28 December 2007

Christmas Letter

The annual letter is complete, and will be e-mailed shortly. Maybe I'll even post an edited version of it.

23 December 2007

More Snow

We thought perhaps that we'd get to Mt. Pleasant just ahead of winter weather.


This is being posted from the Quality Inn Highlander in Iowa City -- 50 miles from our destination. But we had a lovely suite (the last no-smoking room available in the hotel). So we got to sit by the "fire," had a leisurely breakfast and morning, and are ready to go.

17 December 2007


You learn something of the brokenness of the world when you shovel snow. Not (simply) in some undisturbed-now-despoiled, aching-all-over, making-little-headway, sweating-profusely, your-wife-can-shovel-more-than-you metaphorical kind of way, but in a straightforward the-world-is-a-broken-place kind of way.

You learn that you disdain those who, for no reason of physical disability, use snow blowers instead of their backs, and that you disdain more greatly those who can't be bothered even to attempt to clear their walks. You learn which houses are vacant due to eviction, deportation, or some other reason. You learn how little you know of your neighbors most of the rest of the year. You learn that families that seemed happy are broken, but hold out hope for restoration though that hope seems faint. You learn, when you make small talk and ask if there is anything you can do, that part of you is sincere, but most of you isn't. You learn that people get lung cancer, though it's their own damn fault from smoking all those damn cigarettes. You marvel at that attitude, and you wonder how families cope with such news, and you wonder when you'll go out to shovel snow and be the only one shoveling; when you'll be reminded again that the world is still broken.

And you learn that when you shovel snow early in the morning there's a good chance you'll need to shovel again later in the day. But you go and shovel anyway, despite the brokenness you'll encounter.

16 December 2007

Every Language

Granted, every language has rules and exceptions to the rules. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure I chuckled when I read the following more than a decade ago; I also chuckled when I read it Saturday morning. From C.L. Seow's A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon, 1987) (sorry, I can't quite reproduce all the transliterations exactly):

"Segolates are nouns which were originally monsyllabic, with two different consonants at the end (i.e., *qatl, *qitl, *qutl).... Through a process of vowel harmony, we get nouns that are so dominated by sĕgôl that the original distinction between *qatl, *qitl, and *qutl is no longer made in the independent singular nouns. Regardless of the original vowel, these nouns generally appear as qétel, except that *qutl nouns always appear as qōtel, and many *qitl nouns will appear as qētel."
Good stuff.

05 December 2007

Blast from the Past

Just now, as I was configuring a device, I wanted to erase the entirety of the line I'd just typed. So without thinking I hit Shift-Backspace. Which accomplished nothing. If only I had been using my TRS-80...

04 December 2007


First, I can't believe I just used that as the title of my post. Ugh.

Second, this morning at 7:16 EST, Dasha posted a comment on my "Walk Score" post. Then, having thought about a response on-and-off during the day, tonight on Marketplace I heard of a recent study indicating that people in the US like to walk -- and that Gen-Xers should rejoice because this is the first major trend attributed to Gen-Xers instead of Baby Boomers. Hence, "Convergence."

Now some more on walking and driving. A careful re-reading of Dasha's comment makes me suspect that it's comment spam, but it's surprisingly articulate comment spam, so I'll respond nonetheless. First, to move the conversation out of August, I'll post Dasha's comment in full.

"I believe that walk score is cool, but nowadays more and more people prefer to drive cars. Homes are often located in an area where some establishments are easier to get to by car than on foot. I've recently found a type of service on drivescore.fizber.com which is called Drive Score. It shows a map of what establishments are in your neighborhood and calculates a Drive Score based on the number of places within a convenient driving distance. It doesn’t mean that drive score is better than walk score – they are equal and both necessary in the modern world!"


1. This morning my drive score was 68. Tonight it is 75. Hmmm ... You can tweak the settings somewhat, and get walk- and bike-scores also.
2. I surely don't understand why my proximity to a TJ Maxx or Victoria's Secret should influence my drive score, especially given that I'm only 3.25 miles from a Wal-Mart Supercenter (never mind the fact that we shop mostly at Goodwill -- and there are two of those closer than the Wal-Mart Supercenter, one of which is conveniently located beside a CVS pharmacy and a Martin's supermarket). Some further playing reveals that if I exclude the TJ Maxx, Victoria's Secret, and Home Depot, but leave the Wal-Mart and the Gym my score is a 79. If I take away a Gym, my score drops to 73. If I keep the gym but remove the Wal-Mart, my score is 74.
3. "It doesn't mean that drive score is better than walk score - they are both equal and both necessary in the modern world!" They most certainly are not. Equal, anyway. Yes, we in the West live in a society that pretty much requires that we own or have access to a vehicle. This is especially true for those in rural areas. But necessity, or, as stated earlier in the comment, preference, are not in and of themselves justification for walking and driving being equal. In terms of environmental impact, physical and mental health, and societal (that is, community) health walking is vastly superior.

And necessity itself is a little questionable. Most of us choose to live in ways that continue to require the use of cars. No one forced me to go watch Beowulf; I chose to go (only tolerable because of 3D, FWIW). I choose to shop at TJ Maxx instead of Goodwill (ok, I don't, but you get the idea). And because I get in the habit of doing such things I come to view having a car as more a necessity than it really is.

Example: 9:00pm, and I discover we're out of milk. Uh-oh. That means no cereal tomorrow morning. My first response? To jump in the car and drive to pick up a gallon of milk. The store is only a mile down the road. But I have other alternatives that I generally don't consider. We have bread in the freezer -- perhaps I could just have toast. We have eggs in the refrigerator -- perhaps I could have eggs. We even have powdered milk in the pantry -- why not use that? I don't have to get milk, and if I did not own a car I would not even consider it. On the one hand, car ownership is horribly, horribly freeing. On the other hand, it's absolutely constricting.

Just my $.02.

By the way, Dan took a principled stance yesterday. Way to go, Dan!

30 November 2007

25 November 2007

A Tutorial

How to put an APC sliding shelf into a StarTech four-post rack:

1. Place the APC shelves (AR8128BLK)and the StarTech rack (4POSTRACKBK)in your shopping cart at CDW-G.
2. Think to yourself, before placing the order, "Hmmm ... I wonder whether these APC sliding shelves will work in the StarTech rack. I'd better find out."
3. Call your CDW-G rep.
4. Receive verification from APC (by way of your CDW-G rep.) that AR8128BLK will, indeed, work in 4POSTRACKBK.
5. Place the order.
6. Expect the order to come much later than it does. But rejoice in its early arrival.
7. Assemble the rack.
8. Unpack the shelves, and groan with disappointment -- these shelves will obviously not work.
9. Go home dejected.
10. Return the next day, and modify the shelves (see photo #1). Hey, it's not pretty, but it works.
11. Complete assembly with the assistance of your spouse (or, if you do not have a spouse, a good friend) -- see photo #2.
12. Go home. Watch football. Create 12-step tutorial for installing APC sliding shelves in a StarTech four-post rack.

Photo #1

Photo #2

21 November 2007

Everything's Comin' Up Milhouse

Something of a testimony.

I plan to reorganize the server closet this weekend, and spent part of last week and the beginning of this week preparing. In the midst of my preparations, however, I neglected to order the equipment that I knew I would need. This I realized on Friday evening. So I logged on to CDW-G*to place an order, knowing that generally if they have something in stock it takes only one business day to arrive.

To my great disappointment, when I went to check out, the two most reasonable options for shipping were free 6 - 10 business days shipping from Eagle Transport (or something like that) or $150 3 - 5 business days shipping from same. Since it was Friday evening, and since 3 - 5 business days meant it was approximately twice as likely that the order would arrive too late rather than on time, I decided to forgo the $150 fee and just expect to spend another weekend at work after the equipment arrived after Thanksgiving.

But, yes, today everything arrived, and I came home this evening having already done some prep work so that when I work Saturday I don't have quite as much to do.

Thanks, CDW-G and Eagle Transport, for compensating for my lack of planning.


*Corrected link

07 November 2007

Doing My Part

Mike, with some assistance from my GFG,* has initiated some "community-mediated (re)searching" by way of custom search engines at www.searchpigeon.org. These search engines are to help students find reliable and useful articles, abstracts, and whatnot. Seems worthwhile. Plus I promised I'd advertise.

And, of course, if it catches on it will get better ... assuming that others who use it contribute reliable resources of their own in the various categories proposed thusfar.

*Good Friend Google

06 November 2007

For Nekeisha

Six o'clock, and all's well!

31 October 2007


A question to Mr. Kucinich in last night's Democratic debate:


Tim Russert:  This is a serious question ... Did you see a UFO?


No one, but no one who is willing to belittle a minor candidate with a question like this should ever be permitted to "moderate" a debate.  And to pose the question as a serious question?  I can think of several choice words for this behavior.

18 October 2007


lintels.blogspot.com is now www.madgrab.net. I managed to fix the error I was getting when I tried setting up a custom domain redirection. But it seems to work now. Had something to do with having set up the page manager in Google Apps. Thanks.

Digital Ethnography

Michael Wesch does wondrous things at YouTube. But two of his videos in particular I find deeply disturbing ...

The Machine is Us/ing Us
A Vision of Students Today

Just thought I'd share.

13 October 2007

Saturday Distractions

Two distractions. First, the results of the "Winter's-a-comin'-better-make-space-for-the-Honda" project. Then the "Winter's-a-comin'-better-clean-the-flowerbeds" distraction.

08 October 2007


Firefox has a lovely "search Google simply by typing in your search terms in the address bar" feature that I use. Tonight I went searching for "office file converter pack" and got this (color stripped to reduce size):
Note the URL: thesource.ofallevil.com. Apparently someone registered this in 2002. I'm surprised that it has actually become the first response to some queries.

04 October 2007

A Flurry

Yesterday I mentioned a flurry of posts, then posted twice. Three times constitutes "flurry," so here you go: a quote from Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (Albert Borgmann), pp. 176-177.

We can unfold it [the one way in which we respond to a matter of final significance] by attending to the discourse in which an ultimate concern becomes eloquent. The attitude will be one of enthusiasm, sympathy, and tolerance. To be enthusiastic, according to the original sense of the word, is to be filled with the divine. Something is of ultimate concern if it is divine in a catholic sense, if it is greater and more enduring than myself, a source of guidance and solace and of delight. It is from enthusiasm that one draws the courage of speaking to others in a way that finally matters. In this way, enthusiasm leads to sympathy, the concern for the integrity and final well-being of my fellow human beings. In sympathy I want to share the greatness that I have experienced; I want the others to respond as I have responded; and since divinity has addressed and filled me in the fullness and subtlety of my powers, sympathy does not desire allegiance simply but one that comes from the undiminished capacities of the other, i.e., one that confirms the other's integrity. I will therefore reject or accept with reservations someone's allegiance when it engages only some of that person's faculties, and I will forestall an allegiance if its accomplishment would injure a person's capacities. Thus sympathy leads to tolerance. Tolerance springs from the realization that, if violence is used to give deictic discourse compelling force, the method of addressing someone disables that person fro mgrasping fully what I want to say. And my use of compulsion is itself oblivious to the character of the thing on whose behalf I want to speak.
From the quote itself, you'd think perhaps Borgmann was talking about mission rather than about technology. Probably you'd be thinking correctly, to some extent.

I like this quote except for one thing: it doesn't appear until chapter 21. Granted, that's sort of where it needs to appear, but it's rather a ways to getting there.

03 October 2007

Giving in to the Device Paradigm

And that last post was typed on Esther's new Mac. Lovely machines, those. Now we'll have to see whether we'll keep it.

Ending the Silence

Wow. Three weeks since I've blogged. Maybe a record. Part of that is laziness; another part the promise I made to myself that I would not blog about what a miserable day I had or how stupid people are. So here comes a flurry. First, something that's bothered me since the first time I saw it.

What's up with the Sprint ads? "Or maybe you dreamed of a magic screen you could carry in your pocket."

Who dreamt that?!

13 September 2007

Theme Song

Recently (for a couple of weeks now) Esther has taken to greeting the morning by saying "Hellooooo, world!"

This means that my interior monologue for the last couple of weeks has consisted nearly entirely of the following:

"Come join the Warner brothers, and the Warner sister Dot.
Just for fun we run around the Warner movie lot.
They lock us in the tower, whenever we get caught,
but we get loose, and then vamoose, and now you know the plot!

We're Animaniacs! We have pay or play contracts!
We're zany to the max! There's balogna in our slacks!
We're Animan-y
Totally insane-y
Eisenhower, Mamie
Animaniacs! ... Those are the facts!"

Or some other variation.

And now I suffer not alone. You're welcome.

12 September 2007

Facebook Notifications

Two contiguous facebook status updates from friends who don't know each other:

"Friend 1 is sexy."
"Friend 2 is stunned."

Is this the kind of serendipity that happens regularly to you people who are constantly using iPods as your life's soundtrack?

05 September 2007

A Short Parable

Brentfish: Oooh, look! A worm!

Otherfish: Yes, but it's on a hook.

Brentfish: Yes. But it's a worm!

31 August 2007

Surprises from Facebook

Here's a list, taken from my facebook, of the "Top 5 Books in the Northern Indiana Network":

1. The Bible
2. Harry Potter
3. To Kill A Mockingbird
4. Lord of the Rings
5. The Chronicles of Narnia

I'm surprised, though I'm not sure which entry surprises me most.

21 August 2007

Should Have

I probably should have spent the evening doing some work. Instead I spent it sitting on the neighbor's porch. But it was worth it.

15 August 2007

Norm Status

Remember how I said we weren't quite to "Norm!" status but we were working on it? We may have arrived. Actual phone conversation I had tonight:

"King Gyros, may I help you?"

"Yes, I'd like to place an order for pick up."

"Go ahead."

"I'd like a half-slab dinner, a jr. gyros, and a gyros plate with an extra pita."

"That's a bit more than you usually order."

"Yeah, we're ordering for lunch tomorrow as well."

"Oh, alright. Is 15 minutes alright for you guys?"


So Esther and I went to King Gyros to pick up our order. As I walked toward the counter I saw numbers already appearing on the cash register. As I arrived at the counter:

"That'll be 18.65."

Not only do they know my voice, name, and phone number, they also know the car. Excellent. I do believe we've arrived.

Walk Score

Went to walkscore.com and entered my address. The resulting score of 43 (out of 100) surprised me. I had no idea I lived in such a walkable area. Of course, most of the restaurants and groceries are not the ones at which I would prefer to shop, and there aren't really sidewalks to get to some of them, and one of the groceries/restaurants (taqueria-type) burned to the ground recently ... but, 43, really? Wow.

08 August 2007

Spare Humidity

We've got a little extra around here. Anyone interested? Bryce?

04 August 2007


A lovely anniversary was had by all. Left our house at 2:15PM EST and headed into Michigan. Esther gave directions, though she did not know where we were going (I'd written them one step at a time on folded pieces of paper, one piece of paper per phase of the trip -- she just unfolded the paper little-by-little to tell me where to turn and how long to travel). An afternoon/evening outing in five phases, one for each year. 'Cause I'm a big dork.

First stop: Lemon Creek Winery and Fruit Farm (map). We did not pick fruit, mostly because we were a little concerned about how freshly-picked peaches would perform in a car that was going to be in the sun for most of the afternoon.

Second stop: Round Barn Winery and Distillery (map). Our favorite of the trip, with a pleasant tasting room, a wide selection of beverages, and a good host. They also have a cafe that we thought we might sit in, but it turns out that's only operating on weekends.

Third stop: Tabor Hill Winery (map). The gorilla winery of SW Michigan. We arrived just in time for the last tour of the day and enjoyed that, but the winery itself seemed a little more full of itself than the others had. A nice place, but we left sort of underwhelmed. Though we do like their demi sec.

Fourth stop: LaSalle Grill (map). Highly recommended, but probably not something we can afford on a weekly basis. Or even a monthly basis. In fact, once-a-year is probably more than enough. The food was excellent, the service just fine, and, because we were first timers, they brought us a sample of the sort of thing they make: one slice of strawberry topped with prosciutto, some sort of cheese, micro-greens, and rosemary-infused balsamic vinegar. A tasty morsel. As for the real food, Esther had salmon, I had beef tenderloin medallions. And we were happy.

Fourth-and-a-half stop: ShowPlace 16 (map). Sadly, the movies started about 1/2 hour before we arrived, and the next showing of anything interesting was 45 minutes away. So we left. We didn't really want to see a movie, anyway.

Fifth stop: home.

Addendum: I would be greatly remiss not to mention that Esther surprised me with five roses and two shirts for the same occasion. The roses are lovely; the shirts are comfy. Neither is multiplying.

03 August 2007


At about 7:00 PM, Esther and I will have completed our fifth year of marriage. Not coincidentally, if all goes well during the day, we'll also be enjoying a meal at the LaSalle Grill at that time, having toured several Michigan wineries during the course of the afternoon. Esther will be navigating for us, but does not know where we are going, as the instructions for how to get to places will be given one step at a time.

Should be a hoot. I'm pretty excited, and she can hardly stand the not knowing.

02 August 2007

Web 2.0 and AMBS

I plan to spend most of the day sitting on the porch swing working on a presentation to the AMBS faculty about Web 2.0 and open education. This is my last bit of procrastination. Promise.

22 July 2007


Did a search on "Rich Preheim" just now. One reference on findarticles.com, to an article in the Christian Century, resulted in the screenshot you see below:

Original Link: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_13_123/ai_n16546130

This seems discontinuous in a not necessarily helpful way.

Getting Older

Ron, today in church: "Well, Brent, we missed you last night."


Ron: "Rich's birthday party?"

Brent: "Ohhhhh myyyyyy ..."

So, Rich, just in case turning 40 hasn't already given you a superiority complex, I'll stop by and lick your boots to complete the illusion.

18 July 2007

Information Ecologies

Thoughts after reading Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart (Nardi and O'Day, 1999):

1. Maybe it's just more of what I'm looking for, but I found this considerably more meaty than I found Small Pieces. Not as glowing, but equally hopeful.

2. The second half of the book is case studies. I don't much like case studies, I've discovered, though Nardi and O'Day do a nice job of tying the case studies into the conclusion.

3. The metaphor of information ecology seems helpful. Nardi and O'Day suggest it as an alternative both to the oversimplified metaphor of technology as a tool, and as a corrective on the sometimes completely overwhelming metaphor of technology as a system, advocated by Ellul, Winner, and others. And they suggest the ecological metaphor while taking both the notion of technology as a tool and as a system seriously.

A fine read ... though I'd probably skip the case studies, except possibly the discussion of the Internet. Not sure what I'll read next. I had thought Dark Fiber, but it seems awfully thick.

13 July 2007

Coming (5 Years) Late to the Party

Some thoughts on Small Pieces Loosely Joined (David Weinberger, 2002), most of which have probably already been voiced elsewhere, some of which are probably gross mis-characterizations.

1. My first thought, upon completing the book, was "Myeah." My thought upon thinking that was, "How strange. Seems like I found some interesting ideas to chew on while reading. Why such a noncommittal reaction?"

2. Most compelling: how the web reconfigures and re-imagines space and time. Least compelling: how the web forces us to rethink knowledge. Somewhere in between: perfection, togetherness, hope. Weirdest bit: matter.

3. Weinberger points out that whereas in "real life" we can claim we don't want to be forced into community, that community is a byproduct of geographic accidents, on the Web we cannot reasonably make that claim, because the Web exists on a strictly voluntary basis. So the Web shows false those who doubt the premise that humans long for community and relationship. While I happen to agree that humans need community, and indeed agree with Weinberger that without relationships humans become something other than human, I am not convinced that the Web reveals this as truth because not everyone, even in the alienated West, wants to participate in the Web, and even if everyone wanted to, many (most?) participation seems to me to be largely a consumer/customer/client-to-business model. The vast majority of what I do online is shopping and information gathering of a sort not considerably different from that of listening to NPR, reading the Truth, or watching BBC World or ABC News. Perhaps my sources are more varied, but I hardly think that shopping and information gathering indicate some deep desire for community (one could argue, I suppose, that watching the news does indicate deep desire for community, but I'm dubious for the time being). Only recently did I start a blog, and even that was mostly to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe I'll find my voice and discover that I was in fact yearning for new strangers to become friends. These things happen.

A related note: community online is a little strange. In the physical world, adding additional people into a community, even as silent observers, changes the nature of the community. Our bodies matter for community. Online, silent observers change nothing. Right? What kind of community is that, anyway? How is that different from newscasts?

4. The most interesting and troubling idea in the book is that whereas other technologies can be thought of merely as extensions of the human body (the keyboard is an extension of the hand), the Web is not merely an extension of consciousness, but a representation (experiment) of what sort of world we would create were we no longer bound by space, time, and body. Weinberger should pursue this further. He seems willing to stop with disembodied, atemporal (or, perhaps, para-temporal), a-spatial (what's the word I meant to use there?) entities communing with each other. It seems to me, though, that MMORPGs and other virtual worlds (and, yes, they existed in 2002 when Small Pieces was written), wherein people choose Avatars to represent them so they can wander around a spatially-bound (though physically different) world with friends who are logged in simultaneously challenges the notion that the Web Weinberger sketches is somehow what our true selves are like, and that that is somehow different than we are without the Web. Or maybe we're simply using MMORPGs to retreat into the familiar instead of continuing to flit along in a non-embodied sort of way. But that, too, reveals something of our nature.

In short, I may argue that MMORPGs demonstrate that, far from wanting to escape the confinement of space, time, and body, like some Gnostic of old, we yearn for more contact in precisely those areas. This is where I may well be misreading Weinberger -- he certainly does talk about our wanting to overcome our alienation from ourselves, and it may be that my claim is not so far from his as I thought when I started typing this paragraph.

All that said, I'll probably read Everything is Miscellaneous. But next up, an even older (gasp!) book: Information Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart (Bonnie A. Nardi and Vicki L O'Day, 1999)


I hate summer, and it's my own doing.

The weather is great, so that's not the problem. The problem is that because when I was being educated in academic institutions not so dissimilar from the one at which I work presently, summer was holiday time. And I think I still have some of that mindset. The problem is that here at AMBS summer is not holiday time. So I find myself scheduling all sorts of projects for summer thinking that students, faculty, and staff will not interfere, then volunteer to help with additional, non-work-related summer activities, and the misreading of the summer work situation coupled with the volunteering means I find myself completely wiped. Oh, and living on the western edge of the eastern timezone does not help matters.

There are other things that factor into this as well, but I think it is mostly these things that trouble me.

The net result: I don't get enough sleep, I don't feel like I have enough free time, I procrastinate in an attempt to carve out free time, I start work each morning tired and cranky, I find myself super irritated at every little thing that interrupts my plans for the day, and I return home even more tired and cranky. Feh.

I am reading some interesting things, though.

27 June 2007

A RadioShack Moment

My first computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer II my parents purchased for me. One of the features this computer had was a slot for inserting cartridges with programs -- games, word processors, assembly language compilers, etc. One of my first cartridges was Clowns 'n Balloons, a simple game in which one controlled a couple of firefighters carrying a trampoline on which a clown bounced ever higher in an attempt to clear the screen of helium-filled balloons. The instructions said, quite clearly, "insert the cartridge gently into the cartridge slot." So I did. And I turned on the computer expectantly. Nothing happened out of the ordinary. I tried again. And again.

Finally, I prevailed on my parents to take me, with the broken computer, to RadioShack (which, it so happens, was located in a back corner of Benda-Looker Furniture) so they could fix it. The clerk grabbed the computer, grabbed the cartridge, and slammed it into place with considerably more force than I had ever attempted.

I write this because yesterday I spent the better part of the day attempting to get some stackable switches to recognize they were in a stack. I fiddled with the cables, jiggling, trying only two switches, trying powering on in different orders, specifying on behalf of the switches where they ought to be in the stack, and so on and so forth, with no success. Today, while fiddling some more, suddenly the cable popped into place and it was apparent to me what my trouble was yesterday. Everything is happy in stackable-switch world now.

26 June 2007

Two Things I Should Think about More Intentionally, and Some Related Thoughts

This Thursday and Friday I will participate in a meeting that will address the topic of whether ATS should have an annual (or other regular) conference for Educational Technologists similar to those they have for development officers, CFOs, Deans, Registrars, and possibly some other conferences I don't know about. I feel a bit odd about this because (1) I am not trained as an educational technologist, though sometimes my job calls for such, and (2) despite that last clause, most of my work involves being the helpdesk, the sysadmin, the database administrator, and the network admin. On the other hand, I've spent the last few years looking for a conference where schools the size of AMBS would be out in force, and a conference for educational technologists would likely fit the bill. Mayhaps I can put in a plug for some workshops on how to do educational technology when most of your job activities involve troubleshooting rather than course design. So that's one thing that I've been thinking about only informally.

The other thing: the outgoing Dean told me I should make a presentation to the faculty about open source education. As he used the term, this means something more along the lines of MIT's OpenCourseWare than it does using Open- instead of Microsoft Office. So I've been contemplating the following: What sorts of things constitute "open source" education? Simply making syllabi available? What about lecture notes? Where does intellectual property fit into that? Is there such a thing as IP -- or should there be? Can I work in a computer lesson or two into this? What about some annoying (and ubiquitous) monikers: Web 2.0? Education 2.0?

That thinking led, today, to this line of thinking about technology, specifically as relates to a "the cat's out of the bag" (or, more precisely, "the horse is out of the barn"): What barn did the horse leave? And where did the horse go? Into the meadow? Into another barn? What does that barn look like, and do we want the horse to stay there or leave? If closing the first barn door will do no good where technology is concerned, are we somehow obligated to keep all barn doors open so the horse can go hither and yon at will, or should we maybe consider closing this new barn door? Whatever it is?

16 June 2007

Phase I Complete

Well, almost. I still need to add some lateral bracing so as to reduce the amount of sway on the long side, but, as you can see from the pictures below, the pergola is pretty much complete. We even transplanted the grapes.

To the right is a shot of the pergola from the garage. The scrap wood near the back door is what remains of the previous, inadequate, trellis.

This is a view of the garden from the pergola. And, yes, you see another pergola. The nicer-but-smaller one will have a rose growing on it sometime.

Phase II of the project is to put a patio under the Big Pergola (BP) and a stone paver walking path from the BP to the Little Pergola (LP). That's set, tentatively, for Summer, 2008.

08 June 2007

By The Way

I see tonight that the Joblog is, as of this post, three posts behind Blood. It was nice to be in the posting lead for a while, but I'm not John Henry.

Summer Projects (II of II)

It's not finished yet, but you can kind of get a sense of where it's going. The first image is just the frame of the pergola.
The second image attempts to get a little perspective as it relates to the house. This is going to change the feel of our backyard dramatically, methinks.
You'll note that this time I appear to have measured correctly. Ahem. Oh, the measurements, in case anyone wonders (working clockwise from the nearest post in the first picture): 131 1/4" x 179 3/4" x 131 5/8" x 179 1/2". So it's not quite square, but I'm pretty certain only a very few people will notice the 1/2" difference on the short end, and even fewer will notice the 1/4" on the long edge. Except that now I've told you all.

29 May 2007

Summer Projects (I of II)

Here are a few photos
The first, a summer (late Spring) project well underway.
The second, a dorky picture of me enjoying the first strawberry of the season.
The third, a grape trellis that is in sore need of replacement. That last one will be the topic of the second of these two posts about Summer project. And don't be expecting that post before, say, July. Unless things go better than I expect.

24 May 2007

Wouldn't It Be Adequate?

Last night we plotted the area for the backyard patio. The first angle we attempted to make using the pythagorean theorem (the "3-4-5 rule," according to the various things I read about doing this sort of stuff). That did not work so well, probably because we were using some sort of decorative (stretchy) ribbon that we found in our house four years ago when we took possession of it, instead of using some sturdier stuff. Long story short: we ended up eyeballing the thing and checking with a small square. Quick measurement of the resulting diagonals showed them to be about 1/4" off. That's good enough.

19 May 2007


So the other night I dreamt something about rabid raccoons terrorizing our neighborhood and rotting earth in our backyard. The earth was rotting because of buried fruit ... or maybe carcasses, I can't remember with any certainty. Somehow we ended up digging a hole, and hiring someone to dispose of the raccoon with some sort of trap or weapon, which he left to retrieve. As he was going the raccoon walked down into the hole and huddled over its baby. We killed it by shoveling dirt on it and burying it.

What do you suppose that might mean?

16 May 2007


As it turns out, Esther, who has all her life until now utterly refused to play, really loves Rook. I love having extended family around.

10 May 2007

The Whole Family

Not quite. Mom-in-law arrived on the 26th of April; sister-in-law on the 9th of May; uncle- and aunt-in-law will arrive on the 12th of May. It's me and a bunch of Indians, and I find myself speaking with an Indian accent. Is this bad?

I Can Barely Contain Myself

Virtualizing my computer.  So very sweet.  Slow, but incredibly cool.

04 May 2007

Spam Fortunes

According to my Inbox today, I'll love the new non-obese me.


So true.

02 May 2007

Customer Service

Generally I am loathe to speak to companies on the phone -- I'd much rather just find out what I need to know online.  Maybe it's the little tiny bit of rugged individualist in me.  But I just got off the phone with the good people at Gateway, and while the rational part of me knows that the representative was friendly because I was planning to make a purchase, the not-rational part of me felt, "My, what a pleasant experience.  I should post this to the blog."  So there you are.

01 May 2007


So it's not yet 8:30 and one computer has finished cloning a hard drive, and another computer has something going on with NTOSKRNL, or somesuch.


One might think it was Monday, did one not know any better.

23 April 2007

King Gyros

We're big fans of King Gyros. Enough so that when I went in tonight to pick up some food our phoned-in order was already totaled before I reached the counter. It's not quite "Norm!" status, but we're working on that.

16 April 2007

Double Standard

After a liquid bomb scare the US government bans the carrying of containers of gels and liquids of larger than 3 oz on flights, but when someone kills 30+ people at a university, heaven forbid even considering making background checks mandatory at gun shows. Brilliant.

11 April 2007

12 Months

My current impressions as to the 13 months in Elkhart, from tax-day 2006 to tax-day 2007 (to the best of my recollection):


April, May, June, July, August, September, September, September, September, January, March, May, January


This is what the weather looked last night at about 5:00.

And this is how it looks now.

09 April 2007


The thermostat in the Conference Room reads 58 degrees.  That room is noticeably warmer than my office.

07 April 2007

Bargain of the Day

Sawhorses. Buck twenty-five. We rock.

06 April 2007

Privacy vs. Transparency vs. Accomodating Structures vs. Edenic Intent

A couple of weeks ago, at our weekly forum at seminary, a visiting pastor made some comments on the project he is working on while on sabbatical. Long story made shorter than it ought to be: we are fallen.

The speaker said that what both creation stories agree on is male and female -- different, but equal. Contrariwise, Genesis also suggests that humans are designed to govern ("have dominion"). Equality and Governance are not simply compatible, so humans tend to create structures that result in domination rather than equality. Hence patriarchal systems come about. Patriarchy leads naturally to monarchy (since, what is monarchy really than family patriarchy expanded to a national level), and that results in slavery (if you aren't king you aren't anything). And nearly all structures, including church structures, are created to support and perpetuate and inequality of some sort. This may be a poor interpretation of what the speaker said, but I think it is mostly fair. At any rate, this is just background and not really the point.

Somewhere in the midst of this narrative the speaker mentioned the state of the first humans: naked and unashamed. When he said this, he went off on a bit of a tangent about society being so concerned with privacy because privacy allows secrecy and secrecy allows power -- in heaven, he suggested, everything would be completely transparent as God intended it to be.

Since I am a person who generally thinks we have a bit too much privacy, and think of ourselves as more entitled to privacy than we really are, and since I think that we would be happier in the main if we were less concerned with whether people discovered our secrets and more concerned with living such that secrets were irrelevant, and since this forum topic arose the same week I received the Transparency Issue of Wired (the one whose cover I thought was going to be clever only to be sorely disappointed, though for different reasons than Andrew Keen was disappointed) wherein transparency in business is advocated as a strategy for growth (how cynical), and since whenever I find myself thinking about transparency I am reminded of Bible Stories for Adults, wherein God recognizes that the problem at the Tower of Babel was not that people understood each other too well but that they understood each other not well enough, and wherein God rectifies the earlier misreading of the human condition by making everyone understand each other fully with the somewhat predictable result that people can no longer stand each other or even themselves ... for all these reasons, I was struck with this thought: perhaps we should settle for translucence.


Well, it happened. The office and both bathrooms now have a difference color scheme than they did before today. From blue to sage; from mint to blue; and from mint to purple (to, eventually, brick -- the purple is just how the primer looks). Tomorrow we get to tackle the trim, apply another coat of the green, apply the brick to the bathroom, and, conceivably, change the color of the dining room.

03 April 2007


One side of a cell phone conversation:

"Well, we're here, but just. We're in Millenium Station."


"You are so not in Chicago right now!"


"Ahhh, dammit!"

So, dear reader, were "you" in Chicago right now?

02 April 2007

While I'm Here

I think the construction crew is getting started on the AMBS Library tower today. Not that you can tell from this morning's picture.

28 March 2007

And Another Thing

I'm moving the weekly job log posting to its own blog. And, to make it worth your time, I've modified the script to post daily instead of merely weekly. Just to make it worth your while. Joblintels.

Got It

When I go to grad school I'm going to pursue a PhD in Truthology.

26 March 2007

Updated March 23 Summary

Time at AMBS: 9h 7m 16s

Time working: 8h 18m 14s

Communication: 0h 0m 0s
Meetings: 0h 0m 0s
Research: 0h 51m 40s

Interrupt: 2h 47m 57s
Phone: 2h 39m 12s
Visit: 0h 8m 45s
E-mail: 0h 0m 0s
Planned: 4h 38m 37s
Tasks/Projects: 4h 38m 37s
House cleaning: 0h 0m 0s

Unspecified: 0h 0m 0s

Break: 0h 49m 2s
Personal: 0h 0m 0s


03/23/2007 7:51:53 AM,ar,"",0
03/23/2007 8:19:01 AM,re,"blogs",1628
03/23/2007 8:30:01 AM,ip,"asst",660
03/23/2007 8:48:57 AM,re,"blogs and tech",1136
03/23/2007 9:05:18 AM,ip,"asst",981
03/23/2007 9:11:39 AM,bk,"watere",381
03/23/2007 10:28:46 AM,tk,"spamassassin",4627
03/23/2007 10:47:49 AM,ip,"asst",1143
03/23/2007 10:53:30 AM,ip,"student printing problem",341
03/23/2007 11:03:21 AM,tk,"spamassassin",591
03/23/2007 11:10:20 AM,ip,"CRoViS (bane of my existence)",419
03/23/2007 11:18:53 AM,tk,"perlDBI",513
03/23/2007 11:40:43 AM,ip,"email at home",1310
03/23/2007 11:46:19 AM,re,"analytics",336
03/23/2007 12:05:11 PM,ip,"home e-mail",1132
03/23/2007 12:22:36 PM,tk,"schwarzy",1045
03/23/2007 1:01:00 PM,bk,"lunch",2304
03/23/2007 1:14:51 PM,tk,"email recovery",831
03/23/2007 1:59:55 PM,tk,"qmail and library catalog revisions",2704
03/23/2007 2:07:29 PM,tk,"puremessage",454
03/23/2007 2:25:06 PM,ip,"computer placement",1057
03/23/2007 2:31:45 PM,iv,"printing trouble",399
03/23/2007 2:33:51 PM,iv,"studasst",126
03/23/2007 3:42:02 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster",4091
03/23/2007 3:46:19 PM,bk,"rr",257
03/23/2007 3:54:13 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster",474
03/23/2007 4:36:02 PM,ip,"shop printer",2509
03/23/2007 4:59:09 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster and a verhuddelt system",1387

Weekly Work Summary for the week ending Friday, 2007 March 26

How to read this:

The summary immediately below neatly summarizes how I spent my time in the for the week indicated in the subject of this post. The raw data lists each specific task or activity. The categorizations assigned to a given task should be loosely held -- often multiple tasks were performed under one entry; often "interruptions" include not only the initial interruption but the time taken to resolve the related task; often tasks include activities that are not strictly task-related.


Time at AMBS: 90h 24m 0s

Time working: 26h 9m 12s

Communication: 2h 14m 33s
Meetings: 0h 0m 0s
Research: 4h 34m 56s

Interrupt: 6h 23m 9s
Phone: 4h 30m 31s
Visit: 1h 46m 17s
E-mail: 0h 6m 21s
Planned: 12h 56m 34s
Tasks/Projects: 12h 3m 31s
House cleaning: 0h 53m 3s

Unspecified: 0h 0m 0s

Break: 736h 4m 51s
Personal: 0h 9m 57s

Average Daily Time at AMBS: 13h 16m 48s

Averagy Daily Working Time: 10h 16m 48s


03/19/2007 7:47:41 AM,ar,"",0
03/19/2007 7:55:06 AM,tk,"update ee",445
03/19/2007 8:28:00 AM,tk,"phone lessons",1974
03/19/2007 8:44:15 AM,ip,"ee",975
03/19/2007 8:59:35 AM,tk,"ee",920
03/19/2007 9:08:07 AM,iv,"hard drive",512
03/19/2007 9:15:12 AM,ip,"taskbar moving",425
03/19/2007 9:23:11 AM,hc,"inbox",479
03/19/2007 9:30:55 AM,re,"blogs",464
03/19/2007 9:34:51 AM,ip,"software purchase question",236
03/19/2007 9:38:57 AM,iv,"cable return",246
03/19/2007 9:59:05 AM,re,"news",1208
03/19/2007 10:20:00 AM,bk,"monday",1255
03/19/2007 10:50:38 AM,tk,"xpsp2",1838
03/19/2007 10:56:23 AM,hc,"email and phone",345
03/19/2007 11:17:43 AM,tk,"new schwarz",1280
03/19/2007 11:28:54 AM,tk,"new schwarz",671
03/19/2007 11:38:10 AM,tk,"notebook update",556
03/19/2007 11:41:57 AM,iv,"hard drive raid consult",227
03/19/2007 11:48:18 AM,ie,"timezone update",381
03/19/2007 11:55:34 AM,ip,"frozen application",436
03/19/2007 12:00:50 PM,iv,"scanning tutorial",316
03/19/2007 12:50:42 PM,bk,"lunch",2992
03/19/2007 12:52:00 PM,em,"CARES",78
03/19/2007 1:12:13 PM,tk,"student server",1213
03/19/2007 1:14:18 PM,ip,"seeking mail folders",125
03/19/2007 1:24:04 PM,tk,"windows search settings",586
03/19/2007 1:39:40 PM,tk,"student server",936
03/19/2007 1:51:05 PM,tk,"student server",685
03/19/2007 1:59:08 PM,iv,"more lost e-mail",483
03/19/2007 2:04:37 PM,bk,"rr",329
03/19/2007 2:05:48 PM,ps,"im",71
03/19/2007 2:09:52 PM,ps,"im",244
03/19/2007 3:14:02 PM,tk,"qmail-qfilter",3850
03/19/2007 3:21:47 PM,ip,"monitor overturned",465
03/19/2007 3:26:59 PM,ip,"fiberdyne",312
03/19/2007 3:30:00 PM,bk,"mail",181
03/19/2007 3:43:42 PM,iv,"printer offline",822
03/19/2007 3:46:20 PM,tk,"re troubles",158
03/19/2007 4:00:43 PM,tk,"shared object library",863
03/19/2007 4:03:56 PM,ip,"reg office",193
03/19/2007 4:13:13 PM,tk,"qmail",557
03/19/2007 4:14:00 PM,ip,"spouse",47
03/19/2007 4:28:30 PM,tk,"submit receipts",870
03/19/2007 4:36:05 PM,tk,"parser",455
03/19/2007 4:40:25 PM,hc,"end of day",260

03/20/2007 7:51:01 AM,ar,"",0
03/20/2007 8:16:37 AM,re,"blogs and tech sites",1536
03/20/2007 8:20:02 AM,hc,"email",205
03/20/2007 8:30:36 AM,tk,"new server",634
03/20/2007 8:43:00 AM,tk,"ner server",744
03/20/2007 9:47:06 AM,bk,"cares",3846
03/20/2007 9:49:10 AM,hc,"email",124
03/20/2007 9:51:48 AM,ip,"projector question",158
03/20/2007 10:04:34 AM,tk,"mac lesson",766
03/20/2007 10:37:02 AM,tk,"schwarzy",1948
03/20/2007 10:37:53 AM,ip,"phone setup",51
03/20/2007 10:53:46 AM,tk,"student server",953
03/20/2007 11:08:00 AM,bk,"retrieve spouse",854
03/20/2007 11:15:50 AM,iv,"phone info",470
03/20/2007 11:25:09 AM,hc,"email",559
03/20/2007 11:28:12 AM,tk,"parser",183
03/20/2007 11:45:16 AM,em,"conference phone",1024
03/20/2007 12:04:05 PM,em,"various things",1129
03/20/2007 12:45:00 PM,bk,"lunch",2455
03/20/2007 12:52:00 PM,tk,"pop3 ?",420
03/20/2007 12:58:24 PM,tk,"order cleanup",384
03/20/2007 1:20:48 PM,tk,"set up some tracking on ambs.edu",1344
03/20/2007 2:06:45 PM,tk,"mac attack",2757
03/20/2007 2:11:27 PM,ps,"blog",282
03/20/2007 2:29:30 PM,tk,"entourage tweaking",1083
03/20/2007 2:44:29 PM,tk,"check mailing",899
03/20/2007 2:59:52 PM,tk,"webpage work",923
03/20/2007 3:11:57 PM,tk,"student server",725
03/20/2007 3:21:54 PM,tk,"downloading mysql",597
03/20/2007 3:36:15 PM,tk,"library catalog",861
03/20/2007 3:44:59 PM,tk,"owa",524
03/20/2007 3:48:42 PM,tk,"library catalog",223
03/20/2007 4:13:50 PM,tk,"mysql on new server",1508
03/20/2007 4:18:35 PM,tk,"mail",285
03/20/2007 4:24:51 PM,tk,"google analytics",376
03/20/2007 4:27:07 PM,ip,"spouse",136
03/20/2007 4:28:42 PM,em,"analytics",95
03/20/2007 5:04:50 PM,tk,"mysql",2168
03/20/2007 5:06:26 PM,hc,"end of day",96

03/21/2007 7:45:00 AM,ar,"",0
03/21/2007 8:18:55 AM,vi,"analytics",2035
03/21/2007 8:50:00 AM,re,"univ business",1865
03/21/2007 8:55:24 AM,iv,"cd recording",324
03/21/2007 9:05:07 AM,hc,"email",583
03/21/2007 9:18:09 AM,iv,"logiforms troubles",782
03/21/2007 9:36:27 AM,re,"blogs",1098
03/21/2007 9:42:18 AM,tk,"analytics",351
03/21/2007 9:46:33 AM,ip,"student billing ?",255
03/21/2007 10:06:33 AM,tk,"authlib",1200
03/21/2007 10:09:10 AM,bk,"rr",157
03/21/2007 10:21:44 AM,tk,"courier",754
03/21/2007 10:22:04 AM,ip,"localweb ?",20
03/21/2007 10:26:56 AM,tk,"courier",292
03/21/2007 10:27:33 AM,ip,"password recovery",37
03/21/2007 10:29:14 AM,tk,"courier",101
03/21/2007 10:32:21 AM,iv,"ee",187
03/21/2007 10:34:54 AM,tk,"courierauth",153
03/21/2007 11:11:40 AM,tk,"ee & analytics",2206
03/21/2007 11:13:46 AM,bk,"rr",126
03/21/2007 11:19:30 AM,ph,"bb",344
03/21/2007 11:34:21 AM,vi,"ee",891
03/21/2007 11:39:34 AM,tk,"base64",313
03/21/2007 12:24:00 PM,tk,"maildrop",2666
03/21/2007 1:10:19 PM,bk,"lunch",2779
03/21/2007 1:27:59 PM,tk,"spamassassin",1060
03/21/2007 1:31:02 PM,iv,"printer failure (psnl)",183
03/21/2007 3:03:11 PM,re,"webinar",5529
03/21/2007 3:11:45 PM,em,"projector keylock",514
03/21/2007 3:18:53 PM,tk,"spamass",428
03/21/2007 3:23:49 PM,hc,"mail",296
03/21/2007 3:51:45 PM,tk,"spamassassin and other things",1676
03/21/2007 3:53:34 PM,ip,"ee",109
03/21/2007 4:10:03 PM,ip,"spouse",989
03/21/2007 4:31:48 PM,tk,"courier",1305
03/21/2007 4:32:03 PM,ip,"spouse",15
03/21/2007 5:18:33 PM,tk,"qmail",2790

03/22/2007 7:45:30 AM,ar,"",0
03/22/2007 7:48:48 AM,tk,"check webcam",198
03/22/2007 8:17:04 AM,re,"blogs",1696
03/22/2007 8:49:09 AM,tk,"schwarzy",1925
03/22/2007 9:06:27 AM,iv,"student asst",1038
03/22/2007 9:13:51 AM,tk,"schwarzy",444
03/22/2007 9:16:55 AM,ip,"disappeared taskbar",184
03/22/2007 9:35:00 AM,tk,"schwarzy",1085
03/22/2007 9:46:22 AM,bk,"d",682
03/22/2007 10:46:48 AM,tk,"schwarzy",3626
03/22/2007 10:47:27 AM,ip,"student asst",39
03/22/2007 10:58:06 AM,tk,"schwarzy",639
03/22/2007 11:24:37 AM,tk,"squirrelmail",1591
03/22/2007 11:28:33 AM,hc,"email",236
03/22/2007 11:32:38 AM,tk,"squirrelmail",245
03/22/2007 11:36:34 AM,ip,"back2back",236
03/22/2007 11:55:38 AM,tk,"collaboration data objects download/install",1144
03/22/2007 12:32:43 PM,bk,"forum",2225
03/22/2007 1:02:00 PM,tk,"made squirrelmail work",1757
03/22/2007 1:10:19 PM,tk,"squirrelmail work",499
03/22/2007 1:12:32 PM,iv,"psnl computer update",133
03/22/2007 1:14:03 PM,tk,"kitch bkp",91
03/22/2007 1:22:03 PM,tk,"spamassassin",480
03/22/2007 1:22:48 PM,ip,"asssistant",45
03/22/2007 1:28:32 PM,tk,"spamassassin qmail",344
03/22/2007 1:41:53 PM,ip,"deans office",801
03/22/2007 1:47:23 PM,tk,"clean up logwatch",330
03/22/2007 1:49:32 PM,iv,"evals",129
03/22/2007 1:58:23 PM,tk,"mysql",531
03/22/2007 2:17:02 PM,tk,"user acct",1119
03/22/2007 2:22:43 PM,tk,"dvd duplication",341
03/22/2007 2:57:35 PM,tk,"mysql",2092
03/22/2007 3:04:05 PM,ip,"asst",390
03/22/2007 3:21:13 PM,tk,"mysql",1028
03/22/2007 3:21:56 PM,tk,"check dvd burning status",43
03/22/2007 3:48:51 PM,tk,"mysql",1615
03/22/2007 3:52:48 PM,bk,"retrieve clothing from spouse",237
03/22/2007 4:02:58 PM,tk,"spamass",610
03/22/2007 4:06:58 PM,tk,"deliver dvd",240
03/22/2007 4:33:58 PM,tk,"mail::spamassassin compile errors",1620
03/22/2007 6:02:52 PM,bk,"ultimate",5334
03/22/2007 6:19:46 PM,em,"ltsp",1014
03/22/2007 6:35:35 PM,em,"educause followup",949

03/23/2007 7:51:53 AM,ar,"",0
03/23/2007 8:19:01 AM,re,"blogs",1628
03/23/2007 8:30:01 AM,ip,"asst",660
03/23/2007 8:48:57 AM,re,"blogs and tech",1136
03/23/2007 9:05:18 AM,ip,"asst",981
03/23/2007 9:11:39 AM,bk,"watere",381
03/23/2007 10:28:46 AM,tk,"spamassassin",4627
03/23/2007 10:47:49 AM,ip,"asst",1143
03/23/2007 10:53:30 AM,ip,"student printing problem",341
03/23/2007 11:03:21 AM,tk,"spamassassin",591
03/23/2007 11:10:20 AM,ip,"CRoViS (bane of my existence)",419
03/23/2007 11:18:53 AM,tk,"perlDBI",513
03/23/2007 11:40:43 AM,ip,"email at home",1310
03/23/2007 11:46:19 AM,re,"analytics",336
03/23/2007 12:05:11 PM,ip,"home e-mail",1132
03/23/2007 12:22:36 PM,tk,"schwarzy",1045
03/23/2005 1:01:00 PM,bk,"lunch",2625801
03/23/2007 1:14:51 PM,tk,"email recovery",2628831
03/23/2007 1:59:55 PM,tk,"qmail and library catalog revisions",2704
03/23/2007 2:07:29 PM,tk,"puremessage",454
03/23/2007 2:25:06 PM,ip,"computer placement",1057
03/23/2007 2:31:45 PM,iv,"printing trouble",399
03/23/2007 2:33:51 PM,iv,"studasst",126
03/23/2007 3:42:02 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster",4091
03/23/2007 3:46:19 PM,bk,"rr",257
03/23/2007 3:54:13 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster",474
03/23/2007 4:36:02 PM,ip,"shop printer",2509
03/23/2007 4:59:09 PM,tk,"qmailtoaster and a verhuddelt system",1387

25 March 2007


Yesterday while rearranging the furniture my spouse and I decided that anything can be taken apart with sufficient patience and a rubber mallet.

22 March 2007

Educause MWRC

Here's something that should interest Adam.

Last week at Educause, several librarians from Illinois presented a session about using RSS to provide library resources to students in Blackboard. A particular professor was interested in having the students get good resources, so he asked the librarians to find them and post them. The result was a section of the course that contained RSS feeds from various reputable news sites (say, MSNBC) so that the students could see headlines in Blackboard without leaving the course area.

Additionally, the librarians prepared library catalog searches, and included those links in the course. So when a student went to do research for the final paper, the student merely needed to click on a link of a topic of interest and the results would appear in the library catalog.

At the end of the course, most students said they would be more likely to use the library in the future as a result of their experience in the course.

During the discussion one member of the audience asked whether we should be concerned that students don't know where the information is coming from -- that they just click a link and there is the search. Another member commented that whether students know that the information is coming from the library is beside the point so long as the students get good information. The library is in the business of connecting people with information, and then getting out of the way.

My comment was something like, "I care a little. If the pastors that AMBS is training are going to be telling people what God is saying, I'd sort of like them to know how to get reliable information."

I'm struck, though, by the notion that students did, in fact, realize the library was providing the information as evidenced in the survey.

19 March 2007


As much as I don't want to be doing IT work for the rest of my life, and as much as I view my job as just a job (quite in contrast with many others at the seminary), and as much as I sometimes dislike what I'm doing ... I'm awfully grateful to be working.

Weekly Work Summary for the week ending Friday, 2007 March 19

How to read this:

The summary immediately below neatly summarizes how I spent my time in the for the week indicated in the subject of this post. The raw data lists each specific task or activity. The categorizations assigned to a given task should be loosely held -- often multiple tasks were performed under one entry; often "interruptions" include not only the initial interruption but the time taken to resolve the related task; often tasks include activities that are not strictly task-related. With these caveats in mind, have at.


Time at AMBS: 18h 35m 23s

Time working: 16h 30m 50s

Communication: 0h 12m 36s
Meetings: 0h 0m 0s
Research: 0h 47m 43s

Interrupt: 2h 51m 6s
Phone: 0h 18m 48s
Visit: 2h 1m 32s
E-mail: 0h 30m 46s
Planned: 12h 39m 25s
Tasks/Projects: 11h 36m 18s
House cleaning: 1h 3m 7s

Unspecified: 0h 0m 0s

Break: 2h 4m 33s
Personal: 0h 0m 0s

Average Daily Time at AMBS: 9h 17m 41s

Averagy Daily Working Time: 8h 17m 41s


03/15/2007 7:40:00 AM,ar,"",0
03/15/2007 7:58:10 AM,tk,"post conference mailbox purge",1090
03/15/2007 8:13:02 AM,tk,"investigate student mail conx problems",892
03/15/2007 9:32:49 AM,tk,"responding to e-mail",4787
03/15/2007 11:08:42 AM,tk,"scheduling troubles",5753
03/15/2007 11:19:09 AM,tk,"student e-mail troubles",627
03/15/2007 12:32:56 PM,tk,"student e-mail troubleshooting",4427
03/15/2007 1:19:15 PM,bk,"lunch",2779
03/15/2007 2:01:34 PM,tk,"fix student e-mail troubles",2539
03/15/2007 2:11:33 PM,tk,"firewall configuration",599
03/15/2007 2:13:07 PM,ip,"explore printer",94
03/15/2007 2:13:42 PM,ip,"package delivery",35
03/15/2007 2:36:23 PM,tk,"firewall configuring",1361
03/15/2007 2:37:45 PM,ip,"mac question",82
03/15/2007 3:09:46 PM,tk,"firewall config",1921
03/15/2007 3:27:04 PM,iv,"indiana electronics",1038
03/15/2007 3:29:24 PM,em,"phone system",140
03/15/2007 3:33:38 PM,tk,"firewall configuration verification",254
03/15/2007 3:35:44 PM,hc,"phone messages",126
03/15/2007 3:38:51 PM,em,"phone system",187
03/15/2007 3:55:17 PM,tk,"jobcam",986
03/15/2007 4:00:24 PM,tk,"printer installation",307
03/15/2007 5:07:53 PM,tk,"crovis",4049
03/15/2007 5:14:33 PM,tk,"final close up tasks",400

03/16/2007 7:48:27 AM,ar,"",0
03/16/2007 8:07:58 AM,hc,"email",1171
03/16/2007 8:09:36 AM,iv,"laptop return",98
03/16/2007 8:13:12 AM,em,"podcasting quiery",216
03/16/2007 8:43:43 AM,re,"web",1831
03/16/2007 8:49:29 AM,hc,"cable coil",346
03/16/2007 9:42:55 AM,tk,"fix CRoViS",3206
03/16/2007 9:48:13 AM,hc,"email cleanup",318
03/16/2007 9:50:52 AM,ip,"spam quarantine troubles",159
03/16/2007 9:52:55 AM,tk,"educause",123
03/16/2007 10:02:38 AM,tk,"spam quarantine",583
03/16/2007 10:03:08 AM,ip,"spouse",30
03/16/2007 10:05:32 AM,tk,"spam quarantine settings",144
03/16/2007 10:07:17 AM,tk,"finish spam adjustment",105
03/16/2007 10:18:28 AM,re,"edaccess",671
03/16/2007 10:24:29 AM,re,"first monday",361
03/16/2007 10:30:34 AM,tk,"clarify phone issues",365
03/16/2007 10:31:35 AM,em,"sophos question",61
03/16/2007 10:33:53 AM,bk,"rr",138
03/16/2007 10:36:25 AM,em,"conference phone",152
03/16/2007 10:39:22 AM,hc,"cable coiling",177
03/16/2007 10:52:56 AM,iv,"setup outlook",814
03/16/2007 11:19:09 AM,hc,"cable coiling",1573
03/16/2007 11:59:40 AM,tk,"clamav",2431
03/16/2007 1:06:00 PM,bk,"lunch",3980
03/16/2007 1:19:47 PM,iv,"ee consultation",827
03/16/2007 1:21:03 PM,hc,"phone messages",76
03/16/2007 1:42:28 PM,tk,"setup traveling notebook",1285
03/16/2007 2:07:24 PM,iv,"student assistant",1496
03/16/2007 2:52:07 PM,iv,"travel computer",2683
03/16/2007 2:52:55 PM,tk,"outlook 2007",48
03/16/2007 2:55:47 PM,ip,"ethernet cable hunt",172
03/16/2007 3:14:55 PM,tk,"office 2007",1148
03/16/2007 3:24:11 PM,ip,"printer config",556
03/16/2007 3:29:21 PM,tk,"carrying boxes",310
03/16/2007 4:00:07 PM,ie,"update re",1846
03/16/2007 4:05:43 PM,iv,"student e-mail troubles",336
03/16/2007 4:21:03 PM,tk,"clamav",920
03/16/2007 4:30:39 PM,bk,"march madness",576
03/16/2007 4:38:24 PM,tk,"re repair",465
03/16/2007 4:49:17 PM,tk,"parser",653

16 March 2007

It's Coming ...

The Blood on the Lintels joblog, a new and regular ('cause it's automatic) feature of lintels.blogspot.com. Here's the skinny (thanks, John David): every work day I keep a terse log of my activities, both work and otherwise. Every nightEach TWThFS morning a handy-dandy little perl script runs and parses the log into something meaningful. And every Saturday Monday morning another handy-dandy little perl script runs and parses the cumulative results for the week.

The parser works because of a regular set of abbreviations I use to describe my activities. Those you will see in the raw data that gets posted. The abbreviations are:

ar: arrive at work (one per log)
ie: interruption via e-mail
ip: interruption via phone
iv: interruption via visit
hc: housecleaning (listening to messages, cleaning office)
re: research (tech news, mostly)
tk: a task I initiate or have scheduled
mt: a committee or other meeting
em: an e-mail I initiate
ph: a phone call I initiate
vi: a visit I initiate
ps: a personal activity
bk: break

A word about the various interruption categories: this category counts not only the time spent directly with the person interrupting, but also the time spent on any task, related to the interruption, performed on-the-spot (so if someone calls and reports a paper jam, the call and the clearing of the jam all count as part of the interruption). If instead the interruption results in scheduling a task (that is, if the interruption does not represent something "urgent" ("urgent" meaning something like "this is an emergency that must be dealt with now," or "this is not an emergency but it will only take a few minutes and may as well be dealt with now")), and the task is performed later, then it will likely get filed as a task. Visits (vi), phone calls (ph), and e-mail messages (em) should be understood as somewhat of a subset of tasks (tk).

I have been doing this for about a month now, and the results are fascinating helpful. In general, though I spend a lot of time at work, I spend surprisingly little time actually, um, working. Something on the order of 9 - 9.5 hours there; 7.25 - 8 hours working. Which is likely not that different from most others at the seminary, I'm guessing, in terms of actual work performed in a day.

14 March 2007

Several Things

1. On the way to the airport when returning from Houston we encountered a man wearing a bright orange shirt that had a picture of a chicken and said "Big Peckers." Classy.

2. On the SouthShore Line to Educause Midwest I headed to the restroom. Thinking that whoever may be in there would surely have locked the door I went in. "It's occupied. Try knocking." Turns out the lock was broken.

3. At the Educause poster sessions I was chatting with someone who had just overseen an implementation of wireless on their campus. A professor from somewhere (maybe Western Illinois University) approached, waited for an opportunity, and said, "This is f****n' brilliant." You don't tend to hear such things at seminary, and I can't recall hearing at any other conference I've been to.

4. During a presentation about an implementation of moodle a slide was supposed to say "housed." There was a typo: the moodle installation was on a "very entry-level Dell server hosed with UMC computing services."

13 March 2007

Houston #3

Ah, the wedding.

Houston, in my limited experience, does not match up well with Google maps. At least, the directions were difficult to follow. Hence, a trip that GM thought would last about 35 minutes took more like 1 hr and 15 minutes. So we left at 3:00 to make a 4:00 wedding, arrived at 4:15, and were 45 minutes early. That's right. The wedding was on Ethiopian time.

After a 10 minute welcome, in both Amharic and English, everyone stood up and started applauding something the worship leader had said. I think the English equivalent must have been something like "let's stand and give God a big round of applause" or something like that. Then the singing. About 35 minutes of singing Ethiopian praise songs -- loud, with lots of dancing (which in this case looked a lot like jumping up and down), and some fascinating vocalizations that I cannot quite describe: something like saying "lalalalala" (trilling? ululation) in head voice. These vocalizations came at apparently random times. Of course, everything was in Amharic, so the only part I understood was "Hallelujah." Thank goodness for Hebrew.

A 30 minute homily followed. Fortunately there were bits of English interspersed in the homily, so this is roughly what I understood:

rock concert, day saving time, spring forward, she's talking to herself, minus 20, minus 17, only for one hour, lost luggage, Christmas tree lights, cheap, nine dollar, attention (this may have been something Amharic that I interpreted as "attention"), focus, distraction, this is just his first try, it's amazing, "she's only 10 minute, then he spend one hour", pound gorilla, don't worry, shopping center, be fruitful, get up and do something, this is what he's saying, "California, Malibu Beach," panaromic view, it's a historical moment, emergency, midwest, Ohio Valley, downstairs, basement, "Miami Beach. Wow. White sand. Blue water. Cuban music. Salsa.", Hurricane, it's not easy, FEMA, look at picture, set a mandate (again, possibly Amharic), Christmas tree light - is that really a value?, generation

I assume that the Amharic portions of the sermon were more enlightening. As best I can tell this was a sermon about false values, the danger of living anywhere (I assume that's the bit about Ohio Valley, California, Miami), and possibly the widow of Zarephath.

Oh, and the sermon was apparently funny at places.

Vows followed. Traditional as best as I could tell. Then the lighting of the unity candle, which the happy couple held aloft after lighting. And the kiss.

Finally, another part of the wedding I could understand: food. A lovely Ethiopian meal was had by all, including the guests that did not fit in the fellowship hall and had to sit outside. Also including, possibly, passersby who saw there was some sort of festivity happening and decided they too would partake in the meal.

12 March 2007

Houston #2

I've heard rumors of something called "First Class." Prior to this weekend they were only rumors. Imagine my surprise when, as I was about to board, I was called aside and asked for my boarding pass. Then my spouse was waved through ... but, fortunately, she mentioned we were together. When we got our passes back we'd been moved to row 4, seats E and F. First class, baby.

So while all the rest of the poor schleps in economy class got to pay for their snack ($3 for a bag of chips), we got treated to being called by name, a continental breakfast, and any of the beverages we wanted.

That's the sort of thing a person could, but probably should not, get used to.

I'm always wearing a sport jacket when I fly from now on. That nearly offset the unpleasant TSA experience.

Houston #1

Three quick posts about a trip to Houston this weekend. Here's the first.

The TSA seems self-satirical, especially the 3-1-1 rule: no more than a 3 oz. container; all containers in one one-quart ziploc bag that is easily closeable; and only one bag per traveler. So we get to the airport and my spouse attempts to go through with a couple of containers, one that contains lotion and another that contains some sort of soap, both of which were in containers larger than three ounces ... but neither of which were even close to full.

"These aren't full."

"We go by the size printed on the container."

So out they went. I'm trying to figure out why they won't let obviously not full bottles of gel pass through. Initially I thought it could be because they thought all your terrorist friends may each bring their smaller allowed amounts and subsequently combine them into your mostly empty container. But, then, water bottles of nearly any size are allowed through the checkpoint, so long as they're empty. Can anyone enlighten me as to why an empty water bottle is somehow less threatening than a nearly empty container of lotion?

On the plus side, after tossing the bottles, they did let us and our one-gallon ziplocs through. So a nearly empty five ounce bottle is a no-no, but a nearly empty one-gallon ziploc is fine.

What's that tickling my taste buds? Oh, yes, freedom. Mmmmm ...

09 March 2007


Heading to Houston this weekend for his wedding. Should be fun.

Web 7.0

Just trying to keep ahead of the curve. And, no, I don't have any idea what Web 7.0 might be. Neither does anyone else. 2.0 is difficult enough to track.

06 March 2007

Aarghy Blarghy Burghy

I hereby test my ability to post to my blog via e-mail. If this works it is conceivable that I would use e-mail to send other things to the blog -- like, for example, a weekly log of how I spend my time at work. Because I know every one of you is dying to know.

03 March 2007

Sarah and Abe II

A few thoughts, not well thought.

1. Genealogy of Genesis 11 vs. Abraham's claim of Sarah's relation to him in Genesis 20;
2. Lot and his daughters vs. the sister/wife episodes;
3. Differences and similarities between the sister/wife episodes;
4. Nothing about Hagar (that's for next time).

Not much to say about these things, they're just a few ideas to get discussion bubbling.

01 March 2007


After a week of troubleshooting workstations and installing upgrades, perhaps tomorrow I can accomplish something I intended to do.

28 February 2007

Abe and Sarah

I'm teaching Sunday School. Here's the assignment for Sunday:

Read Genesis 11:27 - 12:20; 17 - 18; 20:1 - 21:7; 22 - 23. What do you notice as you read that you had not noticed in earlier readings? What questions do these texts raise for you? Why are these stories important?

Sarah is also mentioned in Romans 9, Hebrews 11, and I Peter 3. Do these texts note the same points you did?

Wonder whether that'll generate any discussion...

26 February 2007


Hmmm, where to start.

Friday, 23 Feb 2007: Updated Raisers Edge to version 7.8ish. Part of that update required updating from MSDE to SQL Server 2005 Express. But it seemed work smoothly.

Monday, 26 Feb 2007, 8:00AM: Discovered that Friday evening's system backup failed. Some investigation into the logs and some help from my good friend Google (GFG) revealed that something between Volume Shadow Service and SQL Express 2005 was broken. Some more help from GFG handed me a nifty page that indicated which .dlls to re-register manually. After completing that, the backup seemed to work fine.

Monday, 26 Feb 2007, 9:00AM: Discovered that re-registering the .dlls caused problems for Education Edge. Apparently the MSDE instance had disappeared. So, I thought, maybe I'll just run a quick backup, and attach the database to the existing SQL Express instance. As you might imagine, hilarity ensued.

Monday, 26 Feb 2007, 5:45PM: After a day of trying diligently to follow all the advice in all the KB articles I could find, I am currently on hold with Blackbaud. Surely they'll be able to get me out of the pickle, yes?

Monday, 26 Feb 2007, 6:11PM: Yes.

24 February 2007

172 Hrs, 16 Minutes

... and counting that AMBS has been cleared from Spamhaus. I'm still holding my breath.

23 February 2007


Whatever in the world does "add flavor to taste" mean? Is there any possible non-nonsensical interpretation?

21 February 2007


After my bit in a Biblical Storytelling Festival on Sunday, one of those in attendance asked, "What's the point of humor?" My answer? "Well, it just sort of happened." That does not seem like an answer adequately considered. So here's a further effort.
  1. "It just sort of happened."

    This can be made a fuller answer than it was when given. The script, if you'll notice, does not actually "read funny." So some of the humor to which the questioner referred came from the performance: both the interpretation of the performer and the reaction of the audience. I was a little chagrined, for example, when the line I thought was a setup generated considerable response (fortunately, the punchline also generated considerable response), and equally chagrined when the comments I thought were funny were greeted with silence. But mostly I was troubled when the comments I intended to be serious were also taken as funny. In this sense, the humor "just sort of happened."

    Additionally, in this case, writing the story demanded that I come to think of Abram/Abraham as something of a real person as opposed to a mythic figure. While there are a few humorless people about, most people, to varying degrees, have a sense of humor. So if A/A is indeed to be considered a real person, it seems reasonable to think that he, in relating his story, may find some parts of his life amusing. At the very least, he was capable of laughter (though it is odd that Sarai/Sarah gets chided for laughing at the prospect of bearing a child while A/A does not). In that sense as well, the humor "just sort of happened."

  2. "It's funny because it's not me ..."

    We laugh at misfortune to others. And we laugh when people who have had the misfortune laugh at themselves -- people respond favorably when Al Gore cracks some joke about having almost been president. Some people (I presume) watch America's Funniest Home Videos. Toddler fall down go boom? Funny. Homer Simpson straddles mogul after mogul? Funny. Ben Stiller embarrassing himself? Funny.

  3. " ... oh, wait, yes it is me."

    Humor takes the edge off of truth. This is commonly cited as a reason for the use of humor, and is why, I think, we tend to laugh hardest at things that, given thought, cut closest to our nature. We laugh before we think. And we laugh harder because, subconsciously, we know already. So when A/A says something about most of his life's awkward situations coming about because of "just this sort of thing" [arguing with God (spouse, friend, pet)], people laugh because they can relate -- even if not right in the moment.
So, an answer no more profound, but better organized.

20 February 2007

67 Hours

... and still not re-listed. We're approaching record territory here. Though, apparently, we're no longer able to search the University of Notre Dame library catalog. That should probably be addressed.

19 February 2007


Obviously the U.S. tax system, as it currently exists in my experience, relies heavily on the honesty of those who file. This seems hopelessly naïve -- don't we commonly assume people are not worth trusting? We lock our doors, walk faster at night (if we walk at all), assume the world is pretty dog-eat-dog, etc. On the other hand, though, don't most tax cheaters attempt to do so legally via loopholes instead of outright lying? Even though the penalties may not be particularly severe? So isn't the IRS ultimately correct to assume that people will be honest? John David?

17 February 2007

Thank You #2

Again, TurboTax. Federal Income Tax filed: 07 Feb. Refund deposited: 16 Feb. Hoorah.

15 February 2007

Thank You #1

TurboTax. Completed taxes: 07 Feb. State refund deposited: 14 Feb. Sweet.