My Best Teaching Is One-on-One


Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.


But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.


It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Why Reiisi? どうして零石?

I guess it's time to explain the 当て字 (ate-ji) I use.

When I was a young CJCLDS missionary in the 関東 (Kantō) area about thirty-five (Wow!) years ago, I looked in my pocket Japanese-English dictionary under り (ri) and れ (re) to see if there were any interesting words with similar pronunciation to my last name.

I found 栗鼠 (risu), the Japanese for "squirrel". That would actually not have been a bad choice, I think.

I also found 零 (rei), the 漢字 (kanji) for "zero".

You have to understand. I was only nineteen. My favorite genre of novel was science fiction and fantasy, and it had only been maybe six years since I had discovered Alice Mary (Andre) Norton's Moon of Three Rings and The Zero Stone.

The zero stone is a deep black stone, blacker than any other black. It responds to psycho-kinetic energy as an all-purpose natural amplifier. (This is fantasy. We don't care about the laws of physics, okay?)

(And, in the end of the series, the protagonist Murdoc Jern's familiar, Eet, something like a cross between a ferret and a cat, swallows the stone and turns into what every young male geek wishes for, a beautiful female human companion who is already bound to him for eternity without his having to consciously work through the incomprehensible dance of the sexes. Heh.)

One word in Japanese for "stone" is 石 (ishi).

End of explanation. Well, except that it didn't end there.

All the missionaries thought 印鑑 (inkan, the hardwood inked seal/stamp that is traditionally used in Japan instead of a signature) were cool. One day, when I had a little extra money and was at a printer to order calling cards, I asked about the cost of having an inkan made.

It was within my budget. On the spur of the moment, I made one for the characters, 「零石」。

End of story. Well, except there was more to it.

In LDS culture, there is an expression "magnify your priesthood". I vaguely understood that it meant using your God-given talents, guided by prayer, to fulfill your priesthood calling in your own unique way.

As I young missionary, I had this romantic image in my head, of becoming a "zero stone" in God's hands. Not that God needs any amplification, but I wanted to subsume myself in God's will.

I did understand, sort-of, that God really does not want us to be His mindless robots. After my mission, I have come to understand part of why that is. And the adventure so far has been pretty cool, when I stop to think about it. (I need to stop and thank God for the adventure more often. Right now, I'm blessed and struggling with yet another turn in the trail. God has been pretty good to me, all things considered.)

Anyway, that's the reason for 「零石」、and reiisi.
さて、以上が「零石」及び reiisi のわけです。

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Google Recommends, I Don't

Several years back, a friend of mine told me I should buy into Apple's iOS -- invest in enough Apple equipment to start developing iApps.

Google, he said, was the new Microsoft.

I knew he was right, I knew Google wouldn't stay a true friend of Free Software forever. Really, the writing was on the wall, plain as day for all to see.

Google did not want to invest in the fundamental research that would allow a true Unix-style login on the Android devices, and that meant they had to prevent the ordinary user from getting root. They had to keep you from getting the power to perform even rather rudimentary administration tasks for Android devices.

Lot's of other blue-sky, sure. Anything that might eventually by piped into a profitable revenue stream. Guitars and wild parties? No problem.

But this rant is not about the difficulty of getting root on your device.

Well, Google did not ask me whether I wanted their recommendations in my youtube feed.


They didn't even ask me if I wanted my youtube app to start getting push content -- a "feed".

I don't want a feed of any sort. I am plenty capable of feeding myself, thank you. I definitely don't want their recommendations.

In point of fact, all of their recommendations so far have been completely off-base. And they will. Just like almost all the ads we see on TV have nothing to do with us, really. People reaching out to touch our pocketbooks, that's all.

I don't want to live in an information bubble -- especially not of Google's making and selling, even as the cost of a free account.

I guess that's the crux of the matter -- "free".

Can I afford to go to an ad-free paid account? I'd prefer to run my own servers, really.

But the cartels of "content", of course, think they would just as soon have me freeloading, so that they can push their ads at me and tap my pocketbook.

(Which is so empty it echoes. Makes a pretty good drum. Heh. Tap that drum. I still don't like the music.)

Seems like you can't escape the gossamer chains (bent metaphor, yes) of the influence of moneyed interests.

That's not what money is supposed to be for.