As technical workers most of us subscribe to the school of never ending learning. There is no best programming language or platform, there's just one constantly changing market that gives us access to different tools and ideas. No matter what you know, think you know, or want to know, there is still more to know. The black and white ereaders on the market are affordable and great for reading. Ebooks are a little cheaper, a lot more portable and you get infinite copies.
The black and white ereaders are much better than the color ereaders for reading.
Don't be fooled by price, more doesn't always mean better. The digital e-ink for the black and white screens is awesome. It's incredibly easy on your eyes. It looks almost indistinguishable from real ink on paper. If you find yourself reading a lot of books, you owe it to yourself to give one of these ereaders a try. Some places that sell gadgets may have ereaders on display, you'll quickly get a feel for what they are like by seeing one up close.
My nook doesn't always display formatted code correctly.
Ereaders can have a tough time rendering code. It handles monospaced type just fine, the problem is the word wrapping. When you can only fit 80 or so characters on a screen there's a lot of word wrapping going on. For the most part it's not a problem, but can be a little confusing if reading wordy code. In some books with images, images might not render in the book at all. Sometimes if they do render they take up two whole screens: one for the image, one for a frame that I'm assuming holds the image. The moral is that there's still some kinks to work out of this generation of ereaders. They're very usable, but need some love on the development side.
There's not a lot of great free content for programmers with Nooks
It's a little disappointing that there really aren't many PDFs available for all of the web's great documentation. If you want to read great content on serious subjects you're going to end up having to spend the money on it. Fortunately ebooks are [usually] a little less expensive than their soft cover counterparts, and legally owning a digital library [usually] means that your library is always backed up, even if you lost your computer and ereader. While being less expensive than physical copies ebooks can still cost a good chunk of money. It's always a good idea to check with your employer to see if you can be reimbursed for the book, this is a common practice and gives value to both you and the place you work.
Here's some great places to get started. I really like my Nook, I think a lot of other people would too.
Buying a Nook
- I've seen EBay users list black and white Nook wifis for as low as $100.
- You can buy them new at at Barnes and Noble's official website for $150.
- Buying a case isn't necessary, it's an option that depends on personal taste. A case can make the Nook feel more like a real book.
Configuring a Nook
- It's really easy to make and use your own desktop screen and screen savers.
- Using your own desktop and screen savers is more fun than a grown man should admit to.
- Out of the box there's not too much to configure. Registering the nook is a little clumsy due to the mediocre on screen keyboard.
Good Places to Find Ebooks
- Packt Publishing on packtpub.com. They publish a lot of relevant books for a web developer. If you're looking for books based on anything related to web development this is a great publisher. The books that I've read have been consistently high quality.
- O'Reilly Publishing at oreilly.com. I don't even need to list this, you know what this is. A great publisher with books on every computer topic under the sun.
- Any resources that people might post in the comments below. If you know of other great publishers for web development please post them, I love a good book.