Category ArchiveAbout TTPC
I took a rather unintended two week hiatus. While my daily-posting streak was broken by a lack of connectivity in the dorms at the University of Iowa, my post-Iowa absence was due almost entirely to non-technical reasons. I spent the better part of a week packing up my office, followed by several days of settling into a new (but temporary) office—I’ve stepped out of the classroom and into the realm of textbook publishing for the next two years. The poor functioning of the air conditioner in my home office also didn’t help to encourage me to spend time at the computer writing blog posts.
So, while I’m not going to be in the classroom, I’m still very much involved in the educational community. As I’d said in my previous post on breaking the daily-posting streak, I intend to continue to post with some frequency and I hope that this will still be of use to people. Also, thanks to axelnielk88 for expressing a desire for me to continue posting.
About TTPC Isaac on 02 Jun 2007
Unfortunately, as some of you may have noticed, my streak of posting at least once a day has come to an end. This is due in large part to a lack of ready access to the internet while I’m at this math competition in Iowa City, IA. I am writing this on the X60, using the built-in Bluetooth to connect it to my Moto V710 and Verizon’s Quick2Net (at least, I think it’s called Quick2Net—it’s the service that doesn’t have an extra monthly charge and just uses your regular minutes, but is slower than a 56k modem and that they don’t really advertize at all).
While I’m hoping to return to something at least close to daily posting when I return to a place with simple high-speed internet access, it is getting to be summer and a lot of teaching and education slows down in the summer. I hope that even if I can’t quite manage daily posting over the summer, you will still find useful information here.
Today is the 106th consecutive day on which I have posted in this blog (if I counted correctly… there are three types of mathematicians: those who can count and those who can’t). Had I had a less hectic week last week and/or had I been paying more attention, I might have posted this on the 100th consecutive day.
I think my stated goal of posting at least once a day has gone well and I hope this blog has become a useful resource. While I know that there are days when my one post is really bare-bones minimal and days when my one post is very late (today being an example of both), I believe that most days have had at least one thing worth knowing or seeing or otherwise of interest.
As always, if you have any comments or if you are interested in contributing to this site, please contact me.
And so, I have just received this new loaner X60 from lenovo. Over the next several months I will be teaching a graduate class at the UIC and experimenting with the tablet to explore what advantages it may have to offer to the pedagogical process. It is a very interactive class in management for public health professionals. The group will have extensive case discussions and work live problems to gain experience and feedback from both faculty and other group members.
Any ideas? Presentation software, spreadsheets and mapping are typically used in delivering this course.
On Monday and Tuesday (well, probably mostly on Monday but with some delays at the receiving dock), I received two ThinkPad X60 units (hi-res screen and Vista Business) and an UltraBase X6 docking station, sent by Lenovo for evaluation. In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about the X60 and how it compares to my X41 and how I’ve been using it (or not using it) in various situations. Also, you will soon see some evaluation notes from a university professor on his experience with the X60 having never used a tablet before.
So far, I’ve found:
- Vista and my school’s wireless authentication/encryption infrastructure are not compatible, so no WiFi for me at school.
- Automatic screen rotation is the most immediately accessible “wow” feature.
- While Vista on the X60 is about as fast/slow to start up and shut down as XP on my X41, things like Firefox and Thunderbird seem faster on the X60.
Since I’m on spring break and have time to think about and do such things (read that as “have a stronger-than-usual desire to procrastinate”), I’ve done a little tweaking with the site. I’ve added a contact form, added the ability to subscribe via email, and added a page on subscribing (see the links across the top of the page). I’ve also disabled the forums for the moment, since the only use they seemed to be getting was collecting registrations with (mostly fake) Russian email addresses. If there’s sufficient interest in forums in general, I may bring them back or rebuild them using bbPress instead of pubBB. Also, those of you reading this via a feed (i.e. subscription, RSS, Google Reader, etc.) have probably noticed the addition of ads by Pheedo—at the moment, this is the only option available to me for placing ads in the feeds, which I feel is appropriate given that I have Google ads on the web site (if it were possible to put more minimal ads, preferably Google text ads, into the feeds, I would do that instead).
Though I doubt many of you will notice, I’ve made a very slight update to the design of this site. This site no longer has a horizontal scrollbar when viewed in portrait mode on a 1024×768 (or is that 768×1024?) tablet, at least for me in Firefox. I no longer remember where I saw the offhand comment about how few Tablet PC sites actually fit on screen horizontally in portrait mode, but the thought has been percolating ever since and, spurred by a desire to procrastinate combined with the earlier technical work of fixing DST on several OpenBSD boxes I, finally made this site fit.
I can’t believe I almost missed posting today. I’m actually more surprised that I’ve been able to stick to my goal of posting every day for this long.
Also along the lines of things I can’t believe and/or things that surprise me, the number of blocked access attempts reported by Bad Behavior has just about doubled this week. I don’t think a single spam comment has made it through to the blog, though, and I’ve only had to delete a handful of spam that Akismet has caught. (Oh, and if I’m remembering correctly, Bad Behavior doesn’t default to showing its block count in the dashboard with Akismet’s spam count and I hacked that in there—comment if you want details.)
As long as I’m off on one of these mechanics-of-a-blog-site posts, I might as well publicize that if you upgraded to WP2.1.1, you really must upgrade to WP2.1.2 right now.
Since I already posted about the upgrade to WP2.1 this week, I thought I might as well post a list of the plugins I’m using. This should automatically update, since (as listed below) I’m using WP-Plugin List.
- Akismet v2.5.1
Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and track-back spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. To get started: 1) Click the “Activate” link to the left of this description, 2) Sign up for an Akismet API key, and 3) Go to your Akismet configuration page, and save your API key. Automattic
- Bad Behavior v2.0.38
Deny automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site. Michael Hampton
- Future Calendar v1.6.2
A simple plugin that utilizes a modified get_calendar function that shows what dates have a future post scheduled in a calendar format, and makes it easy to change the current timestamp. Includes a widget to display posts on your website. Aaron Harun
- Linkblock widget v1.0
Displays one specific category of links; up to 9 instances of this widget may exist. Heavily derived from the Text widget code included with the widget plugin by Automattic, Inc. M. Holger
- LiveContact v0.9b
A warm and fuzzy Web 2.0 contact form John Wyles
- Feedburner Feed Replacement v2.2
Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents. Steve Smith
- Permalink Redirect v1.0.1
Redirects all crap away from the end of the URL Joost de Valk
- Role Manager v2.0.0
Role Management for WordPress 2.0.x and 2.1.. Thomas Schneider
- Janrain Engage v1.0.1
Plugin to add authentication via the Janrain Engage service. forestb
- Sociable v3.5.2
Automatically add links on your posts, pages and RSS feed to your favorite social bookmarking sites. Blogplay
- WordPress.com Stats v1.7.5
Tracks views, post/page views, referrers, and clicks. Requires a WordPress.com API key. Automattic
- Google Sitemaps v2.7.1
This generator will create a Google compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. Arne Brachhold
- Sociallist v1.5.1
Automatically add links on your posts to popular social bookmarking service. Go to Options -> Sociallist for setup. Codemaster
- AskApache Search Engine Verify v3.5
Adds the verification meta tags to home page provided by Google and Yahoo AskApache
- Do Follow v4.0
Removes the evil nofollow attribute that WordPress adds in comments. Denis de Bernardy
- Simple Trackback Validation v2.1
Eliminates spam trackbacks by (1) checking if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the webserver the trackback URL is referring to and (2) by retrieving the web page located at the URL used in the trackback and checking if the page contains a link to your blog. Michael Woehrer
- WP-Plugin List v1.0
WP Plugin List is a simple plugin to allow yout post your current WordPress 1.5+ Martin Wiso
- WordPress Database Backup v2.2.3
On-demand backup of your WordPress database. Navigate to Tools → Backup to get started. Austin Matzko
- Google Adsense widget v1.0
Monetize with AdSense in your sidebar widgets! Mike Smullin
- front page login v1.0
Adds a sidebar widget to allow logins on the front page Hermescb