I’m confused – I don’t know where to start with this. I need help. So how about a Cambridge PufflesCamp aimed at helping solve these conundrums?
“Learn to programme or be programmed” as the saying goes. I can’t remember where I heard it, but it is the final command of this blogpost on the 10 commands of the digital age.
My preferred learning style would be to incorporate some sort of regular weekly ‘taught’ learning programme, but the challenge is finding somewhere that’s suitable and affordable. If anything, this is to give me some sort of structure that at the moment is lacking in my daily life. But then which course? A brief look at one local provider is as varied as it is confusing. That’s not a criticism of the course provider, it’s a reflection of just how diverse programming and coding is. Compare it to someone saying “We do writing courses – in every written language in the world” – but to a visitor from outer space. Which one do you go with?
Looking through the list of all the different names and acronyms, I’m familiar with most of them by name…but that’s about it. It’s one of those things where I know I need to become knowledgeable in this area, but don’t know where to start. It’s a similar state of affairs to those people who say to me that they need to become more familiar with social media but don’t know where to start.
At the moment I’m playing about with the basics – in particular with my new website that I’ve not yet launched. What I thought was going to be a straight-forward theme ended up being anything but. I spent part of yesterday evening with my web host trying to get our heads around why it wasn’t nearly as straight forward as I thought it would be. I could get to the code behind the theme but could not understand most of it. There were bits where I could – for example recognising where certain things needed to go – such as the name of a Twitter feed to produce an automated feed from my Twitter account. But what didn’t make sense was why placing one piece of code would lead to the feed being placed in one area of the web page and not another. It wasn’t as intuitive as I had expected it to be.
Where I’m at is that I’ve got a ‘vision’ of what I want the whole set up to look like and how I want it to function. I’ve sketched the designs out on paper and have much of the content ready or in the pipeline for it to be incorporated. But I don’t feel that I’ve got anywhere near the level of skills needed get from A to B.
Apart from where to start, I am also going through a bit – well…a major crisis of confidence at the moment. It’s not helped by spending most of the day in isolation (one of the perils of this new world). This combined with trying to get over the hurdles of the curse that is this anxiety disorder means that things feel generally bleak. That’s not to say they should remain that way.
At the same time, I also think that the steps I need to take are relatively straight forward and not especially big to overcome all of this. What I need are people to work with – not just for my benefit but for all of our benefits too.
This is what I’m proposing.
A mini-PufflesCamp in Cambridge.
This is not to replace the one that I hope we can have again in Brighton that we had last year. This one would be more about people bringing their specific computing related projects/ideas/problems together with the aim of trying to help each other out. I’ve got my things that I need help with, and there things that I can help with – even if it’s a case of playing with some of the hardware or software that I’ve purchased in recent times.
The idea would be to locate either to a pub or coffee house close to the station (there are a couple with free wifi access) or to my place over a weekend (looking at late March) and to bring computing/social media problems and skills together and see what the results are. In the run up, through either the comments section in this post or through Twitter, we could scope the things that we want to address so that people can come prepared with possible solutions or ideas. I (or rather my parents – as that’s where I still am) can provide floorspace for a few people should anyone need to stay overnight – and there may be a couple of Cambridge-based people (depending on numbers) who might be able to provide the same.
I’m not planning on this being a huge gathering – possibly around ten people or so, otherwise we end up in the realms of having to book venues, at which point things become expensive. Which is not good given my levels of skint-ness.
What do people think, and who would be interested?