Sorting The Old New Thing All Out

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/01/06 03:01 -05:00, original URI:

A couple of months ago I got a phone call from someone at Addison-Wesley who wanted to send me some books. They ended up sending me two of them right away (more on those to another day) but the third didn't show up because a week before someone else from Addison-Wesley had called me and asked if they could send me that same book. I believe I pointed this out and I assumed that they each figured someone else was sending a copy.

The book was Raymond Chen's new book The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows.

I assumed that someone figured I was running some kind of book scam (which I wasn't, though I once got an AE to send me a book not even printed by her publishing company ) but I figured I'd just pick up a copy anyway and I didn't need a free copy to want to buy one....

Though after I saw Dennis E. Hamilton's comment the other day, I realized that perhaps the book might still make its way to me.

Then yesterday, I got two copies of the book (one delivered to my apartment and the other to my office). Oops!

I'll get over it, I'm sure. It is a truly amazing book, for a lot of reasons....

There is the full chapter on International Programming (it's chapter 16), and the fact that various issues I would cover (or have covered) here like sorting in Shell and time zones are covered in some of the other chapters.

There is even the specific mention of me and this blog at the beginning of Chapter 16, which was really quite nice and probably won't decrease the intrinsic value of the tome too much. As an interesting side effect of the way the indexing worked I am one of like four or five names in the index, and Sorting It All Out seems to be the only blog (it was just a quick glance, I may have missed something).

There was even a bit on page 374 ("An anecdote about Improper Case Mapping") that I got to point out a mistake in last July, which was corrected for the book (and it is right there, giving a good example of the issue I mentioned here). It's funny, when the book finally had the final manuscript delivered Raymond told me forgot to get the fix in -- I guess he got in done somehow anyway. :-)

But what I like most of all is what he did when converting the blog into a great book that did not have me missing the links -- because the topics themselves were in the chapters with the other ones that I would have wanted to go to anyway.

I actually found myself wanting to go back and forth between the book and the blog at times, due to the different ways that each one comes across, sometimes with the exact same words, just by virtue of the surrounding text. Plus I often find the comments distracting enough that a break from them was quite welcome -- I am starting to see some benefit to that separate comment feed that Scoble liked so much?

I am wondering about how hard of a job it might be to take over 1000 posts and weave a consistent tapestry, representative of so many of the posts within that blog. I am astounded that any developer would try and amazed at how good of a job he ended up doing. For both the quality and the whole new job to organize what may have originally felt to me like a random drunkard's walk through so many different topics and actually show that the two different approaches each have their own unique value to impart.

Which is where the title of this post comes from -- Raymond has applied a principle of this very blog and produced a tome that has quite deftly proved to be a great thing for Soring The Old New Thing All Out. :-)

Raymond's blog can "sell" the book for this organized alternate view of the information, and the book can "sell" the blog for trying to get more of the same. It is pretty cool how it worked out if you ask me. Were I not so sure that I would not live up to the example, I'd be on the phone to my old AE or to Joan Murray of Addison-Wesley tomorrow to tell her I changed my mind about writing another book (I told her this at Tech Ed in 2005).

This is the kind of book that I could see myself scooting over to try to get signed while not trying to act as silly as I would feel doing it. Maybe if I timed it with a meeting that happened to be going on in the same building? Nah, that won't work. I'll have to keep thinking on the way to do this that would be least embarrassing (or maybe as with Duncan I'll just not try!).

In any case, whether you pick it up for the knowledge, for the history, for the humor, for the glimpse into the development of the most widely used operating system on the planet, for the glimpse into one of the most clever minds one could ever run across, or because you just have to read what Scott Hanselman's pull quote was, this is a book I would highly recommend.

I think my extra copy might be a raffle item at this month's PNWADG meeting, just as an FYI to members who are reading here, and as a minor disclaimer I did point out that I got the book for free but actually would have bought it anyway. Odds are I'll end up buying it a few time for various folks I know who would appreciate it (I'll probably buy one if I ever do get it signed, it just seems wrong to me to get a signature on a free book?).

Anyway, this book is definitely a keeper. The only flaw I can see is that I can't go out and buy "volume two" next week. :-)


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# Mihai on 7 Jan 2007 4:53 PM:

Looks like the releasing time of this book was kind of mixed.

I have pre-ordered it at Amazon the day Raymond announced it, and the estimated time was "beginning of January."

A couple of days ago I got an email from Amazon saying something like "we cannot deliver it before March, do you still want to keep the order opened?" I said "Yes" and tried to get used to the idea.

But guess what: today I got another email from Amazon announcing me it was shipped. Nice surprise, but what if I would have said "I don't want to wait until March"?

# Andrew on 2 Feb 2007 2:19 PM:

> the most widely used operating system on the planet

Is that really true about Windows? Something like a billion cell phones will ship next year versus how many copies of Windows? Given the consolidation of the cell phone market around the big players and the amount of cell phones currently in the world I'd be willing to bet that one of those manufacturers has or will ship enough cell phones to make the OS used in that phone the most widely used OS on the planet.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 2 Feb 2007 5:03 PM:

I was of course talking about PCs (as this blog does, a lot more often than cellular phones!).


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