Back to school

Now this is rather cool: MIT OpenCourseWare. In their own words:

MIT OCW is a large-scale, Web-based electronic publishing initiative funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and MIT.

MIT OCW’s goals are to:

  • Provide free, searchable access to MIT’s course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.
  • Create an efficient, standards-based model that other institutions may emulate to openly share and publish their own course materials.

Basically, what MIT has done is make available the coursework material for a number of their regular classes—500 classes at last count—for free over the Internet. Read that again: Free. MIT. Courses. Granted, not for college credit or anything, but geez, what a learning opportunity!

Then again, as one of the posters on Slashdot put it:

Finally, you too can feel dumb in the privacy of your own home.

Ain’t technology grand?

An apology

Dear DirecTV,

When I left Massachusetts, I left you behind as well, knowing that you would not be welcome in my new rental environment. It was a painful decision—you’ll have to trust me on this one—but it was the only one I could have made under the circumstances.

I guess it’s no secret that I shacked up with that tart, AT&T Broadband cable. She didn’t have your character—but she was there. She wasn’t nearly as good-looking—but she was available. Let’s face it—I went for the easy mark. When she went all schizo on me and changed her name to Comcast, I stayed. And even when she started wanting more and more money to keep her happy, I stayed. In other words, I was whipped.

But now I see the error in my ways. She’s gone. History. And here I am back at your door, hoping that you’ll let me take you back into my life. After seeing you again, I realize anew what it was that drew me to you. And have I mentioned how beautiful you look?

I hope you can forgive me.

XOXOX

Release notes for the latest version

Some things you may or may not have noticed in this redesign:

  • I’ve tried to make the overall look of this site a little less cluttered in appearance, hopefully without sacrificing usability in the process. (Example: Individual entries no longer have entry titles displayed, instead just displaying an entry’s timestamp—I got tired of trying to come up with original titles.)
  • Because of the first point, I had to go back and edit some of the entries’ text so that the text for an entry was no longer dependent on the entry’s title. Not difficult, but a bit tedious.
  • I’ve “downgraded” the standards compliance of all the pages from XHTML 1.0 Transitional to HTML 4.01 Transitional. Reason: There was nothing to gain by moving to XHTML at this point in time other than to say I did it. Of course, unless you’ve actually viewed the source for any of these pages lately, I doubt you even noticed the change. [Update (Nov 11, 2003): Scratch that, it’s all back to XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Don’t ask.]
  • Internet Explorer 5.x apparently didn’t like the way I originally implemented print stylesheets for this redesign, so for now, I’m forsaking their use. (This flaw in IE didn’t show up until I did some additional testing from an older box at home last night.) I think I’ve come up with a workaround, but I probably won’t be able to test it out til sometime this weekend. Again, doubt anyone even noticed. [Update (Nov 11, 2003): Workaround worked; all is well again.]

Regardless, hope I didn’t break anything—but please let me know if I did.