The TI-83 Plus had helped me cultivate many of the overt and discrete habits of mind necessary for autonomous, self-directed learning. And even more, it did this without resorting to grades, rewards, or other extrinsic motivators that schools often use to coerce student engagement.
The Atlantic: Go Ahead, Mess With Texas Instruments
Articles like this make me wish I had glommed onto programming much earlier than I did.
The stack rank was a zero-sum game—one person could only excel by the amount that others were penalized. And it was applied at every level of the organization. Even if you were in a group of three high performers, it was very likely that one of you would be graded Above Average, one Average, and one Below Average. Unless your manager was a prick or an idiot or both, the ordering would reflect your relative skills, but that never came as too much comfort to the hard-working schlub who just wasn’t as good as the other two. . . This was my problem. I had three reports, A, B, and C, and they neatly fit into three categories: C was good, B was great, and A was fantastic.
Slate.com: Tales of an Ex–Microsoft Manager
I can see why, at least on paper, stack ranking has appeal if only because because the process creates an easy visual with which to gauge performance and relatively distribute rewards. In practice, however, stack ranking is invariably demoralizing by turning hard work into a pointless exercise, and should be abandoned immediately by everyone.
So (and all great sagas should begin with “so”), I can’t stand poetry except in very rare instances. I like song lyrics but not poetry. A bit weird of me, I know, but that’s the way things worked out, and certainly not for a lack of trying. When I saw Seamus Heaney’s photos all over my favorite news sites, I didn’t know who he was so I paid little (actually, no) attention. I finally relented in reading the umpteenth article about him and his significance.
Heaney’s interpretation of Beowulf was my first and is still my favorite, particularly when I feel like getting my Scandinavian on. His starting the poem with “So.” made me laugh out loud which led (again in my own weird way) to the parenthetical I used to start off this post to also start off the sometimes super-long emails I find myself stuck writing.
Does this mean that I will grab a copy of some of his poetry and read it? Probably not, but I will always enjoy reading Beowulf. RIP, Mr. Heaney.
East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’
We gonna do what they say can’t be done
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ Bandit run
“Eastbound and Down,” Jerry Reed
Turns out this is a really great song for passing through the tolls on the Pike, especially during vacation week when fewer people are on the road. Yeehaw!
. . . for-profit colleges are the worst offenders in another respect: their alums are singularly incapable of paying back their loans. Despite educating just a small fraction of students, these institutions contributed a full 47 percent of defaults among students who began repaying their debt in 2009. By comparison, the private nonprofits, despite the truckloads of loans they generate, were only responsible for 13 percent of defaults. . . About three-quarters of for-profit college students attend nominally four-year schools. And I say “nominally,” because only about 28 percent ever graduate, about on par with the bottom rung of public institutions. They cater to a class of student that is disproportionately poor, and frankly don’t always belong in college to begin with.
The Atlantic: Which Colleges Should We Blame for the Student-Debt Crisis?
I remember when I was researching schools to obtain my degree, I looked at University of Phoenix first because of its focus on online classes (commute and kids makes attending on-campus classes very challenging), not knowing much about the school or the quality of the degree. I called to ask some cursory questions and quickly found myself in a conversation that sounded like I was being sold some land; the “admissions rep” wanted me to sign up right then and there, and just said “yep” to me on everything I asked. Before I even had a chance to research the school more on my own I was compelled to call back and turn them down because the rep was calling me at least once a day (sometimes three) to see if I had made my decision. If a school has to sell themselves that hard to get my tuition money, how good could it possibly be? I always—always—question the hard sell.
Subject says (most of) it all. I have been working with the command line more lately, partially out of need, largely out of preference, and am starting to collect a bunch of little snippets I have modified from other or created out of whole cloth to get me through my day.
The section has a germinal collection of command line snippets, but the real work lies in the shell scripting cheat sheet and info on creating a command line application with Xcode using Foundation classes.
Friends don’t let friends drink and drive.
Friends don’t let friends drink and drill.1
Friends don’t let friends drink and Photoshop.
Friends don’t let friends drink and review code.
Apologies to Matt Groening, but this has always been one of my favorites.
Dear Massachusetts Drivers,
Please consider some pro-tips about driving from a displaced Californian…
- Merging is most efficiently achieved with alternate feeding of cars into the merging lane. Doing so will mean less traffic snarls and frustration. If you are racing ahead of the other drivers getting into bumper-to-bumper traffic, you are just playing with yourself.
- When you change lanes behind me, regardless of direction, and decide to make a statement by coming within inches of my rear bumper (whatever statement that may be, I have no idea), please understand that if you hit or clip my car, the fault will lie with you since you rear-ended me and should have been in control of your vehicle at all times particularly in regards to the car immediately in front of you. This is doubly true for drivers of all sports cars, construction, and landscaping trucks.
- When you change lanes to get in front of me, going at a speed that is at least matches mine or faster would be best, otherwise get out of my way.
Until such time that you see fit to follow these suggestions, I would hold you dear in my heart as your own class of stupid crazy. Especially those of you on Route 128 north of the Pike.
A collection of typographic details of which I usually take notice and never think to photograph: Type Hunting.
(via Daring Fireball)