Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Timeline Tyranny

the ticker, the playhead, the clock that shows you where you are and when it will end. That line at the bottom of every video, always the same length, with beginning and end, between which stretches the story, preferrable less than 10 minutes.

What if we did not know how long a piece lasted? Could we stand it, not knowing, being able to anticipate the finish, when we can go on with the other thousand things we think about doing?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heard of These Social Networks?

 I found these while hunting down embedded lore on Lasagna and chips. 
Interestingly, Ning seems to have dominated the homemade social net set, and it's exciting to see some new blood and hopefully moving toward something evermore relevant.

Ruth uses Meebo and would love to train anyone to use it, too, btw :-* and in this same blog post is a plug for this chat tool.

Friday, October 2, 2009


They streamlined the "turn on my video" button right out of the last version of Skype. They streamlined the "File" menu out of Microsoft Office. Things are much slicker and less usable all the time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tech Stoppers

Googling the above title returned interesting but unintended links like:
Adding a few more keywords got me no closer; finally I entered "technology setbacks user willingness computers blogs online education" and the fish started biting. Things like Wesley Fryer's Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog was really what I was looking for. Technology "stoppers" are failures that cause us to quit trying to get the damn thing to work.

We all have a breaking point, a level of tolerance, a 'click ceiling' above which we just say "enough! I have things to do and I didn't become an english teacher to learn how to program C++!" If you are taking an online course in educational technology, your tolerance is higher or you have committed yourself to tolerating it, so you're different than my friend, the english teacher.

I keep nudging her to blog, "it's writing, after all, and it increases your cool factor." She says she will, but just using Blackboard is difficult enough. When she tried to get the YC Plagiarism Tutorial into Blackboard, it worked the first time, then failed, and that was it. Over. Done deal. Stopper. Was it the machine or the human interface that failed? There's always some collusion, but does it matter? She hit her click ceiling and it was over. What's your level of tech tolerance, and how will you shape your's and your student's use of technology to stretch it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tech Fatigue Workshop Recording

A recording of the 1 hour session from last May's Yavapai College Summer Institute.
Play session>

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Warning: Only 40 Hours of Freedom Left

I just got an email from Pandora online radio, one of the 5 best things to happen to the internet ever. It said my 40 hours of free monthly listening was almost up. Ding-dong! Hello! -Didn't know there was a limit, as everything online is free now.

This is a warning to the free-school generation: look for more limits on our free-culture in the Web 2.0.

Ponder these: When Google has a total monopoly, will it still be free? Is free natural? What do expect from a free service? Is anything free? and...

Will you pay for things that are worthwhile, such as my beloved Pandora?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

If You are a Procrastinator, Please Stand Up

If you are a procrastinator, please stand up - some time in the future. The rest of you can get right to work sitting where you are.

It's not easy to get down to work on a Sunday afternoon, at least not computer work. Sunday is a day to be outdoors chopping wood, gardening, fixing up the leaky nozzle or two, and going to the park. It's going to take a behemothic act of will OR something special to entice me to sit once more in front of the glowerectangle.

GOOD NEWS is: the computer also = music, pictures, interesting news and videos - all things I love. These things will tempt me there, and after a few diversions into Facebook, She & Him, and self-indulgent blogging, I will get down to some computer 'work'. And that feeling of accomplishment will make the nap so much sweeter.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"NOVA Science Now is Cool", Say Bohrman Kids

My children loved this show about science! I always was a PBS wonk and hoped, despite our not have television in the home, my offspring would appreciate the erudite emulations of public tv.
They were on verge of tears as this show with a comedic astrophysicist host aired in the place of either a Wii session or the Apple Dumpling Gang. Then, 2 minutes into the first story about the post-911 anthrax investigation, complaints were silenced as the fascination set in, never to be abated.

And now I know the story of the Capcha, the inventor of which, a 30-yr-old genius, was profiled on the program. More fascination. Not only does this now common convention help stop spam, but whenever you complete one of the new 2-word ReCapchas, you take part in digitally archiving words from older texts that computers cannot recognize through OCR.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Suck it Up and Do More

There is more.
More to consider, to read and watch, to see and do, to learn. As Will Richardson's blog post mentions "My day has probably gotten longer, but this is important stuff."

**Sigh** Our collective brain is that much wider, and we're just going to have read faster, devote more time, and dedicate ourselves to constant learning (i.e. improvement) if we want to see the larger picture of this super collectivised world.

Full Body Browsing

The last thing my heart desired this spring lingering sunday was to hop on to my computer. Once there, though, the portal is opened, and the curious exploration continues. Click after click.

If I could only use my whole body to browse the internet. My bud in Chicago chatted me from his iPhone walking home, but really it's two separate acts: walking and typing. You're not going on the internet with your entire body.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dancing Dreaming Inside the Desktop

Picture me hopping happily on my one good leg, twirling dervishly and waving a mouse around: this is the feeling of helping someone through their tech troubles. And I find it even better than getting through my own. With the help of Mikogo screen sharing and the trusty old telephone, another student is now on her way to Tegrity Heaven.

They say when you are dreaming about getting chased by a monster, just turn and face it, and it won't scare you anymore.

Just underneath your deceptively peaceful desktop...
Dark blue tunnels await,
A hall of mirrors labelled "Next", "Agree", and "Run",
The side of your brain that processes logic will be challenged by messages like this one:

On the phone with help desk again.
All for the sake of getting an education delivered right to your living room.

But with
Patience, breath, and a comfortable chair
Following me through the endless tabular clicks, clicks (clicks),
OK! (one more)
Forgetting what you intended to do with this 45 minutes,
Finally the restart comes.
And it works.

Once the dust settles and you've updated the drivers to get back on the infosuperhighway, got your paddle back in the media stream, and recovered from all those "serious" errors, you just might say, "YES, I can do this."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is this you?

There you are sitting down to work in the morning, the system has just about logged you in through password 1, applying settings, mmhm. Waiting. I’ll just get some coffee, say hi to everyone.

Oh there it is, the desktop, my fishing trip, that was a beautiful lake. Here we go, I have an idea that’s about to be gotten down to. Hey, I’m excited to start doing what I do, (it’s a pretty great place to work… ) Bing! New updates are ready to be installed – click here to begin. ... A little message for me, from the system, the computer, whatever.. it needs my attention, to help it along. Isn’t it set up to do these kind of things on auto? I mean, if you need updates, go get ‘em, yes.

If I don’t have those, well, then what? What is updating? Who is out there and what exactly is the improvement that was needed? I’ve been doing pretty much the same tasks all along: writing, imaging, communicating, and it doesn’t seem much faster than it ever was, though I’m not sure my expectations now and then can be compared. It must be faster – it HAS to be, right?

So, I’m going to X-out of that message after all and just get down to business. Of writing, “There you are sitting down to work in the morning… “

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Four Good Questions

1. How much time in the day are you using a computer ?

2. Do you use a computer at home?

3. What are some jobs that don’t require a computer? Do people who don’t work with a computer have a different relationship with them?

4. Can you do what you do, without a computer ?

I can’t. It’s pretty much all on computer, or could be. I find ways to be away from it, but must inevitably return. It is the daily companion, mediating my every move. Do you like being forced to go online? Forced, as our students now are, to register online? I don’t think anyone wants to forced to do anything, but we have to accept it to do business.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek was created in the 60's.

Yes it was. Now that I've stated the obvious, let's think about how long ago that was:
goin' on 50 years. Floored.

In the TED talk I beamed in biking home, Mae Jemison said the technologies we enjoy today are at least that old, and we're pretty much coasting on them. Is innovation lacking? When you attain a level of comfort and entertainment, it's hard not to be content with channel surfing the same spark and glow.

Will we still be happy with the same thrills in another 50 years?

Old Trek 24/7

Friday, May 8, 2009

Right Now

Sprint Corp. has created an interesting site that monitors the moment from multiple angles. Worth a quick look.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Your Computer is Your Car

Do you talk to your automobile? Maybe it needs gentle coaxing up certain hills, or a dash-rub on cold mornings. Chances are it has a name, and when it breaks down, even after a few compulsory curses, you feel sympathy and even empathy for this machine whom you rely on for so much.

Does your computer receive the same treatment when it goes blue screen on you? Certainly the cursing part, right!? If you feel frustration at all the mad things that happen over technology, maybe thinking of your computer as an imperfect beast of burden could help ease the rage.

Usually our relationship with our machine is like that between two embittered co-workers instead of trusted colleagues working toward the same goals. I know I don't want to spend much of my day in front a rival; if my computer is acting uppity, perhaps it needs a little love. While you may call this geek-emo, compassionate computing just might save my computer from a bullet-hole in the hard drive.

*photo courtesy Peter Barker, Flikr

Monday, May 4, 2009

Data Planting

Kevin Kelly
is a unique thinker. Thanks to his site for this photo and his thoughts on technology and it's relationship with life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Assignment

It is funny how you get hooked into these digital imperitives.
You must now update.

HP just had me run a job:
Update peripherals, stat.
I click on the Next, next next. Just keep clicking Next. Ok Install.
And watch it roll
Waitin patiently in the hole
Watching the progress bar go by
bye bye

Friday, May 1, 2009


TGIF at Yavapai College means, "Time Gawking Isn't Fun". Gawking into the computer screen, waiting, ever waiting, for it to be ready. The rapid clicking of hard-drive access, like the sound of marbles being poured into a bowl, goes on and on. It's the computer's way of saying, "Please wait, humanoid, I have things to do, drivers to be updated, scans to complete; I will be with you shortly". Do you ever wonder if the computer would rather be left alone to do it's business?

It's worse on Friday for some reason. The average startup time goes from 5 minutes to 10 or 15. Today it's still clicking like gangbusters 25 minutes after login, and I haven't touched it! Should I be surprised? I register a sigh from my next-door neighbor, "17 minutes and I can't open my email!" As I blog from my mac, I look back at my PC and wonder why.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Google Closes the Notebook

Nearly a year and a half - that is how long I have used Google Notebook, the handy browser plugin that allows you to quickly clip sites and make notes while browsing the internet.

THAT"S ALL OVER NOW... Google has stopped development, and is not supporting new users, though apparently I will be able to continue. If anyone knows a comparable tool I'd love to see it. Notebook is fast, accessible, organizable and sharable in the 2.0 way. A wiki may be the next closest thing, but (oops...) that'll be new to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Face The Book

Last year around the Holidays, I was inundated by Facebook emails from friends and even people I knew only remotely. These requests to view their profiles drew an emotional response from me that went like this, "I need to get on this network, my friends are running ahead of me and if I don't grab the baton I'll be left behind, forgotton." A stress response heightened by acceptance that I wouldn't be joining them in the social note-passing reverie any time soon. I would be swimming, and taking walks with the kids, and going to the bookstore, and learning to surf - none of which would happen online.
The thought of sharing these things online excited me. Reflecting on the doing of life is a healthy part of the whole experience, and blogging is just journaling in the public eye, unlocking our diaries, opening up.

I still have not joined the network: my friends are waiting, the party is being missed, and my sense of loss grows each day. Maybe tomorrow I will get in, or maybe canoeing will get in the way.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Delicious not so tasty

I just removed the delicious bookmarking tool in firefox. It is so good to have the old bookmarks bar back, in their fuddy-duddy folder structured way.

I keep thinking, "Don't complain, don't sound whiny, don't critcize", while moving steadily in the direction of hating technology in every way. How do I make this sound positive? Technology is getting more annoying daily. Hourly - no, by the minute! And it's the pace of aggressive change that is the root of it.

I was looking at a site about "The Hero's Journey" that had the copyright date of 2000 - ancient in internet time. A colleague told me he thought that some exciting new web 2.0 tool he found a month ago might already be out of date, "Man, that is so last month!" How fast can it get? We know this isn't true in practise, because we still study all the masters, the wisdom of those that came before from ages and ages past. None of what we take for granted today would exist without it.

What's hurting my brain is the feeling that there is no time to stop and use what exists. The gap between doing and looking forward is widening. These things are cool, yes, there's some cool stuff, but nothing is cool enough to not look forward to it being improved, and soon after made obsolete. I'm afraid I have to admit it: I'm sick of learning new things. NO, scratch that, sick of throwing away what I already knew.

I thought I was a liberal minded innovator. NOPE. Turns out I'm a conservative who wants standardization, so I can rely on something being there where I left it when I went to sleep.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Printer Jargon

Instead of the mapI had just printed out a minute before, the printer spit out a sheet of paper with the following message:
PCL XL error
Subsystem: KERNEL
Error: ColorSpaceMismatch
Operator: VendorUnique
Position: 9

With this valuable information, I could do....what?

Banned in China

Walking the hill behind campus, bearly bearing the pollenating micro-monsters, there’s a target bag under one of the Junipers. I instinctively pick it from under the branch, and start marching for my truck. I will keep this bag, it is a large and thicker, more durable kind, and since they will be scarce in a few years, their value is obvious.

This is pre-garbage mining.

Act as if the whole earth’s resources have already been used up, and the old toy planes, broken chairs, paper piles, are shaped into the new. Mashuped structures of collaged woodpulp pop up where there was drywall, and freshpoured concrete is multicolored mud stew. It really is treasure trash, all reformed.

You have been locked out

From Spring 2008:::

My Gmail account, and therefore my budding Googler lifestyle, had been abruptly shut down. I feel so wronged, all I have to do is attempt at logging in again, and the blood boils over. I have done nothing wrong, as I wrote in my “contact us” message, and the resultant auto-reply did nothing to assuage my feelings. I feel so angry.

It’s the spammers. I have been getting a ton of wonderful offers to have my various parts enlarged, supercharged, pumped up and fully engorged - all at an amazing price! Over and over I duly mark them as spam, hoping that my diligence will identify and purge them forever from my inbox. But now, NOW I have been shut out of the entire G0ogle-verse on a whim. I feel so wronged. Unjustly accused and banished to the abyss of emptyness. I am innocent - can I get a witness!! hey there!!! You see, if they think you’ve been up to some spamming or using software that jacks-up your email to some ignoble purpose, you’re in trouble. And should be. BUT I am not doing that, ok?

Perhaps worse, I feel so … dependent. There was I time I didn’t even reply to an email for weeks. That’s changed, and with the embrace of new internet tools comes a new reliance on communicating by asking people to “check online”. I have lately come out of the techno cold and started (as you see) blogging. And calendaring like a mo-fo, I can’t wait to update the location of this Friday’s school assembly so my mom can check it and stay on top of things. Online photo albums, I love it! the shots linked to the map so you can see exactly where my son almost fell to his death climbing a rhyolite slope, and captioned to tell you all about it. Google notebook now keeps all of my notes intact, available and ready to share anytime. Cool! The team now nows exactly who has snack duty on what game. Are we organized or what? BUT NOW I”M LOCKED OUT.

And saddened.
Maybe it wasn’t the spam. Maybe it’s an innocent mistake and tomorrow my tummy will be all better. I hope so. I feel sick wondering if the reputation of my user ID has been tarnished.

If you have a life on the internet, you get pretty messed up if it goes down. And many many many people have a life on the internet way bigger than mine. It’s pretty scary to be so suckled to the electric teat.

“If you don’t articulate your conscious desires, your unconscious patterns will come true.” - Brezney’s Psychiatrist

I wanna go Viral!

Everybody read this and digg! it and delicious it and make me internet famous, if not rich.
As the internet's popularity contest races on, it's 15 lines of fame for every blogger that makes it to the top of the pile.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I'm resurrecting the blogger blog to attach to my youtube channel.