My Week Ending June 3, 2018

Here’s a summary of some of the things I learned and published this week.

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

  1. I’ve been doing a lot of reading trying to understand the GDPR because I think we’re going to see something similar around here.  There are times when I think I should have gone to law school.
  2. I found this interesting and a little shocking.  Mac OS X is older than the Classic Mac OS.  Are you old enough to remember both?
  3. I don’t have Alexa but I can understand how some people call it “Creepy as Hell“.
  4. I do believe in the concept that Smartphones are designed to be addictive.  Well, at least the applications.  If you’re not using them productively in class, here are some suggestions for management of them.
  5. 35 and counting people shot at US schools so far this year.  I just don’t get it.  How can anyone fight the logical conclusion that something needs to be done?
  6. Here’s a history lesson.  Can you imagine a world that didn’t have the Google?
  7. I like that there is now credible research that “Learning Styles” are a problem.  I can’t tell you how many times people have called me “concrete sequential” just because I work with computers and enjoy mathematics.
  8. I don’t do this but perhaps I should in case my Chromebook decides to have issues.
  9. Google Slides isn’t just for presentations anymore.  Here are eight other things you can do with them.
  10. This is really cool and it’s available in Canada.  A book vending machine at Billy Bishop Airport.  Especially for those people who arrived too late to charge their device.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

Blog Posts on

voicEd Radio

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Technology Trouble Shooting

Two Clicks solved – Another update to Chrome OS solved my issue last week about having to click twice to close a tab.  But, in searching for a solution, I came across an even better way to close a tab than moving the cursor until it was right over the closing X.  Of course, I could have just used CTRL-W but that requires that the tab that you want to close is the active tab.  I ran into one of those “### things you didn’t know about Chrome OS” posts.  It turns out if you tap any tab, anywhere in the tab with three fingers it closes it immediately.  No move hunting for that X to close.  I love it.

Dead battery on an iPod

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I solved my iPod problem.  Of course, it was self-inflicted but I’m all the better for it now being able to play FM Radio on my Smartphone.  For the record, I do believe in the conspiracy theories!

Video of the Week

My battery problems took me down the FM Radio rabbit hole.  How’s this for a maker project?  There are LOTS of videos to help in the cause.

My Favourite Photo This Week

The birds are getting bigger.  Sadly, we’re missing one.

Screenshot 2018-06-02 at 17.03.02

Honourable mention to MZMollyTL.  Someone should have told Amy to keep her eyes open.

Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… transistor radios?

Thanks, pedrojperez via

That might sound like a bizarre introduction.  FM Radio is everywhere, all around us, and better than ever.  How do you get it?  It certainly was easy when I owned something like in the image above.

Let me start with a dog.

Jaimie and I go for our first walk of the day early in the morning.  Since we go for over an hour, I always load up my old iPod Nano with a bunch of tunes and a podcast or two to entertain me on the trip.  It’s part of my routine before going to bed.  It also has the added advantage of charging the battery.

This week, I went through my regular morning routine, grabbed the dog, grabbed the iPod and we were off to pound the pavement.  As I’m walking, I’m getting the iPod and ear buds in place – looking like any other morning until I tried to turn the iPod on.


I did what every rational user of technology does and pressed harder.

Still nothing.

As I looked at the iPod, I expected to get that “sucks to be you” icon on the screen indicating that the battery was perilously low.  There was nothing to be seen.  Mind racing, I thought that perhaps it had locked up.  I did the typical Apple reset sequence – lift the left leg, bit on your tongue, hold the select button and play button at the same time.

You got it – nothing.

Maybe I got the sequence wrong.  I tried all of the possible press combinations that I could think of.  No luck.

I’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps the battery is really dead or even worse, completely shot.

It was at this point that I started kicking myself for not loading up my phone with music as a backup.  I’ve just never had to do that and decided to leave room for applications instead.  Not a problem; I’ll just walk and enjoy the sounds of nature.  It’s at this point that I should point out that we’re walking on a commuter route that is 80km/h and then 60km/h once we round the corner.  Even the screeching of a Blue Jay can’t be heard.

I decided to listen to some YouTube and that worked fine until the phone went into standby and turned it off!

I reached our turn around point desperate to listen to something other than cars and trucks going by.  Then I remember.  Most smartphones have an FM receiver built into them.  I remember fondly my first Motorola which had it placed right on the front page.

You can probably guess what happened next.  Without it, there would be no blog post for today.

When I got home, I started poking around and discovered all kinds of conspiracy theories about data companies wanting you to stream and use up the data in your plan rather than providing an FM Radio application by default.  The bottom line – searching the Google Play store and the Samsung App store reveals all kinds of FM Radio players.  I downloaded one and should never be caught like this again.

So, for a Sunday morning…

  • Did you or do you still own a transistor radio?
  • Did you ever make your own at school?  Hey, here’s a makerspace project.
  • Do you listen to media when walking, running, biking, …?
  • What’s your poison?  Music or podcasts?
  • Suppose you do listen to streaming media and you do have a cap on your data plan, how do you monitor it to make sure you don’t go over?
  • Do you have an “over the air” FM Radio app on your Smartphone?
  • Whatever happened to transistor radios?

Bonus Question

  • Where’s the antenna?

As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts.  Please share them in the replies below.

Since this is a series, you can check out all of the previous posts here.

OTR Links 06/03/2018

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