I could jump for joy about this :).
For the past several months, I’ve been looking at the trove of books that I have been reading, considering, looking over, and occasionally reviewing, reconsidering, and otherwise just looking at when I need them. What’s missing very often is the human interaction with others. When it comes to fiction, it’s easier to find people interested in talking about the books they read and what they get out oif them. Technical books are a little more challenging, because of two major issues. First, it requires a group of people be interested in the topic and the technology. Second, there are many people who don’t want to engage in these discussions because, honestly, they are afraid they will be found to be technically lacking. It’s like the guy who snowboards and brags about his prowess, but somehow never gets the opportunity to go up and ride with you. Or on the other hand, you invite someone and they are not the “braggadocious” type; they’re just afraid that they won’t be able to keep up, so they decline or refrain from participating.
“I suck at programming. I can read code, I can see what it’s doing, I can even make modifications to code that already exists. Put me in front of a blank text editor, though, and say “write something”, and I’m toast!”
There, that wasn’t so hard!
Now I’ve set the expectation. I’m no great shakes at this. I feel the same about Ruby as I do about Spanish and German, two languages I studied when I was younger. I learned the rules, I learned a lot of words, I learned how to extract out of the air what I heard and read and process it and get the gist of what it meant, but I struggled with the fact that I never got good at it, and never to the point where I could converse freely. Now all these years later, I’m having the same discussion when it comes to programming, and I’ve decided something. I can do better.
So to those in San Francisco, I hope you’ll come out and participate with me in this little adventure. It seems well suited to the goals of TESTHEAD and what I’ve done in the past. The first title the Book Club is considering is “The Practical Programmer“, which coincidentally, is a title I recently bought out of curiosity and a desire to understand “how the other half lives”. Looks like it will be more than just a curiosity now. Who knows, I may just be able to make “five new friends” (or more) in this process, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get from being a bystander who hears a little here and there to one able to be part of the real conversation.