Archive for the ‘IRLS672’ Category


It is very UNnerving…to try to learn more, around, inside what I think I already know. I work with XML every day, not all day, but enough. Actually, not enough. I even try to explain things to other people. But now I realize how much I don’t know and how that stands in my way. Better to be brand new with it. And standards have not stood still. I struggled to get DTD vs. XML schema 3 years ago, thought it was bagged, and now find there are…complications I did not fully appreciate. It’s still raining, and I have a lot of reading to do.

But I did figure out how to get the title above to display correctly.

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colorsI became a webmistress ca. 1996 with the first website (original) of my library, Houghton (current) at Harvard. We hired a student to design it, of course, but after that it was all mine to learn on. For about 5 years it was my maintenance project, sometimes more than that when I had time to learn more HTML. Then the Hierarchy took over our individual library websites and I was retired (from that role).

Since then I have had a number of sort-of websites of my own, for unclear purposes; I have also attended a number of partial classes, including CSCIE 1 (referenced in our Unit 5 assignments), but my endurance has been lacking in learning HTML, or XHTML, thoroughly. The same goes for CSS.  Last millenium I was introduced to Dreamweaver and didn’t often look back at raw code. That said, Dreamweaver can let you gum up the works, and I do aspire to clean code. I just lack the patience. And I don’t find myself studying without a practical goal in sight. I know enough to produce some poor web pages, sadly for at least one non-profit for whom I am the current webmaster (URL withheld to protect the innocent).

Within Dreamweaver, I had access to the server for our web files and would edit, usually split code/visual mode, and upload directly. I remember at first I had trouble getting my head around the locations of these files; at the same time I was availing myself of the allowed personal Harvard web space to attempt my first website, so eventually I got it, but without the background we’re getting now.

Nontheless, I learn best with a systematic—podcast or video or guided online instruction—approach, rather than being left with the book. But my favorite book (and suite of books, for this kind of learning) has been the Head First series–as ever, big pictures and simple shapes. They offer good visuals, which is worth the extra padding they create in the books.

The W3C tutorials are my favorite online source of instruction. I have access via a Harvard account to some commercial tutorials, similar to UA’s suite. I tend to want a cheat sheet nearby and not to have to consult fullblown tutorials, however.

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wetWhat’s happened feels a little like lost-limb syndrome: though there is no face-to-face time, no synchronous class, there is a *feeling* that there are voices (not the worrying kind) and moments of synchronicity for IRLS672. I do miss the personal, especially since I think it’s part of how I learn best—being in the presence of Authority along with everyone else, maybe some vestigial oral historical desire. The closest we’ve had is the set of videos narrated by our Professor—the master’s voice at least. I’ve been listening to a few podcasts (so far just one New Zealander talking about Linux flavors); slowing down learning to the pace of the human voice…is a great help. For good or for slogging ill, when I read, I speak the text to myself (again, not in the worrying way, just as another voice in my head). I just have to go that slowly. I just have to listen that way. All the nuances gotten in person, plus the benefit of classmates who are less inhibited and get the questions rolling.

[I remember speed reading classes, the classes they threw us into at the beginning of high school, to NO effect, except to spawn intense dislike of the teacher who had speed-read his way to a sheaf of advanced degrees and yet here he was teaching high school students speed reading. I digress.]

According to the matrix of active|reflective|sensing|intuitive|visual|verbal|sequential|global…I want the big picture before the little details, I’m impatient, I want to do and have something happen, I want reassurance from trusted humans, I want to know I’m part of the pack, I want to grok it all at once in a blinding flash.

Wikipedia: sorry, I’m weary of you. Be nothing without you, but you are a little cluttered and I’m tired of the “maybe this article isn’t up to snuff” notices. Am I being misled or am I not? I *most* enjoyed reading RFC1180–very simple, redundant, RFC-speak. I guess I’d like everything modeled as large puffy shapes in primary colors, judging by how uncluttered and childlike I seem to prefer things to be. I’m less happy given eight readings to choose from than the two the instructor thinks are spot on. Quite visual, quite experiential. Plain text is hard but not if very, very well-written. I found our cartoon videos cute but not crystal clear, though as padding along the way they serve well. Get the material from different directions.

And by the way, I do enjoy the lectures themselves. To be not myself, I like that they feel like lectures; they read like lectures, they’re well-written, and I trust them. I wish we could spark more of the kind of conversation we’d have in person within the “discussions”. Wish I could have a free trip to Arizona where MAYBE IT’S NOT RAINING AND COLD.

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easy to please

Nowhere else to parade my silly pride at downloading a piece of software we use at work that I knew was available for Linux (oXygen, for EAD authoring) and also setting up Evolution, the Gnome mail client. And writing now from within Gnome. I guess all these years with the MS/Apple duality, it seems like I should be either arrested, or given a party, or sent to another planet for running another system. And it should feel COMPLETELY different, which, of course, it does not. So I’m wondering really about the fervent fanship that systems beget.

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cableBouquetThis (5, The Networked Environment)…has been a hard unit for me. Networking is a slog as I try to keep everything, anything straight. Protocols, methods, models. In this case, I’m an apprehensive learner.

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3 ways to create

As alluded to in an earlier post, I encountered some problems with running Ubuntu Desktop and Server 8.04 under VMWare on the way to my homework of trying three flavors of user creation. Recreating the sequence of events is going to be difficult since I was in the throes and did not jot it all down. I did get Desktop running once just fine, though I was perplexed that it wanted my Mac user credentials to log in.

2 days later I tried to boot Server in order to get into Webmin. Got error that I did not record carefully but know included DHCP, device sda3, and grub. I tried to rollback to a snapshot which worked, but the pinging of Webwin did not work, persistently. I learned how to delete instances of Server and did so, and reinstalled. I’m kind of getting that Linux reports errors and flies on. Which is one unsettling note.

Then I decided to reinstall Desktop (before reading professor’s comments on running simultaneous instances), this time along WITH his video. I was thinking that it must either have saved settings from first install or take some from the Server install because there were questions it never asked me (about partitioning, disk size, etc.)

Meanwhile, and next, Server is not pinging Webmin at all successfully. Somewhere along the line, miraculously, I remembered there had been talk of difficulty with wireless connectivity–and I found that I had both Airport and direct ethernet connections active. Correcting this, turning off Airport, fixed the unpingable Webmin connection, and wasn’t I relieved. Which made the “DHCP/grub (after I looked this up)/sda3” error mentions sensible. It was all about the connection.

But more problems, still no Webmin. Oh yeah! I forgot to install the perl components again. Did so, as well as getting Webmin again.

I have to say that going through the installation process, as well as the homework, at least twice was VERY useful. There were things I got second time around, simple things. Like setting user’s shell to /bin/bash, after I read more about bash. And “grep buster /var/log/auth.log” made sense, that is, look for buster in any logs of actions requiring authorization.

I thought it was great that my first created user was named Buster. And what happened when Buster tried to create a file as a superuser? He was busted.

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” When editing a user, you can view mail in the user’s mailbox by clicking on the Read Email button at the bottom of the page. ”

Good thing it’s all Windows at work!

I am, finally, really curious about the similar management tools available in Mac OS and Windows. It would be jejune of me to think They aren’t Watching Us. But I could watch back. I could watch my home machine. I know full well the cats have set up their own server (well, Sophie and Rosie probably go through an endless cycle of deleting each other and recreating themselves whenever they get to a keyboard).

I expect there are gajillions of ways to interact with Windows servers; maybe there aren’t any for the Mac OS? or just one, and to access it you must register with your MobileMe account.

O.k., that is the FIRST. TIME. EVER. I have been sarcastic about Apple.

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O.k. I went through a retrograde moment with Ubuntu Server and Desktop, had to reinstall everything, and I’m glad.

We should be REQUIRED to do everything at least twice.

I’ve had several AHA moments, well, “several” usually means 3 and I mean more than that, in the course of retracing steps, retracing Youtube, retracing VMWare.

I even figured out how to fix, not why it broke, but how to fix the audio that goes wonky after a Server/Desktop instance has been open. I caught it in the act, so to speak, in my audio settings–which required reiterating the setting that seemed already to be set.

Got hurt and came out way better in the end…kind of like (some kinds of) hardship.

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macbook2Bad person tries to tell me that Apple is Disneyland. If you have not ever purchased an Apple product, you do not know. You do not know the beauty of the plastic wrapper around the USB cable that folds and unfolds like origami and you keep it just because truly it is beautiful. You do not know the satisfying docking of the MagSafe power adapter. You do not know.

I enjoy Mr. Stephenson’s book. Enlightenment lives in a different brain sector than brand loyalty, fortunately.

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I’ve realized that something happens when I’m taking a course off which I might veer in flames over the cliff if I get lost: I get very controlled and don’t play. It seems to me that what I really want to do is PLAY with my Ubuntu desktop, PLAY with my Ubuntu server command line, do things no one told me to do but I could do. I’m a grownup with my own agenda about this material; why not? Because I’m afraid I’ll screw something up.

Lesson to be taught and learned by self.

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