Tough Next Step

Is it just me or did the progression stop?

I installed Ubuntu, learned how to use the standard terminal, got familiar with the commands… now what?

The curriculum and online lessons did a great job in introducing me to Unix and how to use it and what it can do. However, how do I up my skills even further? Things like better terminals (Tmux?), remote access, greater customization,  and more ways to draw me in are completely foreign still. I feel as though there are tools out there that can help me become a better Unix programmer but I haven’t been able to find them. Sure there’s the internet but it’s an even worse experience trying to sort through the garbage bloggers who are trying to teach random applications; it’s a pain to try to find good help.

So besides buying how-to books how do people get so good at Unix and start hacking away?

I mean you can only mess around with trial and error for so long, right? You have to run out of exciting new commands eventually too don’t you?

Technical Textbooks or Lack-There-Of

Once again I’m amazed by Zed Shaw’s exercises for learning Python; you can find them for free here:

http://learnpythonthehardway.org/book/

It’s a surprisingly very intuitive way to learn the Python language. From start to [I'm at the half way point right now 26/50], it’s been a great progressive increase in difficulty and even coolness! However, this makes me wonder why can’t more books or courses take a page from this guy’s book? So many, in fact too many, college textbooks are not effective at all as teaching tools. That’s why I enjoy taking programming classes, especially ECE 2524, that doesn’t require buying a $150+ book which may or may not be effective and efficient. Intro To Unix definitely has its syllabus nailed because I actually enjoy doing exercises from the class’s “book”. Every other class, however, is a whole other challenge!

My advice: rent books for just the semester from places like Amazon.com and never ever buy from the on-campus bookstore without checking prices online! Also, unless you just enjoy the convenience at the end of the year, don’t sell the books back to the bookstore; once again, check online to see what retailers are offering for your edition.