Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Work Stuff
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Work has varied lately, from somewhat interesting to rather mundane. (This post has some ranting at the end in case you want to skip there.)

The week before last I developed an API that ties our campus course management system into our LDAP directory and allows everyone to sign in with their e-mail addresses (which should mean not having to look up a couple hundred forgotten user names / passwords each term).

This new sign-in system not only ties in to LDAP for authentication, but also automatically creates new accounts on our system if the person doesn't have one. Furthermore, it allows faculty to create guest accounts on the system for outside people who they want to invite to check out their class. This guest account exists only on our system, and can be accessed so that the LDAP server is bypassed.

Anyway... the above set-up was my assignment for the summer.

All my efforts this past week revolved around moving my image database system, my .htaccess password change system, and my story board posting system to production servers so that each can be demonstrated in a series of faculty workshops this week. All well along those lines.

I've also read a couple of books in line with my goal to spend a little less time in front of the screen.

Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity turns out to be a piece against current copyright law trends of giving more power to copyright holders at the expense of public domain. I pretty much agree with the arguments, but the author offers little in the way of solutions.

At a much higher level of prose is Shamans, Software and Spleens: Law and the Construction of the Information Society, which discusses many ramifications of who owns information and ideas and what the trends are, and what's good or not good for society. This author also believes too much power is concentrating in the hands of copyright owners. I found the book difficult to get through because of the pompous academic writing.

So now for a rant, sort of.

One of the two faculty who run the office of on-line instruction here on campus often uses his web site to demonstrate various aspects of teaching on-line. I dare you to take a look at it. Every time it appears I want to hide. As he said yesterday, he could watch the little animated scroll at tiger (at the bottom of the screen) all day. Mon dieu! Sadly, I believe him.

Overall, I feel that CSUN's level of technology services runs pretty much along the lines of Cornell's. When I left there in 1997. CSUN's only now implementing standardized user names and single-sign-on access points. Cornell did this about 1992. All the web-design courses taught by ITR here employ Netscape composer. It's just a sorry place to work.

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