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Random bits of technology

I am ambivalent about Moodle

Moodle is the premiere—AFAIK, the only interesting—open source "Learning Management System" (is that the current buzzword?). I've been running a Moodle instance at Portland State for many years now: counting the current one, I've taught 14 courses with it. It has, overall worked OK.


My desktop drive adventure

As mentioned earlier, one of the projects I've been tackling the last few days is massive cleanups of the filesystems of my home desktop machine, bartfan, and my home server/gateway machine, bartserv. This was particularly inspired by the discovery that, for the past couple of months, I hadn't been backing up various partitions. On bartfan, my old 500GB drive was experiencing unrecoverable read errors during Dirvish rsync that caused the rsync to fail.


Notes on HTC One / Google Voice / T-Mobile configuration

Every time I need to set up Google Voice on my HTC One with T-Mobile service, I get it a little wrong. I think I finally have it, though. The process turns out to be very fragile.

  • When I install Google Voice, I get a failure message trying to set up T-Mobile call forwarding. This is normal and expected.

  • I first need to turn off the wireless on my phone. (Thanks ebaychuck!) This really does seem to matter.


Notes on configuring late-model Toyota car stereo Bluetooth

My wife has a 2011 Toyota Corolla, with a car stereo with built-in Bluetooth support. Oddly, I'd like it to work with all of my family's random Bluetooth devices. Some of these devices are smartphones; a few are just audio players. Unfortunately, the monkey or team of monkeys that designed the firmware for Toyota's fine piece of stereo equipment seems to have built an odd chimera that is almost impossible to configure for Bluetooth without extensive experimentation. This post is the notes resulting from that experimentation…


Notes on HTC One Configuration

My HTC One has been a mixed blessing. Here's some notes that might be helpful to you in configuring and running it.

Honestly, you should probably just run CyanogenMod. I have run it on previous phones, and really like it. You'll lose Beats Audio, but somehow I think that's livable: get a good equalizer app and you should be able to get about the same sound.

Still, if you're going to stick with HTC's Android load:


Download *whole albums* via Amazon Cloud Player on Linux has a reasonably-priced, reasonably-convenient music store. So I've bought a lot of things from it. Like everyone else on the planet with a Linux box, however, I find Amazon's refusal to just give me a freakin' zipball of the MP3s from my album completely and insanely obnoxious. I understand, Amazon—you want me to install your POS downloader spamware. Not going to happen, even if you could be bothered to build it for my platform.


My work phone number is a tiny RSA key

The prime factors of my work phone number 7255393 are 2389 and 3037, making the phone number effectively a tiny RSA public key. I was inspired to discover this when Raphael Fernandez pointed out that 8675309 is prime. All of my family's and my other phone numbers are even. So is my SSN. My Driver's License Number is divisible by 7. So my work phone is the only primally interesting number that I can think of offhand that I own. Fob


Oh Emacs Lisp!

Was working on gluing together an emacs lisp mode for Nickle (that would last better than the last one I did) using a tutorial example when I noticed that Google Chrome had prompted me to offer its assistance, as shown below. Fob


Worst permissions ever

So I'm about to install the app RingGuard on my phone, when I notice that it wants permission to "take pictures and videos with the camera. This allows the app at any time to collect images the camera is seeing." Uh, seems a bit horrific for an app that has nothing to do with pictures or video. So I go to comment on the Google Play Android Store to alert people to probably not install this thing. But of course, I can't comment until I've installed the app. LOL.


Red and Green

There are a million common hideous UI memes floating around. One of my least favorite is the use of the colors red and green as indicator colors.



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