A recent post on Paul Randals blog lists the top 10 mistakes people make when attending a course:

  1. Take a phone call during class

  2. Sit at the back and do email/surf and then ask questions

  3. Persist with a tangential rat-hole

  4. Bring your smelly lunch into the classroom

  5. Come to a class where you don’t understand the language it’s being taught in

  6. Come to a class without the required experience and knowledge

  7. Don’t take notes

  8. Ask questions to try to make it look like you know more than the instructor

  9. Argue that the instructor is wrong

  10. Come to class looking for “the answer”

Go read the entire list. Are you guilty of doing any of these? Do you want to change?

The scary thing is that I’ve seen all of these behaviours myself. And, I must admit, I’ve committed one or two of these in my time.

TechEd seems to be a good place to see every one of these, and not as isolated examples either.

One example: I was at TechEd a few years ago listening to a Vista talk about UAC and related topics - like directory and registry virtualisation for badly behaving applications. Much of the time was taken up by just one delegate asking the same question over and over - “how do we turn that off?” He had an application that behaved badly (storing user data under Program Files, for example) and seemed to have no interest in fixing it. Seriously - most of the things that are now enforced are things that we should have been doing for years - as far back as Windows 95 for many of them.

I guess that’s the other point I want to make: Don’t ignore recommended conventions and practices for your platform, whatever it is. Make sure you know what they are, and if you do need to break with one, do it for a good reason. Don’t persist in doing things badly just because that’s the way you’ve always done it.


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August 2010