On 4/13/05, why the lucky stiff <ruby-talk / whytheluckystiff.net> wrote:
> Sy wrote:
> >I noted that.  I read through some of it.. I understand some of it.
> >While it certainly cheers me up and gives a good introduction and
> >such.. It's not motivating in the least.  It got very horrible very
> >fast and I've no intention to finish it until I can make better use of
> >the early chapters.
> >
> Can you spell out any of your criticisms further?  I've never written a
> book before and I'm sort of guessing as to what really works.
> Genuinely, I thought of recommending the book here (except that it's
> incomplete) since the motivation provided by my book is in the
> narrative.  The story motivates learning because our right brain and
> left brain both become engaged.
> 
> But I can't presume to know for sure.  It's an experiment that I only
> hope will click.

The tone of the writing somehow changes.  It's very difficult to put a
finger on.  Early on there is a kind of lighthearted exploration and
comedy, but later on it really does feel like you're reaching.  The
volume of insanity increased for me as I progressed.

There was a signal:noise ratio which at the beginning meant that I
could be plesantly distracted by both relevant and irrelevant things
inbetween the fairly serious bits.  This was extremely valuable to me
as the entire notion of sitting down and learning a programming
language is intimidating.

Basically, a regular person -- nomatter how enthusiastic -- has an
attention problem.  Their head gets full.  They run up against big
ideas they can't quite process.  Some people are stubborn enough to
think to themselves that they'll digest the ideas later and so they
press on.. reading even more.

In the traditional environment, that's suicide.. a person isn't
building on a good foundation.  That's like skipping out of math
class.. there are concepts a person would miss out on which are
assumed to be understood later.  This is even more visible when
learning programming.  So the idea of introducing intentional "noise"
with both relevant and irrelevant topics, side-notes, pictures, etc..
really helps force the most enthusiastic person to pause from their
thinking about the learning and gives them just enough time to have
that all trickle in.

Your notion about left/right brains is a good one.. I found myself
thinking one way and then I was thinking another way.. while the other
side of me healed from the brutality that is learning.  ;)

Now later on in the subject matter there is an increasing amount of
complexity.  You began building on the earlier-laid foundation.

The unfortunate thing is that people like me figure we're smart and
can continue to follow along without doing much ruby hacking on our
own time.  This is a serious overestimation of ability.  I'm actually
a complete idiot and I should have repeatedly taken additional breaks
to think about things, experiment in my own time.. my brain needs time
for the swelling to come down.  =)

Now I didn't read it all in one sitting.. I did take breaks.. and I
did experiment.  But I didn't quite have the set of tools I should
have had to take full advantage of those breaks.  This is the gap I'm
trying to fill in here.

Ok, the subject matter got more complex.  This brings many problems. 
However, the lunacy-level also increased somewhat exponentially.  The
signal dropped from the complexity, and the noise was raised by the
irrelevance of the distraction.  I suppose my issue is that the
"quality of noise" was reduced.. it was not topical enough.

My basic problem with the complexity later on stems from my not
building a good foundation earlier on.


Frankly, that narration of yours is why I got into Ruby.  Thanks.