Asides on D'Arcy Norman Recent content in Asides on D'Arcy Norman Hugo -- en-us (D'Arcy Norman) (D'Arcy Norman) Mon, 04 May 2020 10:38:06 -0600 tab sweep Mon, 04 May 2020 10:38:06 -0600 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>Going through feeds in <a href="">NetNewsWire</a> resulted in a few open tabs for deeper reading today.</p> <h2 id="ars">ars</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Drama in iRacing as IndyCar champ wrecks F1 star on purpose</a> - crazy. no live sports, so race teams are competing in iRacing to keep in practice. And, without the expense of blowing up a multimillion dollar car in a road rage incident, things are going off the rails.</li> <li><a href="">Nine years ago, SpaceX called its shot on capturing the flag</a> - Musk is a wreckless fratboy douchebag, but I hope SpaceX pulls this off.</li> <li><a href="">Why it took so long to dial back oil production, despite the glut</a> - turning off oil wells breaks stuff and makes them less productive later. But this doesn&rsquo;t explain the tar sands, where they could just stop digging for awhile…</li> <li><a href="">NASA will pay a staggering $146 million for each SLS rocket engine</a> - good lord that&rsquo;s a lot of money. for an old booster.</li> </ul> <h2 id="tony-bates">Tony Bates</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Online learning and the fall semester: advice for decision-makers</a> - I don&rsquo;t have any patience for armchair quarterbacking in pandemic response, but this is a good overview. This whole thing is super complicated, and there&rsquo;s no way to do right by everyone.</li> </ul> <h2 id="via-kottke">via Kottke</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Lunar Landing Recreated from Archival NASA Photos</a> - this is amazing. It looks like a documentary film, which it basically is, but it was created by processing 10s of thousands of archival NASA photos to create what looks like video footage. From the blends, it looks like maybe some kind of machine learning software may have been used to help stitch parts together?</li> </ul> <div style="position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden;"> <iframe src="" style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; border:0;" allowfullscreen title="YouTube Video"></iframe> </div> <h2 id="via-gruber">via Gruber</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Kevin Kelly: 68 bits of unsolicited advice</a> <a href="">🔗</a></li> </ul> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can’t write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don’t select. While you sketch, don’t inspect. While you write the first draft, don’t reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgement.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <h2 id="clint-lalonde">Clint Lalonde</h2> <ul> <li><a href="">Using Mattermost as class hub</a> - some good ideas for running parts of a course in Mattermost - but this would likely translate to Teams as well…</li> </ul> Tools in D2l at UCalgary Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:34:37 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>In our Learning Technologies Advisory Committee Processes Working Group meeting this week, we were discussing how instructors access new tools, or enable existing tools. Much of the discussion was about communication, rather than the processes directly - instructors aren&rsquo;t aware of the tools that are available, or what they can be used for, so they ask for new tools.</p> <p>We have several applications available as the core online learning platforms at UCalgary:</p> <ul> <li>D2L Brightspace</li> <li>YuJa video content management</li> <li>Adobe Connect (but Zoom coming soon?)</li> <li>Top Hat</li> <li></li> <li>UCalgaryBlogs</li> </ul> <p>Within each of those applications, there are many components that can be enabled or disabled, often at the individual course level. So, if something is disable (but available), an instructor may not even know about it.</p> <p>When we deployed D2L back in 2013, we had an initial mandate to keep things as simple as possible - to disable tools and features that weren&rsquo;t essential, in order to streamline the migration from Blackboard. One unintended consequence of that streamlining is that nobody was responsible to circle back and revisit those decisions to see if any of those tools and features should be enabled once the migration was complete. Here&rsquo;s the very very long laundry list of tools available within D2L, and whether we&rsquo;ve enabled them for use in courses by default:</p> <h2 id="built-in-tools-in-d2l-brightspace">Built-in Tools in D2L Brightspace</h2> <table> <thead> <tr> <th>Tool Name</th> <th>Enabled</th> <th>Notes</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>Availability</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Accelerator</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Advanced Data Sets</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ally Integration</td> <td>❌</td> <td>Not sure what this involves… Why is accessibility testing disabled?</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Attendance</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Audio Capture</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Awards</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Blog</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Brightspace Data Sets</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Brightspace Feed</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Broken Link Viewer</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bulk Course Copy</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bulk Course Create</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Bulk Course Export</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Calendar</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Capture</td> <td>❌</td> <td>a separate video capture platform from D2L, not licensed.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>CAS Integration</td> <td>✅</td> <td>single sign-on. but will be replaced with Shibboleth someday…</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Chat</td> <td>✅</td> <td>it&rsquo;s a thing, but we haven&rsquo;t tested or supported it.</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Checklist</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Class Progress</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Classlist</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Competencies</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Completion Tracking</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Content</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Content Service</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Course Builder</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Course Updater</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Crosslistings</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Custom Course Branding</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Custom Data Export</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Custom Reporting Framework</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Custom Terms and Conditions</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Custom Update Sproc</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Discover</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Discussions</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dropbox</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Ecommerce</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Elluminate</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>ePortfolio</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>External Learning Tools</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>FAQ</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Glossary</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Google Apps</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Grades</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>GradesExport</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Guided Trial</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Help</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Import/Export/Copy Components</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>IMS Configuration</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Insights</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Intelligent Agents</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Learning Groups</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Learning Outcomes</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Links</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Locations</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Locker</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>LOR</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Manage Dates</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Manager Dashboard</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Media Integration</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Media Platform</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>My Org Units</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>News</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Notifications</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Office365</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Online Rooms Connect</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Online Rooms Framework</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Online Rooms Lync</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Online Rooms WebEx</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Pager</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Pearson Scripted Links</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Portfolio</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Publish</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Question Collections</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quick Eval</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quizzes</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>ReadSpeaker DocReader Integration</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Remote Plugins</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Reporting</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Rubrics</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Seating Chart</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Self Assessments</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Self Registration</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>SIS Holding Tank</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Survey</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>THRIVE</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Trusted Sites</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Urkund Integration</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>User Auditors</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>User Profile</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Video Capture</td> <td>✅</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>WebDAV</td> <td>❌</td> <td></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>That&rsquo;s a long list. Of the ones that are enabled, many need additonal configuration before they are made available within courses (like WebEx - we don&rsquo;t have a license, so I&rsquo;m not sure what the tool could even do…)</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t even know what many of those are. Discover? Sounds useful. I have no idea. And Pager? I mean. It&rsquo;s 2020. Students have never seen a pager, aside from maybe watching old movies or something. Most instructors probably haven&rsquo;t seen a pager, either…</p> <p>Google Apps? We don&rsquo;t use Google - we&rsquo;re an O365 campus. How did this even get enabled?</p> <p>There are a few of those tools that are enabled but unknown - we need to do a better job of communicating what those tools can do. Chat? Could be useful. Blog? Maybe (but it&rsquo;s a really quirky blogging tool, for anyone that&rsquo;s used literally any other blogging tool ever made).</p> <p>And this doesn&rsquo;t include any third party tools that could be integrated via LTI or the D2L API.</p> <h2 id="next-steps">Next steps:</h2> <ul> <li>Identify which of these tools should be enabled, which might be optional, and which should be disabled entirely.</li> <li>Communicate that clearly to instructors so they know what&rsquo;s available, and how the tools might be used in their courses.</li> <li>Develop a clear and streamlined process for instructors to request integration of additional tools that aren&rsquo;t on that list - including third party tools through LTI or other. How can instructors request access to a tool in a timely manner (they often realize they need a tool to do X maybe a week before the semester starts, or much later, and can&rsquo;t wait for committees or Enterprise Review Processes to take place) so they&rsquo;re able to effectively use tools without risking students' privacy or intellectual property or several other things that instructors shouldn&rsquo;t have to spend time becoming experts in before adopting a tool.</li> </ul> Links: Sample PD Sites Teaching Instructors About Online Learning Tue, 28 Jan 2020 16:05:11 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p><a href="">Keegan Long-Wheeler</a> posted a tweet yesterday, and it got a lot of interesting responses:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🧐I&#39;m searching for examples of PD programs/sites aimed at &quot;teaching instructors about online learning.&quot; (Any focus: pedagogy, visual design, etc.) 🧐<br><br>❓Know any good examples? Your links are much appreciated! ❤️<a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SquadGoalsNetwork</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pedagome</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#onlinelearning</a> <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CanvasLMS</a> <a href="">@OLCToday</a></p>&mdash; Keegan🦔Long-Wheeler (@KeeganSLW) <a href="">January 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Some of the links provided in response:</p> <h2 id="websites--guides">Websites / Guides</h2> <ul> <li>SUNY: <a href="">Teaching Online website</a></li> <li>Charles Sturt University: <a href="">Strategies website</a></li> <li>Portland Community College: <a href="">Instructional Best Practices</a></li> <li>Portland Community College: <a href="">Tutorials and technical support</a></li> <li>Florida International University: <a href="">Teaching Online Guide</a></li> <li>Georgian College Center for Teaching and Learning: <a href="">Online workshops and modules</a></li> <li>University College London <a href="">ABC LD Toolkit</a></li> <li>Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education: <a href="">Special Interest Groups</a></li> <li><a href="">Cathy Moore</a></li> <li>Yale University&rsquo;s Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning: <a href="">Teaching Online at Yale</a></li> </ul> <h2 id="courses">Courses</h2> <ul> <li>Northwestern University: <a href="">Visual Design in Canvas course</a></li> <li>Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts: <a href="">Online Teaching Certification (OTC)</a></li> <li>Online Network of Educators <a href="">@ONE&rsquo;s Course List</a></li> </ul> <h2 id="open-textbooks">Open (text)books</h2> <ul> <li>Matt Crosslin et al.: <a href="">Creating Online Learning Experiences Subtitle: A Brief Guide to Online Courses, from Small and Private to Massive and Open</a></li> <li>Hirtz &amp; Harper: <a href="">Education for a Digital World: Advice, Guidelines and Effective Practice from Around Globe</a></li> </ul> Surveillance Capitalism Sun, 26 Jan 2020 20:05:33 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>Shoshana Zuboff, <a href="">in the New York Times</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us. We barely questioned why our new TV or mattress had a privacy policy , but we’ve begun to understand that “privacy” policies are actually surveillance policies.</p> </blockquote> <p>and</p> <blockquote> <p>Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus. They rely on psychic numbing and messages of inevitability to conjure the helplessness, resignation and confusion that paralyze their prey.</p> </blockquote> <p>and</p> <blockquote> <p>Surveillance capitalism begins by unilaterally staking a claim to private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Our lives are rendered as data flows.</p> </blockquote> <p>The common trope of &ldquo;if you don&rsquo;t pay for it, you&rsquo;re the product&rdquo; is just the tip of the iceberg. This libertarian bullshit of blowing up society in order to hand it over to The Invisible Hand™ is some scary stuff. We coast along, and it&rsquo;s happening behind the scenes. I have no idea if it can be stopped, or, some day, reversed.</p> Photoblog automation using iOS Shortcuts, Mk II Sat, 25 Jan 2020 18:41:58 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p><img src="" alt="Shortcut automation, Mk II"></p> <p>Trying a photo publishing workflow to Hugo using iOS Shortcuts app. It&rsquo;s almost working, but still a little funky. I still can&rsquo;t get it to save the Hugo file as a .md file rather than .txt, so I&rsquo;ll need to rename the file before publishing. But, still. Handy.</p> <p>This Shortcut currently lets me pick a photo from Photos, resizes it to 750px wide for use on my blog, saves it where I tell it (but this could be done better…) then asks me for a title and description before generating a Hugo file entry with proper frontmatter. That can definitely be refined, but it&rsquo;s a start.</p> <p>here&rsquo;s what it looks like. still lots of rough spots, but workable.</p> <video width="750" poster="" controls preload="metadata"> <source src="" type="video/mp4"> <img src="" alt="poster image for video" width="750" > A video is embedded here, but may not be displayed on a preview or if your browser does not support the video tag. </video> Algorithms Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:09:35 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p><a href="">Brenna&rsquo;s Digital Detox post about algorithms</a> got me thinking about where algorithms and opaque magic bits of code intermediate what I see online. It&rsquo;s definitely less than it has been, since unplugging from Facebook and reducing my Google exposure. But, still. These are the ones I&rsquo;m aware of… (I&rsquo;ll update this as I think of stuff and/or realize something&rsquo;s managed by The Algorithm™)</p> <h2 id="algorithmic-stuff">Algorithmic stuff</h2> <ul> <li>Amazon - searches and listings are based on what they think I&rsquo;ll buy. apparently, it&rsquo;s a lot of chinese knock-off electronics for some reason. who knows how it determines what crap I should buy, or what crap I&rsquo;m likely to buy even if I shouldn&rsquo;t, but if I see it&rsquo;s ON SALE NOW I might be 4% more likely to buy it on an impulse and have it delivered by 9am tomorrow…</li> <li>Apple Mail. Junk filter - it&rsquo;s pretty accurate, but I have no visibility into how it does what it does.</li> <li>Apple Music. &ldquo;Hey siri, play my radio station&rdquo; - I have no idea how it comes up with the playlist. It&rsquo;s almost always perfection. Based on likes/dislikes and previous plays? some input based on what friends are listening to? some trending stuff? opacity.</li> <li>Apple News. I don&rsquo;t know how it decides which stories I need to see. It&rsquo;s not very accurate, though.</li> <li>DuckDuckGo search results. I assume it&rsquo;s purely relevance-related, but who knows? And how is &ldquo;relevance&rdquo; defined? This is 99% of my search engine use.</li> <li>Google search results. Only in the rare cases where DDG doesn&rsquo;t find something I need. Who knows how this crap is sorted/filtered/promoted.</li> <li>Office365 Mail Focused/Other inboxes (which messages are deemed &ldquo;important&rdquo; and which are &ldquo;noise&rdquo; and can be dealt with later)</li> <li>New York Times' &ldquo;For You&rdquo; section.</li> <li>Reddit front page &amp; Popular - based roughly on what subreddits I subscribe to, with some wackiness involving activity somehow. Definitely not just based on chronological order. Who knows…</li> <li>Twitter feed. It sure ain&rsquo;t reverse-chronological order. I have no idea why it shows me what it shows me.</li> </ul> <h2 id="non-algorithmic-stuff">Non-algorithmic stuff</h2> <p>OK. It&rsquo;s impossible for something to be completely non-algorithmic. Sorting is an algorithm. Pagination is an algorithm. But, things that don&rsquo;t obviously intermediate in the content or people I see…</p> <ul> <li>D2L Brightspace - courses, course content, etc. is all straightforward. There is an adaptive learning thing available, but we haven&rsquo;t licensed it.</li> <li> feed. I think it&rsquo;s mostly reverse-chronologial order, but maybe it&rsquo;s not.</li> <li>NetNewsWire RSS feeds - it&rsquo;s strictly reverse-chronological-order, with no cleverness applied. Perfect.</li> </ul> Disinformation Campaigns Fri, 17 Jan 2020 11:59:46 -0700 (D'Arcy Norman) <p><a href="">John Gruber</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>I really feel as a culture we are barely coming to grips with the power of YouTube, Facebook, and to some degree, Twitter, as means of spreading mass-market disinformation. The pre-internet era of TV, print, and radio was far from a panacea. But it just wasn’t feasible in those days for a disinformation campaign — whether from crackpots who believe the nonsense, corporate industry groups, or foreign governments — to get in front of the eyes of millions of people.</p> <p>It feels like something out of a Kurt Vonnegut novel that this is not only the state we’re in today, but that big name mass market advertisers are running commercials on this stuff.</p> </blockquote> <p>citing <a href="">this article by Alex Hern in The Guardian</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>The group found that more than 100 brands had adverts running on YouTube videos on the site that were actively promoting climate misinformation. The brands, including Samsung, L’Oreal and Decathlon, were unaware that their adverts were being played before and during the videos.</p> </blockquote> <p>So. Companies buy ads, as they do. They let The Algorithm™ decide who gets to see the ads - and The Algorithm™ has one job - maximize revenue. It doesn&rsquo;t care about ethics, or accuracy, or branding. All it cares about is &ldquo;how can I get this ad in front of the most people, who are most likely to click on it so we can charge the advertiser more?&rdquo;. It doesn&rsquo;t care if that means &ldquo;show this ad to climate change deniers because they&rsquo;re likely to click on it&rdquo; or &ldquo;hey - nazis kind of like clicking on stuff and they don&rsquo;t really stop to think about the ethics of stuff, so here we go!&rdquo;</p> <p>The Olden Days of advertising, where a company had to spend a fortune on a big media buy on a national TV channel, or a national chain of newspapers, or give up on reach and spend less to hit a local market instead, made it difficult for these kinds of &ldquo;markets&rdquo; to be targetted - there was no way to push advertising to &ldquo;climate change deniers&rdquo; or &ldquo;nazis&rdquo; without, well, being explicit about it and settling for the niche. Now, advertisers can just say &ldquo;hey - show this to as many people as possible&rdquo; and The Algorithm™ does the dirty work. And there is no broad visibility on who gets to see it - nobody&rsquo;s carrying around Nazi Gentleman&rsquo;s Quarterly, they&rsquo;re just logging into Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and seeing their own personal version of the world (including targetted advertising).</p> <p>Dystopian hellscape, with no visibility or transparency or awareness of how this stuff works and what it&rsquo;s doing to society.</p> The Tyranny of Convenience - The New York Times Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:58:20 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>A <a href="">good article by Tim Wu in the New York Times</a>, on the effects of convenience.</p> <blockquote> <p>Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable.</p> </blockquote> <p>And</p> <blockquote> <p>Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit. The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows.</p> </blockquote> <p>(Extend that line of thought to Twitter/Facebook vs. individually owned websites distributed across the internet as a heterogeneous and diverse culture of sharing and interacting…)</p> <p>And</p> <blockquote> <p>We are spoiled by immediacy and become annoyed by tasks that remain at the old level of effort and time. When you can skip the line and buy concert tickets on your phone, waiting in line to vote in an election is irritating.</p> </blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">The Tyranny of Convenience - The New York Times</a></em></p> <p>This is why blogging largely died out <em>(Alan pointed out in the comments that blogging has definitely not died out, and that there are still bajillions of active blogs. Which is awesome. But it still feels different now, to my curmudgeonish self)</em> , replaced with tweeting. This is why RSS largely died out, <em>(also, not so much actually dying out…)</em> replaced with algorithmic activity streams. Because it’s easier to just numbly follow a stream. This has huge implications on how we interact with each other, and how we formalize our thoughts. It’s a race to the bottom, to the easiest possible form.</p> What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party - The New York Times Sun, 28 Jan 2018 12:29:05 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <blockquote> <p>A tragedy is like a fault line. A life is split into a before and an after, and most of the time, the before was better. Few people will let you admit that out loud.</p> </blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party - The New York Times</a></em></p> <p>That bit resonated. Actually, the whole article resonated a bit more than I&rsquo;m comfortable with. Small talk becomes a bit like navigating a mental minefield. &ldquo;How are you?&rdquo; is either answered with a gentle lie, or with the truth. The gentle lie is what people are usually asking for, and, frankly, is what I usually want to say anyway. The truth is brutal and scary and life-altering and nuanced and exhausting. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m fine. How are you?&rdquo;</p> The Looming Digital Meltdown - The New York Times Sat, 06 Jan 2018 14:04:17 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>Zeynep Tufekci, in the NYTimes:</p> <blockquote><p>Modern computing security is like a flimsy house that needs to be fundamentally rebuilt. In recent years, we have suffered small collapses here and there, and made superficial fixes in response. There has been no real accountability for the companies at fault, even when the failures were a foreseeable result of underinvestment in security or substandard practices rather than an outdated trade-off of performance for security.</p></blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">The Looming Digital Meltdown - The New York Times</a></em></p> <p>Her butler metaphor is great, too.</p> The World Is Getting Hacked. Why Don't We Do More to Stop It? - Sat, 13 May 2017 21:09:39 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <p><a href="">Zeynep Tufekci, writing about the latest ransomware, in the New York Times</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>If I have painted a bleak picture, it is because things are bleak. Our software evolves by layering new systems on old, and that means we have constructed entire cities upon crumbling swamps. And we live on the fault lines where more earthquakes are inevitable. All the key actors have to work together, and fast.</p> </blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">The World Is Getting Hacked. Why Don&rsquo;t We Do More to Stop It? -</a></em></p> <p>In one of the Reddit threads about the ransomware, it was speculated that the &ldquo;kill switch&rdquo; (that was activated when an unregistered domain was registered by a security researcher) was really just a test in the code to see if the virus was running in a sandboxed environment. It tried to connect to a URL that didn&rsquo;t exist. In a sandboxed environment, it would get something returned like or somesuch, and the code terminated to avoid being analyzed more deeply. Coincidentally, by registering the nonsense domain, all infected computers behaved (to the virus) as if they were sandboxed, so the code terminated.</p> <p>But a new variant without this kill switch behavior is already in the wild. A leaked NSA &ldquo;cyber weapon&rdquo; is now in the wild, with no kill switch or any way to stop it. Awesome. Digital infiltration tools built by US military intelligence, now in the hands of Russian teenagers with no control or oversight.</p> <p>The flip reaction is &ldquo;update your systems, jerks!&rdquo; - but it&rsquo;s just not that simple or easy (for the reasons outlined by Zeynep in the article). And, throw on the new Internet of Things pattern, and it&rsquo;s going to get really bumpy, really quickly.</p> <p>I work at a campus that got hit hard by ransomware last year. It&rsquo;s not fun, for anyone involved. Our IT folks moved mountains to try to get systems and data back online. Again, this problem is only going to get worse. How do we prepare for that?</p> How Google Took Over the Classroom - The New York Times Sat, 13 May 2017 09:35:06 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>Natasha Singer wrote <a href="">a piece for the NYTimes on Google in the classroom</a>. Is it a marketing ploy? (of course it is - there is no such thing as a free lunch, etc…) Google says &ldquo;of course it isn&rsquo;t - we just want kids to learn! It&rsquo;s about the learning!&rdquo; 🤔</p> <p>These two quotes, one from <a href="">Bill Fitzgerald</a>, the other from the director of Google&rsquo;s education unit, Bram Bout, outline the tension nicely:</p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;Unless we know what is collected, why it is collected, how it is used and a review of it is possible, we can never understand with certainty how this information could be used to help or hurt a kid,&rdquo; said Bill Fitzgerald of Common Sense Media, a children&rsquo;s advocacy group, who vets the security and privacy of classroom apps.</p> <p>Google declined to provide a breakdown of the exact details the company collects from student use of its services. Bram Bout, director of Google&rsquo;s education unit, pointed to a Google privacy notice listing the categories of information that the company&rsquo;s education services collect, like location data and &ldquo;details of how a user used our service.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">How Google Took Over the Classroom - The New York Times</a></em></p> <p>So… we need to know exactly what is tracked, stored, retained, and used to generate profiles about our kids, which is the exact business model of Google.</p> <p>Or, we don&rsquo;t, because we can trust Google absolutely and without question, they aren&rsquo;t applying their established multibillion-dollar-per-year business model here, and are merely grooming a generation of kids to unquestioningly and fully embrace the Google ecosystem so that they can be more effectively profiled the day after graduation.</p> Nick Heer on web hosting and user data Fri, 29 Jul 2016 08:41:01 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <blockquote>These are all concerning avenues for users. Adding advertising tends to mean user privacy is compromised, as ads become increasingly targeted by the day; shutting a company down means all user data gets removed, and it's up to each user to find a new product or service to fill the hole. Rinse and repeat.</p> <p>Arguably worse is when the company and all attached user data is acquired. There's very little control any user has over that decision: they may like the original product, but are uncomfortable with the new owner. These decisions are impossible to foresee: <b>if you signed up for Flickr ten years ago, or Tumblr five years ago, would you be expecting your photos and blog posts to end up in the hands of Verizon today?</b></p></blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">Don't Cry for Yahoo &acirc;&euro;&rdquo; Pixel Envy</a></em></p> <p>We see the same thing in education. Hopefully, a vendor is <a href="">successful</a> and things go smoothly. But, corporate (or open source) failures, <a href="">acquisitions</a>, or changes of terms will all impact what happens to student data.</p> <p>We need to make sure we own our data, or at the very least have workable backups and/or exports that can be quickly spun up if things go south.</p> desocialmediafacating Mon, 25 Jul 2016 08:19:53 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <p>I've been frustrated by how much time I burn away fidgeting with social media. Lately, it's been essentially a form of self-regulation or soothing as it feels like civilization is melting down. Trump stumbles to pronounce a 5-letter acronym fed to him on a teleprompter? Ugh. To Twitter! etc.</p> <p>The world isn't melting down. I need to snap out of the pattern of just pissing away time on social media. So, I've deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone and iPad. And I've added <a href="">a handy /etc/hosts file</a> to my Mac that will block everything (even MySpace and Orkut! Thank Jebus!)</p> <p>Anyway. I'm not deleting any accounts. I'm not disappearing. I'm (hopefully) just snapping out of this pattern of fidgetting with social media rather than doing literally anything else that is more interesting and productive and relevant to anything - even nothing. Life is too short for that kind of bullshit.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 8.15.36 AM" width="700" height="768" class="aligncenter size-large wp-image-24510" /></p> You Don't Have as Much Control in Videogames as You Think | WIRED Sun, 13 Mar 2016 13:18:28 +0000 (D'Arcy Norman) <blockquote><a href=""><img class="alignnone size-full" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <p>Warren Spector on dialogue:</p> <p>"It's very easy for us to simulate the pulling of a virtual trigger, and it's very, very hard for us to simulate a conversation. I defy anybody to show me a conversation system in a game today that isn't identical to the conversation systems that Richard Garriott was using in the '80s. The big innovation in conversation systems now is that there's a timer on your choice on the branching tree. And I just don't think that's good enough. But again, if I knew how to solve that problem I would. I'm not disparaging everybody in the game business. What I am saying is, I wish we would spend a little bit less time on combat AI and a little bit more on non-combat AI&acirc;&euro;&rdquo;on creating characters you can bond with on an emotional level."</p></blockquote> <p>Source: <em><a href="">You Don't Have as Much Control in Videogames as You Think | WIRED</a></em></p> <p>(via Patrick Finn on Facebook)</p>