Rally of the Tall Pines 2013

Sun Dec 1 23:00:21 2013 EST (-0500 GMT)

Rally of the Tall Pines 2013, a set on Flickr.

Some great weather at a great location.

Chair of Sakai Accessibility Working Group

Mon Jul 29 0:12:34 2013 EDT (-0400 GMT)

Sakai Accessibility Working Group

I recently accepted the lead of the Sakai Accessibility Working Group.  It’s an honour and a challenge and I’m going to make the most of it.

At Brock University we use Isaak as our learning management system, which is based on the Sakai CLE.  In Ontario Canada we’re operating under the increasingly more stringent Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) which wisely cites the various levels of the WCAG 2 as its own standards.  Because of this and because its the responsible and technologically ideal way to proceed: web accessibility is important to me.

I’m a big believer that there’s a lot that can be done to improve web accessibility if more people just had a little more knowledge about the issue and the solutions and were able to apply that knowledge at the correct time.

To that end I’m coordinating conference calls about Sakai accessibility every other Thursday at 2:00 eastern (all are welcome – Add the next meeting directly to your calendar.).  What we do as an accessibility working group is review general issues and trends in the Sakai CLE (sometimes there’s an OAS), set goals, offer advice, and slog through the JIRA tickets (bugs in the bug tracker) and offer to add a solution, advice or other wisdom as needed.  We’re also trying to spread critical web accessibility information in the Sakai community and beyond.

Projects in the Sakai community include ongoing information sharing and canvasing (even, blogging) about the need to get more people involved, and reaching out to other upstream projects, like CKEditor and JQuery UI to both pass feedback to them and to apply their latest and greatest solutions to Sakai.

I don’t claim to be an accessibility expert, but I do understand the standards and I’ve been writing HTML so long I the two platforms I originally had to test on were a 486 Compaq and an Amiga A2000HD. More importantly, I care.

So if you’re at all interested, even if you’re a novice, join the mailing list maybe attend a conference call.  If you have an interest and a little time, we can transfer you some skill – the working group needs people’s time, skill and a whole lot more, but time more than anything else.

If you’re someone who’s noticed an accessibility issue in Sakai – I want to know.  This information is valuable to us and we need your help to understand it.  Comment below or contact me through work or home.

Toronto Indy 2013

Wed Jul 17 8:49:49 2013 EDT (-0400 GMT)

Firestone TireAmerica, F@#% Yeah!
Saturday Paul Tracy negotiates for a Stadium Super Truck ride on SundayPaul TracyTrapped ducks trying to get back across lakeshoreTrapped ducks!
Setting up the Super Stadium Trucks jumps!Reading the Super Stadium Trucks jumps!Video 2013-07-13 14 18 42Video 2013-07-13 14 30 20Video 2013-07-14 14 12 49Shea meets Shea

Toronto Indy 2013, a set on Flickr.

Posted on flickr, my photos from the Toronto Indy 2013. The highlight for me was the Stadium Super Trucks taking on the Indy tracks with the addition of jumps!

Half a year goes by, and I don’t make a blog post

Fri Jul 5 12:02:53 2013 EDT (-0400 GMT)

…sorry about that.  I used to be so good at making one post a month.

A lot of work has been going into things other than my blog.  Raising two kids takes a lot of work, and so far my wife hasn’t gone for the division of labour of one child each and Dad takes whichever is less work at the time.  The Brock University’s eLearning Initiative continues to be a lot of work.

But mostly, there are so many more [micro] ways to communicate these days.

More to come soon — this is my transition.

My Productive Practices

Sun Jan 6 21:36:12 2013 EST (-0500 GMT)

productive matrix

At this time of year the interwebs get very productive creating blog postings about productivity, and this blog is all about me adding  information to an existing saturation, so here goes:

These two recent articles have some good ideas for a more productive 2013:

Geeks are always keen to approach organizing their lives as an engineering problem.  Hence the obsession with David Allen’s Getting Things Done is a time-management methodology  and the steady flow of ideas that come out of lifehacker.com

Here’s what I consider my top five most productive practices:

  1. The OHIO principle for E-Mail: Only Handle It Once.  
    Don’t keep re-reading waiting until you’re ready for a response, choose to handle then or not respond at all (with an exception for the “can’t read this here” problem with mobile devices – but mark it as unread).  I’m not a dogmatic process-to-zero inbox person, but I do work sequentially. I’ll only mark as read when the messages is “no longer my responsibility” and some times that means responding asking for clarity to buy a little time and share the responsibility of transmitting a clear message.
  2. Tasks are important and ubiquitous.
    I think I’m one of the few people who values Microsoft Outlook’s Tasks feature, and there’s all kinds of other task Apps.  The trick for me is having those task synced across all my devices, so that when I have the moment of inspiration or recollection I record it easily.  Tasks (or your calendar) is often an important next step after E-Mail comes in that allows you to “deal” with it at an initial level and mark the message as read.  It’s also worth noting that a project is not a task.
  3. Unsubscribe!
    Take a second or two to unsubscribe from those mailing lists that you’re just deleting.  One of my practices has been if the mailings are something that I’m a little interested in, unsubscribe, but try to follow on Twitter.  Switch from the sender-controlled medium or E-Mail to the reviver-controlled medium of Twitter (and better yet, Flipboard cover stories).
  4. E-Mail filters.
    Your mobile phone is not the end of them!  If your E-Mail accounts are attached to Gmail, Hotmail etc. or your corporate Exchange account if you use your webmail interface to craft your mail rules they’ll be processed before they hit your desktop AND your mobile phone.  The key with Exchange is that you can easily overwrite your server-based rules with your desktop.  I have rules that automatically mark out of office messages are read, strip priorities (sorry) and a few that forward on to my Evernote E-Mail address.  Speaking of E-Mail filters and rules…
  5. Automation is your friend: We all should learn a good scripting language.
    From IFTTT to Python & Perl to PowerShell & Automator everything a computer can do for you, it should be.

Also, never forget anything!  For that trick, please see my blog posting on Evernote.