UBB, grandfathering, and monopolies

Candace, 19 February 2011, No comments
Categories: Activism, Canadiana, Culture, Cyberspace, Technology

I’ve been a Teksavvy customer for a looooong time. I came late to the internets ~ 2001 or so and I started out with those free discs from the post office. I moved up to NetZero and got my netz five minutes at a time – as long as I continuously clicked on ads. I was so very poor and it was this or nothing. Eventually I got so frustrated that I revamped the budget so it included a real dial up connection. I wanted a local company, found Teksavvy and hitched my wagon. I’ve been a Teksavvy customer ever since. It pleases me greatly that Teksavvy is a leader in support of net neutrality and against User Based Biling (UBB).

Because I’ve been with Teksavvy so long I’ll qualify to keep my current package (200 GB for under $40) under the CRTC’s grandfather clause if some kind of UBB is approved. I sure hope it isn’t and I’ve written my representatives and donated to OpenMedia.ca. However, I’m well aware of wishes and horses, etc.

What I’d really like to do is completely drop the account I currently have with Bell – the one that brings the internet across the phone lines to the house. I want to switch over to dry DSL. Unfortunately, if I switch to dry DSL, Teksavvy’s phone staff believes they’ll consider me a new customer on a new account and I’ll lose my grandfather-eligible status.


Augmented Reality at THATcamp Bay Area

Candace, 10 November 2010, No comments
Categories: Conferences, Gadgets, Technology, Tools

The best session I went to all weekend was Gene Becker’s Augmented Reality 4 Poets. It was exactly what I’d hoped for in a Bootcamp: intriguing, informative, hands-on, and fun. Gene was very helpful and took his time going through what we needed to know to author our first AR using Layar and Hoppala. He kept it nice and simple since the bootcamp pitch was to non-programmers and by the end of the bootcamp I had uploaded an image which was visible in the Automattic Lounge using my smartphone. I also found some of the uploads by other people in the Bootcamp. I have an Android HTC running 1.5 so was worried it’d be too old, but was thrilled when it worked without a hitch.

Augmented Reality flashmobphoto © 2010 Sander Veenhof | more info (via: Wylio)
Rather than go through all the steps Gene showed us I’ll point you over to the tutorial he wrote up from the session. I’m anxious to fill my neighbourhood with giant pigs and old architecture. I’m interested in the applications of AR for history & place projects, particularly oral history audio files. My real fear of AR is people crashing into things while they walk around holding their phones out in front of them, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

While there seems to be plenty of interest in AR in the San Franciso Bay Area, I haven’t found any locals working with it yet. If you’re in Windsor/Detroit and want to get involved in some local AR please let me know!

THATcamp SF Bootcamp: Everything Google with Mano Marks

Candace, 12 October 2010, No comments
Categories: code, Uncategorized

In the spirit of THATcamp and trying new things, I’m trying something new here. If all goes well, my notes from the “Everything Google” Bootcamp this past weekend at THATcamp Bay Area should be embedded below. The session was run by Mano Marks, a developer advocate (DA) at Google. My reflection on the session is below that.

I’m not sure what type of research I’d use Fusion tables to model, but as I work through the examples I might figure that out.

I spent a lot of my time trying to copy Mano’s urls into my own browser so I could follow along with what he was doing. It got easier once I found a data set to manipulate, but I would have gotten more out of the session if I’d been able to work through some meaningful visualizations instead of watching a demo. There were some great examples shown and I tried to gather the urls for those for working through later.

I thought we were going to get an intro to working with the api, but I think we attendees were more beginner than Mano had expected. I’m not a developer yet, but I’m working on it. He did mention that as a DA it’s his job to answer questions people have as they work with the api and if a group gathers 25-50 people (local to SF) or 50-100 (outside the area) Google can send an advocate to run a bootcamp session. Something to keep in mind as I get further along here….

An intro to text mining

Candace, 11 October 2010, 3 comments
Categories: code, Uncategorized

I started my THATcamp Bay Area weekend in a bootcamp session on Text Mining with Aditi Muralidharan, a graduate student at UC Berkely. (@silverasm & http://mininghumanities.com). Links to the slides from the session are here. The session was geared for people who collect the data then ask “what do I do with all this stuff?!?” This definitely describes me. I have hours and hours of collected oral histories plus a few diaries and log books I’d love to analyze.

I’ve never done anything remotely close to text mining, which is why I attended this session. Here’s what I learned:

A variety of tools were suggested:

An example of text-mining an historical diary done by Cameron Blevins @historying at StanfordU:

Some limitations of text mining:

I’ll be working through this list (just as soon as I get my text in a digital format that can be processed).

THATcamp Bay Area: winding down

Candace, 11 October 2010, No comments
Categories: Uncategorized

So THATcamp Bay Area is winding down. The unconference is over and a handful of people are hanging around having post-conference conversations, enjoying the sun, finishing the beer. Pizza has been ordered and a couple of us are working on wrap up posts before we return to our daily grind. I want to try to maintain the momentum that THATcamp has begun so am writing my notes and posting them before I get distracted by work and family responsibilities.

It’s been an incredible weekend: 75 people shared their ideas, projects, successes, and failures. I’ve met so many incredibly talented, intelligent, and generous people and I want to continue the conversations we started this weekend. I’ll post the notes I took in the sessions I attended and I hope others will do the same. I want to read your notes; I want to know what everyone learned.

I have notes for Text mining, Organizing an Unconference, Augmented Reality 4 Poets, Google Fusion Tables, and some possibilities for After THATcamp. I’ll link them up as I post them.

I’d like to send out a special thank you to Jon Voss and the rest of the THATcamp Bay Area organizing committee for an incredible weekend. It was wonderful to meet people that I’ve been following on twitter and to find so many new people to follow. I’m excited for the follow ups we started cooking up in the last session of the day and hope we stay connected.

History Symposium at University of Windsor

Candace, 06 April 2010, No comments
Categories: Uncategorized

This Thursday, 8 April 2010, graduate students of the History Department at the University of Windsor will present papers from two courses being offered this term:

43-510: Post-Colonialism and 43-511 Modernity

The symposium will take place in McPherson Lounge at Alumni Hall on the University of Windsor campus.

9:30 AM: Welcome

9:30-11: Modernity and Colonialism in Canada

11-11:15 Break
11:15-12:45: Modernity and Colonialism around the World

Lunch 12:45-1:30
1:30-3: Modernity and Culture

For more information contact Jennifer Rocheleau in the History department: history@uwindsor.ca

ProfHacker OpenSearch Plugin

I’ve been a regular reader of ProfHacker since its launch. The posts (tips and tutorials for higher ed), are helpful – and usually timely. Just as I’m thinking about or needing something, a post turns up providing useful tips, often with links to more info. However, the mass of bookmarks I’ve accumulated is losing its effectiveness because there are just too many. What I really needed was an easy way to search the site.

Enter OpenSearch.

I’ve taken my ProfHacker addiction as an opportunity to create a Firefox search plugin. Now when I need to find something on ProfHacker, I tool over to my browser search bar (using Ctrl+k / Cmd+k), choose ProfHacker from the list of available search engines, enter my query, and I’m off.

And because I like to share, you can click here to get the plugin that will search ProfHacker.

Book Review: Death So Noble

Candace, 02 April 2010, No comments
Categories: Academia, Book, Canadiana, History, School, Women

In Death So Noble, Jonathan Vance explores how Canadians constructed a collective memory of the First World War based on “fact, wishful thinking, half-truth, and outright invention.”[1] Vance endeavours to explain how Canadians gave birth to the myth and how it became embedded in the collective consciousness in the 1920s and 1930s.[2]

Vance argues that while Canadians waited for the official record of the War they assembled their own story.[3] Canadians were intent on distinguishing the war as just, holding in high regard the ideals of “Liberty, Truth, Justice, Honour, Mercy, [and] Freedom.”[4] To contemporaries, the myth “answered a need, explained the past, or offered the promise of a better future.”[5] Canadians needed a way to justify the atrocities, deal with their grief, and attach meaning to the personal and national losses caused by the war.[6] Vance’s sources include art, music, fiction, memoirs, memorials, film, speeches, elementary school curriculum, and Veteran reunion programs and menus. Death So Noble cover artHe champions these atypical and unusual sources, arguing that flawed writing does not diminish an opinion.[7] In searching to understand the public war myth, Vance chooses not to judge amateur writers against professionals but to evaluate each memoir or poem for its contribution to the myth. Including these primary sources is essential to show that the Canadian public was actively involved in constructing the myth. That the sources are so varied supports Vance’s argument and makes for an engaging read.

Death So Noble is extremely readable. Vance’s sophisticated arguments and detailed citations satisfy an audience of critical historians, but the clarity with which he writes maintains a text that is accessible to a broad audience. Vance includes an impressive array of secondary sources, distilling their arguments and infusing them coherently into his own.

Despite this praise for Death So Noble, Vance’s work has some shortcomings. Read more

SHARCnet Research Day 2010

Candace, 27 March 2010, No comments
Categories: Academia, Humanities Computing

Coming up at York University  on May 6, 2010:

SHARCNET Research Day is the premier annual event at which SHARCNET professors, postdocs and graduate students meet to learn about each other’s High Performance Computing (HPC) related research.

The theme of the meeting is “HPC Innovation for Research.”

via SHARCNET Research Day 2010.

Installing Omeka

Candace, 06 November 2009, No comments
Categories: code, History, Museums, Omeka

Thanks to debugging help from @Rob_Russell, I managed to get Omeka installed and running on two separate development sites this week. For the most part, the Omeka documentation was great for getting me through the basics of downloading and setting up but I ran in to two problems: one was php-related due to the host I use (1and1) and the second was all thanks to mod_rewrite.

The first problem was a result of how 1and1 dealt with the upgrade from php4 to php5 back in the day. By default 1and1 runs php4 even when you specify php5 when you create the databases. Not sure if there are any other hosts that do this. To force php5 add this line to root/.htacess:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

After adding this line I was able to complete the install but then found a mod_rewrite problem. I could see the home page just fine but all links off the front page produced errors. Fixing this problem required adding RewriteBase rules to the root .htaccess and also to the .htaccess in /admin and /install.

into root/.htaccess add:

RewriteBase /

under install/.htaccess add:

RewriteBase /admin/

and finally under admin/.htaccess add:

RewriteBase /install/

After adding these rules I was able to complete the setup and navigate to all pages without a problem. I’m looking forward to playing with the theme and adding content.

Many thanks to the Centre for History and New Media!

dancing frog