OWA Ninja Notes

I’m in the process of seeing how to extract the most efficiency out of Office 365’s mail app, OWA. I’ll use this blog posting for notes for this (not always easily overseen) app.

I’m switching to OWA from Inbox. This is not by choice: OWA has better delegation properties than Inbox has (though Gmail has pretty good delegation properties). More importantly, OWA is what my university uses for faculty mail, so it is better integrated with the calendar system and it seems to be the only way that my PA (or I) can access my voicemail.

One last part of this: I’m preparing for a fairly intensive upcoming year in terms of research and grant writing; the main reason I’m working on this at all, is that I’ve decided to try and slay the email beast. So everything written here is also focussed on minimising time and attention, automation, and, especially, delegation.

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How to backup an Ubuntu system using Dropbox

How you do this depends on whether you are setting it up for the first time or want to restore already-saved files from Dropbox to their correct place.

First time (i.e. you have never used dropbox to backup your files)

  1. Install dropbox
  2. In the terminal, navigate to the Dropbox folder (probably ~/Dropbox)
  3. Soft link to each directory you want to backup in dropbox (i.e. ln -s ~/Documents ., ln -s ~/Desktop . Read the rest of this entry »

Using hypothes.is to annotate print books

hypothes.is is a web-based annotation service that I was recently introduced to by my friend Maryann Martone. It is extremely handy for taking notes while web-browsing, and, since it annotates PDFs, I also use it for things like preparing for Faculty-Board negotations regarding the U of L contract.

Today, however, I experimented with a way of using Hypothes.is to annotate print books:

  1. locate the book in an online library catalogue, Google Books, or an online bookseller like Amazon.com or Chapters.ca
  2. write notes beginning with the page number you are commenting on/quoting from in hypothes. Read the rest of this entry »

Advanced search functions for Google Inbox

Here’s a link to some advanced search functions for gmail and Google Inbox: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7190?hl=en

Not mentioned in the page are some useful additions for use with Inbox:

1) You can negate a term by putting a – in front of the flag (e.g. -is:done) means select messages that are not done.
2) You can use terms like “done” which are not listed in the page: after:2016/01/05 is:unread -is:done selects all mail after January 5, 2016 that is unread and not marked as being done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Emailing previous semester classes

In a previous post, I discussed how to customise your class space and class mailing lists at the U of L. Something I didn’t mention there is that you can email previous semester classes as well, if you know how the mailing list aliases work.

Every current semester class can be emailed by the instructor and his/her delegates at an address in the following format: SUBJNNNNSuleth.ca@, where SUBJ is the four letter subject code for the class (e.g. in most of my cases, engl for English), NNNN is the four digit number (e.g. 3450 in the case of Old English), and S is the section letter (usually a, but could be n for evening classes, or a latter between a and n for additional sections). So in semesters when I am teaching Old English, for example, I can email the class using the address engl3450auleth. Read the rest of this entry »

Mediawiki updates break previous install (solved)

My ISP Dreamhost updated MediaWiki (the software that drives Wikipedia) last week. The result was that all Wikis on my domains broke.

There were two sets of problems as it turned out.

1054 Unknown column ‘page_links_updated’ in ‘field list’

The initial symptom was a page that read

Database error

A database query error has occurred. This may indicate a bug in the software

A quick search found that I could get more information to add $wgShowSQLErrors = true; to LocalSettings. Read the rest of this entry »

Using WAV samples in ARDOUR

It took me ages to figure this out, so here’s a quick note.

There are lots of free instrument samples on the web (and commercial ones you can purchase). To use these in a recording you need a sample synthesizer or engine that can play them.

There are several file types that are used, but the most common are “SoundFonts,” WAV, and AIG.

For sound fonts, a good ARDOUR plugin is the CALF Monosynth; for WAV files (and lots of other formats), the samplv1 looks like it works really well.

tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Getting MIDI to work in Ardour/Jack

I’ve been struggling for a while to get MIDI to work properly in Ardour—i.e. in a way that didn’t involve hand drawing of MIDI notes. Since what was stopping me was of the “is the computer plugged into an outlet” variety of problem, I thought I’d say what I fixed here.

The problem

The basic problem was that I couldn’t get any MIDI controller to register a note in Ardour. I could (I thought) hook up the connections correctly in JACK (and I was in fact doing it correctly), but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get my inputs to be reflected in Ardour when I tried to record. More annoyingly, it had worked in the beginning when I first set Ardour up. Read the rest of this entry »

Dual booting Windows 10 and Ubuntu 15.04

Some quick notes, from memory, about how I successfully setup Windows 10 and Ubuntu 15.04 to dual boot. The starting point was a new Windows 8.1 computer which I then updated to Windows 10.

Warning about this post

Before you do anything at all, realise that following the instructions here could completely destroy your computer’s software: you might end up bricking it (i.e. changing it so that nothing starts); you might end up wiping out your data, the original operation system, or something else. I don’t mind that kind of thing happening to me and I’ve never not been able to fix things back. But I also have support you may not: e. Read the rest of this entry »

Eating your cake and having it to: Solving the comment troll problem

An article in today’s Globe and Mail by Denise Balkissoon discusses the problem of comment trolls on popular news sites.

“Play this game: go find any article on [the National Post website] about a woman. Read the comments,” argued illustrator and journalist Steve Murray (whom I find pretty smart, and very funny). For him, eradicating comments entirely is the only way for publications to show zero tolerance. “Why would any woman want to subject themselves to that?”

Allow me to speak for all women everywhere when I say: We don’t. I consider a thick skin a prerequisite for any career in the public eye, which includes most journalism. That doesn’t mean that the racist, sexist, nonsensical garbage often lobbed my way by hateful cowards is easy to deal with, or fair. Read the rest of this entry »

How to grade quizzes anonymously in Moodle

For years I’ve wanted to grade quizzes anonymously, but I could never figure out how to do so. Finally I have, within the Uleth setup.

Faculty members’ webpresence at the University of Lethbridge

Here’s a list of all the different web properties that might mention a faculty member along with information on how to edit these spaces (when I know them).


Faculty can have home pages in two different locations on campus: people.uleth.ca and scholar.ulethbridge.ca. Read the rest of this entry »

A First Law of Humanities Computing?

The law

A little more than a decade ago, when I was working on my “electronic edition” of Cædmon’s Hymn, I developed a formulation that I have since come (only semi-jokingly) to consider something of a law about the use of computing in the Humanities:

The application of computation to humanities problems inevitably requires an examination of first principles.

What I mean by this is that you can never just copy a technique from the pre-digital humanities into the digital space. If you try, you will inevitably find yourself thinking before long about fundamental questions of why, what, and how: why you want to do whatever it is you are doing, what it actually is that you are trying to accomplish, and how the thing you are trying to accomplish actually does what it is you think it does.

Future Commons


  • champieu@ohsu.edu
  • daniel.odonnell@uleth.ca


Problems with Cisco Anyconnect on Ubuntu 14.04 (Breaks Internet Connections)

This blog is about resolving an issue I had after installing Cisco Anyconnect, the U of L’s VPN client.

This is an aide memoire for me, but might be useful to others. The information comes from, with the first being most useful for this particular case:


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