Yesterday I was inspired to teach myself SSH.
I wanted to find a way to work on my RubyPi project from various parts of my home: my patio office outside, or while enjoying my family from the kitchen table or sofa. I knew there was a way to run the Raspberry Pi (RasPi) headless, meaning I could connect to it through another machine on my home network, without plugging the Raspberry Pi in to a monitor or keyboard/mouse. I did some digging on the internet, made a lot of research judgement calls, and eventually created a map for how I planned to take on this adventure.
I confess: one of the reasons I love the Raspberry Pi is it is so basic, so bare-bones, that I have a much lesser fear of breaking it. Because the operating system is located on a re-writeable SD card, if I do make a fatal error (and corrupt my OS, or break it, or destroy critical files), I have the blessed advantage of re-writing an operating system disk image to the same SD card (after some reformatting). This practical advantage makes me, as a true beginner, much more comfortable taking risks and trying new things in the command line.
Once I drafted the map of my process, I gathered the component resources on my laptop and my map and headed down to my basement office. I plugged in my external monitor (primarily used for my laptop, but also available for the RasPi's GUI (Graphical User Interface). Once I gave the RasPi it's power cord, the boot screen appeared. I've got my RasPi set up to boot into the command line, not the GUI, so that I have the capacity to run commands directly on boot without having to re-launch in the terminal application.
I've created a document outlining the process for setting up and using the SSH process over on GitHub. You can see the (in progress) document here.