Posted in 2018

Swapping ESC and Caps Lock on Bodhi Linux

When former student Marco Sirabella told me last year that back when Bill Joy first created the vi text editor in 1976, the ESC key was located where the Caps Lock key presently is, a light went off in my head. I had long wondered why the otherwise motion efficient editor had such a glaring flaw, making its users stretch their left pinky fingers so far and so often. I became immediately obsessed with finding the best ways to swap the ESC and Caps Lock keys on all my computers. For most of the Linux distributions I use in my classroom (including Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Scientific Linux, and Fedora, this process is fairly trivial, since the GUI desktop configuration tools support making the swap.

Read more ...


Configuring a Centos 7 Postgres Server for a Fun Database Class

As Shankar Kambhampathy’s July 23, 2018 article in Forbes online magazine is titled, It’s All About Data, or as Catherine Devlin quotes in her keynote address at Pycon 2018, “data is the new oil”. So it is with great interest and enthusiasm that I approach the coming school year, where I will have four students enrolled in dual-enrolled courses titled Advanced Database Management and Data Modeling and Design.

Read more ...


The Time to Rebuild the Labor Movement is Now!

The Janus decision this Summer is part of long period of a sustained, intense, right-wing offensive against working class Americans. Sadly for us, the offensive has been overwhelmingly successful. Ever since Ronald Reagan broke the PATCO strike in 1981, the rate of union participation has been on a steep decline. In an inverse relationship, the share of income going to the wealthiest 10% has been steadily rising. A recent Princeton University paper, Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data, documents the data, which an earlier study by the Economic Policy Institute makes graphically clear.

Read more ...


Remembering Colin Applegate

Back in May I traveled with Prof. Kevin Reed and four of our students from Northern Virginia Community College to Cleveland, Ohio to attend Pycon 2018. Pycon is always an incredible learning experience for computer science students, and we were able to bring four of our students this time in part because of the generous support we received as the first recipients of the Christopher Colin Applegate Memorial IT Fund. This post is dedicated to the memory of Colin, who towers high as one of my most memorable students.

Read more ...


I Love My Ubuntu Phone!

A few months back in Using ssh to Connect to My Ubuntu Phone I described how easy it was to shell into my Ubuntu phone. I’ve now been using it as my only phone for more than three months, so it’s time for a long overdue update.

Read more ...


More Explorations in Free Software GIS

I began working on Explorations in Free Software GIS back in mid November of 2015 (git commit histories are so useful ;-), and I now have a new project to add to it, which involves converting a PostGIS database to SpatiaLite.

Read more ...


Ubuntu 18.04 KVM Dev Server Setup II

I began documenting my current KVM server setup in Setting up an Ubuntu 18.04 KVM Dev Server. In this post I will describe PostGIS installation and the process I use to recreate GIS projects I had running on previous servers.

Read more ...


Remixing OER Textbooks for Computer Science

I’ve begun remixing two OER textbooks for use in my computer science classes:

Read more ...


Setting up an Ubuntu 18.04 KVM Dev Server

With the release of a new Ubuntu LTS a few weeks back, I wanted to take the time to recreate the KVM development server that I use for my current development projects.

Read more ...


Using ssh to Connect to My Ubuntu Phone

About a month ago one of my students told about the UBports project, which appears to be making a viable push to take over Ubuntu Touch after Canonical’s abandonment of it, and to continue development using a community foundation. I am longing for a free software phone platform, and despite my disappointing experience with Firefox OS, willing to keep joining whatever effort seems most likely to succeed until one of them actually does. So I didn’t hesitate to get myself a OnePlus One, install Ubuntu Touch on it, and make it my day to day phone.

Read more ...


Making a CS Gambit

I have a small, very adventurous data structures and algorithms class this year with students hungry to try new things. We are using Python as the primary programming language, and Brad Miller and David Ranum’s Problem Solving with Data Structures and Algorithms as our primary text, but earlier in the course we learned enough C to implement linked lists and stacks in that language.

Read more ...