Why do people from Waterman keep coming into the lab and looking around?

One time when this happened, someone wanted to turn our room into a language lab. Another time, I think the nursing school was planning a computer lab for their students.

Word on the street is that someone wants to take over the fourth floor of Lafayette for more classroom space. God knows we need it, but I have to wonder where we’ll end up.

Why Java?

Is it me, or are most Java applets on the web useless? I’ve seen so many out there that could be done with anything from straight HTML to JavaScript to AJAX to Flash. It seems to me that Java’s implementation for browsers has never really been quite “there”, but people continue to churn out this mediocre crap that just makes their product look and feel bad. And, did I mention that most Java applets are just plain ugly? When they’re not sort-of using OS-standard UI elements, they try to be hip, or fancy, or ultra-cool. Dude.. bevel & emboss is SO 1998.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Java has its place as an application development language– great for cross-platform RAD, or mission-critical server-side systems, but applets? Come on! I’ve found that under my current configuration (Firefox 1.5.x on OS X 10.4.5) some Java applets actually crap out the scrollability of my trackpad until I quit the browser entirely!

A great deterrent (or inspiration, if you’re into that sort of thing) is WebCT Campus Ed. 6. WOW! WebCT actually delayed their EOL for Campus Ed. 4 due to bugginess in the product. Now, I’m not saying all of its problems are Java issues. Far from it, actually– horrible CSS, buggy installers, code that breaks in current browsers (but works in old ones 😀 ).

I guess FrontPage was the first real sign of the Apocalypse. Remember FrontPage’s rollovers? Oh yeah… Java applets. One for each button on your site. Add that to a time when the term Information Architecture caused EVEREYONE to give a blank stare, and you’ve got Hell right here in River City.

But, I keep coming across this stuff that just makes me cringe. I have no idea WHY the developers would use Java applets for most of this content when it could all be done a little better with something else.

UVM Center for Teaching & Learning

The CTL is in a time of great change, becoming part of the newly-formed Learning Resources Group, and launching a national search for a new director. We wanted to seize upon this opportunity to re-build the CTL Website from the ground up, including massive re-writes of the copy, a streamlined navigation system, and more dynamic content to keep fresh, up-to-date content in front of our users.

Based on the UVM Web Template, we were able to add numerous helpful features to the site, including a streamlined events calendar and management system, RSS and iCal feeds, support request interfaces, and plenty of daily/weekly maintenance solutions.

Go, Seabass (yarr!)

On this, one of Steve’s last days at the Free Press, he sends us the following, which is effectively one man’s meaning of life:

To me, it’s always a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when you walk around. That way, if anybody says, “Hey, can you give me a hand?,” you can say, “Sorry, got these sacks.” I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk I have a work station….. Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice?” There’s no future in time travel. If you can’t convince them, confuse them. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry because, come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life? I gaze at the brilliant full moon. The same one, I think to myself, at which Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato gazed. Suddenly, I imagine they appear beside me. I tell Socrates about the national debate over one’s right to die and wonder at the constancy of the human condition. I tell Plato that I live in the country that has come the closest to Utopia, and I show him a copy of the Constitution. I tell Aristotle that we have found many more than four basic elements and I show him a periodic table. I get a box of kitchen matches and strike one. They gasp with wonder. We spend the rest of the night lighting farts.

And how.

Flickr vs. Photocasting

So, I think it might be time to head back over to Flickr. The iPhoto photocasting feature seems pretty cool, but it’s still somewhat limited in how it handles itself.

Flickr knows who’s who when someone logs in, so it can identify you as friend, family, foe, or freak, and display photos accordingly. All a photocast can do is use a username & password or not. What a PITA when it comes to sharing photos with a select group of people.

So, I plan, from this day forth, to use Flickr for all of my photo sharing needs. Now it’s up to you (you know who you are, but you don’t read this blog anyway, so I’m typing into a vacuum at this point) to use Flickr to see my pix 😀

My (our) flickr handle is “katieandrob”

That is all.

Awake From a Nightmare

So, last night I was dreaming about rails… I woke up to find that I was still having difficulties getting things to work. MySQL wasn’t cooperating, and then WEBrick began to hang whenever it would attempt to access the db. Then I began to have errors that the Ruby headers couldn’t be found.

Ugh… More like a rails nightmare. Throughout that whole process, I was resistant to using Locomotive, as it seemed like cheating. Well, I finally broke down and simultaneously woke up from my nightmare.

Locomotive installed without a hitch, and is now running my cookbook application. I’m considerably happier/less frustrated now than I was when i woke up, and that’s a good thing.

Off to a birthday party 😀

Dreaming About Rails

What a pain in the arse. Tried installing Ruby on Rails yesterday and into last night on my powerbook. Got everything going and cranked out my first Hello World.

Then began to follow one of the tutorials from the O’Reilly site (the cookbook one), and ran into a MySQL Access Denied error (still can’t figure out why, although all of the posts I’ve seen about it refer to MySQL 4.1.x or 5.x. I was running 4.0.x, so I’ll at least upgrade to 4.1.x and see what happens).

So, I figured I’d go to sleep. It was nearly midnight, Katie was already asleep, and I was tired.


I woke up nearly every hour or so, with visions of rubies dancing in my head. I was actually awake before Nicholas this morning, and was about to get cracking again when he woke up. Fortunately, Katie was there to get him set up with breakfast so I can continue to bang my head on this damn thing.

Downloading MySQL 4.1.16 now. We’ll see what happens.


Natural Resources faculty wanted a clearing house website for students to access data on field sites maintained by UVM, and to practice some of the skills they’ll be required to use in the field.

Working with faculty and TAs from the Rubenstien School for Environment and Natural Resources, the FOREST (Forestry Online Resource Exchange of Sites and Tools) site was designed and developed to meet this need. Students can download numerous types of data for UVM-managed field sites, including Jericho Research Forest and Niquette Bay State Park. Additionally, students can upload their own data to be reviewed by faculty and then published back to the site. The site also contains simulators of several key tools that students use in the field for practice, including compass & topop maps, a GPS unit, and a 10-factor wedge prism (for counting trees!).

National Institute on Leadership, Disability and Students Placed at Risk

The Institute’s goal is to support the preparation of school leaders in educating students with disabilities and students placed at risk of school failure. To this point, the Institute wanted a website that enabled them to allow school leaders access to modules prepared by educators for use in their classrooms and training.

I developed a website that enables users from around the globe to search and download these modules (primarily PDF & PowerPoint content). Users create an account at the site, and then have full access to the modules. Downloads are tracked and users are contacted 30 days after downloading for follow-up evaluation. NILDSPAR staff can update all aspects of the site via a content management system.