Political Campaigns Waste Oil

On NPR this morning was a puff piece about how busy was one of the presidential candidates. Who it was does not really matter. All presidential candidates do similiar. Three plane flights and driving hundreds of miles a day is described as them doing public good.

But is it?

For every candidate for president, the is a personal entourage of a dozen or more handlers plus the paparazzi who follow them. So there is probably a motorcade of 20 or more cars. Earlier in the election cycle one media person bragged about how another candidate could not rent enough cars because one who was already going through the area had rented them all.

Thankfully they end up carpooling, so that is one small point in their favor.

Why would people who waste so much fuel getting elected do anything about the problem?

Free Star Wars eBook

Book One of the Legacy of the Force series will be offered for free in electronic form starting tomorrow at 9am through the release of the last book on May 13th (two weeks).

Star Wars novels fell into a distant third place to compared to my consumption of Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance novels. The Pern novels fell just behind Star Wars. These are all series I tended to read at least twice. For me, I stopped reading at the fall of Chewie. It pissed me off so much, I stopped R. A. Salvatore entirely.

I am impressed Del Rey is willing to offer this book for free and in electronic form. It has been 9 years…. Maybe I can get over it and download this book?

Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade

Be more secure! Upgrade today.

Want better functionality? Upgrade today.

Save a developer! Upgrade today.

The save a developer thing is the impetus for this post.

The upgrade today mantra annoys me.

  1. Software rarely spends enough time in alpha and beta cycles to to identify all the issues.
  2. People have been so burned by using software in alpha and beta cycles, they are hesitant to try upgrades and help determine the issues.
  3. This lack of attention to the problems ensure, versions 1.0, 2.0, n.0 typically have a ton of unknown problems or are even less secure at times.

Unfortunately, the vendor who makes the application platform we run, Blackboard, has a philosophy to look at new web browsers while they are in beta but not actually work towards fixes for the new browsers until after the products are released. With most releases of Java or supported web browsers (Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox), Blackboard heard the complaints by the early adopters and released within a couple months an update which resolved the reported issues.

The students and faculty members fail to understand the issue. I think I do. Blackboard (like WebCT prior) understands there are differences between beta and final. Some of us argue these differences are usually minor. However, this is all asking someone to predict the future which we know is haphazard at best.

Long alpha and beta cycles allow more users to get involved, give those back to the developers, have them fixed before the version release. Burning users with buggy software ensures their lack of faith.

Bored at Work?

According to Dr Eichele of Norway and Dr Stefan Debener of the UK, when the brain switches to autopilot is when we are likely to start making mistakes. The brain economizes by shifting electrical activity from the prefrontal cortex (attention) to the default mode network.

I can’t want for them to figure out brains which sit in the default mode network are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. 🙂

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Boredom Correlates to Mistakes

We never get to stay bored at work for very long. Every day has an emergency from something caused by a user of the institutions we host, the admins at the institution, or even people who work for our project. Wait…. Maybe it is the boredom which is the cause of the mistakes which keeps the rest of us from really getting bored. So eliminating the boredom in one part of the system would cause boredom in other parts.

Thankfully our philosophy is to automate monotonous activities as much as possible. Computer brains do not get bored to make mistakes.

According to Dr Eichele of Norway and Dr Stefan Debener of the UK, when the brain switches to autopilot is when we are likely to start making mistakes. The brain economizes by shifting electrical activity from the prefrontal cortex (attention) to the default mode network.

I can’t want for them to figure out brains which sit in the default mode network are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. 🙂

Of course, the worst mistake you could possibly make is to get bored enough to get involved in social networks.

Bored at Work?

According to Dr Eichele of Norway and Dr Stefan Debener of the UK, when the brain switches to autopilot is when we are likely to start making mistakes. The brain economizes by shifting electrical activity from the prefrontal cortex (attention) to the default mode network.

I can’t want for them to figure out brains which sit in the default mode network are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia. 🙂

Usablenet Mobile

Are any of you readers out there familiar with Usablenet Mobile for Education, specifically with Blackboard/WebCT Vista? We have questions…

  1. How well it navigates with Vista’s frames and wide variety of views.
  2. How well it handles the sessions.

The University of Florida has a good look at how Usablenet LIFT works and mentions Vista in it. However, this is a different animal though, from what UN has said similar in approach.