I’m Deleting Social Media in 2020

On January 5, 2020, I will delete all social media apps from my phone, and will be blocking most of their web equivalents on my laptop at the same time.

(Why not New Year’s? Reasons, that’s why. Or, more accurately, I won’t have access to all of my devices on New Year’s and I want to ensure I can get everything removed in one go.)

Research has been in pretty strong agreement that social media can be bad for your mental health and can be extremely distracting. While I currently feel like I’ve taken some steps to limit my exposure, and just about everything in my day-to-day life is going quite well, I’d rather opt out of the social media mess – especially as we head into an election.

So, effective January 5, 2020:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn will be deleted from my phone.
  • I will be blocking the web versions of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on all of my devices.
  • The web versions of LinkedIn, YouTube, and Reddit will not be blocked on my home laptop, but will have time tracking extensions set up on them (so that I can track how long I’m there).
  • Snapchat does not have a web version; it’s mobile only.
  • Facebook Messenger will stay installed.
  • I will receive email notifications for important events such as friend requests and event invitations.

What does this mean for you?

  • The best way to reach me is via text or email. I respond to messages as quickly as I can, which is usually within a minute or two.
  • Facebook Messenger will remain on my phone as a last resort and for folks who don’t have my number. FBM can be weird about notifying me sometimes, so please use text or email if you can.
  • Event invitations and friend/connection requests will still get through, but I won’t be responding to those as quickly as I have in the past.

By the way: you may have noticed that I don’t write on friends’ walls on their birthdays. Call me old school, but I’m a huge fan of a direct text or call.

Have a safe and happy New Year, whether that involves social media or not.

<3, T

Posted by Tate Bosler

!FF Leaderboards Updated (and other 2019 changes)

For those of you playing !Fantasy Fitness this year, the Highland leaderboards have been re-generated – hopefully for the final time. The score computation algorithm has also been updated to account for the tweaks we’ve made to the rules every year.

Caps have also been enforced retroactively. The cap system was announced in 2013, with strength training allowing up to 25 points in a rolling 7-day period and sports allowing up to 40 points. (At the time of introduction, aerobic sports were scored at 4 points per hour instead of the 2 points per hour they’re scored at today.) The caps were adjusted to the familiar 14/28 in 2014. However, a bug was present where the caps would only work in certain limited circumstances. This bug has been fixed and caps are now working correctly.

It turns out we did some… weird tings with paddling in 2014. In an experiment, we changed paddling to be time-based instead of distance-based for 2014 (it was switched back to distance in 2015). Because the scoring algorithm didn’t take this change into account, paddling scores from 2014 were artificially inflated, with several people scoring over 4,000 points that year. This has now been fixed and scores from 2014 are back to normal.

Finally, we have changed some category multipliers for 2019. Specifically:

  • Walking has decreased from 1 point per mile to 0.95 points per mile (a 5% decrease).
  • Skate rollerskiing has increased from 0.5 points per mile to 0.6 points per mile (a 20% increase).
  • Two new categories have been introduced: trainer biking (0.3 points per mile) and hiking without packs (1.1 points per mile). Hiking without packs is intended to be used for hikes on rough terrain with hiking boots, and ideally with a significant elevation gain.

Enjoy the season!

Posted by Tate Bosler

An Open Letter to the New KRLX Board

Senior year is always full of bittersweet moments, and this past weekend was definitely no exception. After nearly 8 hours of interviews and 3 hours of deliberations, the next KRLX Board of Directors has been selected, and in just over three weeks my tenure as KRLX IT Engineer will come to an end.

To the 15 new Directors and one new Interim Director, I am so incredibly excited for you and the excitement and energy you are going to bring to the station. Every single one of you is bringing a lot of creativity, enthusiasm, and passion to KRLX, and you all had a lot of great ideas that I’m really excited to see get implemented. I’m confident in the fact that KRLX is being left in some very safe and trustworthy hands: yours.

To the remaining candidates: your energy, ideas, and dedication to the station and process did not go unnoticed. So many of you would have made amazing directors in your own right, and I would have loved to elect you. I hope the decision of the Board doesn’t dissuade you from getting involved in the future, as I know a lot of the new Directors will be more than willing to accept help from you in their projects. This year was a particularly hard year for us as there were just so many amazing people and only 15 seats, and several positions were extremely competitive.

Above all, know that we really appreciate you putting yourselves out there and showing and telling us how much you love KRLX. We couldn’t help but put a smile on our faces when we heard your responses to the first few questions of the interviews, as you all have aspects of KRLX that you really love. It’s something that helps us get through an otherwise long process. And we know it’s not easy to do the application and then face 15 people at once, so we’re proud of all of you for how far you’ve come.

I’ll end with a few pieces of parting advice for the new board (the new IT engineers get additional things separately):

  1. While you all have been elected to specific positions, you are also part of the larger board and you have a lot of flexibility in your projects. If you have an idea, talk to the people in that position or the Station Manager to see how you can help make it real – because chances are you can.
  2. If you want to try something that the board isn’t currently doing, ask about it! The answer is going to be “yes” a lot more than you think. (Example: We asked to knock out walls. The answer was “yes, eventually”, which is so much better than “no”, but infinitely better than if we hadn’t asked at all!)
  3. The only cash that should be kept in the Record Libe is the change fund for merchandise sales. All other cash should be deposited in the Business Office using the “Miscellaneous Income” budget code (the Business Manager and anyone dealing with merchandise should know it).
  4. Find someone among you who can withdraw money from the Sayles ATMs without getting charged a fee (or whose ATM fees get reimbursed – yes, there are banks that do this!), and figure out their withdrawal limit. Seriously, this will help immensely with merchandise sales.
  5. Nine times out of ten, the fastest way to get something from SAO is to walk into the office and talk to a staff member. There is an assistant director whose job is to help the big organizations, including us. While it may seem incredibly bureaucratic, they are a really good resource.
  6. Don’t stop listening to random shows. You never know what you’re going to hear, and more often than not it’s pretty awesome.
  7. If you’re making frequent purchases for KRLX, talk to the Business Manager or our SAO contacts to get the budget codes you need. SAO also has credit cards that you can use to make bigger purchases or if you don’t want to deal with the reimbursement process.
  8. If you’re moving into a new role, use spring term as a time to ask questions and get advice from the person who holds your role now. We hold our elections in the winter for a reason!
  9. In this position of leadership, speed is nowhere near as important as professionalism and a good experience for the community as a whole. If you need a minute, an extra hand, or advice to help you do your job well, don’t be afraid to ask.
  10. We pride ourselves on the general silliness of DJs and their shows, while also allowing for those who take themselves a bit more seriously. Don’t put yourself at either extreme of that spectrum – make an impact on the station, and leave yourself room for some fun.

I’m going to be very sad to hand off my responsibilities in a few weeks, but I know the station is in good hands for 2019-2020. And of course, this won’t preclude me from having one last good term of my own show.

Congratulations again, and welcome aboard.

Posted by Tate Bosler

sayleshill.xyz and 2019

A little over three years ago, I launched sayleshill.xyz as a way to quickly display the operating status and hours of Carleton buildings. Inspired by a ski lift status board, I hacked the first version together in a week and iterated on it over the coming year.

Fast forward to today and during term the site gets about 200 hits a month. That’s not a lot by modern technology companies’ standards, but it’s nothing to sneeze at. I’m thrilled to see how many students continue to get use out of a small tool that I put together and haven’t done a lot of advertising on.

However, keen-eyed visitors will notice that data hasn’t been updated in months, and the app can occasionally show up with a blank screen. I know there are several buildings that need to be updated (I’ve received dozens of problem reports — thank you to everyone who submitted them), and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to doing so. Additionally, some staff from St. Olaf have released an app that is far superior to the Sayles Hill iOS app (which I whole-heartedly endorse using, as it has far more functionality than mine does).

I’m also about to graduate from Carleton, and in a few months I won’t have as keen of an interest in keeping the site up to date. (Don’t get me wrong, I love making tools that get a lot of usage, but this is one where I personally won’t be seeing the end results in a few months, so there’s less of an incentive for me to keep the site up to date. Fellow econ majors can probably relate.)

So here’s the plan.

Unless a successor comes forward, sayleshill.xyz and the Sayles Hill iOS app will be decommissioned on July 7, 2019. I have paid for the domain and my Apple Developer membership through then, and I’ll probably keep a copy of the code around somewhere just in case I do something with it. However, I won’t be making updates to the Carleton files starting on July 7. Carleton students who are interested in taking over the project should send me an email and we can chat about how to make it work.

Thank you to everyone who has used and contributed to the development of sayleshill.xyz, to the team at St. Olaf who built on and improved the idea, and to everyone who has found this project worthwhile.


Posted by Tate Bosler

On Changing the Pizza

I went to a small elementary/middle school (K-8 all in one building). It’s about 20 students per grade level.

The school contracted with a local pizza shop to provide a lunch option for students, once a week. You could pre-pay to have pizza during lunch every week throughout the year. (Specifically on Tuesdays. On the other days, you would bring a lunch from home. With such a small school, there just weren’t the facilities, staffing, budget, or reason to support a daily lunch service.) In my early years I exercised this option, but stopped doing so as I got older.

The pizza itself was fine. It certainly wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t like you were eating lukewarm cheese that was glued onto a hard crust. (That only happened a couple of times.) It was decent enough most of the time. Nonetheless, the students — especially those who were aware of the other pizza shops in the area — complained that the school really could do better by contracting somewhere else.

So, every year, at least one candidate for student council — particularly in the “lower school” K-4 arm, and also particularly during my kindergarten through second grade years — would run under the campaign promise of changing the pizza. (I’m told that this happened for a few years before I got there, too.) I used that line in my campaign when I was elected vice-president of the lower school student council in second grade. Most people made absolutely no progress on this promise; they just used it to get elected. I almost got it changed — and the teachers won’t admit it, but I made serious progress, with a spreadsheet and everything! — but that’s a story for another time.

Nowadays, among students and teachers who were there at the time, “change the pizza” is synonymous with “make a promise that lots of people will agree with, even though nothing will likely come of it”.

This week are the Carleton Student Association (CSA) Senate elections. This is the body that has been involved in the KRLX PNW funding process. They pass resolutions, fund organizations, and work on large-scale projects like a free textbook library. I ran (and lost by a wide margin) for Residential Life liaison last spring. I’m not running this term, but I know a lot of the folks who are, and their proposals have some interesting ideas. Here are some of them, which are taken from a variety of candidates:

  • continuing to push for improvements in the Title IX process
  • “ensure class representatives are truly communicating with their classes on updates within Senate and administration”
  • publishing periodic reports of Senate actions and plans
  • holding weekly office hours
  • increasing transparency about funding processes, fee waivers, and other financing options available to students and organizations
  • improving diversity within Senate and Senate subcommittees
  • providing more assistance to students affected by natural disasters
  • making the organization funding request process less intimidating
  • providing students with avenues of anonymous feedback submission about campus issues
  • investing student activity fees in the stock market rather than increasing them annually
  • adding a Funding FAQ page and list of funding sources to the CSA website
  • working with the Residential Life liaison to increase communication regarding housing procedure changes (such as when rooms change to or from a micro-lounge)
  • establishing executive pay for the president, vice president, and treasurer (turning them into elected campus jobs)
  • having students use color-specific dining hall cups to indicate whether or not they’d be cool with others coming to sit with them
  • increasing access to buildings for students with disabilities by adding ramps and other accessibility features
  • increasing availability of resources for mental health

Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited about a lot of these ideas and I hope they come to fruition. Some of them would provide an immediate and real benefit to a lot of students. Some of them, like holding weekly office hours or sending periodic communications, require personal investment from Senators — which can be hard to come by at Carleton where a ten-week term flies by and the workload is so intense — but would be worthwhile in the end.

Some of them probably aren’t in Senate’s jurisdiction at all, have already been done, or would be infeasible to even start, such as:

  • building accessibility is mandated in new buildings and those with renovations; all buildings on campus are wheelchair accessible with the exception of the 19th-century Willis Hall, Laird Hall, and some rooms in Goodsell Observatory, but these buildings can’t be modified to improve accessibility as they are historic and NRHP-listed
    • Update: After doing further research, halls face a requirement of accessibility, but houses do not. This candidate is trying to increase accessibility to houses, some of which (like Henry and Bird) are used as administrative offices.
  • you can’t put the entire student activity fee fund into a stock portfolio because that prevents you from being able to spend the money on organizations, so you would need to have a massive fee increase to start the fund while maintaining organization operations; plus, I’m not sure of the legal or tax implications of this plan

And some of them are certainly feasible, but probably aren’t going to happen for a multitude of reasons, which (depending on the issue) may or may not include the fact that others have campaigned on it before but nothing has been done about it.

So, to the candidates who are proposing these ideas that we’ve seen in platforms before, and to those who are proposing the more radical ideas: I’m curious to see where you could go with these proposals if you get elected, and I hope you make some good progress on them if you get the chance.

After all, no one has proposed changing the pizza.

Updated 2018-02-09: I misinterpreted the issue on building accessibility, notably excluding houses from the discussion. Carleton uses some houses (Henry and Bird come to mind) for administrative offices, even though they were originally residential homes before Carleton bought them. This candidate is proposing improving the accessibility to these buildings.

Update 2019-02-17: Even a year later I continue to learn new things about some of these, especially building accessibility, notably that Laird is not accessible by ADA requirements.

Posted by Tate Bosler

Sayles Hill for iOS v1.0.1

I’ve updated the Sayles Hill app for iOS to version 1.0.1. This update fixes an issue where the app could get stuck downloading hours every time it was launched after an update was pushed.

This update is now available in the App Store, though it may take up to 24 hours to appear worldwide. If your device uses Automatic Updates, the update will be automatically installed for you (usually overnight when connected to Wi-Fi). Otherwise, you can head to the App Store to grab it.

If you don’t have the app, go ahead and grab it here!

Posted by Tate Bosler in Updates

Announcing Sayles Hill for iOS

Sayles Hill for iOS is now live in the App Store! You can download it on any device running iOS 10.0 or later and see all of the building hours and what’s open right now, even if you don’t have an internet connection.

Download the app here!

What’s next?

I’m working on a few new features for both the iOS app and website. The iOS app will soon include the bus departures board to bring it up to par with the website, but both could get new features entirely in the future!

If you’re an iOS beta tester, please keep TestFlight installed! It’s how I’ll send out future beta builds, but you can safely upgrade in-place to the full version. New downloads of both betas will expire on August 6.

Posted by Tate Bosler

sayleshill.xyz 3.7

sayleshill.xyz has been updated to version 3.7. This version doesn’t include too many front-facing improvements, but it does include a new problem reporting tool, which you can use to let me know of inaccurate building times.

Since sayleshill.xyz is not maintained by Carleton, I have to update it manually. Usually that works out, but hours can change unexpectedly or without my knowledge, so I rely on community reports to keep everything up to date. If you notice something is inaccurate, please fill out the problem report form at sayleshill.xyz/problem and let me know what’s wrong, and I’ll give you credit on the site!

Posted by Tate Bosler in Updates

sayleshill.xyz service restored

Service on sayleshill.xyz has been restored after an outage caused by an expired SSL certificate.

sayleshill.xyz uses Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated SSL certificate generation platform, to manage its security certificates (in fact, all of my websites use Let’s Encrypt, but SSL is only mandated on sayleshill.xyz and some pages of tatebosler.com). Let’s Encrypt failed to automatically renew the certificate when it expired recently. That problem has now been fixed and service restored.

Posted by Tate Bosler in Updates

Project New Wave Updates

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update on Project New Wave, KRLX’s project to renovate our studios and replace our gear. Since we were funded in February, a few things have happened that warrant an update.

The quick and dirty is that we’re preparing for Phase Two: construction. We’re in the process of getting our Phase Two funding on the spring ballot. But I’m getting ahead of myself – there are lots of cool things in the works. Read on for details!

Continue reading →

Posted by Tate Bosler in Et Cetera, Updates