A Couple of Days with Ubuntu 13.04

I had a friend try to grind my gears over the weekend.  If you’re such a fan of Ubuntu, why are you carrying around a Macintosh computer?  It’s a valid observation but the reality is that I have both a Mac and a PC (Sony Vaio) and it’s the Vaio that’s running Ubuntu.  At the time of purchase, buying a big hard drive for the Macintosh was too cost prohibitive.  Not so with the Vaio and it was the perfect machine to partition and boot into Ubuntu as well as the Windows 7 that it came with.  Due to its size, I view it more as a desktop replacement than a portable unit.  But, if I have my rolly computer bag, you know it’s in there.

The Ubuntu side has always been considerably quicker than Windows.  When you spend most of your connected time in a browser, speed and ease is appreciated and you can’t beat it with Ubuntu.  Ironically, it was over the weekend as well that I decided to upgrade Ubuntu to 13.04, Raring Ringtail.  I didn’t really have time to explore at the time – I did the installation and then just starting using it.

It was only when I thought about it that I was surprised that there wasn’t any big exciting change in the release.  It wasn’t like there was a new and refined Dash or anything.  It was just working.  But, as I think about it, it’s working pretty well.  Everything  was functional but noticeably faster.  I wondered – is there something I’m missing?  I ran across this article “Press Reaction to Ubuntu 13.04 Is a Muted, “Meh” Affair“.  Surely, there must be more.

My next read took me to this article. “Get More Out of Ubuntu 13.04 With These Awesome Apps” and this “10 Things to Do After Installing Ubuntu 13.04“.  I’ll be honest, many of the recommendations were already in place but “Geary Mail” was a nice new find.  Quite frankly, many of the things that I do, I do in the browser.  If it’s not in the browser, it might be LibreOffice, VLC, or Gimp that’s my go-to application.  And, of course, they’re already there.  There was, of course, the ability to manipulate the various search lenses in the Dash.  That’s always fun but not necessarily a life and death change.

What is kind of neat is social integration right in the Dash.  No need to flip to a new tab to see what’s up.  I really like the concept of the lens and there’s so much to choose from.


I’ve got to be missing something.  So, I watched a video.

I guess I wasn’t missing too much.  This release is just a snappier, nicer experience.  So far, on this end, it seems to be pretty solid.  It’s definitely more responsive.  I always found it a better actor than Windows 7 on this machine.  With the new release, it’s even more noticeable.  I’m a really happy user.


OTR Links 04/30/2013

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

Technology Refresher

I just took a look at a David Pogue TED talk.  David is a favourite speaker here in Southwestern Ontario.  He’s keynoted the Western RCAC Symposium twice and helped shovel my car out of a snow drift once.  (it’s all part of the deal of coming to London in December).


His tech talk is interesting.  It’s titled “10 top time-saving tech tips“.  Now, you’re a sophisticated computer user, right?  I’ll bet you know all these tips.  The bigger question is:  Do you use these regularly?  Is this the way you do business?

Now, think back.

Who taught you these tips?

How will students learn these productivity tips?  Do you teach them?  Do you at least model them?


OTR Links 04/29/2013

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

Memories of Social Media

At the Ontario Social Media Symposium yesterday, it was a day for the social books. It was such a wonderful opportunity to meet some people face to face after having “met” them online. It’s a shame that it was only one day but I’ll bet that we have opportunities to meet again. Hopefully at #ecoo13 in October?! I would normally give a shout out to the new people I’d met but there were so many that there’d be a real danger in overlooking someone so I won’t even try. Just know that it was so terrific to meet them.

Fortunately, Alanna King took the time to create a list so I’ll share it instead.  She took an interesting approach.  Rather than a Twitter list, she created a Klout list.  Since she’s so influential, it makes sense.

One of the topics that we discussed was the concept of blogging behind a walled garden. There was a great deal of discussion about that and I really can see both sides of the discussion. I really think that Rodd Lucier nailed it when he talked about the growth of young social media students over time.

An aspect of using technology that I think always needs to be forefront in one’s mind is the real and intended use of the technology. If all that you’re doing is replacing an old classroom activity with one that’s done on computer, it doesn’t seem to me to be worth the effort. If you’re expecting the same results, and throw in the complication of technology, what’s the point? The point of truly blogging is not just the writing, but in the publishing and the interactions and that’s an important concept not to be ignored.

We also talked about the concept of digital footprints and potential employers or educational institutions checking them out on the internet as part of the application process. If a student has nothing, or even worse, just nonsense that she/he has created without any guidance, it seems to me that would put them at a disadvantage when others are competing for the same position.

I was also taken by the thought that blogging might be introduced as a “unit”. If it’s a typical unit, it’s introduced, completed, and then left behind as you move on to the next “unit”. Or, we’re going to do a “Twitter” unit. Or, a …. name your favourite social media and follow it with “unit”. It seems to me that’s yet another point of failure.

Social Media really isn’t an event…it’s a way of doing things. I tried to express my thoughts about that to the group and there was a flurry of Twitter messages…


A while ago, I had blogged about My First Twitter Message. I recall as I was researching that I hoped that my first message wasn’t lame or boring or stupid or embarrassing or …

Over time, I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at it.

As I mentioned to the group, I think back to my first blog posts. According to WordPress, there are 3754 published posts and 35 drafts. (Mental note – check out the drafts some time). I decided to take a look at my first blog post. The very first ones were actually related to my work at the time so I’m going to skip over them and get to the first point that would qualify as a new content post. Wow! Look up “lame” in the dictionary and I’m sure this post is an example. Short and to whatever point I was trying to make at the time, it’s pasted below for public embarrassment.


This definitely comes under the category that I have too little to do.

Anyway, play fetch or pet him.



Is that what passes as a blog post these days? I sure hope not and I’d like to think that I’ve come a long way since then. I don’t know what was going through my mind at the time, but I’m sure that I thought it was important or worth enough to post. So, 3700ish posts later and I’m where I am today.

It reinforces another concept that came through loudly and clearly to our table. Social Media isn’t a thing or an event – it’s a mindset and a culture and will get better with time as your skills mature.

If you believe that, then Social Media needs to be woven through and made an integral part of what’s being done to be successful and to give the students the opportunity to mature, and to master. Only then does it gives them the opportunity to begin to develop that digital identity that will be so attractive to those who would research them.