I’m sorry


Let’s start this post with a tune…

29M views – it is just that important.

My day today started with a message from the Padlet Safety Team indicating that they had resolved a case with content on one of my Padlets. They even gave the case number.

Gulp! If that doesn’t wake you up in a hurry, I don’t know what would. After all, I use a Whatever happened? (padlet.com) for people to submit suggestions for my Sunday morning post “Whatever happened to …”. Had something gone wrong? Had I submitted something bad while asleep? Had someone else?

I checked the Padlet out and it seemed OK to me. While I was pondering this, I wandered throughout my mailbox and saw the message again. This is getting strange. I checked out their help page and then decided to respond to the notice asking if it was something that I’d done wrong and should I be learning something from this?

I got a response immediately. Wow, that was quick but it was one of those automated replies to let you know that they got the message. I went about doing some other things and then I got another response from the safety team. The message was comforting as they indicated that there was a bug and it had sent out the original message in error. That made me feel pretty good; it wasn’t me.

But then I thought about other software over the years. I think that everyone knows that you have to have a certain ego element to be a developer which makes it difficult to acknowledge errors. But, I never have had an apology from a developer when I contacted them. That kind of blew me away.

We all know that software is seldom perfect when it is released or sold. If it was every software would be version 1.0!

But to acknowledge that there was a problem. That was really unique and impressive. In my former life delivering workshop after workshop promoting software and tools, we would periodically run into issues. Some of my life seemed to be developing workarounds until things were fixed.

I’d also attended sessions lead by developers as we contemplated implementing something in the system. I’ve got more certifications than I care to admit but you won’t see them as badges here. I think that makes you part of everything that happens including when things go wrong. I even attended a session once where we were explicitly told never to use the word “bug” when referring to an issue that someone might be having. Instead, we were told to say “that’s unexpected behaviour”.

So, I was really struck by the honesty of this reply. I’ve long recommended that people take a look at Padlet to see if it serves a purpose for them. This whole process confirmed to me that the people behind this are honest and open.

You’ve got to like a developer like that.

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OTR Links 02/25/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

That isn’t what I would do


The article correctly describes the problem.

Windows 10 update improves copy-and-paste in a big way

Maybe it’s because my original computers didn’t have pointing devices attached to them but I’m a lover of keeping my fingers on my keyboard. (particularly with my new one…)

Early, you learn using a computer that there are all kinds of shortcuts available by combining keys together.

If nothing else, you should know that the CTRL/Command key plus O opens a document, P prints a document, C copies highlighted text, and V pastes highlighted text. Of course, there are more.

Now, back in the good old days, all that was on your screen was text. These days with your fancy schmancy computer, you have text that is much richer, colourful, different sizes, different backgrounds, etc. The all copy and paste faithfully, preserving the attributes of the text.

As a blogger, I often do a lot of copy/pasting if I’m making a reference to something else. It’s what I do. It’s what most bloggers do. The problem is that, while the originator may be proud of how their text is formatted, I often don’t what that here.

So, I had to learn a new shortcut and that is CTRL/SHIFT/V at the same time. That gives me just the text and then I can format things the way I want it. To quote a former colleague of mine, “If you were king of the world, what would you do?” Well, I would make the default CTRL/V just paste the text. I’d have something else to copy and preserve the formatting.

Now, of course, I could use the mouse. Highlight the text, right click on the mouse and then find “Paste as” and then the option I want which is typically “Plain text”. But my point is … why should I have to go through all that?

I’m not excited about the concept of the PowerKey/V to do the simple task although I really like the idea of having a running history of all that I’ve copied.

Of course, I’m not under any delusions that any developer at Microsoft is going to read my blog post and make the change. But, if they would, that would be really cool.

As a compromise, I’d even settle for a configuration setting that would let me customize the keys to my satisfaction. That’s probably not going to happen either.

Sigh.

OTR Links 02/24/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About languages


Going back, I remember that in Grade 10, we were required to take French. It seemed strange at the time since we didn’t know anyone who spoke French that we might converse with. We were told that we might work for the government some day and this would come in handy. And, it was required so just do it.

I took the class like all my friends and I actually did fairly well. I seem to recall a final mark in the 80s so that was good. It wasn’t until later that I found out that I didn’t really learn the language; I learned the words. I guess it probably made sense; my mathematical mind would translate an English word into French or a French word into English. Put enough French words together and I could make a sentence, apparently four times out of five.

Of course, I never used my new found skill in school beyond the class or at university. When I ended up getting a job in Essex County, I learned that LaSalle was the biggest speaking community west of Quebec. The locals were proud of that although I still have this nagging feeling that there are communities in Manitoba that would argue. I did have a few students who were bilingual in my home room and I could listen to and make a bit of sense of their conversations. And, to their amusement, try to respond to them.

It wasn’t until I became the webmaster at OSAPAC that it really hit home. My goal was to make the website bilingual since there are all kinds of French speaking educators in the province using Ministry licensed software. I looked forward to finally applying my high school skills towards something productive. And, there was this Google Translate thing to help me with the things I got stumped on.

Well, it didn’t take long until the French language speakers on the committee let me know that, they appreciated my effort, but my work wasn’t cutting it. Even when I tried to speak like I thought I could, they felt sorry for me and replied in English! But they were awesome and so helpful and we did reach a point where we had the website fluent in both languages.

So, why all this history?

Well, this morning, I ran into an interesting article.

Make Cree available on Google Translate, online petition demands

That stopped me for a second and so I checked…

There are indeed a lot of languages there in Google Translate. But the word “Cree” and presumably a translator wasn’t there.

So, it goes back to the original question posed in the interview.

One of the things that I value about being connected is making connections to people smarter and more worldly than me. A while back, a former colleague Tina, invited me to join an Indigenous Education group on Facebook. They’ve been awesome with their sharing and their insights. To pay my dues, I will share stories about Indigenous Education and I shared the story above. As per my normal practice, I also shared to Twitter where I notice a number of favourites and retweeting. Obviously people are interested.

But then, there was this interesting comment.

That took me back to high school where one of the complaints about learning French was that we were learning French French and not Canadian French and that there was a difference.

I can tell you that, even in this French area, the language has been butchered.

Around here, some of the street names …

  • Ouellette – pronounced as Oh-Let
  • Pierre – pronounced as peery
  • Grand Marais – pronounced as Grand Mair-ess

In Canada, we’re seeing actions taken to reverse the effect of Residential Schools and the loss of a first language. If you are sensitive to the regions within the province, you know that Cree isn’t the only language needed. For example, we have the Caldwell Nation on the shores of Lake Erie.

Thanks to the wonderful feedback from all, it’s clear that more than one language and one dialect would be needed to address all the needs. Certainly, you have to start somewhere but this isn’t going to be a one and done deal.

In the meantime, I wonder how effective this is.