Failing to Create a Content Addressed Resource for the E-Learning 3.0 MOOC

Montaigne’s opening words in his essay ‘Of Books’, seem so apposite to my experience of trying to engage with the task of creating a content-addressed resource for this week’s E-Learning 3.0 course. I quote them here to serve as a disclaimer for all that is to follow 🙂

This is how the task was presented by Stephen Downes.

Create a Content-Addressed Resource
Create a resource (for example, a web page) using IPFSBeaker BrowserFritter, or any other distributed web application (see some of the examples here). Provide a link to the resource using any method you wish.

To help prepare for this task, watch the video ‘From Repositories to the Distributed Web’ as well as these videos on IPFS and Beaker: installing IPFSmaking a website with IPFSinstalling Beaker. Due: Nov 23, 2018

Having just read it again, I see that I have already missed the due date, which is perhaps just as well, but was unavoidable since I have been away this week on another completely unrelated course.

I have watched the videos Stephen has created to support this week’s content and task. I am sure I heard him say something to the effect that we shouldn’t worry about not being able to understand all the technology, just aim to get the gist. Did I dream this?  Imagine my surprise to find that this task clearly requires more than just having got the gist! I hope I have shown that I have understood the gist of what this is all about in my previous post about distributed open educational resources on Web 3.0.

Despite this surprise, I thought I would give it a go, but here is a further quote from Montaigne’s essay, Of Books, which explains exactly where I am coming from.

So here is ‘my method’.

When I saw that at least three other participants had already quickly completed this task, and that Stephen had created videos showing us exactly how to do this, I thought what can be so difficult? I will just do exactly as he says.

On watching Stephen’s video, How to Install IPFS on Windows, I quickly realised that since I work on a Mac this video was of little help to me.

No matter. I had already seen that David Maloney also works on a Mac, so I went to his post and thought I would try and imitate what he had done.  Here, it didn’t take me long to see that David has skills and understanding that I don’t. In his post he writes:

The first task I set about was downloading and installing the go-ipfs distribution implementation of the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS).

I unzipped/extracted the go-ipfs download into my home directory (davidmoloney$ in my case). It isn’t as easy as double-clicking on the .exe file in the directory and following an installation wizard I’m afraid! You are the installation wizard! 

I now have the go-ipfs downloaded, but I am no wizard. He lost me on his following instructions which for me went ‘under the hood’ more than I know how to go.

No matter. I thought there must be a video on Youtube for Mac users who need a ‘dummies’ guide. After a search I found one – IPFS – Getting Started.   I thought I’d cracked it until about 5 minutes in, when all of a sudden the creator of this video began to talk a foreign language, i.e. technical language I didn’t understand.

I found solace in Montaigne again.

Montaigne 4

So at this point I recognised that I had reached the point Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams recognises, where it was ‘too difficult to get my head round’ all this and gave up on the task. I have understood the gist of what this is all about, and I can see the importance of developing a distributed web with distributed open educational resources, but I think I will follow Montaigne’s advice when meeting these types of difficulties and ‘give them over’. Hopefully sometime in the future it will all become much more user friendly and relevant to web users like me who are unlikely to ever want to get ‘under the hood’.

For those who do want to have a go at creating a content addressed resource – here are some posts from other participants, describing how they went about it.

Kevin Hodgson –

Matthias Melcher –

Davey Maloney –

Frank Polster –

Laura Ritchie –

Roland Legrand –

Lou –

And here are the videos which have been provided by Stephen Downes to support this task.

How to Install IPFS on Windows
Nov 22, 2018 video
This video demonstrates how to download and install IPFS on windows using PowerShell. For the Resources Module of the E-Learning 3.0 course.

How to Add a Website to IPFS
Nov 22, 2018 video
This video shows how I used my previously-installed IPFS node to upload a website to IPFS. It also explores the IPFS Companion plugin a bit more and shows how now everything is working perfectly just yet.

Installing Beaker Browser and Creating a Page on the Decentralized Web
Nov 22, 2018 video
In this video I install the Beaker Browser, a browser that accesses the decentralized web using the dweb:// protocol. After installing and exploring a bit we create our own site on the dweb using the Beaker browser.

Sharing Dweb Content with Dat
Nov 22, 2018 video
In this video I work with Dat, a node application that creates a Dweb node and shares files, websites and data across the distributed web. A bit long, not everything works, but a way to watch the process in action. This video is an hour and 24 minutes – I could have made it a lot shorter but I wanted to show the thinking process as I worked with this.

2 thoughts on “Failing to Create a Content Addressed Resource for the E-Learning 3.0 MOOC

  1. Lisa M Lane November 28, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    This is by far my favorite of the posts you’ve written for this course. Love your use of Montaigne! 16th century nail biting, indeed.

  2. jennymackness November 29, 2018 / 11:14 am

    Thanks Lisa. I was very taken by this essay by Montaigne and it seemed as if I was reading it at just the right time. Of course Montaigne was not writing about failing at technology tasks; rather he was ‘having a go’ at authors (particularly philosophers) whose writing is impenetrable. He had no patience with them. It resonated with me because I find computer code impenetrable!

    I have now ordered a book of all the essays and I’m looking forward to reading some of the others.

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