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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:06 pm

Hello ,
I must say this whole concept is pure magic !
One request:
Is there a Boffin or youngster out there that would write a REAL beginners manual ?A beginners manual for Seniors....
I have ordered my Pi and can not wait to have a go... To get a head start I clicked on the Beginners tab .... might as well be Greek !!!! Next stop my local Library I think....
Perhaps you are all assuming too much.... Some of us are quite bright and very keen but will need to start at the Nursery level
Thanx in advance, GrandyJ

colincoach
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:31 pm

Well said, I made a similar point that the Absolute Beginners section of this forum currently doesnt address many of the early receivers of Pis who cannot or do not want to have to become electronics engineers or Linux gurus to be able to start using the Pi to further the aims of the foundation. By writing software, producing simple add-ons, or interfacing a Pi with other products to produce unique low-cost devices they will continually prove the versatility and adaptability of the Pi without having to be capable of dismantling it, rebuilding it and delving in to core memory to make good use of it.

I too am bamboozled (good word!) by the depth of information that is currently pouring in to the forum, most of it very useful I suspect, but of little use to 'Absolute Beginners'.

Guest

Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:16 pm

Well said, I made a similar point that the Absolute Beginners section of this forum currently doesnt address many of the early receivers of Pis who cannot or do not want to have to become electronics engineers or Linux gurus to be able to start using the Pi to further the aims of the foundation. By writing software, producing simple add-ons, or interfacing a Pi with other products to produce unique low-cost devices they will continually prove the versatility and adaptability of the Pi without having to be capable of dismantling it, rebuilding it and delving in to core memory to make good use of it.

I too am bamboozled (good word!) by the depth of information that is currently pouring in to the forum, most of it very useful I suspect, but of little use to "Absolute Beginners".

I am sure there are many Grandparents with very young Grandchildren that would enjoy an at home project--" let"s learn together how to code" ... A Step- by- step Nursery Manual in very plain English please...
The manual needs to be read from the point of view of a  " reader" who may be totally unfamiliar with the subject , language and content -- rather than that of a knowledgeable "writer"
Once we get the hang of the basic language and process we will,in most cases, quickly move up the learning ladder...Please help us get started

itsonlyme
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:36 pm

Agreed.

I hope GrandyJ does not use the same library as me as all the relevant books are at home with me at the moment.

Being new to Linux, but not new to computers, I seriously struggle at times. The information I need is around yes, but understanding it is hard sometimes. It assumes I know something I yet have to learn.

An "Absolute Beginners to 'Raspberry Debian'", and an "Absolute Beginners to 'Raspberry Python'" would be great. Even greater would be if Intermediate Guides followed. Then I could properly understand everything that is written in this forum, the Wiki, my library books, and things Mr. Google finds.

The "experts" here have been great, but their time is better spent dealing with more complex problems, than simple basics.

Now back to working out how to mount a windows network NTFS drive.

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Montala
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:40 pm

One of the problems faced when writing a beginners manual is that once they have read the first "Chapter" on how to get it up and running, and have successfully managed to do so, they will split into (at least) two "camps".

Yes, there will be those who do want to learn how to code and write simple programs, but there will also be many, I am sure, who will be quite content to just use their Pi as a simple cheap computer, with which they can browse the internet, send and receive emails, access Skype, and their favourite social networking sites, and perhaps even play a few games!

They will of course have to learn a bit about Linux first, which is surely a good thing, as they will then quickly find out that there IS an alternative to Windows after all… but they will still need a bit of initial basic guidance to accomplish these tasks, especially in the early days!

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croston
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:02 pm

There is a lot of work going on at the moment to write an educational user guide for the RPi. Unfortunately, this will not be released until later this year. I guess this is what the OP was after.

A lot of the posts you are finding here are by early adopters/developers trying to iron out the initial problems. I would urge people to post things like this in the "Troubleshooting" section and leave this section for "Absolute Beginners". If you ask a question here, I"m sure the community will do their best to supply you with a suitable answer.

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Gert van Loo
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:13 pm

At the moment you can only get the board running if you make an SD-card with image for it. Making that SD-card requires a significant amount of computer knowledge to be present. So I would say that at the moment absolute beginners can not work with the Raspberry-Pi . (I am now waiting for the flames to come....)

The raspberry-Pi is the victim of it's own success. The original idea was to get 1000-ish boards out there with computer knowledgeable people who would provide the first phase of development. (See also the request which is on todays 13-Apr.-2012 front page.)

There are still plans to provide a 'education' package towards the end of this year with the Raspberry-Pi in a box, power supply, SD-card, manuals and software which is usable by novice users. But at the moment it is not there yet.

To be honest: I am afraid of what will happen if thousands of users get their Pi soon and think to use it as any other computer. Until it is delivered with SD-card a lot of those people will be disappointed. The negative publicity could seriously harm the project.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:48 pm

And one of the problems is there will be those that could have helped the new Pi owners and who can't because they didn't get one themselves because of the flood of interest!  Its only possible to get so far using emulators, hands on knowledge of the system and its foibles is required to create convincing support material.
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

CrashlanderXL
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:56 am

Howdy,

I too have never touched a single stroke of code before in my life. I bought a book that looked about the best of a confusing bunch, paid £15 for it, got it home, and found it was for intermediate coders.... So just a headache on paper for a starter like me.

However, the guy who wrote it, Al Sweigart, has kindly put his first book, 'Invent your own computer games with Python', for free view on his website.

It is very simple without being condescending, and explains a lot concisely. The website even has tools to let you download the code so you don't have to type it all yourself, or to check your typed code to see if it's right.

Clicky this to take a look...

http://inventwithpython.com/chapters/

Pirx-Danford
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:26 am

Gert said:


To be honest: I am afraid of what will happen if thousands of users get their Pi soon and think to use it as any other computer. Until it is delivered with SD-card a lot of those people will be disappointed. The negative publicity could seriously harm the project.


No.

It just means that thousands more problems will be solved.

We (well I hope I am one too soon) earlypiers are about to stand on the shoulders of the giants that you foundation people are and are about to become all giants in our own regards in this "just good enough" computing revolution.

The foundation started this revolution, it should not be afraid of it, embrace it and go with the flow

Chris.Rowland
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:55 am

To go back to the OP's request for a really absolute beginners manual...

Making good manuals is incredibly difficult, especially at the beginner level. This is because experienced people don't even see what the problems are. They skip steps that are obvious to them but cause the beginner total confusion.  This is no fault of theirs of course.

What's needed is people who have the ability to get inside the head of the beginner and understand what it is that they aren't seeing, IMO that's a role that a less experienced person may be better at because they haven't forgotten the basics.  This is the skill a teacher must have, being knowledgable about a subject isn't enough.

Saying "Tell me everything I need to know" is difficult, especially remotely. We don't know what you already know, except that you have enough computing knowledge to be able to join this forum and post a message. Having the skill to read what's already posted is also useful.

What we need is an indication of where people are having problems. Is it connecting things together? Do they know what a USB connector is?  Are the instructions for making an SD card a problem? Have they got the Pi running but don't know what to do next?

The forum system is much more suited to getting answers to specific questions so I suggest saying where you have got to and asking qurestions that will get you to the next step.  There are no silly questions - except maybe those you already know the answer to.

It's also useful to follow other threads and ask for clarification where there's something that looks relevant that you need more information about.

Hope this helps, sorry it's so long.

GrandyJ
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:49 pm

Many many moons ago I might have had a "go" at something like simple coding or poking about the innards of a computer ..well..ok..maybe a steam-age tubed radio or TV ....But you see...
I am from the generation of  "don"t touch things you know nothing about-- you might break it!... And ..."oh, the expense...do be very very careful"

Yes, The  Internet, Skype, email, and all the social media stuff are all wonderful...we know the button, key or click to enable us to " use" it all... And do so daily....very, very carefully !
Now, The Rasberry Pi   offers an opportunity to learn something new-- to create,to wonder,to ponder, to make mistakes,to try again, and to perhaps even succeed....a chance to work the old grey matter a bit ....all without  the worry and expense of losing files or messing up a Granny"s very expensive laptop!  To hang with being very very careful ....the Pi is pure Magic!! Brilliant !!
The Pi could offer ( we hope) a Grandchild and a Grandparent the opportunity to set off together on a new adventure.... A journey...All we need now is a very basic ticket to get onboard! Please help...and thank you
PS... A very basic plain English dictionary /translation/ phrase book would be a good start... With these tools we would be able to ask questions!
PPS.. No problems with set up... No.1 son ( like Eben..grownup and very very busy ) will guide the plugging- in-where  stuff and then we are on our own he says
No.1 son is very useful ...he does find time in his busy life to keep Granny"s laptop updated and humming along... Bless his pointed head

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[email protected]
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:20 pm

GrandyJ said:


Hello ,
I must say this whole concept is pure magic !
One request:
Is there a Boffin or youngster out there that would write a REAL beginners manual ?A beginners manual for Seniors....
I have ordered my Pi and can not wait to have a go... To get a head start I clicked on the Beginners tab .... might as well be Greek !!!! Next stop my local Library I think....
Perhaps you are all assuming too much.... Some of us are quite bright and very keen but will need to start at the Nursery level
Thanx in advance, GrandyJ


See if you have a LUG near you - Linux Users Group. You don't say what country you're in, but if it's the UK, then start here I imagine most of them would bite your hand of if you turned up with a RPi in-hand!

Gordon
--
Gordons projects: https://projects.drogon.net/

paulemm
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:44 am

I too am not a school kid.

I'm in my late 60's and I too want to get to grips with this 'ere new fangled Pi. I built a ZX81 kit and got it working but it came with a manual and a diagram which I found invaluable and I will really need a manual for the Pi.

At least now I know (from other topics I've browsed) that the power pack has to be with a micro USB tip and that I may need help burning the SD card image as my PC is XP (not Vista or 7)) and I cant even find instructions for doing that on this OS.

So Pi wont work "out of the box" for me (when I get it). Is this what 30 years of advances has brought us to? An ill documented minefield!

I have been Meddling with BBC Basic for Windows (free download actually works very well), as well as Microsoft's Visual Basic Express which is MUCH harder to get to grips with and for which I have found a "Teach yourself" book (AKA a Manual) invaluable. Similarly for PIC 16F micro computers - they are fun but not internet ready.

These forums will help us oldies. But the Foundation needs to consider that no jobbies can be considered complete if the paperwork is not done. Will there PLEASE be some proper and complete manuals for us "old gits"?

PS my sons laugh at me for reading the manual - they just "dive in".

Needed: a Nursery manual

shirro
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:00 am

Yes, better documentation is needed. A lot of the current documentation is aimed at getting people with some technical knowledge up and running. Even technical people need to read the manual sometimes.

I guess the replies are just explaining that this is intended to be an early developer release which seems to have attracted a lot of mainstream attention.

Everyone is welcome and most people will be all too happy to answer questions on the forum or through computer clubs.

This Pi can do a lot more than a much more simple system like a BBC Micro. And with this complexity documentation becomes tricky. Lots of documentation already exists but it is written to different levels of understanding and is kept in many different places.

The trouble with the Pi is that there are dozens of computer languages available and for each language there may be several competing environments. The same goes for program editors, command line shells, media players and everything else. If people were happy to be constrained to a subset of this it would be easier to document, but the moment you do that someone will put their hand up and say "what about…?"

I am contemplating putting together a fairly constrained environment for the Pi which doesn"t support a lot of variety. A sort of Apple like straitjacket which will be just good enough for most people but once you outgrow it you have to move elsewhere to a grown up system like Debian or Arch. I guess the foundation's image will probably do something similar - contain everything they will support and you will be on your own for the other stuff.

Meanwhile I am sure the foundation and Computers at School are putting together teaching resources and documentation for the education release which should be good for all ages.

paulemm
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:23 am

I appreciate that there will be something sometime somewhere. All I'd like now is the knowledge of where and when to look.

I guess there will soon be a "Practical Pi" or "Pi Format" on the news stands - that will stop me whinging on but its now 4am and my spirit is flagging.

PM

PS surely the math test prior to posting doesnt stop automated cyber attacks - I thought computers could do sums quite well by now ...

shirro
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:01 am

paulemm said:


I guess there will soon be a "Practical Pi" or "Pi Format" on the news stands - that will stop me whinging on but its now 4am and my spirit is flagging.


Possibly. I am not sure there is the advertising revenue about for stuff like that anymore as there was back in the golden age. There is likely to be a lot more content online.


PM

PS surely the math test prior to posting doesnt stop automated cyber attacks - I thought computers could do sums quite well by now ...


It gets rid of the unsophisticated ones which is quite a lot. Locking the doors to your house will keep out a dis-orientated drunk or a casual opportunist quiet well but will not stop a proper criminal. It is still worth doing.

paulemm
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:28 pm

Well I'm feeling a bit refreshed and rather regret my grumpy sign-off of last night.

I must say I like the idea of constrained (SW) versions for people like me who are new to Pi, Linux AND the nitty gritty of current lap/desk top PCs, but are willing to learn. "One step at a time" has been said somewhere else but is still true. It's also important to feel that progress is being made with each step right from the first one.

I note shirro's earlier post: "The trouble with the Pi is that there are dozens of computer languages available and for each language there may be several competing environments. The same goes for program editors, command line shells, media players and everything else. If people were happy to be constrained to a subset of this it would be easier to document, but the moment you do that someone will put their hand up and say "what about…?"  ". Unfortunately making tough decisions on questions like these is the responsibility of the foundation's senior team. Sure people can and will rush off to do their own thing, but the foundation must cherry pick the specific goals they will support and publicise, and also must say what they cannot (yet) support. If schools are #1 and buffers like me are #2 then lets just get it clear.

Now, what can I do as a fully paid up ignoramus on matters Pi, LINUX etc. to expedite matters?  Can I volunteer to test instructions or procedures (how?). Actually try out a "constrained" but complete in itself distro including blowing a boot SD card using only a tea towel and a damp sponge (AKA Windows XP SP3). (I know, my motivation is showing - I get helped first that way.)

How also do I also suggest a split in the "Absolute beginners" forum to cover the "No Linux experience" case as well. That really is the killer for me, and I suspect many others too.

And finally how do I do the "Fred Bloggs said" thing with a highlighted block of text in these posts? I sure do stand out like a sore thumb.

PM

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Tass
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:28 pm

paulemm said:


And finally how do I do the "Fred Bloggs said" thing with a highlighted block of text in these posts? I sure do stand out like a sore thumb.


Hit the "Quote and Reply" button   When in the response window the " button at the top row of controls will quote/block and unquote/unblock highlighted text

paulemm
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:30 pm

Tass said:


paulemm said:


And finally how do I do the "Fred Bloggs said" thing with a highlighted block of text in these posts? I sure do stand out like a sore thumb.



Tass said:


Hit the "Quote and Reply" button   When in the response window the " button at the top row of controls will quote/block and unquote/unblock highlighted text


I know this is going to look silly, but I cant make the blue background happen round a selected section of text.All that happens is that the text expands to full width and then shrinks on a toggle when I hit the " button.

Also whats a spoiler? Nothing to do with sports cars I guess.

It proves I need a nursery manual even for using the forum. Which is very poorly documented itself.

How do you find out how to do these things?

paulemm
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:38 pm

OK I get it - the blue stuff only appears after posting - none of that WYSIWYG stuff for forum users eh? Takes me back to WordStar formatting.

Yes, I know, you can(t) teach an old dog etc. ...

Thanks for your patience

PM

Mattylad
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:24 am

So whenever those clever people who know more than us duffers come up with some instructions, please.. pretty please....

1) Pass it to some old duffers to try and follow.

(Too often I see tutorials where the tutor does something without thinking and we are stumped - "what key did you press then?".

2) Please use big print and consider dyslexics/poor vision readers.

Cheers

Pirx-Danford
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:12 am

paulemm said:


It proves I need a nursery manual even for using the forum. Which is very poorly documented itself.

How do you find out how to do these things?


You are a bit early to the game, which in a way is quite funny

The people that will work on the documentation will need all the ignoramuses it can get to try out the documentation on them. But (!) we are right now in the phase where the lucky hackers that got their Pi try out what is possible and what is not working so well.

So all the tough decisions (the aforementioned cherry picking) is yet to be done. This means you will have to hold out for a while longer and you will get to be one of the first to try out things too. I fear after that this happened you will have lost a good chunk of ignorance and will have became a Pi boffin (nerd).

You are also too early to the forum - cause this will change too, hopefully soon.

As this system you are looking at right now is quite... limited. So don't try too hard to understand it yet, a new system is on its way. Trust me you'll like it!

poing
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:10 am

GrandyJ said:


Now, The Rasberry Pi   offers an opportunity to learn something new-- to create,to wonder,to ponder, to make mistakes,to try again, and to perhaps even succeed....a chance to work the old grey matter a bit ....all without  the worry and expense of losing files or messing up a Granny"s very expensive laptop!  To hang with being very very careful ....the Pi is pure Magic!! Brilliant !!

No.1 son ( like Eben..grownup and very very busy ) will guide the plugging- in-where  stuff and then we are on our own he says

No.1 son is very useful ...he does find time in his busy life to keep Granny"s laptop updated and humming along... Bless his pointed head


If you look at this link: http://www.debian.org/CD/live/ you can download a so-called 'Live CD'-file of Debian Linux. This file is burned to a CD or DVD and once completed makes it possible to run Linux from the CD on almost every computer without changing anything on that computer. So when you used it and shut off the power anything you did vaporizes into oblivion.

I'm sure your son can help you set it up so you can get a taste of what the Pi will do when you get it. It will make it easier to ask the right questions.

Mattylad
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Re: Needed: a Nursery manual--

Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:12 am

IN essesne, us old duffers will have to wait until later in the year (if not next year) for a ready to go/learning package

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