My Week Ending March 11, 2018


Readings (You can follow my daily readings as they happen here)

  1. Articles like this are click bait for me.  I can run a speed test on my computer and realize that I’m getting just about the speeds that I pay for.  I keep hoping that there’s some little tweek that will put me over the top.  I get a kick out of changing to a recommended wifi channel, switching and rebooting, run the test again and the original settings are now deemed to be the best.
  2. Why did Microsoft create C#?  Easy answer.  So, Alfred Thompson could teach it to his students!  I actually wrote a program once in C# after a CSTA session where the demonstrators had to show how to write an Android, iOS, and Microsoft portable app in 15 minutes.  Alfred did the Microsoft one and that was enough to have me try it out.  I do hate it when people offer a second year course in Computer Science and try to make it viable just by switching the language.
  3. Cartoonists draw from the heart and often address topics much better in that media than any other.  Here’s an example of why teachers shouldn’t carry guns in the classroom.  If true, this map should scare you.
  4. If you’re reading this from your home instead of Florida, here are some ideas to enjoy the Spring Break right where you are.
  5. Alec Couros started a great discussion on Facebook about how much better Twitter was in the good old days.  We were all newbies (some of us haven’t moved very far from that) and we weren’t hesitant to ask the stupid questions.  Because we were all in the same boat, respectful and helpful replies were the norm.  Now, you’re just as likely to get attacked by some troll.  We also used it (and many still do) to share our learning.  This article takes a look at the uptick in noise and the issue with retweets.  How often do you see an account with the caveat “retweets don’t mean endorsement”?  Why are you doing it then?
  6. I hate that this even has to be said.  Every teacher is an English Teacher.  Well, maybe if you’re in a French school…  It reminds me of the arguments I’d get in Computer Science class when I corrected English errors.  Siiiiiiir, this isn’t English class.  My wife threatens to give me a red Sharpie for my birthday so I can mark up errors when we’re out and about.  Now, some things happen by accident and I think we all appreciate getting it right (thanks, Lisa and Sheila).  I remember a poster I saw once “Autograph your work with excellence”.  Shouldn’t we all strive to do that no matter where we are, what we’re doing, …
  7. Speaking of languages, my first language wasn’t Macintosh.  My first computers didn’t come with a mouse so I became very fluent with keyboard shortcuts.  I was quite surprised at how unproductive Macintosh people were using the mouse for everything and I remember feeling so rewarded when I found out that Macintosh computers do shortcuts too.  I think I’m pretty fluent now.  I still enjoy these articles though lest I become too complacent in my skills.  I try some of the ideas but typically they don’t stick.  Since I bounce around Linux, Windows, and Macintosh, I prefer skills to be transferable.
  8. A day doesn’t go by when I read an article or see a news report about the evils of technology with students.  Finally, a well reasoned article about how technology can be good for pre-schooler.  Don’t we all know that overdoing anything can have consequences?  How many people get parenting advice from articles anyway?  If they are, then maybe they’re the real problem.
  9. There was a real hubbub about Betsy DeVos’ use of a picture of school desks all nicely placed in a row in a tweeted with the #SXSWEDU hashtag.  OK, get ready to troll me.  I sincerely doubt that this was entirely her doing.  It may come from a staff member who thought it was cute.  And, it probably was about 15 years ago when some teachers needed a reality check.  So, in addition to the advice that she needs to visit a few more classrooms, perhaps she should take her speech writers and content producers with her.
  10. We really live in a day of acquisition of technology companies.  This infographic isn’t one of those quickie ones you see to make a single point.  Follow the paths to see who owns what.  I found it fascinating.


Blog Posts on doug … off the record


voicEd Radio

My on demand page can be found here.  The latest edition features blog posts from:


Technology Trouble Shooting

Updated – Last week, I had my tongue in my mouth and chewed hard when I complained that I couldn’t update my Asus VivoTab because of storage problems and suggested that deleting Chrome would do it.

As it turns out, I deleted Chrome and Firefox and the update went through smoothly!  Does that make me an Edge user though?  I still have Opera on it. <grin>

Weekly Challenge –  I’ve been playing around with the Samsung VPN setting on my phone.  Apparently, they acquired the code from Opera.  It doesn’t always run smoothly for me though.  I’ll try to access something and the phone goes dead until I turn the VPN off.  There’s probably a message there.


Video of the Week – Video killed the radio star

This has been an ear worm ever since I used it to lead into my voicEd radio show.  Enjoy.

My Favourite Photo This Week

Part of my morning walk with the dog takes us along a county road.  Like most roads, there is an amber stripe down the centre and two white stripes on the sides.  The amber stripe holds up well but, for some reason, the white stripes don’t.

Different paint?  The blade from the snow plough?  Cars drive over it?  I don’t know but when you’re walking, walking, walking, you look for anything to amuse you.  Since the white stripes appear to take a beating, they give patterns, like a Rorschach test.  I shared one before and saw this one this week.


I’m pretty sure that my mother had a cameo with that figure in it.


Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… red exit signs?

You know.  Signs that looked like this.


Photo Credit: Dyvo Flickr via Compfight cc

Or the corresponding French version that read Sortie in red.

I visited a friend in a local hospital this past week and am still not comfortable with small changes like this.  Particularly with hospitals that are “built by committee”, it’s often a mish-mash of wings and levels and doors that don’t go anywhere that the general public should be going.

I remember the first time that I saw the “new” ones.  I thought, because it conveyed a sense of urgency and was obviously unisex, that it pointed to the washrooms.


Photo Credit: Browserd (Pedro Rebelo) Flickr via Compfight cc

But no, this is your new directional instructions about how to exit a building.  When I think about it, it’s usually thought in conjunction with what to do when a fire breaks out.

Apparently, it’s done in a sense of being global.

Ontario’s new green exit signs follow international design

It’s been made part of the building code.  Of course, you have to immediately ask a couple of questions.

  • Why?
  • How much is this going to cost us?

And, around here on Sundays, we like to answer such socially important questions.   So, over to you, dear reader.

  • Think about your last 24 hours.  Did you see:
    • a red exit sign?
    • a green exit sign?
  • Do you think that the old red exit signs look kind of dated?
  • What colour of signs do they have in your school?  If they’re red, is there a plan to move to the green?
  • Do exit signs ever wear out?
  • If having exit signs are so important, why don’t we have them in major gathering spaces of people like supermarkets or casinos?
  • Do you feel this was a burning problem that needed to be solved or is it a case of the government babysitting us?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please do so in the comments below.

If you’re into this sort of information, you’ll love the Wikipedia page devoted to exit signs.

Do you have a longing for signs like this?


Photo Credit: doug mcneall Flickr via Compfight cc

This is part of a regularly Sunday series called “Whatever happened to …”  If you haven’t, visit that link and enjoy the posts from the past.

And, if you have an idea for a new post, please add it to the Padlet.  There must be something that’s gone missing that you’d like to see discussed!

OTR Links 03/11/2018

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