My Week Ending April 8, 2018


Readings (You can follow my daily readings as they happen here.  Here are a selected few from the past week.)

  1. This will be of big concern to those who use the Google Link shortener.  Google will be shuttering this service.  Now the move is on for many and or are two good alternatives.
  2. I’m torn on this.  I can’t imagine a world where I couldn’t type and type as quickly as I’m able.  Whenever the topic comes up, there are those who don’t have an issue because they feel they get along well with their two fingers, self taught or the futurists who talk about voice being the future.  I’m still glad that I learned and it’s a skill that I use every day.  Here are some resources to actually teach keyboarding.
  3. I know that I enjoyed doing geocaching and there are a few places around here.  I thought it had gone away until I read this about the geocaching capital of Canada.
  4. Speed – and privacy.  Two things that everyone wants.  Is this the answer for everyone?  Time will tell, I supposed but there are a number of tests done that do seem to prove the claim.
  5. The gross item of the week.  Do CDs rot?  I’m afraid to look at my collections because I have years of files backed up on CD.
  6. You can get wifi on a train and on an airplane.  So, why not on a bus?  More importantly, why not a school bus?  It makes so much sense; you kind of wonder why school districts don’t do this everywhere.
  7. Are you ready to start podcasting in a serious way?  Here’s a collection of terrific information to get you started.  Why stop with just you?  Why shouldn’t students be using this contemporary mode of communication?
  8. In the beginning, Chromebooks were just a low-cost web browser.  Of that, there really was no doubt.  Some people just can’t or won’t move beyond that.  They really need to.  The bigger picture is now become clearer with the ability to run Android applications, more sophisticated web applications, and hints of a new OS.  What should you be paying for a Chromebook?
  9. Some of these are just plain silly but I do have friends in the United States and there are some terms and expressions that I use that they look at me like I said something funny!  This post tries to explain/translate Canadian into American.
  10. If you’re old enough, what comes to mind when you think of the “Bionic Beaver”?  I’ll bet a new version of Ubuntu isn’t what comes to mind.


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

VPN – Recently, Samsung has picked up on the VPN software from Opera for installation on Smartphones.  I’ve been playing around with it.  A really good question is “how do we know that it will do what it claims to do”?  It installed easily enough.  I have changed the world location where I exit the VPN and it does seem to work.

Weekly Challenge – I think it’s been a pretty good week.  I don’t recall banging my head against the wall over anything.  Can I bottle the feeling?


Video of the Week – Toby

At the Ontario Google Summit, I attended a session by Jen Giffin and she introduced me to Toby, a Chrome extension that she claims has the same functionality of OneTab and more.  I’m trying to extend my learning by watching YouTube videos.  Right now, I have both extensions enabled and that kind of misses the point.  I’ll have to choose just one of them.

My Favourite Photo This Week

You had to be there to fully appreciate this.  You’ve heard the expression of following like sheep.  How about goats?  At Colasanti’s, we opened the door to the courtyard and one goat left the building and immediately they all followed.  (about 10 of them)  My wife felt badly and so is seen here holding the door open and coaxing one goat back in and darn if they didn’t all follow.  Then, we opened the door again and they all followed the first one out.  I haven’t laughed this much in a long time.

The deer, on the other hand, didn’t care at all.



Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… Brannock devices?

Interestingly, just about every model version seems to be $72.50.

Growing up, there were two places in our town to buy shoes.  You were either Aiken’s people or Lobb’s people.  We were Aiken’s people.

Buying a new pair of shoes was always a big deal and it really was a science of sorts.  The advice was to come buying in the afternoon because your feet are bigger then, we’d sit down, take off a shoe and place it in to the Brannock device to get sized up.  It was important to wear “are these the socks you always wear?” socks.  The embarrassment of putting on those little bootie things if you showed up without socks was too much to take.

Then, mom would tell Mr. Aiken (whichever one was waiting on us) what kind of shoe we would be getting (always running shoes at the time) and he’d go into the back and bring out a box with brand new shoes, nicely wrapped in a box.  He’d sit on this really cool stool that he’d roll over to be in front of us and we’d put our foot into the new shoe that was nicely angled on the stool.  Then, came the second shoe and we got to walk back and forth in front of a mirror placed at floor level to see how we looked.

Pay a little money and the job was done.

Not so these days.

I had to get a new pair of shoes this past week.  The experience was completely different.  There is no specific shoe store in town; there’s a men’s wear store, Walmart, and Mark’s Work Wearhouse.  This time, I went to Mark’s.

Buying shoes is no longer a craft mastered by someone who is just in the business of selling shoes.  There’s no inventory in the back; it’s out on the floor.  There’s no Brannock device; I had to take off my shoe to see what the previous size was!  I guess I could have done this.  Then, there was a stroll along the displays to find a shoe that looked like it would do the trick.  The “trick” is to hold up while dog walking.  My days of fashion making my choice are behind me.  There was no mirror but you could walk along the aisle to test out the shoe.  There was another lady there trying out shoes and, gasp, she wasn’t wear socks.  Gross!

The shoes were interesting.  Some had obviously been tried on before because the wrapping paper on some of them wasn’t in new shape.  So, I picked up 3 or 4 shoes and went back to a bench to try them on.  A salesperson did come by to ask what size I was and brought a few more boxes over and told me to give her a shout if I needed help.  I went with these.

For a Sunday, what are your thoughts?

  • Do you buy shoes at a specific shoe store or are you like me and have limited options?
  • Do you get measured with a Brannock device every time?
  • Do you have a brand loyalty or do you choose your shoes based on some other criteria?
  • Do you go and get fitted by someone who is in the shoe business or do you buy off the rack?
  • Are there other sales features from the past that are no longer available to you?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

This is part of a regular Sunday series where we get to share some of the good ol’ days and some of the not so good days.  Please join in.

OTR Links 04/08/2018

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