Geeks With Blogs

Things Mark Flory Forgets Because Who Needs Memory When There is the Internet
In August of 2006 I was listening to the radio and stumbled across a guy named Dave Ramsey.  The simplest way to distill Dave Ramsey down is: Get out of debt, stay out of debt, live beneath your means.

Before long my wife and I were both on board with it and we were budgeting and cutting our expenses.  This created a really big problem for me because my wife had been waiting for a long time to intervene on my addiction.  The budget gave her the perfect excuse.

My drug of choice...Technology books.

I used to go the library and just peruse the Technology section and ponder what book will be my choice.  I bought at least one a month, and usually two.  I almost always read them.

My wife hated that I "wasted" money on them.  But all that knowledge in one place, hard bound, and shiny was impossible for me to resist. 

But now I had a problem.  Our agreed upon personal spending limit was going to be severely damaged by my book habit.  If I continued on this track it was going to damage my other spending habit, eating out for lunch.  There had to be a way.

At first, I tried the used book store.

The used book store is a great place to get cheap books on any subject, as long as that subject is a little out of date.  In our world a little out of date is a lot out of date, bordering on useless.  For example, I found a really great Prolog book, which I bought (I am not an addict, I do not have a problem), but try finding a good .Net 3.x book and you are going to be out of luck.

This was not the answer.

So I tried the library.

It was as bad or worse than the used bookstore.  You trade free against cheap but you add on a time limit.

Still not an answer.

But then I remembered a trial I had done of O'Reilly Safari Books online.  I had signed up for the trial, perused one book, and then went back to my hard back ways.  But maybe Safari could be the methadone to my heroin a good substitute.

I was wrong.  It was better.

Compared to the original drug it was more flexible, far cheaper, and does not take up nearly as much room in my basement.
  • I now have thousands of titles to choose from and 75-100 new ones every month. 
  • I could dabble in a book, taking just the pieces I needed, without having to pay for the whole thing. 
  • Once I was done I could jettison the book from my shelf (after a month) and put another in its slot.  It did not sit around and gather dust.
  • I could search through tons of books and quickly pull up sources from one book to another.
  • I no longer had to haul all of my "core" books with me to work.
  • I could explore into other areas without worrying that I might not like what I find.
The only negative:
  • It is not as easy to read while you are taking a bath.  I like a nice hot bath and a good book.  And yes, I prefer bubbles.
I have survived though (I read fiction instead).

Some would make the argument that all the information you could want is available somewhere on the Internet. 

Now, I consider Google a close, personal friend but I have to say he has some shortcomings.   The main one is, although he does know everything, he keeps that knowledge flung all over the place.  It is difficult and time consuming to get it all together in one place.  Even if you do, the resulting information is often less than coherent.

So, for my money nothing beats a book, especially for learning something new.  A Book will concentrate on one subject and do so with, generally, a unified voice.

Except for my money I don't want a book, I want access to thousands. Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2009 1:06 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Safari Books Online Review

# re: Safari Books Online Review
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Good Idea-I often buy books on impulse, that I never end up finishing. Good Business Books as well at Safari Books.
Left by Steve Stewart on Apr 08, 2009 3:58 PM

# re: Safari Books Online Review
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Also has a mobile view for reading on your phone.
Left by Zark on Sep 14, 2009 4:17 PM

# re: Safari Books Online Review
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Hi, thanks for the review. I too used to buy lots of books, but have trimmed down considerably since I started using Safari. I was wondering whether we have something similar (subscription service) for novels/science fiction etc.? Any idea?
Left by Suresh Iyer on Nov 07, 2010 10:51 PM

# re: Safari Books Online Review
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Hmm...access to unlimited knowledge for a set fee, dabbling without buying the whole book, saving space, wait...can't read it in the bubble bath! I don't know. Tough call.
Left by Carter @ Carport on Feb 19, 2011 8:23 PM

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