Pachyderm Showcase

A Pachyderm PresentationA showcase of selected Pachyderm presentations has been assembled, showing several completely different types of content being presented using the Pachyderm 2.0 authoring software.

Some really good stuff in there – I’m drawn for some reason to the second item on the list… If you’re looking for some ideas of what can be done in Pachyderm 2.0, this is a good start. If you’re looking to see the various screen types in action, it’s also good for that…

Campus Calgary Digital Library Groundbreaking

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Campus Calgary Digital Library building was held this morning. Judging from the attendance, lots of people are interested in the project, or the free cake. It’s going to be much more effective, having all library-related, and supporting services in one building. The Teaching & Learning Centre (nee Learning Commons) will be moving there when the building opens in 2008, along with various Library services, Information Technology, the Nickel Art Museum, and several other units.

There were no scale models on hand, so I’ve got no idea what the final building will look like, but it sounds like it’s going to be cool, with various teaching rooms available – intersperced with items from the Nickel Art Museum collections.

The Alberta Minister of Advanced Education was on hand, and mentioned 700 million bucks worth of capital projects in the works for the U of C campus. With the CCDL building taking just over $100M, that leaves almost $600M for other goodies, including an “experiential learning centre” – it’s going to be a fun/noisy next couple of years on campus…

CCDL Groundbeaking Ceremony - 5

Intro to Podcasting

I’ll be giving an “Intro to Podcasting” workshop/presentation/session on Wednesday April 19th here at the Learning Commons Teaching & Learning Centre. I’ve only got an hour, and it will be an “intro” session, so I’ll follow Levine’s Law and start with the demo. Then, I’ll stick with the demo, showing different tools used to create, publish, subscribe, and listen to podcasts. I’m hoping to keep the session rather informal, with some audience participation. I’ll be recruiting some “volunteers” from the audience to create a podcast right then and there. Should be fun.

The workshop registration page is available now, but we’ve got no idea how many people are interested. We could either wind up crowded around my desk, or in a big lecture hall, or somewhere in between, depending on the number of people who sign up.

Flickr “Most Liked” Albums

I put together an album of the top 20 “most interesting” photos that I’ve uploaded. Some good ones in there, and some strange photos that have bubbled up as “interesting” to Flickrites. I’ll try to keep this album loosely in sync with the top 20 most interesting photos from my collection.

Flickr Photos You Like

I also put together a (somewhat larger, and unsorted) album of my personal favorites from the images I’ve uploaded to Flickr. Not necessarily the best photos from a technical standpoint, but most interesting to me. I’ll be massaging this album as I feel like.

Flickr Photos I Like

Interface 2006

Interface 2006

Theme: Alberta’s Renaissance: Imagine the Possibilities

Begins: Wed, 10 May 2006 at 9:00 AM

Ends: Fri, 12 May 2006 at 6:00 PM


University of Lethbridge Campus

Lethbridge, Alberta


Registration fee: $225

Last date for registration: Wed, 10 May 2006

Last date for paper submission: Wed, 15 Mar 2006

Organizer: Jonathan Lane

Link: Conference Website

I’ll be attending Interface 2006, the Alberta provincial distance education conference. It’s in Lethbridge this year, so a few of us will be making the trip south. This will be my first Interface conference, so I’m not really sure what to expect, but it sounds like it’s a pretty good event. I’ve got a proposal in to present on the ePortfolio project we’re working on, so if that’s accepted I’ll be sharing the stage with Patti while we show what we’ve come up with so far. I’ll be bringing my camera, and will be posting photos to Flickr using the “interface2006″ tag – if everyone does that with their own photos, we’ll have an on-the-fly conference photo album.

BlogBridge Updated to 2.15

The BlogBridge folks rolled out a cool update to their RSS reader. The biggest addition is a very handy search tool, strongly inspired by Spotlight. Here’s a sample of a quick search to find any posts in any of my feeds which have been published since yesterday, and contain the word “podcasting”:

BlogBridge 2.15 Search Tool

Now that’s just plain cool. It was technically possible by creating SmartFeeds in previous versions, but that was a clunky process that wasn’t well suited to ad-hoc on-the-fly searches. They’ve been working on some UI refinements to remove or rethink or hide the geekier things, which is a good thing.

I’d actually tried to switch back to NetNewsWire (with the latest beta release last week) and lasted about 2 days. They’re getting closer, in that they’re trying to do stuff with “attention”, and have syncing with the NewsGator service, but it’s just not to the level that BlogBridge has it. I can chew through my feeds soooo much faster in BlogBridge than any other reader I’ve tried – and I’ve tried a LOT of readers.

The one thing that NNW does much better than BlogBridge is the ability to load pages in a browser in the background. BlogBridge insists on bringing the browser to the front, so every link clicked to view a post in my browser must be followed immediately with a command+tab to get back to BlogBridge so I can keep plowing through unread items. It’s a pretty minor nit, though.

It’s a really good upgrade to BlogBridge. I had a minor issue where it wasn’t happy with my database files or something, but nuking that and restoring from my copy on the BlogBridge server solved that.

Cleaning up my inbox

I just went through my email inbox and nuked over 4500 messages. All since January 2005. Anything important is either archived as a project file, or available through the magical wondrousnes of The Goog.

I’d been letting messages just stay in my inbox, using Spotlight and Smart Folders to find stuff easily, but over the last few days the U of C’s webmail client has been warning me (via a friendly BLINKING RED MESSAGE) that inboxes with over 5000 messages are bad, ‘mkay? So, I took the hint and nuked all kinds of stuff. Everything from “status update – February 2005″ to various random ping messages.

I don’t think I’ve trashed anything critical, but should be able to focus a little better on a smaller inbox now. I couldn’t quite get to the Getting Things Done empty inbox state, but it’s an order of magnitude closer.

10GHz of power!

4 times the funOur fancy schmancy new Power Mac Quad G5 boxes were released to us this morning. 20″ Cinema Displays, too. These bad boys have 4 x 2.5GHz G5 cores, adding up to 10GHz of raw power under the hood. Sure, there’s some overhead in spreading stuff over the different chips, and some software won’t take advantage of it, but having that much CPU power sitting ready is pretty sweet.

I just did a quick playbenchmark with Return to Castle Wolfensteina well-trusted benchmarking utility, and man this machine runs nicely :-)

I’m just putting on some of the missing software (no XCode in our developer’s load? MySQL, etc…) but basicallly I’m on the ground running out of the box. I just copied my home directory over from a backup, and since 90% of the apps I use are in that, I’m up and running. Very cool machine.

The Cinema Display makes the LCD on my PowerBook look mighty dim. Oh, well :-) The Mighty Mouse is pretty sweet, too. The little nipple/ball/button dealie works surprisingly well, but I’m occasionally tripping into Exposé by accidentally squeezing the mouse too hard.

Update: Spotlight and Dashboard are totally usable – instantly responsive. I’m guessing Steve has one of these when reviewing OSX releases :-)

Update: I forgot to add the image I took to update my State of the Desktop on Flickr…

My Desktop, now with G5 Quad and Cinema Display

Browsing with Lynx

I’m trying to quickly check in from home, but the browser on my home machine is acting up and refusing to access websites. I guess that’s forgivable – I’m still running my (otherwise) trusty old PowerMacintosh 8600/300 running MacOS 9.1. Before you laugh, this bad boy was literally the fastest personal computer in Calgary for a few weeks when I got it, and I paid more for this system than many people pay for cars.

Regardless, my browser (the latest Mozilla 1.3.1 build for antique Macs) is acting up. How to access the web? I have 2 options.

  1. Take over my desktop on campus via VNC. This works, but is dog slow.
  2. Log into one of our servers via SSH and fire up Lynx. Works like a charm. Browsing is refreshingly fast without images, javascript, and ads…

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how usable many websites are. Blogs seem to be faring even better – kudos to the various blog theme developers. It’s important to remember that 2 critical sets of users see the web through the eyes of a text-only browser.

  1. Visually impaired readers
  2. Search engines.

Yes. Google is essentially a visually impaired reader. I personally think everyone should periodically try their sites in a text-only browser to see how these two very important groups of users see things.