Since about lat 2016, my website had problems with uptime: It was mostly down. In the spring of 2017, it was finally up and I did a bit of restoration work. And then … it was down again for a few months. (And, due to the circumstances of this downtime, my restoration work was lost.)
Finally, I transferred my website to an existing home server, and it is now living out of a computer which I believe may be as old as 2003, living under CentOS 7.x series, in my bedroom. Having fixed a faulty telephone line (squirrels!) the line is now “not noisy” and the internet is back properly.
Main work has been:
Today at the lightning talks at FUDCon 2011, the one that caught my attention was called “The Dreyfus Model: how do novices think differently from experts?” The subtitle was along the lines of “Why won’t anyone help me, I have documentation!” Here is a pdf archive of her talk I made at the time since as of at least 2020 or earlier, it disappeared.
The gist of how Mel presented the subject was that someone is looking for a bread recipe on the internet and comes up with:
She explained the various cryptic parts of this “recipe” and how obvious it may seem to an experienced baker, but to a newbie, even figuring out that Croissants is a type of bread, let alone what the “other stuff” is can be difficult to grasp, or the concepts of “oh you have to buy those ingredients first — how much? And what’s this? You need an oven? Now, when they say bake, how long? And how will I know it’s ready? Oh yeah, you need to let the bread rise first …
She went on to say how installing certain bits of software and using them may seem trivial to an experienced user, but knowing how to draw in a tarball, extract it, get all the dependencies, compile it, and all the various steps required was not easy for a newbie, especially in a culture that takes several things for granted and literally may skip steps between major milestones.
Ultimately her message lay in the importance of clear, concise, complete documentation.
When I started learning linux, I had to relearn things too, and found things challenging. I quickly learned that things were not as obvious to myself and that when someone said “oh just do this” what they were really saying was “do this 10-15 item list as root under the following circumstances using the proper switches” — not always an obvious task when you say “install package X” while omitting all the necessary parts before and after.