Archive for September, 2009

Snow Leopard Tops

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Apparently in the new version of Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, there is an update to the command line tool ‘top’. Now it not only displays CPU, memory and disk I/O information it also has network I/O. There might be hundreds of new features! My count so far 1 * 3 (exchange support) and this….

New Top

British Government Issues Apology to Alan Turing

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I feel badly that I missed this, but I was so busy at the time.

John Graham-Cumming’s petition to have the British Government apologies for the homophobia that lead to the conviction of Alan Turing for the “Mental Illness” of homosexuality was successful!

Alan Touring worked during the Second World War for the British Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. His work helped crack the German Enigma code, an advantage that made a huge impact on allied strategy and ultimate success.

As a professor at the University of Manchester and Cambridge he was influential in the development of computer science and developing the concept of the algorithm and computation with the Turing machine. His Turing test was the original benchmark for determining artificial intelligence.

The Turing test is basically a test where a human judge engages in a natural language conversation with one human and one machine, each of which tries to appear human. If the judge can’t tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. The T in CAPTCHA (those squiggles on websites to confirm if you are human or not) stands for the Turing test: Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

Lastly the Turing programming language, developed in 1982 at the U of T, was the first programming language I was taught…… well it was only named after Turing, so we can’t hold that against him.

In 1952 Turing was convicted of the crime of homosexuality. Instead of two years of prison or hard labour he accepted the alternative punishment of being injected with female hormones. The percussion and mental and physical effects of the female hormones (and I’m sure much more) drove him to commit suicide in 1954 by eating cyanide poisoned apple.

Instructor blogs in post-secondary

Monday, September 21st, 2009

At work a recently was E-Mail by a college at Brock University how was starting some research in to faculty blogs. She was interested in information or links I may have about faculty blogs at Brock University. I shared what I know about and but preference all that information with “I have my own feeling about faculty blogging/course blogging and learner focused teaching, but that aside.”

That lead to as to what those feelings might be. I was surprised to learn that I had a lot, and after banging out a few paragraphs in response I asked if I could share those thoughts in my own blog (it’s a busy time of year, and I want every keystroke working as hard as it can for me). So with that, here are my thoughts on faculty blogging/course blogging:

I don’t have a strong feeling, if I did it would impede my work, but that hasn’t stopped me from having a lot to say.

I do feel that something like an LMS (which I support at Brock University – so that’s my bias) which has an announcements tool for broadcasting messages to everyone, as messages tool for peer-to-peer private messages or cc’ everyone messages, and a forum/discussion board better servers the purposes of what most course blogs are used for. With the notable exception of a visually appealing appearance and having a strong public face. I also want to highlight that this is in the context of a class, which is a defined group of limited
size. When you don’t know who your audience is, or when they’ll be interested and where they’re from, a blog is great.

One reason I like having a blog is it keeps others updated on my goings on and contains a small spot for comments from readers. Anyone that wants to read it can, or choose not to.

Snow Leopard and Exchange, worth the upgrade

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Team Snow Leopard Exchange
Apple’s implementation of MS Exchange 2007 clients in their current Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is far superior to Microsoft’s own attempt in the form of MS Entourage 2008. If you are an MicroSoft Exchange user and you’ve been considering upgrading to Apple OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard I encourage you to upgrade if the Apple interface and integration of these tools out-weigh the limitations outlined below.

Apple explains MS Exchange support on their web site. What follows is my experience.

I’ve installed OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my work Mac Pro for a week now. It was the first victim as it has the ability to hold multiple drives, so I installed OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on a new RAID 0 array and left OS X 10.5 Leopard on the original drive — which only received Leopard six months ago. I’m writing this post as one my first tasks on my Snow Leopard-afied MacBook.

Exchange support is found in the Snow Leopard versions of:

  • Apple Mail (Mail.app)
  • iCal
  • Address Book

When you create an MS Exchange account in one of these applications it will offer to create an account in the other applications.

Here’s a look at each application with an eye to helping pre-Snow Leopard Entourage users gain insight into if they want to make the jump or not.

Mail.app

Mail.app Exchange account
Mail’s got the same great features, like sql-lite based search, that kept me from being able to switch to anything else for so long (until Thunderbird got the same quality of search…. but not Exchange.)

Exchange accounts are added via the same “Preferences” > “Accounts” and the + method that was previously associated with IMAP and (shudder…) POP accounts.