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Learning to program without a computer?

Dear Lazy­web,
So, a very small amount of back­story. I have an uncle who’s in pris­on in Thai­l­and. I’ve been on hol­i­day in the north of the coun­try for a week and a half. But right now I’m in Bangkok, and I’ll be spend­ing the rest of this week vis­it­ing him daily before fly­ing back to Aus­tralia.

He has a small amount of pro­gram­ming exper­i­ence in high­er-level lan­guages (Pos­sibly Perl, but it’s very likely I’m mis­taken), but would like to learn C and/or C++ for a pos­sible future pro­ject. Any sort of access to any sort of gen­er­al-pur­pose PC, at least in the imme­di­ate future, is com­pletely out of the ques­tion. So the broad ques­tion is: What’s a reas­on­able way to teach a new lan­guage to an IT-savvy per­son with some (very dusty) pro­gram­ming exper­i­ence, without touch­ing a com­piler?

Here’s what I’m doing so far:

  • A ref­er­ence book cov­er­ing the lan­guage semantics. (K&R springs to mind for C, but maybe some­thing cov­er­ing more recent stand­ards would be bet­ter)
  • A book cov­er­ing data struc­tures. Today I bought a book that I think is an OK ground­ing on data struc­tures in C and C++. It’s hard to be sure, though, as it’s also entirely in Thai. But it seemed like a good way to start work­ing towards doing non-trivi­al things.
  • I thought it would also be good to include a book on design pat­terns to give an indic­a­tion of good cod­ing style

The biggest hole in this plan so far is an almost total lack of actu­al source code. Ideally I’d be able to include some non-trival FOSS pro­ject for study. I haven’t ser­i­ously looked at the work involved in con­ver­ted a non-trivi­al amount of source to a prin­ted form. I’m fairly sure it’s an option, but it’s some­thing that’ll have to be tackled when I’m back at home.

Also, I real­ise that the best way to go about it is depend­ant on the inten­ded applic­a­tion. It’s all fairly loosely defined so far, but I’m ignor­ing any­thing to do with ker­nel-level pro­gram­ming.

So, here’s where I ask for feed­back. Am I even on the right track so far? Is there any­thing else I should be doing? Does any­body have any good book recom­mend­a­tions?

And, finally, does any­body who knows Bangkok have any good book­shop recom­mend­a­tions? :-)
I walked the length and breadth of Pan­tip Plaza and spent a while in Empori­um this after­noon, and have yet to find much of any­thing more use­ful than a stack of For Dum­mies guides lar­ger than an ele­phant.

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