Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving to Posterous

I've had a long love affair with Blogger, but (at least for now) it's over. I'm moving my main blog over to Posterous (http://danielcraig.posterous.com).  I've been blogging there for a while and thought it would be a good idea just to move all of the contents of the old blog over where I'm actually updating. 

Blogger has been suitable for years, but when they shut off ftp for blogs hosted externally, that was it for me.  Posterous just works easier and better for the way that I interact online now.

By, for now, Blogger.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blogger is cutting me off

I all (as if I'm talking to a large readership ;-)

Blogger is turning off FTP support, so this is the end of this blog as it current stands.  That doesn't mean that the blog is dead, it just means that I'm going to move to a WordPress blog as I should have long ago (pure laziness).  However, until I get around to that there won't be much posted here (really not much of a change, is it?).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Professor records made public on Sangmyung site - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

Professor records made public on Sangmyung site - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

Well, I guess my record is going to be there, but I have no clue how to find it yet. Not sure what they are going to rank me on during my first semester. I'm going to guess I won't make an appearance there until next year.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. As I still don't completely understand how these rankings are made, it's tough to comment. However, I can say that I'm not too enthusiastic about the idea of a university ranking its professors. Actually, I'm not really into rankings in general. I don't see them as useful.

The stated purpose of this policy is to provide prospective students with information on the quality of professors at the university, which currently seems to only be available with student/staff ID and login, so I'm not sure how prospective students will access it. I can see how one would be tempted to rank faculty for this purpose, but what does ranking really tell us? It tells us only how these professors ranked (on yet unknown criteria) against other professors at the school. The only reason I can see to do this is to increase competition and to shame non-performers into action. And this, in the end, is not going to increase overall quality.

What this type of ranking system will do is encourage professors to play to the numbers. Student evaluations low? Give less homework. Need more publications? Push out low-quality research to boost your numbers? This reminds me of the overall education system, geared towards ever-better test scores. Quality be damned, just get a good score. When the tail wags the dog, we should all be scared.

What I would like to see is not a ranking system, but simply a public reporting on professor performance in the same areas that they measure for the rankings. In my opinion, that would be much better. Let people determine for themselves the overall quality of the faculty. This method would also allow people to better compare faculties between schools. A ranking within a school, does allow for this.

In the end, this post may be all wrong. Like I said, I haven't seen the rankings and I don't know for sure how they are calculated and presented. However, any use of rankings is not only an affront to academic professionals, it is a cold, meaningless measure of a professors worth.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Locking down your Facebook account

Online social networks were not really created to protect information.  They were built to share as much as possible.  This has become problematic for many people who find their information oozing out of their accounts in ways that they didn't anticipate.  Most often this is a human to human problem, in other words, gossip.  This is never going to be solved by technological means.  However, the inadvertent loss of control of ones data can be managed to an extent with privacy tools provided.

First, I'll give you advice that my father gave me long ago..."Never put it in writing" :-)  Maybe a strange thing to say to your young son, but it's served me well over the years.  Never record, in any way, things that you wouldn't be ok with the world seeing.  However, I do understand that there are things that you would rather not broadcast to the world if you can help it, so modifying privacy settings in your online social network is a good way to address that.

Below is a quick and dirty text tutorial on locking down your Facebook account. If you do all of the following, your account and information will be as private as possible.....however, your Facebook experience will be quite limited too.  That's your choice.

Regardless, good to see you're here.

If it's a problem of too much information available to the world, you can set your settings to essentially share nothing.  However, you would still be able to send/receive messages (internal email) and comment.  Of course, there is nothing stopping your "friends" from tagging you in pictures, notes, and such, but if that's the problem, unfriend them (which, it seems, is what you did before).

Here's how to go about locking down your account.

  1. Click on "Settings" in the upper, right of the page.
  2. Find "Privacy" and click on the "manage" link to the right of it.
  3. First, you can block someone from even being able to see you in searches. You can do this by Facebook account or by email.  If you're having problems with particular people, use this.
  4. Click on the "Profile" link on the privacy page (the blue link, not the white one across the top). Next to each of the categories, there is a drop-down list. From this list, select "Custom".  Each of the categories will give you slightly different options here.  Select the most restrictive ones.  "Only Friends" is an obvious choice, but some allow you to specify "Only Select Friends" or even "Only me".  Additionally, you will have to select which Networks have access, choose "None of my Networks". The networks setting is the biggest privacy hole in Facebook.  People often don't realize that their entire network (say, Joliet) has access to their info.  Lastly, you can set exceptions for some categories.  So, you can specifically add peope who you want to, for example, see photos that are tagged with your name.  This is good for specific family and friends who you want to see these things.  When you are finished, click "Save Changes"
  5. Click on the "Contact Information" tab and make the same choices as in #4.  I'd suggest being a little freer with your email address and a little more restrictive with phone, address, and so forth.  When you're done, click "Save Changes"
  6. Click on "Privacy" again to get back to the main privacy settings page.  Then click on "Search".  you can restrict who can see you in a search.  In most cases, you probably want to keep this as open as possible, but you may have reasons to restrict it.  Below that, however, is a section that describes what people can see when they search for you.  I usually suggest leaving these checked: picture and a link to add me as a friend, at a minimum (otherwise people won't be able to find you.  Lastly, there is an option to have public search.  This means that your Facebook account will show up in a search like Google.  Good if you want people to find you, bad if you don't :)  When you are finished, click "Save Changes".
  7. Click on the "Privacy" link again to get back to the privacy setting page.  Click on the "News Feed and Wall" link.  Uncheck all of these for maximum privacy.  This stops, to an extent, your activities from being posting on yours or your friends' news feeds.  When you are finished, click "Save Changes"
  8. Click on the "Privacy" link to get back to the main privacy settings page.  Click on the "Applications" link. You can read the info on this page to get a better idea of what this is for, but to change settings, click on the "Settings" tab.  The first set of settings essentially tells you that you are sharing your name, networks, and list of friends with applications that you are using in Facebook.  The only way to turn this off is to delete those applications (I'll tell you about this later).  Do make sure that you aren't sharing anything extra.  Uncheck any checkbox that is checked.

    The next setting that you can change is Facebook Connect.  This is the program that lets you log into other websites with your Facebook login.  It also tracks you to a great degree.  Make sure to uncheck that box.  It doesn't turn this off, but it does make sure that "friends" don't know what sites you use it on.

    Finally, the next setting is about Beacon.  This is Facebook's social advertising platform.  Definately check this box.  You do not want your network notified when you buy your wife's Christmas present or other, more sensitive things :)

    When you are done, click "Save Changes"
  9. We're done with the privacy settings, but there's one more place to go to really lock down your account.  We need to manage applications.  Go to the settings link on the upper, right of the page.  You will see a drop-down list of options, click on "Application Settings".  On this page, you will see another drop-down list of items that dictate what "Show" in this list.  Choose "Authorized" to see the best list of applications.  The easiest way to control these is to delete all applications that can be deleted.  These have X's on the right side of the listed application.  By deleting the applications, then can do nothing on your behalf in Facebook.  Of course, you can no longer use them either.

    With the remaining applications, you can adjust some (not many) options by clicking on "Edit Settings".  I'd suggest limiting who can see it as much as you see fit.  At least, "Only Friends" but even "Only Me" might be a good idea. 

That's all.  Your account is locked down as much as possible now.  You can always go back and open settings up a little as you become more comfortable or see more of a need to do so.

Please, add your advice below.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Google Wave - Easy List of Bots and Gadgets

The real power of Google Wave is not in the basic collaboration that it provides, but rather the bots and gadgets that live on the platform.  I don't know why, but I couldn't find a nice, easy list that would enable to to quickly add these to my Waves.  So, I went through all that I could find and listed them here.

Please feel free to add more to the comments and I'll add them to the list.
  1. The list of Bots are ones that you have to add to the Wave in order to work.

  2. The list of Gadgets are two forms. Most are ones that have to be installed. They end in manifest.xml. These have to be installed through the down arrow next to the "New Wave" button. The others (gadget URL) can be added using the green puzzle piece that appears in the toolbar when editing a blip.

  • The Wikify bot (wikifier@appspot.com) adds links to and definitions from Wikipedia to your waves for a given topic. When you add Wikify to a wave, it provides instructions on how to add a link to Wikipedia for a topic, or a definition of that topic.

  • The CleanTXT bot (cleantxt@appspot.com) is an automated janitor for a wave, especially helpful on active waves with lots of participants, like public waves. When CleanTXT is participating in a Wave, it automatically deletes empty blips, reduces repetitive blank lines in a blip, automatically corrects common typos (such as a mistyped "teh" for "the"), and inserts missing spaces after commas and semi-colons.

  • Polly the Pollster (polly-wave@appspot.com) lets you create multiple choice polls with custom questions and answers

  • The TwitUsernames bot (twitusernames@appspot.com) inspects the content of any wave it's participating in, and converts any word that starts with an @ sign to a user link to Twitter.

  • The XMPP Lite bot (wave-xmpp@appspot.com) sends you notifications of a wave's changes via XMPP (an instant messenger protocol).

  • Madoqua Wave Bot (blog-bot@appspot.com). When added to a wave, this bot provides customizable JavaScript code you can copy and paste into any web page to embed a wave.

  • The Emoticony bot (emoticonbot@appspot.com) converts textual smiley faces into smiley face images.

  • To embed an image that's already online, add the Inbeddable bot (inbeddable@appspot.com) to your wave, and simply add the URL of the image to it. When you click Done (or press Shift+Enter), Inbeddable will turn the link image into the image itself

  • The Easy Public bot makes waves public without public@a.gwave.com's disappearing act. Add it to any wave to give everyone on the Wave server access to your wave. What Easy Public does is add the public@a.gwave.com contact to your wave for you.

  • Eliza the Robot Shrink (elizarobot@appspot.com) is a programmed therapist who chats with you in Wave.

  • The Swedish Chef bot (borkforceone@appspot.com) inserts "Bork bork bork!" into your waves.

  • Flippy (flippy-wave@appspot.com) flips the text of your waves upside down—great for some April Fool's Day fun.

  • Grauniady (grauniady@appspot.com) searches the latest items from The Guardian for a given phrase.

  • Cartoony (cartoonybot@appspot.com, Java source code) - Should replace the text of every submitted blip with a cartoon balloon that contains the text instead.

  • Yasr (wave-api-dmo@appspot.com, Python source code) - It replaces emoticons in the wave with smiley images.

  • Complety (wave-complete@appspot.com, Python source code) - Replaces “???” in a blip with a suggested word.

  • Bloggy (blog-wave@appspot.com ) adds wave to blog.

  • Stocky (stocky-wave@appspot.com) automatically detects stock symbols from a wave and updates it with the live stock price.

  • mywaveid (mywaveid@appspot.com ) adds wave id to the wave. not sure what a wave id is.

  • Craig's List Search (craigslist-searchy@appspot.com ). Search Craig's list.

  • Messy the Wave Robot (messy-robot@appspot.com ) integrates with the Ericsson Labs API "SMS Send & Receive" and makes it possible to have a 2-way communication via SMS in a Wave. After entering a special syntax in a Wave, a participant can trigger an SMS delivery to another user, e.g. to someone not currently online. The user that receives the SMS can reply to it and the reply gets posted to the conversation in the Wave.

  • Norton SafeWave (nortonwave@appspot.com) This robot will validate any links typed into a wave conversation. The links are validated against the Norton SafeWeb API (http://safeweb.norton.com). This will keep waves safe from phishing links, malware sites and infected sites.

  • Translabot (translabot@appspot.com ) Translation bot.

  • Dr. Musical Wave (dr-music@appspot.com) Dr. Music will tell you: 1. What a last.fm user is listening to you (includes you) 2. Music compatibility between people 3. Similar artists to an artist you like All of this with pictures to make it colorful. Once you add Dr. Music he'll tell you how you can get him to do things for you.

  • Ego Robot (kimalvetti@appspot.com) A simple, but entertaining robot designed to stroke your ego. It will reply to all your blips with 'praise phrases' like "You're Very Talented".

  • Row of Four (rowoffour@appspot.com) Connect Four bot

  • Drubot (ethos-drubot@appspot.com) Post Wave to Drupal.

  • Notify (wave-email-notifications@appspot.com) Google Wave Email Notifications it's a wave robot that sends an email to the participants of a wave whenever the wave is updated.

  • Tagdef (tagdef@appspot.com) This wave looks for #hashtags in your wave/blips, and uses the API at http://tagdef.com to look up definitions for these tags. It then adds a reply to the wave with the definitions.

  • Tuxaios (tuxaios@appspot.com) is a dice rolling robot for Google Wave written in Python.

  • Skimmy (wave-skimmy@appspot.com) change text to emoticon.

  • WordPress Bot (wp-bot@appspot.com) add wave to WordPress.

  • Starify (starifybot@appspot.com) allows you to star waves and load the list of starred waves later. Visit http://wave.to/robots/starifybot/ for more information.

  • Rssybot (rssybot@appspot.com) lets your watch RSS feeds from Google Wave. Just add it to a wave, enter the link to the RSS feed you want to subscribe to and wait for new posts to appear in your inbox as unread blips. For more information, visit: http://www.wave.to/robots/rssybot/

  • Treeify (treeify@appspot.com) Multi-wave robots are agents that in some way operate on more than one wave. Treeify is a multi-wave robot which lets you connect waves into tree structures. With it you can build and navigate trees of waves.

  • Wave Live Messenger (wavelivemessenger@appspot.com) allows you to log in to your Windows Live Messenger account from within Google Wave and have conversations with your messenger contacts right from within a wave. Even if you leave the wave and start reading a different wave, Wave Live Messenger will keep your conversation up to date so you can return to it at any time and continue chatting. For more details, visit: http://www.wave.to/robots/wavelivemessenger

  • Google Calendar Robot (calendar-robot@appspot.com) Robot recognizes date pattern in form YYYY-MM-DD ('.' or '/' can be used for separator also) and updates it to link to add an event to user's Google Calendar.

  • Wave Alpha (py-robot@appspot.com) Wolfram-Alpha query.

  • Buddy as Service (buddyasaservice@appspot.com) Buddy as a Service is a wave robot, using Yahoo YQL API, Google API and other services to do searches and some other stuff (translations, weather forecast, etc) for you.

  • Regexey (regexey@appspot.com) This is a simple find-and-replace robot. After you add it, it will display an introduction message. Then any blip you create should be of the format: seach string replace string text to process It will search for the "search string" in the "text to process" and replace it with the "replace string." Then it will append the results in a reply blip.

  • Graphy (graph-wave@appspot.com) extends Google Wave with the ability to collaborate on flow charts and graphs. Graphy searches for a marker (#!dot) at the top of a blip, and when found, adds a gadget to the bottom of the blip which presents an image of the graph. Graph edges are expressed with simple statements like a -> b

  • Reddit (wave-reddit@appspot.com) This robot is able to post the top articles from Reddit.com and any sub-reddits. Simply reply to a wave for which it has been invited with the word "reddit" followed by a colon ":" and then the name of the subreddit (or "homepage"). You can specify the number of articles to return by appending an additional colon ":" followed by the number of articles. Examples: reddit:wave, reddit:pics:15, reddit:technology

  • Posterous (posterous@appspot.com) Post wave to Posterous.

  • Blogbot (blogbot-wave@appspot.com) Organizes related waves (blog posts, FAQ, etc) in a central Table of Contents wave.

  • Magic 8 Ball (magic-8ball@appspot.com) Sees and Knows All. Just add this Robot to your wave and ask the magic 8-ball any question and receive your answer.

  • Piratify Robot (piratify@appspot.com) Turns whatever you type into "Pirate Speak" .. Arrrr.

  • Google Wave Drupal Integration (drupalembedbot@appspot.com) A Drupal module and corresponding robot that enabled the embedding of Google Waves embedding, robot.

  • BotURL (boturl@appspot.com) Replaces FULL URLs with hyperlinks whose title are the domain names. Replaces TinyURLs/ bit.ly URLs with original URL domain names and links them to the original URLs.

  • Censorship Robot (censorshiprobot@appspot.com) Google wave robot, that filters specific words from dictionary and then replaces with random chars. The dictionary can be updated from any blip with two commands: censor:someword - add someword to dictionary uncensor:someword - remove someword from dictionary

  • Converts-y (convertsy@appspot.com) Convert units from one type to another. 1.23km (?miles) -> 1.23km (0.76 miles).

  • Embeddy (embeddy@appspot.com) Embeds Wave into Web.

  • Embedded Search Results (wave-sandbox@appspot.com) This simple robot allows you to quickly and easily perform a search and have the results embedded in your Wave. Currently supports Google & Flickr Searches. Support for more search providers will be coming soon. For full information visit http://wave-sandbox.appspot.com.

  • Anti-swear Bot (invectivedeleted@appspot.com) A simple bot in Python that stops people being rude on a wave it is added to. Note: The rude words have been blocked out in the screenshot to avoid offending anyone.

  • Complety (wave-complete@appspot.com) Uses the Google Search API to replace "???" in a blip (after it's submitted) with a suggested word. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School | Copyblogger

7 Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School | Copyblogger

Some good suggestions for writing instruction/learning.

As teachers of the written form, we have to make a decision. The decision is on the level of structure our class takes as well as the level of structure we teach. Do you have a class that has very precise, explicit grammar instruction, prompts, rubrics, and so forth? Or do you have a class that is more fluid, creative, and subjective?

I'm not saying that we have to choose one, the art is really in the mix.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Google Books - Exporting Citations

Google Books is becoming one of the most useful tools for researchers out there. Pair this with Google Scholar and, if you are lucky, network authentication from a university that has deals with the publishing companies and article databases and many of us can avoid the physical library entirely (especially if you include document delivery service and interlibrary loan). This is fantastic news for scholars living away from their university, namely distance education students and master's/doctoral students finishing up their theses/dissertations (me, for instance).

Anyway, with more and more searches leading to Google Books I was going nuts trying to figure out how to export citations. I knew it had to be there. I don't know why this was so difficult to figure out or why Google doesn't directly have it on their page (not really geared toward scholars). Here is what I finally found (thanks New Mexico State University Library for the tip)

Once you find a book in Google Books this is what you do.
  1. On the left side, under the "Get this book" category, click on the second to last link, "Find in a library"
  2. Clicking on "Find a library" opens the book's information page on World Cat.
  3. On the upper right, click on "Cite/Export"
  4. In the window that opens, you can choose to copy a citation (cool function) or export.
  5. Click on the export option that best works for you, "RefWorks" or "EndNote"
Of course, this doesn't make the process grabbing citations for edited chapters, but I guess they can't do all the work for us, can they?