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SUPER-IT

Due to some international requests these pages are in English. Please, note that some of the content is advanced for “power users” of digital technology or those who want to learn to be.

This year (2016) I celebrate (or lament?) my 40th anniversary as a programmer.

One of my first programs was actually an infinite loop in BASIC—printing ”Hello!” at a distant printer, in another school, I didn’t know how to stop! (Hope it’s not still printing for ecological and economical issues.)

Over the years I have written code in a variety of languages for different platforms and developed a large number of tools for many purposes—not as a single profession—but as a PhD student, teacher, principal, superintendent, consultant – and now R&D Manager in education. Computers and other digital devices have been an essential part of my work and life. Today, I would estimate that I would need a dedicated secretary, working for me alone, between half-time och full-time—if I did not have access to this software and hardware—with all my personalized scripts, workflows and programs.

After having used a lot of various computer platforms, micro, mini, desktop and super computers (as HP, IBM, Silicon Graphics, Cray), I chose Apple Macintosh, for my personal needs because I wanted a tool that would work for writing music, layout and good typography, mathematical formulas, photography, movies and much more. Since I still haven’t found a better integrated system, suitable for all my vast needs the material here is mostly based on OS X and iOS or simply “OS”.

Often I find it very relaxing—and sometimes frustrating too at the same time 😉 —to add another tool to simplify my life and work, e.g. to give me instant access to data or services.

  • When does the bus depart tomorrow? Is the night train from Umeå to Stockholm on time?
  • What is the most recent formulation of remote education in the Swedish Education Act?
  • What is the fastest way to log a phone call and write some notes with as much information prefilld as possible?
  • How can I use a single hotkey to immediately open a Google search in 10 new browser tabs (instead of the boring and tedious clicking)? (Good for me but sorry for Google, actually bypassing their capturing services with a single hotkey.)
  • What was that paper by Granovetter about human networks or what literature is there in our national library covering the subject or available in the book store online, or may be an audio book?
  • How can I automize tedious stuff to almost no interaction with the computer at all (e.g. adding a new subscription in iTunes from a recently available public service production)?
  • I could go on for hours extending this list…

Why? Is it not just to search the web, click around and find the answers or set up the structure, moving files around? Well, if you can spend some extra 50–100 hours a week, and think it is very fun, why not—but for me it would be far too time consuming, very boring and against my philosophy of learning (with possible negative effects for the neurogenesis in my hippocampus).

Also, this strategy has even led to spotting and correcting errors in the Swedish national legislation documents on the web as well as in information from Swedish authorities, MARC records in our national bibliography. Another example is a correction of the almost 1000 errors in Hattie, J.A.C. (2009) Visible learning : a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement, London: Routledge.

The most part of this work has actually not been done “at work”, but during sleepless nights, weekends and vacations. Sometimes though I need to fix some important workflows during work hours (whenever that is). Even though this work is highly personalized I always like to solve problem as general as possible. Not only will the work be more useful to myself—it may even be so for more people. (May, 3, this year e.g. I presented how I had adapted and developed OmniOutliner, for the OmniGroup in Seattle.) Due to some other recent international request I have now decided to start publishing some ot the work—as a part of SUPER- for the benefit of all interested people with simliar needs or interests.

Please, note that this is not at all meant to be an introduction to all the applications mentioned or how to start programming in various languages s.a. AppleScript, JavaScript, shell script, Perl, Visual Basic, Swift or whatever may show up. There are much better sources for that on the web or at school, college or university. (I even taught FORTRAN, Pascal, Matlab and more at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, many years ago.)

However, please feel free to contact me if you need any deeper explanation or more information! (For the schools in Västerbotten’s county and Örnsköldsvik’s municipality, I can also visit you, free of charge or publish workflows especially useful for teachers, principals, superintendents or IT staff. (However, anyone may invite me, if you just cover my modest expenses for travel, accommodation etc. and nothing else interfere.)

Please enjoy,

P-D

Uppdaterad 6 april, 2017 kl 15:43 av Per-Daniel Liljegren