Friday, November 30, 2007

Flickr Notes on Other Webpages

A big tip goes out to Alan Levine for this one.

Embedding notes in Flickr is a very cool thing. Until today, I thought that you had to be viewing the photo on the Flickr page to see the notes. He directed me to this resource, and now it looks like notes can be seen anywhere that scripts are allowed.

This photo is from a restaurant window in Kowloon, across the bay from Hong Kong. Here is the Flickr page.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Software - Maybe!

The education blogosphere was all abuzz on Monday because of some apparently free downloads available for SnagIt and Camtasia from TechSmith.

Going to the download links I see a different story than most were reporting. The normal story was that TechSmith is giving away copies of their older versions of these products as a way to get more people to try the software and possibly upgrade to the newer versions. Maybe that's true, but I'm sure not seeing anything to that effect on their website. What I do see is text saying "Welcome to this exclusive offering for PC Plus Magazine readers from the United Kingdom" for Camtasia and other text that says "Welcome to UK .Net Magazine's SnagIt site!" for SnagIt. Neither one of those applies to me, but maybe nobody really cares.

So what I'm driving at is that maybe these downloads have been spread around in ways that were never intended by TechSmith - but maybe not. Maybe these free download pages will be taken down before you even read this -maybe not.

To help stroke my curiosity, I downloaded each of the products and requested the keys to unlock them. The free SnagIt download (note: this is a .exe file) is version 7.2.5 and here is that SnagIt registration key (current version is 8.2).

The free Camtasia download (another .exe file here) is version 3.1.3 and here is the Camtasia registration key (current version is 5.0). It appears that everything is installing without any problems.

From the company website:

  • SnagIt Screen Capture and Image Editor lets you capture, edit, and share exactly what you see on your screen - fast
  • Camtasia Studio 5 is the smart, friendly screen recorder and more. Imagine being able to show exactly what's on your screen to anyone, anywhere. Imagine that it's easy. Now you've imagined Camtasia Studio. With the smartest screen recording tools on the planet, Camtasia Studio makes everything from training videos to PowerPoint presentations to lectures look better, reach more people, and pack more punch. Which makes you look even smarter, too. (however, the free version is less full-featured)

Flashphone Computer Calling

I've been looking for a web-based alternative to Skype for phone-like calling over the Internet. Apparently Flashphone is attempting to fill that void. I tested it a little bit this weekend and found the sound quality to be pretty good on calls to a couple of different cell phones. You do have to create an account (free) but there is nothing to download and install on your computer. Whenever possible (if other things are equal), I would prefer to use a web-based tool rather than a local install.

As the name suggests, this service is flash based. Currently there are limitations on using the service as you are only allowed to call 3 times a day and for a maximum of 3 minutes per call. I'm sure that this is because the service is still in beta testing. Apparently you will able to call for free for longer times after the beta testing has ended. Free calling is supported to most but not all of the different countries, but I have read that it will soon work world-wide. This comes from a Russian company which explains the .ru web address.

This is clearly not yet ready for prime time - but it holds some promise for the future. A couple of other current drawbacks (besides the 3 minute thing) include a) no video/webcam support and b) no conference calling, or anything else similar to Skypecasts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sending Large Files

I'm always looking for ways to send large files to people. Okay, maybe not "always," but definitely more than just once in a while. I've tried a few different solutions with varying success, but I like the looks of two alternatives that I stumbled across yesterday.

The first one came from Emily Chang at eHub and is called FileURLS. It seems to be really simple and apparently anonymous. I would caution sending any kind of sensitive (private) information in this manner, but that's probably true about any of these solutions.

After seeing the first one I snooped around a bit more and found a review by Michael Horowitz at cNet about a service called SendThisFile which has both free and paid (premium) accounts.

All in all, these appear worthy of further exploration. If anyone has any experience with either of them I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday Shopping List

Looking for a Christmas gift for the geek or near-geek in your life? These would be some of the things that I think will be popular – in the not-too-damn-pricey category.

Chumby (David Winer’s review)

Eye-fi Wireless Memory Card (SD cards only)

MoGo Mouse for laptops (Read a review)

InstantMusic Vinyl & Cassette Ripper

Wi-Fi Detector Shirt

USB Digital Microscope

Go Green – Solio Solar Charger for cell phones, iPods, PDAs, etc.

Books – these are on my list or bedside table

Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, by Ken Robinson

Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert

Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity, by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, by Howard Rheingold

Monday, November 19, 2007

National Center for Higher Ed

Much of my time in D.C. was spent at 1 Dupont Circle where the National Center for Higher Education is located. Many different offices are housed there, including the AACC (American Association of Community Colleges) and the AACC-affiliated Instructional Technology Council (ITC).

I also had three hours Saturday morning for a self-guided walking tour of the National Mall and surrounding area including George Washington University and many of the memorials. Although I've seen pictures of all of these places several times, nothing quite matches being there. Since my father served during World War II, I was especially intrigued by the WWII Memorial. The full inscription on the flagpole shown on the left is "AMERICANS CAME TO LIBERATE, NOT TO CONQUER, TO RESTORE FREEDOM AND TO END TYRANNY." My, how things have changed. Do a Google search for "Americans came to liberate" and you will see many posts about the Iraqi conflict, most of which are not very flattering to our home country.

I was able to see part of the march on Washington to end racial profiling on Friday afternoon and also joined a huge number of people walking on Saturday morning to raise awareness and money for the homeless, especially the homeless children. Watching tens of thousands people walk by the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument is a rather stirring site.

Having traveled to both Korea and Vietnam, those two memorials took on special significance for me. I know (and knew) many Americans who served in both conflicts and I have also now met many people in each of those other countries. To continue jabbering at this point would run the risk of turning this into a political blog - something that I have no interest in doing.

So, suffice it to say the following. If you ever need a good dose of U.S. patriotism, spend a couple of days around the National Mall in Washington D.C. Things most definitely are not perfect, but our past, our present, and our future are all on display.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tripping in DC

I've been in D.C. for the past three days attending board meetings for the ITC. We've had some good conversations and made some excellent plans for the future. The board members seem to have a genuine desire to work on some of the ideas that are designed to add value to the ITC membership.

This is my first real trip to DC, or at least the first time that I actually had some time to see some of the sights. Today I had a couple of spare hours to walk around the White House area, and tomorrow before flying out I'll have a few hours to visit some of the memorials and other sights around The Mall and the U.S. Capitol.

During this year there have been 60 new members for the ITC, while 30 past members have ended their relationship with the Council. The ITC Board members are committed to ensuring that all member institutions see good value in their membership dollars. I'm proud to be associated with such a fine group of professionals.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

PostGrads Only - NOT

Somebody thinks that this blog speaks to an educated audience. What is the readability level of your blog? I ran into this fun (stupid?) little thing thanks to Tim Stahmer (and his blog aggregator). Take the The Blog Readability Test for your site.

cash advance

For the record: Desire2Blog = college undergrad, Free Web-based Tools = high school, Online Student Satisfaction = high school, Sign Language = junior high school. Apparently I appeal to all levels in one way or another.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Free Dylan Clip

You can create your own Dylan video at this promotional site for his album of greatest songs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Day at Schoolcraft

What a great day. Spent another day in Michigan (looking for house --- jk!!). Today I facilitated a 5-hour hands-on Web 2.0 workshop at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI. I met about 20 great people as we created wikis, blogs, podcasts, rss feed readers, delicious accounts, and much, much, more.

My ITC buddy Ronda brought me back to Michigan for more interaction with faculty and staff members at various schools of the MCCVLC. I do believe that many people left the workshop today with several ideas of new ways that they can engage their students and work more efficiently.

Tomorrow it will be a repeat performance at Delta College in the Bay City area. On the way from Livonia to Bay City we stopped for dinner at Zehnder's in Frankenmuth. What a fantastic experience. This place has been around for well over 100 years and serves excellent German food with a great facility and attentive employees. I'm not easily impressed by restaurants, but this one ranks right up there. The neon sign below is a bit of a national icon (who knew?). I had the duck, not the chicken.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Grade School Tech Club

I've started an after-school Tech Club at a local elementary school. Yesterday was our second meeting and our first time to actually have some fun in the computer lab. About 30 kids were totally engaged in adapting some CC-attribution photos using the Captioner tool and the Motivator tool at fd's Flickr Toys.

I've started a blog to post their work throughout the year.

This is my favorite creation of the day. I think the speech bubble in the upper right corner is brilliant.

Next up, they'll make music videos of their classrooms using Animoto.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Trying out Protopage

I've spent a little time this week using Protopage, an easy to manage widget-driven website. Totally free, you can create as many protopages as you like (apparently). I'm playing around a little by creating one to be used to deliver some of the content for some day-long Web 2.0 workshops later this week and also another one for use inside Desire2Learn.

You can load your own background graphic, although the one shown above is one of their stock backgrounds. You can change the color scheme. You can make it private, semi-private, or public. Anyone can move the widgets around but only someone logged in with editing rights can make permanent changes. This has good possibilities. My first effort.