Googling for Fun and Profit

Do you feel embarrassed about Googling answers to problems instead of working them out for yourself? Well don’t: if you’re a working programmer who has to answer for time spent, you’ve got to make use of other people’s work. As long as you don’t believe everything you read, it’s simple efficiency.

You want quick hits, then you can use your judgement to make a quick decision as to what looks reliable. Once the material has passed that initial quality bar, you examine it more carefully whether it’s good for your purposes and that there are no licensing issues related to any code you want to copy.

The only reason I can see for embarrassment is if you find something, don’t store it properly, and later waste a lot of time finding it again. That’s a subject for another day: this blog is somewhat related though.

Lately I’m spending more time with new systems and technologies than previously. I regularly need to find primers or walkthroughs to explain how to to get started with the new product. Google results vary quite a bit according to the key words I use, and when I’m not getting much back I sometimes have to waste time trawling the back of my mind for all the synonyms I’ve used in the past. So I thought I’d make a quick note of them here:

Introductory
Tutorial
Primer
For Beginners
Beginner’s Guide
101
Walkthrough
Getting Started

There are also a few other categories where a handful of synonyms will turn up most results:
Evaluation
Evaluation
Controversy
Debate

Problem Solving
Troubleshooting
Annoyances
Pitfalls
Quirks

Reference
Best Practices
Howto
FAQ
Rough Guide
Cheat Sheet
Snippets
Nuggets

Software Releases
Roadmap
Release Schedule

PS: You see I listed “cheat sheet” as a search term? Are you tutting about that? Well I won’t apologise. I’ve recently been working seriously with Linux for the first time, and I gather that it’s de rigeur to know some vi/vim or emacs. They have advanced features – and on some systems they may be the only option. Should I order “VIM from A-Z” from Amazon and spend two days leafing through it? Of course not – so I gathered together a few links to cheat sheets and other references, and I’m building up my knowledge as I do my work. I hope any responsible programmer would do the same.

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