Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Remember The Milk, one...

Remember The Milk, one of the most beautiful to do list, if you have never tried out Remember The Milk try it out now, you just integrate it with the new g-mail and it gives the most useful task list that you can find in the interface is grade, there are multitude of options, you can categorize, you can even set it up to do project planning instead of just simple to do list. listen

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Catcher for Christmas

This morning my son, who is 5, didn't want to go to school. He told me that it was because this girl, Maggie was bothering him. She didn't let boys play with her and made the rule, "No boys allowed." So, I asked my son what would make it OK for him to go to school today and he said, "If I had a catcher." I could not figure out what in the world he meant by a catcher. I asked him, "What kind of catcher," and he said, "A Maggie catcher."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Changing the Color of the Inbox Label in Gmail

I have read a ton of blog posts today about Gmail's new function of colored labels.

I was happy for two minutes until I saw this ugly gray box at the top of my email: "Inbox".

I realized that the default label for any email is "Inbox", but currently you cannot change the color of that label. Why did Google miss this function? Why did they pick such a horrible default color? I probably would not have even noticed the "inbox" lable if it had not been such a glaring eyesore on the otherwise beautiful GMail page.

I have already emailed Google with this issue. Hopefully, bringing it to their attention will get it fixed quick. If not, please write your own email to build up support.

Thanks!

Season versus Holiday...

Season versus Holiday Season versus Shopping Season. Why are so obsesses with what shopping season we are in? When we hardly pay attention to what season we're in and we only get excited about the weather when it's becomes a potential obstruction or listen

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just trying out my first...

Just trying out my first blog through Jott, jott.com. Create website, [...] be transcribe what your saying to the phone into text. Can uploaded to your blog like this. Or can, upload to remember the milk to do for kate to do list and I encourage you to check it out. We'll see who this blog, blog works what I most interested is what the title one that been... listen

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Explore the Soil Today!

We should be living to create life, food, to caretake of our place in the world. And yet so many of us have jobs that create widgets for people who have jobs to make widgets to make money so that they can buy widgets. This cycle of widgetry only brings us closer to death, a life only measured in numbers and not in people.
Kids know what work should be. They know the soil is real and they want to play in it, taste it, roll in it. And we don't want to let them. Why not? Play, taste, roll through life an you will gain a sense of happiness. Buying a widget today does not keep you happy. It does not enrich your "life", not if you are living.
Live, grow, explore the soil today!

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Conversation with Amelia Bedelia

My son, who is quite methodical, inquisitive, and has a large vocabulary, finds the Amelia Bedelia series very funny. He loves that Amelia Bedelia makes such silly mistakes. But today he wondered why nobody ever told Amelia Bedelia that she and her literal translations were not quite right. My wife said she didn't know. So my son said, "I know, the last book is probably called "A Conversation with Amelia Bedelia."
If that book isn't written yet, it should be.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

TuneGlue by LastFM

I just found this great website that allows you to map your favorite artists. I only wish that you could email the page to a friend, save the page, and perform other cool Web 2.0 tricks.

This screen shot doesn't quite make it. Visit the page, type in an artist and watch screen bounce!


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Friday, September 28, 2007

When Friend Becomes a Verb

" Because friendship depends on mutual revelations that are concealed from the rest of the world, it can only flourish within the boundaries of privacy; the idea of public friendship is an oxymoron." Christine Rosen

I have read Christine Rosen's articles before. One of the discussions I had with my classes as a music teacher was, "Can we simply assume an iPod is a good thing?" Of course, this was not always so much of a discussion as a series of disbelieving statements, like, "Mr. Roman, of course an iPod is one of the most desired objects in my life." Many of my talking points for that discussion came from Ms. Rosen's articles, The Age of Egocasting. She was even kind enough to answer some questions that my classes compiled and emailed to her.

More recently, Ms. Rosen's article on Facebook and Myspace came to my attention through The New Atlantis. The quote at the beginning of this post highlighted an important point for me; my relationships with people flourish when I spend time with them. People get excited when they are able to see, face to face, friends that they have not seen in awhile.

There is a certain excitement that arises from being "friended", but it quickly fades, and for me, the ensuing correspondence is dull, not nearly as vivid and important as face to face contact. An important questions is, then, "What role does and should social networking play in our circle of friends?" This question is even more important as we think about what "social networking norms" are being developed on these sites.

I'm not sure that people spending extreme amounts of time on social networking sites would disagree with my statements, but there does seem to be a kind of downhill rollercoaster ride once you get involved on a site like Facebook and start to "make" and receive friend requests. It is harder to question the value of "friending" as you go along. The number of friends goes up, and you want to get more involved.

What do you do when somebody you once knew in highschool, ten years ago, decides they want to friend you? How much information does he or she really need to know about your life? What if you simply don't respond? Why make this connection online if it can't or won't be made in person, or even on the phone?

I ask these questions to keep myself engaged with the issues of what makes a piece of technology or a virtual community good. This is much the same reason I read the article wondering how "good" an iPod really is. These devices and sites are a sort of disconnection from what makes life and friendships real. Though I often comment about how "cool" a device like the iPod (Touch or iPhone) are, I wonder if I spend to much time coveting them?

Really, I worry that I should spend much more time with the people around me than with my iPod or on Facebook. Just today it was said on the radio that the money-making engine of the internet is advertising. But really, how much more do I need to buy?

Christine Rosen says, "Real intimacy requires risk—the risk of disapproval, of heartache, of being thought a fool. Social networking websites may make relationships more reliable, but whether those relationships can be humanly satisfying remains to be seen."

If I am truthful to myself, I quickly realize that I am really happiest when I am happy with other people.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Free Enterprise Language Program


Mango Beta Launched!
I'm hoping I can save my brother, and all of you readers,some cold hard cash. I know most language programs cost hundreds of dollars (my brother has bought a few and I've borrowed from him). I've never found them that great, I mean a CD doesn't really help too much. But if you are interested, Mango seems to have a really nice Flash program for learning multiple languages, including: French, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, and even Pig Latin! (for fun and practice fixing bugs, as they say)
I signed up in about 20 seconds and was learning Spanish. The program is a nice mix of hearing, seeing, and interaction. You can hover over words to get pronunciation, and you can click to hear the word again. Very nice!
If things go well, I will be writing my next post in multiple languages. Adios!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Drinking Lemon Juice- Straight from the Bottle

This evening my wife and I watched our sons open the fridge; my older son pulled out the large bottle of lemon juice concentrate,  took a large swig, and put the bottle back with a big, satisfied sigh issuing from his puckered lips. 
I am not sure what would possess him to drink straight-up lemon juice like that, but he sure seemed to enjoy it.
So, my advice is... when your feeling down, hang out with some cool kids, or just grab a bottle of lemon juice.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm Getting a "BlogRush"

My excuse for going to the computer is often that I'm going to read "my news", which is a great way to rationalize my need to browse a hundred feeds a day. I like to contribute my own blogs on fascinating topics and books I am reading. In an effort to increase those people whom might stumble across my blog, I've added the "BlogRush" widget to my page. It is a scheme to provide a kind of automated blogroll on your page for people who might blog in the same category as you. It has a pyramid scheme feel to it, but know money involved, at least at the free level. It also has a built in stats page.

Of course, the problem with lowly blogs is that you don't want to write without a readership, but must write to gain a readership.

I guess that means I should write about my plan to save the world.... tomorrow.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The War of Art 2

I may add more quotes as this book impresses me with its incisiveness. Here is another quote:
As artists and professionals it is our obligation to enact our own internal revolution, a private insurrection inside our own skulls. In this uprising we free ourselves from the tyranny of consumer culture. We overthrow the programming of advertising,movies, video games, magazines, TV, and MTV by which we have been hypnotized from the cradle. We unplug ourselves from the grid be recognizing that we will never cure our restlessness by contributing our disposable income to the bottom line of Bullshit, Inc. , buy only by doing our work.
Go Pressfield! His words are inspiring, creative, and so darn forceful without being bleak. It piques my interest to think about how strongly someone can rail against Consumer culture and yet inspire you to be something different. I think more people that can speak and write like this are needed right now, in this very day in which our insane driving and buying and wasting brings us down, and yet the connection people share is as strong as ever. This hope for the change of our world may be important, yet hope may keep us from simply doing that thing that is unthinkably different.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The War of Art

I've been browsing through, (it's quite an easy read) this book by Steven Pressfield called The War of Art- Winning the Inner Creative Battle. It has been quite inspiring to react against what Pressfield labels as Resistance, with a capital R. Much of what he says makes sense, and he makes his point in one page per idea. It makes for a fun read. Here was the quote that struck me most so far:
Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance. When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul's call, we are being good Americans. We're doing exactly what TV commericals and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification, and hard work, we simply consume a product. Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersectin of Resistance and Commerce...

This witful and somewhat scathing remark tells me that not only is Resistance futile in Consumer Culture, but that Resistance may just be the Devil.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Have you heard of Multiple Intelligences?

I have long been fascinated by Howard Gardener's Theory of Multiple Intelligences since I first read of and used them when I was teaching in a school. I wanted to present them to the people I am working with at summer camp right now and found an interesting way to bring up the topic... take a survey to find out where your own strengths lie. Here is a link to the survey.
Or take it online. Have fun!

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Minimally Invasive Education"

Hard to believe that education can take place through a hole in the wall, but here is a great story to show the potential of presenting technology to people in new ways.  It takes advantage of the innate curiousity people have with new things.
Sugata Mitra: Catalyst of Curiosity | Edutopia

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Orion magazine

I've been really impressed with the articles I have read at Orion Magazine today. Their articles are often touching, educational, and thougth-provoking all at once, a certain awe of the beauty of life ebbing below the surface.

One article I read today spoke of the vastness of the ocean that seems to hide its dire problems from us. Take a minute to read the article.
Think Like an Ocean | Orion magazine

Here is one of the many thought-provoking quotes:
"And yet, mysterious though they may be, our oceans sustain us. As renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle says, “Without the ocean, life on earth would simply not be possible. Should we care about the ocean? Do we care about living?” All told, the health of the oceans affects our livelihood as much as our farms and forests do. The connection just isn’t as apparent."

The other article that impressed me was A Place-Based Malady. Those place-based malady are allergies. The author mentions Mr. T, which gave me a quick kick, but what he did is pretty disturbing and underlies the sad reality of how he grew up.

Here is a quote about the drugs we are offered to cope with allergies:
"As consumers, we buy into the idea of escape from place. Drugs let us get on with our lives, to work and play without regard to our environment. It is an alluring solution, easier than moving to the mountaintops or lakeshore or desert—so much easier than addressing issues of land use, rethinking building construction, or confronting structural inequities in housing and health care in American society. We take a pill or a puff, feel better, and conveniently ignore how that chemical moving inside our bodies connects us to a larger political economy and ecology of allergic disease."

And larger issues there are. Orion often offers a great and inspiring take on these issues that touch us all. I am considering subsribing to a paper issue of Orion, so as get that enrichment every month that I felt today.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Amazing technology from Japan

I've been talking about this kind of device for awhile, and here it appears.
Amazing technology from Japan . .. . . but can you guess what it is?! « 361degrees
A virtual keyboard and monitor projected from a mini-pen computer. The future looks amazing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Multi-Touch Computing Table

This video shows an amazing future, one in which a table can become a creative workspace for all gathered around it. There is an especially amazing clip about 3/4 of the way through about how the table(computer) works wirelessly with objects like cameras and phones placed on it. Check it out:

You can also check out the host site of this video, Brightcove.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Buy, Buy, Baby

Do you know How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds? This is the subtitle to the book listed above. Susan Gregory Thomas tells a great story (listen to the NPR interview). She explores the many ways children are targeted, especially through the use of "educational" TV shows and the use of licensed characters throughout nearly every area of a child's life.
Many points struck throughout the book. Here are some particularly telling quotes:

  • "But in the late 1970's and early 1980's... the chief point of connection between parents, children, and toys was no longer in playing together: it was in buying something." pg. 57
  • "Because Wal-Mart wields such enormous buying power... it may be edging into the uniquely advantageous position of single-handedly shaping the marketing and selling of children's books in the United States." pg. 176
  • '"The only time a child drives a book purchase is when the book features a licensed character," one publishing executive explains. 'pg. 177 (Really the only time a child0-3 drives a sale for any product is when it features a character.)
Children are at the cornerstone of "cradle to grave" marketing, thus the attention-grabbing shows thrown all around our culture, i.e. Baby Einstein, Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, anything Disney, etc. Sadly, it does not seem there is strong evidence to give the label of "educational" to most any of these shows. Yet, this label is given because it has proven to help create a growing market for corporations mentioned below, among others. Children under the age of two have been shown to only gain character recognition from these "educational shows" they watch. But this is perfect if you are a marketer. Kids want your product without even knowing what your product is. This concept is explored thoroughly throughout the book.

Disney, Kellogg's, Gatorade, McDonald's and others all use a company called Cover Concepts (link to their "free" material, including a Bubbalicious teacher guide- how healthy) to "help" give away "free" curriculum to cash-strapped preschools. This free stuff is ADVERTISING! in a bad way.

But terribly, "the marketing industries goals' are to mirror back to people not who they actually are but who they would like to be, to confirm that their ideas are the right ideas, and to instill a sense that every problem has a simple solution." (pg. 222) This simple solution is to BUY their product, no matter what it may be. Every question has an answer of buy, no other. Where does this leave us?

It seems we must take it upon ourselves to find a way to escape this all-encompassing trap. The last quote of the book left me with a tear in my eye. Here is the passage:

Teresa Acevedo, a director of aTucson-area Head Start program remarked, "I don't know when or why we accepted the idea that educational experiences have to come from a catalog!" She clicked to the next slide depicting the center's stunning desert surroundings. "We weren't even taking advantage of, or paying attention to, the natural beauty around us," she said. Then there appeared a picture of children playing as the afternoon sun sliced through, thick, cottony clouds. "But then," she said, "we went outside."

Friday, May 18, 2007

I've Scratched!

I downloaded the software and had a blast creating my own little sprite and programming him to say hello and walk around the screen. It really was something a 3rd grader could do, but powerful enough to make it interesting for anybody. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

With simplified code, programming becomes child's play - The Boston Globe

With simplified code, programming becomes child's play - The Boston Globe
Have you Scratched lately? This idea of graphical programming looks great. I can't access the website at this point because of the amount of traffic they are receiving. It would seem that many people have a great interest in being able to control what they can make their computer do, and to do that quickly and easily.

Heavy Multivitamin Use May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk - Forbes.com

Heavy Multivitamin Use May Raise Prostate Cancer Risk - Forbes.com
Just when we thought the world was safe for those wanting to be super healthy, a study like this comes out and suggest we make actually be slowly killing ourselves. And to think that Ray Kurweil stakes his eternal life on those hundreds of supplements he takes everyday. I guess I'll just stick to nutrient rich Gorman Heritage Farm fresh food.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Techdirt: Run For Cover: Wal-Mart To Invade Electronics Market

Techdirt: Run For Cover: Wal-Mart To Invade Electronics Market
I've been trying to decide for months what new computer to buy, but decided against buying one at all last week. I've got a Dell, Pentium III, 778 MB Ram or so, and only a 9GB hardrive, the biggest problem at this point. So I decided to backup all the music and photos I didn't really need on MediaMax and CD and iPod, and just wait for purchasing a new computer. This may have been a great idea. If Walmart really gets in on the electronics market( read the article above), and prices drop(not that I would buy from Walmart), maybe I can get a great deal in 3 or so months. We'll see.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Would You Like to Boost Your Memory?

It can be done by doing something as simple as wiggling your eyes back and forth. Apparently this engages both your right and left hemispheres, thus giving your brain a better chance of remembering what things you thought you saw or heard and what things you actually saw or hear. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Have you seen this video?

What a cool video! The music somehow fits perfectly and enhances the simply presented, yet profound message.


The Machine is Us/ing Us


Friday, April 27, 2007

Hip Hop in the Classroom THE ABCs of HIP HOP

Tolerance.org: Teaching Tolerance: THE ABCs of HIP HOP
Maybe you want to spice up your music classroom (or other subject matter) with a little hip hop.
Check out the site above for lesson plans incorporating hip hop for a whole range of grade levels and subjects.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Machine's Got Rhythm: Science News Online, April 21, 2007

The Machine's Got Rhythm: Science News Online, April 21, 2007
This is simply amazing: a computer that can learn how to listen to music. Read the full article for a mind-blowing experience. People are teaching computers how to transcribe performances in real-time. They are creating programs to allow performers to practice with the computer, and the computer will follow the player, even anticipating where the next entrance should come in. I would love to experiment with one of these programs. What fun!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This is a Test

This is only a test.  Will "Flock", a new browser, work with my blog?  I just downloaded Flock today and thought I would try it out.  It is supposed to take full advantage of Web 2.0 by easily tying you into all of your online activities, like Flickr, Blogger and others.

Did it work?


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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Future of Education through Custom Programs

I already use an ACTIVboard in my music classroom in Cincinnati, Ohio and love it! It allows me to easily and effectively create custom lessons in minutes. It provides so many tools to integrate multi-media into presentations and students work. This new system, code-named GRAVA by Microsoft, would hopefully take this a step further. I envision custom-made educational programs that teachers can design quickly for their students, edit on the spot, and make easily available for other teachers. It would allow for easy peer review. It would seem like the idea of wiki and open source taken to another level. Teachers could share, promote and change programs at will. Of course, the drive for profits will provide an interesting twist. Read below.eSchool News online - Microsoft previews new development tools

Friday, January 26, 2007

Using a Wiki as a Instructional Strategy

I've started using wikis to give my students "homework" that engages them in a more social way. They love it! They talk about their wiki and are proud to tell me they are working on it. I think they like having a site that they need a password to enter. The were especially excited to develop their very own sports wiki. I see a great future for an online "newspaper" that can be peer edited. The possibilities are endless.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Google and the Future of Information- Books

Unbelievably, this article(click here) suggests trouble for Google in the future. It reveals Google's plan to digitize the world's books and make them available for everyone, seemingly circumventing copyright. What do you think?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Faster than the Speed of Light?

Print the story
Really?

Ray Kurzweil on Technology's Exponential Rate of Change- and What It Means for Schools

eSchool News online
Never heard of Ray Kurzweil. Well... you're missing out. He has a unique and compelling view of the future. Check out this video relating to education.

ACTIVStudio in California Classrooms

KillerApp.Com
The article above describes a whole school district in California that has installed ACTIVboards in their math classrooms.
I use this technology at my school, and love it. If you're interested in knowing more, let me know.

ACTIVStudio in California Classrooms

KillerApp.Com
The article above describes a whole school district in California that has installed ACTIVboards in their math classrooms.
I use this technology at my school, and love it. If you're interested in knowing more, let me know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Google Page Creator- Websites

It is unbelievable that Google will give you 5 websites, with a 100MB storage limit for each... All for free(how can that be)!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Friday, January 5, 2007

Health

Wouldn't you rather maintain your health than always be on a "diet", especially after your health has already deteriorated to the point of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.?