Sunday, November 27, 2011

I have moved

Hey, I've decided to consolidate my blogging and move it over to which is run by the same swell folks who run my unix shell account. This gives me a heck of a lot more control over what I am doing at my blog, and some freedom to experiment with and learn wordpress. The new link is

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Practical Open Source Exploration Textbook Review

Back in January, over on my thesis blog, that I wind up never using, I mentioned that I wanted to work on stuff for the Teaching Open Source Textbook. I just finished a review of my thoughts on the target audience, and objectives for the first chapter. To sum it up, it is targeted at competent/high level students, but reads like a tutorial for someone newer to development than I am! The objectives are solid, but when I read it it has a lot of "let's pay pretend you're going to do something, that I know damn well your professor is probably going to assign anyhow."

Despite my gripes with the tone, I think it's an excellent book. The objectives in the finished chapters are clear, and the exercises correlate closely to the stated, or implicit goals for that chapter. Anyone, with the pre-requisite knowledge of programming, who sits down and does all of the exercises in the book will wind up much more comfortable participating in Open Source communities. Just by reading it I felt more comfortable shooting of my thoughts to the project list, and asking for feedback and thoughts on the direction I want to take in adding review questions, and knowledge checks to the book.

We'll see what the results are, but I think the best way to proceed is to divide the actions and the ideas into two separate tests. The Exercises test the actions the student should be able to take. The purpose of the review questions then is to prompt thought on the new ideas, and help test if the student has absorbed the ideas.

Since each chapter's ideas seem to be pretty atomic I suspect that the hard thing is going to be to devising more than a handful of questions for each chapters review questions, and devising ones with clearly correct or incorrect answers that can be self checked. I'll block out a few hours tomorrow afternoon to working out how to do this for chapter 1, and work on a objective inventory for the first two chapters.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Just Do Something, you'll feel better.

If you found this just now, go read Do it your self before reading any further.

Whatever you did, don't you feel a little better for taking the time to get something done? I took a few minutes to clean up the kitchen and start lunch, between these posts, and that's the point. I've done something, instead of sitting on the couch and thinking, "ugh, there's still dishes in the sink." Now I've got a pile of clean dishes in the drainer, and the smell of tasty artichoke and garlic coming from my steamer.

One of the key insights that has helped me on my path to self mastery has been the discipline to do something. One small thing that seems to form a Success Spiral and motivates us to do more. The FlyLady system to keep your home clean uses this system as well, their first, and second steps are exactly this kind of thing. When I'm down at the bottom of Old Main Hill, only I can take that first step on the way back to the top.

This is key to how we actually make ourselves better, only by taking a small step in the right direction can we actually get better. Some goals are a long way off, but that shouldn't stop us, from working on them now. Find that small step that puts you closer to where you want to be and take it.