Dear Blog Readers,
Most of you are far, far cleverer than I am in many ways, not the least of which is your knowledge of all things technological. It dawned on me just recently that instead of muddling around on my own, I might get some advice from the biblioblogosphere. And so, dear bibliobloggers, I have two questions for you–a hardware question and a software/reader’s advisory question. I’ll put them briefly first and then expand.
- What kind of new computer should I buy?
- What books or other things should I recommend to a potential budding computer
programprogrammer? [thanks, Greg]
- I have an iBook that I got in 2003. I like it (though I curse myself on a regular basis for getting just the CD-ROM drive and not the combo one), but the battery is dead, and it currently runs at the speed of frozen molasses, especially if you want to do something really crazy, like run more than one program. I have deleted extraneous programs and done other things that people have suggested. Lately, though, people have suggested “Get a new computer.” I am trying to talk myself out of the idea that I need to have a Mac, but as I’ve been using Macs since 1986, I’m not having much luck. From what I’ve seen of Windows Vista, I do not like it, although I guess I’ve gotten used to XP. There is the whole open source operating system option, which could be good, but realisitically, I am not going to buy an old computer and install Ubuntu myself, so if I went that route, I’d either have to buy it already installed or find someone to do it for me. And finally, although there are many nice ergonomic aspects to having a desktop, I’ve had a laptop for ten years now, and I think I’d like to continue with them. So, any suggestions?
- There’s a kid in town who seems like a budding geek, or at any rate a potential budding geek. He said to me one day, “I’ve learned more from 15 minutes of talking to our sys admin than I have in 5 years of computer classes.” Earlier this summer I showed him Jessamyn’s Ubuntu video, and he got interested, so I downloaded it for him and he brought in a CD so he could burn a copy and play around with it on one of his old PCs. He now routinely comes in and talks to me about partitions and other stuff about which I am totally clueless. Awhile ago he asked for “some books about computers.” I couldn’t determine from the reference interview exactly what that meant, so I got him one about website building, one reference book, and one copy of Beginning Programming for Dummies (translation: the three books in the system that were less than five years old–I admit that we have no books on Ruby on Rails–but we also don’t have much demand). He’s gotten very interested in the programming book. I’m going to recommend The Cuckoo’s Egg for one of the books he has to read for English this year, and perhaps some Neal Stephenson. What else should I point him to, either educationally or recreationally?
Thank you all in advance for whatever advice you may have–you can leave it here in the comments, e-mail it to newrambler at gmail, or catch me on IM sometime. I am happy to return the favor should you ever have any questions about chronological order vs. publishing order in The Chronicles of Narnia (though actually Wikipedia has that covered) or how to translate things into Latin (though mine is kind of rusty) or recommendations for serial killer murder mysteries (I don’t read them, but my coworkers do).