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July 30, 2004

What's the difference between a Forum and a Blog?

In a meeting today, I found myself explaining the difference between a list-serve and a blog, and a forum and a blog…

Once you get comfortable with the technology, it’s easy to forget what the view is from the outside. It’s confusing!

This is just a brief explanation of what came up in the meeting. I’ve found discussion forums to be the most difficult to explain. Please feel free to contribute, based on your experience.

List-serve: members of the list-server send in email, and the program sends copies of this email to all other members on the list. Often there is an archive of all email messages available to be read online, like a web-page.

Discussion Forum: a lot like a list-server, but all posts are made through the website instead of by email. Discussion forums are great for organizing discussions into topics an subtopics. Some allow members to have posts, and notices of new posts emailed to them.

Blog: This is like a journal and press-release software all in one. A good blog has a distinctive personality or group of personalities at its core. There is also a social aspect to blogs. Many blogs allow visitors to post comments. Sometimes long discussions can take place on a blog, but each topic is started by the blog owner. Websites and software called “aggregators”, collect the feeds (like an AP wire press-release) from many different blogs and list recent posts all in one place.

O'Reilly Makes Tech Mag

Got this link from the flex-mx blog. If O'Reilly keeps the quality as high as it does with its books, this magazine is a must-have subscription.

On the promotional site, they write "our premier issue will show you how to get involved in Kite Aerial Photography-- taking pictures with a camera suspended from a kite. We'll show you how to build an inexpensive rig to hold your camera." Hmmm...I hope that includes protection against crash landings.

Make: Magazine for Technology Projects.

July 28, 2004

C++ to AS2

Jim Armstrong is transitioning from Assembly Language and C++ to Actionscript 2, and he's blogging about it. He'll be discussing "mathematical, business decision analytics, and engineering problems in Flash using AS 2 as a programming language."

Keep your eye on his blog: 2112 F/X :: Singularity

--via moockblog


It's hard to believe that a full year has passed since we did the blogathon, and created Curiouser. We posted 48 Flash experiments over 24 hours (one every half hour). After it was all over, we were named "Best Visual Arts Project" for the year.

Are we going to do it again? Maybe next year, since the blogathon folks are taking a year off.

July 27, 2004

JavaScript MathML Library

Recently I came across ASCIIMathML, which is a JavaScript-library which can display MathML based on simple ASCII math notation. It translates ASCII math to MathML. Another cool example of using MathML on the Web!

It does require the MathPlayer for IE (Gecko-based browsers such as Mozilla and Firefox have built-in MathML-support).

July 21, 2004

Semi-final round of Science Visualization Challenge!

Just now, I got word that we've made it to the semi-final round of the NSF Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. A simpler version of our Neuromuscular Junction Simulation, is also the subject of my chapter in New Masters of Flash III.

July 20, 2004

State of Science Education in the US in decline?

As I research new projects and new directions for GalaxyGoo, it becomes clear to me that current science education isn't what it could be. Yes, there are schools with outstanding programs. However, what is the general Science IQ of the public.

Real science has to compete with junk science, and teachers are "teaching to the test" instead of sparking enlightenment. They just don't have the time in the class room. The kids have to pass the tests.

Here's an article I just stumbled across (beware of pop-up ads):

CNN.com - Teachers push science education in U.S. - Jul 5, 2004

July 13, 2004

math tools

Some iteresting ideas for projects: Math Forum: About Tool Fest

July 12, 2004

Adventures in CSS part II

Well, it's true. Basic CSS is very easy. However, as soon as I started table-free CSS layout design I realized that this was an all new game. I'm still very much of a novice, but I can see why folks started using words like "zen" with CSS. It's almost a meditation.

I'm still keeping it simple, but here's a sneak peak at my attempt to design with two columns a banner and a footer: Table of Contents for GalaxyGoo

We all need a little help from our friends..I got some help over at bit-101. I'm posting a link to the thread because it may be useful to others.

July 10, 2004

It's been two years!

As of today, this blog's been online for two years. To celebrate, I'm posting something completely off topic and somewhat silly.

When I saw this truck today, I just had to pull out my camera.

funny moving van

July 06, 2004

Off Topic: Are you a geek or a nerd?

I'm a geek and proud. I'm not sure why I think of myself as a geek instead of a nerd, but that's just how it is. I spent years repressing my geeky tendencies. I guess it just wasn't very acceptable to be a geeky girl. My grandfather tried to talk me out of pursuing a life in science. When I told him I was a geek at heart, my father replied that "geeks are circus freaks that bite the heads off of chickens". Hmm...I really don't think he got the point ;-)

When I finally embraced my geeky-ness I found true happiness. I started asking questions in class...lots of questions. And I got lots of answers. I met other geeks. We were cool, in our own way.

Some folks use "geek" and "nerd" interchangeably. What are you? A geek or a nerd?

July 05, 2004

Adventures in CSS conversion

Today, seeking technical inspiration in my efforts to convert GalaxyGoo to full CSS, I took a peek at source code for the O'Reilly website and was surprised to find that it was table based.

I turn, instead to