Task Help

What do you want to do next ? Here is a list of things people want to do with their computers. *Please* tell me about other things that people commonly want to do with their machines but need just a bit of help.

I'm sorry that, at the moment, there is no help here on how you can actually do any of these things. I plan to hotlink this list to actual help files Real Soon Now. (If you know of a better explaination on how to do something, please tell me so I can either add that explaination here or redirect my links to that better explaination). (woefully incomplete ... add link to rufus ?)

2002-11-14:DAV: I just discovered _The Linux Cookbook_ by Michael Stutz (free and online at http://dsl.org/ ) ``It shows you how to perform a lot of everyday tasks using only Linux and free software.'' [FIXME: consider mirroring that Cookbook, then trashing all the redundant stuff here ... ...] [FIXME: email Michael Stutz with any little bits of information that I have here that he left out ]

I maintain some related files:

Linux office software

[FIXME: merge with next section]

things people want to do with their computers

Sender: forge!forgeltd
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 05:36:39 +0000
From: Kevin Forge <forgeltd at usa.net>
To: David Cary <d.cary at ieee.org>
Subject: Re: Help topics / task help

David Cary wrote:
>
> Writing some documentation on how to do simple tasks sounds like a good
> idea for SEUL. Although I don't see what the difference is between a "TASK
> file" and a "HOWTO" and a "miniHOWTO".
>
HOWTOs try to be somewhat general and to shy away from being specific to
any particular environment or software.  What would make these taskfiles
useful is if the doc would assume a particular Filesystem layout, and a
specific set of programs installed.  Kindof a "to perform this task our
way you need these 15 apps.  If they aren't already installed go to
this URL HTTP://*** ".  Then they could assume a minimal setup.  i.e.
An x86 PC connected to the internet via modem and not running a terminal
or Network.
We would have separate taskfiles for each type of setup.  And before
anyone
Get's on his high horse about why this can't work be reminded the people
with the most complex needs need the least help.  I.e. The goy with
aforementioned standalone PC in his house trying to get online with a
little 33.6 Elchepo modem needs far more help than the Sysadmin with
a 5 PC Server cluster 200 Client PCs and 78 Terminals ( 27 of them
XTerms )
>
>   Print a document on someone else's fax machine
>
This is a perfect example of What Linux needs to simplify.  Sure there
are decent fax programs out there ... but I haven't found any that
install
easily AND run automatically.  By Automatic I mean you simply choose
whatever LP device the fax program is pretending to be and once you send
the print it pops up a little window for you to type in the Name and
number
of the recipient.
Receiving should be just as simple.  I.e. The phone wrings for a while
( user determined value ) and then the modem answers and notifies the
user
that she has a new Fax.  1 click and it's on screen.  ( slightly
different
procedure if you are out of X at the time ).
Yes this is all probably available now ... It just doesn't work
immediately.
The receive aspect forinstance needs only 1 variable ( how many rings ).
Even the device may not need to be configured ( /dev/modem is default )
...

Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 1998 22:36:42 -0500
To: seul-dev-help at seul.org
From: David Cary <d.cary at ieee.org>
Subject: Re: Help topics / task help
Cc: twoducks at globalserve.net

Writing some documentation on how to do simple tasks sounds like a good
idea for SEUL. Although I don't see what the difference is between a "TASK
file" and a "HOWTO" and a "miniHOWTO".

When you say "'help' could invoke tools", are do you literally mean that
while the user is using the help browser to find out how to do something,
the help browser itself would start other applications (rather than telling
the user what to type/click to start this other application) ? That could
be cool. Maybe even intelligent enough to look at your system and say
things like "I see you already have the mouse set up, so let's skip to step
7".

Keeping a list of "Tasks People Want to Do with a Computer" sounds cool.
I'll cut 'n paste the list onto my web page if no one else volunteers.

Many of these tasks are interrelated / interdependent; "Checking email"
assumes that you already have the email program set up, so it should
probably have a link to "setting up pine" which in turn depends on / has a
link to "Connecting with the Internet".

more tasks:
  Checking email
  Simple text file editing
  Writing your first "Hello, World" comsci assignment (is gcc installed ?)
  Printing out a text file
  Printing a picture / web page
  Editing a web page
  Balancing my checkbook
  Downloading, installing, and playing Doom
  inserting a formula with a fraction into my TeX document
  Send a graph via email
  Print a document
  Print a document on someone else's fax machine

>To: seul-dev-help at seul.org
>From: Two Ducks <twoducks at globalserve.net>
...
>Instead a separate set of documents, TASK files, could
>be written to embody some of the SEUL ideas. Task help
>files would be short, step by step procedures for
>simple (and semi-complex) processes. As much as possible
>the help could invoke tools (used in SEUL) which the
>user could then use to perform these tasks. Some of these
>tasks could be:
>
>  Opening an xterm.
>  Executing a program.
>  Running the file manager.
>  Copying a file (and other file operations).
>  USING THE HELP BROWSER!!
>  Connecting with the internet.
>  Setting up the mouse (or other hardware. Tools needed to make this
>easy.)
>  Logging out.
>  Shutting down.
>  Rebooting.
>
>And on and on.
>
>Some of these tasks can be recorded now.
>
>What is though of making a list of possible tasks (keeping it online
>somewhere) and tagging the ones that are being written and have
>been complete.
>
>Any takers?

--
+ David Cary "mailto:d.cary@ieee.org" "http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/"
| Future Tech, Unknowns, PCMCIA, digital hologram, <*> O-





List of applications

The people on the <seul-dev-help at seul.org> and "seul-project at seul.org" motivated me to write this list. These people in particular wrote significant parts:

THE RULES
by "Star's End" <starsend at interlog.com>

  1. 1) The list is to stay intact. You may add to it but don't edit it. I don't care that we're wasting bandwidth. Its better to have a dozen real lists floating around, then a dozen snippets of lists.
  2. 2) The only comments to be accepted is a url pointing to where an application can be found or additions of applications to the wishlist.
  3. 3) No religious wars. I don't care if you think KDE is better than GNOME or vice versa. What we are doing here is listing all the potential assets available to the project.

Final Comments:
If you are adding a particular app, please try to use the existing categories if at all possible. If you know of an app that fits the bill, please add it to the list.

Okay The List:

"The availability of a tool shapes the sort of tasks that can be accomplished.

Sometimes people will use a $2000 computer to replace a $1.59 deck of cards and never get any farther than that.

We can never predict what applications will be desired, because the number of applications needed is probably infinite. We can predict the sorts of things, that people need to keep track of: images, words, documents, numbers, facts, relations between facts, time, people, projects, possessions; and try to think of ways of making it very easy for them to keep track of such things." -- Evelyn Mitchell <efm at tummy.com>

"If you ever want these programs written, DON'T talk about writing them - WRITE THEM ALREADY! Learn whatever languages it takes, Linux isn't like windows. No one is going to hold your hand and comfort you when something isn't the way you want, you get told to FIX IT. TTYL!" -- Paul Anderson <paul at geeky1.ebtech.net> Maintainer of the Tips-HOWTO. http://www.netcom.com/~tonyh3/speck.html

"The mentality of most linux users I know ... ... lets do something interesting today." -- "Stars End"

?: "We need to not break things. ..."
"Stars End": "What you [want] is a static environment. That doesn't exist in linux. In fact most would say the chaos in the linux world is its biggest strength."


"I think the real question being asked is what can be changed to make people who normally use windows more comfortable on linux.

The answer has been given many times before. Make a distribution that is easy to install, complete, and preconfigured. That's all that windows is. Anyone who has had to fix anything that goes wrong on windows know exactly how hard and how cryptic everything is.

Keep the user who doesn't want to how the computer works away from the part that are critical." -- "Stars End"


Date: Wed, 07 Jan 1998 09:26:32 +0100
From: Kai Wetzel <k.wetzel at welfen-netz.com>
Organization: Free Software Union (http://www.fslu.org)
To: seul-project at seul.org
CC: starsend at interlog.com
Subject: Re: SEUL: Feature List take Two

Star's End wrote:
[...]
> THE RULES
>
> 1) The list is to stay intact. You may add to it but don't edit it.
> I don't care that were wasting bandwidth. Its better to have a dozen
> real lists floating around, then a dozen snippets of lists.

Well, I see your point.  However, I prefer reading mails
with only relevant section quoted, but this only works
if people tend to read all messages of a thread.
I try to switch to extended quoting for this particular
thread since it seems to be useful, though ;°)

> 2) The only comments to be accepted is a url pointing to where an
> application can be found or additions of applications to the wishlist.

Hmm, I think the list can also gain from comments about
its structure, etc.  The better the skelleton is when
we're through in a couple of days, the less work it will
mean for you to maintain and for other people to add
items to the list :O)

> 3) No religious wars. I don't care if you think KDE is better than GNOME
> or vice versa. What we are doing here is listing all the potential assets
> available to the project.

Well, I think it's a good idea to mention short-coming of
particular applications.  This doesn't mean we shouldn't
include these apps - don't get me wrong - but it could
mean that we're more likely to be happy if an alternative arrives.

> Okey The List:

Generally very good already, but I'd suggest some
changes to the category, especially to avoid we end
up with one or two dreaded miscellaneous categories
which get filled up with all kinds of apps.

I would also suggest to add sub-categories in some cases.
It's up to you in the end, these are just my (hopefully
somewhat useful) suggestions.

(I use + for sub-categories, - for entries,
$ for shareware / gratisware, $$ for payware )
[DAV: lots of stuff cut out and merged with main list above]
I hope it's ok if I add some items without a URL.  If nobody has
one at hand, I can search for it later on and give it to you.
[DAV:vsnippage]

The most nicely done list of Linux apps I know of:
http://www.xnet.com/~blatura/linapps.shtml

Should we only add those we tried or also those which
someone should try/review to this list ?

> B.T.

Best regards,
kai

mathematical optimization

version control

[FIXME: move this entire section to http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?VersionControl ]

a version control system

This is a pretty essential tool for projects where more than one programmer wants to work on the code simultaneously.

But which one ?

Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 15:11:25 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Stefan Petersen <spe at stacken.kth.se>
To: geda-dev at geda.seul.org
Subject: Re: gEDA: CVS question (off-topic)

On Thu, 22 Jun 2000, Paul Robertson wrote:

> Hi.
>
> Sorry this is rather off-topic.
>
> I am using CVS to manage a project, with a couple of branches and stuff.

[problem described]

> Any ideas how to do this?

This is a kind of RTFM answer but anyhow. Karl Fogel has written a book
on CVS that is (mainly) GPL:ed and available "on the net". The URL is:

http://cvsbook.red-bean.com/

I have the dead-tree version myself and have found it quite interesting.

/spe
/----------------------------------\
! Stefan Petersen, MSc EE         !  \
! http://www.stacken.kth.se/~spe/ !    \___________

\----------------------------------/

Other Documentation Projects

The BLINUX Documentation and Development Project (BDDP) http://www.leb.net/blinux/ Enable blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind, and low-vision users to install LINUX on their computers themselves.

misc

other random possibly-related stuff.


Started 1998-04-05

Return to index

Send comments, suggestions, bug reports to

David Cary
d.cary@ieee.org.

end http://www.ionet.net/~caryd_osu/david/html/task_help.html