Geert JM Vanderkelen

Check how old your MySQL books are before usage

Check how old your MySQL books are before usage

This is a friendly reminder to check the publication date and discussed version you MySQL books before starting out hacking or even posting about limitations. Lots of old books are still going around. Maybe it’s good to destroy them rather than giving them to students or newbies.

Few days ago (28 May 2010), for example, we had a word-for-word copy of a book on a blog post (now removed) which was discussing MySQL Cluster limitations from years ago. Well, it was funny at first and we had a good laugh. But it’s a bit worrisome. My colleague Matthew posted a rebuttal post.

How would you recycle the old, technical books? It’s not worth giving them to public libraries, it’s maybe unhealthy to burn them? How would you do it?

3 thoughts on “Check how old your MySQL books are before usage

  1. Bill Karwin

    Agreed, old books, magazines, blogs, etc. that cover limitations that have long since been resolved are misleading.

    I still find myself correcting people who talk about MySQL's lack of support for subqueries and transactions!

    Some books can be recycled just like newspapers, magazines, and phone books, but it depends on what your local waste disposal company supports.

    But don't dispose of old books just because a few facts are outdated. Most of the book is still likely to be correct. Donating or swapping the book might still help someone.

  2. Stuart Ellis

    Unfortunately, I think that this is ultimately a problem with the technical book format, and there isn't really an answer.

    It's not just that systems for managing hard-copies like publishers and libraries can't keep up, but that any large set of text documentation needs to be checked start-to-finish every time that there is a new product release. There could be an inaccuracy in any line of the text which only someone with knowledge of the product could spot.

    My personal response has been to keep buying books on practices as hard-copy ("Code Complete"), but get books on specific technologies as PDF, and accept that they will be obsolete in months, rather than years. I've also become a big fan of screencasts as a way of teaching product knowledge.

  3. Bob

    I LOVE my old books! I know of a couple of techniques that I grab my "Mastering Delphi 4" to look at, and I have a whole shelf of such books.
    The problem is the CONTINUAL awareness of your environment. In some instances this is more driven by personality than anything else.
    Old books still have a place in the lives of us who are… shall we say… "thrifty"? (Yeah… that's a good word! ;-) As with any sharp tool, you can also cut yourself. There are those who should always only have the latest and greatest book, as they tend to get lost among the trees.
    There are also those of us who know these woods like the back of our hand. Don't begrudge us the pleasure of time spent with an old friend!

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