Saturday, 30 January 2010
It was inevitable, I suppose - Abraham Shakespeare, the poor guy who won $US17,000,000 cash prize in a lottery, was murdered. Police have identified his body, found buried at a house connected with Dee Dee Moore, his "financial adviser" - who's living in the fancy house Abraham bought.
Dee Dee is "a person of interest" to the police, but she hasn't been charged - yet.
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Now come the questions.
- Will it work OK in the real world, with dust, glare, and rain?
- Is the battery life REALLY 10 hours?
- Who will buy them - kids wanting a cheap multimedia computer, housewives, businesses?
- What's it FOR?
In our office on Planet Earth, we are wrestling with Microsoft's Live@Edu and its interoperability requirements with Moodle, hoping to have it ready for enrolment, less than a month away. The hardware for our lecture video trial is being installed now, with a similar timeframe. And today we discovered that the lecture capture/broadcast software doesn't like the brand of HD videocam our AV Dept has just purchased - 20 of them! Our secure online test environment has passed final system testing, and the quizzes for the new intake assessments will be trialled next week. Just in time...
Oh yes, and we're starting a programme of training workshops for the Moodle latecomers, and setting up their courses before classes start on the 22nd of February. Plus seminars/talks on Turnitin and Respondus - oops, that's me, I'd better get organised!
We live in interesting times...
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Dyers Pass and the Sign Of The Kiwi tearooms. The road from Christchurch enters at the lower right corner, continuing over to Governors Bay in Lyttelton Harbour. The photo is taken from the Summit Road, which crosses at the pass.
I didn't climb the 320m at the same speed as the lycra brigade on their carbon fibre bikes, but I was about the same pace as some of the older mountain bikers. (Anyway, that's the speed I go, there's not much I can do about it.) The hills are very busy on a Sunday morning, with walkers, runners, cyclists of several flavours, and optimists who think it's a quick way to drive to Governors Bay.
Saturday, 23 January 2010
"Neither policy mandates a preference for open source software. San Francisco's policy appears to be a stronger endorsement, however, because it requires consideration of open source solutions, whereas the state policy merely reminds IT purchasers that open source solutions are acceptable for consideration."
About time, but will Microsoft fight back? Expect large doses of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) in public statements from Redmond.
Friday, 22 January 2010
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Friday, 15 January 2010
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
After lunch I got another lecturer with two suspect pieces - one of these scored 100%! It was the same student, trying to re-submit an essay he'd used before. Then I cleared the waiting list of course setup requests, including several phone calls to check details, dealt with more questions about the double plagiarist, caught up with a colleague at Lincoln and talked about a get-together for e-learning staff, and introduced the office ladies to buckyballs. Not a bad day.
Monday, 11 January 2010
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Saturday, 9 January 2010
The case, of a poor guy who won $30,000,000 in a lottery and may now be dead (or in the Caribbean working on the next plot twist), has all the elements of a Hiaasen comic thriller; set in Florida, with a harmless but hapless protagonist, a sheriff named Grady Judd, and a mysterious woman named Dee Dee (Right), who has been involved in financial transactions with Abraham and who's now lying low. Maybe she's hiding out in the Everglades with the ex Governor?
I look forward to the next episode, but I do have fears for Abraham's welfare.
Thursday, 7 January 2010
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself,
arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a
world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice
accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her
beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and
context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by
physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest,
and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be
distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our
constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope
we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we
cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
Sorry, pardner, the good old Wild West is gone, and it's Google, not The Well, that's setting the agenda. It would have been nice, though.
An after-thought: what would the Internet have been like if it hadn't been taken over by porn and spam?
Bloggers, beware! Memorise this; "As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly." Think on that, as they say in Lancashire.
We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate. Either is in such a predicament as the man who was earnest to be introduced to a distinguished deaf woman, but when he was presented, and one end of her ear trumpet was put into his hand, had nothing to say. As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly. We are eager to tunnel under the Atlantic and bring the Old World some weeks nearer to the New; but perchance the first news that will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that the Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough. (Walden, Henry David Thoreau, (1854),p.43)
Mark Schroeder jumped ship to sail with Chris in his little bilge keeler, Henry Salad (apparently the name comes from Monty Python, but I can't track it down). Darren and I were a lot faster in Impulsive, so we would head off upwind for a while then run back down and circle around them for a chat before heading upwind again.
Chris and Mark didn't go far from Purau, deciding to head in to Pile Bay, just east of Ripapa Island. We were a bit unsure about the water depth so we stayed at the entrance to the bay, tied to a large pile, while they sailed in for a better look.
When they came back, we decided it was time to head back down the harbour and into Purau, where we would collect Chris and deliver him back to Lyttelton. Darren and I went for another sail to avoid arriving miles before them, then we started motoring into Purau. To our surprise, about half way down the bay we gently ran aground, and had to wind the keel half way up.
Moored up to Henry Salad in Purau.
Chris took his dinghy ashore, then we collected him from the end of the jetty, and motored back to the Naval Point Club jetty, just on low tide at 4pm, to pull Impulsive out and pack up. It was a great day out, with lots of sunshine but no dolphins, and I had a huge sleep last night.
More photos at my Flickr site.
Tuesday, 5 January 2010
We put a reef in the main and happily sailed up to Camp Bay near the heads, then set off down wind and found a pair of Hectors Dolphins, which loved our pressure waves and played with the boat for some time. I decided that trying to get a photo would be futile, so we just watched and enjoyed it.
I think we have a group keen on sailing a few boats tomorrow, so we may have to do it all again.
Sunday, 3 January 2010
Others think he may have got his sums wrong. I'll make a note in my Outlook calendar, just for fun. Maybe we can all write to him on May 22nd 2011 asking him what went wrong.
Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.
Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.
"Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved.
"I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.
Of course, we could ask Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson, and friends, they investigated this in 1979.
From The Secret Policeman's Ball, 1979.
"An internal auditor has found that teachers and administrators at 32 New York, N.Y., schools helped students cheat on standardized tests. In some cases, test proctors filled in answer sheets for the students. At P.S. 234, the principal would point out incorrect answers and demand that students “do that one over,” said Edward Stancik, who oversees 1,100 schools. With that kind of help, P.S. 234's scores for third graders, which measure what percentage of students read at the appropriate grade level, dramatically rose from 29 percent to 51 percent. (AP)"(Thanks to Randy Cassingham's This Is True for the link.)
I have a question for Ms Tolley - if your testing works, and all those lazy do-nothing kids and teachers suddenly start working hard and raising their performance, what happens next year? The average score for the class will rise, but half the kids will still "fail", after all. I remember another great National Party educational thinker, Keith Holyoake , saying in 1969 that it's not good enough that "half our children are below average", so this kind of statistical muddlement seems to be a tradition among the Tories. Maybe Ms Tolley could take a lead from Garrison Keillor's home town of Lake Wobegon, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average".
Friday, 1 January 2010
Now it's 2010 - but is it the start or the end of a decade? I prefer to view the 0 year as the tenth of a series beginning "1, 2, 3...", as only assembly code programmers count "0, 1, 2...", but I admit that I'm in the minority. The rest of the world is so keen to get to a milestone that they'll conveniently ignore common sense, and pretend that we really do start counting at zero. So we have lots of magazines and web sites doing "The decade in review", and declaring that 2010 is the start of a new decade.
And of course, a decade on from Y2K, a bunch of clever-dick media commentators are looking back at 2000 and wanking on about "The Y2K hype" - I wish the IT industry had just let a bunch of systems crash, to prove that it was real, but they were professional and fixed the systems so the problems mostly didn't happen. Now the chattering classes, who didn't really understand the problem anyway, are calling it a fuss about nothing. Bah, humbug.
While I'm having a grump about counting and dates, what's with American calendars starting the week with Sunday? Haven't they read Genesis? And how do they explain the word "weekend"? Double humbug.
It's a fantastic day, and I'd like to go sailing, but the forecast is for a 28 degree northwester, which is a terrible wind for sailing. Maybe a bike ride to the beach, and even the possibility of a swim...?
As it turned out, we did bike towards New Brighton, but only as far as Anzac Ave. Heather's shoulder got rather tired so we decided it was wise to turn back before it got worse. Still, she's doing more every day.