Tag Archives: computer programming

Amazon Just Saved Me $30 (and then I spent it)

I picked up some books at the local Borders this evening… that’d be two computer books totaling $86 after tax. When I got home, I checked out their reviews and prices on Amazon, and found that I could get them for $55 w/ free shipping.

So what did I do next? Ordered them on Amazon, and added one more book in. So, I still spent $86. Well, I spent $160, but I plan on returning the books I purchased within the week so I don’t own costly duplicates.

How often do you buy books and return them? I know bookstores aren’t libraries, but their return policy (w/ a receipt within 30 days) can easily be followed if you want to get a quick read in, or buy now and buy cheaper later. I feel guilty doing that and don’t do it often, but in this case the Amazon price is so much cheaper, and I haven’t really read the books yet. Of course, the people at the store don’t know that, and I always feel so foolish when I return my entire purchase a few days later.

Plenty of people sit in Borders and read books, so I don’t see a huge difference in taking it home to review and returning it. I rarely do this, though, because I like to write in my books and keep them. The only reason I’m going to return these is because I bought the same ones for cheaper online.

Today, I’m Thankful For… Free MIT Courses

Today, I’m Thankful For… is a series dedicated to calling out the free things in life that deserve praise.

I’m challenging all my readers to take a few minutes each day to think of one “free” thing that is awesome in their lives. If you write in a blog, post a link to your “Today, I’m Thankful For…” entry as a comment and I’ll add a link to it in my next post of the series. Since we’re constantly being advertised to for all the things that cost us money, this is an advertisement for all that’s free. Go ahead, buy in.

Today’s Post:

Today, I’m thankful for the free, online courses at MIT. I’ve never been quite the academic my curiosity has made me out to be, so I’m constantly trying to balance my ADD with my insatiable thirst for new knowledge. Also, I have some weird anxiety over succeeding when I’m actually paying for a class and it “counts,” which gets in the way of learning what I’m supposed to be learning. So these free classes are ideal.

Yes, they’re really free. You don’t get the interaction of talking to a professor, or other students. They’re pre-recorded classes from other years. Some of the classes only have notes, while others offer in-depth readings, and I think a few even have videos of the professors giving lectures.

I’m most thankful for MIT’s computer programming courses. One of my goals for 2009 is to learn computer programming. It’s not so much that I want to be a programmer professionally as my current job would benefit from understanding a bit of code. I also dream of being able to make apps as a hobby, at least to the point where I understand where API’s fit into the various programming languages I’m learning. I’m starting out with Python and Javascript. I’ve read a whole bunch of online tutorials (which are also free) but this (six credit) “Intro to Computer Programming” course has a text that’s really clear and helping me get my head around the complex topic. And it’s FREE! How cool is that?

If you’re interested in other subjects, they’ve got you covered. Business classes from one of the top MBA programs in the world? Sure thing. Arts & Literature classes to make you feel like you’re really in college again? Yup. Want to spend your spare time learning about Physics? Go for it.

When the cost of attending college is so high, and getting higher by the minute, it feels like I’m saving hundreds of dollars reading all of these online courses in my spare time. Maybe one day I’ll apply to their graduate MBA program and get the real first-hand experience of taking these courses, but until then I’m happy learning for free!

Read Previous Installments of “Today, I’m Thankful For…”

Part 1: Trees