Monthly Archives: January 2008

Breaking News: Open Education Good For You

No, its not surprising or new, but until the conventions of education begin to respond to the global digital environment change that’s rapidly overtaking them, posts such as Brian Lamb’s reflections on a talk by Richard Baraniuk merit links, applause, showers of flower petals, and sundry other modes of encouragement.
 
My best wishes to Lamb and his efforts to “scrape ten decent open online courses together” in the near term. And more power to anyone who brings that kind of commitment to theological education.

Head, Board, Whack

In my ongoing quest to resolve the problem of my runaway osascript, I thought I’d look into Apple’s support site — maybe someone else has run into the same problem. This morning, after all, I came to the computer I had put to sleep last night, and found it awake, warm, and running at 50% processor load. Something, presumably, had triggered the script during the night (glad it was sitting open rather than closed).
 
So at the Apple Support site, I entered “osascript” in the search window, and the search returned results for the word “osa.” Tried it again — maybe some helpful widget was jumping in and searching for “osa” as a shortcut — same result. Apple Supprt evidently won’t search for the string “script.” Tried “Applescript,” to check — same result. I infer that this is a sort of defense against malicious searches that might try to execute scripts that would hack into their server system. [OK, solved that: I was typing into the main search window, not a “Support”-specific search window. My bad. Still, the Support search yields very few results, most oriented toward working with Apple Remote Desktop.]
 
At last! I found my way to the support forum that deals with AppleScript, posted my query, and an hour or so later was rewarded with a response that suggested a Terminal command [ps -axwj] that would identify the source of the script that was plaguing me. I tried it, and sure enough, it gave a much fuler account of the parent processes and the source of the offending script. In my case, JunkMatcher had developed a hyperbolic interest in combing my mail for possible junk, and I quickly disabled the script in the “Rules” portion of Mail.app, and threw out the scripts from my user library. EVerything has been calm since then; I think we have a winner.

Amateur Stockpicking

Looks as though Apple’s stock has been wandering downward for the first several days after MacWorld. We have no money to invest — you know, having hardly any at all — but if I were an invester I’d start gobbling up Apple stock right about now. The MacBook Air looks like a winner to me, once the quibblers get over the trade-offs. Even if it doesn’t make an instant tidal wave, it will change the category of ultra-portable notebooks. The upgrade to the iPhone and iPod Touch will strengthen those lines. Leopard is mature and Apple is building on its capacities (with Time Capsule, for instance). AppleTV looks like a real product now.
 
I have to think that between now and mid-2008, Apple will reward investors. Of course, if you invest on the advice of a theologian who stepped out of computer graphics in 1983 because he doubted there was a future in it, that’s your own bad judgment.

How We Roll

So, this morning I opened the file of my St. Hilary’s Day sermon, and discovered that the “sermon” portion of the text that had been between the heading and the leftover idea-scraps after the ending — all the stuff I’d been planning actually to say, was gone.
 
Luckily for me, and uncharacteristically for me, I had printed a near-complete draft of the sermon toward the end of the afternoon yesterday. So this morning begins with me rolling in to the Center, scooping up my printed notes, and retyping them. Since I was going to give the text a once-over for polishing and refining anyway, the effect is the same. It began, however, with a most jarring turn.
 
Update: I printed rather earlier in the afternoon than I had imagined when I typed the words above. The preserved fragment amounts to about half of the sermon text I had prepared. We’ll see how this all plays out.

More Polite, Plenty Secure

I password-protected the wifi access point I’m using now back when it was in my office, and I wanted to be able to say something reassuring in case IT enforcers came around to give me grief — but when I get home tonight, I’ll track down the procedure for opening it up. Bruce Schneier knows, and that’s good enough for me.

I saw the link to Schneier’s post on BoingBoing, where I also heard word of the development process for Chandler. I’ve been wondering what Mitch Kapor was up to for years; it seemed as though Chandler was supposed to be ready about four years ago, and I hadn’t heard anyone mention it till now. I hope they whip it into shape; a free cross-platform calendaring/productivity app stands to make a big difference to many users.

Rogue Osascript

In order to avoid working on my St Hilary’s Day sermon, I’ve been poking at my osascript problem again. I don’t feel like learning vi in order to edit crontab, so David’s very helpful comment doesn’t advance my cause. In case it’s a helpful clue to anyone, the series of parent processes runs from osascript > sh > python > launchd > kernel task. I don’t run Dashboard or the Automator. For now, I just kill the process, and all is dandy; but it would be more elegant to remove the problem and to continue treating the symptoms.

InBiStWriMo Update

I’m not sure how to count this, but although I sat down to further my standing in the International Biblical Studies Writing Month project, I ended up producing negative results. Shortly after I opened the file I was working on, I got an email message from Chuck Campbell about the lectionary essays I submitted last fall; they needed a final going-over, and would I please trim them by several words each? Since I ordinarily write in a very compact style (the outcome of a writing process that constantly poses the question, “What work is this phrase doing for you?”), there’s rarely any fluff that would make an obvious candidate for omission. Taking out twenty words here, forty words there, fifty words in another essay, requires some reweaving of the fabric of the piece.
 
So I spent my day raveling and reweaving, raveling and reweaving, and ended up a hundred words in the hole. Now, I also put about two hundred words into the sermon file I was working on, but I had written those on scrap paper over the weekend (along with my thank-you notes, which are in the mail now) (the thank-yous aren’t on scrap paper, they’re o nicely printed cards featuring a tinted woodcut of Matthew the Evangelist; making the cards was part of the delay). So I don’t think the sermon-words count for yesterday’s accomplishment total.
 
Today I have to pick up Margaret at the Philadelphia airport after her triumphant appearance at the Society of Christian Ethics meeting and her visit chez Sessum, drop off some clothes to be dry cleaned, push laundry through the washing/drying process, and write and read some (I’ve realized that part of my writing block comes from not reading enough). If I don’t hit max wordcount today, I hope I can at least hit min word-reading.
 
(Judy is having trouble leaving comments; I don’t quite know what’s up with that, as Derek seems to have been able to comment successfully. I’m getting the same security message as Judy this morning. I hope this condition doesn’t persist, since I adopted WordPress largely for the commenting feature. If you have a comment to make, persevere!)
 
Alert! Cool Googlosity Feature! On a hunch, I just typed the carrier name and number of Margaret’s plane flight into the Google search box, and Google correctly parsed that data and offered as the first search result a link to the actual status page for that flight — but on the search results page, it also listed the flight’s origin, destination, scheduled departure and arrival times, and its present status — right there atop Google results page one, no messing with airlines’ arcane “enter this data into that box and click the following agreements, and by the way what’s your credit card number, your flight club number, and an email address at which we can harass you for the rest of the internet’s lifetime.”