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Web Ten Years

This year marks a number of ten year anniversaries for the web site we created in December 1993 for my office, the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI). This ran on a humble Macintosh SE/30 sitting on a table in the hallway— the very first web server in our organization, running what was then the free MacHTTP server software.

As a former geologist, all of our machines in our office had domain names chosen after minerals or rocks, and the original URL for our server was http://hakatai.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ (which still works). For those unfortunate enough not to have trained in geology, we have an explanation for what “hakatai” means.

It was 10 years ago tomorrow (January 15) that we submitted our site to the NCSA What’s New Page— this was at that time the one and only place to go to check out new web sites that were sprouting up like wildflowers. Some consider this the original notion of a weblog, a chronologically organized set of descriptions of web content elsewhere. Anyhow, if you scroll down to January 15, 1994, you will find us.

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Dog/Blog House Updates Part Trois

Another squirrely thing about MovableType right out of the box is that the category archive templates it create is more or less a never-ending appending of your posts to a long scrolling archive. It hardly seems useful once you have blogged say 10, 20 entries in a category, much less if you have written long pieces and/or embedded images.

Previously I wrote about my funky strategy for creating two sets of category archives, the recent 20 linked to “all the rest”, but I have modified the output templates to produce more or less a title/abstract view (example) rather than a mimic of the original post, with a link to the full post (the individual archive, old example)…

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Dog/Blog House Updates Part Deux

More changes I forgot in the MovableType structure of CDB. Previously, when I had a poor grasp on MT templates, I had separate index templates for each of my category RSS feeds, thinking there was not a way to generalize that. This was sloppy, requiring new templates for every category I decided to add, and the more index rebuilds you ask MT to do, it seems to get a bit clunkier.

Here is how I created generalized RSS feeds (okay, they are still RSS 1.0, but I’ve yet to figure out why I need 2.0 or pie or Atom or whatever else it is called these days. I am open to having my paw slapped)…

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Repository Follies Followup: Horton’s Presentation

This rightfully belongs with the recent barking on Repository Follies— a few weeks back Scott Leslie made reference to “Best Faculty-level presentation on Learning Objects from the last 18 months”— a vintage 2002 keynote by William Horton titled “Don’t Bother Me With Learning Objects! I’ve Got a Course to Teach!, a worthwhile 4.3 Mb PDF: […]

Blog Pile

Reorganizing the Dog/Blog House

A new year. Time to look around the house and tidy up. I had grandiose plans for some new weblog features here at CDB, but like many year-end resolutions, fell a bit short.

One thing I did (and partially messed up) was to change the URL and location of the individual archives created by MovableType. Out of the box, you typically end of with your blog postings having URLs such as:

http://cogdogblog.com/alan/archives/000379.html

e.g. creating sequentially numbered URLs which are nice if you are a database and like references such as “000379”, but the URL itself says nothing about the content at all. I decided to make some changes, with the resulting same post now residing at:

http://cogdogblog.com/alan/archives/2003/12/22/rss_winterfest.html

Which lets you know by looking at the URL (with some guessing) that this post is was made December 22, 2003 and has something to do with RSS and a winter festival (maybe). Here was the path..

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The Ray of MLX Hope: Nutrition Faculty

As a brighter followup to the repository folly, I am excited by an event planned next week by a lead faculty member in the Nutrition area at one of our colleges.

As she explained, there are not a large number of faculty in this discipline across of colleges and many of the classroom teachers are adjunct faculty, so as a group, they were interested in creating a collection of sharable teaching resources they could all draw from as needed. “Wow maybe we should build….. nahhh, it already exists!” Luckily, Maureen actually reads the emails I blitz about the Maricopa Learning eXchange (MLX). and she was willing and interested to arrange a discipline focused effort to build a collection that would be useful in her field..

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Repository Folly…

By rule, I usually avoid use of the “R-word” (repository, too close to the “S-word”), but wanted to launch, here just a few notches into a new calendar, my pessimism on the aspirations of those creating these magical collections of “learning objects.” The folly is that educators will give up some time to share information about resources they have created or used. They pay lip service to the concept but the action is not there. A bigger folly is that they would have the gumption to complete a “meta-data” form on top of that.

I am more convinced is that the loop is far from closed as we lack anything that can easily build meaningful things from these R-places. We have piles of meta-data on top of objects… and that is about all.

But following the pessimism is maybe a small ray of sunshine (next post).

This is fueled largely by the lack of response (or glacial speed thereof) of contributions to our Maricopa Learning eXchange (MLX). Back in October I outlined a rather long list of the various efforts and strategies we have put in place to convince our folks to help build the MLX.

Blog Pile

How Shapers of Your Future Write

Ahhh, there is nothing like literate, thoughtful email feedback… if only it happened more often than Arizona blizzards. For more than 9 years, we have gotten a stream of emails via our free, online Writing HTML Tutorial, most coming from lesson 12 where we teach you how to write a hyperlink that triggers an email. […]