while I slumber. Often the biggest issue is how to fit them all into the listening day – but I find some really relaxing when writing, especially the sport phone ins! BBC s Drama of the Week is perfect for the car and it’s not unusual for me to drive the long way around to ensure I get the full 60 minutes I need!

AleksKrotoski

Science and Technology also feature well on my subs list, but if there is one standout production I would recommend then it’s the Digital Human. Presenter Aleks Krotoski (pictured) examines what it means to live in a digital world. Now it its sixth series each week’s show tackles a particular subject. In the latest series topics have covered Risk (how we expose our self on social media sites such as Facebook), Nostalgia (how the Internet takes advantage of our weakness for the past) and Ethics (can we embed ethics into our technologies?). The subject matter deals with everyday living and the impact technology has on us – seen and unseen. You can download the back editions of the Digital Human podcast and get the latest releases at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01n7094 . Check it out.