Plan for today

  1. Catch up with email (allow an hour).
  2. Play with OpenCMS for a while:

  3. Install documentation modules if necessary.

  4. Create a new engineering web site.

  5. Report any problems.

  6. Install SnipSnap:

  7. Create a blog.

  8. Play with the Wiki.

  9. Report any problems.

  10. Interview a student re his GDE

  11. Catch up with Blogines.

Installation Blues

I’ve just spent the whole day trying to install OpenCMS on my SuSE 9.1 box. I got stuck trying to get access to MySQL. In the end I had to delete MySQL and delete the old databases. When I reinstalled I noticed that it advised my to

mysqladmin -u root password ‘password
mysqladmin -u root -h hostname passwd ‘password

I didn’t do the latter first time around! When I fixed the error and changed the DB url to jdbc:mysql:<em>hostname</em>:3306/ it finally all worked. Permissions on MySQL is a black art at the best of times, but I wish there was a note to this affect somewhere in the documentation. Oh, for a decent user manual!

Anyway, after about 5 hours of hair pulling, here is my new OpenCMS server: I hope that SnipSnap goes better tomorrow.

The Serendipity of Google

I just did a google search for “collaborative programming” + wikki on google and came up with (the only match!) Pair Programming: More Learning and Less Anxiety in a First Programming Course. Not exactly what I expected to find, but very relevant nonetheless. Perhaps even better, the paper is hosted at The GE Master Teachers for Freshman Engineering at Northeastern University which seems to be a clearing house for best practice. A partcular gem is Chalk Talk with Jonas Chalk which is a essentially a L&T Best Practices FAQ written in the form of an Agony Aunt Column.

New Blogger Composition Client

I just noticed that Blogger has updated its blog posting system. Along with the standard HTML composition window, Blogger now has a Compose window that gives a WYSYWIG view.
It includes picture upload, numbered and unumbered lists, text coloring, fonts layout and keyboard shortcuts. Great stuff!

Blinkx Trial

After an interest piquing article in yesterday’s Guardian Online All Eyes on Blinkx, I downloaded a beta copy of the Blinkx client. It’s currently 67% through indexing My Documents at the moment. Key features:

  • It uses AI techniques to index the content of document rather than Google’s page ranking algorithm.
  • It indexes documents and email inboxes on your own computer.
  • It has smart searches
  • It can produce a sort of concept map of the results of your search.
  • It scours USENET and Blogs as well as static web pages.

The home page claims to have indexed 10% of the Internet.

Interesting technology!