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Workshop to save M$ Windows users - help needed

From: Eduardo Ochs
Subject: Workshop to save M$ Windows users - help needed
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2021 01:26:59 -0300

Hi all,

I am preparing a workshop that will be a kind of an introduction to
Free Software to people who don't even know how programmers think but
who are curious to learn... It will happen by chat - initially on
Telegram, but I will try to teach people how to use rcirc - and my
main focus will be on:

  1. How in Elisp we can do lots of programs that are useful and that
     fit in just one or two lines,

  2. How we can share complete short programs with the other people in
     the workshop via chat. Parenthesis: I think that this will be the
     most mind-blowing part of the worshop for most of the
     participants... I am expecting an audience composed almost
     exclusively of M$ Windows users - "MWUs" from here onwards - and
     MWUs usually think that "programs" are huge beasts that only
     super-nerds that understand,

  3. How bigger programs can be built from smaller programs - we will
     play with some programs that are 5 to 10 lines long and made of
     several defuns (yaaay!!!) and that are easy to tinker with.

What I described above is the part of the workshop that I already know
how to teach, or to coordinate - "coordinate" because if everything
goes well then I'll have ten people speaking on the chat all at the
same time.

Now comes that part that I _DON'T_ know how to teach, and in which I
would like to ask for help.

I don't know how MWUs think. I don't know how they memorize actions
that are made of sequences of mouse clicks, I don't know how they take
notes, and I don't know how they can deal with programs without having
a clear mental model of what they do. I don't interact with them in
person close to computers often, but practically every time that they
see me using Emacs on my laptop they say "I don't have any idea how
you can use that", so they also don't understand how I use the
computer and how I think - it's reciprocal.

I talked to some MWUs who are interested in the workshop and they
don't have any idea of how to use terminals - they think that in order
to use a terminal one has to have a prodigious memory and prodigious
typing skills. Terminals are COMPLETELY alien to them, and for several
of them this is the main reason why they never tried to make their
computers dual-boot and to install a GNU/Linux in a partition.

I believe that I can use a part of the workshop to show them how we
can use something similar to the items (1), (2), and (3) above to run
Bash in a shell buffer in Emacs, and to follow a basic tutorial on
Bash... and that will make terminals far less alien to them.


I will only be able to do this "now let's do something similar but
with a tutorial for a Unix shell!" if I can get bulletproof-ish
instructions that they, the MWUs, can follow to install bash and wget
in their Windows machines - and the very few MWUs that I have contact
with and who are not super-hyper-mega-busy don't even know how to
think in terms of full paths... if they download a bash.exe they will
think that its "location" is something determined by a series of mouse
clicks, they have to struggle really hard to discover the full path to
that bash.exe, that will be something like "c:/foo/bar/bash.exe"...
and I am afraid that something like "make sure that the bash.exe is in
your PATH" would be almost impossibly hard to them...

Can we use this thread to discuss possible solutions to that?

Here's one idea. I can ask each one of them to run a sexp like this,

  (insert "\n\n" "MY NAME HERE" "\n" (getenv "PATH") "\n\n")

and send me the lines that it produces, and I can write a series of
eshell commands to each of the participants - that they will send to
eshell using something like this:

(Obs: I am trying to learn Inkscape properly to produce lots of
figures like the one above... that one, that was my first, took me,
huh, I don't know, one hour?...)

  Thanks in advance!!!

    Eduardo Ochs

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