My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Have Android, Will Exhibit Tourette's.

Sudden tendencies to socially unacceptable behavior while riding the train for about a month. I'm sure the people around me were a little put off, although they didn't show it.


Acer Iconia A200 and Android.

Android is missing so many pieces it is not funny. If you want a functioning system, you have to load all sorts of apps from Google's play store or whatever that is.
  • No way to edit text. (I'm using the free version of Jota+ for now, but it's like a straightjacket compared to, say, gedit.)
  • Likewise for getting a good look at your filesystem.  (Yeah, there are free file managers, but the blurbs for all of them make me feel less than comfortable about installing them.)
  • Firefox? (Well, there is a free version of Opera, and some browsers I've never heard of if you want an alternate browser.) 
    • [Wait! I found it! (I mean, really, how hard was searching the Play Store for "firefox". Sometimes I guess I'm a little braindead when things don't work the way I want them to.)]
  • Sylpheed? (Yeah, there are other mail browsers, including a Google gmail app, but I can't find a way to access the paste buffer in the gmail app. 10 MB, and no paste function. I'm not willing to try any of the others at this point.)
  • Gnupg? (Supposedly, the functionality for apps is built in with the Google Play app. But I haven't find any way besides the meaningless popularity ratings to decide whether I trust a particular independent dev. And what about the other, more important uses of gnupg?)
    • [Okay, searching the Playstore for "gnupg" found this, as well, although I have to do a little research on the Guardian Project first. That chicken-and-egg problem of "trust" is not really solved well by the PlayStore.]
  • Libreoffice? (Google has their QuickOffice and their spreadsheet app, but, again, there's important stuff missing. I've plunked around with KingSoft in the docomo store. No. Huh uh. Do not want that. And the rest? Trial versions? Huh?)
  • bc? gcc? Good luck with that.
Well, wait. There are two bright spots in the mess, a no-root Debian and a Terminal IDE. Seriously rough edges on both, but access to command-line tools, after a fashion. (I'll have to review them later.)

Why does this mess exist? Really, really simple. When Google put Android together, they made a way for hardware companies to provide lip-service letter-of-the-law appearance of compliance with the GPL, without really complying.

Specifically, don't expect drivers from Acer. In fact, pretty much every manufacturer thumbs their nose at you about drivers. So, no, if you want to install real Debian on the thing, you're on your own, in an intellectual property paucity minefield.

So, I take notes at a conference, using Jota+, thinking I'll paste them into e-mail after. (Editing text in the gmail app is a bit of a UI minefield.) Select, copy, and ... no paste.

[update: Attach an external keyboard, and ctrl-v pastes for me. No promises for your Android device, though. Or mine, next time I try this. Oh, and the external keyboard is a Japanese keyboard, but the layout seen by this Acer is US. Most of the shifted punctuation keys are out of place, and I don't see anywhere to change the keyboard mapping.]

No, if you were sitting beside me today on the train, I was not swearing at the person I was writing the e-mail to. I was swearing at Acer and Google. After several years of pretty reasonable self-control, I guess I've find something that pushes me over the edge again. (And this blog post is part of the stress management routine that results.)

[Update 2: I'm finding ways to use it after all.]

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