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Free/Open Source ELearning Management Systems: Moodle vs Sakai

Rudolf Olah:

Moodle and Sakai are good choices for setting up online courses and possibly for MOOCs. I’ve been looking at CoursePress, a plugin for WordPress. All solid choices and easy to get started with.

Originally posted on SourceContribute:

Hi, I’m Tony and I am a university student in Sweden. The university I go to uses two great free/open source products for their elearning platform and learning management system. Today I am going to talk about these products: what they are, some of their features and what strengths and bottlenecks they have.

Both are educational web-based platforms which allow students and teachers to communicate with each other on bulletin board systems, with web-based online forums. More importantly, they are places where students can hand in their assignments and have them graded by teachers.

They both offer an educational platform with similar feature sets, so in that regard they are competitors.


Flexible in design, students and teachers can customise how pages appear by choosing from a multitude of themes. All you have to do is log in with a username and password and go change the theme in your…

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Emacs angularjs-mode v1.0 release!

angularjs-mode snippets

I’ve finally had some time to upgrade angularjs-mode with some expandable code snippets (thanks to YA Snippets) and added auto-complete mode dictionaries.

What I’ve found a pain when coding AngularJS is that you really need your environment setup well for it before you can get a lot done with it. Having angularjs’s javascript files installed, a basic index.html, a Gruntfile, a Karma and Protractor configuration saves a lot of time. But even with a basic project structure, you still need to be faster when writing new controllers, directives and services. Auto-complete-mode and snippets can help with that.

All of the top-level definitions in the AngularJS API are included in the auto-complete dictionaries. The dictionary for angular-html-mode contains all the common directives.

Use Emacs and angularjs-mode for faster angularjs coding! Now with 100% more auto-complete and snippets!

Two Come Along at Once

Originally posted on Almost looks like work:

As the old saying goes, you wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once (or more!). Is this true though? My own anecdotal evidence would suggest yes, every single bloody time. However, we love data and maths in this blog almost as much as we hate waiting for the bus, so let’s have a more thorough look at the issue.

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Working Analog

I find the experience of printing things out and putting them to paper really does help you focus on what’s important and it does remove distractions. Recently I had to do this with the JIRA tickets that I’m working on and I printed out roughly 11 of them. It let me sit away from the screen and think about how many tasks were actually involved in resolving those tickets.

I’ve also been living like it’s the late 2000s and using a Moleskine daily planner and a notebook for notes. I still rely on Evernote and Zendone, but I make sure there’s some kind of duplicate analog version for anything that’s important. The daily planner saved me when my phone battery died and it was the only place where I could see my todo list for the day. I didn’t get a phone charge for 3 hours and those 3 hours would have been wasted if not for the Moleskine.

While at home, working analog is nice too because you can curl up on a couch but, most important, you can dim the lights. The constant brightness of screens everywhere is tiring on the eyes and some days I want a complete break from the screen to rest my eyes.

Getting Started with Apache Cassandra

Originally posted on SourceContribute:

Apache Cassandra is a highly scalable NoSQL database. This video is a nice 30 min introduction on how it works and why it’s useful to know.

One of the beauties of free/open source is that it powers much of the world and much of the largest websites in the world. Facebook created the project and released the code because they know how valuable it is. One of the benefits of releasing Cassandra’s code as free/open source and making it free as in price is that developers can freely download the code and learn how to use Cassandra. While there are still no formal classes in college or university that teach Cassandra, your company can still find developers out there who have learned it because they spent their spare time learning how to use it. That’s not possible with proprietary packages that charge high license fees (student pricing doesn’t apply to…

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The Software Estimation Struggle

Software estimation research is … improving estimation techniques so that sophisticated organizations can achieve project results +-5% of estimate results…

…the typical software organization is not struggling to improve its estimates from +-10% to +-5% accuracy. The typical software organization is struggling to avoid estimates that are incorrect by 100% or more.

— Steve McConnell, Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art