Experience with Module 1 in HIST3814o

One of our exercises this week was to write about a thought provoking annotation in the course readings using markdown syntax and the Dillinger.io editor – viewer. At first, I was I was not in a good mood to write and did other work. I came back to this on Saturday morning. I was fired up the about a podcast cited by @sarahmcole that described the decline in the number of women studying in Computer Science since 1984. On Saturday I also discussed the issue with my with my wife and daughter who gave me additional insight. I am glad I procrastinated so that I could consider this issue by writing about it here.

As a technical aside, I noticed that Dillinger rendered my footnotes from markdown syntax, but the .md viewer on Github did not recognize them.

Accessing DHBox

It is excellent experience for our class to access a virtual machine like DHBox remotely. As more computing power and services move to the Cloud, users of data analysis tools, such as digital historians, will access these tools through virtual machines, similar to DHBox. Rather than using a computer on a desk to process data, desktop computers will increasingly be used as terminals to access virtual computers with potentially much greater processing power than what would be available on a physical computer in an office.

Git and Github

Quite a few times when I needed to download something for a computer project, I was directed to Github. I just used it as a consumer, I took the file I was looking for and left. I knew Github was used to run software projects including open-source ones, but I really had only a vague idea of how contributions to these kinds of projects were made.

I now have a better sense of Git’s function for version control and branching within a repository. I also see Git’s role in governing large projects with multiple contributors. I realize I could make a fork from someone’s repository if I wanted to work on their project independently. If my work progressed to the to the point where it was worthy of including in the original project, I see how I would make pull request to ask if my contribution could be added to the original project I had forked from.

Raspberry Pi

I had wanted to test if Raspberry Pi could perform some of the things we do in this course. It runs Linux and is a low cost computer. I think it has potential to reduce barriers to people getting access to computers.

I found that Github, Slack and Hypothes.is are not supported on the versions of the Safari and Chromium web browsers I have on the Raspberry Pi (Pi for short). Some reduced functionality is available, but not enough to do real course work with these tools.

I did an experiment to see if I could connect the Raspberry Pi to Carleton University’s VPN so that I could access DHBox. I was unable to install OpenConnect, the VPN client, likely due to my lack of knowledge of OpenConnect. I was able to log in to the front page of Carleton’s VPN using the Safari web browser on the Pi. The AnyConnect software launched, but it downloaded the Windows version which does not work on the Pi.

I have stopped work on this for now.

Help

Seeing the annotations has provided deeper insight into the readings, it is interesting to see what others in this class are thinking. The postings in Slack have also been helpful as have links to blog posts.

Fail Log

In the interests of practicing open notebook Digital History here is my fail log for this week. I must admit, I don’t like how its formatted.

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