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Showing posts from 2009

My Public Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

My Public Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

My Motorcycle Trip Log (United States)

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It's been awhile since I updated my trip log, and with two big trips this past year (Florida, West Coast), I thought now was a good time.

So now the challenge will be how to fill in some of the gaps this coming summer. Perhaps a loop around the southern states, like this: http://bit.ly/5UzYTL? It's just over 5000 miles, and I can easily do 500 miles per day. If I take two weeks, it should give me time to stop and take a few pictures, hehe...





Free, personalized travel maps at mytriplogs.com


My Public Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

Ontario Nature's Writing and Art Contest for 2009-2010

Please share this with grade 7 and 8 teachers in Ontario.
"The Year 2010 has been declared the Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Simply put, biodiversity is the variety of plants and animals in the world, or in a particular area. If the earth's living systems are to remain strong, those systems must have a high level of biodiversity. Our well-being depends on it. In keeping with UNEP's efforts to raise awareness about the critical importance of biodiversity for a healthy planet, the topic for this year's Ontario Nature Youth Writing and Art Contest is: Wild species and wild spaces: why biodiversity is important to me. The contest is open to students in Grades 7 & 8 across Ontario."To continue reading about this contest, please visit http://www.ontarionature.org/events/youthchallenge.html.

Google Goggles

Google Goggles (type that three times fast!) is a visual search tool that uses your phone's camera, and depending on the search type, your phone's compass and GPS. To learn more about it, visit the following link, and be sure to check out the video.

http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/#landmark

Alas, it's only available for the Android phone. Shame.

Article: Jobs disconnect in RIM's hometown

Here's an interesting article about the disconnect between the high number of vacant "high tech" jobs and the high unemployment rate. It's specific to the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge area, but there are lots of good generalities applicable elsewhere.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/jobs-disconnect-in-rims-hometown/article1359650/

Beens.org is coming down!

Well, not really! I'm embarking on a grand experiment to replace my current website with one done entirely in Google Documents. I'm not sure if the transition will ever be totally complete, but I'll be moving content from the old site to the new one as it's needed for my students. Eventually my old site (www.beens.org) will be dismantled and replaced by Google Docs. At least that's my goal...  :)

If you want to visit the new site, you can visit here:

http://www.beens.org/docs/

Why am I doing this? Well, as I explain on the new home page, the bottom line is I want something that lets me makes changes FAST, and that gives me more flexibility for working on collaborative projects that are embedded right on my website.

I think it will make me a better teacher because I'll be able to be more responsive to my students' needs. Right now, I often have to delay getting information posted for my students because of the software I am using (RoboHelp) and the network limi…

Want to Edit MP3 Files?

Here's a quick video from cnet showing you how:

Move ACSE Mail List from Yahoo Groups to Google Groups?

ACSE Executive,

When I started the Yahoo mail list for the ASCE membership back in 2003, Google Groups and the popularity of Gmail, Google Documents, Google Calendar, etc., did not exist.

Since that time, there has been an explosion of services available with a Google account, the most popular, I would guess, being Gmail and Google Documents. But that Google account you may now have also buys you membership into Blogger, Google Wave, Google Reader, Picasa Web (photos), Google Video, YouTube, and many, many others. Never mind the hundreds of gadgets from outside parties that integrate with Google, like my Remember-the-Milk gadgets that I use in Gmail and Calendar, or the weather gadgets that I use in iGoogle.

Personally, I think it's time to move from Yahoo Groups to Google Groups. I run over a dozen mailing lists at Google Groups very successfully, and I see so much more potential there than at Yahoo, particularly with the ability to collaborate on resource development in Google Wav…

Put your town on the 3D map: Google Model Your Town Competition

http://sketchupdate.blogspot.com/2009/12/put-your-town-on-3d-map-google-model.html

This looks like an amazing project to do in class! Take the students for a photo-walk, let them choose the buildings they want to model, take lots of pictures, then head back to class and have some fun!

Perhaps schools within the same town can collaborate so the work is divided.

(Be sure to check out the video)

Google Presentation Photo Slideshow Exemplar

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In my grade 11 Communications Technology class I've asked each of my students to look at the "Explore" pages in Flickr and then mark at least 10 photos as their favourites. I've then asked them to create a Presentation using Google Docs and share those favourites with their classmates.

Here is a quick presentation I created that my students can use as an exemplar. As I explain in the presentation, these are not actually my favourites; they are just my own top flickr photos, rated in terms of their "interestingness".

This presentation is also available for download or sharing here.






Uploading Files to a Google Group

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This is quick tutorial for uploading files to a Google Group. Feel free to share this information with others. If you spot any errors, please notify me at pbeens@gmail.com, and if you learned about this tutorial via twitter, please RT! Thanks!
Note: this tutorial is also available as a PDF copy for printing.
@pbeens
1. Log In, Step 1

First, go to the address of the Google Groupand log in using your Google ID. If you are not a member, select "Sign in and apply for membership". 2. Log In, Step 2

Enter your login details, then click "Sign in". Do not check "Stay signed in" unless you are on a private computer. 3. Enter Files Area

Click on "Files", near the top right corner of the screen. 4. Upload File, Step 1

Click on "upload new file". 5. Upload File, Step 2

Click on "Choose File". 6. Upload File, Step 3

Browse to the file you want to upload, then click "Open". (repeat these last two steps to upload more files) 7. Upload File, Ste…

New Mail List for Animation Teachers

As part of the provincial training for the new Ontario Technological Education and Computer Studies curricula, I created a number of subject-based mail lists that the teachers could use to share resources, ask questions, etc. Most of the mail lists became quite popular, particularly when the the teachers went back to their school boards and encouraged others to join.

These lists are:
Communications Technology Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/tgj-teachers Computer Technology Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/tej-teachers Construction Technology Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/tcj-teachers Green Industries Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/thj-teachers Hairstyling and Aesthetics Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/txj-teachersHealth Care Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/tpj-teachers Hospitality & Tourism Teachers of Ontario - http://groups.google.ca/group/tfj-teachers Manuf…

Sharing of resources...

A friend of mine (@dougpete) recently blogged how we learn from each through twitter, and how that learning can propagate to others through our desire to share.

When I started teaching I hadn't yet been to teachers college, and knew nothing about the creation of courses of study or lesson planning. I went to the senior colleague in the department who was teaching the same subject and asked if I could see a course outline or an old exam as a reference. I'll never forget his response, which largely shaped my attitude of letting others have access to everything I create for teaching. He stated, "I had to create my resources on my own; you'll have to do the same."  I was, understandably, shocked at his response, but learned that that attitude was pretty common amongst teachers at that time.

I don't know if he still alive, but if he's not, he'd be turning in his grave if he knew about how we all generously share resources via tools like web sites, email lis…

3D Studio Max Workshop at BDSS (November 3)

For any students or teachers in DSBN interested in attending the 3D Studio MAX workshop at Beamsville District Secondary School on Nov 3, please fill in this form: 
http://bit.ly/1Ly4Iu
This session will be an introduction to the program and will include some of the most critical concepts needed to be successful in the technological skills challenges. The presenter will be from Studica Ltd.

Henry's Photographic, Video & Digital Imaging Show

...or as I refer to call it: Henry's Photography Show. It's happening this weekend, from Friday to Sunday at the International Center in Toronto.
I usually like to drop by the Henry's show at least once a year to try out some of the latest cameras or lenses, or get some deals on accessories like camera bags or cleaning kits. For anyone that is into photography, I'd recommend you also attend, even if you don't decide to buy anything.
This year it's the Nikon D3S I'd like to drool over, but at $6500 in Canada, I think it will have to wait until I win the lottery. (It's $5200 in the states -- what a ripoff in Canada!)
Here is the website for the event:
http://www.henrys.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PageDisplay?dest=show/toronto_show.jsp&storeId=10001
And just to make the decision about going easier for you, here is a coupon for free admission:
http://www.henrys.com/show/to_show/TorontoShow_Oct09_eticket.pdf

What is a UPS?

A UPS is an uninterruptable power supply, which is basically used to power your computer for a short time any time the power to the computer is interrupted, like in a storm or during a brownout. It can save your hard drive from becoming damaged and possibly losing data.
I consider UPSes just as important as the other components in my computer system, and never run my computers at home without them.
The reason I'm mentioning this now is because Dell has one on sale for $60 (regular $90) that I use at home. The way I look at it, $60 is cheap insurance. This is a one day sale only, and is available here:
http://accessories.dell.com/sna/products/Server_Network/productdetail.aspx?c=ca&l=en&s=dhs&cs=cadhs1&sku=A1833724

Laptops or Desktop Computers for Your School?

Many years ago when I was the computer site manager at my old school, I was called into the principal's office to give my opinion about buying a class-set of laptops. I think my response surprised him, because I explained that, while laptops were wonderful because they were portable and "could be brought to the learning" (like to a science lab), they were four times as expensive as buying desktop computers.

My logic, which I still stand behind, was that the laptops cost twice as much as conventional desktops (Dell Latitudes, in that case) and only have half the life due to their quick deterioration from the abuse they take.  They should only be purchased if there is a very clear need and a commitment from the teachers to their use.

The principal bought the laptops after all. They were used, on average, only one to two periods per day (out of four), until they were permanently locked down after a year in a conventional computer lab where they lived out the remainder of the…

Edmodo - Will I Use It?

Note: This is just a very quick summary of some of my thoughts about Edmodo, and is not intended to be a comprehensive evaluation. You should not make any decisions about Edmodo without evaluating it for yourself.

On July 13, 2009, I attended a webinar which was presented by Jeff O'Hara, co-founder of Edmodo.

Edmodo is a website dedicated to "micro-blogging for education". Some of its main features are that it allows you to to set up classes, post notes (optionally including embedded content) to those classes, have online discussions, post (and have students submit) assignments, and post items on a calendar.

My first reaction was very positive, and I was hyped to use it to replace many functions of my website and online daybook. I particularly liked it because of its notification system -- students could be notified of updates via the web, twitter (via direct message), email, and/or text message.

I particularly liked that students could be notified of updates via text messag…

Social Bookmarking - New TGJ-Teachers group in Diigo

I've listened to others' recommendations about Diigo being better than Delicious and have to agree. The nice thing is that they can work nicely together, because anything you post in Diigo can automatically be sent to Delicious.

One nice feature of Diigo is that you can have groups to share your bookmarks with. As an experiment, I've created a "tgj-teachers" group where, when you save a related bookmark, it can automatically be sent to members of the group. What I like about the groups is that every morning I am greeted with an email showing me new bookmarks that have been added to that group.

Here is the URL if you are interested in joining:

http://groups.diigo.com/groups/tgj-teachers

Hybrid Auto Training for Teachers - Anyone Interested?

I see on a mail list I belong to (Ontario Transportation Technology Teachers) that there is quite a bit of interest in a PD session on hybrid technology. To help start compiling a list of names of teachers who are interested, I have created an online form that you can fill in with your details.

Here is the form:

https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?hl=en&formkey=dHU1US1sZzdUNHJucVZzXy1tYTNvbHc6MA..

If you are interested in organizing this PD session, please write to me (directly or through the mail list) and I'll give you the private web address where you can get everyone's contact information.

Please forward this information to anyone that may be interested.

Paypal Scam - Update II

Now the creep has the nerve to send me the following message:

"Hey there peter i dont know what is it you are doing but i have not heard from you since i sent you the PayPal payment to you....I will be forced to report you to PayPal if you don't get back to me ASAP..."

I have forward his messages to spoof@paypal.com. It's too bad there isn't a way I could report his email address to a service that would shut it down. Does anyone know if Gmail has an address I can report him to?

Paypal Scam - Updated

Ingenious...

I received an email asking if my MacBook I had posted on Kijiji is still for sale, its condition, and my best price. I wrote back with the details.

I then received a followup email asking if I would ship it overseas, and the person would be willing to pay extra for the shipping costs. If I'd be willing to do it, I can send a money request through Paypal.

It all sounds good.....until I get a very similar email from someone else who also offered extra for it to be shipped overseas.

Unfortunately, I had already sent the Paypal money request, so the scammer's plan was in motion...

My hunch is that I am going to receive an email stating the money has been transferred into my Paypal account, and the email will include a link that goes to a Paypal website which is fake, where they will try to get me to type in my Paypal username and password. I won't bite, of course, as I will manually log into the Paypal website instead and check my balance.

UPDATE

Just as I suspected woul…

Google Voice

I now have a Google Voice account. Unfortunately, it doesn't forward phone calls to my phones in Canada yet so I'll have to settle for its transcription and messaging service (which is pretty nice!).

The following app is supposed to let you call me to leave a message, but it doesn't seem to work, at least from Canada. Feel free to give it a try.

web-based programming?

Google's recent announcement of their Google Chrome operating system and its reliance on the web has me reflecting on languages and programming environments.
Has anyone done any "web-based" programming in their classrooms, where the applications were solely intended to run on the web?
What languages / strategy would be best for this, for each of ICS2O, ICS3x, and ICS4x? (presumably the U stream would be different than the C stream)
Which IDEs would be most suitable?
I'm well aware of Actionscipt and all the good things happening with that in the classroom, but I'm thinking more along the line of Ajax or other similar languages.
Can anyone suggest some good online resources to get started with this? Anyone have any tutorials of their own that they use in class?

Funny Math Test Answers

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Some of you may recognize these test answers! (sources unknown)





(Thanks to my friend John for sending these to me)

Success

I was reminded by one of my twitter friends to reply or retweet the work of others to "engage, interact, build", when I came across this old quote in my inbox. True, it's not a "retweet", but it will show up in my list of tweets and it's definitely the work of someone else...

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trip Out West - Part 4

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Today was a slower day. By the time I got the bike packed and the gas tank topped up, I wasn't on the road until 8:30.

The weather and the scenery were spectacular all day. The temperatures easily got into the 80's, maybe higher. Since I had made such good time the first few days, I decided to take it a little easier and stop and take a few more pictures. But I was quite disappointed that Montana doesn't have any "scenic lookouts" where you can legally stop on the freeway like many other states or provinces. Shame.

I stopped for the evening at St. Regis, Montana, mostly because I was feeling the effects of the heat and needed to call it a day.

My total for the day? 643 miles (>1000 km), leaving me about 6 hours (400 miles) of driving to Seattle the next day. My sons won't be home from work until past 6:00 pm, so that should give me a more leisurely day of driving.

My travels today:
(Click on map to enlarge)

Montana, with the Rockies in the distance:
(Click on …

Trip Out West - Part 3

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The bike was packed by 7:00. It was already raining...

It rained rained for over 3 hours, sometimes very hard. My new Goretex-lined waterproof boots failed me - well, sort of. My jeans weren't totally covered by the rain suit, and got soaked. This soaked into my socks and wicked down my socks into my boots. If it weren't in the 40's I wouldn't have minded so much, but my feet started to freeze... And my hands...! By the time I stopped for gas my hands were so wet and cold I couldn't move my fingers to pull off my gloves.  Ahhh......that's why they call this an "adventure"...!

When I got to North Dakota the weather cleared, and eventually turned quite sunny and warm. This allowed me to drive for quite an extended period -- a total of 819 miles -- ending in Glendive, Montana.

Along the way I passed "Jack" on his Harley. He caught up to me, then followed me to my next gas stop. It turned out he was driving in the same direction for about 300 miles…

Trip Out West - Part 2

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I got on the road shortly after 7:30. The forecast in Cleveland called for rain, so I figured I'd be smart and wear the rain suit right from the start. Was I ever glad I did.

As soon as I hit the Pennsylvania border the winds started, then when I hit the Ohio border the rain started. After Toledo, the clouds parted and the sun came through, prompting me to stop and throw on some more sunscreen. But just before Chicago the skies turned BLACK, and the rain hit harder than I have ever experienced. Unfortunately I was on a section of the highway that was under construction and didn't have any shoulders, so all I could do was drive through it. My vision got so bad that I just looked for a vehicle that had bright headlights and followed it -- road lines were useless at that point. When that ended, I found myself in the thick of rush hour in Chicago, the city where I wouldn't be far off in saying has North America's worst drivers, and where the drivers have absolutely ZERO res…

Trip Out West - Part 1

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The oil's changed. Preliminary dates to stay with friends are planned. I have a rough route planned in my head; now I just need to enter that in my GPS (hehe... target:Seattle, tolls okay, fastest...).

I'm a little concerned about whether my rear tire will last the entire trip, or if I should swap it out when I'm out west. I've contacted a friend in Portland to see if I can ship a tire to his house and change it there.

Today I tried to install a Vista universal throttle lock but it wouldn't work on the V-Strom. That will be a pain -- travelling over 10,000 km without some sort of a cruise control.

I also changed out the front and rear sprockets and changed the chain. I was a little concerned about the front sprocket, but when I compared it to the new one, it was probably could have easily lasted for this trip. Oh well, better safe than sorry.


I'm planning to stay with a friend on the US side tonight to avoid any border delays in the morning. I'm not sure what …

Microchips Articles

There are some great articles at the IEEE Spectrum website on microchips. Included is an article entitled "25 Microchips that shook the world", which includes some historical information that students (and teachers!) may find interesting.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/25chips

This site has been added to my public TEJxx bookmarks:http://delicious.com/pbeens/tejxx

CBC Marketplace - HDMI Cables

Don't waste your money on expensive HDMI cables.

Why I Ride a Motorcycle...

I couldn't have said it better than Jerry Smith, so I'll just quote what he wrote:

"Give me a sunny day, and a full tank of gas, and a halfway decent coffee shop to ride to, and I'll be out in the garage and on the bike as fast as my gimpy knees will allow.

Because you just never know what's going to happen. Could be good, could be bad. Flip a coin. And maybe that's why we ride—the unexpected, the adventure. We ride even though we could get hurt, or killed. Some of us ride because we love to ride, others because we just have to, for reasons we can't explain and don't want to think about in case that leads to a reason not to."

Visit the rest of his blog here:

http://treadlife.blogspot.com/2009/02/crazy.html

Picasa is now out for the Mac!

I have been waiting for this moment for years! (Download here)

Unfortunately, moving files between the PC and your Mac won't be so easy. Picasa stores the picture settings in a file called picasa.ini on the PC, and the file is called .picasa.ini on the Mac. Also, the originals get stored in a folder called Originals on the PC and .picasaoriginals on the Mac.

I did a test to see if the PC version of Picasa will acknowledge the Mac ini file and originals folder, but it doesn't, unfortunately.

This incompatibility is a HUGE disappointment. A simple fix would be for both versions to recognize both formats and adapt appropriately.

Google, are you listening?