Friday, December 15, 2006

Have a Great Christmas!

Hope you all have a great Christmas. I am shutting down the computer for a a couple of weeks and going to introduce myself to my garden.

See you mid January .

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Keeping up to date with Computer Security

Holiday time always seems to bring the "viruses" out in people. There always seems to be more activity on the internet around the holiday time. McAfee Avert Labs Blog is a live-update of what is going on in the world of Internet security. (Rumour Has It), has been around for awhile. has a variety of topics but the computer virus hoaxes & viruses lists all those crazy emails that you may get into your inbox. Is it a virus? Is it a hoax?

Symantec has a daily forum called the Threat Explorer that uncovers email hoaxes on a regular basis. Best plan of attack against these....JUST DELETE THEM. The Threat Explorer is a one-stop-shop for threats to your computer system. From the latest viruses to the latest email hoaxes.

McAfee also has a security section listing recent security threats (viruses, worms, trojans, etc...)

About: Urban Legends and Folklore has a great site by David Emery that gives you updates on the latest email hoaxes.

Remember with the holiday season comes more time to download songs, websites, files, etc... while playing/working on the computer. Be safe on your Internet/computer holiday journey.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Youth + Technology + Crime

There have been a lot of reports throughout international news lately about organized crime recruiting the young computer student for a life of crime. McAfee released their Virtual Criminology Report 2006 on organized crime and the internet that revealed some shocking research. The study reveals how "Internet savvy teens as young as 14 are being attracted into cybercrime by the celebrity status of hi-tech criminals and the promise of making money without the risks associated with traditional crime." Criminals scan through hacker message boards, forums, etc... looking for the hacking rebel. Some computer technology students have even been found to have crime families sponsoring their IT degrees. Once completed they would go and work for the crime families.

Botnets (mass number of computers unknowingly compromised that have been turned into a world network of devices that attack in unison or command) have steadily become one of the powerful tools for cyber crime. McAfee reported it to be a serious threat in their 2005 report and in the 2006 report they estimate that now over 12 million computers worldwide have now been compromised for "phishing schemes, illegal spamming, spreading pornography and stealing passwords and identities."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fun Xmas Presents

That holiday season is upon us and I thought I would list a couple of Christmas presents that you could buy for your favourite "techie" person.

My favourite this season has to be the lighted slippers. LED light sensitive sensors illuminate your way at night to help avoid stumbling over the furniture when you are up late working on the computer.

MAKE technology has directions for the "home made" version of the lighted slipper.

Need to record a television show for your Sony PSP, iPod or other handheld devices? Neuros: MPEG 4 recorder"Neuros works like a mini digital VCR and eliminates all fees, hassle and conversion of files. You can record live TV, your favorite movies and TV shows and watch them anytime...anywhere...on almost any portable device. Put video on your PSP™, iPod™, smartphone, notebook and other portables!"

How about giving an audio book to listen on the iPod? has over 35,000 titles to choose from.

Or how about the USB Drive Pen .... a high quality pen with a 256MB 1.1/2.0 USB flash drive on the end that can easily be put into your laptop or more lanyards hanging around your neck.

Monday, December 11, 2006

High Definition TV from your Mobile Phone

MEMS stands for "microelectromechanical system" which allows rapid scanning of wide areas with a laser. "A silicon mirror suspended by carbon fibers can vibrate very quickly, scanning a laser across a surface fast enough to draw high-resolution images." MEMS is acclaimed as the new technologies for this century. Research in biomedical engineering, communications & networks, electromagnetics, multimedia processing, microelectronics are just a few of the areas that is conducting MEMS research.

What does that mean for me and why should I care about MEMS in education?

An article written in MIT's Technology Review reports that researchers at Cornell University have used the MEMS technology to develop a new tiny projector. This project can display a metre wide display from only half a metre away.

While working to get production costs three years we could see high definition television displayed from our mobile phones and other portable devices.

Imagine a teacher walking into the classroom with only a PDA in hand ready to teach the class. Projection capability, Internet connectivity, videos, lessons, attendance, all available through the PDA.....what could be possible with MEMS technology?

Need to project something to the whiteboard for the students.....quickly use the PDA wireless connection to the internet and project a website or the days lesson onto the board.

Wait there is a show on world history being shown on satellite television....grab the PDA and prop it on the desk, plug the speakers into the PDA, connect to the schools satellite and project the show.

Before the physical education class goes out onto the field to play rugby.....let's review the plays. All students gather around the outside of the school and the phys.ed teacher projects on the outside wall of the school (from his PDA) a quick review of rugby videos on various plays the students will need to perform on the field.

Showing a PowerPoint and want to edit it on the fly? While you are showing a PowerPoint through your PDA....attach your virtual laser keyboard to your PDA and you can add content to your PowerPoint during the lesson.

Wow....I envision a whole new freedom for educators in the next couple of years. I think with MEMS and other new technologies it is going to change the look of the classroom (hopefully for the good) and give educators a new freedom from all of the "tools" we have to gather up for a lesson today (projectors, smartboards, computers, etc....).
Are we there yet?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Is Big Brother Watching?

Is Big Brother watching you?

Many cities are installing security cameras throughout some of their streets and communities. Many schools around the world have security cameras installed around their schools and campuses.

SoundIntelligence has developed an anger/aggression detection device called SIgard that was installed on November 15th in the city of Groningen (Holland). I have been to Groningen several years ago and I don't recall that this was a city that had mob riots and would require such a device throughout its public streets. From that moment on the observation room will make use of a unique preventive aid that will make sure the police can intervene immediately when aggressive behavior is noticed in the area Poelestraat / Peperstraat. The mayor of Groningen, mister Jacq Wallage, describes the value of SIgard as: "In addition to our camera system, the aggression detection is very important. This new technology makes sure that the camera activates only when necessary and is therefore not violating public privacy."

How the system works is that it monitors input sensors from around its locations. Once it detects verbal aggression from a human voice it activates the camera for that area and the security guards are able to monitor the situation.

What happens if a couple are having a domestic fight? What if a child is being disciplined by a parent? Fights on a school playground? An interesting new development that may be coming to a town/school near you.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blogger Lost Ability to Load Images

Seems a lot of "Blogger's" bloggers have lost the ability to upload images to their blogs. I lost that capability this morning. Changing browsers didn't work or speaking nicely to the computer screen :(

I have noticed over the last couple of days that it had been difficult to upload new content as only half would upload then you would lose the other half that you had written. Normally I am up quite early in the morning so there is not a lot of "margin" for me to lose my thoughts.

I guess the most frustrating thing is to try and find (in this Google owned company) where on the support website you can actually report this issue to a "real person."

Sometimes "free" things have hiccups. I will be merging this blog over to my new website over the holidays. Hopefully the images function will return before then.

New Zealand iTunes Store has Opened in Time for Christmas

Yesterday iTunes released the New Zealand online iTunes Store. Songs run in the range of $1.79NZ and music albums range from around $17.90NZ to $23.99NZ, and music videos are $3.59NZ each. New on iTunes is iPod games (5th generation iPods with video only) running at $7.99NZ. Audiobooks sample prices ranged from $15.99NZ to $56.99NZ.

The music selection available seems to be quite limited...hopefully this will grow quickly over the next couple of weeks.

The direct link through your iTunes store....the Apple store has all products available online for the general public and educational purchases.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


"The museum of science, art and human perception."

Exploratorium museum was founded in 1969 by a physicist and educator Dr. Frank Oppenheimer. Located in San Francisco's landmark Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium is a collage of hundreds of interactive exhibits in the areas of science, art, and human perception.

The Exploratorium magazine has been in print since 1977 and published a quarterly until 2003. It has now moved to an online version to support the published magazine. There are a lot of great activities and articles to use in the classroom. One of the activities in the latest version is students creating self-portrait silhouettes using photographic paper.

Some of the back issues that are available online are:

  • Learn all about paper.
  • Where do languages come from?
  • The mystery of space.
  • Explore the science of chocolate.
  • Better hair through chemistry.
  • Understanding aging memory.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A New World of a 3D Mouse

3DConnexion (a family company of Logitech) have designed a family of 3D input devices. " 3Dconnexion's line of 3D navigation devices allow you to fly through three dimensional worlds or manipulate 3D objects with an agility and precision unachievable with a mouse and keyboard. Simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D images without repeatedly stopping to change directions."

This input device takes a standard mouse to a new level. With names like: SpaceTraveler, SpaceNavigator, SpaceExplorer and SpacePilot a user just knows they are in for a unique experience.

The demo video on website shows a user now capable of moving seamlessly through a virtual world or 3D program. Will this help my avatar in SecondLife become more graceful - probably not :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Future of Books, Publishers and BookStores

With all the technology speeding around us what is the future of print communication? Here are some examples of where it might be heading.

Are you a budding journalist and have just written your first book. Wait no longer......BooksOnDemand is a full publishing service for anyone with a couple of dollars in their pocket. Gone are the days of rejections from publishers - this new e-publishing model has taken traditional publishing to the next level...."anyone can publish a book as long as you can pay for it."

Another company that has also developed a unique printing/book store model is OnDemandBooks (if you are very sharp you will have noticed the play on words between the two companies......)

" offers just what it implies. We print books in the quantities that you need, whether it be a few or a few thousand. We offer a variety of sizes and binding types. They can bind books up to 2,050 pages." They have taken the physical aspect of printing a book out of a huge warehouse and purchasing it from a bookstore into a vending machine. Yes folks you can buy everything from gum to an iPod from a vending machine and now you will be able to buy a book from one. Soon to debut in libraries and bookstores across the US.

"The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. It prints in any language and will even accommodate right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right." Read more from Fortune Small Business and watch the demo video of the alpha machine producing a book .

Yet other companies are banking on tachistoscope as a way to read books on mobile devices. Tachistoscope has been around for a few years and was developed as a way to learn how to speed read. Words are flashed on the screen (quickly) one word a time and can be set for the speed of the reader. Andrew Stephens (a programmer from Auckland, NZ) has an online demo of tachistoscope simulation. A UK based company ICUE is banking on tachistoscope being a hit for cellphone users, ".... able to store hundreds of books on your mobile phone so that you can read them whenever, or wherever, you want."

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Good Folks at GE

Well another Friday is upon in New Zealand we are counting the days until school summer holidays which starts mid December. This is still a strange concept for this Canadian who has been used to -35 Celsius and shoveling snow at this time of year.

Need a few moments to let your mind wander....go to the good folks at GE who have a team of "imagineers" that sit around all day just thinking up cool stuff...nice job.

One of their creative tools is an interactive whiteboard built in Flash (you will need to upgrade your flash player to the latest version - and don't forget to "uncheck" the yahoo toolbar if you don't want it installed with your player.)

You can create e-cards and email them to your friends and family. You can also invite other people to collaborate and brainstorm with you at the same time. Have your students enter individually or in teams and have them create a visual collaboration. You can save, email or print your creations.

Have fun and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

3D Printing - Rapid Prototyping

3D printing has now become available for the small businesses and hopefully soon in a price range for homes and schools.

Z Corp is one of the leading companies in this technology. An HP print head is used in a 3D printer that prints on layers of powder. 3D software is used to print to a machine on layers of powder. The printer releases a binding material on the layers of white powder to form the model. Just brush away the excess powder and voila...the new 3D model is revealed.

Previously any type of protoype models were made in clay - each model would take about 4 hours to make, less detailed, hard to make and any changes were very difficult to make - now models can be made in several hours and several models can be printed at once. Companies that use this new technology say how easy it is to make copies for clients and colleagues.

Some companies use a plastic material to produce the models rather than the powder - this produces a much sturdier prototype.

The Z Corp 3D print machines run from about 20,000 - 50,000 (US) with high end machines that print in colour. Presently anyone can take a design to a 3D printer and for several hundred dollars have your prototype become a 3D print model. But Z Corp is hoping to bring the 3D printer to the home user.

Some similar lathes are being used in high-end technology programs in schools around the world. The lathes are quite complicated, messy and expensive to purchase. This "print" technology has made it a whole lot easier and cheaper. Think of the uses this product could bring to so many different curriculum areas in the classroom!

See the complete story in video at: Business Week

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

sisomo - the future on screen

"If you can't deal with screen language, you aren't literate."
John Seely Brown (from "sisomo - the future on screen")

I have made a promise to myself to get away from "the screens" of my world and try to read a new book every 2 weeks (and that doesn't include a computer or software manual or all the tech magazines I read.) One book that I have raced through has been sisomo -the future on screen by Kevin Roberts.

sisomo = sight + sound + motion

This is one of those books that had me nodding and smiling as I went through almost every page. Even though this is a marketing and advertising fit with who my clients presently are...students and teachers.

From what I have read about Mr. Roberts he is your typical successful ad man...a great speaker that could sell just about anything to anyone. It seems he has as many critics as his does fans. He was born in Britain and has adopted New Zealand as his home (ah, another that has seen the light.)

So what's different about this book? Roberts talks about the "screens" in our world and how they impact us from day to day. Such things as:

  • television
  • pda
  • movie
  • computer
  • cellphone
  • ATM
  • iPod

The list above are just some of the screens we interact with on a daily or weekly basis. Some screens have almost replaced human interaction such as the ATM machine. I spoke about this in an earlier posting where I would now sooner stand in line at an ATM than get served immediately by a human teller at a bank? Why? I am not sure but that is now where my comfort level is....and I am sure I am not alone on this one.

Does screen interaction impact how we communicate in the classroom or develop our curriculum? Does it have an impact at all?

I challenge that it does! Our students have had screens influencing and impacting them most of their lives. Most sat in front of a computer since they could walk. Almost all young people today have cellphones and can text faster than the speed of light. More bullying happens through texting than it does on the playground. XBox, playstation and online games are usually the choice of entertainment in millions of homes worldwide.

Here are some other staggering facts (from: "sismo - the future on screen"

  • 1.5 billion mobile phones are in use worldwide
  • 14.2 billion video streams were served in 2004
  • each month in 2005, 3 billion text messages were sent
  • online retail sales in the US alone hit $141.4 billion in 2004
  • the number of web pages exceeds 600 billion. That's 100 pages for everyone alive
  • Google image search indexes more than 1 billion images tell me if screens have an impact on our lives :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Want to get into acting? Create your own role on YouTube

There has been a buzz over the last couple of months over a regular vlog series that has been uploaded onto YouTube. It was supposedly about a 15 year old girl that was video taping a vlog diary. She talked about things that 15 year old girls go through in life: boys, school, parents, friends, etc... This vlog diary called lonelygirl15 was getting thousands of hits as each video was uploaded to YouTube. Soon the gig was "found out."

This 15 year old was actually a 19 year old actress from New Zealand. Who was acting from a homemade set with her version of home OC. "My parents suck..." episode had over 500,000 hits...why was this series so popular? Have we become so hooked on reality television?

Some YouTubers were very angry and shocked over the misconception thinking this was a "real life teenager" pouring her heart out on the worldwide web. Why were they angry? Are we really that gullible to believe everything we see/hear on the web is true?

As educators I think this brings to light for us that there are no organizations that can (at this point in time) really regulate the content on the web. Child and safety organizations will monitor and advise...but as long as content falls within the legal boundaries of society...the web is fair game.

What is that saying to our students? How do they work through what is real and what is false on the web? What skills and web smart tools do they need? A prime example is Wikipedia. An interesting phenomena....that has made contributing to a digital dictionary/encyclopedia cool. Wikipedia works on a Web 2.0 premise that users can "add" to the content. In short...anyone that has a computer and an internet connection can publish and define just about anything. Students use Wikipedia all the time as a reference resource. How do they know the content is true? What facts/research is the content based on?

Communication through the web potentially allows information to instantly be broadcast to the masses. Anyone has the opportunity today to become a publisher, news reporter or movie producer. Case in point is this blog where I can type and write pretty much any point of view that I like and perfect strangers can respond to my comments (which is what the angry masses did for lonelygirl15.)

Are we really doing enough to prepare our students to a) be ethical reporters/producers or b) content smart viewers?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Backup Pal

I admit it....I am a gadget addict! Whenever we go away on holidays my poor husband is dragged through the local tech stores while I scour the shelves looking for some new digital gadget. Backup Pal is a cool gadget!

Cellphones/PDAs have become our main communication tool performing such functions as: taking pictures, watching video, playing games, email, text messaging, browsing the web, listening to music....are just a few of the possible uses for these mini handheld communication devices.

Many cellphones every year will die, be dropped on the ground, run over by the car, dropped into the toilet, stolen or buried by the dog in the backyard. How many of you have your cellphone/PDA contacts backed up or written down somewhere? Recently I was talking with a colleague that had all her telephone numbers from friends overseas in her cellphone and it had gone missing. She didn't have many of these numbers written down or stored anywhere else....she was devastated!

Here comes Backup-pal to the rescue! This little device that is smaller than a doughnut will backup all of your contacts from your cellphone. It is a storage device that transfers digits either by USB, infrared or using a specific adapter for your model of cellphone.

Friday, November 24, 2006

TalkShoe - "chime in"

I Googled the word podcast and came up with 92,900,00 results that I am sure is growing every hour. Blogs, podcasts, wikis, vcasts, etc...have given the everyday person a voice over the Internet. There are magazines and books you can purchase to describe how to create these online communication tools...such as the Podcast User Magazine that was started as a blog for podcasters.

Talkshoe is an online service for "talkcasts." What makes Talkshoe different is that you can host or join live voice talk shows, discussion groups, or conversations. This can be done through cellphones, telephones or VOIP (voice-over-IP). Conversations can be recorded and accessed at a later date.

Uses for Talkshoe:
"Example uses of TalkShoe include talk shows, sports discussion groups, political debates, small business meetings, friends and family chats, book clubs, and education and training." Drama classes could use it for monologues. Classes could work with another school locally or globally and have students interact online in a wide range of discussions. Class debates, weekly school audio add-on for a school magazine or newspaper....the possible uses are endless.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Language Skill Tools

Califone just released a new product that will help Language and ESOL classes manage their audio stations.

The USB Jackbox "offers educators with the option of combining the functionality of audio output and input to help students enhance both listening and oral skills. In addition, the unit can greatly benefit those who many need additional reinforcement, including English language learners or special needs students."

The USB Jackbox is connected through a USB plug to a computer. Students plug in their headsets and can practice their "language skills or listen to recorded books and online streaming videos as a group. In addition, students can also create their own podcasts or connect with pen pals thousands of miles away through any VoIP application with the input functionality."

Classroom: USB Jackbox also would be a benefit to use in a computer pod/lab setting if you have students that are publishing podcasts or recording audio for animation or movie productions.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Learning Styles & eLearning

A lot has been written over the years on learning styles. With the use of virtual learning environments in the schools and corporate worlds - what impact does virtual learning have on learning styles?

Some online learning does not have the option of being able to see the instructor (ie: webcam use). Do learning styles change if face-to-face social cues are absent?

Will use of a webcam in a VLE sufficiently replace face-to-face interactivity? Is there any impact on learning styles with the use of a VLE? Does a virtual classroom have the same participation from its learners as you would have in a face-to-face classroom?

What impact does a VLE have on teaching styles? How do teachers deal with the virtual learning environment? How does the virtual teacher encourage motivation and class participation?

The Challenge - there are also many people that question the validity of learning styles or how they might have an impact on instructional design. A great article to stimulate discussion is Learning Styles Instructional-Design Challenge . The challenge in this article is...."can an e-learning program that utilizes learning-style information outperform an e-learning program that doesn't utilize such information by 10% or more on a realistic test of learning, even it is allowed to cost up to twice as much to build?"

Below are some links to various websites that discuss the online classroom, learning styles and intranets.


                Tuesday, November 21, 2006

                Let’s Talk About Personalising Learning

                The New Zealand Ministry of Education has just released a document which explores empowering students to be actively involved in their learning.

                What does this model look like? How do educators, parents and the community help students along this journey?

                For it to be a truly personalised learning model I believe students need to be actively involved in the direction and development of their learning. Several years ago I realized that students have a natural insite, and understanding of what hooks other students into learning. I had senior students developing interactive learning media for other students their own age. Not only did these students learn the content themselves (they were allowed to process it in a manner that made sense to them) they also developed learning modules that would "pull in" other students their age. I believe all curriculum boards or teams should be made up to include the target market they are after.....the students.

                "A 21st century education system must be responsive and flexible to ensure every young person can achieve their potential and be set up for lifelong learning. Personalising learning provides a useful framework to connect the many good things we do now in education while preparing our young people for their future.

                Personalising learning succeeds when students know what they know, how they know it, and what they need to learn next."

                The .pdf can be downloaded directly from here.

                Monday, November 20, 2006


                InfoRapid has created a software application (KnowledgeMap) that goes beyond being just a mind mapping program.

                "InfoRapid KnowledgeMap is a complete Knowledge Management System suitable for use at home, at work or on the company intranet. The suite consists of two components: an image-editing (drawing) program for creating graphically sophisticated mindmaps, and the intelligent KnowledgeMap server, which analyzes text document content and integrates it with a knowledge map. "

                A private copy can be downloaded for free or a licenced professional copy is available at a very nominal fee.

                Friday, November 17, 2006

                Social Shopping

                Just in time for Christmas is just around the corner. Promoting shopcasting "...a product playlist -- a way to recommend to other people things that make life better. It’s a way to syndicate your taste, your voice."

                Bloggers around the world that find "cool things" that they think others would like to purchase post them with recommendations and links to the products website.

                Some "this nexters" have built their Christmas lists around the products that have been hilighted on thisnext.

                Thursday, November 16, 2006

                The "Camerasope"

                AvenTools known for video inspection and measurement, microscopy, illumination and magnification tools just to mention a few have just released new camera lens (iLoupe) that can be attached to a pocket size digital camera. The lens range from 60x, 100x and 150x magnification - enough to get any camera buff excited about the world of small.

                The camera could be connected directly to a TV and used as a microscope or show any print images through a SD card/USB connection. A starter kit is available that consists of a Canon SD600 (6 mega pixel camera), adapter ring, LED lighting module and a 60x objective lens.

                Wednesday, November 15, 2006

                Share Your Tunes

                Splice is a new free online community for budding musicians. Splice abides by the CreativeCommons License which means you are free to use/reuse the creators work but "you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor."

                Splice gives its members (registration is free) the ability to "record sounds, compose songs, listen to music, and remixes... all through a browser window. " One of the main strengths of Splice is the mixing tools that are built-in and available for members to use and be creative with. Once a song is uploaded to the community it is available for members to listen to, remix or borrow snippets.

                Fun for the classroom....
                What a fun tool for music classes around the world to use by remixing various musical pieces to get a true collection of international compositions. This could also be used to make student multimedia presentations unique and individual.

                Tuesday, November 14, 2006

                Online Journals for Technology/ICT in Education

                There are a lot of great online journals available for educators. Here are a list of just a few of those that are technology/ICT related:

                Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology:
                e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology:
                eleed (e-learning & education - German & English):
                Educational Technology & Society:
                Educause Quarterly:
                Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education:
                Electronic Journal of e-Learning:
                Electronic Journal of Literacy Through Science:
                Information Technology and Disabilities:
                Information Technology, Learning, and Performance Journal:
                Innovative Journal of Online Education:
                International Journal of Educational Technology:
                International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning:
                Journal of Information Technology:
                Journal of Interactive Media in Education:
                Journal of Interactive Online Learning:

                Monday, November 13, 2006

                Chemical Science Web Resource

                The Journal of Chemical Education is full of everything you wanted or needed to know about chemical science. In the Digital Library there are monthly animated "featured" molecules. Cheminfo: Organic is a list of web resources on organic chemistry, biochemistry and medicinal chemistry. SymMath is a variety of documents designed to help students the mathematical components of chemistry. JCE Software consists of lists and reviews or educational software for the chemical education community. Just to mention a few of the resources available for science teachers and students.

                Friday, November 10, 2006

                Karaoke for Classroom Musicians

                Karaoke for the classroom has risen to a new level. In The Chair is "music education software that lets you practice by performing with professional musicians, bands and renowned orchestras."

                Watch a demo of the software on YouTube . Whatever the skill level or instrument you are learning to play...there is jazz, orchestral and beginner favourites for all with weekly updates.

                Thursday, November 09, 2006


                There are so many great free tools and applications available on the web that a person can forget about some of them. This is one of those tools.

                Podmailing "is a tiny software that empowers you to share files by e-mail - regardless of their size - without clogging your inbox."

                I have used this in the past when colleagues and I were working various projects and needed to send large files through email. Sometimes zipping certain files still doesn't reduce the size (ie: images that need to have the layers maintained.) I have also used it when I send pictures back to friends and family overseas.

                Wednesday, November 08, 2006

                Thieves Picking Social Network Locks.

                An article posted on (July 16, 2006) wrote about hackers that were getting into personal data on and other social networking sites. Hackers have realized that most of the users for these sites are teenagers who tend to be more carefree and trusting when it comes to clicking on unkown links. There have been numerous false MySpace sites discovered that have "spoofed" the MySpace log-in page. If you log into one of these pages unknowingly the hackers could harvest your username and login and are able to retrieve any and all of your personal data that you have put up on that site/registration.

                How well are these companies protecting their users from hackers? Can they protect their users? Is it their responsibility or is it "user beware?" Another article posted on Oct. 26, 2006 by NetCraft reports that this is still an issue with MySpace and possibly other social networking sites.

                July 16th.....original article written....October 26th....apparently still an issue.

                Things to think long and hard about....
                If a hacker is able to harvest information and or get access to your computer.....think of all the personal data that is on a computer - identity theft is well and thriving worldwide! you do your banking on the same computer that your children use? Are your home computers networked? Are you running virus protection and spyware software on your machine and is it up todate? Are you talking about safe internet practices with your children?

                Tuesday, November 07, 2006

                Free Personal Start Webpage with Protopage

                What do you have your homepage set to when you open your browser? Google, Yahoo.....why not set it up to something that will get you started right in the morning and keep you up to date throughout the day.

                Protopage is just that FREE (yes folks I said free) web application to do just that.

                It takes about 5 seconds to register (depending if you are a 2 or 3 finger typer), wait for the registration email and and then you can quickly setup your own personalized "start page."

                I love this application and have it set on all my computers as my first start up page....I am able to subscribe to all my blogs (news feeds), add personalized pictures, create daily sticky notes for myself, quick links to web pages, view the weather, add quick web searches AND as many pages as I like. These categories are called widgets and you can change your widgets and page colours and move these widgets around freely on your page to organize according to your mood - you can make your pages private 0r public.

                As this is a web application I can access it on any computer....anywhere....anytime. Love this!

                Monday, November 06, 2006

                Laser Beam Paint Brushes for Kids

                Philips known for its home electronic products revealed some of the new innovations they are working on that are really unique.

                One of those products is Drag & Draw –the entire home becomes a virtual canvas for expression and play for young children, thanks to a magic brush, a magic eraser, a magic wand, and a laser projection bucket.

                See a video on YouTube of Drag & Draw in action.

                Think about the possibilities in the education sector. Philips did not report how long the drawings would remain on the surface....but what a fun activity for primary students. Students could also use it for drama sets, art, brainstorming activities, school cafeteria, school announcements, etc...

                Friday, November 03, 2006


                Sitting around having a coffee....see a stranger sitting 3 tables down that you would like to meet? Wiffiti [Wireless+Graffiti] to the rescue.

                Wiffiti is a "service that enables people to send text messages to large flat panel displays in venues such as cafes, bars and clubs. Messages sent to Wiffiti screens are also visible on the service's website, encouraging people to text from anywhere and then watch responses from across the US, if not the world. " The first Wiffiti screen was installed in January 2006 at Someday Café in Boston, MA (USA).

                Wiffiti works hand in hand with StreetMessage (a product from LocaModa). StreetMessage is a "mobile-enabled social and advocacy platform for in-location messaging, social networking, blogging and entertainment applications."

                Wiffiti is the first application that has been built for StreetMessenger and allows users to send text messages from their mobile phones to large flat TV displays in locations where people socialize such as cafes, bars and clubs and on the web.

                Educational use?

                • Would teachers feel comfortable having instant student feedback to a Wiffiti screen in the classroom?
                • Maybe this is a turn around for all those cellphones that are banned on school campuses?
                • Putting their food orders in for lunch?
                • Students use this to respond to school/class surveys?
                • How do parents/caregivers request a parent/teacher interview after school hours ? Just drive up to the school....beam your cell phone to visible Wiffiti screen....appointment made.

                  What do you think?

                Thursday, November 02, 2006

                Community MX

                If you have not yet visited the CommunityMX website....what are you waiting for?

                I have been a member of CommunityMX for about 2 years and have gotten an amazing wealth of information from this site. As a trainor and an interactive multimedia educator there are a huge amount of tutorials and articles that you can use with your peers or in the classroom with your students.

                Why are the tutorials and articles so good on CommunityMX?

                Because you have a dedicated team
                of educators and industry people who really understand the software applications that they write about. They use and work with them everyday! They also know what it takes to be in front of a classroom of students!

                You will find tutorials on Flash, Fireworks, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, ColdFusion, Illustrator, CSS, etc... Many of the tutorials are free but I highly encourage you to look into their membership plans. There is an educational membership that is $99 (US) per year...but well worth every penny! With this comes a great newsletter and access to all of their tutorials online.

                CMX JumpStarts is one of the unique design products that they offer. "Based on Web standards, these versatile layouts employ valid CSS2 and XHTML 1.0 Transitional markup and pass WAI and 508 accessibility checkpoints. This makes it easy for you to quickly create new sites that work on a variety of browsers and platforms. You are only a few simple edits away from your own look and feel."

                Each CMX JumpStarts includes a sample download of the finished site, images, explaination of how and why, demos of live pages and screenshots of how it will look in a variety of browsers.

                Wednesday, November 01, 2006

                Grow Your Own Home

                Lately politicians worldwide seem to be zeroing in once again on environmental issues - there must be an election coming up somewhere.

                While searching through Google for "grow your own home", Google came up with 52,400,000 hits. One of these was an article on a new concept called the Fab Tree Hab.

                The designers of the tree hab are Mitchell Joachim, PhD (MIT), Lara Greden, PhD (MIT) and Javier Arbona, SMArchS (MIT). They are entering this concept into INDEX world event for design and innovation set to take place every four years in Copenhagen. They have embraced the "green concept" and designed a home that is not only harmonious with the is a living breathing home!

                Below is the designers proposed growth phase for the trees to shape the new home.

                What an inspiration for up and coming young designers!

                Fab Tree Hab Links:
                Mitchell Joachim's Blog (one of the designers)...with a video from YouTube on the Fab Tree Hab

                Further images of this habitat....

                Images from: credit: Mitchell Joachim

                Tuesday, October 31, 2006

                New Life for Old Books

       is a website that has arrived in what I think is a very timely matter. When I think of all the books that I had to either give or throw away when I moved across the world it made me very sad. If you are like me and have taught a variety of subjects over the years and have a variety of interests...then you will have a lot of books. Now you have an option other than the corner used book store.

                BookMooch is an online community for exchanging used books. There is a point system for members....every time you give a book away you get a point. You can also receive points by donating your books to charities. Your only cost is the mailing of the book...which from New Zealand can be sometimes pricier than the book (although you do get more points if you send your book to a different country).

                The founder (John Buckman) stated he was was" frustrated by the vast number of books that were printed in just one country but not any other, or only after several years."

                Where there's a will there is a way.....let's find those previously loved books a new home!

                Happy Halloween