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rant about online applications

I'm currently in the process of working on law school applications, as well as helping my friends who are working on their own grad school applications. More and more schools are requesting that applicants submit their materials online, so that is the route I've elected to go. I have a very love/hate relationship with these online applications. On the one hand, the ability to copy-paste or automatically fill in some of the basic information that every application asks for has made my life much, much easier. I like being able to save my applications online, not having any papers to keep track of. On the other hand, some of these text boxes do not have anywhere near enough room. You run into the same problem on paper applications, but at least then you know ahead of time how much room you have, and can fudge things a little bit with small writing if you have to. There is at least one applicaiton that I may have to submit in paper because the boxes they provide don't even have enough room to list the name of the company I've worked at for the last two years. I'm glad the option is being offered, but some of these electronic application are a bit more of a pain in the neck than I anticipated.


Due to considerable preoccupation with other work, I've been on something of a break from the wiki for the past two or three weeks, so in coming back to it I felt like I needed to completely catch up/reorient myself before I could begin posting again.

Having returned to it, for a time, with an objectivity of absence that made me much more a reader than a collaborating author, I would just like to offer our class a congratulatory pat on the back. This thing is genuinely fun to read. The lexias are frequently witty, well-written, and interesting in their own right, and the linking system really seems like it "works" in the sense that the links mostly lead down worthwhile, often surprising paths, and getting lost in all the linking feels fun, not wildly frustrating.

Things I found on a blog

I found this map-generator on my favorite blog: MyWorld66
It makes a map of all the places you've been - countries, states, provinces, whatever you want to categorize by. I really like this thing. I love traveling, and frankly, I'm the sort of person who would (and has seriously thought of) buying a map and putting pins on the places I've been, just so I can see where I need to hit next. Turns out I have a lot of traveling left to do.

online finals

My suitemate is taking econ up at Harvey Mudd, and I asked her earlier today about her final. I know she's been studying for it, so I was being polite and asking when her suffering would be over (ie. the final time).
I was pretty surprised to hear "tonight at 6," knowing the structure of exam times during finals week. How could her exam be at night? Was Harvey Mudd on crack?
No, it turned out, not in this sense. Harvey Mudd is online. It seems as if an increasing number of their courses (according to my friend) have their final exams through some internet moderator site that does these things. They employ the honor system to assume you won't be using anything but the allowed notes, and then set a time for everyone to take it, in this case, 6 pm, and the site times the test. It quits the application after the allotted amount of time is up.


In the last couple of days, when I haven't been studying or writing, I've been checking my new favorite blogs for updates. When there aren't updates to read, I read the archives.
Well, people, I've hit day one on most of them. I've read all there is to read. And they usually only update once a week.
Which leads me to ask, what are you guys reading online? I need to feed my blog addiction!

POGs (yes, I'm actually posting about POGs)

The other night, I actually took a break from work to hang out with people -- one of those self-enforced, "if I don't do this I'll go completely insane" sort of breaks, and man was it incredible -- and at some point during the night we wound up looking up POGs on wikipedia (I'm not going to bother explaining why), and that led us to this site, which offers a number of options for playing POGs online.

Changing the definition of "professor"?

Grand Text Auto recently posted a description of an open tenure-track position at U of Baltimore:

"Assistant Professor, Information Arts and Technologies

The School of Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore invites applications for a tenure track assistant professor to begin August 2007. Doctorate or other terminal degree in computer science, interactive media, instructional technology, or human-computer interaction is highly desirable. Advanced degrees in other areas may be considered.

A late realization

I just had a huge "duh" moment about this blog.

Has it felt really strange to anyone else to come this far in the semester without receiving any grades or, other than on the progress updates of our final projects, major professorial feedback? I know it's felt weird to me; I'm accustomed to classes that operate on the midterm/final structure, with a few mini-grades in between, where by the end of the semester you're more or less clear on your standing grade-wise. That got me thinking about the feedback we have gotten in this class -- there's been a ton, and it's all come in the form of our own comments on one another's blog posts.

Wherein I passive-aggressively hawk iTunes

I just downloaded iTunes 7. And the "Get Album Artwork" feature is my new favorite thing. Even albums that I stole off the internet -- iTunes hooks me up with the art. This is the future. Finally. (And I'm pretty sure it's the first sign that album art has anything resembling a future.)

And the catch?

So far, there is none.

I've avoided installing the new iTunes for this long because every time I've updated it so far, my computer has died for a few days. In the past I've blamed Apple, but this new version is so cool I'm starting to wonder if I've been wrong about them. Maybe they're not all style and marketing.

Or maybe they are. Anyway, Microsoft Publisher did a great job preventing my final project from working in anything but Internet Explorer, so I'm just looking to support the competition.

Publishing on the Web

I found a link to this site while wandering around online a little while ago. To summarize, it's a site offering software that supposedly allows anyone to "publish" their own books. While self-publishing is nothing new, the creators of this software claim that they have made it so easy as to render it trivial (alright, that second part is my claim).

The frontpage is dominated by a rotating set of testimonials from various users. The one that's up currently proclaims, "Meet Jim, a banker. He's written three cookbooks. This month." One might be inclined to scoff and say, "Well they weren't real books, were they?" but some poking around on the page reveals that the creators of this software offer a method to convert "books" made in that format into physical "bookstore quality" product. And they will tell you how to do this for the low low price of 14.95.