It’s In Their Hands Now

I called Curtin to confirm that they had received my application and apparently they had, but it was sitting on a pile of paperwork untouched. After convincing them that it was indeed important (and had to get to the degree co-ordinator for advanced standing approval before the next study period began…), I think it should have been passed on to Matt for review/approval. He should receive it early next week hopefully.

Ahhh bureaucracy, how we love you!

Now I just have to wait and hear from Matt, hopefully to get the good news that I can have 12 units of approved advanced standing into the degree!

You Never Learn Until It’s Too Late

Everyone — please back up your files regularly!

I have been stupid enough to be running my machine over the last couple of years without keeping regular backups of my information. The other night, my hard drive failed, and it appears that I may have lost a lot of the information which I had on there, including some financial details, personal photos, volumes and volumes of personal documents and notes, plus a large amount of work which wasn’t stored anywhere else except on my machine.

I am working on a Sony VAIO laptop as my main system at the moment, so I am now planning for the imminent purchase of a new desktop system, I think will be the deciding factor in me getting around to arranging it all. For those interested, I’m going to keep records on the entire process, starting…

Step 1: I flipped over my laptop and unscrewed all the screws I could see (later I realised that was a little excessive, but anyway…). I then turned it back the other way and lifted off the wrist-pad, where the touchpad lives. Under here, I located the hard drive, and carefully removed another screw (bottom-left corner when looking from above), and then removed the drive. I took off the mounting rails either side of the drive and transferred them onto the new drive which I purchase (exactly the same one – 20GB). From there, I put the drive back in, screwed the corner screw back in, replaced the wrist-pad and then screwed all the screws into the back again. I then put it back on it’s docking station (with CD drive) and started it up with the Windows 2000 startup CD. Then off we go with installing everything from scratch.

Pleeeaassee… let me be able to read the drive which I have now removed from my laptop. I have arranged to get the adapter required so that I can mount the 2.5″ laptop drive in a standard 3.5″ desktop disk bay. That will then allow me to attempt to access the drive’s contents from my old desktop computer (which I’ll have to take out of mothballs for the occassion!). I’ll post updates regarding my progress, but I hate to say that I am not holding my breath about getting anything off the drive, not after hearing the faint tinkle of what sounds like the drive head flopping around inside the drive…

First Notes On My Search System

View an Acrobat PDF document (13.6Kb) with more information regarding the search system

I wanted to get some information out here so that people could see what I am working on, and indeed what is running this site’s search facility. The icon to the right will take you to a PDF document (13.6Kb) which gives some more details about the approximate process flow of the search supplements, as well as a database schema of what’s running the best bets, variants and related terms.

Another O’Reilly Article On The Table!

I’ve been emailed by the author of an upcoming O’Reilly article for techo’s regarding my work with a more complete search system. He wants to discuss my integration of Best Bets, a controlled vocabulary and a normal, keyword-based search engine. There’s not really a lot to say right now, but I’ve emailed him back saying that I am definitely interested, so we’ll see what happens.

Interest From SearchLoggers Group

I’ve had some initial interest from some of the other members of the searchloggers group in the work that I am doing with the search system on this site. The integration of a controlled vocabulary, best bets and a stand-aloone search engine backend appears to be of interest to others as well ๐Ÿ™‚

My hope is that this can be developed into a stand-alone product that could be wrapped around nearly any search system, simply adding to the functionality of said search system. So far things are looking good, but only really for something written in PHP. I would need to add other options for systems written in Perl, C etc.

In the near future, I will be posting database schemas, some notes on implementation and other bits and pieces about how I am attacking the whole process. Keep an eye on things if you are interested ๐Ÿ™‚

Who’s The Idiot?

Well, me apparently. Purely by chance, I found out that the postage charge for a local letter here has gone up to 50c per letter. I clicked that I mailed in my application for enrollment using a 45c stamp that I still had, apparently from before they changed the rate!!!

I don’t know for sure if this means that my application hasn’t got there yet, so I emailed the guy who is supposed to be looking at my advanced standing (Matt), but he says that he hasn’t received it yet.

Now I have emailed LSN/CEA/OLA@Curtin to find out if it made it to Curtin at all, but who ever knows with that place – I’ve worked there, and I know how easy it is for mail (etc!) to go missing and never be seen again. *Fingers Crossed!*

webpad 2.1 Underway

I have started the planning/initial development on version 2.1 of webpad. This will be mainly a bug-fix and consolidation release, while also bringing webpad up to a point where it will operate with the new default settings on PHP installs.

Once webpad 2.1 is released successfully, work on v3.0 will begin shortly thereafter, which will be a major code-revision, giving webpad a much more stable backend and coding structure, as well as a number of new features to improve its functionality and usefulness as a web-based text editor. I am also considering splitting the code-base into a “Personal Edition” and “Enterprise Edition” (names not finalised!) which would allow me to ficus each version on either single or multi-user environments (respectively). This would also most likely introduce a pricing structure for the Enterprise Edition (Personal Edition will remain free for the taking). I’ll keep you all up to date.

Welcome To The Hive

OLA uses a product called “The Hive“, which is produced by a local, Perth company called HarvestRoad. The Hive manages the content and delivery of all online courses from OLA, so I will be interested to see how successfully it manages to do this. I know from experience that managing an online course isn’t particularly easy to do well.

When I worked at Curtin Uni, I worked in one of the many divisions which were pursuing online education as a feasible option. The area that I worked in (SMEC) actually delivered all of their postgraduate degrees in an entirely online fashion. We actually ended up using straight, plain old HTML because we needed to get everything on CD-ROM as well as the ‘net, and it turned out to be easier that way. It was an interesting time and taught me some good stuff about working with the limitations of certain technology, dependant on your users.

I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on my experiences within the Hive ๐Ÿ™‚ (which is now called the HarvestRoad LCMS for those interested).

So — PortaBlosx

I was thinking, blosxom is very cool, but I’d like to be able to do a few things in regards to getting something on my blog when I am out and about;

  1. Be able to post from anywhere (i.e. I want a web-based interface of some sort)
  2. Be able to post from my Palm (I built AvantBlog for this reason, why not have AvantBlosx? ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  3. A nifty little dialog-thingo allowing me to make quick posts (very similar to the Palm version) would be nice as well, something I could bookmarklet easily.

So I had a look around, and the first one appears to be pretty much available already, care of PHPetal. After that tho, there doesn’t appear to be a simple, clean interface available that could be hacked to use on Palm and as a simple little bookmarklet dialog.

My idea is basically to just provide the person with a very simple interface, at this stage it would consist of a select box containing a recursed listing of their blog directories, and a textarea where they could enter their post. As per blosxom, the first line would be used as the title, and I would either make up a filename based on the title, or just generate one from a timestamp.

What do you reckon?