I have been trying for some years now to learn Xcode in order to create Mac OS and now iPhone apps. I'll spare you readers the misery I've experienced and summarize by saying it hasn't gone well.
One of the routes I've attempted is to read Aaron Hillegass' book. To summarize, the book has been thrown away and my entire \PROJECTS folder has been deleted.
Well, I'm thinking about starting again and this leads to my question. Aaron Hilegass, the author of the book and one of the pioneers in developing the whole Mac OS and COCOA and everything runs a camp for programmers. It's called "The Big Nerd Ranch" and it's in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. The ranch has its own web site and of course they make it sound like heaven on earth. The reason I wonder about it is because I haven't been able to find ANY objective opinions about the place on the net.
It's fairly expensive (about $5,000) for a week's worth of training and lodging and I want to know if anyone else has done this. If anyone has or knows someone who has, I'd like to hear about it.
I don't care much about the accommodations, I can sleep almost anywhere. I care mostly about the curriculum and the stuff they won't tell me before I've paid.
For example, can I expect to be a competent programmer after finishing this course?
(I can already write C, C++, JavaScript, PHP, assembly language, etc.)
Is it some "gotcha" kind of thing where you take 1 course then have to take another for it to be useful? Is there some hidden charge that I wish I'd known about before I went all the way there and spent my life savings? Are there other hidden surprises that I should know about before making this kind of commitment?

For example, can I expect to be a competent programmer after finishing this course?

I know nothing about Hillegass or his programs. However, asking this question about any one-week course, my reflex answer is "only if you're already a competent programmer".

I don't think there's a one-week course in anything that'll be that life-changing for you. If the $5000 is your life's savings, don't sink it in something like this.

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