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Showing posts from 2010

Forty: The Sabres in the NHL

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Last night I had the good fortune to attend a private showing of Forty: The Sabres in the NHL at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. This exhibit features over 200 photographs and videos highlighting the Sabres' 40 year career. It was very interesting to listen to Louis Grachos, Director of the Albright-Knox, explain some of the history of the Sabres getting their start in Buffalo, as well as how this particular project got off the ground. For me, the highlight was seeing how the photographs evolved over the history -- the evolution of black and white to colour, as well as the evolution of the uniforms and the "character" of the game.

If you're a hockey fan, a photography buff, or are just interested in Buffalo history, you owe it to yourself to visit the AK and visit this exhibit. 

For more information, visit http://www.albrightknox.org/exhibitions/Forty_Team.html. (Google Map link)

(Many thanks to the volunteers that made last night's function a success.)


Facebook–A Love/Hate Relationship

I love Facebook. And I hate it.I love it because it’s an amazing tool to keep in touch with friends. And I hate it because Facebook can’t be trusted with my private data, so I consequently don’t use as much as I think I’d like to.I was reminded of this when I read an article that stated:The Boy Billionaire, aka Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has done it again. His proposal to turn Facebook messaging into a sort of universal communications platform is probably the worst idea of the year. It's bad for the privacy of users and for corporate IT, which will have to deal with a huge spike in hard-to-defend Webmail. Ultimately, it may well be bad for Facebook, which will likely see its fairly pristine messaging service overrun by spammers and hackers.It then went on to state:A company that can't or won't take steps to protect the personal information entrusted to it by millions of users is about to vastly increase the volume of communication flowing through its infrastructure. Eve…

Dropbox

I'm finding my Dropbox account to be more and more valuable for online backups and file access, especially when I'm on the road and only have my iPhone with me. If you don't have an account already, you can use this link to get an account and you'll automatically get extra storage space (I think 250 MB):

https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTExMDUxNjk

If you're not sure what Dropbox is, check out this video:

https://www.dropbox.com/screencast

If you're a student or teacher with a .edu email address, visit  http://www.dropbox.com/edu after you create your account to confirm your edu address (which does not have to be your Dropbox ID), then you will automatically get double the storage for each referral!

BDSS Website Views

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Will we reach 100,000 views by Christmas?

Hyundai - Yet Another Problem...

I’m normally a patient person, but when I sit down and actually think about the things that have gone wrong with my 2009 Hyundai Sonata, my patience starts to wear thin.

For a car that's only a bit over a year old, it:
had its brake rotors machined due to pitting,had a headlight enclosure replaced due to condensation,has had the radio turn off intermittently (no trouble found),had an oil leak fixed (replaced gasket?),has an exhaust noise when cold and accelerating through 2500 RPM (was told that this is normal),has a bad vibration between 80-120 km/h when cold (initially scanned and and told that it was engine-related, but then when they couldn't figure out how to fix it, they blamed the problem on the tires which of course were then out of warranty), and… …and now the heater system stops working intermittently.

Here’s a video I shot showing the heater problem:


At what point will Hyundai admit they sold me a lemon and act accordingly?

Woodend Living Campus

My school board (DSBN) is embarking on a program called the "Woodend Living Campus", and its goal is "to create an environment that will inspire students and the community at large to recognize their responsibility for the world we live in and empower students through exploration, discovery and teamwork". It looks like an ambitious project, and one I am fully willing to support with a daily vote.The project proposal is being hosted on the Aviva Community Fund website. I hadn't heard of this website before, but it looks like they have $1,000,000 to help sponsor programs that "create positive change in Communities across Canada".If you'd like to learn more about the Aviva Community Fund and my school board's Woodend Living Campus proposal, please visit http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf8867?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4cd213050cc785e0,0If you decide to vote, you will have to create an account, which only takes a few minutes. It's time…

Test Blog from Windows Live Writer

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This is just a quick test blog from Windows Live Writer, which I’m testing at the recommendation of @dougpete in his “An Upgrade Worth Having” blog.

I’m going to test if it can post a draft to my blog that can be opened on Blogger, as well as a quick test to see where it stores pictures that I attach from my computer.



After I confirm that this gets uploaded correctly as a draft, I’ll finish editing it in Blogger and report on where it stores the picture.

UPDATE

The draft uploaded properly to Blogger (which is where I am finishing the editing), although it appears that some of my paragraph formatting got messed up somewhere along the way, so I've had to fix that before posting.

The picture has been uploaded to http://lh4.ggpht.com, which turns out to be a server owned by Google. I assume that's a function of this blog being on Blogger (which is owned by Google), not a function of Live Writer.

Overall, the test seemed to pass, other than some formatting issues. Will I use …

ACSE Conference Registration Closes Tomorrow

From Sandy Graham, chair of ACSE:


Registration for the 11th Annual ACSE conference closes on Friday, October 22nd.
This year's conference is being held at the University of Toronto - St. George Campus. The conference is on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 from 8:30am to 4:00pm.
Follow this link to the registration page: http://cemc2.math.uwaterloo.ca/cgi-bin/WebObjects/ACSE.
More information on the conference including the session offerings and descriptions can be found at the ACSE wiki: http://wiki.acse.net/index.php/11th_Conference
Look forward to seeing you there!

My Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

C'mon Apple!

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C'mon Apple! Surely if you can design amazingly engineered products like my iPhone 4 (minus the antenna problem!) and my MacBook Pro you can figure out how to detect if iTunes is installed on my computer...




(click image to enlarge)

Shack on Route 62

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Have you ever driven by something many times and said to yourself you must stop and take a picture of it? Yesterday was the day I finally stopped. My good camera was in the car, the weather was perfect for picture taking (when isn't it!), and I was ready to try to capture what I pictured in my mind.

Here is one of the photos I shot, shot at 0 EV (Exposure Value).



I then took four more exposures of the same scene, first underexposing at -2 EV and -1 EV, and then overexposing at +1 EV, and +2 EV. The five images were then processed in Photomatix Pro to produce the following HDR:



Honestly, the additional detail of the HDR just didn't work for me. It was certainly very clear, but like many HDRs, it had a certain "painted" look that just didn't appeal to me for this scene. So after a little more experimenting, I finally decided to desaturate all the colours except blue. Here is the result, with a frame added to make it stand out better from the page:



I'm pleased w…

From Obstacles to Opportunities - Classroom Teacher Survey

The Ontario Teachers' Federation Curriculum Forum is spearheading an initiative to identify the main obstacles to being more successful in the classroom.

A preliminary survey was sent to the members of the Curriculum Forum, and the following broad categories were identified:
Access to Current TechnologyAccess to Self-Directed PDBureaucracyClass Size/CompositionOpportunities for CollaborationPace of ChangeResourcesStudent AttitudeUnionWork/Life BalanceWorkloadA second survey has now been prepared, and input is being solicited from as many OTF classroom teachers as possible. The results of the survey will be used to help inform discussions about how we can overcome some of these obstacles. My hope, as a member of the OTF Curriculum Forum Steering Committee, is that this will be the start of an ongoing dialogue amongst all interested parties in an effort to overcome these obstacles.

If you are interested in completing the survey, please visit:

http://bit.ly/aBP4Wx
Once you identify the…

LibreOffice Installation Process

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After downloading the setup file for LibreOffice from http://www.documentfoundation.org/download/, start the setup process by clicking "Next".Extract the setup files by clicking "Unpack".Continue with the setup process by clicking "Next".Enter your name and organization, then click "Next".Unless you have space restrictions, I'd recommend the typical installation. Click "Next" to continue.Leave the checkbox checked if you want a shortcut on the desktop, otherwise uncheck it. Click "Install" to continue.Sit back and relax while the program is being installed.Finished!Here's LibreOffice in the start menu.I quickly did a test to see that it could open some Word and Word Perfect documents, and of course, it could. What I was pleasantly surprised about was it was able to open an Acrobat file (PDF) in the Draw module and let me edit it! It looks every bit as capable as Open Office, so I think I'll give it a shot my main …

Fundamental Technological Concepts Assignment

In the front matter of the Technological Education curriculum, it refers to the Fundamental Technological Concepts and how they are used to inform the design of a product or service. I've just put together an assignment related to this I'd like to share, and encourage others to also share how they are teaching these concepts.

My particular assignment was written with a "product" in mind, but it could easily be adapted to relate to a service.

The assignment can be found here:  http://bit.ly/dj6dL5 (in Google Docs)

Anyone else care to share anything they're doing to teach these concepts?

Adding Content to the BDSS Website

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First, go to the BDSS website by clicking here or searching for BDSS at Google. Note that the BDSS website may be on the 2nd or 3rd page of search results, depending on if you've ever searched for it before on the computer/browser you are using.Once you at the website, scroll to the very bottom of the main page and click on the "Sign In" link:Sign in using your Google credentials. If you have a Gmail account, it will most likely be that. If you get a message denying you access to edit the website, see me (Peter Beens) in 3109 for a quick orientation and to be added to the collaborators list.If you get a message prompting you to create a Google Sites account (part of your Google account), follow the directions to do so.If you adding "news" information to the website, you will be adding a new page to the "Breaking News and Announcements" section of the website. You'll find the link for that in the table of contents on the left side of the page. (If …

Video of Thomas and Kelly's Wedding Photos

Enjoy!

Which picture should I choose?

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Last Saturday I took part in Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk, this time participating as part of the Buffalo, NY group.

I've now had a chance to process and consider the 100 or so pictures I took, and have come down to these five as my best. But picking the one that I have to submit is the hard part, and that's where I'd like your input...

Possible WWPW Submission #1


Possible WWPW Submission #2


Possible WWPW Submission #3


Possible WWPW Submission #4


Possible WWPW Submission #5


I'd love your opinion about which you think is best. You can let me know by responding in the comments below, replying via twitter from here, or emailing me at pbeens@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

Roy Tanck's Flickr Widget (Thank you Doug!)

@dougpete, you area always teaching me something new, this time about Roy Tanck's flickr widget. Using the widget, here are my latest flickr photos:Get this widget at roytanck.comThank you Doug!

Dell Mini 10 Journal

July 5, 2010. Received my Dell Mini 1012 today. Delivery took about 3 weeks, possibly delayed because I ordered a non-standard configuration (I included a Bluetooth adapter). It’s nice and small, a good thing, but it’s taking me some time to get used to the keyboard. Here's a quick rundown of what I did to get it ready:
Registered Mcafee anti-virus software. Not my usual anti-virus program, but heck, it came free with the computer.Installed Google Chrome, and the extensions I use the most (Lastpass, Shareaholic, Google Voice, Adblock, Forecastfox Weather, ScribeFire).Installed Picasa for managing my photos.Installed VLC media player for watching my TV shows and movies.Installed PDFCreator for, ahem, creating PDFs. I have a license for Adobe Acrobat Professional, but I don't see a reason to install it at this time. If I ever start using my Mini 10 to scan documents, I may change my mind.Installed Eraser for erasing sensitive data.Installed Bulk Rename Utility for renaming my pho…

Internet Speed Tests at Home

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For a few months I have the luxury of having two different internet providers at home: Bell Sympatico and Cogeco. It's only natural that I do a speed comparison, so here they are:

Bell Sympatico


Cogeco


The Bell package is their "Performance" offer, at $42 per month, with some deals thrown in for the first year ($5 off per month) and if you have another Bell product (I have a Bell cell phone, for another $5 off per month). The Cogeco package is the "standard" high speed, which is costing me around $48 per month, IIRC.

The green numbers above are the download speeds, in kilobits per second (kbps). Neither Bell nor Cogeco match their rated speeds, which are 6000 and 14000 kbps, respectively. Interestingly, both are just over 80% of their rating. (A little collusion in their advertising departments, perhaps?)  The red numbers are the upload speeds, with Cogeco being about 50% faster.

I have the two packages side-by-side for a few months because Bell's is free, a …

Turnitin Plagiarism Detection Service Coming Soon!

I see we will have access to the "Turnitin" plagiarism detection service starting in September...
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/Anti+plagiarism+program+Turnitin+coming+Ontario+high+schools/3102043/story.html
Here's a blurb from the Turnitin website:
"Turnitin Originality Checking allows educators to check students' work for improper citation or potential plagiarism by comparing it against continuously updated databases. Every Originality Report provides instructors with the opportunity to teach their students proper citation methods as well as to safeguard their students' academic integrity."
To use this service, the teacher creates a class ID and password to share with the students, then the students upload their projects themselves. Teachers (and I assume students) then receive a report detailing how "original" the work is.
Anyone hear anything good (or bad) about this service?

My Weekly Bookmarks

Google Docs gets updated

I'm excited about some of the changes made to Google Docs:

Editing is now "real-time", so no more lags between collaborate editing.The Docs editor now gets a ruler and improved editing features to make it even more of a Word alternative.And lastly, Google Docs now has a Drawing module that may eventually be good enough to use for creating programming flowcharts.

My Weekly Bookmarks

My Weekly Bookmarks

My Weekly Bookmarks

My Bookmarks for 03/23/2010

My Bookmarks for 03/07/2010

Cascading Style Sheets, HTMLGoodies CSS Tutorials and Resources Cascading Style Sheets are used to create the layout and design of your web site. HTMLGoodies CSS area guides you through the process with our easy to follow CSS tutorials and articles! tags: CSS, HTML, TGJ, TGJxx, tutorials A way to link to a specific part of a youtube video Is there a way to link to a specific part of a YouTube video? Yes. tags: youtube, video, create, link, utility Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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My Bookmarks for 03/06/2010

YouTube - OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - RGM version
Amazing example of a Rube Goldberg Machine, done as part of a music video.
tagsyoutubeOkGovideoRGMTIJ1OWindows 7 Upgrade Advisor
To see if your PC is ready for Windows 7, download the free Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. It scans your PC for potential issues with your hardware, devices, and installed programs, and recommends what to do before you upgrade.
tagsMicrosoftWindows7advisorutilityDell Mobile Opt-In
website to opt in to advanced notice of Dell deals
tags: dell, Stores, SMS, salesSearch the PopSci Archives | Popular Science We've partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. It's an amazing resource that beautifully encapsulates our ongoing fascination with the future, and science and technology's incredible potential to improve our lives. We hope you enjoy it as much…