September 19, 2003

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Tracking people’s history


4.10.9 Hand-made user auditing

If you are paranoid you might want to add a system-wide /etc/profile
that sets the environment in a way such that they cannot remove audit
capabilities from the shell (commands are dumped to $HISTFILE. The
/etc/profile could be set as follows:

       readonly HISTFILE
       readonly HISTSIZE
       readonly HISTFILESIZE

CS21A today

(education, cs21a)

We had a particularly fun CS21A session today. I wanted them to learn how to grow an array and how to guarantee uniqueness. Instead of giving them a well-prepared step-by-step lab, I wanted to help them practice understanding oral instructions and gathering requirements. The exercise was this:

I’m a teacher. I want a program that helps me keep track of attendance. I also want to be able to pick random students for recitation. I’ll add the nicknames of the students as they enter. During the class, I’ll ask the computer for random names to call. At the end of the class, I want a sorted list of nicknames so that I can enter the names into my record. Deletion was optional.

I had them go through the problem-solving process

Some guide questions were:

- What is the problem?

- What do I already know how to do?

- What do I need to learn in order to solve the problem?

- How do I go about learning what I need to learn?

- How do I solve the problem?

- How do I check if the problem is solved?

It was very fun to see them break into lively discussion, although I’m still a little worried about some students who don’t really join the others during the discussion. I should find a way to draw them into it.

The exercise was a good way to introduce the problem of resizing arrays and it will help them better appreciate Vectors. We’ll discuss those on Monday, but I’ve assigned the slides and the book as reading.

Encouragement =)

(good karma)

Date: Wed Sep 17 14:24:33 2003 +0800

Dear Sacha,

First of all, thank you for your presentation at PSITE’s first national IT Student Congress. As a member and officer of the PSITE national Board, I believe we were privileged to have you.

Second: I think that perhaps when you and I were born, someone had wished for us the traditional “May you live in interesting times.” My life has been very interesting so far, fascinating even. Presentations like yours add to that fascination. To quote you —- “So far, I’ve explored it as a possible direction for student projects, with some project suggestions along the lines of accessible technology and Filipino speech synthesis. Personally, however, I don’t feel that I’ve learned enough about it to give researchers and policy-makers a useful idea of wearable computing.” Many teachers serve as inspirations or advisers to their students. Many teachers are on the lookout for and are very interested in new project ideas. They are no less interested in project suggestions as students are. Industry, on the other hand, has always been interested in opportunities for involvement with
students, for opportunities to have students accustomed or acclimatized to industry’s products and practices. If your presentation could provide the representatives of academe and industry with ideas for
collaboration to support student learning, I believe your presentation would already be well worth attending. As for the policy-makers, if your presentation could highlight the benefits of allowing students to delve into projects which may seem, at first glance, impractical or even outrightly fantastic, and still allow them the possibility of a passing grade at the end, your presentation would already have served a worthwhile purpose.

This is the era when we should all be extremely excited about being different, about being new, about being unique. We should not be afraid to break out of the confines of tradition. We should certainly not be punished for our willingness to take on the risks of adventure and exploration. I think that your presentation will provide our audience with an initial dose of “risk-taking vitamins” —- a supplement that is much required in this day and age.

We will be very pleased to have you among our presentors.

Thank you.


Peach Tinio
Director-in-Charge, IT Education Committee
Philippine Computer Society