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Edited by Sam Marshall, Thursday, 25 Feb 2010, 22:19

Yes, I fail at updating blog. Sorry. However! Here's an update.


We fixed several critical bugs in the contrib version thanks to bug reports from the community. Thanks! There have also been bugfixes from our internal testing.

Ray's finished the subscribe-to-discussion feature (but I don't think it is committed to the contrib version yet).

OU blog

Mahmoud's working on the individual-blog feature (aka 'learning journal' - every student has their own individual private blog within a course, which their tutor can monitor).

I put in a feature request to see if we can allow public comments (moderated) so that people who don't have an Open University account can leave comments in my blog. (Wait, did I say my blog?! I mean, the vast array of blogs hosted on our system! Er, don't pass this bit on to the people who prioritise feature requests.) Even if this gets the go-ahead it will be quite some time before it is developed though.

OU wiki

Bryan's annotation feature (which basically lets tutors 'mark' work in the wiki by locking a page and adding comments at any point within the text) is finished and mostly bugfixed, and I think it's great! We've been showing it off to people as part of our upcoming release (see below). I'm afraid this also is not in our community release yet - we need to do an update of ouwiki at some point.

My work

I've been continuing to spend a depressing amount of time on support and bugfixing and troubleshooting and writing specifications and even just on reassigning tasks. I don't actually mind doing any of this, but it's put me way behind on the dashboard system I'm supposed to be developing.

That said this week I did get back into work on that system and it is great (not the system, the work). It's in Java which means everything in the IDE works perfectly (I can refactor, woohoo) and I'm writing unit tests immediately after I finish each new method, with code coverage for tests at about 80% (the 20% is mostly odd/impossible failure cases and stupid setup code and the like). This should be really reliable! I hope.

General comedy

I did a briefing about our upcoming release for Helpdesk yesterday and for Media (an internal division that... eh don't worry about it) today, both done together with Sharon who is in charge of dealing with the transition from the old proprietary conferencing system to forums (and other things) within our Moodle-based VLE.

These already had a certain comedy aura because the 'upcoming release' has just been postponed (somebody's off sick in the team that works on servers and the person who would've stepped in for them is on leave) so we're doing briefings for an update that isn't even going to happen yet. But it's even better because:

  • In yesterday's briefing, somebody turned off the Forums block just before we did the demos. I was showing off the mobile view. 'So er... what there are no forums! ... well if the forums were showing, they'd be there, and it would only show the unread ones...' etc.
  • In today's briefing, the computer in the presentation room has an irritating wireless mouse, and it wasn't working! For added amusement, they replaced the keyboard with one which has all the keys in the wrong place (Return and Backspace tiny and surrounded by other keys) so I kept mistyping.
    After I did some of the demo on keyboard only, Sharon saved the day by going to get the key to the locked cupboard with the computer in, and plugging her own mouse to it. Best moment: when she'd just achieved this, still in my part of the demo, and we were on opposite sides of the room, me with the keyboard and her with the mouse. 'Click on the Resources link!' Good times.

Yes, I have pretty low standards for what consitutes 'comedy' but, well, I work in computing. smile

(And talking of low standards, I also made an an image macro based on the Xzibit 'Yo dawg' meme with reference to a proposed new Open University website design... but I think that one had better stay in-house.)

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Sharon Monie

Good times indeed :)

I had forotten about that demo - one of the better ones in terms of smiles methinks smile