Category Archives: Casting Out Nines

Content theft

This blog used to have two different URL’s — as well as The latter was a holdover from the days I self-hosted this blog, and when the domain name registration period drew to a close in December of last year, I opted not to renew, since I think most people come here from an RSS feed or otherwise use the domain.

Well, that might have turned out to be a mistake, because as JackieB on Twitter informed me earlier this evening, someone has purchased the domain name and is using it to plagiarize content from here. I’ve spent about 90 minutes just now going through the “fake” CO9’s site, and all totalled, there were 53 blog posts copied in their entirety from here, and the “About” and “What is Casting Out Nines?” pages. Of course I was not given attribution for any of this. has this helpful page on what steps to take if your content gets stolen. I’m in the process of putting together a DMCA infringement notice to send to Hostmonster, the service hosting the fake blog. In the meanwhile, I’ve also changed the RSS settings so that only post summaries are put into the feed; I hate these partial RSS feeds, but unfortunately this seems like a necessary anti-scraping measure. I’ve also posted a Creative Commons license over in the sidebar to make the terms of using my posts unambiguous.

Unfortunately there’s nothing I can do to wrest the domain name from the registrant (who, according to a whois search, is somebody in Israel), so if you are still using that URL to get here, switch to Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.


Filed under Blog announcements, Casting Out Nines

Unexpected kudos

Last night I received this email from my colleague Dan Callon, who is at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Francisco:

I went to a session at the national joint meetings tonight on Wolfram|Alpha, sponsored by the MAA Special Interest Group on Mathematics Instruction Using the Web, with speaker Bruce Yoshiwara of Los Angeles’ Pierce College.  He cited the blog of the best-known expert (outside of Wolfram itself) in the country on using Wolfram|Alpha in education: Robert Talbert.  Congratulations!

I would have to rank Maria Andersen way above myself both in terms of her expertise with W|A and in terms of how well-known she is, but still, I’m honored by Prof. Yoshiwara’s mention. And I’ll keep trying to crank out relevant posts about Wolfram|Alpha in the future.

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Filed under Casting Out Nines, Technology, Wolfram|Alpha

Some updates

Greetings, everybody. Is anybody still out there? It’s been a while. What started as a simple drop-off in the number of posts I was making here at Casting Out Nines turned into a five-month sabbatical from blogging at all. The peace and quiet was nice. But now I think I’m ready to get back into things. I just wanted to take this post to announce this, and to point out a few changes here at the blog and give a rundown of some of the things you can expect to see here.

If you’re reading this on the actual web site as opposed to an RSS reader, you will see a new layout and theme for the blog that should make it easier to find things and browse content. You will get a different set of stuff in the right sidebars if you are focusing in on a single article rather than looking at the main blog page. Among the new features I’ve activated is the ability to rate individual blog posts; to do this, just click on the link to a post and you’ll get it in a new page with a five-star rating option at the top. It’s much easier to get email subscriptions to this blog than it used to be; look at the “Email subscription” section in the middle sidebar. I’ve also revised the About page.

Also, please be advised that the old web address no longer works. If you have that bookmarked, change it to

I’ve just finished a semester at my work where some interesting things took place in terms of education, math, and technology. I will try to catch up on those in due time. But right now I am looking ahead to next semester, where a lot of new things are going to happen and a lot of things I’ve been working/playing with will come to fruition. These include:

  • The launch and management of our new MATLAB course for freshmen.
  • My attendance at the ICTCM in Chicago in March, and what I learn there.
  • My continued use of Wolfram|Alpha and Excel in calculus.
  • Introduction and use of MATLAB and Wolfram|Alpha in my linear algebra class.
  • I’d like to focus more on mathematical topics and the kinds of things I am into these days, meaning finite fields, coding theory, cryptography, and general algebra and number theory.
  • I’m working my way through four iTunesU courses — biology, statistics, computing, and linear algebra. I’m learning a lot, not just about the subjects but about how effectively to teach them.
  • I’m playing around with Sage and loving it.
  • And I’ll probably write something about Linux just to keep my pageviews up. The last time I did was in July, and six months later I am still getting comments on it. (It’s by a wide margin my most commented-on post ever, currently at 51 comments, many of which are coherent.)

My family and I are heading out of town for the holidays, so I expect to get things really ramped up around or after New Year’s. Thanks for your patience if you’re a longtime reader; welcome if you’re not.


Filed under Blog announcements, Casting Out Nines

Blogging Indiana

blogindianaJust a programming note: I’l be attending the Higher Education Summit at the Blog Indiana 2009 social media conference on Thursday, August 14. Blog Indiana is held in the Informatics building on the campus of IUPUI. The main conference runs both Thursday and Friday and there are some good speakers lined up for all the sessions. The Higher Education Summit will have talks on topics ranging from Facebook-enabled classrooms to how to get your college’s Chancellor to Twitter.

If you’re coming, leave a note in the comments and maybe we can turn it into a meet-up.


Filed under Blog announcements, Blogging, Social software, Technology, Twitter, Web 2.0

Google Reader issues

Two of my last three posts have shown up in Google Reader being completely illegible. For some reason some of the text is being bunched up on the left side of the post. I don’t know why it’s doing this, and I don’t know if I can go back and re-post and have it be fixed. This might be happening because I drafted those two articles using a text editor and then cut-and-pasted into the editor, and although I can’t see why that should be a problem,’s editor is not well-known for its robustness. Anyhow, hopefully this post (being written entirely inside the editor) will come through OK. If it does, and you subscribe to my feed using Google Reader and couldn’t read my two posts, please just click through the Google Reader feeds to the main articles. They do show up fine on the main blog site.

For everybody, I’ll be putting up some test posts to see if my using a text editor is the problem, and how I might fix it. Thanks for your patience.

UPDATE: Based on the results of the test posts, it looks like my guess above is correct. Must be something about the line breaks not translating properly. Sorry again for the confusion.

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Filed under Blog announcements, Casting Out Nines, Technical difficulties

Thank you, and updates

First of all, you may have noticed I am again posting after a lengthy hiatus following the birth of our third child. He’s 5 weeks old now, and we are beginning to return to some kind of routine in our lives that includes him. For the first month, as all parents know, you’re basically in survival mode, catching sleep when you can and trying to get your work done elsewhere. He’s nowhere close to sleeping through the night but at least we’re managing better than we were, and I’m on top of things enough at work that I have the time now to write some posts and at least schedule them for future posting, so I have the appearance of posting once a day. Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks for all your well-wishes and prayers and for your continued reading of my little slice of the interwebs.

Also, you’ve probably noticed some cosmetic changes here. I’ve changed themes to the new “Vanguard” theme and resurrected the header I used to use some years ago. I’ve removed some sidebar elements that weren’t functional, and I added a link to my Twitter page, which tends to be quite active both day and night (as I often am up in the middle of the night with a baby in my left arm and Twittering with my iPod using my right arm). Also, check out the comments — comments to posts can now be threaded up to three levels deep; just use the “Reply” link to start a comment discussion thread.

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Filed under Blog announcements, Casting Out Nines


Apologies for the light blogging for the last couple of weeks. As longtime readers know, I’m on our Promotion and Tenure Committee here at my college — this year I’m the chair of this committee — and we do all of our work reviewing portfolios during the month of January while the rest of the college is doing Winter Term. It’s always a challenge to manage our work so that we get all of our recommendation letters written in a reasonable amount of time, but this year there are some personal reasons that have added an extra sense of urgency.

So ever since the first of this year I’ve been spending all my time either doing these P&T reviews or trying to cram in course preps for the spring (two sections of Calculus and a section of Linear Algebra), in an attempt to get as much done as possible before the baby arrives (click on the link above for the backstory). I don’t think anybody wants me writing their tenure/promotion review or planning their calculus lessons out on the kind of piecemeal sleep  schedule parents of newborns have! Hence I’ve had little time for blogging. But no shortage of material; you’ll see, hopefully, once I have some time and energy to devote to it. 

Today is the baby’s actual due date, but he doesn’t seem too interested in coming out right now, so we are going in to the hospital tomorrow morning so my wife can be induced. (Should I refer to this event as the Induction Hypothesis?) I think you all understand that I won’t be blogging much for the next week and a half. However, do check in with my Twitter stream if you want to get some updates. 

Thanks for reading!

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Filed under Blog announcements, Casting Out Nines, Family