My Week Ending 2020-05-24

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • This new feature in Windows 10 would probably be much better in a big work environment. There’s not much to sniff on the home network.
  • We know that schools will eventually re-open and that they’ll be different from what they used to be. In the meantime, we can watch what’s happening schools that are opening up before. Here, it’s Denmark.
  • Other things will be opening up as well. Professional Baseball is one of them and here are some of the proposed rules. Spoiler – spitballs aren’t possible.
  • Times are tough all over. Even Queen Elizabeth and all that she owns/operates like tourism are suffering from lack of business.
  • Blended learning is in your future. You just know that. Sophia Mavridi shares a post talking about how to moderate.
  • Fonts have fascinated me. In this story, they unload on the letter “G“. At least, Comic Sans didn’t make the discussion. That’s always wrong.
  • I think it’s only right to be surprised and concerned. How can anyone who has been paying attention for the past two months not realize that they need to wear a mask when out in public.
  • This will be interesting to follow. Apple stores have always been a place for mass humanity to play around with things. What does the new reality bode for them? Will people behave?
  • If you are feeling different these days, it’s normal. In this article focused on anxiety, there’s a good explanation about how it sneaks up on you.
  • One of the big takeaways for homes after all this is that the home computer just isn’t going to cut it. If you’ve had concerns, there is good advice about Chromebooks in this article.
  • I don’t think it’s just universities. It could be any school or any business or any restaurant. How quick before lawsuits follow?
  • We certainly live in a topsy turvy world. Microsoft is now embracing Linux and they were on the wrong side about open source.
  • I think that we all are impressed with the way that New Zealand handles a lot of things. What would our society think about a four-day work week?
  • When school re-open, we know that social distancing will be a necessity. How does it work in classrooms that are already packed? Michigan offers a solution.
  • We know that there are haves and have-nots in terms of online equity. This COVID time has amplified this.
  • The goal of this article might have been to slam teacher unions but peel back the skin and it only makes sense that they’re at the table to any discussion about re-opening schools.
  • This is a big deal in Windsor-Detroit. The fireworks on the Detroit River between the two cities. It’s been postponed but not cancelled. Great news. There are some caveats but that’s OK too. Hopefully people understand.
  • Even in our local community group on Facebook, people are debating whether or not they should have to wear a face mask. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service has been the motto for a long time. I have no problem if No Mask gets added.

Blog Posts on
doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – May 22, 2020

voicEd Radio

This week on voicEd Radio, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about Drive-ins, Grace, Meaning, Boots and the Future of Education.

This week’s show –

Intro Song:

All of the podcasts are archived here.

Blog posts this week came from:

  • Sue Bruyns – @suebruyns
  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Ramona Meharg – @ramonameharg
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3

Technology Troubleshooting

A few years ago – actually quite a few years ago, my wonderful wife bought me a comfortable chair for those times that I sit at a desk and do computer work.

I’m starting to see that I’m reaching the end of the life of the chair. It’s still comfortable but the leather or leatherette or whatever the construction is has begun to wear out.

I’m seeing holes and tears in the covering. Like any good Canadian, I’m patching them with duck tape and that works. But, my lovely brown chair now has black patches here and there.

I’ve started to look at chairs. It would be nice if there was a “black chair” and a “brown chair” but have you looked at your favourite office supply store lately?

Of course, the ones that catch my eye are not the ones on sale.

Little help?

Video of the Week

This will get you thinking.

Photo of the Week

There could be a million reasons why this was on the road. The one reason why not would be student transportation! It was surprising and also hopeful to see it on the road.

Thanks for reading.

Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting for you. Time willing, this summary appears every Sunday afternoon.

Be safe.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.


Whatever happened to …

… COBOL programmers?

For the uninitiated, COBOL is a programming language that has been around 1959. It stands for Common Business Oriented Programming Language. 1959 would generally be considered pre-historic times in terms of computers and programming but …

Most people know Java and C++, but good ol’ COBOL is still alive and kicking. In the US, around 80 percent of in-person transactions and 95 percent of ATM swipes are based on programs written in COBOL. The problem is there’s not enough people to maintain the current COBOL-based systems.

MÁR MÁSSON MAACK, “Ancient programming language COBOL can make you bank, literally”, Apr 10, 2017.

The topic arose in my Zoom conversation with some Computer Science friends yesterday afternoon. We’d all programmed in COBOL in one form or another at university and perhaps beyond. For me, it was in the WATBOL dialect. But, there’s a real shortage of COBOL programmers. Those who are long in the tooth when it comes to programming are retiring. As you can see from the statistics above, there are many mission-critical applications that rely on it.

COBOL’s claim to fame is that programming is very much like writing in English unlike the cryptic forms that other languages take. Unlike other languages, data structures are addressed very early in COBOL courses because that’s what it does best.

The problem is that there have been so many new languages and new opportunities for programmers. Managing business systems, while so important, aren’t really glitzy sought-after careers. Are the opportunities to learn there for anyone interested? I did a search at ecampusontario and found only two offerings from Ontario universities and colleges. One is offered at the University of Guelph and the other at Algonquin College. As we know, just offering a course isn’t a guarantee that it will be run; that’s dictated by numbers.

How about in K-12? I would suggest that it’s a hard sell. We are currently offering courses designed to draw with turtle graphics, make robots move around, run games and simulations and more… It’s a tough crowd, trying to get that Computer Science registration from students. The thought was to start early and put efforts into getting girls into coding would get students interested. But has it?

COBOL also isn’t a recreational type of programming language. I know that when I get the urge to write something around here, I don’t think that it would be fun to write an inventory program.

While you might not be a Computer Science type, you really should pay attention because your banking and finances rely on it!

So, your thoughts?

  • Before this post, did you know that a beast like COBOL existed?
  • Have you ever programmed in COBOL?
  • Should programming of any sort be compulsory in Ontario schools?
  • Programming classes have long been the turf for male students. How should education address equity of opportunities for all students?
  • A long time ago, there were two separate Ontario curricula – Computer Science and Data Processing. It was Data Processing that dealt with business programming. Should it make a return?
  • Why hasn’t business moved their databases to something modern other than this “Legacy Language?”
  • Speaking of “Legacy Languages”, do you have any other languages that come to mind that would fit into that category?

I’d be interested in your thoughts on the topic. Please share them in the comments below.

This post appeared on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

All of the Sunday “Whatever happened to” posts are archived here. This also includes a link to a Padlet where you can offer your own suggestions for a future post.

OTR Links 05/24/2020

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