Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Man Stuck In Tree After Car Floods Gives Best Weather TV Interview Of All Time ““So I’m up about 20 feet in a tree right now,” he adds. “What?!” comes the response, which is weirdly enough what we’re all thinking. “What are you, what, uh, are you okay? How’s your energy, you’ve been there quite some time?” “Oh no, I’m fine,” Packer assures us. “Thankfully this is the nicest tree here. It’s a little cold, but I did Boy Scouts for 20 years, so I know how to keep my energy up and keep warm, so I’m doing fine.” “ tags: weekly weather interview exercism.io “Think deeply about how code can be improved. One particularly well-kept secret is that looking at someone’s code with an eye towards finding ways of improving it can teach you more about writing readable code than receiving feedback on your own code. Doing this forces you to think about why you make the trade-offs that you do, what in the code you are reacting to, why you are reacting to it, and how you might improve it. There is rarely only one good solution to a problem. Asking questions and articulating your thoughts about these small problems can change your thinking about the issues you face in the code bases you work in on a […]


Map a Folder Full of Images to Google Spreadsheet

Imagine you have a large folder of images in Google Drive. I don’t have to imagine this as I do thanks to an IFTTT recipe.1 Google tends to be kind of stingy with the kinds of filtering/interactions you can have with files in their folders and we know that if you get stuff in Google Sheets then a world of other possibilities opens up. I’ve been thinking about what options there are with Google file storage because VCU is a GAFE school and we have unlimited Drive storage. That might open some media storage options with heavy load projects like our Field Botany site or our more recent work with the East End Cemetery. So . . . I wrote a quick script to take a large G Drive folder full of images and write the content to a spreadsheet while embedding an image preview. The script is below. I ended up revamping both enough that I felt it was worth reposting. For the record, the script ran through about 4,500 images but it may have timed out so keep that in mind if you’re dealing with lots of images. 1 I figure if I have enough backups to my online backups then I can pretend I’m safe.

My Chunk of the VCU ALT Lab Educause Presentation

I got a chance to present at Educause with Gardner, Jon, and Molly. The session was about 45 minutes so we each had about 7 minutes. The session description is below. I figured I’d throw my slides/comments up here- mainly because I will forget everything if I don’t write it down. In the past, centers supporting excellence in teaching and learning tended to follow models of faculty development focusing on incremental change in widely accepted practices. VCU’s Academic Learning Transformation Laboratory seeks to change that paradigm. This session will begin with our story thus far. Come help us write our next chapters! from the program This is a list of my greatest fears (although I left out hypocrisy which I find myself repeating almost as much as workflow). It’s easy to scare people out of doing things. It’s easy to end up aiming for mediocrity. That feels like a high bar at times. Don’t call warming up dog food a victory. It’s really almost worse than leaving it cold. At least cold dog food isn’t pretending. I’ve had to do it at times but don’t let it ever become a goal. Excuses are easy. Figuring out real limits on capacity and aspiration is hard and a constantly moving target. It’s a tightrope to walk but walk it. Many places support […]

Photography – Week 97

I’ve shot the Richmond Zombie Walk for the last few years and have used a few different lenses. This year I opted for the 85mm and went super shallow at 1.2. That made for some really interesting shots but also resulted in a large number of missed shots. The 85 is slow to focus and it needs a couple of feet to focus. The zombies had the tendency to lunge in too close and/or at the last minute. Even with those misses, I like how many of the shots turned out and I remain amazed by how much work and skill goes into many of the costumes. He was filming his son with a camera on a selfie-stick. He was so happy. The Straw Man who was part of the Wizard of Oz group which was an entirely impressive group. Seeing zombie parents with their children was odd. I think this guy was driving the car that was responsible for the traffic jam I was in. He looked lost amongst the police and wreckage. Traffic started moving before I could try another shot.


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Learning to Code is Non-Linear – Buffer Posts – Medium Certainly true for me in a variety of areas of learning . . . “Programming was taught to me in a similar way?-?and for students to attain true understanding, this doesn’t feel like it’s the best way to learn. There is a literal learning curve to programming, and once you hit the inflection point of that curve you become somewhat self reliant. You know what to ask Google, you know the process of debugging, and you start to realize you’re capable of accomplishing anything by yourself. But if you haven’t hit that point yet, it can feel like you may never hit that point. Traditional methods of testing and gauging progress among students who are at different points in their capacity to learn programming don’t feel quite fair, and I believe this discourages many (particularly underrepresented minorities) from continuing to learn how to code.” tags: weekly coding nonlinear learning Human Interference Task Force – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “The goal of this “Human Interference Task Force” was to find a way to reduce the likelihood of future humans unintentionally intruding on radioactive waste isolation systems. Specifically, the task force was to research ways to prevent future access to the deep geological nuclear repository of Yucca Mountain.” tags: weekly odd future […]

WordPress Reflection Plugin – Step 1 – Counting Links

The idea that technology ought to help students reflect on their use of technology seems to make sense. As we have more and more students engaging in online writing little things come to light. Take the humble/magical hyperlink for example. We often look at the use of hyperlinks as a marker for progress in digital fluency. Are students using the thing that makes the web so webby? Can we help make that a point of reflection for them?1 I had a conversation with Laura a while back about pulling out URLs and looking at the their use over time by students.2 Clearly, these aren’t pure quantitative things. You’ll never say “Six links? Failure!” or even “Seventy four links? That’s an A+.” Not that I would ever think that about you but this is on the Internet and I don’t want anyone tying hyperlink numbers to Bloom’s levels and then linking to me. But it would be interesting to look back over your writing and see when you use lots of links and when you don’t. So, at the moment, that’s what this plugin does. It’ll do some more tricks in the future but these are early days. The plugin as it sits now (below) will do three things. It’ll run a regex on the post and store all the URLs […]


Weekly Web Harvest (weekly)

Price Check: How Companies Value Body Parts tags: data health insurance texas sociology weekly How Your Travels Around the Internet Expose the Way You Think | WIRED “This is what psychologists call “metacognition,” thinking about how we think. Trailblazer gave me an x-ray view of my own mental activity. Clicking on random memes triggered a curious search query and—boom—20 pages later I’d find a useful scientific paper. (I’m now more forgiving of falling down a Twitter hole.) Traditional academic citations never capture serendipity, the stumbling, associational nature of how knowledge relates to itself. Trailblazer does. Imagine if trail sharing became routine. Reporters could enrich their stories by showing how they came to their conclusions. You could send funny or jokey pathways, like cognitive emoji. Trails are like Proustian cookies, teleporting us back to mental states from weeks ago. Vannevar Bush was right: The journey is a destination.” tags: weekly thoughtvectors metacognition search explore data thinking Trump supporters and protesters clash at Richmond rally | WTVR.com “I was about a foot away when this irate gentlemen in the crowd spit in another gentleman’s face,” said spectator Daniel Reilly, a Republican from North Carolina who came to see Trump speak out of curiosity. “Trump’s security team started leading several people out and there was a gentleman directly across from us who was […]

findURL – Custom Google Function Fun

via the magical XKCD Fun being a fairly relative term . . . but I’m amused. The Meat You can write custom functions in Google Spreadsheets and then use them like other built in functions. I didn’t realize that. The script below1 grabs all the URLs from a chunk of text. You could add it to your spreadsheet in Google by going to Tools>Script Editor and opening a blank project. Replace all of the content with this and then save it. You can now use it like other functions by putting =findULR(A1) (assuming A1 is the text chunk you want). It spits out a single cell with the URLs in it on individual lines and with a count of the URLs found at the top of that cell. I’ve commented up the script below in case you want to understand/change it to better suit your needs. Next Steps The regex works well about 90-95% of the time. So it sure beats doing it by hand but it could be improved. You can try your own stuff here. The post I’m using there is pretty messy so it’s a good thing to check against. It’s hard to guess what odd things people will do with URLs. I’ve already seen people doing stuff like “”http://blah.com””. No idea why they did double quotes. […]


Documentation – Google Doc Drawing Tip

I’ve created documentation in lots of platforms with lots of people over the last 15 years. These attempts tend to fail, or fail to thrive, for a variety of reasons. I can’t address all of the human factors but I can look harder at a few of the mechanical ones. Here are a few of the questions I ask myself. Who is supposed to be contributing to the documentation? What tools do they use now? What is the fewest number of tools we can use? What enables the most people the easiest path to creating/editing? Based on those considerations, my latest attempt is to use Google Docs. It’s a super common tool that our entire team is familiar with. We can easily make it available online to anyone we want. It’s also a single tool that will all of our basic documentation needs (video is another matter). The place Google Docs doesn’t do well is in creating a public-facing static index or search box for all the content. I’m looking into API options around that at the moment. I a, doing at least one thing that I believe might make a difference. For instance, all of the images are inserted as drawings. That’s a little thing but one that eliminates a tool and allows for flexibility down the road. Ordinarily, […]