Weekly Web Harvest for 2019-06-23

The Grey Lady Learns Pivot Tables: NY Times J-Course Data, Part 1 | spreadsheetjournalismThis just in: The newspaper of record is rebranding itself into the newspaper of records. The Times – the one from New York, that is – has moved to evangelize the data-journalistic thing among its staff, and towards that admirable end has crafted an extended in-house workshop, syllabus and practice files/exercises made available to all the rest of us in Google Sheets here and here, respectively (ok, ok, call me the Luddite; I’m downloading the files into Excel). AltSchool’s out: Zuckerberg-backed startup that tried to rethink education calls it quits – SFChronicle.comNow, the 21st century schoolhouse, created by a former Google executive and backed by titans of tech like Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, is essentially shutting down. AltSchool is being retooled as Altitude Learning, a startup that will sell software and professional development services nationwide. Track This | A new kind of IncognitoLet us open 100 tabs of pure madness to fool trackers into thinking you’re someone else. bellingcat – Lord Of The Flies: An Open-Source Investigation Into Saud Al-Qahtani – bellingcatThe individual identifying themselves as al-Qahtani in emails to Hacking Team in 2012 and 2015 used two email addresses (saudq1978@gmail.com and saud@saudq.com) and a phone number (+966 55 548 9750) that can be definitively linked […] […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2019-06-16

xkcd: StackModer tech stack You Are Now Browsing In Incognito Mode – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency Who Gets to Own the West? – The New York Timesf America. In the last decade, private land in the United States has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. Today, just 100 families own about 42 million acres across the country, a 65,000-square-mile expanse, according to the Land Report, a magazine that tracks large purchases. Researchers at the magazine have found that the amount of land owned by those 100 families has jumped 50 percent since 2007. Norwegian island wants to become the world’s first time-free zone – Story | KTVU“When you live in Northern Norway, it doesn’t make sense to talk about daylight saving time, bedtime, dinner time, or any other time,” says Kjell Ove Hveding, one of the key islanders behind the initiative. “The midnight sun makes clocks an unnecessary nuisance, and we wish to be a time-free zone.” –just talking about removing the concept of time from my life earlier today The javascript spreadsheetjExcel is a lightweight vanilla javascript plugin to create amazing web-based interactive tables and spreadsheets compatible with Excel or any other spreadsheet software. You can create an online spreadsheet table from a JS array, JSON, CSV or XSLX files. You can copy from excel and paste […] […]

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Baby Snarf

This is a ridiculous thing. It came into my head the other day and it amused at least a few of my children . . . once I explained what Snarf was. I plan to make ridiculous things more often. I initially had it up on SoundCloud but they took it down after a few hours as a copyright violation. Rather than fighting them about what my rights are, I’m just putting it up on my own site. Then I couldn’t find a decent1 Snarf gif on Giphy so I made one of those too. Nothing fancy in either case but this is the kind of useless, amusing things that I really like about digital media and the Internet. Consider it the opposite of surveillance capitalism. 1 The new Snarf is super creepy. […]

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Baby Snarf

This is a ridiculous thing. It came into my head the other day and it amused at least a few of my children . . . once I explained what Snarf was. I plan to make ridiculous things more often. I initially had it up on SoundCloud but they took it down after a few hours as a copyright violation. Rather than fighting them about what my rights are, I’m just putting it up on my own site. Then I couldn’t find a decent1 Snarf gif on Giphy so I made one of those too. Nothing fancy in either case but this is the kind of useless, amusing things that I really like about digital media and the Internet. Consider it the opposite of surveillance capitalism. 1 The new Snarf is super creepy. […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2019-06-09

Opinion | In Stores, Secret Bluetooth Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move – The New York TimesBluetooth beacons, however, can track your location accurately from a range of inches to about 50 meters. They use little energy, and they work well indoors. That has made them popular among companies that want precise tracking inside a store. Mukbang – Wikipediaa live online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats large amounts of foods while interacting with their audience Instructure is not “the New Blackboard” –All of this uncertainty would inevitably create some trepidation among the employees, even if the new management handles the situation beautifully. The fact is that when people are no longer sure what their job is or how they can be successful at it, which is inevitable in this kind of environment of change, they tend to keep their heads down until they figure it out. They may not challenge decisions that they think are on the wrong track. Meanwhile, some of the new senior management, crucially including the CEO, were new to education and wouldn’t know where the landmines are. And there are many, many landmines. It wouldn’t matter how smart the new people are. It wouldn’t matter how decent and kind they are. Since they wouldn’t know where the landmines are, and their people would be likely […] […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2019-06-02

Pinboard on Twitter: “This call for privacy regulation by the New York Times editorial board serves invasive tracking scripts from at least 15 outside domains. I have asked the NYT to disclose this fundamental conflict of interest on their Privacy Project Here’s Why All Your Projects Are Always Late?—?and What to Do About ItTo succeed at reference-class forecasting, it’s best, to some degree, to ignore the project you’re currently planning, says Yael Grushka-Cockayne, who teaches project management and decision-making at the University of Virginia. “Don’t think about it too much… Look back at all the projects you’ve done that are similar to this new project X, and look historically at how well those projects performed in terms of their plan versus their actual,” Grushka-Cockayne explains. “See how accurate you were, and then use that shift or use that uplift to adjust your new project that you’re about to start. “ This data led Flyvbjerg to establish what he calls “the iron law of megaprojects: over budget, over time, under benefits, over and over again.” Security baseline (FINAL) for Windows 10 v1903 and Windows Server v1903 – Microsoft Security Guidance blogRecent scientific research calls into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices such as password expiration policies, and points instead to better alternatives such as enforcing banned-password lists (a great […] […]

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ANTH 101 – A Deeper Dive

It’s been a good while since I had the pleasure of working with Mike Wesch and Ryan Klataske on ANTH 101. I revisited the course recently to write a letter of support for an award submission for online courses. I am posting an extended version of that letter below because I think it paints a path with online courses that is rarely followed but is, nonetheless, replicable and worth considering. Bigger Picture? I see ANTH101 as a path forward that makes me hopeful in an online space that seems increasingly depressing.1 You have two races currently in online learning. There is a race to be the cheapest and easiest place to enroll.2 This article on Liberty “University” paints that picture pretty well. This world will be like the fast food industry in many ways. How uniform can we make things? How automated? What’s the least we can pay the fewest humans? The only path to profit will be through ridiculous scale. There will be very little difference between these providers. They will use LMS products that are very similar while following very similar online course rubrics and probably (poorly) paying many of the same adjunct/itinerant online course faculty. Additional sadness will occur when the same OPM is creating content, marketing etc. for multiple universities for the same courses and programs.3 […] […]

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Super Secret Journal Posts

Origin Story Let’s say someone wanted people to write down very personal, very sensitive thoughts about privilege, bias etc. They’ve turned down Google Docs as an option because they heard that people can see that. They want this even if you’ve said that writing down secrets at all is not a good idea and that writing them anywhere digital, let alone the Internet, is a very bad idea. So with that said, I think this is a pretty decent way to write stuff that’s only visible to the author and to the administrator of the site. It creates a custom post type called journal and then shuts off every thing that I think allows public access. Take note of the comments below and if you see anything I’m missing let me know. I also threw this in here in case it somehow did get public somewhere. It filters content when it’s a journal post type and makes sure you’re the owner or admin. If you turn on some of the public stuff, this would still keep things pretty private. […]

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Building an ACF-Based Grade Book Plugin in 30 Minutes or Less

Origin Story Kathy asked me if I had any grade book plugins that they could use with a faculty development course. The goal was to show faculty where they were in the course. I knew I did not wish to use Learn Dash for any number of reasons– grade book module costs extra, grade book module is super awkward, learn dash requires a fresh multisite install etc. I also had WPLMS from a few years ago when I think Jon asked to try it out. This felt pretty bloated for what we wanted and it wasn’t entirely obvious if it had a grade book in any case. The WordPress plugin repository shows three plugins and the most up to date has not been updated in 3 years. Not a cheerful landscape. I wondered what it would take to build an ACF-based grade book relying mostly on the repeater field and simple shortcode for displaying the grades to the user. I wasn’t looking to do math or anything. I just wanted a pretty simple interface and a way for users to see their information while administrators could see all the content. That does require people to have accounts and be logged in. A bit of hassle but there is no free lunch.1 This grade book isn’t adding up things or doing […] […]

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