Friday, September 28, 2007


My Mr. Bill video (not the SNL guy) continues to amaze me.

  • 1st 10,000 views = 22 weeks
  • 2nd 10,000 views = 4 weeks
  • 3rd 10,000 views = 9 days
I'll be arriving in Saigon in two days and certainly hope that I can track him down in the market.

Here's my latest video. It's ten minutes long and comprised of several snippets from the entertainers at the Sampau Matsuda Sentra Indonesian Traditional Theatre and Seafood Restaurant here in Jakarta. Here is the link directly to YouTube, if needed.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Second Impressions of Indonesia

Day two in Indonesia was much different and much better than day one. First thing in the morning the AACC delegation members gathered in the hotel lobby prior to boarding the bus to go to the EducationUSA offices here in Jakarta. There were a few familiar faces from last year and many new people to get to know. So far it seems like a pretty easy group to travel with, but of course it is only day one of our time together.

We spent about 6 hours earlier today at the EducationUSA offices here in Jakarta. This picture shows some of our student helpers lined up against the wall learning about the AACC and the colleges in attendance for the recruiting fair. These students will be helping us at the recruitment fair on Saturday at the hotel. My interpreter is the tallest one along the wall, second from right. These students spoke English very well and were very interested and engaged in learning about American community colleges.

EducationUSA is sponsoring the AACC trip to both Jakarta and Surabaya, as well as the last stop of our trip in Seoul.

I thought it was a little bit embarrassing for them to serve us a fabulous lunch at the offices since this is during Ramadhan in the heavily Islamic country. That means that they don't eat between sunrise and sundown every day for 30 days. Almost 86% of Indonesians claimed the Muslim faith during the 2000 census. (source: Wikipedia). Everyone at the offices was very pleasant but somehow I couldn't help but think that we could have easily done without lunch in observance (temporarily I'm sure) of their beliefs. I, of course, felt obligated to try a little bit of everything since they went to such lengths to provide us with a wonderful lunch.

The day ended when we accompanied our hosts from EducationUSA to the Sampau Matsuda Sentra Indonesian Traditional Theatre and Seafood Restaurant. What an experience. Great food with about 60-90 minutes of traditional Indonesian dance and music from at least 14 entertainers.

This was an excellent audience participation (which usually makes me gag) performance where they really made you feel welcome and were clearly proud to be showing their Indonesian traditions to the audience. This is a small place so there was one table of about 8 men from Japan and our two tables of about 20 people from America. There was approximately a 1-to-1 ratio of employees to customers. I also shot a great deal of video which will hopefully be edited soon and posted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

First Impressions of Indonesia

I arrived at the Jakarta airport very early morning Wednesday. This is my first time in Indonesia. I'm south of the equator for the first time in my life. I had high hopes for this first leg of the journey with the American Association of Community Colleges. After all, the island of Java has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

The visit here got off to a good start. They have a nice little airport that I will get to see a couple more times later this week. It is very convenient to be able to pay $10 US at the airport to get a 7-day visa, so that was good. It was cool to walk through customs and see my name on an electronic sign (where was my camera on that one?) where they were prepared to take me to the hotel. So yes, my first 20 minutes in Jakarta were just fine.

However, the overall first impressions are not that favorable. On the trip to the hotel I started to see how bad the traffic is here. Don't be in a hurry to go anywhere. Interesting how the road had lines painted indicating two lanes of traffic but at no time was there less than three lanes of traffic. For some reason the traffic here feels different than the crazy traffic in other Asian countries. Maybe it's because there are many more individual cars and fewer scooters, bikes, and the like. We get to the hotel and the taxi (taksi) is searched by guards with electronic scanning devices and assault rifles before they open the huge iron gate to let us in to the hotel drop-off area. I also have to walk through electronic airport-like security to get into the hotel lobby. So far this doesn't feel like a very safe place. I've never felt that way in Vietnam or China. The broadband Internet connection here is anything but broad. Slow to do anything and very choppy for Skype calls back home to the family. This place has a very different feel than everywhere else that I have traveled in Asia. I've only been here 12 hours, so I'm hoping that I have a different impression by the time I leave at the end of the week. Today was mainly a day of rest after about 32 hours in travel status. AACC events start bright and early tomorrow morning.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Free Web Tools Blog

For my ITC audioconference, I created a new presentation tool using most of the information from other presentations and blog posts. The site is called Free Web-based Tools and it is free for anyone to use.

It will continue to develop as I add new tools to the site and as I continue to add some audio files for some narration of each page.

There were as many as 45 people viewing (or at least 45 computers) the blog pages during the audioconference, so that was a success in my eyes.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You Tube Connections

Less than four weeks ago I blogged about how I finally had a video on YouTube that reached 10,000 views. It took 22 weeks for that to happen. Now it has garnered an additional 10,000 views in a little less than four weeks. Still not exactly viral, but an impressive ramping up of the views per day.

It seems that many people in Vietnam and others of Vietnamese heritage have been linking to the video and recommending it to others. Still the ratings and comments are very favorable. Kinda fun.

Online Docs in Plain English

Common Craft has posted another useful video, this one is Google Docs in Plain English. I personally prefer Zoho Writer and Sheet over Google Docs and Spreadsheets, but that is irrelevant to learning something from this video. The main points are related to the advantages of sharing online docs rather than trying to pass around an off-line (MS Word, for example) document.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Scriblink - Whiteboard and more

Thanks to Jane Hart for introducing me to a new whiteboard (sketching, scribbling, whatever you like) tool. Scriblink is totally free and also allows for text chat and long-distance telephone conference calling for yourself and up to five additional people who can view or contribute to your whiteboard drawing.

There are a few other features worth checking out, although this is NOT a fully tricked-out electronic whiteboard with all the imaginable bells and whistles. From what I've seen so far, I would say that this is a very useful, very free service that could be especially helpful for a teacher to demonstrate something to a student, for example during electronic office hours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

End of the World?

Yep, last night we got a Wii. Or more accurately, last night, at about 7:45, we finally hooked up the Wii that I bought a couple of months ago thanks to a little help from one of my friends. This could be the end of life as we know it.

After sitting in hiding for the past two months (mainly to not upset their summer activities at the lake home ("I want to go home!" (to play the Wii!!))), we (wii?) finally set the thing loose from the box that has been keeping us from enjoying hours of family fun together.

Actually, the early reports are pretty good. I insisted that one of the first games we bought was Big Brain Academy in hopes that this could lead to some learning as well as some family fun. So far we have had a lot of family fun.

This was going to be a family Christmas present, but when the kids finally decided to follow my advice and save their money for something "significant," they collectively decided that the something significant would be a Wii. Little did they know that I had already purchased one, but still I was impressed with their stick-to-it-iveness in saving their money to come up with $250 dollars total. I told them that if they bought the system that I would buy the extra controllers, games, and other crappola. Needless to say, their $250 came in handy for that part of the deal.

For the record. I am currently the king of our little world in ping-pong and skeet shooting. However, those are the only games that I've so far been able to weasel my way into. Just wait until wii play tennis - I'll crush them like the grade-schoolers that they are!! Boo-hah-hah.

(Why did I red-out their eyes? Because somewhere, sometime, somehow, somefreak would take me to task for putting my precious kids at risk by putting their photos on the Internet. But apparently it was OK for their photo to be on the front page of the local paper last week even though 25 registered sex offenders live within a one-mile radius of our house, with most of them probably subscribing to the local newspaper. Whatever.)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Weekend Learning

Just a few of the things I've learned about over the weekend from my Bloglines feeds:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Follow-up for Norfolk

I received an e-mail today from my friend Harry at Norfolk State University. Seems one of the websites that we used during the Web 2.0 workshops isn't playing nicely. I've verified what Harry says about Odeo not saving recorded audio. They'll probably get that fixed within a couple of days, but you never know for sure.

In the meantime, I'll recommend another possible service and embed the player below. This comes from WildVoice. There are two differences that I'll mention. 1) You can embed the player that has a whole series of posts in it and they will play in the order that you specify, and 2) in my limited usage I've found the WildVoice team to be very responsive to their users (me, for example) and concerned about things working correctly. In my book, that makes them worth a try.

Are you ready to be heard?

Hear me at

Eliminating Chinglish

Please, say it isn't so! Apparently the Chinese are trying to clean up the Chinglish in prominent places prior to the arrival of tourists for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Looking for good examples of Chinglish is absolutely some of the most fun to be had while traveling over there.

This fire exting atsher box is a good example, but only one of many that can amuse for hours on end. BTW - I'm not poking fun at the Chinese people who have been wonderful in all of my experiences over there, but I would just hate to see this actually go away over time. I guarantee you that I would fail miserably if I tried to put Mandarin characters on my signs, but I bet they'd have fun with it if I tried to.

Here are a few other good examples: Hair salon, Keep off grass, Bump head, Mate swapping?