I have always found the etymology of language very interesting to investigate and I often wonder about the origins of expressions (sometimes into the absurd). Take the word copycat. In the first place, why is it a cat in English and a monkey in Dutch? I presume that the expression originates from the fact that kittens imitate the behaviour of their mother, but I wonder whether that isn’t typical human behaviour too. It is certainly true in the case of my daughter, who wants to have and do exactly the same as my son, in the assumption that for some reason she’ll otherwise miss the boat.
But what if we take things a bit more literally? How does one copy a cat? With a copier? If so, how do you begin to do that? I don’t know if you have ever had cats, but mine weren’t as easy to manipulate as those Bonsai kittens (= btw a hoax, so DON’T try things at home). I reckon that my copier would be scratched and covered by cat hair if I even attempted to do such a thing. Unless you have some Garfield, Siamese or Persian type of cat. The latter has a rather flat nose, so that would make it easier to copy the face. I can expound further on my reasoning (hey, one has to do something when one can’t sleep due to the heat) for a while but one inevitably comes to the conclusion that copying a cat isn’t possible, certainly not with a PDF as the end result.
And that brings me seamlessly to the real subject of this Grumpy (speaking of a cat’s leap): the copying of course material.
Despite the web logs by See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and Write No Evil – To remove postings on SDN forums or not? and ebooks free shop? people keep asking for copies of certification exams questions and courses. The obvious reason is that one is unwilling to spend money on such things. The answer to this request is simple: courses and certification material are copyright protected material. Copying and distributing things without explicit permission is like stealing and is therefore illegal. Is that the end of the matter? Well, maybe not. Could SAP do something in order to prevent this behaviour to a certain extent (there will always be malpractices)? I do think that they can.
I’m not going to interfere with the commercial side of things, but why doesn’t SAP make courses a bit cheaper? The thing is that the courses I’ve followed in Belgium are always given by external consultants instead of internal experts. That has its obvious advantages, but that comes with a price too. I still find courses a very good way to learn things but the gap price wise between on line info on SDN is maybe too big. Maybe an in between solution with payable online training or CBT might fill this gap. I won’t elaborate on the advantages of CBT, but I’ll pick out the accuracy and the outdated content of courses.
I said this already in an earlier article, but when it comes to training in new technologies, the training at SAP (Belgium) is enough to make you cry. First of all, if training exists, the latest version is never covered. I’ve encountered this multiple times. Sure, the basics are the same, but there are crucial differences one misses when this is the case. Or it could be worse, when the course is nothing more than a pack of old and obsolete slides once presented at TechEds and other conferences. Sometimes, the slides that I’ve seen were even based on preview release information which differed from the production version. As a consequence many people don’t want to attend these types of courses and look for other ways to get the info that they require. Btw things happen on SDN too, but luckily a simple notification makes Product Managers Online interactive form using ABAP to improve things.
And yes, even the books could be better. I sometimes encounter parts of books that are exact copies of help.sap.com. I guess that was easier done than copying a cat.
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