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Thursday
Jan102008

Is this blog blocked?

I am always sort of tickled when Blue Skunk readers tell me that they have to read my blog at home or in an RSS feed reader because it is blocked by their school or other Internet provider.* It lends one's content a certain cachet.

If your organization (or state or country or spouse) blocks this blog, would you let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email <doug0077 (a)  gmail.com>.

I see this as a reverse promotional strategy. Everybody knows that if you want something read or viewed, you get it on somebody's banned list. I expect a lot more traffic when I can proudly state 'The Blue Skunk Blog - Banned by Schools Around the World"

On a related? note, I will be giving a talk in Second Life next week. Here's the dope: (Catch that, filter?)

Tuesday, January 15, 6 PM SLT
ISTE Speakers Series Session
Maintaining Intellectual Freedom in a Filtered World
The Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries presents Doug Johnson (SL: BlueSkunk Johnson), Director of Media and Technology, Mankato Public Schools. This session will summarize the concepts of intellectual freedom as they have traditionally applied to schools and libraries, suggest ways that these values should be extended to online resources, and conlcude with a strategy for using Internet filters appropriately. Discussion will follow. Be sure to attend - if you're not blocked. Moderated by Lisa Perez, Area Library Coordinator, Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries and Information Services.

See you there!

dougio.jpg*Yes, the blog is still blocked even after I removed all my photos from my mispent youth when I was a Chippendale dancer. 

 

Thursday
Jan102008

Anticipating TV changes

This question showed up in this morning's e-mail from a librarian friend down in Florida:

Yesterday I was appointed to a district committee to plan for the 2009 TV changeover - what we need, what we can do, etc.  Instead of reinventing the wheel here, I'm asking an expert: What plan does your district have for the HD switch?  Any information will be appreciated.

Gulp. Yes, I am the head of the projector sector (I mean AV department) for our schools, but the crown is pretty dusty.poltergeist-041505-big-tm.jpg Here's how I replied:

There are basically two issues involved as I understand the future of TV.

The first is that by 2009 that all television transmissions must be digital. This has lots of people worked up but will ONLY effect those who get their TV signals over the air via antennae. They will need to buy a converter for their TVs for about $60. The government is supposed to offset this cost with a $40 coupon of some sort. If you get your TV signal via satellite or cable, you need do nothing and can use your current television sets.

The second change which is more problematic for us in our district is that it’s rumored that manufacturers will only continue TVs with LCD or plasma screens and stop making CRT screens. To me this is an issue because I don’t think our current mounting brackets (or carts) will hold the new flat screens. And I have no easy solution to this one. I expect we will eventually either stop buying TVs and just use LCD projectors connected to VCR/DVD tuners or buy the flat panels and mount them on the wall somewhere in the classroom and just remove our expensive mounts. But this I will worry about in onsies and twosies as the old TVs break down.

I hope there are Blue Skunk readers who follow this more closely than I do and have thought more about it. Advice?
 
And wouldn't you know these changes happen JUST as we mounted TVs in all our classrooms after about a 15 year effort! Dang.
Tuesday
Jan082008

Advice to rising stars

 I like you. You remind me of myself when I was young and stupid. (from my t-shirt list)

brightstar.jpegThe blogosphere is a wonderful place to get to know the rising stars in the fields of school librarianship and technology. It's great fun to read the excitement in the posts of younger professionals who are being invited to speak at conferences, to write for professional publications, and to be recognized as experts in their respective fields.

Knowing that some you read the Blue Skunk, I'd direct your attention to the recent post, How to be “famous” (wink wink, nudge nudge) by library "superstar" Karen Schneider over at the Free Range Librarian blog. I am having these words of wisdom from her post embroidered on a small pillow for my bed: "Don’t assume that because you’re well-known, your poop don’t smell." (Of course I am lucky to have the LWW around to remind of this now and then as well.)

Karen's advice is both practical and humorous. You'll enjoy it, rising stars!