in reply to Out gunned - and crashing

No offense meant by this but when I read your post (not sure it really is a meditation) I get the impression that it was written by a jittery chihuahua. Being as I'm a dog trainer in my real life that could just be me.

My advise to you is to prioritize your learning goals and break down those goals into bite sized chunks of tasks that you need to learn to accomplish each goal. Every time I've ever learned how to work in a new environment (Unix, Solaris, Linux, Windows, OSX, whatever) I start off with the little stuff and build on that.

I'll give a dog training example here. Teaching the sit command.

Before I teach a dog sit I make sure that I can get that dog's attention whenever I need to. Just like people, you can communicate with a dog much better if they are paying attention to you. Before that I make sure the environment we are working in is as stress free as possible because neither people nor dogs learn very well or efficiently if they are stressed out. I may take the dog into high stressed environments to practice skills once they know them, but that's much later on.

Once I have the dog mastering how and when to pay attention to me I start with the sit in small bites. (there is no pun there... move along) I start by getting the dog's attention and holding a treat over their head so they reflexively look up at it and as if by magic their back end will drop into a sit. I do this a few times before I associated a word with that. When they are sitting every time the cookie is held by their head I'll start saying "Good Sit." After a while the food lure starts being used less and less and later on I just used the command "sit" when the dog has associated the word with the action and in their mind they know they'll get a treat for doing as told. I could go on and on about variable reinforcement, chaining, back-chaining and a whole lot of other subjects but that is beyond the scope of what I'm trying to say here.

I looked at your home node to see how long you've been with us (an hour?) and how many postings you've made (one.. this one.) You have hardly given the PM a chance to help you along. So now that you are (hopefully) paying attention let me point out a few starting places for you to learn from:

I would also like to point out a few thoughts:

So, to sum all this up I'll use an expression from my other big hobby, home beer brewing, and tell you "RDWHAHB" which is short for Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Home Brew. Take your time and learn. I've only been working with Perl myself since circa 1989 or so and I'm still learning.

Peter L. Berghold -- Unix Professional
Peter -at- Berghold -dot- Net; AOL IM redcowdawg Yahoo IM: blue_cowdawg