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.


Friday, December 4, 2015

When You Find Yourself Inclined to Swear, Look in the Mirror.

Sometime last week or the week before, my wife received the first Unsolicited Commerccial Message I think she has ever received on her mobile phone.

(UCM, in other words, so-called "spam". My memory is that the term "spam" was originally said to be a coinage derived from the coined term, "spatter mail", but the Monty Python theory seems to gain the better press. I know the term was in use well before the 1990s.)

It was an offer to register on some sort of social media kind of web service. It looked like bait for e-mail addresses to me. My son looked up the name of the supposed service and he thinks the name is intended to be a spoof of a possibly legitimate new social web service.

(I personally think that social media is just an organized method of spamming, but ...)

About four more of these messages have found their way to here inbox since then, and we've been talking about it, on and off.

But I have somehow forgotten to tell her she can block the source address if it doesn't change. She is thinking of changing the e-mail address of the phone.

And I, in my distraction, have been talking too much about how it is all Microsoft's fault for producing the very shoddy Microsoft Windows OS family and the very shoddy Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail software and the very shoddy Microsoft Word and other very shoddy Microsoft Office components.

All of Microsoft's offerings have traditionally emphasized feature over safety, or even usability. Their current offerings are improving, but still are not safe on the internet at any speed. And the rest of the information industry seems to feel themselves compelled to chase Microsoft's putative feature list, so that most of what is available now is not that secure any more, either.

(Unfortunately, the Linux OS community also seems to be caught up in this race.)

We were talking about it some more yesterday morning while I was exercising, and the talking was slowing me down, making me about fifteen minutes later out the door than I intended to be, a bit too close to the wire for comfort.

I was just a little stressed, but still within my range of rational thought and not pushing too hard on the Tourette's buttons.

It was raining, a fine drizzle, not quite light enough to ignore, but light enough that I debated leaving my umbrella shut to make it easier to run.

I wanted to check the time, to see how motivated I should be to run.

So I pulled out this expensive pocket watch I call a cellphone, ...

... and the external time display was blocked by a notification.

You know, something like, "You have mail waiting." Or whatever. Something was more important than my need to see the time.

This mobile phone is a semi-recent clamshell. I think I've had it about a year.

CPU, RAM, persistent store (FLASH) -- the specs were pretty much the same, except for the screen, as a cheap Android phone on the next shelf over when I bought it.

The OS is, as near as I can tell, whatever the thing was called between LiMo and Tizen. Or maybe it is Tizen. Anyway, it's built on a partially GNU userland running on a Linux kernel.

Technically required to be GPL-licensed, and thus supposed to be technically accessible to the end-user/owner, should said end-user owner desire to go to the effort of modifying something like the format of notifications so the time is visible when there is an active notification.

Technically required to be GPL, and there is, somewhere, on a public-facing server owned by Sharp, a tarball that technically fulfills the requirement of access to the GPL-licensed code.

A tarball that no ordinary engineer without a lot of expensive debugging equipment and other things that no one but the manufacturer has access to can use.

Anyway, I swore at whoever had caused that notification. (Okay, I've been getting a bit careless about the Tourettes tendencies lately.)

Had to wait for a stoplight, so I looked again. The notification was a schedule reminder, one I had set myself, to remind myself that I had a visit with the doc this morning.

So I was swearing at myself. Look in the mirror.

You know, that scheduler is much better than the one on the phone that this phone replaced (which was a LiMo phone). It's almost useable.

And if I were to dig into the Tizen website, I might find information that would allow me to alter the notification templates.

Or even write the stopwatch applet I wanted to write for my previous phone (which was a LiMo).

Or maybe even bc in a bash shell. No, probably not that. They wouldn't allow that, I'm sure. That would be way too much power in the hands of the user.

I won't really know until I take the time to nose around the site and exercise the patience to read the Japanese.

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Courtesy is courteous.