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The cable guy (book donations)

© November 2004 Tony Lawrence

A cable tech was here over the weekend because my wife felt that our telephone wasn't working properly (we have one of our phone lines through cable and the other through Verizon). Turns out there was nothing wrong with their line, though the Verizon line was full of static. The tech was apparently Middle Eastern, spoke English well, although with a definite accent and some slight misuse of words. Very pleasant, very helpful. He noticed all the computers scattered about my office, and told me that he was taking night classes at a local community college. "Very hard," he said, "very hard. This C++ is very hard".

I commiserated. I can't really imagine how hard it must be to learn all of this from square one. I just slid into it, starting way back in 1967, picking up a little bit year by year. As the industry grew, so did my knowledge. Not so hard for me because of that. But this poor man, and hampered by a foreign language as well. Yes, it must be very hard.

But - happy thought - I have a lot of C and C++ books here that I no longer need. Would he like some? Yes, he definitely would. I went to my shelves and picked out half a dozen for him. It was like giving candy to children. "Thank you, thank you. Very nice present. Very nice present".

After he left, I wondered if the colleges have any programs for people like him. Tech books are often valuable for many, many years, and I'm sure there are other people like me who want to make some space on their shelves and hate the thought of throwing them away. The college could have a donation problem for the less fortunate students who can't afford to buy these. I don't know if any such program exists, but I'm going to ask.

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-> The cable guy (book donations)


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More Articles by © Tony Lawrence

"...Tech books are often valuable for many, many years..."

Indeed they are! I have given away several books over the years, amongst them, Lance Levanthal's classic tome on 6502 machine language programming. A friend's son, who recently resurrected a long-dead Commodore 64, is now the proud owner of that publication, along with my copy of Commodore's MADS assembler package.

However, there are two books with which I will never part company, the K&R and K&P whitebooks. Amazingly enough, I still refer to these books on occasion, given that I have had them for some 20 years and have read them from cover to cover numerous times. The K&R expository on C is so dog-eared it looks like a Bassett hound's long lost cousin.


---November 26, 2004

Some colleges run a second-hand bookstall in the first week of term. Price your books, drop them off at the start of the day, pick up your money (or donate it) and your unsold books at the end.

--David Corking

---November 26, 2004


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