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Tue, May 28, 2002

The 24-Hour Professor
via Serious Instructional Technology: from The Chronicle of Higher Education, The 24-Hour Professor: Online Teaching Redefines Faculty Members' schedules, duties, and relationships with students.

This is one of the reasons I burned out on full-time teaching. At first it's great because you're making yourself more accessible, and that's a good thing, right? Suddenly students are sending you IMs at midnight. They're expecting responses via e-mail within two or three hours. On weekends. And these aren't distance-education courses, these are regular lecture courses.

A rule I learned a long time ago was that if you want to see the real point of a news story, skip to the last paragraph:

"It's rewarding and it's exciting," he says. "But I think it's exhausting. You're essentially teaching every day of the semester."

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Wed, May 22, 2002

Catching up
Not sure how I could have missed mentioning this, but apparently I did. My little Google Outline Browser was featured quite prominently in Jon Udell's Byte column last month. I'm quite gratified, and a little guilty that my own doctitles aren't quite up to snuff.

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Fri, May 03, 2002

Jini configuration hell
Since its introduction, pundits have wondered why Jini has failed to catch on like other Java technologies. Having recently tried to take the plunge into JavaSpaces, I believe I can answer that question.

Put simply, Jini is too hard to configure. I consider myself fairly intelligent, and I have a lot of Java experience and a fair amount of Solaris experience. Nevertheless, it took me over a week of wasted evenings trying to run the Ray Tracer example included with the Jini distribution. Running this example requires no less than 6 processes to be running, 4 of which require commands spanning multiple lines to start.

You can see the fruits of my labor, a shell script that starts everything running. For everyday use, I've broken it into 5 different shell scripts: jini-start-all.sh, jini-start.sh, jini-stop-all.sh, jini-stop.sh, and one for the application (e.g., browser.sh or raytrace.sh).

I haven't even started writing my own programs, this is just to run the example. Folks, developers are going to be slow to adopt Jini until this get easier.

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