Names, and more names

First off …

Today marks a day of rotating strike action by ETFO members in the following districts:

  • Kawartha Pine Ridge
  • Hastings-Prince Edward
  • Upper Grand
  • Moosonee
  • Moose Factory

Details here.

I had a great deal of fun with this:

Guessing Names Based on What They Start With

So, it looks like the program is 32% confident that my parents named me Douglas. But, it’s a little over 40% sure that it might have been Donald. Well, I was kind of impressed because my parents did name my younger brother Donald.

The input is pretty simple; choose your gender, your birth decade, and then a few letters from your first name and see the results. As the author notes, the data is from US sources which is close enough for me for the entertainment value. And maybe statistics in the classroom.

As I was playing, the programmer in me thought “this can’t be that difficult to write – all you need is the data”. So, I did some internet searching.

This was interesting but wasn’t quite easy enough to work with.

Then, I found this resource. Admittedly, this is from an American source but it’s perfect to work with names by decade. I was able to easily create some data files and write the code to interact with it. So, there’s my tip to Computer Science teachers for today. I love coming up with new ideas to do some coding with.

Oh, and just to settle something for people that do know me. I wasn’t born in the 1970s but if the Internet wants some fake news, go for it.

OTR Links 01/28/2020

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

Passive, aggressive

First off …

Today marks a day of rotating strike action by ETFO members in the following districts:

  • Simcoe
  • Waterloo
  • Keewatin-Patricia
  • Penetanguishene Protestant Separate

Details here.

The above Twitter message sparked a huge amount of feedback and comments last week. You might be interested in reading some of them.

I was proud of many people that I knew (and many others) who jumped in an indicated that they were indeed continuing to assess students and grade their work. They were deeply offended about some of the messages that indicated that they weren’t doing their work.

I had supper with a friend, a former teacher, on the weekend. He had many thoughts about the many messages that he’s seeing from principals, school districts, and the Minister of Education. There was no consistency with the messages. Who is a parent to believe?

Essentially, he saw some of the messages as almost ignoring the current situation and making assumptions about what parents should be doing. With tongue in cheek, he said that he was surprised that a parent/teacher night wasn’t scheduled at the present time so that teachers could be further clobbered when they didn’t show up.

Everyone knows how all of this can be resolved. Serious efforts are needed to get back to the bargaining table and get the job done. From what I’m reading, the Ministry is currently only negotiating with one federation.

OTR Links 01/27/2020

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

My Week Ending 2020-01-26

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.

  • This is an amazing picture of 24 hours of snowfall in Newfoundland.
  • If you’re looking to move from education to working in the corporate world, here is some advice for what should go on your resume.
  • I haven’t seen a computer running Windows 10 S yet so can’t verify this but it’s a nice comparison against Chrome OS.
  • Yes, there’s an App for everything! In this case, it’s a new app for the Cree language targeted for education.
  • There have been lots of stories like this as every media outlet wants to be on record indicating that they understand the issues in the current education system in Ontario.
  • An interesting take on the concept of respect for teachers and its effects on students. Why have respect when mom and dad don’t.
  • Surprisingly, parents are told to take the money they get from the government while teachers are on strike for “Buck a Beer”. Instead, some are donating back to classrooms.
  • You just might have an old external hard drive kicking around collecting dust. Why not turn it into a network drive?
  • Kids ask the darnedest questions like do teachers get paid when they’re on strike.
  • Not even doughnuts are safe from the ire of the Canadian public. Here, Trudeau treats workers in Winnipeg to something sweet and local. I would have thought he could have sent someone out to get them. It would have saved the knife throwers another reason to complain.
  • After reading about this second screen device for any smartphone, I was ready to drive into the city and buy one. But, it’s just a prototype.
  • I suppose that there should be outrage that Microsoft is changing the default browser for Google Chrome to Bing. Just change it back if it bothers you that much. Or bookmark your choice to DuckDuckGo. You know how to do that, I hope.
  • I suspect this is the most common sense article that I’ve read about smartphones recently. Do you really, really need the latest and greatest and expensive iPhone? How stupid and rich do companies think people are?
  • It’s probably a sign of the times. Do people even send cards anymore much less the really expensive ones that are retailed here.
  • Who doesn’t like a good article about cursive writing and education. Kids these days…
  • I think that this is something whose time has come. I studied Shakespeare and remember nothing about it. A contemporary approach via an indigenous author might just be the right thing.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – January 24, 2020

voicEd Radio

My on demand radio page can be found here.  
You can listen to all of the previous shows as podcasts.

This week’s show –

Intro song

Blog posts this week came from:

  • Beth Lyons – @mrslyonslibrary
  • Ryan MaGill – @mrmagill1
  • Heather Swail – @hbswail
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris

Technology Troubleshooting

For years, I have connected my desktop computer and later, laptop computer to a set of Bose computer speakers. Awesome sound. The speakers accept two inputs; the first from the television across the room and the second from my computer.

Therein lies a problem. With my new computer, there’s a real annoying buzz now coming through the speaker. Buzz to the part of being annoying.

So, I’ve tried all the things that I’d recommend to anyone else.

  • update audio drivers
  • move the power adapter to a different outlet
  • swap the television and computer input
  • twist the connector
  • curse

Nothing seems to work. Every time I reconnect the speakers to the computer, the hum returns. I’ve tried to divide and conquer. Sadly, I can’t make the problem go away and each set of attempts either points to the computer or to the speakers. I know that the speakers are old; maybe they’ve had their day. But it just started with my new computer.

As it would happen, I have another Bose device in the room. It’s a Sound Dock and it takes two inputs – one from an iPod and an input in the back. I connected my computer to the back and removed the iPod and I have beautiful sound. I connect another computer to the old Bose speakers and I have beautiful sound. It’s just the particular combination that’s a problem.

But, I do have a solution at least for now.

Video of the Week

To prove that not is all serious in the NHL on the day of the All Star Game. Well, actually, it will be yesterday by the time this post appears.

Photo of the Week

During yesterday’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs post, David Garlick (@garlickd13) indicate that I was trending on Twitter. Serious? So, I checked it out after the show —- turns out that every “Doug” on Twitter thought that it was about them…which made it trend even more…

But, I was a celebrity at the restaurant last night when a lady I used to work with came up and wanted to know if I was the guy Twitter was trending about …

(Let me have my moment)

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.

Whatever happened to …

… Air Mail?

Thanks to Sheila Stewart for this idea. I’m not sure that I would have ever dreamed this.

I went through a drawer today and found a pad of “airmail” writing paper.  Whatever happened to….?  Is it required anywhere now?

I don’t have any of the envelopes, but I remember having and using some in the past. 

Looks like you can still get the supplies:

She was good enough to take a picture of this paper to share in the post.

My family actually had a great deal of use for Air Mail. In particular, my Aunt and Uncle were stationed overseas for the company that he worked with and telephone calls home were extremely expensive. So, my Mom corresponded with her sister via Air Mail. Air Mail was important because, while you could send it by Regular Mail, somehow it took longer. Slow boat?

As we know (or some many actually not know), you have to attach stamps to send the letter. The amount of postage was based upon the weight of the envelope and its contents. It made sense because sometimes you’d send photos and that would make the envelope heavier. One way to make the envelope lighter was to use this special Air Mail paper. It was thinner; I seem to remember that it was almost transparent, crunchy, and certainly lighter than a feather! As you’ll see from Sheila’s photo above, you could get special envelopes that had colouring on the outside to distinguish it from regular mail. I think it may have been the first practical use for French just in understanding what “Par Avion” actually meant.

The actual “how” it got there remains a mystery to me. Even in our little town, there were bags and bags of mail that we would see bundled up and then headed south, presumably to London where some sort of magic happened. From watching episodes of “Border Security”, I’m assuming the magic actually happened later at either Toronto or Vancouver. Then, it was transported to the foreign country where their own version of magic happened. I remember that Mom would be extra careful in printing the address to make sure there was no problem getting there. I suppose that you could spend extra to get a return receipt but for us we knew the letter got there by references to a previous letter.

The incoming letter was shared among all of us and it was a golden connection to a family that we might see once every couple of years. Thank goodness for the mail. For a while, I cut off the stamps and started a small collection but apparently they’re worthless when they’ve been used.

And, it could be expensive. There was a time a few years ago when I had written a series of Doors (external programs) that people could plug into their Wildcat! or PCBoard systems. They were free but for a couple of bucks, I would compile a special version with the host system’s name built into it and then mail them a diskette with the program. I had some people who had systems in Europe who wanted compiled versions. Rather than guess, I would go into the Post Office to have them weighed and postage applied. There wasn’t much profit for those ones!

I can’t remember the last time I have ever seen an Air Mail letter or parcel. My cousins now live in the United States and we stay in touch via Facebook. Around our house, we do have a couple of books of stamps but the only time we actually use them is to pay some bills or send Christmas and Birthday cards. We live in the country and still have delivery to our mailbox. Every now and again, there will be a letter but they’re not Air Mail. Most of the stuff is flyers and junk mail and fortunately, I walk right by our recycling boxes when headed back to the house. Most of these things don’t even have stamps on them anymore!

On this Sunday morning, how about some of your postal thoughts?

  • Do you remember sending or receiving Air Mail?
  • How much difference is there between regular letter paper and Air Mail paper? Is it worth the cost?
  • Why don’t stamps have value after they’re used? How do they know?
  • Where would you go to buy Air Mail paper locally?
  • Have you given up letter writing for email writing?
  • Is card mailing a thing of the past? Is this a sign?

How about you, dear reader? What are your thoughts. Please share them below.

And, thanks Sheila for the idea.

This post appeared on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 01/26/2020

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