A Blustery Day, a set on Flickr.
Damn, it’s windy today…maybe more pics after tonight’s destruction…
I got these photos through an email from a friend of my father’s. This is a version of special effects during the 1940′s. I have never seen these pictures or knew that we had gone this far to protect ourselves. During World War II the Army Corps of Engineers needed to hide the Lockheed Burbank Aircraft Plant to protect it from a possible Japanese air attack. They covered it with camouflage netting to make it look like a rural subdivision from the air.
The person I received this from said she got back an interesting story about someone’s mother who worked at Lockheed, and she as a younger child, remembers all this. And to this day, it is the first pictures of it she’s seen. Another person who lived in the area talked about as being a boy, watching it all be set up like a movie studio production. They had fake houses, trees, etc. and moved parked cars around so it looked like a residential area from the skies overhead.
So I have decided that I do all my best blogging at the airport, especially waiting for the plane at the gate. Great people watching, and the end of a vacation is always a very pensive thing for me. So as I sit at the gate for my flight home from Boston and the 9th Sakai Conference, I have the appropriate time to pause and reflect on things.
First off…notice the change yet? I migrated everything to WordPressMU from Drupal. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I am not a Drupal fan, but I honestly just don’t have the time and energy to maintain it anymore: upgrade, patch, upgrade, patch. My old webhost didn’t support PHP5 unless I started up an entirely new plan, so I just decided to bail. Plus we are playing with WPMU at work, so I felt I should live in it a little bit.
Well, I finally graduated from my Masters program in Education, via CTER at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Forever an Illini now! I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t make it into Illinois for my real-life graduation, but I decided to get dressed up anyway in OpenSim to celebrate.
So now what? Not sure yet. I plan to relax, carry on what I learned at school and apply it in my 9-5 job, I really want to get OpenSim up and running there so I can really have some fun with it. But for now I want to spend time enjoying myself: maybe pick up the guitar again, learn ukelele, migrate this blog over to WordPress, and take care of everything I have been neglecting for the last two years, i.e. go to the gym more.
In a fit of curiosity I took my twitter feed (using Tweetdumpr) and exported all my twitter feeds into a text file. That’s about 1060 updates and I had joined a little over two years ago in May 2007. I thought it would be a great waste of time to take all of my twitter updates and string them together in a narrative style, taking out all the RT and @replies to protect the innocent but leaving content and links intact. What you get…well…is a lot different from my typical blog entries I guess. What began as a nice little bit of introspection turned out to be more disturbing and funny than I thought. So here are some excerpts if you care to read, I picked the funnier ones out here. Not that I am under any impression that anyone will find this interesting, but after graduating, I am in a bit of a “looking back and forward” sort of mood.
New class, last one then it’s a full fledged Masters. It took two years, I remember blogging from airports, doing homework in movie theaters, mobility isn’t necessarily a great thing all the time.
My latest class has me in OpenSim a lot. It is a great opportunity to use this software since it is essentially a private, open source VLE. It looks and behaves mostly like Second Life since it uses the same viewer application. But there’s lots of land to play in. One of our assignments was to create a movie in a virtual environment we’ve covered in class, and I decided to make a presentation showing the capabilities of the software. So here it is, after the break.
We added a new member to the family, Madam Tiki. We thought Speedy our cat was getting a little bit lonely. So we went to The Pasadena Humane Society shelter and looked around and this little girl was sitting in a tattered little sweater being all quiet. I am not a small dog type of guy…but this one was cool. We figure that she is a Chiweenie: a Chihuahua and Dachshund cross, and some Dachshund-owning friends agree. She’s basically a long, dark red-colored Chihuahua. We thought score, but there must be a long waitlist, but it turns out that she was brought in that day. A week later, she came home…Speedy was a little curious but no disasters yet.
I have been playing with a new tool to create interactive fiction games. I was a big D&D fan, and played the Zork games and even the excellent Hitchhiker’s Guide Infocom game. This was about 25 years ago when my parents had to wrench me off the computer to keep me away from those dark rooms with lanterns and rusty birdcages in the corner. I have fond memories of those days (I was 10 or so-ish) but more visual media has pulled me into the career I have now.
That is, until my grad school program pulled me back. There is this really great tool out there called Inform that lets you generate interactive fiction games such as the ones I described above, all without too much drama coding it. The code is very legible, no crazy variables or other things to worry to create a simple game. Read on for a sample, and my first game!
I had been meaning to throw up another update here but everything recently has been, as per my done-to-death saying, “all school-work and work-school.” I just finished my second to last graduate course in the CTER program at UIUC, Analysis of Advanced Instructional Technologies. If you are interested, the final report is a pbWiki page and we posted our final project preso on Slide.com. We discussed the future of education. Our group tried to tackle the question from a developmental/occupational point of view, from K through higher ed. Comments are welcome.