John Fremlin's blog: frontpage Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution - O'Reilly Media by Tim O'Reilly12/11/2002 The continuing controversy over online file sharing sparks me to offer a few thoughts as an author and publisher. To be sure, I write and publish neither movies nor music, but books. But I think that some of the lessons of my experience still apply. Lesson 1: Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy. Let me start with book publishing. Sites like Amazon that create a virtual storefront for all the books in print cast a ray of light into the gloom of those warehouses, and so books that would otherwise have no outlet at all can be discovered and bought. Many works linger in deserved obscurity, but so many more suffer simply from the vast differential between supply and demand. I don't know the exact size of the entire CD catalog, but I imagine that it is similar in scope. There are fewer films, to be sure, because of the cost of film making, but even there, obscurity is a constant enemy. Lesson 2: Piracy is progressive taxation
Recommended Reading for Developers Code Complete 2 Steve McConnell's Code Complete 2 is the Joy of Cooking for software developers. Reading it means that you enjoy your work, you're serious about what you do, and you want to keep improving. In Code Complete, Steve notes that the average programmer reads less than one technical book per year. I like this book so much that the title of this very website is derived from it – the examples of what not to do are tagged with the "Coding Horror" icon. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) Arguably the only classic book in our field. I challenge any developer to pick up a copy of The Mythical Man Month and not find this tale of a long-defunct OS, and the long-defunct team that developed it, startlingly relevant. Reading this classic work will certainly be a better use of your time than poring over the latest thousand page technical tome du jour. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability Er… yeah. Why?
Advice for Computer Science College Students by Joel Spolsky Sunday, January 02, 2005 Despite the fact that it was only a year or two ago that I was blubbering about how rich Windows GUI clients were the wave of the future, college students nonetheless do occasionally email me asking for career advice, and since it's recruiting season, I thought I'd write up my standard advice which they can read, laugh at, and ignore. Most college students, fortunately, are brash enough never to bother asking their elders for advice, which, in the field of computer science, is a good thing, because their elders are apt to say goofy, antediluvian things like "the demand for keypunch operators will exceed 100,000,000 by the year 2010" and "lisp careers are really very hot right now." I, too, have no idea what I'm talking about when I give advice to college students. So you'd be better off ignoring what I'm saying here and instead building some kind of online software thing that lets other students find people to go out on dates with. Nevertheless. Next: