go2guitarguy
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:24 am

HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:55 am

Hi all,
I'm a college student, and over the summer I bought a Model B Pi after seeing one my friend tinkered with back on campus. My goals were to familiarize myself with Linux. I have done that to a certain extent. I also started running Ubuntu on my PC and learned similarities between Raspbian and Ubuntu 12.04. I've also read through the official Raspberry Pi user guide by Upton and Halfacree. I've done elementary Squeak and Python programming. And when I say elementary, I mean not much past "Hello World!". I have installed games and apps from the Pi Store and even configured a wifi dongle (after much struggle). So that's a bit of background.

The Pi is a cool little machine with so much potential...

HOWEVER...

I can't seem to tap into that potential. One of the main goals in getting my Pi months ago was to set up an ongoing music stream for my apartment. I have spent days pouring through forums and Google trying to figure this out. As I use Spotify most often and don't always want to have my laptop on, I've spent days trying to find a service for that. I've tried MusicBox, despotify, respotify, libspotify, mopidy... to no avail. Even any time there is LAID OUT CODE on the web page and I type it in, it seems that there's always one or a few things that go wrong. So I try something new. Eventually giving up on any hope of a Spotify stream, I tried getting pianobar to work with Pandora. I wasted about 5 hours tonight that I should have been studying for a midterm scraping the internet for answers, guess and check. But I can never go 100% through anything that works for others without some inconsistency or error with my machine throwing me for a loop. It all seems so simple online, but when I type it, it's rarely the same result. Then I begin searching hopelessly for solutions and patches for the aforementioned issues. It's a vicious process and I'm starting to lose motivation. I realize that failure is part of the learning process, but with no pointers afterward, there are no lessons learned.

I can't troubleshoot too well as I'm a relative beginner at Linux. I'm pretty adept with Windows (which doesn't say a lot, as it's so structured) and fairly tech savvy all around, so I'd like to learn the Pi as best I can as well. But I just don't know what to do. One issue I see is that many of the forum posts I read are old, potentially (and probably) outdated. So I'm probably following inconsistent help. But sometimes it's all I can find.

So I turn to you, O Raspberry Pi community, for help. I figured it's the best place to start.

1. What was the most helpful thing in learning how to make your way around Linux processes and commands and software? Just being comfortable with it? Through projects that work at least a portion of the time?
2. Can someone give me a (link to) step-by-step install for a Spotify emulator or Pandora stream for the Pi that you use?

Thanks for reading all that, and thanks for any help.

vadim
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Location: Nottingham

Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:15 am

There are several electronic and paper magazines that publish projects that work.
Linux User and Developer magazine devotes a lot of attention to RasPi. Some months ago it published Top 10 relatively easy projects.
http://www.raspberry-pi-geek.com/ is a new magazine covering various aspects of RPi including hardware prototyping. MPD was covered in the first issue.

Can't help with Spotify and Pandora as not using those. Try MPD at least to get some sound out of RPi. :)

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duberry
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:31 am

> But I can never go 100% through anything that works for others without some inconsistency or error

i think you in the right place on these forums
if you have taken some steps and hit wall post the steps you made and or the guide you follow
along with the point you stuck at !

because i have heard
:arrow: 'with many eyes all bugs are shallow'
or put another way
:arrow: 'a problem shared is a problem halved'

at least if you share your findings you may save someone else from following once working but now broken steps !!

> wasted about 5 hours

i don't know if this will much encourage motivation
however i could easily replace hours in your statement with years
spent testing/breaking/fixing (sometimes!) computers
even before i ever tried to boot linux or even :oops: use CMD.exe
(and thats F load of :twisted: clicking :cry: , the only lucky thing is i escaped without injury! )


>even configured a wifi dongle (after much struggle)

imho adding anything to any system that needs its own driver
is never a simple thing even when appears to be

and can on occasion cause problems even for
the 'real' big busine$$ who (purly out of kindness) buid this stuff for us to use

for example 'windows 98 usb demo'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpj1SgQQ984

so i guess failure is a most unavoidable part of the learning process


1.1) What was the most helpful thing in learning..

generally i vote 'scientific method'

1) What was the most helpful thing in learning how to make your way around Linux
..

i think shell scripting makes it easy to
start from scratch and then get to where you last got to
and share your progress
(script ) .. and therein halve your problems ! ftw !!

2) Can someone give me a link ...
sorry i have no links or scripts (currently)
but again if post the steps you made and or the guide you follow along with the point you stuck at !
you never know someone round hear might also be interested in working towards creating some sort of solution if there isn't all ready a pre packaged updated one somewhere !

hope that reads legibly (dubious)
p.e.a.c.e - Positive energy activates constant elevation!
lend me your arms, fast as thunderbolts, for a pillow on my journey.
If the environment was a bank, would it be too big to fail
so long; and thanks for all the pi

MikeCross
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Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:21 pm

Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:56 pm

It all seems so simple online, but when I type it, it's rarely the same result.
As linux command lines for a beginner can be long, complex, & not easily understandable, it is easy to make a mistake when re-typing them. It is much better, if you can, to copy and paste the commands.

Run the commands in a terminal window under X, and then you can copy & paste from the web page in your browser.

Or, if you have another computer, & they are on the network, run a browser on other PC, connect to RPi via eg putty, and run the commands in the telnet session, again using copy & paste from web page.

lazarus78
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:16 pm

Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:13 pm

go2guitarguy wrote:Hi all,
1. What was the most helpful thing in learning how to make your way around Linux processes and commands and software? Just being comfortable with it? Through projects that work at least a portion of the time?
I am a college student as well. I am studying Computer Networking at a technical school, and one class we had to take was a Linux introduction class based on CentOS. I excelled through the class thanks to my super super limited meddling with scripting for game mods for The Elder Scrolls Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyim. So I had a lot of fun in that class as I powered through the lab work, and being a cocky over-achiever. XD

Ironically, My dad's work was looking in to getting several Raspberries to see if they can be set up to replace PC computers throughout the company that are being used just to display reports on TVs. And half way through my Linux class, he asked me if I wanted to intern (paid $14 an hour :D) with the company and work on the Raspberries. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I have been working here for about 3 hours a day in the morning (Have school in the afternoon) for the past 2 months, and I have learned a LOT.

My Linux class was mostly focused on scripting and understanding the command line, but not so much on the operating system itself. My first task was seemingly simple, connect the Raspberry to the company network, which is powered by Windows servers. I spent a good week on this task, and after much frustration and blocks, I managed to break through and get it working. Needless to say I was very proud of myself. I couldn't wait for the next "phase", mounting the network storage server! I was pumped and dug right in. Since then I have successfully set up a Raspberry "out in the field" doing a very mundane task of refreshing a html page displaying a chart, every 24 hours. It was the highlight of my whole time working at the company. The fruits of my labor are in effect, and something I did now actually matters.

Every step of this project has been a blast. I learn so much and made me feel like I was finally doing something that mattered, and others would depend on me and my skill set. Every step is a challenge, and I love to crack them. That is what keeps me going. Just push on, tackle problems one at a time. Because of this project, I now know how to connect a UNIX machine to a Windows Active Directory domain. I know about mounting network drives, and making the system do it automatically each start-up. And I thought outside of the box by using "xdotool" to issue the F5 key to refresh the html file. Simple things, but exciting for me.

I even bought my own Raspberry, and it is currently set up as my personal web server. I have a long standing dream of setting up my own personal network of computers and storage space so that my whole family, no matter where they are in the world, can connect and upload picture or video, leave messages, download things, etc. People often say that connecting with your family is important, and I wan't to do that, both figuratively and literally. I know they sell "cloud" storage systems that would make this a done and done job, but there's no fun in that. The satisfaction of "I made that." is what I am after.

My site, for anyone interested. It is very lackluster and still in the works, so don't expect much. :D
http://99.169.169.61/


So, after all that rambling, my point is this. Push on. Things rarely ever work out the first time, the right way, or at all. Find what it is you wan't to do and unleash your brain at it. Often times, the process of solving a problem can lead to the discovery of new things. So while it may be streaming media for you today, as cliche as it may sound, you might create the next YouTube tomorrow.

God I love Ritalin... :shock:

ramstrong
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:44 pm

First, learn the shell completely. I use the book The Linux Command Line by William E. Shotts, Jr, but there are other books out there available.

Second, don't give up. Your current understanding may not be enough for audio streaming, but streaming server is actually one of most difficult thing to do in linux. Just because the instructions make it look easy, it's not.

Third, build your skills. By writing a simple script, then a program, then run a simple web/mail/ftp server, then a streaming server.

Fourth, have an open mind. If one project fails, pick up another, easier project. What you learn in easier projects will help you tackle harder ones.

I know I still have a lot to learn, but I certainly have learned a lot in the meantime. Sometimes, I spend a whole day implementing a feature, only to throw it all away later because I found an easier way to do it. So, my advice to you is to just try a wide variety of things, instead of focusing on just one thing.
Raspberry Pi Journal: http://simpletongeek.blogspot.com/p/raspberry-pi-journal-directory_4.html

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pluggy
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:13 pm

Common problem on the internet, a geek publishes an howto because he isn't a beginner and understands the technology. He can work it out as he goes, because he knows where he wants to get to , how far he's come and what he needs to do to achieve it. A list of instructions for a 'monkey see, monkey do' beginner (no offence intended) more often than not will not work, because something isn't EXACTLY the same as the geek's setup and the beginner falls over because he doesn't fully understand whats going on in the list. A minor change somewhere and the rest just doesn't work and the experience isn't there to backstep and work out what broke and take remedial action to overcome the problem. We were all beginners once, you need a degree or resilience when you're starting out, and what ever anybody says some of this "sh*t" isn't easy, it does get easier with experience though - promise.
Don't judge Linux by the Pi.......
I must not tread on too many sacred cows......

go2guitarguy
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:24 am

Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:30 pm

Thanks all for the generous replies! Looks like I have lots of reading and learning ahead of me... :shock:

I think before I continue, I will learn what a shell is and all about the Linux shell, then proceed to read and learn before attempting work on the projects I had intended. Then I can post on here if I encounter any issues with specific programs.

Thanks so much for all the pointers. I am glad to be part of such a supportive community. You all are great! :D

Niamh
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:40 pm

I understand exactly how you feel.

I've tried and given up on a radio following a Linux User magazine.

I then thought I would try the Adafruit one. Got all the bits in the post and then dicscoverd this is based on Pandora which is not available in Europe. I'm now trying to follow Bob Rathbone's instructions which look like someone really took time over them. Got the first two instructions to work when I leave off the #. and then type a chmod +x*.py and I get a 'command not found' message. Look on the forum under chmod but no further on. Look through the Raspberry Pi Haynes Manual but no enlightment there. Think I should have bought the other book.

Leave the chmod aside and get on with MPD and MPC and on typing in the instruction mpc load ukblues.pls I get the message that there is no such playlist. I substitute 'Beatles' but same result. So on it goes. I am happy to spend time learning stuff but most of it is a waste of time.

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mahjongg
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:58 pm

Well, yes, just following instructions without any understanding what you are doing can only work if the setup you have is one hundred percent exactly the same as the guy who wrote the instructions had, and that is almost never the case, a simple revision difference of any of the code that is used can be enough. Often simply not having gotten the fact that the instructions are for a Debian system running on an x86 PC, not for a PI running an ARMv6 processor is the mayor problem, but much smaller differences can also lead to confusion.

I know that writing instructions that are "idiot proof" for even a trivial task can sometimes be simply impossible, if the user doesn't have any idea what he is doing.

Niamh
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Re: HELP losing motivation as a beginner

Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:05 pm

I understand the problem of the different setups. I also think it is difficult as an expert to predict how someone will interpret their instructions without user testing. The raspberry Pi site is excellent with the NOOBS setups for the raspberry pi.

Perhaps there could be, some time in the future, a section with links to projects that work with the NOOBS set up. It is a project promoted as something that would help children to take an interest in computer science and that is why I looked at it. I thought I could help some younger family members by buying them some raspberry pi and help them gather up bits of equipment. I quickly realised that I would need to be able to show them how to do a few things with it because on its own it is not too appealing. They are not going to sit down and learn Linux or Python cold and neither am I. Through doing various small projects I am beginning to take in some of it and that is the way forward. So some projects that would work with the NOOBS setup would be wonderful to have.

To spend money on equipment, magazines, books and hours of time without success is frustrating.

At the same time I appreciate all your hard work.

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