Rookie Javascript Mistakes

I frequently can accomplish things by cobbling together code I find on Stack Overflow and various tutorials/examples found elsewhere. Sometimes I have a decent idea what’s going. Other times . . . my lack of real understanding slows me down much more than I’d like. The following bits of increased knowledge come from playing around with three javascript plugins for jquery. You can see all of them in action at the site1 above. Chart.js – simple HTML 5 carts that are animated on construction countUp.js – does those rolling numbers ToolTipsy – slick customized tooltips “By seeking and blundering we learn.” – quite possibly Goethe2 Here are two easy things I did wrong when playing with way too many javascript libraries on the ECAR demo site. Lesson one – If a library is a jquery plugin then the script you write (initiator?) AND the plugin reference3 have to load after jquery. That order is just a little bit important. I had previously thought far less about the plugin source URL and probably accidentally put it in the right order. In my head it wasn’t a script.4 I thought about more like a reference put into action later and so I never really thought about the order. This is basic competency stuff but I did it wrong and spent a while […]

Photography – Year in Review

It is still January right? Instead of looking through all my images or even culling the weekly summaries I opted to see which ones had lingered in my head. These are the ones I remembered. Some of them were pretty popular on the Internets but others received little attention. This is an unposed image of my grandfather’s girlfriend at his funeral. One of the pictures I missed that lingered. I can’t find or erased another of a woman holding her hand up to the glass of a window at night. I must do a better job with metadata.

Photography – Week 46

At this point I’m taking between 200 and 300 pictures most days. I end up keeping about 1 out of 10. There’s talk about taking fewer pictures making you a better photographer. Maybe. I’m having fun and trying out lots of things so I’m ok with lots of pictures. Some shots I take I know won’t come out well with this lens but I want to create the itch to do it right. Other shots I take blind. Some times that’s to keep things really candid, other times I just want to take a shot from an angle my head can’t make it to (really high, really low). I’m willing to fire a few shots that way and take the penalty on post processing. With a number of the street photography attempts I start shooting early and keep shooting. It’s closer to the way I used to shoot football. My processing workflow starts with a quick run through where I throw away anything I dislike immediately. That’s often quite a few- focus errors, things I knew weren’t going to work etc. Round two is usually throwing away choices between similar photos. After that, I start actually editing. If I feel annoyed about editing to making the picture better then I throw it away. All this is now done in Lightroom […]

Angles on Open

I spoke briefly, and almost certainly disjointedly, at the Open VA meeting yesterday. The focus of the panel was “open pedagogy/curriculum” and the whole day was focused on open education concepts. My topic was simply labeled MOOC. As the day progressed I tried to get a sense of the audience and figure out what would I should say to them. I would not say I succeeded. Here’s an attempt at better articulating what I should have said regardless of the audience. Open Pedigree The ability to imagine and actually build the #thoughtvectors cMOOC1 is a result of a long history of open and connected practice. Part of the MOOC was shaped by educational beliefs, part by relationships, part by technology but it’s mostly the result of an almost seamless blending of those three things. I’ll stick to my own relationships, and those specific to #thoughtvectors for brevity’s sake, but every person involved in #thoughtvectors likely has their own entwined stories. In the beginning there was WordPress I spent a lot of time with WordPress and it provided opportunities that changed how I thought about all kinds of things. My first WordPress blog was on an early incarnation of WPMU that was hosted by James Farmer (later of Edublogs) on wpmu.incsub.org.2 This led to a later decision to purchase my own hosting […]

Troubleshooting Patterns

I got an email from a professor who was using Gravity Forms to allow students to create blog posts. The problem was that when they submitted posts via the form the category ended up being the default category no matter what was selected. Here’s a few of the things I did trying to figure out what was going on. It’s just a matter of isolating variables but occasionally it’s helpful to see how people work through this sort of thing. First, I googled it but that well was dry.1 I made sure the Gravity Forms category selection worked on other sites on the same installation. It did. That let me know it was at least blog dependent. There were only two other plugins active. They were both turned on and off with no change. That meant no plugin conflicts. On the input side, I tried selecting multiple categories. No dice. I tried changing the default category. It change the default category but didn’t fix the issue. I couldn’t think of any more input based variables to mess with so I moved a bit deeper into things. On the form side, I tried changing the category selection options. I tried using checkboxes, multiple select, all categories, select categories etc. None of that made any difference. I copied the form to see […]

Power to the People

This makes a better story if you know a few things about me. I hate to be late. I am extremely uncomfortable with strangers and I know very little about cars. I despise feeling helpless. The Start1 Scene: Flowery Branch GA– a town that feels recently birthed from farmland an hour or so outside the sprawling mass that is Atlanta I need to be at the school roughly three miles away by 8:30AM. I am at a hotel. It’s is 7:30AM. I figure I might as well leave early. I turn the key in my car. Nothing. Not a click. Not a twitch. I open the hood and see the scene below. Blue powdery stuff2 and the metal thing that attaches the wires to the batteryx3 had been completely eaten in half. I tried a few things. I tried to wedge the terminal against the battery post with a box . I tried using the jumper cables like a giant clothes pin to hold the terminal in place.4 Time was passing and I was displeased. Very displeased. Hitchhiking I opted to return to the hotel and see about getting a cab. The response was not comforting. Something was said about another county and a wait of an hour or so. I canceled the cab call. The helpful lady at the […]

Hollywood Cemetery – Preliminary Thoughts

I’m pretty excited about a new project we’ll be working on this year. We’re going to look at a local historically significant, but still active, cemetery through a variety of disciplinary lenses. Hollywood Cemetery is the permanent home of two presidents of the USA (James Monroe and John Tyler) and one president of the CSA as well as a variety of other interesting local people. Dr. Ryan Smith from VCU’s history department has already had students doing quite a bit of work with local cemeteries. Back Story also recently republished a podcast (Grave Matters) which mentions Hollywood cemetery quite a bit and is all kinds of good. Even the Girl Scouts have some great information on Hollywood Cemetery1. So that brings up the question- What can we do that hasn’t been done and how can we make this something really valuable to the community- both locally and at large? The Players and Their Lenses Looking through the lens of sociology, Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren will be helping us think through work around mortality, social status etc. by analyzing the data from gravestones.2 Dr. Bernard Means will be bringing an archaeological3 and 3D imaging background4 that he has honed in VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab. Dr. Ryan Smith will round out our professorial group with his focus on history. I will be playing […]

Catching Baby Turtles

When I was in 4th or 5th grade we lived in Columbia, South Carolina not too far from one of those man-made subdivision lakes.1 Despite that, it had enough fish and reptiles to keep me very entertained. One of the memories that stuck in my mind from the couple of years we lived there was seeing, and eventually catching, baby turtles. I spent several hours lying on my stomach watching the turtles, inching forward, scaring them away, and then waiting again hoping they’d bob up somewhere within arms reach. If you’ve ever tried to spot a tiny turtle’s head in the midst of duckweed, green algae, and assorted pond flotsam (no jetsam)2 I felt pretty proud when I finally caught a few. I let them go and I washed my hands thoroughly when I got home. This was the second year (non-consecutive) I remembered to do this with my kids. It’s one of those things that’s easy to forget but I love seeing my kids enjoying what I once did. Plus, it’s still fun for me as well. We end up looking a bit odd I’m sure as, once again, we’re using a subdivision pond not far from our house and we tend to go barefoot. This year we caught two older and larger turtles. Both seemed to have heavy […]

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What Teachers Make?

I know I head further out on the fringe each hour of each day but I’ve always had a problem with the Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make“. I’m sure you’ve seen it on facebook or on some email forward. Essentially, he’s responding to a jackass at a dinner party who’s criticizing teachers and I’m ok with that but the details of the response anger me. It is most of what I dislike about teaching. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A-­? feel like a slap in the face. Grades. I hate grades. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups. No, you may not ask a question. Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom? Because you’re bored. And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you? I make parents tremble in fear when I call home: Such command, such control, such an amazing ability to see another human’s bladder level, all that and instilling fear in parents- how proud we must be of our mastery. I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be. Perhaps the saddest line for parents. You want to know what I make? I make […]