Blog

This is my blog. Sometimes in these posts I’ll talk about research or art projects I’m involved with, sometimes I’ll just ramble about other stuff which is keeping me up at night. If you’re interested in a certain topic, click on a tag to see just the posts with that tag:

If anything here sparks your interest (or your ire!) then get in touch (twitter, email) or discuss on HN.

Livecoder-in-the-club as a system

Using cybernetic and systems thinking concepts to answer the question: what’s actually going on in a livecoding gig?

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Cutting ruby CI pipeline times with pre-installed bundles

I (and, increasingly many of my colleagues) are using Jekyll to create open (CC-licenced), hackable, acessible course websites & teaching content for our classes. We use a self-hosted GitLab server for all the websites sources, and then build/deploy them with GitLab CI. It works well, it means I don’t have to fight with our LMS to do interesting things, and it means I can open my learning materials to everyone (not just those who are privileged enough to be able to pay the fees to study at the ANU).

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openconnect setup for institutional VPN access

My institution’s IT policies have recently changed and port 22 is now blocked from off-campus. That’s a real pain if you use ssh to push/pull from our on-prem GitLab servers (which I need to do all the time).

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Feedback in livecoding: cui bono?

Pre-reading (and watching) for fortnight 5 of the School of Cybernetics Master’s program

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Moving to the School of Cybernetics

Some job news—I’ve just accepted a position in the new School of Cybernetics in the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). I’ll finish out my teaching this semester in the School of Computing then I’ll make the move in July. For those not familiar with the ANU org-chart or acronymicon, there are multiple Schools in each College (so I’m moving Schools but staying within the same College).

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LENS'21 final gig 2pm June 6 @ sideway

LENS '21 final gig poster

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ACMC'21 + Synthmoot: Connections announced for August 26-28

Great news on the local computer music conference front: the Australian Institute of Music is hosting the ACMC conference in Sydney/Melbourne/online at the end of August ‘21. I’ll be there—and if you’re a computers-and-music-adjacent artist then you should think about submitting a paper, artist talk or performance as well.

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A short list of Extempore livecoding tricks

Yesterday’s LENS class discussion turned into an AMA of how I do certain things when I’m livecoding in Extempore. As promised, here’s a blog post where I’ve put together all of the things we’ve discussed (with a bit more explanation). If you’re in the LENS ‘21 class this’ll hopefully be a helpful complement to yesterday’s class discussion. If you’re not in the class, then maybe you’ve always been curious about certain things I (over)use in my livecoding sets? This is maybe a bit too niche to go in the general Extempore documentation, but if you’ve got any questions then you can hit me up on Teams (for LENS students) or the Extempore mailing list (everyone else).

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benswift.me analytics/tracking update

I haven’t had any sort of client-side analytics (e.g. Google Analytics) on benswift.me for a long time (since around 2012 I think—several iterations of the site ago). I use an ad-blocker myself, and the whole tracking & analytics thing just strikes me as a bit gross.

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Bulk-add students to MS Teams from a csv file

My institution now uses MS Teams for lots of things, including organising classes & communicating with students. It’s not perfect, but it’s not terrible, and the pros & cons of Teams as a pedagogical platform are best left for another post.

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ANZSRC FoR Codes 2020 edition

The Australian Research Council (well, technically the Australian Bureau of Statistics and their NZ counterparts) have updated the Field of Research codes which Aussie/NZ academics use to classify their work.[^interdisciplinary-complaint]

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Simple pdf papers/reports with markdown, pandoc and bibtex

I’ve long raged against the machine of my institution’s default LaTeX template for dissertations and other reports, which is:

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How to cite code? Leading by example

In our Computing Education Reading Group yesterday we looked at Sheard et. al.’s paper on Strategies for Maintaining Academic Integrity in First-Year from ITiCSE ‘17. It was a great discussion, with lots of new questions raised as directions for future work.

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Respectful Learning Memes

Note: this post was noticed by the good folks at the ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching, and they asked if they could syndicate it on their Interact blog—so you can read it there as well.

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Independent Study Contract writing tips

Many students here at the ANU School of Computing take a capstone project at the end of their undergraduate degree. There are a few different variations (e.g. half-year vs full-year, “research” vs “implementation”, etc.), but overall these projects are a chance for students to put together all the skills they’ve learned in their degree program in a supervised project where they’re the boss.

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Configuring Spacemacs org-roam & org-noter for academic writing bliss

I’ve always had a decent memory, and so I’ve never really had a formal system for keeping track of who said what and in which paper. When it comes time to write something of my own I end up mostly just going from memory and re-google-scholaring things from scratch (often finding later that I already had that paper in my Zotero database already). As I get older my memory isn’t as sharp, so I think it’s time to use a more systematic workflow for writing—keeping notes about stuff I’ve read & linking the ideas together.

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Student project: animated 3D code rendering engine

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Creative Computing ANU Extension course

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Parental leave, take 2

Our family has recently grown by one member. I’m proud and exhausted and happy; it’s a really wild (and mostly very nice) cocktail of feelings. If you follow me on twitter you might have already heard this exciting news.

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mbsync v1.3.2 breaking change: SubFolders config required

As part of my ongoing quest to Emacs-all-the-things, I’m a long-time satisfied user of the mu email client. I even wrote the latest CI infrastructure setup for the project as a way to give back to Dirk-Jan and the rest of the awesome mu team.

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