posts from the life professional


August 2008

Skydrive is Open!

What a pleasant surprise! I was able to upload files from Firefox 3 running on Ubuntu 8.04.1.

Just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke, I did downloads and uploads from Firefox 3 running on OSX 10.5.4. It worked again!

And here I was, thinking Skydrive would be coded to work only with IE/Windows. I’m impressed. And mighty pleased that Microsoft is taking this attitude of openness.

What did not work, though, was trying to access the site from Safari on OSX. When I have the time, I’ll try doing this from Safari on Vista. I’m still happy, though, to be able to access my Skydrive from the 3 OSes I use more frequently.

In another statement of Microsoft openness – I’m making this post from Word2007 – there’s a Blog Post feature that I only just discovered (while looking for something else). This post is actually a test, to see how well it’ll send this up to wordpress.

(Later note – the blog post from word2007 worked like a charm – image and all)


Dual booting Vista and Ubuntu on tc4400 tablet

A long weekend well spent.  This was the weekend of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony (8th Aug) and Singapore’s 43rd National Day (9th Aug).  It’s monday night (today was a day-off in lieu) and I’m for the most part happy with the Dual Boot Vista and Ubuntu on a hp compaq tc4400 tablet.  Tomorrow, I move my datafiles across from my old Vista HDD, and start spending more of my working day in Ubuntu.

I depended heavily on the masses of great content on the web for installing the various Ubuntu components.  The laptop came with a Broadcom wireless controller, so the first order of the day was to manually get wireless working.  There were articles which went the “sudo get-apt…..” route – which generally worked well enough.  And there were articles that mentioned doing the same thing in the Synaptic Package Manager.  The latter method, where present, is best.  I managed to royally mess up another laptop (a hp compaq 6515b – more on this in another post) by doing lots of get-apt commands, and ending up with video that performed very slowly.

I’m depending on Google Toolbar to help me keep my URLs available to both Linux and Vista.   I’ve got a FAT32 partition that both OSes can write to.  Linux let’s me read the NTFS partition that VIsta sits on.

The summary of my install steps is at this page.

Randy Pausch

On the morning of monday 28th July 2008, wanting to do a work related search, I fired up Google and saw this:

It was a nice tribute. The link went to one of the many videos of Randy’s Lectures on youtube – the full lecture, and the one most worth watching.

“The Last Lecture – Achieving your Childhood Dreams”

It’s clear he prepared long and hard for the lecture. It’s full of humour, wit and wisdom ….. and teaching aids. Yes, this man was indeed a pedagogue to the core. It’s a lecture I want to watch over and over again (made easier by the nifty flv downloaders that you can get as firefox add-ons). Thanks to the lecture, I’ve been introduced to the Alice Project – and will explore the sw for use in the School IT Labs we’ve been building these last couple of years.

I strongly recommend investing the hour and a quarter it’ll take to view the video in it’s entirety. The slides and transcript are available on the Randy Paush webpage, as are links to projects he speaks about in the video.

I’m a quarter way through his book, “the Last Lecture”, which so far reads like a “making of….” tv special for a new hit movie. Like the lecture, it’s intelligent and inspiring, going behind the scenes of how it came to be, and adding in content he could not fit into the time confines of his speech.

Here’s a man not much older than I am – concerned about leaving something more for his kids than just setting things up financially/logistically and a few vague memories dulled by time’s passage, who’s loved and worked with technology all his professional life.  This sounds so familiar and is so easy for me to relate to.  Yet he was totally unknown to me and much of the world until his last lecture video became a hit all around the world, which would not have happened if he had not come down with pancreatic cancer. Suppose he had not had the cancer?  He could just as easily have passed away in a traffic accident on 25th July 2008, so the end result – his passing from this world by a certain date, would have been the same. But his having advanced notice, a time limit, and his focusing on the good he could do with the remaining time made possible his inspiring so many.  Credit goes to the vendors, technologies and communities of the Web2.0 universe that made it possible for his message to reach far and wide, free of charge, across geographies and eventually, across time to his grown up children who will then be able to understand the wisdom their father wanted to impart to them.

I have no idea how much time I have left. Nor do most people who have not been notified by the countdown that comes with a detected terminal illness. A priority for me in the coming weeks is to really seek out my passions, and see how to bring these as much as possible into my work-life, which consumes so much of my life energy today.

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