Top Posts of 2012

Here is a list of posts that I did write.  Going back over the months, these were the five with the most visits by you, the clicking public.

The statistics were provided by WordPress.

Some of the most fun (for me anyway) posts involved the interview series.  I really liked the opportunity to get to know some of the folks more.

Thank you so much for your loyalty and sharing the blog with others.  It’s really appreciated.

Happy New Year!

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OTR Links 12/31/2012

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

Blog Posts I Never Wrote

I bounce around between a number of different editors for writing posts for this blog.  I’ve written about the ones that I’ve used before.  I also have a section on my hard drive where I keep track of topics that I want to write about.  As per my habits, if something better comes along on any given day, I’ll write about it instead.  Sometimes, I’ll get back to writing about what I’ve tucked away.

There are also some that never see the blog of day.  I was looking through the list and could see why.  Some of them I have no idea what I was thinking about at the time.

As I close out the year, here are some of the things that I had intended to write about and for one reason or other didn’t.

  • Symbaloo iPad Web App
  • Meograph
  • Setting year long goals
  • How do you support innovation?
  • How do you support inspiration?
  • Idiotic things that adults do to computer using students
  • Trapit Mobile
  • An Ontario Education Hashtag
  • TweetLevel
  • Yearbooks
  • Why eMail will die…
  • Why I Blog
  • Chomping and Thinking
  • The End of this Blog
  • Tweeting Longer
  • Handin Folders
  • Blogging Ahead
  • Cautiously Hypocritical
  • Doing Different Things

Well, maybe in 2013!

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OTR Links 12/30/2012

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

Money and Computers

What do the geeky types do the day after Christmas?  Why we head to the local computer store to see what deals there are.  In my case, it was a drive down Walker Road to Future Shop. 

The place wasn’t exactly empty!  They had brought in all kinds of extra help but there was still a bit of room to walk around and the sales people were there to help.  I was looking for the $50 computer or some other incredible deal.  As per usual, I got immersed in all of the glitter and shiny things.  They had so many products on display.  If I was there without having previewed things on the website, I could get lost quite easily.

Of real interest was the opportunity to experiment with Windows 8.  Virtually every computer had Windows 8 running on them with the exception of one in the corner that had Windows 7.  So I clicked on a few keyboards to get a sense and then hit a machine with a touch screen.  It was kind of interesting and I could see the background to some of the Windows 8 reviews that I’d previously read. 

Interestingly, if I turned 180 degrees, I was looking at the Apple offerings.   The display was different – you weren’t invited to play with the display; instead they had presentations running on the machines showing off all that the machines could do.  At this point, they were MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs.  None of them had touch screens – for that, you had to work your way to the iPads. 

It was an interesting comparison of the computer types.  I don’t think that there was a bad choice to be had in the store; you’re really limited by what you want a "computer" to do and your budget.  You have powerful operating systems and with some knowledge and understanding, you can make them do just what you want. 

If you’re a reader of this blog, you know that my interest doesn’t stop right there. 

My recent readings shared this article.  "Identical laptop, Ubuntu-preinstalled, proprietary OS-preinstalled, difference $40"

The reading, from reported on a computer offering from Dell.  In this case, it was for their Vostro 2420 laptop.  If you read the article, the author has previewed two offerings.  They have the exact same components and features – the difference is that one product comes with Windows 8 and the other with Ubuntu.  A couple of years ago, I had come across a similar offer and purchased a Mini10v that came with Ubuntu instead of any other OS.  It was a great decision.  The unit is solid, so is the operating system, and the price saved me some money.

So, back to the store where I looked around and there were just the two operating system offerings.

Aside from the tonnes of limited editions of software that come packaged on new machines, I think about what the typical home user does.  Why, they go online and download enough great free and/or open source software that they can to meet their needs.  I’m thinking titles like VLC, LibreOffice, Firefox, Google Chrome, …  For the rest, these days, you’re looking at spectacular web resources.  In fact, you could nicely outfit your new computer for free.

As I step back and look at the titles above, they’re all available for Windows (hopefully compatible with Windows 8), OSX, and Ubuntu.  In fact, put them side by side and you wouldn’t know that you’re on a different machine unless you take a close look at the box.  The only other place you would know the difference is likely to be your sales receipt.

There was a time when your choice of operating system was a significant one.  You’d make your choice based upon the programs that you intended to run and then customized it to no end.  Now, I would argue, not so much.  Particularly in schools where you’d be lucky to even see a latest version of Windows or Macintosh OS.  With all that’s done to lock them down for security purposes (the subject of another blog post), the operating system essentially becomes a launcher of applications and that’s all that the end user gets to experience.  The more that you take your efforts to the web, the less important that becomes.  Everything is done inside the browser.

Again, once the browser is open, the fact that it’s Macintosh, Windows, or Linux becomes irrelevant.  It’s the browser that does the work.

Back to the original point then – are you prepared to continue to pay that $40 or, as in a school system, X * $40 for every machine?  I just wish that more vendors would offer the choices that Dell has with this offering.  That $40 could be spent on other things.

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OTR Links 12/29/2012

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There were some interesting things up for reading recently in Ontario Edublogs.

Glen Cairn Public School
This may well be one of the most important blog posts I’ve read recently.  It’s also a message for school and system administrators.  In the light of the event at Sandy Hook Elementary School, principal Shannon Smith reached out to her community assuring them of the safety issues at her school.

Obviously, you’ve got to appreciate a principal who is concerned about her community, but the message continues the promise that she made to use social media to keep parents informed.  She could have left it to her school district to do something on its website or perhaps used a robo phonecalling service but this approach was quick and decisive to reach out to all in advance of students coming back to school.


Brandon Grasley took the plunge and joined Danika Barker and Colin Jagoe in an conversation.  Of course, the really interesting part was that he shared his thoughts on doing so from being creepy to appreciative.

The Days before Christmas Break

I elected to grab three snippets from classroom teachers.  It’s not been an easy time to be a teacher in the province this fall.  As the school year heads into the Christmas Break, I think that these three posts show the professionalism that happens in Ontario classrooms all the time.  In the supposed “real world”, things wind down before holidays.

There may be a party at the office, some beverages served to kick off the holidays and some places even close early.  Not so in education.  Every minute counts.  Here are some examples.

Living. laughing and learning in P1

Northern Art Teacher

Changing Views

As always, some great blogging efforts from Ontario Educators.  Check them out at the links above or the complete collection at the LiveBinder site here.

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