As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve not been so focused on maintaining this blog. Since I graduated, I’ve noticed that the creative energy that really pushed me into writing here has died off. This probably explains some of the wacky, super off-topic posts like the Chindapedia.
Not that I’ve stopped blogging, in fact I’m writing more than ever on my technology learning blog, thoughtshots. The goal of thoughshots and its accompanying YouTube channel is to present really well made instructional content for newbies. There’s loads (and I mean loads) of information about technology on the web. The problem that I’ve noticed is that very little of it is focused on teaching you how to solve a problem or do something with that technology – there’s far more content (probably because it’s more easy to monetize) that is focused on reviews, previews, and spyshots of the latest gadget. When there is content that shows you how to do something, it’s usually a post on some obscure forum, or a video by a 14 year old who starts every sentence with “uhh.. this is pretty cool.”
Not that I’m hating on fourms or 14 year olds making tech videos, but sometimes when you want to know how to do something, you don’t necessarily want to spend an afternoon wading through them. When there is really great technology learning content, it’s generally held back behind a paywall or a registration – some of the best examples of these come from lynda.com, Don McCallister’s Screencasts Online, and the Goodwill’s GCFLearnFree.org. These sites offer incredibly in-depth content on certain technology topics, but hold them back from the casual knowledge-seeker (I should be clear that these sites have been an inspiration for this project, so I’m not hating on them, either).
So how does thoughtshots solve these problems?
It’s free. I’ve got ads on the site in the hopes that I can one day monetize it, but I do not plan on ever charging anyone to look at any of the content produced for this site.
It provides just-in-time training. So if you type a technology related problem into your favorite search engine, it’s my hope that thoughtshots will have a solution for you within a few minutes (obviously a very long term goal).
It won’t waste your time. This means no unnecessary information, and things are kept brief. Also, there’s no lengthy time commitment – you won’t have to wade through a graduate course’s worth of material to get what you need.
It’s not intimidating. I’m focused on helping the beginner, so I’ll be going through things in detail and keeping it jargon-free.
It’s not annoying. My videos are “ah” and “um” free. The site is free of popup and click through advertising.