Archive for the ‘Tech’ category

A Little Help from Edublogs

March 21, 2008

I had forgotten about this little gem until I found it again in my inbox as I was doing some housekeeping. Edublogs has

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created a new blog and user creator to facilitate the creation of blogs for others. All you need to do is fill out the details to easily create multiple users and blogs and even add yourself as admin to them if you woud like. This process makes it very easy to add blogs for your students or perhaps your colleagues. And, for students, it has the feature of being a co-administrator in their blog if that is something that would be desirable.

The tool allows you to create 15 new blogs/users at one time and couldn’t be easier.

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10.5.2 Makes Me Happy

March 1, 2008

Finally – Apple released a major update a few weeks ago and I am just now learning about the changes that go easily missed if you don’t know the specifics of this update. So, I decided to share my favorite enhancements here for those of you who use Mac OS X Leopard.

1. You can finally get rid of the translucent menu bar in the Desktop/Screensaver preferences. I don’t know about you, but I did not like my desktop background showing through the menu bar.

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2. You can control how Stacks behaves in the dock. Now you can make your stack behave hierarchically in a list like you used to be able to do before Leopard. Just right-click on the stack to make this change or any of the changes in 3 and 4 below.

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3. You can also display the folder as a true folder instead of a stack. All this means is that the folder icon does not keep changing based upon what you put into that folder. I personally found this very annoying. Now my custom folder icons that help me distinguish one from another are back 🙂

4. Further in stacks, you can sort your hierarchical list display in the traditional manner of kind, name, date added, date modified.

If you want to get more information on this update (many issues were addressed here), visit Apple’s 10.5.2 update page or watch the Macworld video.

Great Blogging Tool

January 28, 2008

MarsEditMarsEditIcon128.jpg is a tool that I discovered not long ago and I have really come to love it. So I decided that I would share it here. Here is a great (and simple) blogging tool that runs locally on your computer (OS X) and allows you to compose blog posts off-line and upload them to most major blogging services when you want. mars1.jpg

It has great editing features for both text as well as media and could not be easier to use. The editing features are great and it also allows you to work with the full menu of media resources.mars2.jpg Built-in text markup options are great. markup.jpg

Once you are ready to publish specific blogging drafts, all you have to do is publish. What I really like about this it that it allows me to work on draft posts without having to be connected. I know, except for the network necessity, all of this is feasible without a program like this one. I don’t know what it is, but I prefer it to posting live. It is more like writing your post in a word processor, then cutting and pasting into a new blog post… minus the cutting/pasting. It also allows you to easily edit and republish a post – great for those times when you see that glaring typo or think of some critical angle or detail that you forgot to include. It also works with Flickr if you have photos there. It does have a number of advantages that I have come to love.

Great QuickLook Plugin

December 7, 2007

For those of you who are mac users and have upgraded to the latest OS, Leopard, you have most probably been enjoying the built in quicklook feature that allows you to preview almost any document simply be selecting it and pressing the space bar. I think it just might be one of my favorite features because it allows me to browse through files without ever having to open them, including photos and videos! The only underdeveloped feature is when using QuickLook to view a folder rather than a specific file. The result was not all that informative. Well, there is a 3rd party plugin that you can download for free that really improves this functionality when viewing folders. You can download it here. After installing quickookit (very easy to do), the result is this. You get to preview the file names inside of that folder, including timestamp, date modified, file size, and file type. This is a huge timesaver for me as I graze though files, and now folders, looking for that bit of information that I have saved… somewhere. By the way, if you are interested, there is also a QuickLook plugin for .ZIP files that allow you to preview these same bits of information in a .zip file without having to uncompress it. Anything like this that helps me manage my information is great. As storage gets cheaper we are having larger and larger hard drives that allow us to be real digital pack rats. These types of features, along with Mac’s great Spotlight search engine, make finding my precious bits, bytes, megabytes, and now gigabytes all that much easier.

Collaborative Video

August 3, 2007

Google has pitched a new form of video authoring, done collaboratively, but asynchronously. They have an ongoing challenge for individuals to video a 10 second video clip with the Google Mail icon moving from left to right across the Collaborative Gmail Video Challengeframe and they are stitching together the most creative clips to form one video short highlighting Gmail. What a cool idea. We have seen so many collaborative 2.0 learning activities that have occurred online, but collaborative video brings a whole new form of collaborative authoring. Think of the creativity that could be unleashed if a digital story, for example, was researched, written, storyboarded, filmed, and edited by groups of students who do not even live in the same country or continent. What rich perspective in the form of video could be achieved. Think of the authentic discussions that would be going on behind the scenes as the final product was negotiated. Logistically, there would be some hurdles to overcome, but the idea is fascinating! The learning potential is astounding!

Safari 3.0 Beta

July 27, 2007

I just downloaded and installed the latest (next) version of Safari that is to be released with the next version of OS X. It is in beta right now, but is quite functional. It is also available for Windows systems for the first time now. There are few things about it that I really like. For example, if you use tabbed browsing, you can drag a tab out of the browser window and that page will open in a new window. Also, it has a great word search feature. When invoked (cmd+f), a small search window opens at the top of the page. When a word is searched for, the entire page is darkened, with only the searched term highlighted for the entire page. Then, you can look at each instance as it is highlighted in yellow. For me, this is a very useful feature that they built in. Also, a number of java features that used to send me scrambling to Firefox now are functional (like using the visual text editing tools here in WordPress). But, a few functions like inserting hyperlinks suddenly did not work. I have read that the purported speed increases are not quite as stellar as Apple is claiming, but it works just fine for me so far.

One thing to be aware of – when you download and install it, it installs over your current version of Safari. Not to worry, as all your bookmarks and other settings seem to remain intact.