News, then and now

Well, the election is now over.  How did things go in your neck of the woods?

We had a change in our Member of Parliament.  We went from Orange to Blue.

Like many Canadians, I suspect, I was channel surfing last night to see the various election coverages.  I lost count of the number of times that the CTV coverage explained the colours on the scoreboard on the bottom of the screen.  I remember thinking that if that had to be explained to you, then maybe you shouldn’t be able to vote.

Digitally, I like to stay on top of the news and last night was no different.  In addition to the television, I had my laptop open monitoring things.  I’ve been playing around with a new news resource, Newsola.  It claims to be based upon NewsMap according to the link in the bottom right corner.  NewsMap relies on Flash but Newsola doesn’t so that was refreshing and it ran it my browser without intervention on my part.

Instead of providing you with one story, Newsola provides you with them all.  Or, at least, what fits on the screen.  Bigger and brighter means more relevancy.  As I sat back to watch things, I knew I was going to write this post so I took a screen capture roughly at 8:00pm.

Of course, the first thing that I did was change the country to Canada and the topic area to National … it would have been tough coverage without that!

Screen Shot 2019-10-21 at 8.11.25 PM

After I captured the screen shot, I clicked on the “Auto refresh” to have the stories refresh themselves without my intervention.

This morning about 8:00am, I reloaded to see the latest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 8.37.35 AM

The news kept flowing nicely which was a nice testament to this product.  For full details about how it works, click on the About link at the top of the screen.

Now, National isn’t the only category that you can select for stories.  If you’re into monitoring, Technology, there’s a button for that.  Just know that the selections are additive so unchecking a category that you don’t want can be really helpful.



OTR Links 10/23/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About words

Yesterday’s post concluded with:

Hmmm. I wonder what my word count is.

It was less of a concluding note than a call to action to myself to dig into it a bit more.  I went to one of the sites referenced in the image I shared and found this article.  As I was poking around looking at the interesting statistics culled from all over the internet, I was mindful that much of this was directed to people who blog for a living.

I have been asked to blog professionally for companies a couple of times but haven’t taken them up on the opportunity.  That would require a great deal of focus and specific research.

Around here, it’s just a hobby.  It’s a chance to share my ideas on a variety of topics and it’s also an opportunity to see if I can learn to write better.   (notice I didn’t say “gooder”)  The author of that article undoubtedly gets a few pennies for clicks so I guess I contributed to his retirement plan.

Since I had composed yesterday’s post in the new block editor which doesn’t appear to have a word count routine, I had to switch back to the classic editor to realize that that post contained


I then popped the post into another editor I use, Open LiveWriter and got this


Not exactly the same but pretty darn close.

According to the article, yesterday was smaller than the “average blog post”, whatever that is.

I can tell you that it took considerably less time to write than the 3 hours, 16 minutes suggested.  Maybe it shows?  As for reading time of 37 seconds, who knows?  It’s kind of difficult to judge reading time when you’re the author.  I will say that it took more than 37 seconds to proofread!

The character count was interesting.  If you ever took Grade 9 Typing, later Keyboarding, now non-existent, you know that

That is a cat or a dog

is not seven words.  Think back to your timed writings with the character count in the margin and the arithmetic required to determine your words per minute.

It was also an interesting reflection back on my education.  I hated writing essays and I was firmly in the camp that would always ask

  • how long does it have to be?
  • does that include footnotes and references?

It always seemed appropriate to refer to Abraham Lincoln’s quote but that didn’t work.

Writing essays was hard work and we didn’t want to work a word longer than we had to.  On the other hand, there often was a need for filler to reach the required limit.  It seldom slipped by the teachers though.

I’ve heard other opinions about how long a blog post should be that go beyond the word count.  The suggestion was that it should fit on a computer screen and that you really need to have engaging content to get people to scroll for the rest of it.  I know that my “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” post violates this badly.  But, it’s one that I like to write, I enjoy writing it, and I like reading and re-reading them.  It is a reminder that I’m connected to such powerful thinkers.

As I conclude this post (I’m at 484 words and counting), I’m no closer to a final conclusion.  As I reflect on the post lengths of things on this blog, there are long posts and there are short posts.  The only thread that binds them at times is that I wrote them based on my thinking on that day.  When a post is over and I have shared all my thoughts, I schedule it.  I can’t imagine looking for filler to make it look longer.

In the blogging world, that’s what embedded images are for!

Enjoy this picture of a Christmas tree.


OTR Links 10/22/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Learning WordPress

I had a bit of learning lust this past weekend. Peter Beens (@pbeens on Twitter) was attending a WordCamp in the Niagara Region. It’s an opportunity for WordPress users to get together and get smarter with a full day devoted to the platform.

I really appreciated the fact that these social media users were using social media and posting thoughts, images, and ideas to Twitter using the hashtag #wcniagaraont.

In particular, this Twitter message got me thinking.

Screenshot 2019-10-20 at 10.04.51

Blogging can be kind of a lonely process. As I write this, I have my walking partner beside me. He’s no help. I’m listening to Stingray Music on the television and I have a cup of coffee on my desk. I’m in the WordPress online editor just typing along. I have a collection of thoughts sitting in a Google Keep document on my other monitor to inspire and keep me on track.

I’ve never had training on how to actually blog. I do remember that we booked Will Richardson to do a whole day on Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (which ironically was the name of his book published in 2006).  The problem was that I was the organizer of that WesternRCAC PD event so I had to spend time troubleshooting and doing all the other things that come along with being a host.  I did catch a bit of Will’s attention and it inspired me to create my own blog and wiki.  The learning was not very deep.  Ultimately, I just kept experimenting until I got it right or at least passable.

I’ve led workshops on how to start and maintain a blog. I’ve helped people start blogs or using WordPress to host a website. My self-hosted instance of WordPress has never been published. I always use this hosted on WordPress to encourage people to blog for free and without any worries about maintenance.

I love it when ideas fall into my lap. As I was musing about Peter’s experience and checking my email, I ended up with this being referred. WordPress Admin Dashboard – Everything You Need To Know I know that I’m going to find digging into this interesting because, quite frankly, I’m self-taught. I’ve made lots of mistakes and recovered from many of them.

My biggest challenge is not to finish this writing by clicking Publish. I need to switch to Document View and schedule it for tomorrow morning at 5:00am.

That will give me time to look at those Twitter messages to see what I’ve overlooked and to perhaps even proofread and edit before it goes live. And, of course, following the link to the blogs/websites of those who sent messages to see what I missed.

How about you blogger-reader? Are you self-taught or did you attend a class/workshop/seminar? What’s your recommendation for anyone who is looking to get interested in blogging?

Hmmm. I wonder what my word count is.

OTR Links 10/21/2019

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

My Week Ending 2019-10-20

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.


You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.

  • Helicoptering and bulldozing in education! Is it good for anyone?
  • Crazy, but I guess the reality is that we live in a changing society and security agents have to act on any threat with appropriate action.
  • I’m not a fan of articles that claim that they know something that I don’t know. Usually, I find that I know many of the things and yet, there still is one or two new to me.
  • Using video in the classroom is a popular activity. But, even this can get boring after a while. Here are some ideas to spruce the concept up.
  • For a while now, there are claims that school starts too early. California is doing something about it.
  • When you read this article about how women are treated, you’ll want to check your calendar and make sure that it’s 2019.
  • This has got to be a propaganda post for bargaining for larger classrooms.
  • It’s fascinating to watch when companies are getting bought up and who is doing the buying. This time, it’s Sophos.
  • Since Google Search comes as the default for so many browsers, many people just use it, not realizing that there are alternatives.
  • I’ll be cheering on the Expos, er, Nationals in the World Series. My Tigers are toast.
  • You’ve got to like it when tech companies do something to pay it back. This time, it’s Microsoft and the Girl Scouts.
  • I’d argue that Barbara Gordon should rank higher than third in this list of 50 Fictional Librarians.
  • Reality or negotiating ploy? ETFO says the government is stalling.
  • This is such a powerful statement and potential action. We worry about students all the time – what about the teachers?

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog.

#FollowFriday – October 18, 2019

voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  

This week’s show.

Intro song:

Blog posts this week came from:

  • @WillGourley
  • @ambartosik
  • @ArcherJoe
  • @banana29
  • @mr_robcannone

Technology Troubleshooting

A week later and my Chromebook is still crashing periodically upon putting it to sleep. There appears to be no rhyme or reason. I finally did get the reporting feature to let me send in a report.

So now, the upgrade and fix is in Google’s hands. I don’t wish ill to any other computer user but I hope I’m not the only one.

I’d like to get the fix ASAP rather than waiting for notification. So, I did what I’ve done so many times before. I went to the Timbit menu and chose “About”. Normally, there is a “Check for updates” button on that page. It’s gone!

I had to poke around and there’s another “About” item, this time by going to the other Settings menu. It was comforting to find the update. It was not so comforting to find that there wasn’t one ready to download.

I wonder if one of those Settings navigation areas will eventually go away. Hopefully, it will become clearer the next time there’s an update.

Video of the Week


Photo of the Week

OK, so this is a video but one that will make you hungry.

Thanks for reading. Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.