March 31, 2006

Robotics Again in Las Vegas

We're here for the second year for the 2006 Las Vegas Regional of the FIRST Robotics Competition. This year's competition seems harder than last year and the action is more challenging to follow as a spectator. High Tech High's robot didn't perform all that well this morning, but there's the rest of today and all of tomorrow yet to come. There are about 20 parents and other relatives here and a busload of kids.

Alex is not as much involved in the engineering this year. Instead, as his senior project, he's creating a documentary video about all that took place to get the team here. He's eating through DV tapes at a rapacious pace, so there's lots of editing ahead.

Saw the Blue Man Group at the Venetian last night, and tonight around 20 of us are ooompah-pah-ing our way through dinner at the Hofbrauhaus. June stays here and I fly home to teach the podcasting course tomorrow.

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March 26, 2006

Wotta Week

At last the entire webquest.org site has been moved. It was supposed to take most of Sunday but wound up taking the whole week. Although it's all virtual work, I feel as though I'd spent the last six days moving tons of cinderblocks on my back from one pile to another. Along the way I learned some tricks to make it easier next time around. It's the head-scratching uncertainty in between the aha's that feels like work, I guess.

I've learned (thanks to Alex) how to ssh into my servers to move files and dump the databases. I can now chmod and chown like a 15-year old, and I've gotten a little smarter about the details of php. It turns out that a few of my scripts were depending on register_globals being turned on, and my new server (rightly) has it turned off. (Whatever that means, you may well be thinking.)

So the WebQuest search engine, and QuestGarden, and the WebQuest Forum are all working again on my new speedier (and 8 times more expensive) server.

Little quirks are showing up, but nothing fatal so far. Time to shift gears and turn back to grading, housecleaning and all that's piled up over the week. Have to compact it all into the next two days as we're off to Las Vegas Wednesday night to watch High Tech High send their robot into battle.

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March 21, 2006

How I Spent My Spring Break

SDSU had its break last week to free up parking places for the NCAA games held here. How did it go? Am I tanned, ready and rested? God no.

First up was the CUE conference in Palm Springs, where I did two sessions. One of them GeoTeleWikiPodBlogCasting for Understanding, went especially well. I drove back from Palm Springs through a wild hail storm, or was it snow? and went home long enough to pack different clothes and head out for a red-eye to Maine, where I did a keynote and full day of workshops for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the group that put a laptop in the hands of every middle school kid in the state.

Then another long day in the air to get home and work on the webquest.org site. A few weeks ago my hosting provider shut down all access to the site because my 19000 registered users were hitting it too hard. They politely asked me to move. That turned out to be no small task, as the site has over 20,000 directories, and 6 separate databases. I spent the second half of the break getting all that underway.

Then, by Saturday, it was time for the first session of the Educational Podcasting course which was great fun but also great work. I was looking forward to crashing at home for awhile before resuming the site-moving work. But then, just as class was ending June got the call that her Mom had fallen again and broken her shoulder. So instead of home there were hours in the emergency room and lots of shlepping back and forth to get drugs.

So now the break is over and I'm almost done resurrecting the WebQuest site. If I have another break like this, I might break.

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