In a more serious vein, I’m slowly writing a book on how to program. I’ve noticed that too many of the students struggle with the process rather than the details. This is sort of a digressive way to say they can write a loop, but don’t know how do decide when to do it.
My mother in law, a sweet, gracious and intelligent woman, died about 5 years ago. With her went the secret to “polish cabbage” which was something of a signature dish. I think I’ve finally reverse engineered it.
- Clean, cut up and salt the cabbage. Discard the outer leaves if they’re damaged and remove the inner core. The cabbage should be cut into 5mm or so pieces (just a little too coarse for coleslaw). Put into a bowl, add salt and allow to sit for 1-2 hours or more.
- (1-2 hours later). Cut up an onion and fry in a little oil in a large covered frying pan. Stella undoubtedly used butter, but olive oil or a mixture of olive oil and butter work well. Don’t over cook, brown or burn the onion.
- While the onion is wilting. Rinse the salt off of the cabbage and set it to drain.
- Add the cabbage to the onion and fry in a covered pan for about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir as necessary and add water if it begins to dry out, stick or brown. The cabbage will decrease to about 1/4 the original volume. With green cabbage it will eventually turn a light brown and be very tender.
Enjoy. This works equally well with both the red and green cabbages.
I had the chance to try self-publishing with Amazon’s create space and KDP. The book itself, while readable is a bit of fluff. What was impressive was the quality of the automated setup and publishing tools. There may have been one manual step, other than mine, a last review before generating proofs, but that was all.
So the cost of assembling a professional-looking book is almost zero.
This strongly suggests that page charges and all of those sorts of things are a bit of a con-job. It also suggests that textbooks are highly over-priced.
On a pedagogical note, this means that writing a low-copy-number course specific text book would be feasible.