Learning New Ways

November 2, 2023

It's been almost two decades since I first installed a version of WordPress on a server, and more than a decade since I've actually used it as an app to build a web page, and it is a very different user experience this time around.

So, I'm learning this new version the same way I've learned almost everything during my life - by doing. I have had some excellent mentors and teachers in my life, but most often my memories of what I learned from them were of them guiding me in my learning, rather than them 'teaching' me the 'one way' to do something. Most of the things I've learned have been self-guided exploraions into something that I became interested in, or things or methods that would help me earn a living. ( see Autodidacticism, and heutagogy ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodidacticism [ed something weird about the link... gotta learn more ] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autodidacticism

I do realize I've missed out on learning a lot of neat stuff about whatever it is I was learning in this self taught way by my propensity to slow down the learning soon after I'd gained adequate competency to accomplush whatever it was I wanted to do when i began exploring the topic. Becoming an expert or master of something was not necessary to me. But for me, all too often when I've attempted to learn in a structured class or assigned lesson plan, far too much of the curriculum was of little interest to me. I did not need to learn the majority of the features of Microsoft Word or Excel to write a letter or to create a budget spreadsheet. I learned as much as I needed to be able to do what I needed to do, and when I encountered a task that needed me to learn a new feature, I did so.

Now, back to learning about WordPress! I do caution you dear reader, that I tend to wander off 'into the weeds' as my wife says. In so much of my thinknig, and by extension in my talking and writing, I'll jump from one topic to another, as I did in the two preceeding paragraphs. But to me, those sidetrips into the weeds are mostly related to the overall subject at hand.

This current WordPress learning started on November 1, 2023 with me installing WordPress on my personal website (actually I did not really do the inatsll; I launched - via my website admin control panel - an app called Softaculous which launched an install script on the server to do the installation). That process is pretty much a hands off process, with the user - me - making few decisions, among them where the WP app would be placed on the server. I chose the all to common directory name of 'blog'/ Yeah, I know, not creative and boring. But good enough. I gave the blog the title of "Musings of a Meandering Mind" which I've used several times in the past to describe my thinking and writing. I also chose a 'Theme' from a preloaded list of default themes. This may change in the future, but for now it's good enough for this learning phase.

That was pretty much all I did with it that first day. Today I sat down at the computer (Mac Mini with LG 27" screen, older Mac keyboard and a wired Raspberry Pi mouse) and saw the WP admin page showing in the browser and remembered I had done the install last night. If that page had not still been there, I likely would have forgotten about this project for another month or year....

So, not knowing how to use it it or what to do, I began the process of self-teaching. Now more than an hour after I started this, I see a red banner at the top of the page with a warning “ Updating failed. You are probably off line” 

Fearing that I might lose the writing I've done so far, I quickly highlighted all the text I've written, copied it to clipboard, then opened Pages to create a normal pages document with my text, which I saved locally and on iCloud. That done, I'm back her is WP on my web server to figure out that error message. I hit the "Publish' button and received a mesage that publish was successful.

I hopped over to my website and the blog subdirectory and see not my current post but the boilerplate default screen.

Oh, well. More learning to do.

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