50 Ways to Flash Your CHIP

Back in high school, at some point, we learned about the different ways that people learned things. Some people learn best by being told information, we found out, and some people learned best by reading and others by teaching whatever information it was to other people. At no point was there even a question that school might take integrate this knowledge in such a way where we might learn better, in a manner more suited to our brains - there was a distinct feeling that this was the type of pedagogy that might be practiced at a school people paid to go to.

I have no idea what I found out about my learning style, which probably shows, as I basically have never learned shit. But over the past month, actually trying to learn about computer systems and Linux, things have maybe gotten a bit clearer.

First off, I am not great with manuals. From early HTML books when I was a kid - I don't think I ever finished a single one. I can't do tutorials, they make my eyes glaze over and whoever is making them always seems to know exactly what I'm trying to figure out, which is the exact point where they either stop entirely or move quickly and vaguely on. I've never finished a self-help book of any sort.

I learn by failure. I learn by getting in there and trying shit and messing up, over and over again, and each time I get a little bit further and understand the terrain a little bit better. It's a costly way to learn, and it's probably prevented me from reaching mastery in pretty much anything. But here in my mid-30s I think I have finally resigned myself to the knowledge that, well, this is *probably* the brain I am stuck with for the rest of my life.I don't think it's very likely I'll get a new one at this point, at least not in any sense that I will find enjoyable.

I was chatting with someone on Mastodon earlier about my Pocket C.H.I.P. follies, and I said that I was probably constitutionally unsuited for this sort of stuff, and that is kind of what I meant. When I was twelve or so the fact that I would end up in computer programming was just incredibly obvious to me, and... that is not where I ended up, and that's probably a great thing for me. But as an environment for just dicking around and messing up repeatedly and gaining a little bit each time I really can't complain that much about the Pocket C.H.I.P.

I have three C.H.I.P.s now, floating around in bedside tables and desk drawers, and I've flashed them god knows how many times, trying pretty much all the variables I can imagine - should I use the pocket image or the headless? Should I update all of the sources or comment out all but one? I have like seventeen different tutorials, all lined up in my tabs. Each time I more or less get to a point where despite all of my efforts and googling I simply can't get something working, and then I'll pull out the bread tie I've stripped the plastic off the ends of and shove the wire in there and start again. But - at the very least, I know that whatever I just did, doesn't work. The only files any of these ever get are these blog posts, which end up on smol.pub anyway, so I have no compunction about letting 'er rip.

For some reason I couldn't figure out windows managers. And not like, what the best one was or how to configure it or whatever. Reading Linux blogs and forums and stuff I'd read about windows managers, and I even googled "windows manager" and - it's difficult to explain. I read explanation after explanation and looked at screenshots but it felt like the words were just slipping off of my brain. And maybe I don't even get them now, even though I'm using one right now (...I think... maybe I'll google that again). But I'm groking the concepts waaaay better than I was previously, simply by getting in there and bashing around.

Tomorrow - get this - I think I'll flash another pocket image and put PocketDesk on there and everything, go full GUI before I try to get a CLI that I like set up. It might be a brutal way to learn but it's the one I've got.