Training in El Centro

Just  got home from three months working in El Centro, CA. I wanted to thank the Morales Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy for being so welcoming and for teaching me so much.

Me, Rob Morales and Butters 2014-05-17 10.47.15Made some good friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Hopefully I’ll get to come back on that exercise again soon. Looking forward to training there again but until then, I’m going to find a club in the UK and continue there.

For the next week, regrettably, I will be studying my ass off for the M269 exam!

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Developing concurrent distributed systems (M362)

I’ve just started this Open University module. From the module description’s computing requirements:

If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

I started with the OU in 2008 and it’s good to see things have changed – back then it wouldn’t have mentioned Linux at all.

Joking aside things are changing. Algorithms, data structures and computability (M269), which I’m taking concurrently, has Linux software available with instructions on how to install and configure. I can understand why M362 staff would want specific versions of NetBeans and the JDK installed – the forums are already filling up with questions about various incompatibilities and conflicts and that’s just with Windows.

Fortunately the University has a Dreamspark Premium membership – so I was able to download Windows XP and a license key to install in a VirtualBox instance.

Virtual Box running OU software

I hope we continue to see progress with regards to platform neutrality – I’d like to spend more time learning computer science and mathematics and less time worrying about my choice of operating system.

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Samsung RV511 backlight and Fedora 20

Put Fedora 20 on my Samsung RV511 yesterday, everything worked out of the box except the backlight. Using the keys or the slider moved the animation but didn’t change the brightness – which was set to nuclear eye ball toasting mode.

Both the slider and the key combinations change the values in /sys/class/samsung/backlight. I know that the ACPI BIOS can provide interfaces but not always methods to control brightness, so I added acpi_backlight=vendor to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX entry in /etc/default/grub and the back-light is working fine.

Don’t forget to grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg.

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Goodbye Wiki

I realised this morning I spend more time maintaining a Wiki than using it so I’ve archived it and removed it from the site.

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Problems updating Nexus 7 (grouper) to Android 4.4.2

Latest update failed (4.3 to 4.4.2 I think) – just a forever spinning Nexus logo. Overwrote the tablet with a stock Nexus 7 (nakasi) image and all is well, besides needing to reconfigure everything and put my files back on it (thankfully Moon Reader Pro syncs positions with Dropbox/Google Drive).

You need the Android SDK installed (remember to add it to your path) and to have rooted the device – both covered in an earlier post. On the device hold down the power, volume up and down keys until the rescue screen appears.

Connect with USB and open a command prompt/terminal then type:

adb reboot bootloader

Download a stock image from Google – the Nexus 7 (nakasi) is this one. Decompress it and go to that folder in the command prompt/terminal, run either flash-all.bat (Windows) or flash-all.sh (Linux) and follow the prompts.

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Developing concurrent distributed systems (M362)

Module materials for Developing concurrent distributed systems (M362) just arrived and I’m a little daunted. I completed the now discontinued Object-oriented programming with Java (M255) in 2008 so I think it would be wise to read over the module notes – thankfully I still have them as PDF.

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Thoughts on Web Technologies (TT284)

TT284 Web Technologies is a level two Open University module now in its second year of presentation and compulsory on the solutions development pathway of BSc (Hons) Computing and IT (B62). From the module description:

This course will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can analyse requirements, plan, design, implement and test a range of web applications.

Continue reading

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Word 2013 stopped saving

Wasted a good chunk of last night and today farting around with Microsoft Office 2013 after it decided to crash every time I saved. No idea what caused it, other than that it started after I had pasted some Python code from an editor.

Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features. Select Microsoft Office 2013 and click Change. Quick repair didn’t work but full repair did.

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Well that’s a shame

From Sourceforge’s blog (emphasis mine):

Thanks to DevShare, we are now able to offer a bundle program that is fully compliant with Google’s strictest policies. This includes a solid compliance process for both open source applications and third party offerings. The whole installation flow is clean and has no misleading steps. Uninstallation procedures are exhaustively documented and all applications are verified to be virus and malware free.

I notice the linked example, Filezilla, has a clearly labelled download button with the file name on it. Except you’re actually downloading a completely different file name. Continue reading

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ICT Forums

I’ve studied six computing modules at the Open University, participating in their forums and even moderating one (TU100). I feel that there is a tendency to criticise computing modules that I haven’t noticed on mathematics modules. Unfortunately students are often not specific in their complaints, leading to responses from the faculty which don’t really answer the question (clearly -they don’t know what it is) in turn provoking a hostile response.

This isn’t to say staff are blameless. It infuriates me that while replying with accusations of not providing enough information, they then fail to do so themselves – stating the number of students on the module would give perspective on the number of people actually complaining.

It seems clear that regular forum users believe they are representative of the majority but from experience on TU100 I’m not sure this is true. A lot of students don’t like posting and I’ve met several students who find forums intimidating. I’d love to see some hard numbers here.

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