2016 / 366photos

I just pulled together photos from each day of 2016 – and realized I’ve been shooting at least one photo per day for a decade now. I didn’t think I’d be able to keep doing it, but now can’t imagine not doing it.

The latest gallery has 366 photos, due to the leap year. My photos have gone through artsy phases, and have pretty much settled into an informal documentary style. Lots of repeating shots over the years. Lots of progress shots – of people and places. This was the year of building the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, installing a bunch of tech, and moving in. So, lots of photos of that.

Probably 99% of the photos are taken with my phone. The camera built into the iPhone 6 Plus is pretty decent. It’s no DSLR, but it’s always with me. Always. And optical stabilization helps. For the handful of photos that were taken with my over-a-decade-old Canon XT, the glass makes those photos much better. But I don’t carry it around much anymore. One of the photos was taken with the software camera built into Forza Horizon 3 on XBox One. One was made with Gephi. So, whatever camera is handy… Photos are usually prompted by “hey, that’s interesting”, rather than being pre-planned or composed. Several of the photos appear trivial, but were taken before, during or after important conversations.

Here’s to the next decade of daily photos…

2016 week 52 in review

Work

Nothing. The university was closed for the break. IT even thoughtfully shut down campus websites for a network upgrade.

PhD

I poked around with some Python tutorials to prep for the course I’m taking next semester – I’ll spend 4 months programming robots to do interesting things, while hopefully obeying at least 1 of Asimov’s 3 Laws…

Read

Some of the python code I cobbled together automatically pulls “starred” items from NewsBlur, links saved to my Scuttle server, and stories I’ve recommended on Medium. So…

I need to refine the script to automatically yank items from previous weeks – easy for the Scuttle links because I have direct access to the MySQL database, and possible through the NewsBlur API, but Medium doesn’t put the date of the recommendation in the feed (so if I recommend a story today, but the story was posted on Dec. 1, the date of the feed item is Dec. 1. Not helpful…)

Other

Headed out to Nakiska for a ski day yesterday. Still in horrible shape. Need to build the legs back up…

getting starred feed items from Newsblur via Python

One of the things I’d come to depend on when using Fever˚ was a hand-rolled PHP utility script (cleverly called “Readinator”) that grabbed all feed items that I’d starred in Fever˚ in the last week and generated a list in Markdown syntax for easy copy/paste into my Week in Review™ posts (it also pulls links that I’ve added to my Scuttle bookmark server in the last week as well). After moving to Newsblur, my utility script obviously became less useful. Sadface.

But, Newsblur has an API. I could have probably tweaked my PHP script to use that, but I’m learning Python for use on projects so I took the opportunity to learn a bit more Python with a real-world scratch-my-own-itch project.

My Python-fu is very weak. Hell, my programming-fu in general has atrophied pretty horribly. So, after a few false starts (the Python-Newsblur wrapper looked promising, but it hadn’t been updated in 6 years and I couldn’t get it to do anything), I rolled up my sleeves and wrote something using the handy Requests python library.

It took a fair bit of trial and error, googling, and scratching of head, but I wound up with a script that logs in, stores a session ID, calls GET /reader/starred_stories, and iterates through the results to generate markdown.

Hey, presto! That’s the meat of it – about 20 lines of code (I err on the side of readability over brevity, so it could have been compacted quite a bit). There’s another bit that does the logging in and generation of the cookie to return with the GET /reader/starred_stories call.

And so, a preview of the Newsblur-powered portion of this week’s Week in Review: Read section:

The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology

Audrey Watters‘ third annual edtech book publishing spree brings us The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology – a compilation of her keynote addresses from 2016. As with the previous two, it will be a must-read. Given how dark and dismal 2016 was, even/especially in edtech…

Once again, I spent much of 2016 on the road, traveling and speaking extensively about education technology’s histories, ideologies, and mythologies. The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology is a collection of about a dozen of those talks on topics ranging from pigeons to predicting the future.

Source: The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology