[OS X TeX] TeX Hour: 9 June: 6:30 to 7:30pm UK time: Learning Platforms - books to containers, Euclid to Katacoda

Jonathan Fine jfine2358 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 8 17:42:07 CEST 2022


At tomorrow's TeX Hour we'll explore Learning Platforms. Many years ago,
even before the invention of the printing press in 1440, the book was a
prominent learning platform. Euclid's Elements consists of 13 books,
written about 300 BCE. A learning platform is a posh word for a library of
digital interactive books. Let's ensure they're accessible to the visually

TeX Hour: Thursday 9 June, 6:30 to 7:30pm UK time.
Zoom URL:
UK Time Now: https://time.is/UK.

Since the rise of cheap computing and the internet, the nature of learning
has changed. The covid pandemic has accelerated that change. Last week,
completely by chance, I discovered a new "Interactive Learning and Training
Platform for Software Engineers". It is https://katacoda.com/, and I
encourage you to explore it.

In late 2019 O'Reilly acquired katacoda.com because it was "a powerful
solution for developing critical tech skills for the 2.8 million members of
the O'Reilly learning platform". Last month O'Reilly announced that public
use of katacoda.com will end, and that the site will be shuttered on June
15 (a week from today).

Here's an analogy that arose at last week's TeX Hour on distrobox. The
printing press is expensive, but it makes each of multiple identical copies
of a book cheap. Before the press, each copy of a book was written out by
hand, and was expensive. There was a time when each server was
hand-crafted. With cloud computers and in particular the introduction of
containers (as in docker) each of multiple identical copies of a server is

Here's the punchline. O'Reilly started in 1978 as technical writing
consultancy. From there it became the publisher of "Nutshell Handbooks" on
Unix. From 1988 publishing became the focus. In 2001 O'Reilly launched
Safari Books Online, a joint venture with Pearson Technology Group. In 2018
Safari was re-branded to O'Reilly Online Learning. And in 2019 they
acquired Katacoda, to provide a consistent interactive learning experience
to users of O'Reilly Online Learning.

I've signed up to katacoda.com as an author, and at tomorrow's TeX Hour to
start the discussion I'll share my experience.

At last week's TeX Hour Nelson Beebe and I had an energetic discussion on
containers (the interactive digital press of our time) and the distrobox /
toolbox interface provided for software developers. The video is available
at https://youtu.be/-Kro60y4Pmc.

Happy TeXing in the age of the interactive digital book

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