C.J. writes with a tone that makes it seem like he hates professional photographers. Who writes about photography and gives advice but has no online portfolio? I think he lacks credibility. One more to remove from my RSS feeds. Forget the online course he recommended. Go take an in-person course like one from Princeton Photo Workshop with a live in-person instructor. There has to be one somewhere in your town. You'll get hands-on instruction and learn in the field. If you have an Apple Store near you, you can take an iPhone photography course for free or go on a photowalk.
Whatever you do, don't sit in front of a computer screen to learn photography. Grab a camera and got out and take some pictures.
The examples used are examples actual hobbyists might encounter, which is rare in a photography course. But most of all, I’ll recommend this to beginners because it comes from a trusted source: Shawn Blanc.
Because they are part of a small clique of friends who recommend each other's shit. Closed loop. Not objective.