The Great ECN Brain Dump

guide for new student employees

Odds and Ends

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree is trudged out every year for the ECN/ECE luncheon. It serves a very simple purpose and does it well. Gifts are given out post- meal in a first-come-first-drawn kind of fashion. Guests are provided with a list of perplexing clues for the 40 some potential presents. When the item number has been called, the corresponding ornament on the tree is clicked and and automatically changed to a star.

The html code for the christmas tree is located on the ECN drive at /system/www/entities/ECN/ecnweb/Christmas_Tree As it stands now, the tree demands to be run on a server. In years past, it has been necessary to install Apache onto a laptop in order to display the tree. It would be convenient if the tree was rewritten using javascript so that this install is not necessary.


The webcams here at ECN are mostly self contained and need minimal input. The camera pointing at the Armstrong building will need to be reset (unplugging and plugging back in) occasionally. If you cannot get to the camera, you can turn off the 'active' property on it (/ECN/Webcam/cam01/manage_propertiesForm). This will temporarily archive the camera (the cronjob will stop trying to pull the image) and the emails to the webmaster queue will cease. If you need to manage a webcam, Chris Deckard has the username/pw combination.


The Resume tool was never ported to Zope. The MSE department is the only school to use it regularly. They have a freshman/sophomore class in which it is required to post your resume to this page. Vicki Cline was convinced/coerced/begged to try and use CCO's resume tool instead. The reporting that they provide isn't as good as the Resume Tool's, but I believe she is attempting to make it work.


EBO has a /admin script. Be sure to check that before attempting to answer questions from them about updates.

Things To Do

A few items I came across while reviewing my work here that could use a slight update:

RSS for employment: The employment page gets updated at odd times. I think students would like to be able to get an RSS feed for whenever a job is posted in their department or any engineering job.

Header for The webcams have a very simple look to them and could stand to get an update. The admin interface in the camera allows you to set some simple items for the look, check to see what those are before you begin.

Employment Backend Rewrite: If you viewed the employment backend for the RSS item above, you probably saw the odd method in which it was written. It was early in this author's career and many better (and easier) methods were not implemented because they were not known. Posting properties are kept as a newline separated list with double colons separating the key/value pairs. :-/ There are also several python scripts that run the entire thing instead of a nice separation into dtml, page templates, or python.

Library: The library could stand to be rewritten as well, although it isn't in as bad a shape as the employment site. The one method that was never written for the library (as seen in the /admin section) is 'Library Loan Trends'. Data has been kept on each book's borrow and return time and some more heavily used books may produce a nice graph of return speed or common user degree, etc.

ECN Employee Startup Script: We could stand to have a page(s) that new employees can read through that will explain what ECN is about, some quick history, the projected future, the hierarchy of staff members, Zope, the old site, things to do before starting (.cshrc file, accounts, etc), things to do while working (timecards, worklogs, etiquitte), etc. I think this could speed student assimilation and ease their anxiety over all these new things to do (as well as providing a page that they can refer back to).