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EdTech Update





Social networking: connecting to the past

When I read blogs, newsfeeds, Facebook, Tweets or other social media communications, it is the future that primary comes up and hits me between the eyes. The latest political blunders, the newest gizmos, and the de rigueur buzzwords in education are typically front and center - exacerbating the FOMO (fear of missing out) that these technologies engender.

But on a fairly regular basis the past sneaks up on me as well. I was surprised to find this comment left on a blog post, In Praise of Guides, from 2009:

Hi Doug! I just googled "Kopavi glamour shots" and this article popped up! Your writing brought a wave of great memories, thanks for writing this great blog and your kind words :) hope you are well and thriving! October 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKopavi

Kopavi, as you might have guessed, was one of the guides a small group of hiking friends used when doing the Rim to Rim hike of the Grand Canyon a few years ago. His note, of course, led me to re-read and re-live the great trip on which we met.

My blog and social networking accounts have connected me with people (relatives and friends from a distant childhood), events (Al Bell, anyone?), and experiences such as the hike above.

We warn out students that anything we post online is more or less on one's permanent record, assuming that kids will post things they will later regret.

But I would argue that what most of we post are things we wish to remember - poems we've written, photos we've taken, narratives of our days, insights into our lives, remembrances of what and who we loved. I am glad mine are available for myself and others to find.

Oh, go right ahead and Google your name followed by "glamour shots.' Hope you have better luck than I did.


The quick fix: a tale of woe

Yesterday morning I decided that I was tired of the face plate dangling from the telephone jack on my bedroom wall. It was not screwed on and just looked ugly.

Two screws and job done, right?

I went to the garage where I had a blank plate to get the screws from it, grabbing a screwdriver from the toolbox.

I went back in the house, up the stairs and put the screws in place and started to tighten them.

The ancient faceplate broke.

I decided I would never need an analog phone in my bedroom so I went back down the stairs, to the garage, retrived the blank faceplate from the garbage, and went back up the stairs.

I found that the telephone jack stuck out too far to attach the blank face plate so I removed the jack by cutting the wires that ran to it, shoved the unholy mass of wires back into the wall and screwed on the faceplate.

I went downstairs, got on my computer, and found my wireless router that was connected to another telephone jack in the house no longer worked.

I moved the router to another jack. No luck.

I figured that cutting the wires cut the telephone circuits throughout the house. Went back upstairs, removed the plate, and tried to find the critical wires need to complete the cicuit. Nothing matched.

I went downstairs and got on the iPad with celluar data and Googled "installing a telephone jack." From the picture and in the how-to's discovered I needed only two wires connected. Looked at the colors in the photos.

Went back upstairs, and stripped the insulation on the most likely looking wires (cutting the pad on my thumb in the process - which still hurts) and hooked some up.

Went downstairs, looked at the modem. Red light. not good.

Went back upstairs and hooked up two other pairs.

Went downstairs and had coffee.

Looked at the router and saw a green light. Moved it back to its original position upstairs. Waited. Green light.

Went back downstairs, checked the Internet and it worked.

Went back upstairs, taped the connections together, pushed the wires back in the wall, installed the blank faceplate.

A one minute job accomplished in only an hour.

And the moral of the story?

Next weekend I tackle a dripping facucet in the bathtub. Pray for me.


BFTP: What's a friend?

I posted this reflection about 5 years ago when Google+ made its debute. I am still asking these questions with a few tweaks...

Thank you for being a friend
Andrew Gold

The ability to create categories of types of acquaintances on social media sites has me asking: What exactly constitutes a "friend?"

That was a pretty easy question to answer as a kid whose "circle" was comprised of classmates, neighborhood hoodlums, and the odd cousin. I remember a pen-pal or two, but friendship was a term easily defined: other kids you liked and played with in person.

Facebook asked most of us to re-think who our "friends" are. What's the difference between a friend, a family member, a colleague, and an acquaintance? I am regularly haunted by seeing names that look vaguely familiar, but I just can't place. Is this someone I once worked with? Someone from the community? Someone to whom I was once married? Is a person you see once a year at a conference really a "friend?" Is someone you only know online a friend? Is it OK to say to someone who you don't know - or don't remember, "I don't want to be your friend." or even worse "I don't want to be your friend any longer." How do we navigate all these social networking streams without hurting feelings or making blood enemies or being a cad or losing friendships that are important to us?

Where is the Miss Manners of Facebook?

Anyway, with Google+ and it's "circles" that help define relationships, I've decided to become much more granular. Here are some circles I've created so far:

  • I have no clue who these people are
  • Potential stalker
  • Potential stalkee
  • People who owe me money
  • Relatives I like
  • Relatives I avoid
  • People I see at conferences once a year
  • People I avoid at conferences once a year
  • People who say nice things on my blog
  • Trolls
  • People who can fire me or get me fired
  • People who care enough about me that they'd like to know what I had for breakfast (0)
  • Nagging editors
  • Women with really cute profile photos
  • Creepy people, nut jobs, Trump supporters, and fellow bloggers
  • Misc.

OK, maybe I am being a little tongue-in-cheek here, but it is nice to easily be able to group your "friends" according to what information you like to send out and whose information you'd like to read.

My guess is that Facebook will remain my tool for communicating with my personal friends (at least people I could pick out of a line-up) and relatives; Google+ for professional colleagues; and Linked-In for anybody who wants to network.

The world is becoming ever more confusing.

Original post July 21, 2011