i normally type in upper case because to me it looks neater. i don't mean to shout, but sometimes i forget to use lower case (lower case meaning no shouting). i must say YOWZA! the question you sent me was extremely detailed!
i saved it in .txt form (notepad) so i can look at it more deeply. the kind of stuff you were talking about is crazy. the kind of stuff i would have to go to school for. is there any books i can buy to learn more of this stuff?
if so, what kind of books should i look for?

Note that you can use upper case where grammar and usage dictate such as at the start of a sentence for example! As an aside someone once mentioned that upper case is in fact slightly more difficult to read I presume they meant reading in quantity not just the odd word or two.

As to your follow-up question, yes school or college would be good. As to books, well as I do not know your level of (non ?) expertise it is difficult.

Assuming you know nothing or very little about how computers work then a good computer science text book would be good however, as you may gather, I am not up to date on such texts as I went through all that a long time ago.

Next you will require a good introduction to programming, using a language for which you can get the tools for free. If you choose C++ for example then maybe something like the recently published "You Can Do It - A Beginner's Introduction to Computer Programming" by Francis Glassborow and Roberta Allen. It comes with a companion CD with a C++ compiler and an IDE (integrated development environment) to get you going - at present these require a PC running MS Windows. I have not read this book personally but the reviews I have read have been very positive - noting only a few flaws - much better than most reviews I have read for beginner's C++ or programming books!

If games are your interest then a good introductory text on games programming would be of use.

From there on in you just buy books as you feel you require them I have about 18 inches (46cm) of shelf space devoted just to various C++ and developing with C++ topics. My office has 4 book shelves full of computer books and manuals and these are just the most used some reference and older texts are elsewhere. Other material is now presented online or CDROM / DVD.

As I stated before, start by checking out the ACCU site (http://www.accu.org/) specifically in this case their book reviews (http://www.accu.org/bookreviews/public/index.htm) they have a way in to the reviews by book subject (http://www.accu.org/bookreviews/public/reviews/0sb/index.htm), including some beginners' and games sections. However I note that there are few if any reviews of basic computing principles so you might like to search elsewhere for information on such texts again I advise you to make use of a search engine to what you can find on the Internet.

In short you have to start at the beginning and gradually work your way through the basics which is where a school or college course may be of some help even if you do not get a whole lot out of it. Your problem is that at the start you need information and have not the knowledge of what information you need a bit of a chicken and egg situation...  


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Ralph McArdell


I am a software developer with more than 15 years C++ experience and over 25 years experience developing a wide variety of applications for Windows NT/2000/XP, UNIX, Linux and other platforms. I can help with basic to advanced C++, C (although I do not write just-C much if at all these days so maybe ask in the C section about purely C matters), software development and many platform specific and system development problems.


My career started in the mid 1980s working as a batch process operator for the now defunct Inner London Education Authority, working on Prime mini computers. I then moved into the role of Programmer / Analyst, also on the Primes, then into technical support and finally into the micro computing section, using a variety of 16 and 8 bit machines. Following the demise of the ILEA I worked for a small company, now gone, called Hodos. I worked on a part task train simulator using C and the Intel DVI (Digital Video Interactive) - the hardware based predecessor to Indeo. Other projects included a CGI based train simulator (different goals to the first), and various other projects in C and Visual Basic (er, version 1 that is). When Hodos went into receivership I went freelance and finally managed to start working in C++. I initially had contracts working on train simulators (surprise) and multimedia - I worked on many of the Dorling Kindersley CD-ROM titles and wrote the screensaver games for the Wallace and Gromit Cracking Animator CD. My more recent contracts have been more traditionally IT based, working predominately in C++ on MS Windows NT, 2000. XP, Linux and UN*X. These projects have had wide ranging additional skill sets including system analysis and design, databases and SQL in various guises, C#, client server and remoting, cross porting applications between platforms and various client development processes. I have an interest in the development of the C++ core language and libraries and try to keep up with at least some of the papers on the ISO C++ Standard Committee site at http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/.


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