I was in the PLUG Christmas Party/General Assembly which was last Saturday, 18 December 2004 in Asia Pacific College. We spent a whole morning listening to some people and I took notes of some the things that really struck me.
The first one was Emmanuel Lallana. I really like what he said about fostering an atmosphere of learning and innovation. That it would be great to have a culture of leanring and innovation. He also mentioned the use of information and communications technology in learning. I totally agree with him on this. After all, there are various learning resources available on the internet and there are various ways of teaching people these days. We could have discussion lists, blogs that give the URLs of nice sites where we could gather information, etc. We should maximize the technology as a tool. Sometimes there are people who get bored with the traditional methods. I actually like the traditional methods, lectures and all that but I think that there are some people who don't feel comfortable with it or those methods don't really help them maybe because they have a different way of remembering things or maybe they're the ones who are very visual and need a lot of multimedia stuff. Or maybe they prefer the anonymity (sort of) on the mailing lists and so they end up discussing more things that way. Also, interaction with others online could be a learning experience for people. In my case, it is. As I am getting familiar with my operating system (Mandrake Linux 10 - Yes, I am such a newbie, as some people would guess) I have subscribed to the PLUG newbie mailing list and am a member of the Mandrake users' board. I also blog about what I am doing so that I get input from other people. I learn this way. And although I am quite shy, more often than not, I sometimes end up asking the questions I have been afraid to ask because I know that there are people who have gone through the same troubles/experiences. I had to admit to them that I feel really dumb sometimes but it is part of the learning process, I guess. At least I know that I do not know much and I could admit it is something I want to cross. Anyhow, maybe there are a lot of people who think this way. *shrugs*
Lallana also mentioned something about teachers. Yes, teachers. I know some teachers who are not very comfortable using computers. They are usually the ones who are older than I am, the ones who have not really grown up with computers in their homes. I also know librarians who are like that. The thing is that the government does make sure that public high schools have computers but not sufficient training is given to the teachers. That is sad, if you think about it. Sad because they are the ones teaching the students. What could they impart to the students? Not much, if that is the case. The training for teachers must begin before they teach the students so that the students will know more than just typing on the keyboard and saving their documents. I had a computer since first year high school because I had a computer science class wherein we were taught DOS basics, WordStar 4 and an introduction to BASIC. My mom who has been employed sometime like 5 years ago by a congressman to be his secretary of sorts started getting tutorials from me and my sister regarding using Windows 98 and the Microsoft Office Suite. It was difficult to tutor her sometimes but right now I guess I could say that it paid off because she has gotten comfortable enough with the computer to not call us on our mobile phones whenever something happens to her computer and the documents and worksheets that she is working on. Some older teachers may have that kind of a problem retaining the information but it is very essential that they do know the basics and a bit more. After all, we don't want students to just know how to type, right?
Another thing Chairman Lallana pointed out is the need for the development of content and applications that would be used in the educational system. An example of such a thing is "The Last Resort" a game of sorts which would challenge the students to build a resort which is eco-friendly and profitable. The people responsible for this endeavor consulted the people on an island here in the Philippines for the details like flora, fauna, etc. The details had to be there at the same time there is an element of fun and learning. I guess that this generation of students really likes games because I see them in the net cafes everytime I go online to talk to some friends or read some news, etc. Students spend hours and hours in net cafes. I have spoken with various proprietors of net cafes in the area where I live and they tell me that sometimes they close at 2am, or even later than that, to the point that they closed at 6am and yet they had to open at 7 or 8am. Students have to be excited about learning, not bored to death. I am a learner and I would like to share that kind of passion. I want to find out ways of doing so.
There is also the challenge of teaching people in a "generic way" meaning people will be taught word processing, making presentations, etc. versus "Word", "PowerPoint", etc. The concepts must be ingrained in them so that no matter what application is there, they could easily adapt to it and use it as a tool. It would also tend to veer them away from focusing too much on the software they use and let them really learn the concepts that go beyond the application they use. Be it proprietary or open source software, they will survive. In my experience, I have depended on Microsoft apps because I only really used Linux in August of this year. I have tried FreeBSD, KDE and the office suite that came along with it for a time (back in college, I was testing it in the computer lab so as to check whether it is user-friendly enough). It wasn't so easy for me because I looked for familiar buttons and icons but because I think that I wasn't that dependent on M$ apps, I was able to get through with the testing of the apps of the FreeBSD system without much trouble. If only everyone would have that kind of an attitude towards apps, maybe more people would give Open Source Software a chance. People are generally really too stubborn to change.
With regards to developing open source software, one of the challenges would be the standards. How do we define the standard? Who would define it? I have not given it much thought yet. But maybe other PLUGgers have something to say about it.
I forgot her name but I think that the lady from mod.net.ph said this: "The ceiling of one programmer is his ego." Unforgettable, truly unforgettable.
I have never really been active on mailing lists except the one that my friends and I have on yahoogroups. There, it's more of a barkada thing: some announcements regarding outings, meet-ups and assorted stuff. It's our way of communicating aside from SMS and IM.
Lately, I have been re-introduced to Open Source Software and Linux, in particular. Because of these things, I have signed up for various mailing lists such as the PLUG mailing list for newbies and the Emacs-Wiki. There I have posted some questions and I found a community of people who are very helpful. The previous post I had regarding the tarball installation, a lot of people gave their thoughts and tips. Even on the Emacs-Wiki discussion list, I have received some helpful tips as well. I guess this is one thing that the open source software enthusiasts have gotten me into: a sense of community wherein everyone helps each other the best way they can. And I really like it. ^_^ It's a community that I don't see on a personal day-to-day basis but it is a community nonetheless. I guess this is what makes open source advance into the lives of people.
Anyhow, I have gotten some really great tips from them. It now makes me feel more comfortable in learning Linux and other open source software. I hope that my experience in learning would encourage others to try it out and maybe like it as well.
Emacs Planner Mode is something I really find useful. I am so glad that there's a group of people on the net who are actually talking about it a lot. I am a lurker on the mailing list but I glean from their emails and learn bits and pieces here and there. It's a wonderful thing, really.
I hope that other people would also find such great communities online, and in real life, in the sense that they would see each other personally. It is a wonderful thing indeed^_^
GNOME Desktop Customizations and Installing the GNOMESword tarball (which is gives the steps of installing a tarball)
A screenshot!Yeah, I just had to take a screenshot of my current desktop^^ I haveYomiko Readman in SD form as my wallpaper. I changed the way GNOME looks like so that I would have some sort of a theme which ispredominantly black and white. I couldn't resist it because I likepandas (color scheme is black and white). I had the high contrasticons and the theme details is "aging gorilla" because I like the graycolored title bars. I changed the preferences of the way I view GNOMETerminal by makingthe background transparent. That way, Yomiko appears to be thebackground image of the GNOMETerminal. So kawaii~! These are somethings I couldn't do with the GUI of Windows unless I install LiteStep, DesktopX, WindowsBlinds, etc. (I think that these are all on wincustomize.) But I wish that I could findout how to make the icons look smaller. Too bad that some icon setsthat work on KDE don't seem to work on GNOME. I really like the Kids set of icons on KDE.
My screenshot file: exp3screenshot.png shows that I have Emacs and GNOMETerminal running. Sometimes, things are easier on the commandline. That is why I have it running most of the time. Emacs is whereI like taking notes, aside from creating Tasks (aka, ToDoList).Somehow, my thoughts are a bit more organized with Emacs Planner Moderunning most of the time. Thanks to Sacha! She is so passionate about Planner-el. And I see the reason why^^ I love the way Planner, EmacsWiki and Remember Modes integrate so well and help me in my day to dayliving. Especially when it comes to taking down notes. (I am sorry, Microsoft OneNote! I installed you, but Emacs has already knocked mysocks off!) I have a bunch of random notes and Remember mode is justso great when it comes to these things. Oh dear, I am babbling Emacsagain.
Installing the Gnomesword tarball I couldn't install the rpm of Gnomesword that I found a month ago andI tried installing the tarball last night. I have never successfullyinstalled a tarball before. Anyhow, I found some guides on various sources, which includes the wonderful Mandrake Users site (http://www.mandrakeusers.org/) and some mailing lists. Too bad that Idon't have some things that the README file told me was necessary suchas the SWORD libs. I got this message: Package libgnomeui-2.0 was not found in the pkg-config search path.Perhaps you should add the directory containing `libgnomeui-2.0.pc'to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variableNo package 'libgnomeui-2.0' found So that means I would have to check if I do have libgnomeui-2.0 in oneof the CDs, I suppose. So I would still have to download the SWORD libs and stuff.^^ At least now I know how to untar and start the installation. I plan to email the PLUG-newbie list regarding that error message.
Installing a tarball: 1. Download the tarball (*.tar.gz, example: your_file.tar.gz) into your home directory. 2. On the command line, unzip it by typing "gunzip your_file.tar.gz"(your_file.tar.gz is just an example of a filename that has the tar.gzextension) 3. Issue the "ls" command to check your directory. The your_file.tar.gz won't be there anymore because it has already been unzipped. But you will see that there is a your_file.tar in yourdirectory. 4. Un-tar the *.tar file by typing "tar -xvf your_file.tar" Meaning of the flags -x, -v, -f: -x for "expand" -v for "verbose" -f for "force" 5. Type "ls" on the command line. You will see that you now have a"your_file" directory. The tar files are all there. Check the README file before proceeding to the next step. There are some important installation notes within the README file. 6. To begin the installation, login as root by issuing the "su"command. 7. Go to the "your_file" directory. 8. Issue this command: "./configure" What does this do? It basically configures it to your system. There will be some text that would appear. Error messages will also appearin the text so scrutinize the text that would appear. If there aren't any then that is wonderful.^^ 9. If there aren't any problems with step 8, issue this command:"make" Again, check for errors. 10. If there are no problems with step 9, issue "make install" If there aren't any errors, your program should have been installed already. You should be able to run it simply by typing the program name such as, "your_file" or whatever it is. In case you couldn't findit you could type "whereis your_file" or "whereis (insert the name of your program here)" In my case, I only went as far as step 8 because I lack some files. Idon't have internet access so I can't download the things I need right away. I hope that this is helpful to some people.^^ This is my way of simplifying the steps.
I have removed my feed list on the sidebar because it is already so long. I plan to fix up my blogroll soon though. Thanks to the public view of my feeds on Bloglines, at least you can click the link to that so you can check my list of feeds on a separate page. From time to time I will probably put my Pick of the Month feeds or something like set themes of the feeds that I will place on the sidebar. Another thing I added to the sidebar is the calendar, which I got from RSSCalendar. I am not an expert on using Planner Mode yet but at least you have an idea of the things I do or events that I would like to plug via that calendar. Since it's in RSS, you can also subscribe to it. If you like feeds of certain events that I mark on my calendar like anime or gaming-related events I take note of, I think that it is possible to give you a separate feed for that since there are categories available for the calendar service.
If you want to check out these two services, you could just click the links there. So far, I really like using Bloglines because I like the way that it could also handle my email subscriptions to comics and that you could set the feeds that you read as public or private.
I am new to RSSCalendar. So far it's been easy for me to add events, etc. I have yet to explore the service. Anyhow, just post some comments here in case you've been using them or if you've tried them out.
Looks like an interesting blog. I got the link from the PLUG-newbie mailing list. Dido has a post regarding the use of Ruby, a language that I never heard of until I read his post. I am so not a programmer, obviously. But I think that some of my friends would be able to relate with him.
Ok, I have been failing miserably at installing Word Press on my space in www.domainstobuy.com so I am thinking if it is time to get on with my experimentation with Mambo or Twiki. I have tried to change the line 705 in the upgrade-functions.php file as was instructed on the thread I read... Maybe I wasn't able to check out something important minor details...
Hmmm. I should post on the users forums of domainstobuy to find out ways of going beyond the step 3 error of the installation.
Hmmm... Should I abandon it altogether already? Word Press looks very nice. I am just not very sure if it would work on my webhost.