I launched Elite Dangerous for the first time since it first came out and, for whatever reason, my ship was in the middle of deep space between two systems. Because it had been so long since I last played I started off by accidentally jettisoning my cargo and then ramming into it while trying to get it back with my cargo scoop. Eventually I got to a space station but crashed into it while attempting a landing.
I payed the insurance to get my Hauler back, and before even leaving the ship I accidentally fired a mining laser, causing dozens of automated turrets to obliterate me.
Eventually I got the hang of all of that and figured I had been outfitted for mining, so left to the core of the system where an asteroid field was located. Not remembering how to control my ship while in frame shift drive mode caused me to fly directly into the system star, which drops out of FSD mode at a distance from the star where it practically blots out half of the horizon. I burned up shortly afterwords.
After more fiddling I got to mining. As I recalled, you shoot an asteroid with a mining laser until a hunk breaks off. You then have to lock onto the hunk and maneuver it into your cargo hatch. It takes some work, but it's good practice learning to fly again so I put on a podcast and stuck with it. After about an hour bumbling around the minefield I had depleted all of the asteroids I could find and flew to the closest space station.
I sold my 3 ton cargo for a whooping 2,500 credits. I repeated this process 4 or 5 times and ended up with a cool 50k.
Since I didn't know how to upgrade my ship at all, and I recognized my refinery could only collect two minerals at once (and you usually found more than two per asteroid) I decided to look up a guide on mining.
30 seconds into the guide is the point I realized I'd wasted several hours of my life.
You see,, zapping rocks, chasing the chunks that come out of them, and meticulously maneuvering your ship to capture the material in the cargo scoops is exactly what mining was... in 2014. It turns out some savvy team member of Frontier Developments looked at this tedious, time consuming (and not particular profitable) process, and decided to make it a little easier. Well, ok, a LOT easier.
They added drones to the game called Limpets at some point. By having the right controllers aboard your ship you can use Limpets for all kinds of nifty things. For mining in particular you can use a Limpet to prospect the asteroid you're mining, which doubles the materials you receive from it. Then, just by having a collector Limpet deployed near the asteroid, it will zip and and pick up that tasty chunk of enriched rock FOR YOU, and place it right into your open cargo bay.
Mining an asteroid went from taking 15 minutes to about 2. In my first haul, I hit 5 asteroids in about 10 minutes and made 75k.
EDIT: Also logged into a old Skyrim save to find myself in a cave full of cheese wheels, something I have 0 recollection of.