1) Charge with electricity; pass an electric current through
Yesterday Chris and I welcomed Benjamin Smedberg into our Mozilla classes for a talk on XPCOM. You couldn’t ask for a better guide into the often (always?) murky waters of XPCOM. Benjamin is a fantastic and animated speaker, who really draws you in. He’s able to keep you rapt even with deeply technical discussions about vtables and proper macro use (“…other people will tell you to do it this way, but I’m the module owner and I say you do it this way…”). It helped that both classes had spent the previous few days working on a component lab–the questions are always so much more real when you’ve been banging your head against the wall!
We filmed the talk as usual, but this time ran into major technical difficulties. Benjamin was on a role and pontificating about the dangers of assuming one object per interface and describing tear-offs, “…and whatever you do, you can’t ever do this” and the power went out. And I mean out, for most of campus and a few city blocks. I think it proved his point quite nicely.
After that we had to scramble to move him under the only emergency light in the room, run the camera on battery, and get the students to share the slides on laptops. It was just like listening to ghost stories around a campfire, and sometimes XPCOM is just that scary. A huge thanks to Benjamin for coming all the way here–we loved having you.
2) FIGURATIVE impress greatly; thrill
I woke-up this morning to Frank Hecker’s essay on Seneca and our efforts with open source education. It was incredible and humbling to see what he had to say. I’ve been asked by a lot of people for a description of what we are doing (and hoping to do) at Seneca. Frank’s post is a great introduction and reflection. I hope we can keep our current pace and arrive at some of the destinations he charts–we’re certainly going to try. And if we get there, it will be because of the help of so many friends who believed in us and never stopped supporting us along the way.
This last point is something I want to return to when I’ve had time to write it properly…