Back when I was going for various certifications, I started using some book (I don't even recall the name of it now) that mentioned the Ranch. I was slogging my way through it, but every so often I would go into the city to see what other books there were - I would just peruse them, since they didn't seem much better, but I did notice that in the backs of almost all of them, they mentioned the Ranch as being one of the better sites. Then I found Kathy & Bert's book, which I loved, and it had more than a passing reference to the Ranch. So I figured with all these people saying how good it is, why not take a look?
Big mistake. That was years ago, and I haven't been able to extricate myself.
It was 1999 and I was reading some site about pork chops. Electric I think, when it changed names?
Seriously now there was a Java site in 1999 that was completely unattended where people started to break the law and post some actual questions and answers to the Sun Java Certification exams and a lot of us lost interest.
I remember personally receiving an email from Paul Wheaton asking me to join the staff over at his site to which I had posted briefly before (that's this site, JavaRanch).
I promptly accepted.
During those days I was voluntarily unemployed learning JavaScrpt, HTML 4 (i.e. Dynamic HTML) and especially Java, after being programming professionally for more than 20 years. Always, until then, in procedural, "structured -and functional- programming". Never object oriented.
This site helped me in my Java training up to and including getting a 98% score on the (J2SE 1.2) Certification exam.
About a week after that, I had two interviews the same day followed by the corresponding two job offers.
Last March I completed the seventh year at the one I accepted.
For the first years I kept a log of the activities, via posts to Javaranch and before the word 'blog' came along.
I think around 2000 or 2001 I found the mock certification exam, which I found fascinating. I would do drills while waiting for a build. I should do them even today.
I know a moderator, Fred R, in the meatspace (aka RL). I don't remember if I introduced him to Java R or the other way around. Certainly, he has become a true member of the community whereas I haven't been around in years and have just popped in lately.
This seems to be a good and useful whereas we can to get to know the statistics ;-)
I saw a mention of it in one of Bert and Kathy's books and here I am.
I bought Head First Servlets & JSP book first and in which i found it. But i dint think of joining unless i really need it. As some of other ranchers said, Google was having the link to this forum which contained the answer to one of my queries.
Thats when I am with JavaRanch since Apr 2006. Thanks to Google, Kathy and all others who a(we)re being a part of this ocean!
Some people over on Sun's Java forum were incensed about some changes that had been made to the design of the forum. (This sort of thing happens regularly over there.) "We should go on strike!" they posted. "We should all go to these other forums and post there instead!" So that's what I did.