Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chattanooga here I come!

Study week is around the corner and I will be flying to Chattanooga, TN to attend a one day symposium called "FOSS Sypmposium 2009" in which the sessions will be about integrating FOSS into the Undergraduate Computing Curriculum.

This opportunity arose thanks to Chris Tyler and Dave Humphrey who suggested me to take part of it since I am writing a white paper in open-source and education.
The good thing is that it is happening during my study week and Mozilla Foundation was able to fund this trip (Frank, thanks again!) to meet all these educators that are trying to break the molds and integrate open-source into the CS curriculum with some of them with amazing success stories as well!

I am really excited because there are many interesting people attending and I want to hear first hand what they have to say and what they have done already.

It is going to be great. Stay tuned for more posts!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Email from the future

Email from the future
Originally uploaded by armenzg
This is what happens if the clock of your school's computer is running few minutes late and you pay attention to how many minutes ago and email was sent in Gmail.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why TwitterFox does not work for me

I was really pleased with the functionality of this add-on but it is breaking the usability that I had before I installed it.

I have been using the Master Password for very long time to increase security without dropping functionality.
With this add-on every time I restart the browser I will be prompted for the master password and if I had several windows open then it would prompt it several times.

I tried to add an exception for chrome://twitternotifier but I did not find a way to do it.

Anyways, fairwell TwitterFox, I am going to start using Twhirl

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Open source and mobile talks at University of Waterloo

I went last night to Open Source Mobile development sessions which was about:
This last talk cautived me; Jean Mitchell is working for Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC) to develop broadcasting abilities for cell phones. This means that you could watch on your cell phone HD quality channels for free.

The broadcasting is already happening, the channels are already reaching your phone but we don't have phones with broadcast receivers on them.
What they have done is, they have taken a broadcast receiver attached it to an Openmoko device, written the drivers for it (they reverse engineered it from the Windows drivers) and voila! You have a broadcasting-enabled phone in which you can (not yet) watch the channels on your phone!

They are still working on the right licensing to use before they release the code and I said to him that without code there are no contributors so hurry up!
Another issue is that they are still missing the part that decodes the signal on the phone but I saw how they can already receive the audio broadcasting signal.

This is the page of their project which things are better explained than in my broken English:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Searching for teaching open source... no results

This is a complaint.
As part of one of my assignments in writing a white paper, I had to find a couple of sources of each of these types of sources:
  1. reputable sources like NY Times, Washing Post, The Economist
  2. trade publications - I used this list of trade magazines
  3. journal articles
And these are my conclusions:
  • reputable sources have OK search engines but did not find the results I was looking for
  • trade publications have search engines that just threw at me whatever they would feel like (Yes, websites have desires and feelings)
  • journals - I love journals, they are structured, well categorized, labeled and with a lot of meta data regarding other sources
I am really dissapointed with the search engines withing portals that I have found and with the educational system that makes everyone do the same assignments even if the topic of research that I have chosen does not come out of standard sources.

It feels that I have to cage my topic even if it looses steam by doing it...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

White Paper - Patterson's loved course to take: "Join the Open Source Movement"

I am trying to write a white paper (as I posted previously) regarding the educational model followed in Seneca and its upper limit and part of the methodology to write a good one requires you to research in journals.

I tried to find if there were other places were the same way of teaching open source was being done but found myself hopeless. After talking with David Humphrey and Christ Tyler, I refocused towards looking on why was not being taught in other places.

The funny thing is that two years ago, David Paterson, former president of ACM, wrote in an article called Computer science education in the 21st century that to invigorate the CS curriculum, we had to "reflect the exciting opportunities and challenges of IT today versus the 1970s" and part of this article was his desire that there should be a course in "Join[ing] the Open Source Movement".

Some of the things that are mentioned in this article's section (you need an ACM subscription) is that it is inspiring for students to work on real production software, that they are able to contribute immediately to the real world, that they can fix open bugs and are able to add new features to the different projects.

My question, as gregdek mentions in his post "Why Seneca Matters", is what has it happened since then? If somebody like Patterson says that it is important to adapt to the new era by including Open Souce into our curriculums, why is it that it is only happening at Seneca while in other places they are still trying to get started?
As Greg mentions, he has found that in many places the answer is that teaching Open Source is really hard as I have heard it from Dave and Chris in many conversations.

Big Bad Vodoo Daddy Show

I hope you get a chance to go and watch the Big Bad Vodoo Daddy show, the best Jazz show I have ever gone to. They really know how to entertain the public and you can tell how much they enjoy do what they do.