Saturday, 30 September 2006
Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll put up the mast and try the spinnaker for size. We can locate the blocks for the spinnaker sheets, then it's just a matter of drilling and bolting the fittings to the decks. I want to tidy up some paint in the cockpit before we finish, and the woodwork will be a project for the evenings next week. Then we can go sailing, and learn to handle the spinnaker.
Thursday, 28 September 2006
Tuesday, 26 September 2006
What's the Southern oscillation up to? Will it be an El Nino summer? Or is it an "El Ninyo" the way some reporters now say it - I thought that was reserved for the opposite swing, "La Nina", or so my Spanish speaking informants assured me. It's become a usage like "ser-vie-ickal" cancer or "kill-ometers" - if it sounds peculiar it must be correct.
NASA reckons the Earth's getting warmer than ever.
It looks like sailing's a better option than skiing at this time of the year. I had been hoping for a last day spring skiing at Mt Hutt but maybe that won't happen.
Dunedin photos here. Photos of Moeraki too.
Saturday, 23 September 2006
I want to visit Jim Guthrie a couple of times over the weekend too, hopefully get out and about to do a few things with him. And there's Owen Cambridge to visit some time - probably for a teatime beer and chat. We haven't had a good look around Dunedin for a while so it will all be interesting.
Thursday, 21 September 2006
The American Library Association is holding a Banned Books Week to expose this vestige of fascism. Here's a list from their web site.
The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2005” reflect a range of themes. The books are:
- “It's Perfectly Normal” for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
- “Forever” by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
- “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
- “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language;
- “Whale Talk” by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language;
- “Detour for Emmy” by Marilyn Reynolds for sexual content;
- “What My Mother Doesn't Know” by Sonya Sones for sexual content and being unsuited to age group;
- Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence;
- “Crazy Lady!” by Jane Leslie Conly for offensive language; and
- “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie H. Harris for sex education and sexual content.
Tuesday, 19 September 2006
After that I'm on a 6.45am plane for Wellington Thursday morning, for two days at E-Fest. And a night in Wellington, I haven't done that for a while. I'll catch up with Cam after work on Friday; he'll drive me to the airport and we can have a chat while waiting for my flight. I know this is peanuts for those business travellers who spend their days in Koru Clubs, but it's quite enough for me.
The weekend after that, 10 days away, will be flat-out boat maintenance, weather permitting.
Sunday, 17 September 2006
Today Mark Schroeder and I dropped the mast and brought the yacht home for some pre-season tidying. I'll touch up some paint and woodwork, and we need to fit the blocks and sheets for the spinnaker. I may also make new seat tops for inside the cabin; the old ones are chipboard and moisture hasn't been kind to them.
Saturday, 16 September 2006
Originally uploaded by gregor_ronald.
This building is architecturally exciting, both inside and out. The higher mathematicians live in offices at the top of these towers, reachable only by stairs from the highest lift-serviced level.
Ever looked around the labour-intensive processes being carried out at a polling booth on election day, and thought that technology could help? Maybe it can, but don't buy Diebold voting machines! Some Computer Science students at Princeton have made a video about how easy they are to crack.
Now I'll try something better, as that example is a rather ordinary photo. I'll be pleased when Safari's next update is released, it will be able to run the wysiwyg Blogger composer/editor.
Friday, 15 September 2006
And Bill and I join UCTL - where we acquire a programmer/developer (who will maintain the CCE's Interact system while we decide what to do) and a multimedia developer from CCE, plus a video production guy, and an Educational Designer - Derek, who's been seconded to do WebCT training through the transition. We then hire a second WebCT admin, which will free me up for more investigative new-technology stuff. It's a shame I'm a bit of a cynic about stuff like this, but at least it means I won't go overboard. So we have an e-learning unit at long last. Dispersed across three buildings on two campuses a kilometre apart, for now.
I started planning for a week in Sydney, 2-8 December, attending first the annual Ascilite conference, followed by a conference about LAMS - a visual Learning Activity Management System. Heather will come till the Wednesday then she has to get back for the last two days of the term. I'll have the following week at work then we go on summer holiday to Golden Bay, and stay till almost Christmas. It's a tough life. We'll do a bit of eating, cycling, and sailing over Xmas-New Year, then I'll go back to work to get ready for a new teaching year with a new learning management system, and a new work environment. It helps keep me young...
Approaching NW gales permitting, we want to go for a bike ride in the morning - up the hills to the Sign of the Kiwi, and maybe further.
Thursday, 14 September 2006
Did that work? What did Blogger do to the size?
That's great, I can just put photos on Flickr and link from here - no need to upload to Blogger separately. I can just resize their display size to 400 wide and they fit the page perfectly.
Wednesday, 13 September 2006
- Where will we be located? Don't know.
- Will I still look after the WebCT and Turnitin budgets? Don't know.
- What role will the transferred CCE staff have in looking after UC staff? Don't know.
Monday, 11 September 2006
Well, the department is basically stripped of anything that's not core IT business. AV, e-learning, phones, maybe printery, which is yet to be decided, have all been removed. When I started at UC in 2001, they'd just finished a massive restructuring which brought all these IT-related areas into a single department. Now we strip them all out again - the wonders of modern management.
Amazingly, e-learning has done OK out of the final plan; we get a second WebCT administrator. It's been more and more obvious over the last year or so that at peak times one person can't keep up with admin, let alone train staff. Add the complication of WebCT 6's slower admin workflow and we'll really need two of us, especially next January-February. There is no mention of any e-learning advisers, though, so we're going to have to find them some other way.
The IS group have all been reorganised, so all their jobs are up for grabs - what chaos! All this is to happen before Christmas. No mention of details yet; budgets, physical location, names, all have to be sorted out. We may stay in our present offices for up to a year yet, but spend our days walking back and forth to UCTL. Oh yes, UCTL is now going to be reviewed, as its composition and purpose has changed drastically. It's a great time to be a consultant...
Sunday, 10 September 2006
A quick Google search for "christian merchandise" gives a scary selection of sites. One place sells lots of t-shirts, another has stuff imported from the Holy Land, such as Dead Sea Skin Care products.
My favourite items from that place are the laser engraved rocks from the River Jordan. Here is a "Christian Holy Rock from the Jordan River in olive wood Box." (Don't ask me why Box is capitalised, maybe it's a holy relic too.) It can't be a fake though, because it comes with a certificate.
I just hope these souvenirs from the Holy Land are checked for body parts and human tissue before exporting. We don't want our relics to be THAT real!
You can also buy "Breast Cancer Awareness Angel made from real stained glass, boxed with suction cup", Christian and Jewish software, and zillions of bible covers, colouring books, and "The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly & Without Fear, By: Joyce Meyer". So get out your wallets and get yourselves some salvation! Otherwise you'll be left behind when The Rapture happens. Seriously.
Saturday, 9 September 2006
Now we have to see what the update can do. One I've already noticed is in the Discussions tool - blogs and journals!
Thursday, 7 September 2006
In the middle of this, we've also set up SQL Server backup schedules (thanks to Chris from IS) arranged next month's training, had a team meeting, and eaten lunch. After lunch I did about three hours straight of email; as fast as I answered one, another arrived. Eventually I did something educational, checking out the question database in a new course. Busy busy busy...
Heather's been off work for three days, feeling generally crappy and with no appetite or energy. It's probably due to some new anti-cholesterol medication, so she's stopped that, and went back to work today feeling a bit better - though she's still not feeling too flash.
.::: ABOUT BIKES :::.
Alice had her trusty old Scott bike stolen last week, and has decided to buy (subsidised by an early Xmas present), a Sarah Ulmer Brand SUB LIME 1.0 - pretty similar to Heather's Specialized Sirrus and my Avanti Blade. Now we all have lightweight hybrid sports bikes with 700c wheels - is there a trend here? Two of my workmates have bought Blades, and they're just as happy with them as I am with mine. For sealed road riding, city and country, they're the best type of bike by a country mile.
However, if I had to have one bike only, I'd buy a top of the line hard-tail mountain bike for durability, and put slick kevlar-lined tyres on it. That would work well in the city and the country, though at a reduced speed. City riding is tough on a bike - kerbs, glass, other bikes and stuff bash into a bike, so a well set up MTB with touring carriers and mudguards is really the most versatile way to go.
As I have a basic MTB for the occasional rough trip or a Sunday at Bottle Lake, I have the best of both worlds - but the hybrid commuter bike does a steady 25 km/hr with very little effort on city roads, when 20 is a realistic average on MTB width tyres, and that does matter. On a sunny Sunday, out in the countryside with the mountains shining away in the sun, and the countryside spinning by under your feet, the lightweight skinny-tyre bike is the king of the world. Even when loaded for touring, as here, it's easy to spin along.
Tuesday, 5 September 2006
This Blogger editor in Safari is a bit odd - Blogger is set to show the wysiwyg editor, but it doesn't appear when I edit a post. Some research is required. Later - that was easy, Safari will support this in the next version.
We walked around the Magazine Bay marina in the weekend. The late winter light was nice, even if the marina's a bit empty.
I'm editing this in Firefox now, and the editor is much nicer in wysiwyg mode.
Monday, 4 September 2006
Mac is getting a $110 disk drive - but no CD/DVD - and will live to surf the net again. He'll continue as my second work machine.
A good step at work today - WebCT CE6 Application Pack 1 and its update patch are installed on the development server. I have applied to do the production server on Saturday morning. It adds a bunch of features, but I haven't had time to try these yet.
The Mac's dead hard drive - made by Toshiba.
Sunday, 3 September 2006
A new hard drive is only $110 (at University workshop prices) but a CDR/DVD combo drive is $500! $340 for the drive and $160 to fit, apparently the machine has to be disassembled to change drives. I have decided that I really don't need a Mac at work - I always have access to one for special one-off tasks anyway, and I can use VNC to do remote support for Macs from my PC. An added factor is that the extra desk space the Mac occupied is really helpful.
So this opens up other choices; I think I'll buy the dead Mac at a seriously good price, get a new hard drive and basic software, not bother with the optical drive, and bring it home to live permanently in the kitchen/dining area. Without the need to carry a laptop back and forth to work, I can dispense with a large shoulder-bag and just use one pannier on the bike. And besides, if any item of work electronica needs replacing, it's my PDA - I actually use it more than the laptop. The PDA's audio section has stopped working, and a calendar without beeps is no use.
Something like this would be nice.