About Adrian Try
A reader, researcher, writer and trainer, I’m also a musician and family man whose sixth child and second grandchild were born in November 2008. You can read my blog at www.adriantry.com.
My first job was in the Data Centre of a bank in the early 80s. During the mid eighties I completed a degree in Pure Mathematics which included various computer subjects, and I became more familiar with using Unix mainframe computers. In the late eighties and early nineties, I forgot Unix as I learnt DOS and then Windows. I worked for many years as a computer trainer during this period, and was interested in exploring alternative computer programs and operating systems, including DR DOS and GeoWorks.
In the early 2000s I discovered open source software, and started using it on a Windows XP computer. In 2003 I started playing with Linux (initially Xandros), and migrated to it as my main operating system later that year. I recommend that most people interested in adopting Linux take several months (or even a year) in making the switch. There is a lot to learn, and it also takes time to discover new programs that meet your needs.
Currently (among other things) I maintain several Windows Server 2003 networks, teach accredited computer training courses, and run Try Another Angle.
From 2005-2006 I provided computer tech support to families over the phone five nights a week. During that time I became intensely aware of how powerless families feel when experiencing computer problems, how ignorant they are about the basic workings of computers, and sometimes heard horror stories about the quality of service they received when paying for professional computer help. I saw a need.
In response to this, Try Another Angle came into being in late 2006 with the aim to:
- Equip and train families to be able to better use their computers
- Offer them more effective support at an affordable price
- Let them know about more cost-effective ways of using their computers
This has been accomplished through computer support visits to homes, offering phone and email support, providing computer training one-on-one and in small groups, setting up computer training courses in local internet cafes and similar, and through providing training resources and reference online.
About This Site
This site is will continue to grow and develop over time as I write further articles and discover new resources on the internet. Consider this simple start as the foundation.
It has been created using only free and open software and web services. While I normally create websites with the open source software Drupal or WordPress, for this site (after long and careful consideration), I have chosen Google Sites.
Why Am I Using Google Sites?
I’ve chosen Google Sites for this website as a proof of concept. I am committed to using web services in my workflow, and I want to explore what it is like to build a website using Google Sites. I want to see how far I can take it, as well as exploring its advantages and disadvantages.
What are some of the advantages? Firstly, the cost of hosting this site is completely free. The software is quite good, and improving all the time. Many things are easy to do (though you can run into the limits of what you can do pretty quickly). It works well with other Google services, including Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Gadgets and Youtube. So far I have been surprised with how much I’ve been able to customise the site.
Some disadvantages? The site is stored on Google’s server, and I can’t directly back up the site because I don’t have access to the software. (I can back up the data fairly easily, though.) Google’s license is concerning – it claims ownership of a whole lot of stuff I do – though that’s probably just to cover themselves from lawsuits. And the software isn’t open source, so we’re completely reliant on Google to maintain and improve it. And they can pull the plug at any time, just as they did with Google Pages, their previous software, leaving many users frustrated. Also, it gives us no way (at present) to allow readers of this site a way to comment. (There is a way of using a Google Spreadsheets form to do this, but it’s not ideal.)