An Open Letter to Justin Trudeau

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

I'd like to start by saying I want to support you, your party, and your campaign in the coming election.  I'd also like to warn you up front, the following is going to be harsh, but that's part of what being a leader is.  Get used to it.

Stop Waffling.  I attended my first political meeting the other day to see you speak. Your speech was good, I was genuinely inspired.  I respected what you had to say about Internet privacy, and your stance on the charter of rights.  But then someone asked you about your seemingly conflicting stances on the tar sands and positive environmental action.  I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.  I recognise that it's in the politicians job description to fill air with buzz words when asked something you don't have an answer for.  As an environmentalist who's come to terms with the tar sands, *I* could have come up with a better response to those questions.  Saying "I don't have a good answer, but I'm committed to finding one" is far better answer than speaking gibberish for 3 minutes. But that's what politicians have to do right? Well, that leads me to my next point.

I felt initially, that you were bringing something new to the table.  A new wave of politics free of the jargon and usual camera-to-face small talk that sounds good but says nothing.  I thought you'd discovered a new kind of politics where every fifth sentence Wasn't a jab at the opposition.  During your speech about inclusion I thought this meant that you were going to try and work with the conservatives you're inevitably going to have to work with.  So why disrespect them at every opportunity? I know they have bad policies and have underperformed, guess what? We all know that! But that's why I didn't vote for them!  It's not a reason to make jabs so that people cheer.  It's a waste.  A waste of good 'ol Canadian friendliness, a waste of energy, and a waste of every one's time. Yeah the conservatives made fun of you, turn the other devilishly handsome cheek! You can take a hit, so let them jab and you can be the bigger man!

I thought you were a new kind of politician, that maybe, magically your youth had come with unshakable idealism.  I'm disappointed. Be honest, we don't mind if you don't have all the answers. Don't fault others who are in a different position from you, it hurts everyone and makes you look worse than them.  Don't make them enemies even if they declare themselves as such.  Keep the moral high ground.

I'm watching your twitter feed, I'm following the news.  My vote, the vote's of my friends, fellow students, and the votes of my community depend on your attitude.  It's a simple thing.

-Tailor Dresden


Autonomous Learning, a Prezintation, in which student's produce something unusual

Let's talk about learning resources.  We're in the 2013, and if there is something you want to learn, and you have even the most thin connection to the Internet, you have no excuse not to be learning.  I'll get back to this point. For starters, here is a a presentation put together with the online software Prezi:

Things to know about this presentation, while this is an effective presentation, the accompanying notes are largely digested information from the scholarly articles listed on the "That's All Folks!" Circle.  Pictures have links to their origins at the bottom of the circle.  Except for the brains, those are MRI scans of my brain as interpreted through the open source brain imaging software Afni.

Here are the links and descriptions of the Internet resources discussed.  
Khan Academy is good for almost all intro level courses, many higher level courses, and even for experts, offers good review and practice in the form of sample problems in fields ranging from maths to history and more.
Investopedia succinctly and expertly explains even the most complex economic concepts with the use of simple and captivating visual aids.  While mostly for business students, there are very few people in the world who wouldn't benefit from knowing a few money related concepts.
Beeminder.  HOLY CRAP.  THERE ARE NO WORDS. Have you ever had a problem motivating yourself to exercise? Do your homework? Perhaps you do them but you don't make progress on the time scale you want.  Use Beeminder. Not convinced? Watch the video on thier web site for a better sumary and sales pitch.
Coursera. I can either spend 3 days listing for you all the universities that publish their professional grade learning material, like MIT open course-ware, or Stanford's competing project... Or I can point you to Coursera. The place where all they do is compile that in a simple to search database. Now go learn yourselves some biochemistry.
Stumble-upon is usually viewed as a waste of time, and honestly it's usually used for that.  What people generally don't think about, is that it has a search engine format.  Think about it.  Hundreds of thousands of people, day in day out, crawling across the entire Internet separating the chaff from the wheat.  At worst, you'll be entertained, at best, you'll find academic level material that is fascinating and useful.
Wikipedia. Normally I'd say "DUH", but most people don't use wikipedia to it's maximum potential, even when they think they are. Don't be a tourist, go behind the curtain and have a look what's really going on, read the discussion page every article has one, and if it doesn't, you need to start it.  
TED speaks for itself, literally.  While it may not be in a standard academic format, I challenge you to find a more reputable source for information.  If you've been living under a rock, go watch at least 5 videos. You'll feel like someone dry cleaned your mind.
While "Instead of TV" isn't exactly going to help you in a specific course, stimulating learning in different fields is always a good idea. You can't know too much and learning in one field helps in every other field.
Now for the stuff we didn't have time for.
-Help the world and get smarter with Free Rice.
-Want to harness the worlds strongest, smartest collective intelligence for personal learning? Well... if you insist. UREDDIT.
-"Remember that website?", "where did I see that?",  "I read it online back when I was a teenager..." sound like a problem you're having? Don't worry. The internet never actually deletes ANYTHING EVER. Find that thing with this thing: The Way Back Machine
-wikinotes is wikipedia except specifically for Your course, yes, yours. 
-Think Wolfram Alpha is just for maths? Think again. Ask it questions about cigarettes, your thesis question, caffeine, ask it what the weather was like on the day you were born. (rain and overcast with an average of 3 degrees for me. No lightning sadly.)

-The Baron

1) Prezi is based on google chromes "chrome frame" technology, and works best in the chrome web brouwser.

2) For linux users, getting a copy of afni is as easy as typing "sudo apt-get install afni" in your terminal.  It's coded mostly in python.

3) If you're in SEL149, leave a comment, it's a bit like signing a guest book.



Good luck America.  Keep in mind your internet policy effects us all.

-The Baron


Instructions for getting GPG working on Android

Step 1: Download APG

Step 2: Create a public key with APG (menu button -> manage private keys -> create key)

Step 3: Import the public key of the person you want to communicate with. Mine is located on Dropbox and on the MIT keyserver (id:
BE0B2E72). You should just be able to click the file and it will open in APG

Step 4: Export your public key (manage public keys -> hold click your key -> export) and send the public key to your recipient. You should also upload your key to a keyserver.

K9 Time!

Step 5: Install K9-mail and set it up with your mail client. I set it up with gmail, but disabled syncing becuase GMail is a much better client, except for it's lack of GPG support

Step 6: Send me a signed or encrypted email! The option shows up under the compose option.



Adventures in arduino part II

Here's a traffic light I built during the summer. Here's the code for it on github


Screen rotation for Ubuntu on the MK802 (Allwinner A10)

At work, we bought an MK802 which is this 70$ ARM device that runs Android or Linux. It includes wifi, hdmi out, and a few usb ports which is pretty crazy! 

I decided to run Lubuntu because it was much snappier than Android was and we needed to run Chromium. My only issue was getting Xorg to rotate my display...

I tried using xrandr, but I didn't

Eventually I found out that fbdev is the display driver and that it supports a rotate option. You just have to add

to: /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/01-device.conf