Monday, January 29
Outside Prisma, 17:28
I woke up to a cold morning with frozen snow on the pavements. I walked to the bus stop and kept my head down as the wind rose.
I spent the morning working on the Buddypress contact form. Thanks to the sheer volume of spam that everyone receives, and the increasing amount of phishing attacks, setting this up has become something of a technical challenge. In principle it remains as simple as you might expect. You can use a mailto: command, or you can use a simple php script to mail the contents of a form to an email address. The problem, however, lies in how servers and browsers currently treat this. To put it simply, they treat any attempt to send email like this with the greatest of suspicion.
I spent the morning trying to avoid setting up a mail server to deal with the two or three responses that Kipa will probably receive every month or so. I tried two Wordpress plugins, and the second one did everything that I needed except send emails. It makes nice looking forms very easily. It auto-detects when the forms get filled in wrongly or incompletely. It logs the mail sent. It simply does not forward the mail.
I stopped this at 13:00 to attend this month’s Kulturmöte where various topics got discussed, none of them interesting enough to report here.
When this finished I had a long meeting with Leila, who will take the Social Media course for the first year in Period 4. Since I have taken it for the last five years, she wanted to know what I had actually done with the students. We agreed that I would take two guest lectures: one on the history of media and one on the psychology of social media.
Naa had told Irma about the wonders of Chromecast over the weekend so I set off to find one. I found a large display basket full of Chromecasts for 39€ in Power, so I bought one.
Outside Prisma I stand in the dusk waiting for a bus, my Chromecast in my hand. I look over the road and notice that the light seems interesting. When I take a photograph using my phone I notice that the light from the bus stop makes it even more interesting. The bus arrives two minutes later and during the three stop ride I will have transferred the photo to Dropbox and then to my iPad where I process it. By the time I get off I will have uploaded it to Wordpress.
Before we watch any television I will set it up, which takes five minutes. I will have no problems until Irma wants to watch tv later. The television will not work, although Chromecast will. After some minutes of rising tension I will identify the problem: I have inadvertently pushed one of the buttons on the television remote that we never use, and do not understand. When I press it again the tv will spring into action.
Our remote has almost forty buttons, most labelled cryptically. We use about three, plus the ten channel number buttons.
Television remotes constitute a major twentieth century design failure.