Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sign Language 5

Wow, those are really cheap burgers. You can get five burgers for a nickel, and they would still owe you some change. The most frustrating thing is that you could walk up to their counter, tell them that their sign is wrong, and everybody in the place would still believe that it's accurate. They'd think that you're the nut!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Asian Food

Click the "Continue' button on the first picture and then click the play button (triangle) on the left side to start the slideshow or click on any of the photos to view.

Or, to open in a new window, click here.
Created at

Friday, November 24, 2006

PBwiki Enhancement

It appears as though PBwiki is about to get a major upgrade in the functionality of the page editor. (CC photo courtesy of factoryjoe. Click thumbnail to enlarge.) About 6 months ago there were no editing buttons, so everybody had to learn the fairly simple "wiki style" of editing to make things bold, add bullet lists, and make links. Then they added nine buttons to the editor for such things as horizontal lines, bold, italic, underlines, strikethroughs, table insertion, center align, bullet lists, and number lists.

Now it appears that they are ready to add a whole lot more to the editing functionality which will really make it easy to customize the pages without needing to know any HTML or wiki style language. Here are more screen shots directly from PBwiki.

PBwiki has always been very easy to use, but this looks like it will be much easier and have much more functionality. Adding links will be one-click simple, and embedding videos will be a snap, chat windows, font colors/types/sizes, Flickr photos, calendars, stock charts, maps, etc. Sounds great to me. Tip of the hat to Ewan McIntosh for a heads up on this.

Academic FOSS

Thanks to Alec Couros for the link to 40 Academic FOSS applications currently underway in various institutions. FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) has been getting a lot of buzz at Ed Tech conferences for the past several years, and it appears that there is finally a fair amount of action backing up a whole lot of talk. Encouraging.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sign Language 4

Clearly the best way to protect your circumstance is to throw your trash into the receptacle. At least that is the way you protect your circumstance in Shanghai. I love the "me" part, that's a trash can talkin' at ya, don't ya know?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sign Language 3

Darn, I was really hoping to see some naked lights. This photo was taken on the docks at the Turbo Jet Boats from Hong Kong to Macau.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hello From ATC

You can call it Alex, unless you're good friends; then it's Alec.

I had a good time there participating in their e-learning panel discussion. I also gave a 50-minute session on wikis and blogs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Bye Bye iRows

The 500,000 pound GoogleGorilla in the room has gobbled up more of the competition. According to TechCrunch, Google has bought out (hired away?) the founders of the Israeli web-based spreadsheet company called iRows.

I have preferred ZohoSheet over iRows as my web-based spreadsheet of choice, but I feel like my choices are being reduced on an almost daily basis. At least it's not Microsoft. Although, if pink is the new black, is Google the new Microsoft?

Monday, November 13, 2006

File Conversion

I've been trying out a new file conversion tool by Zamzar. It's totally free and maybe the best part is that you don't have to create an acocunt with them to use it. I have so many accounts at so many different sites that it is a bit of a challenge to keep them all straight.

All you do is upload the file that you want to convert, choose the file type that you want it converted to, give them an email address where they will send you notification of the converted file, and click Submit. Then in a minute or two, you'll receive an email with a link to their download site where you can grab your new file.

I have tried several files so far:

  1. converted a Word doc into an HTML file (can also convert to pdf, png, and several others)
  2. converted an mp3 audio file into a wma (windows media audio)
  3. converted an mpg (movie) file into an mp3 (stripped out only the audio)
  4. converted a PowerPoint file into an HTML file (although I'm having a hard time downloading it).

Other useful conversions include:
  • PDF files converted to Word, Excel, or HTML
  • BMP (bitmap) or TIFF converted to either JPG or GIF
  • Just about any music/audio file type into any other (including open source OGG)
  • Just about any video format into another, including mp4 for small screens
I haven't found a downside yet. See all current conversion types here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sign Language 2

This sign sits along the path leading up the trail to Pilot Mountain, NC. Pilot Mountain is the real place that was the basis for the fictional place of Mount Pilot in the Andy Griffith Show. The town and the mountain are just down the road a piece from Mayberry (Mount Airy). The best part of this sign is the phrase "Area Contains Hazards Associated with Rocks ..."

All I can think of is how Ernest T. Bass lived somewhere in those surrounding mountains. He was a rock heaver extrordinaire. Nobody heaved a rock quite like Ernest T.

Two of my favorite Bass-sims:
1) when asked to repeat himself: "I don't chew my cabbage twice!"
2) "and you ain't heard the last of Ernest T. Bass!"

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sign Language 1

I love stupid signs, ugly signs, misspellings on signs, etc.
Apparently if you're careless, you WON'T bump your head.
I'm not picking on the Chinese. I love their country and the people. But their signs are a hoot.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Too Much Fun

What do you get when companies like this register a domain name on the web? Check it out for a good laugh. Or here, also here. My aplogies for the incorrect link (fixed 11/6/2006, 9:15 AM).

Who Represents? (as in, who's your agent?)
Pen Island (the best pens on the Internet)
Mole Station Native Nursery (Aussie producer of shrubs, etc.)
Speed of Art (championship art direction ... huh?)
First United Methodist Church of Cumming (nuf said)
Go Tahoe (traveling to Tahoe?)
IP Anywhere (to use with PC anywhere)
Therapist Finder (when you need that kind of help)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Jimmy Speaks

I recorded a couple of video clips of Jimmy Wales giving the keynote address at the WCET conference in Portland. Unfortunately, the stage area was so dark that the video really turned out lousy. I was able to salvage the sound files and turned them into a little audio file for you to listen to. Each segment is about 3 minutes in length.

powered by ODEO

In the first segment, he is answering criticism that was received from the media when Wikipedia "locked down" some of their pages. See for example: the BBC, the New York Times, and the Rough Type blog.

In the second segment he answers a question about how higher ed can use some of the principles of Wikipedia to move more quickly into the 21st century (or something like that).

My favorite parts are: a) in the first segment he uses the phrase "the Pope is a poopy head" (taken out of context, listen to the file to hear the whole thing), and b) in the second segment he says "one of the big opportunities that I see .... is killing the textbook companies." Of course there are several textbook companies who help sponsor the conference.

  • He talked about all the different languages of Wikipedia articles. (currently 107 languages have at least 1,000 articles, English makes up 1/3 of the total articles with German ranking second in quantity of articles)
  • He talked about his Wikimedia Foundation.
  • He talked about WikiBooks in relation to killing the textbook companies.
  • He thinks Campaigns Wikia will have an impact in the 2008 election.
  • He is also shocked that there are over 10,000 articles posted in the Muppet Wiki.
  • The person who introduced him mentioned that author Jason Lanier has called Wikipedia "Digital Maoism." I'm going to do some reading about that. BTW, on my trips to China I have learned that Mao is mostly revered as a great man over there ... for what it's worth.
  • And finally, he doesn’t think net neutrality is very important. He doesn’t agree with many of the net neutrality proponents, but he also doesn’t think that the government should be determining this in the first place. The biggest problem is the lack of choice (ISP) in most local markets.
BTW, that second photo is not his imitation of Lee Harvey Oswald, just one of those unfortunate still images that none of us would ever hope to see of ourselves.

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Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia was the keynote speaker to kick off the 18th Annual WCET national conference held this year in Portland, OR.

He talked alot about free access? What does than mean? Free as in speech, not free as in beer, although Wikipedia is actually both.

Freedom to copy, to modify, to redistribute, to redistribute modified versions, and to do these things for either commercial or non-commercial uses.

What is Wikipedia best at?

  • Neutrality and moderation are great strengths of Wikipedia.
  • Contrary to very confused media reports, wikis are much better than virtually any other medium at generating calm, measured discussions and debates.
  • In order for writing to survive in an open community process, it must be broadly appealing to a large number of people.
It was a good start to the conference. More on this later (maybe).
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