I've been trying to delicately balance the line between too many links versus not enough links. I created this site in the first place because I had seen tons of these "best places to learn online" compilations, but all of them had about 200 links. Way too many to actually be useful.
So I sought out to create something where there were only a few websites per category, but you could trust that they were all the best the web has to offer. As you can see from some of the comments on here, it's a fine line between too many and too few. I keep finding new ones that I think are too good not to include.
I've been thinking lately about how I can make this site more useful to my users. It seems like most people come once or twice, see a link they like and don't come back until the next time they want to learn something. Although you could argue that's basically what the site is designed to do, I would like to see more repeat users. Any ideas? I have a few in mind already, but I wanted to see what the general consensus was.
Sure, you can just organize them and leave them as they are right now and let people pick what they want, but if you vetted the courses and had suggested tracts to send people through, that could be pretty valuable.
"This is actually something I was thinking about. For instance, say someone wants to learn Ruby. They could go to noexcuselist and find a step-by-step process that someone has made using only free resources. Does that sound like something that would be useful? The hard part is, I'd have to expand the site and make it social, so people can post their own guides. I definitely don't have the technical expertise for that."
Is that what you had in mind?
So, wow, there are a ton of free resources out there - here's how to aggregate them, and utilize each of them most effectively with all the other free resources out there.
However, to be frank, I don't know who you are, so why should I trust your recommendations? I wouldn't mind if you were the only person to decide what gets posted, but I would like to see content from users, primarily tags, votes, and comments. This might also increase user engagement.
You could also make it "social" if you wanted. Allow users to publicly commit to doing a certain tutorial X hours per day/week, and you track that from when they click through your site to the tutorial site, and then they check back in when they're done. Or it could be complete honor system. I wouldn't worry too much about people lying, because really, they'd just be hurting themselves.
2) I don't want the 'social' aspect to seem forced. Giving people the ability to create accounts to track their favorites or to track how many hours they've studied is an interesting idea, but I'm thinking about how many people would actually use it. I think I will try to go to route of providing a better interface / search system to give users a better experience, then go into the social aspect as the site gains popularity.
Thanks a lot of the comment though. Gave me something to think about. Why would people trust what I recommend? Great question.
I think the problem with users coming once or twice is that taking the time to understand and try a resource is a lot of work. With only the bare links, they have no way to use their previous experience to judge the other resources without another significant investment.
You could also ask users to vote "works for me" and "doesn't work for me" and then display those votes when a user registers theirs. You could also use those votes to track the utility of each link to users.
Fitting in with the title of your site ("No Excuse List"), allowing a user to create a list of to-dos on a per site basis with due dates, could be pretty cool. Although I am hesitant of yet another to-do list manager...
I feel weary of changing any of this, but if you want users to come back a good feature would be listing the starting dates for upcoming courses. Coursera and Udacity courses have specific launch dates, you can use this information for a more "what do I want to learn next week" experience.
Sidenote: For me, "Windows 7, OneNote + more for students" and Dreamspark go to the same link.
Highlight which of the sites offer that (with icons?) and it would help user pick the right sites based on their patience level e.g..
Also, thanks for the heads up about the Dreamspark link. Looks like windows recently redirected it to the same site. You used to be able to download Windows 7 and other resources for free as a student...
I've heard good things about chefhangout.com and rouxbe.com. And sadly most of the best cooking information still exists in printed books. Ruhlman's 20 is a great place to start.
- Leverage Google Hangout for some interactive classes
- Use gamification to help users learn some of the more boring fundamentals (basic cooking terms, substitution guidelines, units and measurements, basic baking chemistry guidelines, etc.)
- A better instruction format geared toward using your iPad or other tablet propped up in the kitchen. For example, make sure the user can navigate with the nub of a knuckle or some other clumsy way, so they don't have to touch their iPad with fingers that just got through tenderizing raw chicken.
- That instruction format should probably incorporate a hybrid text-audio-video approach. And by that I don't mean a blog post with an embedded video at the top. I mean a way to constantly review just that part of the video that talks about what you're doing.
- Start with videos about things that are obvious but are useful to see. For example, what EXACTLY should olive oil look and smell like before you add the food to it? On a typical gas stove or electric range, where approximately should the knob be? I'm starting to get nervous about this pan-fry step. Are you sure I shouldn't go ahead and flip the chicken? I think I'm burning it! Those kind of things are currently best learned with the assistance of a REAL cook alongside you in the kitchen. He or she can say "don't you DARE touch that portobello; it's SO not done!" There needs to be a way for the more moment-by-moment learning experiences to be available online.
TL;DR - thinking of doing a cooking startup? PLEASE don't give us another "recipes with an embedded video" site. Please.
Chef hangout is pretty much what you described. It's a live video lesson using Google Hangout. I haven't done it but hear good things.
Also I think a lot of what you want is just being taught the basics. Many of those you can pick up just from a video or in some of the simpler cases even a text description. Your oil (preferably canola if you're cooking with it, olive has too low of a smoke point and is better suited for other uses) looks a certain way (sorta shimmery) when it's ready. Once you know that it's pretty much the same for every recipe.
Some a chef would have to be present for. I don't think you can tell by sight when the alcohol has evaporated when cooking with wine, you just have to smell. You can't tell by sight when meat is done or a bean you're blanching is crisp-tender, you have to touch it or bite it.
For that reason I don't think online instruction will ever totally negate offline the way it can in many disciplines. But it definitely can do a lot better than it is.
Yes, in theory it should be extra virgin olive oil. In theory there are people who inspect it. But if they raise doubt about the authenticity of a clearly subpar product, they get sued in a stacked court system. So everyone cheats and nobody calls them on it.
See http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/05/business/la-fi-olive... for an example of a lawsuit that was filed over this in the USA. (Because you really can't sue about it in Italy.)
That makes a noticeable difference in the kitchen. Using olive oil you'll find yourself overheating more often. It's also more expensive, and imparts a flavor, which you typically don't want in your oil when sauteing or pan frying. If you want that flavor, pour a little high quality olive oil on at the end. I do that with something like a pan seared halibut, it's heavenly.
Thomas Keller mentions in his books (I believe both Ad Hoc and Bouchon) that he uses canola for sauteing and pan frying for exactly those reasons. (Grapeseed oil is great, he mentions, but very expensive. Peanut oil is typically used for deep frying.) He's probably the most technical of the chefs with numerous Michelin-starred restaurants so I'm inclined to take his advice.
Extra Light (Olive Oil) - 468°F
Maybe that's what GP was referring to. I would put the oils with higher smoke points in the chart closer to exotic territory (avocado, ghee, rice bran, tea seed). I buy my Extra Light OO in jugs at Costco.
Short takeaway: I use EVOO for dressing/cold applications, Extra Light for frying.
Do yourself a favor and buy jugs of canola instead. (Really you should buy small batches, as oil does degrade over time, but it's arguably worth the cost tradeoff.)
I believe it goes rancid though (just like canola) after a time so you should continue to buy in small sizes.
Right now the website just gives me the "this looks like a commitment" feeling, which I'd work to lessen since cooking is one of those things where people randomly get on a wild hare and it lasts a few hours to a few days; you have to hook them during that time or their interest wanes and you don't see them again for a few months/years.
Get a simple recipe and cook something. Learn from the experience. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Two of the best books I have that "explain" how cooking works (albeit in a very minimal sense) are David(?) Rosengarten's Dean & Deluca Cookbook and Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (now over 20 years old and very, very well thumbed and sticky :-) I'd recommend them to anyone.
When I started cooking, I was intimidated by long recipes and never knowing what substitutions or omissions I could make.
This ebook really turned me on, because of its "minimal cooking approach". By stripping recipes down to their bare essentials, this book made cooking approachable. I began to understand the fundamentals, and that allowed me to feel free to experiment.
However, at this point all of my knowledge is ad-hoc. I wouldn't mind recommendations or pointers on how to improve my skill, and I agree that it's not clear where to go for this information.
If you want to really jump into it, grab Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller and just start cooking your way through it. Keller has an engineer's mindset and level of precision, and explains things assuming you're not stupid but don't know much about cooking.
I also use a very light natural dish soap. YMMV if you're using one with strongs scents/chemicals.
Especially the desserts/baking section by Rudolph van Veen is great. He covers many classics, like creme caramel, tarte tatin, baklava, omelette siberienne, etc. He also explains the basic techniques well, like beating egg white with molten sugar to get a sturdy cream.
So far, at least.
As with all these tools, you could teach yourself this stuff before, it'd just require more work and discipline for you to find the necessary books and make your own teaching plan. The advantage of these services is that they lower the friction to learn. Hopefully they reduce the friction enough so that there is a much higher ratio of enjoyment/reward to effort, making you more likely to stick with it. But you still have to stick with it to learn anything.
Here's hoping I will.
Pretty slick, though.
To get the very best out of your time for any task you should only have one motive to do it: because you want to.
I'm hoping duolingo comes out with their Chinese track soon. That'll be very interesting.
The best option for learning Mandarin would be Popup Chinese. If you exhaust their materials or find yourself wanting a southern accent, go on to ChinesePod. Once you can already speak and read some, go to Skritter if you want to learn how to write. If I had had these three resources 10 years ago, it would have been a much, much easier path.
My opinion is that SRS must be ingrained with your own interests. Additionally, the base decks on Memrise don't use further flash card techniques other than Q/A or word/definition. Cloze deletion cards come to mind when memorizing things much easier.
This is one of the problems. The framework is good, but content usually isn't. Content in SRS is really hard because language learning should collide with interests in order to feed the fuel.
More dedicated SRS users will just move to something more portable to create their content more easily/personally and beginners eventually drop off.
It's tough to design good taxonomies of course, but resources like this would greatly benefit from anything that would keep someone from having to click-through each link to discover the usefulness of each resource.
Not trying to sound ungrateful, but a lot of these link-sites come up on HN (there are several based on just programming books, for instance)...It'd be great to see such things evolve into something more.
As of right now, if you hover over the link, it'll explain what the website is focused on and what it generally covers.
The Udacity courses are generally slightly easier (e.g. they avoid the low-level details of the maths), but I really enjoyed CS373 (Programming a Robotic Car) and CS212 (Design of Computer Programs).
The Coursera courses are a little hit and miss in terms of quality, but Quantum Computing and Design and Analysis of Algorithms are both very good.
So far we only have this one:
If you know of any other links please leave a comment