Exclusion Groups

This is America! Equality! Liberty! Democracy!

Arizona has a bill S.B. 1108 to legislate the forbidding of student groups who are against the principles of America. Specifically democracy, capitalism, pluralism, and religious tolerance must be upheld by all.

A founding principle of the United States was dissent. Disagreeing with King George III, British Parliament, and mercantile oppression led to the colonies banding together and seceding. In Georgia, “The South will rise again” refers to states disagreeing with moves in Washington DC and electing to form their own country rather than continue to be oppressed.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution establishes the right to free speech. Student groups in K-12 and higher education allow students to talk in private, refine the message into a few coherent ideas, and then present that message in public. Restricting such groups to topics government deems acceptable sounds contrary to American values to me.

This bill came to my attention because of an amendment to the bill which would prohibit student groups based around race. The member of the committee wants schools to return to “melting pot” approaches for the student experience. Every student group I’ve seen based on race has a focus of helping minority students better adapt to operate within the culture of America. So banning the groups bans people doing the “melting pot” approach work.

“This bill basically says, ‘You’re here. Adopt American values,’ ” said Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills Republican. “If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture.” Plan targets anti-Western lessons

Is the culture reflecting the values of the Founding Fathers? If so, then it may get a significant boom in population….

BbWorld 2008 Call for Proposals

Last year, we three DBAs submitted three proposals thinking one might be accepted. All three were. Its daunting to think of something because we are behind the times. We run Vista 3.0.7 while almost everyone else is at least on 4.1.x or higher. Also, we ended up changing our presentations last year because we were not doing things we thought we would be doing. Ugh.

Presenting at BbWorld or Blackboard Developers Conference is a great professional development opportunity and fabulous way to share your knowledge with your peers. BbWorld® ’08Deadline for Proposal Submission: February 22, 2008

Maybe we could do one on:

  • Staying Beneath the Threshold of Doom: 6-8 vs. 40 clusters?
  • Planning the Largest Vista 3 to 4 Migration
  • API Logging: Users Connection to Vista Not in Your Logs
  • Creating an Audit of User Activity

RE 2007: Administering Sakai

.

  • Timeline:
    • Oct 2006: Faculty committee selected Sakai over Blackboard Vista
    • Jan 2007: Developed a roll-out plan.
    • Jun 2007: Pilot
    • Aug 2007: Production
    • Still: Some classes still running on CE4.1, being phased out of use.
  • Needs – no more than 5% of code custom written by GA Tech or professional services.
    • Integration with Banner.
    • Grade book
    • Assignments – no resubmit. Professor had built a section aggregation tool which combined with assignments started killing the servers. Ate all the database connections. Dead in the water Monday afternoon to noon on Tuesday until a code change was implemented.
    • Assessments
    • Course lists would not show unpublished sections. Students were concerned registration failed to take place. Wrote a “More” link to show students the course exists but not yet available.
  • t-square
    • GA Tech – 30,000 users and 10,000 sections. 16,000 users login.
  • Sakai out of the box not very good.
    • Java Server on Tomcat.
    • User administration sux. No way to see what classs a student is taking without an outside application. Created an administrative console, available to machine room admins. Monitors services, processes. Admin console Perl connecting to APIs.
    • Admin role can access every course. Built in admin console to link directly to courses to go help troubleshoot.
  • Unicon – professional services
    • Built t-square implementation.
    • Created some tools.
  • Staffing
    • Systems – OS and hardware – 1 person
    • Application support – 1 person
    • Code developers, Quality Assurance – 3 people
    • Database Administrator – 0.5 people (spends part of time on other projects)
    • Instructional technologists – 2 people
  • Why Sakai? Faculty hate WebCT. Possibilities of integration (aren’t there possibilities for this with Blackboard?).
  • Costs – refused to say. Rumor is 2x our costs for making available for 200,000 students for Blackboard.

Kinda weird. Suggested it was nigh impossible to create accounts except through Banner in WebCT CE. Except the same APIs which create Banner accounts can create guest accounts?

RE 2007: Top Ten Disruptive Trends

Rock Eagle 2007

Keynote – David Cearley, Gartner

Way too many unfamiliar acronyms an terminology. It moved really fast without spending much time to explain anything.

Disruptive trends selected by timing, speed, and likelihood.

  1. Multricore to fabric – Core on processors will double every two years through 2015. Applications will have to adapt to multi-cores. Software licensing around cores, influences purchasing. Sets the stage for hybrid systems where power core and cell processor cores integrated. 3D chip (cube of cores) is coming. Next evolution in blade technology is to have shared memory. Fabric allows dynamic allocation and partioning of memory and processors and I/O for servers.
  2. Tera-Archicture Compute Element – Self-assembling and self-managing applications.
  3. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) – Developers will create modularized applications for a dynamic, flexible environment. They will need new tools, training, vizualization. Way platforms are built change. Vendors will not off the components, instead, we will need to create these ourselves. Pervasive… It will hit every level of the enterprise.
  4. Open Source – Development tools, Application Servers, Security, Operating Systems currently hold the most maturity. It will have viable alternatives for 80% of software choices.
  5. Web 2.0 – Biggest disruption over next 10 years as it has been the last 10 years. Web 2-.0 – applications built on web tech and design prin that may exploit community based development and social networking and/or new web-based business models. Long-term journey for increasing community, business involvement. Web Oriented Architecture = SOA + WWW+ REST. WOA replaces complex public API calls in current SOA model in favor in simple interfaces.
    1. Mashups – Composite applications on the web. Classic portal model built complex APIs. Mashups use WOA using RSS and Atom to provide feeds of info. Typically used in simple, high value applications.
    2. Web Platform – Everything as a service. Service providers offering infrastructure. Google and IBM offering a service to universities to build applications using the Googleplex infrastructure and IBM support.
    3. Symantic Web – Microformats – Simple way offering metadata.
  6. Social software – RS, podcasts, folksonomies, blogs, wiki, social bookmarks, content rating, prediction parket, taste sharing, social networks. The Participatory Web. Threadless makes user designed teeshirts sold back to users. How can we create communities and harness the power of the collective. Start with a purpose. Nuture the community. Open socially mediated spaces work better than technically managed systems. Have a tipping point plan.
  7. Netowrk Virtual Worlds – Games – People are 3D, have a profound impact on people.
  8. Displays – UIs are changing.
  9. Video – Counterfeit reality – how are you sure video has not changed?

Flickr’d Off

Open letter to Flickr developers,

Generally, I agree, writing with full capitalization (aka all caps) violates computer etiquette much to the chagrin to the computer literate. The illiterate obliviously walk into this trap. Lack of any capitalization lacks the capability to cause the same anger.

That said, there are legitimate uses of full capitalization. Batman style effects like “KAPOW” wimp with “Kapow”. So, your changing the text I write in a comment box on your web site from “CRUNCH!!” to “Crunch!!” caused me to delete the comment. So, now, my friend will not receive what I perceived an apropos remark to a picture because your site refuses to allow me to write what I wrote.

Ez

On the Fourth through Sixth Loops of Ready 2 Wear

I really have to stop listening to the same song played over and over. It may affect my thinking….

We had another node crash due to the Sun JVM issue. Our start script failed to make a file in /var so the node did not become fully operational as expected. While waiting for those with permission to delete some stuff to free up space, I went looking for what I could delete myself. Naturally /var/tmp seemed a likely place. I found 1,171 files named Axis#####axis. (Replace the #s with well… numbers.) They used up only 42MB. Most were small. Looking across all our machines there are thousands of these dating back to February of this year.

I love the Unix file command. It will tell you what kind of files are there. So I used file | sort -k 2 to sort by the type. Almost all of the files were either plain text or JPEG or GIFs. One file, called a “c program file” turned out to be a JavaScript (based on the C syntax). I downloaded a JPEG file locally, renamed it to have the .jpg extension, and opened it in an image viewer. It opened correctly. Seems its a graphic of a table.

It would seem our Blackboard Vista 3 has been collecting these files for months. They do not take up very much space. There are not nearly enough files to represent a download of content by all users. Our /var would fill up hourly in that case.

Axis is an Apache SOAP project. Vista’s exposed APIs use Axis, I believe. So, the running hypothesis is several of our campuses are using a product which is contacting the APIs to upload content. Its spread out enough that all four clusters are affected. Its something that started about February.

Suspect #1 Respondus – Chosen because we know it hits the APIs to upload content. Discounted because the content is lecture materials. Respondus works with assessments (aka quizzes, tests, exams).

Suspect #2 Impatica – Chosen because the JavaScript file references PPT. Impatica compacts PowerPoint (aka PPT) files and allows them to play without needing a PPT player. Their support pages teach users how to use the Campus Edition 4 user interface to upload content into a course. O-kay….

Suspects #n Softchalk, Diploma, Microsoft .Learn, etc. – I haven’t really investigated any of these. They are just names to me at the moment.


UPDATE: So… There is a bug in Axis which dumps these files into the file system. The files can be deleted as long as they are not current.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

This is someting my friends have been into for years.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day:

International Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t one o’ those governmentally sanctioned holidays that shifts around to create a convenient three-day weekend. No, the date is ALWAYS Sept. 19 (Cap’n Slappy’s ex-wife’s birthday.)

Though apparently the inventors were on Wife Swap (Chumbucket and Sally bio).