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Learn better from information or misinformation?

Every time I learn a new technology, I go straight to the website and read the "What is Technology X?" blurb. Invariably, their description of their own technology is vague and elusive, so I find the "Learning Technology X" tutorial and start reading. I rarely get past the second or third page. The information they give is too normative or axiomatic, if that makes sense. It doesn't take.

Ironically, core concepts don't start clicking until I begin hearing misinformation or anecdotal comments about the technology from discussion boards or coworkers, such as: "JSP is just an alternate way of writing servlets", or "Struts is more than just a fancy servlet and a tag library, you clod". I realize the comment reveals a misperception or partial falsehood, but for precicely that reason it helps me get an overall feel for the technology; faster than from reading reams of documentation.

Does this happen to anybody else, or is it just me? Why does this happen?

Now I'm trying to learn what Java Server Faces are and am trudging through the same process. Are there any useful pieces of misinformation or anecdotal comments I should know about JSF?

Friday, April 30, 2004

I don't know about this principle in programming, but I know I learned a lot about Romanian by listening to the types of grammar mistakes Romanians make when they speak English.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Yes, I wish they could just splat a two-sentence 'condensate' on the front page.

".NET is a Java-like bytecode interpreter with a huge class library for anything; all four languages compile to the same bytecode.

To learn more, click here."

Phew, thanks!

Ignorant youth
Friday, April 30, 2004

It's easier to understand something that's "close to" something you already know, than to learn something that is totally new.

Like when I check into CVS and have to merge... the smaller the diff, the easier it is to understand the differences.

Should be working
Friday, April 30, 2004

This is the whole principle behind having a debate - by having polarized, extremist positions presented together, people get to see the best of each side. Also, the extremeists are then forced to defend their positions and a lot of BS falls by the way side. What's unhealthy is seeing only one side of the story.

"There is proof my opponent is a child molester!"
"Don't listen to that man - he is being investigated for being a Nazi war criminal!"

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, May 1, 2004

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