Monday, May 28, 2012

Web app vocab test in the real world

Forget Chef or Puppet – Automate with Sprinkle: Miso has a relatively standard server architecture for a medium-level traffic Rails application. We use Linode to host our application and we provision a number of VPS instances that make up our infrastructure. We have a load balancer equipped with Nginx and Varnish, we have an application server that runs our Rails application to serve dynamic requests, we have a master-slave database setup, and a cache server that has memcached and redis.
How cool is that!  I understand this (somewhat)... I should say, "This isn't complete gibbish because I took the CS253 Web Application Engineering course from"

load balancer, Rails application, database setup, cache server and memcache - All this stuff we just went over in week 5 and 6 of the course.

Go me! And thanks Udacity.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Never learn alone! Groups can rescue the impersonal MOOC experience

Udacity - Free Classes. Awesome Instructors. Inspiring Community.

Udacity is a MOOC - Massively Open Online Course

I love this courses. I started with PLENK and then lurked DS106 (for LIFE!) and now I'm really loving Udacity Computer Science courses.

I could list out the things I love about them. Boring! Here is something that I don't like...

They don't offer student support enough. Sure there are discussion boards - which are helpful. The videos are great and clearly explain and I can watch them over and over... But what I really want is direct contact with an instructor.

Well, actually, I really just want my questions answered or something explained in a different way. Discussion boards are good for this, but there is something missing. They are too big and impersonal.

I want to learn with my friends and colleagues. I want to get into my my learning comfort zone, the sweet spot of learning or the zone of proximal development.

The ZPD is the space between what I can do on my own - that's how I interact with MOOCs now - and what I can do with help from an instructor or more capable peer.

Here's my point - I'm not going to do another MOOC unless I have a group of people committed to doing it with me BEFORE I join up.

These MOOC's aren't really anything new - it's just eLearning- perhaps polished and nicer features - free and HUGE. But, I'm realizing the BEST part of eLearning was the side chat, the backchannel that goes on.

I'm missing that in my MOOC experience.

So now what: I tried to start a group on for CS 253, but I didn't really get any takers. I was already falling behind in the course, so I wasn't updating and working on stuff (now I'm just scanning the videos and now working the problems)

Perhaps another group. I'm looking at this Human Computer Interface course starting in a few weeks. Maybe you would like to join a group of folks to power thru the course together. To increase the Zone of Proximal Development. Never learn alone!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tall Ship HMS Bounty To Visit Wilmington's Historic River District

Tall Ship HMS Bounty To Visit Wilmington's Historic River District | Wilmington, NC

May 14, 2012 - Wilmington, NC - The Tall Ship HMS Bounty will arrive in Wilmington on May 17th and will be open to the public for tours from Friday, May 18th through Sunday, May 20th. Tours will start at 11:00 am and end at 6:00 pm daily. Souvenirs will be available for purchase.

The cost of the tours is: Adults - $10.00; Children over 7 - $5.00; Children 7 and under – Free.

The ship will be docked at Riverfront Park downtown near the corner of North Water Street and Princess Street.

This 180-foot-long replica of the famous 18th century ship was built in the early 1960s as a floating movie set for the 1962 Marlon Brando motion picture "Mutiny on the Bounty." It has also been in many other films including "Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man's Chest."

In 2010, Bounty sailed through all five Great Lakes as part of the ASTA Tall Ships Challenge. In 2011, she visited Europe. This year, the ship is making stops at various ports on the U.S. East Coast.

HMS Bounty is owned and operated by the HMS Bounty Organization based in East Setauket, NY.

For information about the ship, visit

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Gandhi's Swadeshi - The Economics of Permanence

Gandhi's Swadeshi - The Economics of Permanence: Principals of Swadeshi

Gandhi's vision of a free India was not a nation-state but a confederation of self-governing, self-reliant, self-employed people living in village communities, deriving their right livelihood from the products of their homesteads. Maximum economic and political power - including the power to decide what could be imported into or exported from the village - would remain in the hands of the village assemblies.

RIGHT ON, Gandhi!