What I Do

“Curmudgeon” is usually defined as “An ill-tempered (and frequently old) person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.”. A computer curmudgeon, on the other hand, tends to be shy around people and old enough to have learned that swearing at software rarely gets results. Stubbornness, however, usually does.

Some of the things I can do for you:

Things this computer curmudgeon can do for you include:

Website setup and management

If you have a business, you need a website. Maybe you already have one, but it’s out of date and confusing, and you want somebody to spruce it up. Maybe you’ve forgotten how to update it – or never knew because somebody set it up for you.

Maybe you don’t have a business, but you do have a hobby, a charity, or a social group. Maybe you just want a place where you can keep a journal. Sure, you could set something up on Facebook, but there are good reasons not to. I can

  • Build a website for you, working from a designer’s sketches or your own ideas. (I’m not the world’s greatest web designer, but you can see some samples here.) When I’m done, or rather when we’re done, you’ll be able to maintain it yourself.
  • Help you set up a website with WordPress, Weebly, Shopify, or GitHub Pages, and teach you how to add your own content. I’ll also help you choose the platform that’s right for you.
  • Show you how to manage the website that some other consultant left you with before they moved away.
  • Help you set up a blog, and show you how to keep it up to date and safely backed up.
  • Help you set up a blazing fast static website, and teach you how to make changes on it instead of calling him for help.
  • Automate some common tasks with shell scripts.

Computer coaching and encouragement

If you’re around my age (I’m 71 at the moment) or older, you probably haven’t been working with computers for the last 50 years, and you may be finding all this new-fangled computer stuff scary or confusing. I can sit down with you at home or in a coffeehouse and…

  • Help you overcome a fear of computers.
  • Teach you how to use email, Slack, Signal, and Google to stay in touch with your grandkids (or your grandparents!).
  • Show you where to find thousands of free books on the web.
  • Show you some good places to buy computers, and help you get one that will do what you need without breaking the bank.
  • Help you set up your web browser to keep sites from tracking you.

System Setup

I can come into your home or business and help you set up a new computer or other device. Sure, all of this information is on the web somewhere. But not everyone learns best by reading; sometimes you just want somebody to look over your shoulder and coach you. I can

  • Help you set up a new computer, and load it up with free, easy-to-use software. Sometimes the hardest thing is just knowing where to start.
  • Help you set up regular backups.
  • Help you set up your printer, scanner, or whatever.
  • Help you set up a wide range of home devices.

Linux, programming, and version control

I specialize in Linux, but I’ve been using – and programming – personal computers since MS-DOS and CP/M, and Macs since the Mac II. And mainframes and minicomputers before that. Linux is awesome, and free. I can

  • Teach you how to use Linux, and help you install it.
  • Explain how git works and exactly why it’s awesome (and why version control isn’t just for programmers).
  • Teach you how to use git and GitHub – and why.
  • Help you learn to program, in your choice of languages – and help you choose the right one to start with.

Teams and talks

  • Get your team started using git and GitHub.
  • Go through the differences among the various git workflows and help you find the best one.
  • Fill in for missing team members in Java, Bash, Perl, or C/C++.
  • Talk to your group about the history of personal computers, the history of programming languages, (or any of a dozen other topics ranging from the historical to the deeply technical.