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Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-02-21

Open Syllabus: Galaxy Repl.it – The collaborative browser based IDEpretty slick 7 Inspiring Headless WordPress Examples Out in the Wild (2021) Sample Breakdown: Britney Spears – Toxic – YouTube Ed Solomon on Twitter: “Update: my old friend sent me this. It’s an interesting look – from an entirely different angle. (And I realize I had a fact wrong: it was not the night he stole it in Chinatown but rather a few weeks later, after a different one, Another (the best) tool for Live Captioning Your Zoom Session – John Stewart

Titled: A continuum of choice. A continuum of complexity. From left to right Social media, the LMS, WordPress Multisite, Hosted WordPress, Domain of One's Own, your server. Some of the elements overlap indicate a range of similar possibilities.

VCU: The Long Goodbye (Patterned but not Standard)

I’m trying to document this idea better because I’ve had trouble communicating it in the way that I want as I’ve started my new job.1 A dog is a chihuahua is a great dane WordPress multisite is a thing but it’s a thing that can be as different as a chihuahua is from a great dane. They’re both dogs but if you talk about a dog and one person is thinking chihuahua2 and the other is thinking of a great dane then you’re going to have significant confusion. Sure the word dog is the same but what each person has as a mental model is so radically different. One one end of the spectrum with WordPress multisite might be a site that’s locked down. It has a narrowly defined purpose and very limited themes and plugins. You may find there is only one theme and the plugins are all network activated. Your choice in this space is still greater than what you’d get in Facebook or Twitter but it’s pretty tightly controlled. This can be good for some people and some purposes. It’s consistent. Very little can go wrong because there are so few choices. People are not overwhelmed by choice. On the other end of the spectrum is what we tried to do with Ram Pages. You have a […]

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NS Cloner Function Details

NS Cloner is a plugin to duplicate sites in a WordPress multisite environment. It’s particularly nice because it has a function that you can call from other processes. Their documentation is not quite as nice. It gets you started but it’s clearly meant for people who are pretty comfortable. The following sentence is indicative of who their audience is. These are the same fields that get submitted via an AJAX request when cloning via the admin interface, so you can inspect that request to determine other ways to configure the parameters, particularly if you’re using NS Cloner Pro and have more options available. So here’s the information you get if you inspect that AJAX request. It might save someone else a minor step or it might allow someone new to programming to move on when they wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve commented it up a bit. I’m also putting it here so I won’t lose it and have to look it up again. To be clear none of those things are a big deal but little bits of friction build up. They eat into cognitive and emotional bandwidth and stop people from trying to do new things. If you want to know how to inspect an AJAX request via Chrome yourself this Stackoverflow response does a good job describing it.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-02-14

How Shipping Containers End Up in the Ocean – WSJNice multi axis interactive visual explanation of how a ship loses shipping containers in rough seas. The Ingenuity of The ‘Ha-Ha’ | Amusing PlanetIn those early days, before mechanical lawn mowers, sheep and cattle were often allowed to graze on the ground to keep the grassland trimmed. A ha-ha was typically constructed between the estate’s gardens and grounds to prevent grazing animals from crossing over to the manicured lawn and gardens adjoining the house, while generating a continuous vista of the garden and landscape beyond. Unlike an ordinary trench, which may turn into a moat or become overgrown with vegetation, a ha-ha keeps the estate ground in an impeccable state by allowing livestock to graze right up to the stonewall. Citibank just got a $500 million lesson in the importance of UI design | Ars TechnicaRaj thought that checking the “principal” checkbox and entering the number of a Citibank wash account would ensure that the principal payment would stay at Citibank. He was wrong. To prevent payment of the principal, Raj actually needed to set the “front” and “fund” fields to the wash account as well as “principal.” Raj didn’t do that. Citibank’s procedures require that three people sign off on a transaction of this size. In this case, that was […]

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VCU: The Long Goodbye (Art)

Man. These are taking some time to write and I know I’m missing all kinds of stuff. I really have to think through how to do this better for the future. I also found out VCU turned off the Google Takeout option so there’s no easy way to archive my mail or get anything else from there. I don’t think that’s a well thought out decision. So I better get these done while I still have access to my reference materials. Anyway, on with “Things Tom Remembers About Art-Related Projects.” Socially Engaged Art This course with Bob Paris ran for a number of semesters. Initially we’d clone the old site to a URL like sociallyengagedmedia-fall2019 and then clean out the old course so he could start anew. This got to be a bit much as the media library grew so eventually I built a shell course that we’d clone and then we’d just rename the old site in WPMU admin. That was a lot easier and smarter. I should have done it much earlier. Bob played a major role in the look of the site and you never knew what kind of image might greet you on visiting the home page. I’ve actually written about this course in 2016 and 2017. I still like his attention to detail and the […]

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VCU: The Long Goodbye (AFAM and ANTH)

Here’s another stuff-I-did-in-the-past post. It may be doing this does a couple things for me. Whenever I’ve entered a new job I have felt like a moron who knows nothing desperately trying to show I know something and am useful without coming off as desperate.1 Trying to make new friends while learning new acronyms and navigating new political structures probably doesn’t make anyone feel too comfortable. So writing down the successes (or at least work) that has happened helps remind me that it takes time and that I’ve done this before. Additionally I really do forget this stuff and need to write it down. You can see a jumble of people and departments as I write this. I keep having to go back and add things I completely forgot about. It’s taking forever but hopefully this will help me when I need to sift through and find old examples in future conversations. And finally maybe it’s useful to someone else as I realize just how poor a job I’ve done writing about this stuff consistently. So let’s start with things that come to mind under the letter A . . .2 African American Studies Brandi Summers wasn’t at VCU all that long but it was great to work with her while she was there. Race & Space This was her […]

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VCU: The Long Goodbye (part one)

I’ll be leaving VCU and starting a new job at Middlebury College as of February 15.1 Turns out I’ve been working at VCU since November of 2013.2 That’s a long time for me. I tend to move around a lot more frequently or at least change jobs within the institution. I’ve been working with Matt and Jeff to make sure we’ve got things under control for my departure and it’s been bitter sweet. There is a lot of work out there. It represents a lot of effort with a lot of people. Given my memory gets filled up with other things, I thought I’d take this opportunity to document some things about my time at VCU. This is going to be fairly long and rambling.3 Despite the length, I’m still going to omit huge portions and only tell things from my perspective. I’m also going to focus on the happy stuff. All stories have sad parts but rehashing them here won’t solve any of the issues or make anyone happier. So consider this the Disney version. Big Picture I came to VCU to work with Jon Becker and Gardner Campbell. I had been the Director for Instructional Technology at Henrico County Public Schools. My supervisor4 there had suddenly died and I watched most of what we’d worked so hard to […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-02-07

The Wrong Question – O’ReillyMaking people angry might increase shareholder value short-term. But that probably isn’t a sustainable business; and if it is, it’s a business that does incredible social damage. The “solution” isn’t likely to be legislation; I can’t imagine laws that regulate algorithms effectively, and that can’t be gamed by people who are willing to work hard to game them. I guarantee that those people are out there. We can’t say that the solution is to “be better people,” because there are plenty of people who don’t want to be better; The Chegg Situation is Worse Than You Think –In fact, Chegg got many of its homework problem answers by licensing them directly from the textbook publishers.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2021-01-31

Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress BlogThe Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel—its emergence, its applications and its evolution. Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites. The Library regularly reviews its collections practices to account for environmental shifts, diversity of collections and topics, cost effectiveness, use of collections and other factors. This change results from such a review. Alfie Kohn: The Tests Are Lousy, So How Could the Scores Be Meaningful? | National Education Policy CenterIn short, am I really so addicted to data that I prefer misleading information to none at all? –worth remembering that educators are so starved for validation that they’ll put X company certified educator in their email signature A Look Back – Futility ClosetOn the grounds of the Fortress of Kruševac, in Serbia, is a “window to the past” that depicts the donjon tower as it appeared in its medieval heyday. At its height it served as the entrance to a medieval fortified town, the seat of Moravian Serbia. Remembering Coffee High School of Florence, Al. | FacebookThat’s my grandmother in […]