Couldn’t resist sharing…

I dunno why, but this cracked me up:

motorcycle tickle It’s been a while since I rode. Though that’s all I did (all I had) back when I was 18. Back then, I knew upstate South Carolina like the back of my hand. Last time I was there visiting, I needed a GPS receiver to extricate myself from the country backroads. Oh well, time marches on.

I got a bike when I was a grad student, on the theory that parking on campus sucks so bad, maybe it’d be easier with a motorcycle. Yeah. That worked. Apparently, I wasn’t the only student who had that idea.

I also discovered that, while it’s still fun to ride, it just wasn’t me, anymore. Time marches on.

Anyways, we’re nearing the home stretch this semester. Things are going pretty well, in spite of my usual hare-brained mistakes. Web Design is (mostly) a lot of fun, though the department decided to re-designate the course number. I have a pair of web servers that I use to push content out to students. It’s all static, so I had to change a couple hundred files to show that, no, it’s not CSCI 1710 anymore. Now it’s CSCI 1210. Le sigh … thank God for sed, or it would’ve taken even longer. Meanwhile, I’ve been updating the sites further, hopefully to make them better resources for the students. (Plus, it’s a lot of fun).

Should you be interested, you can see my work at http://csci1210.com (I know, I know…I’ve already been chided for not securing it. I probably will after the semester’s over. I don’t want to risk blowing the thing up mid-semester.).

I’ve also accepted the position of Chair of the department’s website committee. (Uh oh…I noticed while making that link, there’s a problem with our site certificate, or something. It’s not secure at the moment, but you can trust it. Seriously).

Don’t laugh. We’re in the process of updating the department’s site, which has proven to be a non-trivial issue. While I know (teach) web design in theory, there are a lot of issues that have cropped up from a practical viewpoint that I hadn’t anticipated. Since the site is representative of the university, we’re working under a lot of constraints. Basically, we have to use a template-driven design from the CMS that the university uses to ensure our look is consistent with everyone else’s.

For those of you, dear readers, who aren’t initiated into the mysteries of web design, a CMS is a Content Management System. If you’re wondering what that is, well, you’re looking at one right now. I use WordPress (which is free). The university uses OU Campus (which isn’t). Conceptually, they’re the same, though. But since most of the maintainers of the content on the system aren’t conversant with the finer points of coding in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, the template that ITS has created makes it more of a drag-and-drop proposition. WordPress is similar. But the difference is that with WP, I can ‘get in under the hood’ and fine tune something If I want to (note the box shadow on the pic above); with OU Campus, I can’t.

On top of all that, there’re legal and conformance issues I haven’t encountered before. For example, we want to include pictures of students working on projects, getting help or consulting with (the more photogenic of) us, etc. Naturally. But in order to use those pictures, we have to have consent from the student. I haven’t actually gone down this path, yet (and ITS has a dedicated photographer), but I imagine being asked to sign a waiver might dampen some students’ enthusiasm. Oh well. Time marches on.

My System Administration class is going great. Students are pretty motivated and AWS is, well, AWS. I worked in a new lab this semester simulating a DNS lookup to try to help students better understand the Domain Name System. One or two labs have gone sideways, a little bit, but for the most part, things are going really well.

MCOur migration to the new facilities at the Millennium Centre is underway. I have two class meetings there this semester. The facilities are super nice! Though it took me a while to figure out the lectern media control panel. We had a ‘class’ on it, but, for me, it still took a while. The big lab (pictured) has 46 (I think) workstations, four laser projectors with motored screens that automatically deploy (real ‘James Bond’ stuff!), an audio system, an AirPlay system (so an instructor can stream from his/her own computer, if they want), and a PTZ camera system. I do use my own PC in class, usually, but through a VPN connection that’s fairly reliable. Anyway, it’s going to be real nice, especially once we complete the migration from Nicks Hall.

If you’re wondering what’s going on in on the center screens, I displayed a real-time look at all the attempts to hack my web servers (sudo tail -f /var/log/auth.log) to emphasize the importance of security. The attacks are never-ending.

On a personal note, I managed to survive yet another celebration of aging. For the most part, the birthday was no biggie. Just another day (in which I worked 12 hours). But there it is. Better, I guess, than the alternative. But only just.

Otherwise, life goes on. I sometimes hope that all the ‘bots out there, whilst attempting to breach my security, are at least enjoying my occasional drivel 🙂 But I digress….

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