Monday, September 17, 2007

A foot is as long as the King's foot

At the university, the only thing we love more than inane bureaucratic paperwork is making up acronyms for inane bureaucratic paperwork (IBP). While filling out my 2007-2008 Report of Non-University Activities (RNUA) I noticed this question: "Do you or does any member of your family(2) have a managerial role or a significant(3) financial relationship with a company that does business with the University or with a company in a field of your research?"

Footnote (2) just defines family as spouse or children, which doesn't seem complete enough to avoid the nepotism the form is designed to identify.

Footnote (3) says, "Federal research regulations define "significant" as financial interests exceeding $10,000 or representing more than 5% ownership regardless of dollar value. The State Procurement Code prohibits the award of University contracts to companies in which University employees who earn more than 60% of the Governor's salary have either (a) ownership interests in excess of 7.5% or (b) entitlements to annual income in amounts in excess of the salary of the Governor. (The Governor's salary is $171,000 as of July 1, 2007.)

There are two things that make this significant. One, you need to make more than $102,600 for them to care in the first place and then only if you're important enough to own those interests (at least 7.5% which doesn't seem significant to me,) and only if at the end of the year you make more than the Governor, which is the important thing. You can't make more than the Governor (or make it without reporting it.)

These regulations are weird.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unclear on the concept: Wikis

We're running enterprise wiki software at work, and have converted quite a few public, class, and Intranet sites to the wiki. Confluence lets us give each wiki a 'space' with its own namespace and configs and tools.

The data structure class is using a wiki space. Part of mp1 used some library to make fractal like bitmaps, and they encouraged the class to upload those pictures to the wiki (but not to explain how they made them,) as a way to show off what they did and make pretty artwork.

Right before the assignment was due, people started posting on their newsgroup that they'd overwritten other people's submissions, and could the original poster please re-upload them. I guess a lot of people named them out.bmp

Then they were worried about editing the picture meta-data after the upload changed the timestamp (for grading purposes.)

Sounds like these students don't understand the WikiWikiWay (logging, versioning, collision/revision control.) Chaos is part of the fun. I thought students today were supposed to be web saavy?

From a system side, I guess those bmps were pretty large because the bandwidth usage by the wiki server jumped up quite a bit and users on the newsgroups were complaining that the page that had all the images in it was slow to load (hundreds of >500k graphics.) Apparently the wiki software sends a no-cache instruction to the browser, so each load pulled everything down again.

I just chuckle when they post to the newsgroup that they uploaded over Joe User's graphic and could he please upload it to the wiki again.