Returning to my Windows grad school roots

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows “I am Mac.” In all reality, I am a linux person who adores Adobe Creative Suites and lives by MS Excel. In grad school I had a Mac for graphics from my adviser, a Sparcstation for research (from my other adviser) and I owned a Fujitsu lifebook. It was a cluttered life that after the advent of OS X got translated into “I am Mac.” My original switch was the result of my laptop, then a VIAO, getting sick one too many times. My beloved VIAO with its x-windows emulator allowed me to login to a Solaris server somewhere else and do my astronomy work. I had virus protection and always surfed safe. Then I discovered there are viruses that will swim up closed ports. I got series of viruses that wiped my hard...

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Making Google Gadgets Go

Making Google Gadgets Go

So, any of you who read my twitter know that I’ve been working on Portal to the Universe this week. Part of this is figuring out what goes into making astronomy tools (for fun and work) that can live on iGoogle pages and on normal webpages like this one. Today I managed, with a fair bit of frustration, to get two Google Gadgets to sort of go. I would like to state for the record that the Google Sandbox does not work equally elegantly in all themes. I would also like to say that caching can drive you crazy. Nonetheless, it is highly satisfying to code things that proclaim “Goodbye, World!” or “Delete World” instead of the normal “Hello, World!” It was a sarcastic day. Okay, whining over. Wanna see what I did? As I create...

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Writing text with my voice

I’m playing with a bit of new technology. I’ve been doing so much typing lately that my wrists started to hurt. I love to write. I needed to find a solution, so I googled. Eventually I landed on some dictation software, MacSpeech. I’m attempting to write this blog post using that new software. I’ve been playing all day and I have to admit my friends have been very patient – More patient than I deserved. I accidentally rang up Chris on Skype, and while IMing to Fraser mass chaos ensued in a text window. Of course there is a certain irony in me talking to my Skype text message when I could just as easily ring him in Skype. And eventually we did just talk. And now I’m just talking to you. Part of me wonders if I shouldn’t...

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Worst. Tech. Week. Ever.

For every good weekend, there is an equally bad one. Last weekend rocked. This one, um, did not. Preface – My laptop is at the Apple Store being repaired. This means my computer with all my best toys is not available for use. For those who have been following my twitter whining, here is the full story. 1) Yesterday I noticed starstryder was no longer googlable (is that a word), and asked for ideas 2) The wonderful Stuart Lowe noted that if I did a view source, many naughty and pharmaceutically related words appeared. 3) I realized I’d been hacked. As had my university computer (growl). Astronomy Cast was safe. 4) I restored my theme, removing all google ads and stuff, on this site and upgraded wordpress (this site is privately hosted. 5) I upgraded...

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Astronomy Education in the Era of Web 2.0

Astronomy Education in the Era of Web 2.0

Currently, I’m at SSU learning how teachers teach astronomy and physics concepts related to the types of high energy astrophysics that will be studied in by the recently launch GLAST telescope. I flew out so that I could teach these master teachers about teaching astronomy new media, but I have to admit that I’m picking up a bunch of content I can take back and use next time I teach science foundations for elementary education majors. Looking around the Internet for new resources for my talk, I have to admit that it is getting harder and harder to keep my new media talks into tiny pockets of time. Once upon a time, I’d give a 20-minute presentation on audio-based podcasts. Then in turned into 20 minutes on a pod/vodcasting and 20 on social...

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