Labels

This started out as a comment to Adrian, but I it got so long it may as well be a post on its own….

The significance of racial labels is not in identifying the genetic makeup of individuals. The significance is in how the labels were used to enforce segregation long before the American Revolution. Before slaves in the United States were freed in 1865, defining who was Black was to identify who was eligible to be held in slavery and have ownership of property. There were grave concerns about mixing owners and slaves resulting in slaves gaining their freedom, especially once capturing them from Africa was no longer allowed. Defining race was about control then. Even in the more than one hundred years after the slaves were freed, defining who was Black was about control. Instead of who could be forced into slavery, the definitions of who is Black identified who could be excluded from power.ย  The fear was mixed people using the laws to somehow get access to power. Only since Affirmative Action has it become in any way beneficial for others to have less than pure European descent.

Adrian remarked many of us have ancestors which keep us from being purely from one or another group. Chatting with George and Lorenia yesterday, George pointed out even in Europe, southern Spain and Italy confounds the stereotype. Our increasing understanding of genetics and culture invalidates race as a useful means of describing individuals. Individuals have genetic markers linking them all over the globe. We are one species. My favorite example PBS show indicating the women described as Amazons moved to western Mongolia.

โ€œThe earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.โ€ – Baha’u’llah

How Do I Get to Be Black Like Obama?

Barack Obama is called a lot of things. Being a candidate for President of the United States means a lot of people apply a lot of different labels, good or bad or indifferent, to categorize you and anticipate your every move.

I find it interesting people use the labels “African American” or “Black” to describe him instead of “Biracial”, “Multiracial”, or “Interracial”. The frustration I dealt with for most of my life was neither being Black or White enough to be accepted as belonging. Is it a case of, “If you have even a drop of a Black blood-line, then you are Black not White?” These musing about Obama did start after a Black homeless guy downtown looked at me and stated that I didn’t understand his point because I am not Black. See, I wasn’t kidding in that not Black enough post. By the two generation ratio of blood-lines, I am just as Black as Obama.

What makes Barack African American and me not African American?

  1. We both have fathers of African descent.
  2. We both have mothers of European descent.
  3. I at least had the influence of my father and his aunts and his cousins and my cousins to show me African culture. Barack had two White grandparents.
  4. Barack’s close friends in high school and college were of African descent. My close friends during those periods were all of European descent.
  5. Barack worked with and for people of African descent at the community level. I’m ecstatic just to have > 10% people of African descent in the cube area. It is new for me. I like it.

This is more important to me than the politics.

Boooooring

Last night, Paul said my blog has gotten boring with all the CE/Vista stuff. He’s right. To be fair, my life has gotten boring.

I have not had a baby like Lacey or Myk.

I am not in love so spewing poetry.

I am not saving lives with an NGO.

I just sit in my cube, identify problems, and whine about them. Thus the name of the blog.

๐Ÿ˜€

Recap of Vista Stuff

It has been a hectic week. A recap…

Java certificate fix – Yesterday, August 23rd, the certificate distributed in various Java applets expired. The community discovered the issue and informed Blackboard who put out a fix for the more current products on August 15th. Many customers are leery of having such little lead time to test, verify, and install a fix. Well, Vista 3.0.7.17 was also reported to have the problem, but Blackboard didn’t provide a fix until the 20th after I got my TSM to verify it really still is a problem on the 18th. (The corrected 3.0.7.17.8 version was provided August 21st. Why is in the next paragraph.)

The fix for Vista 3 required us to be on 3.0.7.17.8 (hotfix 8 which we had not yet applied), had references to the “webctapp” directory (in Vista 3 it is applications), and distributed a webct.sh script to add updateWar which didn’t work with Vista 3. FAIL. Thankfully we have modified War files in the past, so adding the updates was more work and accomplished before Blackboard provided a corrected version.

To see the Java certificates in Windows: Control Panel > Java > Security > Certificates. The Blackboard ones are verified by Thawte (the Certificate Authority). The old one is issued to Blackboard. The new one is issued to dc.blackboard.com.

Vista 3.0.7.17.8 – This hotfix was released a couple weeks ago. However, since the priority has been the migration to Vista 8, this was on hold. The previous problem made us step up and throw this into production. The testers went to heroic efforts to get this and the certifcate fix tested. Testing was mixed.

  1. Losing session cookie because of Office 2007 in Internet Explorer. Happened less often post fix, but still happens in some cases.
  2. Autosignon MAC2. Mode to allow insecure MAC works to give the one school using it time to correct update their portal to use MAC2. Originally the plan was to let them work out MAC2 in test.

Slammed by our users…

  1. systemIntegrationApi.dowebct – The school using the autosignon wanted to have the correct consortiaId to create the MAC. Some time back in January they started calling this any time users tried to login because a handful (guess was ~12) have had their username changed. So the autosignon failed. Yes, they were sent us 25,000 requests in a busy day (about 20% of the queues were working on these during the day) to handle potential 12 problems in a term. FAIL.
  2. pmSelfRegister.dowebt – One of the clusters started to have issues. Two nodes went crappy. I looked at the Weblogic console and found all of the failing nodes had no free spots in the queues. 90% of the queues were working on these. Much of this is because the requests were hanging around for at least 4800 seconds (an hour is 3600 seconds). At about 6000 seconds the cluster recovered when the queues cleared.I think the queues cleared because I changed to false a couple settings:
    • Allow users to register themselves as a Student in a section = false
    • Allow users to register themselves as an Auditor in a section = false

    As I recall, we only had about 22 queue spots open (out ofย 308) across the whole cluster. We got lucky.

How Do Technology Illiterates Read Blogs?

A few weeks ago, NPR aired a piece where McCain and Obama advisors about technology expressed the policy intentions of each candidate. Also, Obama was described as being a Crackberry addict. McCain was described as personally being technology illiterate, but he looked forward to someone showing him some web sites.

So now, Google purports to allow you to “track the news sites and blogs Barack Obama and John McCain read”. If McCain doesn’t use the Internet (including the World Wide Web), then how is he reading these news sites and blogs? Someone prints them out for him?

Nothing We Can Do?

A statement by a faculty member to the effect of, “There isn’t anything our IT people can do to resolve this problem. The web application is overloaded,” puts the people running the application on the defensive. The problem turned out to be resolved with changes to the local browser environment (remove all the installs of Java and replace with a single known good version). In other words, it wasn’t only because the web application was overloaded and could have been resolved by their IT people consulting the knowledge base intended to provide the information to resolve exactly this kind of stuff.

The last situation we want to have is an overloaded server before we even hit the heavy usage period.