Search this site
Other stuff

Follow me on Twitter at:

@BlueSkunkBlog

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

Locations of visitors to this page

My latest book:

   

        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Fan Page on Facebook

EdTech Update

 

 

Teach.com

 

 

 


Sunday
Apr202008

The ultimate rose-colored glasses

egocasting pp. Reading, watching, and listening only to media that reflect one's own tastes or opinions. wordspy.com

Daniel Wilson, in his Popular Mechanic's article "10 Genius Inventions We're Still Waiting For":

Augmented Reality
Kids’ knees and noggins can be protected with padding and helmets—but how do we safeguard their delicate minds? The answer may lie with Augmented Reality (AR), a technology that combines sights and sounds of the real world with virtual information. AR eyeglasses could detect goggles.jpginappropriate sights and remove them from view, while AR-enabled earbuds would delete ambient cursing. Meanwhile, adults might wear glasses that substitute blessed blank space for roadside billboards, television commercials and the annoying corporate names on most stadiums. Professor Jie Yang of the interACT research center at Carnegie Mellon University recently laid the groundwork for this technology. His prototype digital camera picks out street signs and billboards from a scene and translates their text to another language. Next on his to-do list, we hope: figuring out a way to translate obnoxious on-hold music into songs we actually like. 

The ultimate in rose-colored glasses - or goggles. Put these on and all the "unpleasantness" in the world simply goes away. Gee, let's blank out not just commercials, but:

  • people who are too fat or too thin
  • people who are a different race or religion or culture
  • poor people, street people, scary people
  • any person with a pimple, scar or wart
  • boys wearing those baggy pants that show their drawers
  • people with bad hair

I can see this list might get very, very long... 

Here's the scary thing. Are people who egocast already using a "reality filter?" How much do any of us look only for like minds in the blogs we read, speakers we invite to our conferences, or journals we study and cite? Do we only work with the other teachers in our schools who share our educational beliefs?

I thought about this as the LWW headed out this fine spring day to tend her beloved flower gardens. Wouldn't it just be ever so much easier to wear glasses that would block the weeds than to take the time to pull them ?

Put a blogger you disagree with in your feed today. Read a real newspaper. Talk to the social studies teacher who lectures and hates computers.

Saturday
Apr192008

And you say dinosaur like it is a bad thing

dinobbc.jpg
Where's my MacBook? (Image from BBC)

The dinosaurs were among the most successful animals ever to live on the Earth. Their reign lasted over 100 million years - and if birds evolved from the dinosaurs, then their descendents are still alive today. BBC 

In response to my Thursday post about trying to improve my PIM (Personal Information Management) abilities, Miguel Guhlin takes me a bit to task for still "lugging" my laptop with me. He writes:

Carry a laptop back and forth ... I did this for quite awhile (not since the dinosaurs, like Doug but...). I was lugging around my laptop and eventually decided to try a different approach.

I feel very bad that Miguel thinks I am a dinosaur for still carrying a laptop with me. How -  with all that abundant online storage space, those amazing web-based productivity tools, and them tres chic social networking abilities - can I perpetrate this positively Paleolithic propensity?

Here's why I love my laptop...

  1. It is one of the few things that helps me maintain my upper body strength. Just because I am a geek, doesn't mean I have to be built like one. 50-60 reps of the computer-bag lift do wonders for the biceps. Try wrapping the laptop bag WITH YOUR LAPTOP IN IT around your head while you do sit-ups. We're talkin' 12, not 6, -pack abs!
  2. Just because wireless is available, doesn't mean the appliance to get to the wireless is. Conference rooms, hotel rooms, coffee shops, your brother-in-law's house, and the waiting room at the county lock-up all may indeed have a wireless signal, but unless I have MY LAPTOP with me, it does little good. My dental fillings only pick up radio transmissions.
  3. My files are safer and more private stored locally. Encrypt all you want, but the likelihood of somebody getting to one's files increases exponentially as soon as they are moved online. And have you read Google's privacy philosophy lately? That being said, the only real thing of value on my laptop is that Neiman-Marcus chocolate chip recipe.
  4. I have some big-assed files. My last 42 slide Powerpoint prez weighed in at 38MG. (Thanks to Presentation Zen for advocating all pictures, all the time.) Anyway, those files are pretty clunky to work with online. And let's face it,  desktop apps are more feature rich, faster, and often easier to use than their online counterparts. Not that I ever use the advanced tools in Excel, but it is comforting to know they are there just in case I ever experience major brain trauma and decide to do a pivot table.
  5. I don't have to sit at a desk to work. Do you remember what my home offices look like?

I've had a laptop habit since I bought by first DOS PC "portable" clunker in about 1990. So for 18 years, I've never not had a laptop. I am indeed a creature of habit, and highly susceptible to meteor-caused climate change. 

As you conclude, Miguel:

...personal information management is a JOURNEY along a continuum, rather than a frozen set of practices. So, Doug, keep doing what works for you. If you never get to the same spot along the journey I'm at, that's alright.

Thanks. I appreciate the permission. I hope that hair, milk, warm-blooded, live birth, Google Docs business all works out for you more evolved types.

Off to find an Apatosaurus to harass. 

Thursday
Apr172008

The librarian bluesman strikes again

I cut another bad one - K. Johnson 

muddy.jpg

 Muddy Waters

 muddier.jpg

 

 

Muddier Waters

 

 

 

 

 

Friend and colleague Keith (Mom Always Liked Him Best) Johnson, the artist responsible for the number one Blue Skunk Blog/YouTube single Librarian Blues, is back and in rare form performing his newest masterpiece, "Got My Google Mojo Working (and I just can't find a thing)." It's another "heartbreaking Librarian's-World-Gone-Wrong song" featuring guest appearances by Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson. (I think they are on the faculty with Keith.) No other songs move me like those by Mr. Johnson. Well maybe, "It's a Small, Small World," but that's the only one.

Ladies, Keith tells me he is looking for a couple of back up singers for his next production. Send your photos  to <KDJohnso (at) bloomington.k12.mn.us>. He'll let you know if wants and audio sample.

Soul Man, the music is great, but we could use a little eye candy in these music videos.