A time bomb, accidentally discovered?

(I’ll adjust the vocabulary so that it’s understandable by most OCAD students. But nothing essential is changed. In fact by adjusting the vocabulary it becomes clear why I say the situation is ridiculous.)

So what essentially happened in the past couple of days was that I have been banned from a studio. The tech specifically requested that I be banned only from his studio, but what happened was that I seem to have been banned from the entire building, including the elevator.

Now this is a serious problem, because there can only be so many reasons how this could even have happened:

  1. The person who made the change intentionally made the wrong changes (malice);
  2. The person who made the change on the computer made a mistake and did not check their work so they never noticed there was a mistake (carelessness);
  3. The person who made the change on the computer did everything correctly but the computer did something else and then lied to the person saying it did what was asked (logic error + bad UI);
  4. The computer is incapable of making the requested change and does not provide any feedback as to what it has actually done (software deficiencies + bad UI);
  5. The computer does random unexpected things from time to time, possibly when people try to make certain changes (random errors).

Any of these reasons are serious, and with the SU office having moved to 205 Richmond they have become more serious than ever. Just imagine, if a student has been unfairly banned from a studio and needs the help of the Student Advocate, they might not actually be able to get to the SU office to get help. Or students could be banned from the SU food bank. Worse, the entire SU staff could be shut out from their own office for no reason.

(Even the second possibility is serious. I have basically been banned for carelessness. But if the person who banned me is as careless as I was they should be banned too =P)

I think this needs to be looked into as soon as possible, before the Fall semester kicks in and make this problem one that potentially affects >4000 OCAD students.

205 Richmond

You know, I have never felt a connection to 205 Richmond, even though that’s supposed to be my building.

But how could anyone blame me? If all a student could do is to go into the building to borrow the wifi and the bathroom (and it’s just the wifi and not even a power outlet), it would be a miracle the student felt any connection. So what does it mean to have the privilege of borrowing the bathroom revoked too? Can anyone say “Not much, I suppose”?

Anyway, since this ridiculous thing has actually happened I’ll have to say it’s a good thing that the Student Union moved into this building and literally took over half of the fifth floor. Honestly I used to think it was a bad idea that they moved here since it’s so far away (for most students and ironically that also includes me, since my home base is not 7220 but 253). But I think the move has accomplished something very important, namely to—what’s the right word? “detoxify”? “cleanse”?—anyway, to make the environment feel less intrinsically hostile.

I really hope the SU will do well here. In a sense, I really hated this building. And yes the SU moving there really sort of caused it harder to hate it as a whole.

How to *really* disable Roots activation

So I thought I disabled Roots activation. I was wrong.

Activation still caused trouble, and digging deeper I eventually found a way to completely disable it. Ironically, the correct way that I eventually found was my initial gut instinct that I had before I made the fateful mistake of deleting the file instead of doing this correct thing.

And what is this “correct thing”? Just replace activation.php with a blank file. (That is, a file with a length of zero bytes if I’m not clear enough.) Yes really.

Astonishingly, even with activation completely disabled WordPress is still acting strange. Apparently it gets wonky if you are using more than one menu. Since I need eight to pull off this project, I’m sort of doomed to failure.

I’m going to resurrect activation.php to automatically reassign the menus. It’s ridiculous I have to do this but it looks like this is the only way out.

How to completely disable Roots activation

[The information written in this article has proved to be wrong. See the follow-up to this article instead.]

Roots is pretty cool, but a major problem is the “activation” page. I’ve lost work more than once because I pressed the “Save” button by mistake, and my latest mistake involves having to ask someone to fix things up by FTP. It seriously provides no benefits at all and it has the potential and is very likely to do a whole lot of harm. So why is this dangerous page in there, and why is there no official way to completely take it out?

After breaking a site (by removing activation.php — bad idea), I poked around safely in my dev environment and found out that patching Roots in the following way will completely disable this dangerous “feature”. From WordPress’s point of view the activation page doesn’t even exist any more, even the activation link is gone, so this is perfect:

diff --git a/lib/activation.php b/lib/activation.php
index 4b677d6..a1b7c34 100644
--- a/lib/activation.php
+++ b/lib/activation.php
@@ -2,10 +2,12 @@
 /**
  * Theme activation
  */
+if (false) { // disable the dangerous "activation" page
 if (is_admin() && isset($_GET['activated']) && 'themes.php' == $GLOBALS['pagenow']) {
   wp_redirect(admin_url('themes.php?page=theme_activation_options'));
   exit;
 }
+} // disable the dangerous "activation" page
 
 function roots_theme_activation_options_init() {
   register_setting(
@@ -21,6 +23,7 @@ function roots_activation_options_page_capability($capability) {
 add_filter('option_page_capability_roots_activation_options', 'roots_activation_options_page_capability');
 
 function roots_theme_activation_options_add_page() {
+  return; // disable the dangerous "activation" page
   $roots_activation_options = roots_get_theme_activation_options();
 
   if (!$roots_activation_options) {

Building w3m on MacOSX

This is, of course, not really a piece of adaptive technology, but it’s a reasonable first approximation and this still is, in a sense, perhaps, a segment whose needs should be addressed. (Ok, I didn’t say it. Someone in an AIGA webinar said this a year and a half ago or so.)

The easiest way to build w3m on MacOSX is to use the original version of w3m, which has been modified to use GNU configure. The w3mmee package do not compile (without some investigation and fixing, which would take time).

Before building the package, one line needs to be patched. The patch for main.c can be found at Qi Hardware’s site.

Boehm GC also needs to be installed before building the package. Unfortunately HP has removed Boehm GC’s page. So I grabbed the package from Debian. (You need the .orig package.)

(Screen dump of OCAD’s web site as viewed in w3m)

So far the browser seems to work.

Finalist :)

Two days ago I received an email from the RGD which told me that while I didn’t win any award in this year’s RGD Student Awards, I was among the finalists in the “Placemaking” category.

Which made me happy: I have never been trained in EGD, my experience was not exactly EGD experience, and my attempt to somehow steer my INCD studies in the direction of EGD didn’t work out; yet it was my EGD entry that got into the finalist round.

So what should I do next? I wonder. Or am I daydreaming?

“school sucks in the summer”

It is true that working on campus is way better than working at home. At home I have to remember to put my headphones on (which is recent discovery) and I don’t always remember to do that.

But I’ve been much more productive on campus either in the studio or in the Great Hall (but not in the bistro area), even when compared with when I work with headphones on, or even compared to when I work at Robarts.

The fact that campus closes early and isn’t open on weekends really is making me very unhappy. Yes, I’m still unhappy.

a good model thesis?

So I dropped into the grad office again today to look for theses to read, and I noticed that there were a few new ones that I’d never seen before and that didn’t look like anything I had ever seen. In fact they looked so different I thought maybe they were not theses.

They I pulled them out and they were theses. Must be the new “bespoke” formats…

So took out a few and the first one I tried to read was Spooky Action at a Distance: Fragments of Presence in Remote Objects : A Master of Design Thesis by Jackson McConnell (yes, that’s a title with a subtitle with a sub-subtitle).

Less than halfway through scanning it I realized that I virtually did exactly the same thing as he did (except, very possibly, worse), and how I wrote my draft is virtually exactly the same as how he wrote his final thesis (again, except, very possibly, worse).

So have I finally found a possible model to follow?

I sure hope so…

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