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February 20, 2004

Lunch at Flash Forward

Are you going to Flash Forward? I've made reservations for lunch on Wednesday, at a restaurant near the conference.

If you'd like to join us, post a comment or send me a note so I can update the reservation. blogging at galaxygoo dot org.

Update:
So far, it looks like there's going to be about eight of us. If you run into me at the conference, and want to join us, be sure to mention it to me. The restaurant will do their best to accomodate us, but we have to give them some room to plan.

FYI: my access to email will be sporadic during the conference.

Speaking at MX Europe

It's official! I'm speaking at MXEurope, in September.

GalaxyGoo doesn't exactly have a travel budget, but I'm confident everything will work out great.

February 19, 2004

MIT OpenCourseWare Update

The MIT OpenCourseWare team is moving forward into the March 2004 publication cycle with 200 new MIT courses scheduled for publication by March 31. ~The MIT OpenCourseWare Update -- Vol. 2, Issue 2

New courses include:

Darwin and Design and Toward the Scientific Revolution

GalaxyGoo Happy Hour

Want to know more about GalaxyGoo? Itching to geek-speak with fellow Flash developers and designers? Are you a science or math teacher?

Our next GalaxyGoo Flash Happy Hour is scheduled for next Tuesday!

Feb 24, 2004 (Tuesday)

The week before Flash Forward...it's Happy Hour time!

  • Bliss Bar (on 24th street, between Noe and Castro)
  • 5:30pm

This will be our last Happy Hour for several months.

If you'd like an email reminder, send a note to bloggingatgalaxygoodotorg

Where'd galaxygoo dot com go?

Because of a DNS mixup (now fixed), I've become aware of a little tiny issue:

There seems to be some confusion about where GalaxyGoo lives on the net, and some folks even link to us as galaxygoo dot com. An easy mistake to make, but we're galaxygoo.org.

While dot-com will forward to us, we really are a dot-org in name, address, and spirit.

February 18, 2004

Two Weeks 'Till Flash Forward

Are you going to this year's Flash Forward conference? I'll be talking about visualizing science with flash, at 4pm on Thursday (room 223). My Q&A session is 9am, the next day.

There's so much to talk about. It was very hard to keep it to a one hour presentation. I'll focus on projects that use XML in some form, with either a custom data structure or an established XML application. If there's time, I'll also touch on webMathematica and mathML. It'll be fun, really! :-)

February 14, 2004

Georgia Drops (and then restores) Evolution from State Science Curriculum

In response to the Georgia Department of Education's removal of evolution from the state science curriculum, Alan I. Leshner (AAAS CEO) writes:

Moreover, one section of the Georgia draft could open the door for teaching non-science based concepts such as creationism or intelligent design theory in science classrooms, and that would be wrong. The scientific community respects diverse viewpoints, and we have no problem, of course, with teaching philosophy and moral concepts in non-science courses. But, such concepts should not be taught as equivalent to scientific theories in science classrooms, lest we mislead students about the criteria for something to be considered scientific. To reap the full benefits of science and technology, it is just as important to know what is and isn't science-based, as it is to know the scientific content itself.
~Read the full editorial

While dropping evolution from the curriculum was an attempt to avoid controversy, the decision became a controversy itself. After intense criticism, evolution has been restored to the Georgia science curriculum.

February 11, 2004

Censored at the Source

It seems like a whole lifetime ago, but I used to do commercial web development. My company still exists (although cash flow is more like a trickle) and I occasionally do work for the clients that have stuck with me over the years. Today, I was working on some minor updates to a site when I noticed something that had me stumped for a few minutes.

All the modified files were uploaded to the server, and I was double checking it all through my browser. Everything was fine...except that the header graphic was missing on all pages! It was there when I looked with Dreamweaver. It was there when I looked at the site with a different computer. But there was no trace of the graphic through the browser on this machine.

I used view source on both machines. On this one, the img tag was completely missing. What?! Where did it go?!

Just as a hunch, I tried changing the name of the image file. Surprise, surprise! Once I changed the images name from "banner.gif" to "header.gif", the browser rendered it. My browser, or something on this machine, was censoring the source code. The implications of this are still bouncing around my brain. I am not a happy camper.

If I didn't have deadlines looming, I'd be researching this like mad....will have to wait for later.

February 10, 2004

Gearing Up for Math Awareness Month

We're getting ready for Math Awareness Month.

We're hosting a friendly challenge to flash developers: let's see what you can create when you combine Math and Flash. If you'd like to participate, donate a prize, or just share some ideas, join us on the forums:

GalaxyGoo Working Forums - Math Awareness Month

Or send a note to me at blogging at galaxygoo dot org.

February 05, 2004

Word Woes

Really, I don't know how folks avoid complete frustration when using Microsoft software. I just turned in my speaker's notes for Flash Forward, and thankfully shut down Word.

I'm wondering if anyone out there knows how to accomplish this in Word: highlight a block of text and turn off spell-check for that block, but leaving spell-check on for the rest of the document. Why? So the program will stop marking and re-marking my code snippets with what it "thinks" are spelling and grammar errors.

February 03, 2004

Google Logo Goes Fractal

This has got to be the best logo variation I've seen on Google.

Thanks to Edwin, for posting about it in our forums!

February 02, 2004

Pushing the Envelope: Saving text to Disk from Flash

Sometimes I just love blogs! A few days ago, I made one of those "thinking out loud" posts. The resulting comments were much more interesting than my original post. And Gregg Wygonik posted a method for saving a text file to disk from Flash (using Internet Explorer), on his blog. Yeah Gregg!!

The method works for Internet Exlporer. If you're the glass-is-half-empty type, you may be saying, "but this only works with IE!" True, but it's a good step. Flash has proven itself to be a fantastic solution for user interface of complex internet applications, now it needs some additional functionality. Folks want to save the results they've produced, without having to use a database or other server-side tools.

A mini-rant here: how will the browser and authoring tool makers know what we need if we don't show them? Internet technology improved incredibly when developers (professional and amateur) were constantly pushing the limits on what could be done with available tools. Let's keep pushing.

Stuck in Static When Dynamic is Right There?

Lately, a lot of my time is spent researching funding sources. This includes looking at what other folks are getting money for. Often, I'm completely surprised by projects that seem similar to GalaxyGoo projects, but take a completely different technological approach.

If you scroll down this page, to A Key to the Fishes, you'll find a project to develop a "web-based, dichotomous key". This looked pretty exciting to me, until I noticed that the project involved "building the long series of individual pages required for the key."

Why build individual pages? So much busy-work! A simple database would do the job much more cleanly, and leave the Biology expert focused on subject matter instead of page-making.

If they wanted something technical to spend grant money on, why not request a collaboration with GalaxyGoo?! After all, we've already built the engine to step the user through a dichotomous key.

The funny thing is that I've been searching for an academic to collaborate with, for exactly such an application of our experimental version of an interactive dichotomous key.

This example points out to me that GalaxyGoo could use some help connecting with project collaborations.