End of year reviews and the grading system

This would be ideal:

In my ideal management world, a review is simply a documentation of well-known facts, your performance over the year. It also contains constructive advice and insight regarding how your boss believes you can improve on that performance. My dream is that you already know all of this information because you’ve been getting year-round feedback from your boss.

Gruber vs. Lyons

A great response from Gruber to Dan “Fake Steve” Lyons post “Dear Gruber: You’ve Been Pwned”:

I say, “Look, don’t sweat it, Dan. You’re writing for Newsweek, the premiere magazine Americans turn to for week-old news when they’re sold out of Time. That’s what counts.”

Go read the whole thing, it’s worth it.

Chris Wallace, A Teenage Girl Interviewing The Jonas Brothers

The Daily Dish discussing Chris Wallace’s “interview” with former Vice-President Dick “torture is legal under my laws” Cheney:

When future historians ask how the United States came not only to practice torture but to celebrate it and treat torturers as heroes, a special place in hell among the journalists who embraced and justified it should be reserved for Chris Wallace.

The New Literacy

From a fascinating article at Wired:

Its almost hard to remember how big a paradigm shift this is. Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasnt a school assignment. Unless they got a job that required producing text like in law, advertising, or media, theyd leave school and virtually never construct a paragraph again.

I’m with Daniel in that this is a fact that’s quite obvious to users.

Calling bullshit on social media

Scott Berkun on “social media:”

If anything has happened recently it’s not the birth of social networks, it’s the popularity of digital tools for social networks, which is something different. These tools may improve how we relate to each other, but at best it will improve upon something we as a species have always done.

I’m glad someone is pointing out the idiocy of calling Twitter, et al “social media.” I guess this makes the term “Social Media Expert” an even more ridiculous title.

Defining Tools for a New Learning Space

The abstract of a paper published by a professor of Foreign Language and Literature at Whitman College:

This paper uses specific issues surrounding course blogging to provide a series of reflections regarding the articulation between pedagogy and technology in creating a next generation learning space and discourse community. It investigates the underlying structure and necessary constituent elements of a successful blog assignment and examines the notion of natural and unnatural virtual environments and the roles of the reader and the writer-reader. It suggests that blog assignments may not succeed equally well in all subject areas and gives a number of possible reasons. Furthermore, it posits a more nuanced criterion for the definition of goals and the evaluation of the success of a blog assignment as a learning community beyond the presence or absence of comments.

I can’t help but be cynical when someone writes a paper like this that is distributed online and yet shows utter incomprehension of the online medium. Perhaps it was the journal’s editor that is to blame, but here’s my list of gripes:

  • electronic sources that are cited and linked to within the bibliography but not within the actual text
  • utterly dense language that makes it nearly inaccessible to a significant number of students that may be interested is reading about using online tools in the classroom
  • repeated use of the term “web 2.0”

Ultimately in order to create a “next generation learning space and discourse community” we’re going to need to open up that community to those of all apsects of life, including people for whom this text is just plain unreadable.

A walled world

A walled world
The relative wealth of the world's population

An interesting but also frightening depiction of the disparity in wealth among the world’s population.

[ via Chris Bowler ]

The little things in an interface

You know that you’re making good software when you obsess over a 1 pixel abnormality:

Table headers are one of those things we have wanted to ‘fix’ for a long time, but somehow never got around to earlier.  By default, table views in Cocoa apps show a little separator on the right-hand side of every column header, even in the rightmost one when theres a scrollbar under it.  It has always bugged me to no end that in this situation, that rightmost 1px gray line – which, by the way, is completely unneeded – is exactly one pixel off to the left compared to the scrollbar drawn below it.

Lessn

This looks interesting (from the usually brilliant Shaun Inman):

Lessn is an extremely simple, personal url shortener written in PHP with MySQL. Download Lessn and check out the included README.txt for installation instructions.

I registered andsp.net and will be putting Lessn through its paces in the hopes of rolling my own url link shortener.