Learning

How do you learn? How much time do spend on learning new things? What tools do you use? Below you can find a few my opinions, a few tools that I use.

The tools I use to learn are, in the order from the most used:

  1. An interesting projects
  2. A smartphone
  3. An e-book reader
  4. Books (yes, good, old-fashioned printed books)
  5. A computer or a laptop

The first and foremost is an interesting project. By a project I mean my day-to-day job (choose it wisely, it’s a lot of your time) as well as some minor things done as OSS. Under this category go also all the spikes which haven’t been finished and all the fun projects I do at home.
A smartphone with a good RSS reader allows me to deal with an enormous number of blog entries published by brothers in code. The phone enables me to drag down a Twitter bar in the Android app a few times a day when I have a few spare minutes(waiting for a coffee, etc.). I’m not an addict though. I do prefer to have internet access switched off most of the time. I use it offline with no notifications etc. distracting me all the time.
An e-book reader (I like to use a bigger format of one) is perfect for longer periods of time (from 20 minutes and longer). Just have a few Google whitepapers unread and stored there.
I read non-technical books as well. I do like the paper versions, but sometimes they’re even harder to read than e-books (a crowded bus for instance). The time limit is also important. I tend to take one with me if I know that I’ll be able to read for more than 15, 20 minutes.
A computer for watching all the Infoq & Skillsmatter presentations. When I have one hour, I take one from my list of ‘to watch’ and watch it.

As you can see I have one rule: I’ve got to have sth on my to do list all the time, with different time requirements. I use it every time I have a few spare minutes. Things which may take longer (a good post on Twitter) are pushed to a to do list. The future version of me will handle it. Having a smartphone and a reader is more than enough for a standard day. Presentations watched on a computer are good for weekends or an evening spare time. I do encourage you. Make your list, assign time frames preferred by you and take a few of your knowledge sources with you. It’s worth it!