Weekend Reading: First Twitter Came for IFTTT Edition

Autumn Colors in Rain

As part of Twitter’s ongoing efforts to make sure no one actually finds its service useful, If This Then That (IFTTT) shut down Twitter-based triggers yesterday, so that it’s no longer possible to automagically archive tweets using that service.

This is annoying. Fortunately, Dr. Drang has sorted out a simple Python script that lets you archive tweets locally. I mentioned this on the Twitter (follow me at @jbj), but since then he has ported his script to GitHub. Hope it’s useful!

On to this weekend’s links!

  • Dr. Crazy explains the key principle in trying to find balance: All of this is a long way of saying: I really do not believe that it is possible to work at optimal capacity and performance in all areas on the tenure track all of the time.  The best that you can hope is that you work at optimal capacity and performance in each of the areas some of the time, and that at the end of the day everything will somehow come out ok.
  • Mark Brown has the better of the CSU-Sacramento interim provost on academic freedom and academic working conditions”: But that doesn’t prevent me from introducing and moderating lively discussion of political issues. What we discuss is less important than how we discuss it. As long as classroom discussion gives a fair hearing to all reasonable perspectives, and as long as it serves the overall purpose of analysis and understanding, then lively debate is one of the best educational tools we have.
  • Jonathan Rees asks, “Why Don’t We Just Cut To the Chase And Start Selling As?”: Perhaps my foremost objection to these efforts isn’t that these courses are going to be offered online. It’s that the compensation for the instructors who teach them is currently pegged to the number of students in the course. In other words, the more students who sign up, the more money the instructors make. This is not exactly a formula that encourages rigor.
  • Patty Azzarello’s “You Can’t Be Effective When You’re Too Smart for Your Own Good” would help many a meeting: In meetings, give others time to talk, and listen instead of arguing, or quickly shutting them down, or telling them why their idea is wrong or won’t work. You may feel like you are wasting time, but you will win favor by listening.
  • One thing I don’t understand about Jason Heppler’s otherwise excellent “Grad Student’s Guide to Good Coffee”: At, say, 3.45am, how do you keep the screaming demons at bay for the “eight-to-ten minutes” it takes to make it by hand? At that hour, I’m almost willing to microwave the stuff.

In this week’s video, Steven Johnson (see my review of his previous book, Where Good Ideas Come From) discusses his newest book, Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age:

Bonus: “Starter’s Anonymous” by Michael Schechter

Photo “Autumn Colors in Rain” by Flickr user dok1 / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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