packt publishing free learning initiative

Thu, Aug 20, 2015

Packt Publishing contacted me about their Free Learning Forever initiative, where they make available to their readers and customers a free ebook. Every day. Now that’s a pretty generous offer but why would I want to publicise something like this?

I’m a great fan of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). I do it in my technical role, in my mountain guiding role and in my photography stuff so I know how important it is and this offer just seems too good to miss. Of course, the daily ebook may not meet requirements at the time but I’m also a great believer in ‘reading around’ one’s ‘subject’.

I was doing a lot of thinking lately about a difficult synchronisation problem between a C program and a Java web app that were working together to turn text into speech and synchronising the notifications between them was proving difficult to visualise. I took a break and dipped into a Javascript book I had lying around and came across the concept of ‘promises’. Although I didn’t use Javascript or promises in the solution, the technique caused a ‘light bulb moment’ and the answer was obvious. I just transferred knowledge from one domain to another. However, I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I hadn’t been ‘reading around’ my subject. So this offer does seem a great opportunity to do just that.

The other reason for publicising it is, I almost wrote a book for Packt Publishing a while ago, on ActiveMQ. Their terms for authors were some of the best in the business. We got to the stage of agreeing the content and a schedule of delivery but in the end I just couldn’t agree to the legal aspects of the contract. I tried to negotiate the terms but in the end had to walk away. A pity as I was really looking forward to writing the book. But my dealings with the company were positive overall, so I’m happy to publicise this offer.

So, it’s well worth having a look at their Free Learning Forever initiative and expand your options next time you hit a really difficult problem.