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Some help for calculating law school GPAs

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 2, 2012 in Technology

Good evening everybody! :D

I’m still working on the backlog of entries from May, but wanted to post a file right quick.

It’s that time of year again where the 1Ls at NCCU Law get the last of their grades back and folks learn who’s coming back and who is getting booted under our “2.0-or-you’re-out” policy.1  And one of the challenges I’ve noticed some folks have — not just in law school but in most non-mathematically-inclined majors — is calculating possible GPAs based on different outcomes in different classes.

Back in 2009 I created a spreadsheet in Excel that I’ve been using to track my grades over the past 3 years, so I could figure out roughly what volume of effort I needed to put in to get to a certain GPA. It’s been tweaked and revised over the past 3 years to the point that it should be at least marginally useful for folks other than me, so I’m posting it here :)

You can download the spreadsheet at this URL:  TDot’s Law School Grades Calculator

It’s initially keyed for our 1Ls but you can tweak it to suit just about any area of study. Hope it helps, and let me know if you have any questions on it! :D

  1. You can check out the bottom of my 1L Spring grades entry for details on how it works and a graph of where NCCU Law falls with respect to other NC law schools when it comes to 1L attrition. []

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More minor blog tweaks coming

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 10, 2011 in Technology

Not much time to post anything substantive tonight — I’m grinding away trying to finally wrap up this entirely-too-long semester — but wanted to give y’all a heads up that some changes will be coming to law:/dev/null over the Christmas break.

First, I’ve resumed the process of going through old posts and adding the appropriate tags to them, so old entries will finally show up when you click a tag in a recent post. For whatever reason I didn’t start using tags until several months into blogging so there’s a bunch of them to go through :beatup:  But for the several 1Ls and pre-Ls who had sent messages asking where all the stuff was from my first year (like the Torts mixtape with bonus Ks track) because going through the overall category took forever, the tagging process should make life a little easier.

Also, as we’ve banned more and more spammers the site has slowed down from parsing the ever-growing .htaccess file. Average load time is hitting 2-3 full seconds ( :eek: ) which is an order of magnitude slower than where I’d like it to be. I’m not sure yet how I’m going to fix it, but wanted you to know I’m aware of the problem and will see what I can do.

That’s it for now, back to these papers. Have a great night y’all! :D

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Steve Jobs, Apple iCEO-for-life, steps down ::sadface::

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 24, 2011 in Technology

Wow.

Just… wow.

From Apple’s Press Info page:

August 24, 2011

Letter from Steve Jobs

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

I’ve got an entry on first impressions of 3L Fall prepped and ready to deploy, but this hits like a brick to the chest :(

I know Steve’s “just a CEO,” Apple’s “just a company,” Steve’s health has been getting progressively worse since at least 2004, etc etc etc. And yes, there’s an ever-so-tiny part of me that feels silly for being upset.

But I feel like I’m indebted to the guy.  It was the Apple Campus Representative program he created nearly two decades ago — long before MacOS X existed, before the first Apple Store was erected, before anyone even envisioned an iPhone or an iPad or buying music and apps on an otherwise-hardware-only store in the cloud — that gave me my first opportunity to do something really, really cool.

If you’re a long-time law:/dev/null reader, you already know the story about how that happened: me coming to college dirt poor and sans computer, flipping through the classifieds in N.C. State‘s student newspaper The Technician seeing if I could find someone selling their PC… on what turned out to be the only day Apple had paid for an ad seeking a campus rep.

Twelve years later, I still have no clue why they hired me :beatup:

But it was like being one of those kids finding a Golden Ticket in the old Willy Wonka movie.1

Suddenly I was immersed in the latest technology: a grape-colored Rev. D iMac, MacOS 8.5.1, programs like SoundJam MP,2 the list goes on. I was meeting administrators and other tech purchasers all over the N.C. State campus, learning the ins and outs of how the bureaucracy worked — invaluable information when I got back into the Student Senate nearly a decade later. Having my own @apple.com email address alone was adequate payment for the work I was doing each week.

But then Apple also added in training trips to California each summer. Every campus rep from across the country flown into San Jose, brought to “the Mothership” at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, and instilled with knowledge on all the latest Apple stuff.

At the risk of forever being labeled a nerd’s nerd, one of the Top 5 most-awesome experiences of my life came during one of those summers when, in a less-than-3-hours span, I met Jonathan Ive showing off a G4 Cube in Apple’s cafeteria, had a 15-minute technical conversation with Avie Tevanian about his Mach kernel, and as I was walking with the Campus Rep group back to our room I made a comment along the lines of “This is like a trip to Mecca” or something to that effect — which apparently was the first time Avie had heard anyone say anything like that, because he then took me to Phil Schiller‘s office to repeat it.3 :surprised:

I got to meet Phil, got to hold one of the first ten Newtons ever produced that he kept on a bookshelf in his office… and completely missed the next session of my training as my Apple Rep colleagues wondered why I came back with a ridiculously goofy ear-to-ear smile across my face :D

No, I’ve never actually met Steve himself. A couple years before I left for college, I remember reading in the business section of the paper in Nan’s kitchen that he had come back to Apple. I remember commenting as I read about how awesome that news was, how Steve was going to save Apple from its death spiral, and that maybe I’d be able to get an Apple for college  now. And I remember Nan looking back at me, laughing at the 15-year-old naiveté embedded in my comment, and just responding “OK.”4

But two years later there I was, Apple-toting tech guru, and — another iMac, an eMac, a Mac mini, a MacBook Pro, an iPod nano, and an iPhone later5 — I’ve never looked back :spin:

Steve Jobs was the driving force behind that Campus Rep program, behind the operating system I love to use, behind the iPhone I’ve got holstered to my hip on a daily basis, the list goes on and on and on (and on). He’s one of the greatest visionaries the technology industry has had, and even with his well-documented “mercurial” temper and other inevitable human flaws he’s still the closest thing to a role model I’ve aspired to since I was a teenager.

So even though the odds of Steve ever reading this law school-related blawg fall somewhere in between infinitesimal and nil, I wanted to post this entry and particularly one closing remark in response to his letter:

To Steve: Thank you. -TDot.

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From the law:/dev/null Apple-related archives:

  1. The non-creepy, non-Johnny Depp version. []
  2. That Apple would later acquire and convert into iTunes. []
  3. I was terrified when I was told to come with him to Schiller’s office — I thought my comment had been construed as a non-politically correct remark unfit for a campus rep, and that I was about to get fired on the spot :beatup: []
  4. It’s actually more like a “OhhhhhhK.” It’s the grandmotherly equivalent of saying “That’s probably never ever ever going to happen, but since technically anything is possible I’ll let you keep thinking it just in case.” []
  5. Not to mention a wide collection of Pixar movies ;) []

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“We are currently experiencing technical difficulties”…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 11, 2011 in Technology

Sorry folks, no post tonight. Back after I got home from visiting Nan and Pops for Independence Day I discovered that my modem, NAS and trusty ages-old WRT54G router had all been fried from some sort of electrical event (my guess is the surge protector failed).

After that I got everything replaced — including purchasing a shiny new Linksys E2500 router — and the @#$%ing thing keeps dropping connections like a gunner during 1L Orientation :mad:

So, reminiscent of what I thought was a bygone era, you’re currently getting this status update with the help of a tethered mobile phone…

Hope to have more substantive content tomorrow. Until then, have a great night!

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Pardon our dust

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jun 9, 2011 in Technology

Earlier today I started making some slightly exotic tweaks and additions to the server configuration for law:/dev/null. The changes should both (hopefully) lead to a speed-up in loading time for you and also refine how we block the thousands of spambots out there trying to advertise the latest in fake meds, midget porn, and knockoff handbags.

I’ve been testing the new config file and it looks like everything is working normally, but if my latest foray into regex filtering has somehow gone awry and you can’t see the blog anymore, please shoot me an email or send a Tweet to @greg_doucette so I can figure out what’s going on :)

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Rawr (or, “F*ck the Cloud, Day 3”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 1, 2011 in Technology

Don’t have much to write tonight y’all — operating off 2 hours of sleep and just got home from NCCU Law about a half hour ago, so I’m completely beat and ready for bed :beatup:

I’m also still locked out of my Gmail account, just like I’ve been for the past two days now :(

Fingers crossed that I’ll wake up tomorrow and have all my stuff miraculously restored so I can promptly back everything up and contemplate de-Google-fying my lifestyle…

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G[F]ail (or “F*ck the Cloud, Day 2”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 28, 2011 in Technology

Another day on the internet, another day with no access to anything Google-affiliated :mad:

Now at least it says Google is trying to fix things...

After sporadically checking Gmail throughout Trial Practice and Business Associations this morning, I finally just gave up. Still no email. Still no docs.  Nothing. Nil. Nada.

At least Google was kind enough to put a new redirect in place when I tried to access my account. Now it tells me explicitly why I can’t access my account, instead of sending me to a page saying I violated their Terms of Service.

After winging AAJ trial team practice tonight since I didn’t have any of my docs, I made my way home from the law school around 11ish when I discovered I now at least (it appears) have access to my non-Gmail services.

I also noticed Google had posted an update on their blog making it out like there was never really an issue.  Here’s the copy/paste, but you can read the original at this URL:

Gmail back soon for everyone
Monday, February 28, 2011 | 6:30 PM
Posted by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24×7)

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we’re making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue.

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

As always, we’ll post a detailed incident report outlining what happened to the Apps Status Dashboard, as well as the corrective actions we’re taking to help prevent it from occurring again. If you were affected by this issue, it’s important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren’t delivered.

Thanks for bearing with us as we fix this, and sorry again for the scare.

A “scare”? Really??

I realize Google has a vested interest in downplaying this situation — after all, they’re trying to convince major corporations to entrust their networks to The Cloud — but I’m almost offended that they’re acting like (i) losing access to my email for 2 days now (potentially permanently), complete with (ii) redirects to a page saying I violated the Terms of Service, alongside (iii) cryptic and thoroughly uninformative status updates on the Google Apps Status Dashboard, and (iv) no substantive response from the company until after the media catches on to what’s going on, is all merely a “scare.” :roll:

Then there’s the rest of the content in this non-apology apology. They’re backing up my email from tape archives but it’s somehow still all there? I call bullsh*t: the sheer volume of tape cartridges they’d need to use to back up all their users is too huge to believe they do these backups daily. A more likely explanation is that they’ve got a monthly or quarterly tape archive that they’re going to use to restore my account (assuming they actually restore it), which would mean I’ll have permanently lost anything recent.

We’ll see what happens over these next 48 hours that they’re supposedly working. But for now I’m drifting toward becoming one of those anti-GOOG partisans…

[Postscript: And to those of you thinking “But TDot, Gmail is free! You shouldn’t complain!”: I’ll stop complaining about losing my access when Google decides to give me the advertising $$$ they made from ads targeted based on heuristic analysis of my email messages ;) All the “free” users are paying for Gmail service, exchanging the privacy of our email correspondence for cloud storage and reliable access.]

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F*ck the Cloud

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 27, 2011 in Technology

[Update @ 10:00am on 02/28/11: Still locked out of everything. Now on Day #2 of no Gmail… no Gchat… no Google Docs… no Analytics… no Feedburner… no Calendar… :( ]

Take a look at this photo. It’s a screenshot from the Gmail account that I’ve been using for about 5 years now.

Buzz is there, but my emails aren't. And no ninjas.

Notice anything unusual?

That’s what I saw when I logged in earlier today. First thing I noticed — no ninjas. I’m not a fan of the bland white default, so I switched things over to the Gmail ninja background.

Next thing I noticed: the privacy-invading Google Buzz is turned back on, even though I cut it off the day it came out.

It was at about that point I realized the biggest issue — 100% of my emails before this morning were completely and totally gone. So were my chat logs. So were my settings. :surprised:

After probing around online in a panic, I discovered this thread in the Gmail forums and a cryptic entry in their Apps Status dashboard that they were “investigating”. Along with a reassurance that it only affected 0.08% of Gmail users… which doesn’t reassure me at all since I’m one of the people affected :mad:

Access Denied. To everything...

Then, just to add insult to injury, as of about 20 minutes ago my entire Google Account has been disabled. Meaning I can’t just get to my Gmail — I also can’t get to Google Docs (including my homework), Google Scholar, Gchat, Analytics, Feedburner, Webmaster Tools, and all the other G-stuff I’ve gotten into the habit of using.1

I’ve disliked “cloud computing” ever since it was created. When N.C. State announced plans to migrate from its own mail servers to Gmail, I was skeptical. Likewise during my second term as NCSU’s Senate President, where the (otherwise phenomenal) Student Body President I worked with still reigns as the biggest Google Docs fanboy I’ve ever met.

Maybe it’s my libertarian-leaning political beliefs. Maybe I’m a neo-Luddite. But personally I prefer having all the data coming to my home network where I’m responsible for my own backups and not subject to the failures of someone else.2

Then I got lazy trusting in Google’s reliability and set my cron jobs to download/backup my Gmail on the last day of each month. And of course this all failed today, hours before that cron job was supposed to run :beatup:

The only saving grace is that I didn’t lose all my stuff — I’ve still got a not-quite-a-month-old archive stored locally at home. But my distrust for the cloud has been affirmed, and I will now redouble my neo-Luddite ways in trying to avoid cloud computing as much as possible.

Grrr.

  1. Just out of sheer coincidence, helping Google make $$$ through its advertisements. []
  2. Few things can provide peace of mind quite like a 1TB RAID with hot-swappable drives that can then go to the bank safe deposit box ;) []

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Freedom!

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jan 11, 2011 in Technology

I’ve been waiting for this day for years — literally :beatup:

While AT&T folks didn’t like being tethered to their carrier, I didn’t like having to choose between keeping a phone run on the (increasingly rancid)  BlackBerryOS or getting one of those new Android-based phones that were busy sending text messages to the wrong people.1

PLUS it’s perfectly timed to come out about a week after Spring refund checks :D

Via ars technica:

Verizon iPhone: no longer a myth, available in February
By Jacqui Cheng | Last updated January 11, 2011 10:32 AM
Verizon iPhone: no longer a myth, available in February
Can you hear me now? Good, because the Verizon iPhone has finally made its public debut. Verizon made the announcement during its highly anticipated post-CES press conference in New York on Tuesday, noting that the device will be available for preorder starting February 3, and that the public will be able to pick it up from Verizon and Apple retail stores on February 10.

The phone being offered by Verizon is the same as the iPhone 4 that made its debut on AT&T in the summer of 2010, but with a slightly modified antenna and apparently no SIM slot. The device comes in 16GB and 32GB models for $199 and $299 with two-year contract, and can act as a 3G WiFi hotspot for up to five devices at a time (that’s definitely something we can’t do with our AT&T iPhones yet).

“If the press writes about something long enough and hard enough, eventually it comes true,” Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said during the press conference. Apple COO Tim Cook was also present during the announcement, pointing out that the two companies have been working together since 2008.

There’s one major downside to the Verizon iPhone, though: it’s CDMA-only. “Why not go straight to the LTE mode?” Cook asked. “LTE would force design compromises we’re not willing to make, and customers want the phone now.”

Not only that, but Verizon refused to comment on when—if ever—the phone would become LTE compatible, and the company confirmed that users will not be able to use data and voice services at the same time—”consistent with other CDMA devices now.” The company declined to talk about potential data caps or even plan pricing.

“It’s all about getting it on Verizon,” Cook added. “The customers who want it there will be willing to make these tradeoffs.”

So far, it looks like the device is only available in black from Verizon, dashing rumors that the elusive white iPhone would be a Verizon-only exclusive. Verizon has posted a FAQ to its site for prospective iPhone customers, though there’s little more there than what we heard during the event.

::happydance::

:spin: :spin: :spin:

  1. And to the Verizon Wireless haters pointing out “You can’t use data while talking on the phone at the same time so AT&T is better!” — you’ll notice AT&T can barely make phone calls in the first place, so it’s not that much of a sacrifice :* []

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Is law:/dev/null loading any faster?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 5, 2010 in Technology

Hey y’all! :D  My general absence from blogging is going to continue for at least another 72 hours — gotta get through my ZombieLaw exam tomorrow at 9:00am, then Evidence on Wednesday at 2:00pm.

Then after that I will officially be done with my 2L Fall semester… and past the half-way point on my journey to a J.D. :spin:

Although I’m not blogging regularly during finals, I’m still taking an occasional break to tweak the server that hosts law:/dev/null.  So I wanted to get some feedback from you:  is this blog loading any faster than before when you pull up our site?

In addition to some minor code-trimming of the WordPress template we’re using, I also added Google’s mod_pagespeed Apache module.  The only noticeable change that I see on my end is that a big chunk of file requests now show up in my logs as being made by my server itself — I can’t tell if anything is actually loading any faster :beatup:

If you notice a perceptible change one way or the other, let me know :)  I’ll be back here in a few days!

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