My Week Ending October 21, 2018

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


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

  • I think that this is a nice, inclusive addition to Google Slides.  I wonder how many people will use it at the Bring IT, Together conference.
  • I did quit the QWERTY keyboard once in favour of the Dvorak layout and had a great deal of success.  But, it’s not like you can just go out and buy one.  They all come with the standard layout.  In this article, we find out why.
  • I love corn mazes this time of the year.  How are they created?  Here are some secrets.  Of course, once you’ve read the article, they won’t be secrets any more.
  • I’m not inclined to use the Microsoft Edge browser and less inclined to use an internal hidden one.  According to Wes Fryer, friends don’t let friends use Edge or Bing.  This post is devoted to why.
  • Google never misses a holiday.  This time, it’s Hallowe’en and the software is Google Assistant.
  • Trust social media and Apple fanboys to complain about things.  This time, they got Apple to fix their bagel emoji.  In the process, I got a lesson about bagels from connections in Chicago and New Hampshire about New York bagels.
  • You probably don’t need to read this if you’re computer savvy but you might just find it confirming that you’re keeping your Chromebook safe.  That’s not a bad thing to do.
  • If you’ve had it with the classroom, here are some tips for a job in education that doesn’t include marking, lesson planning, …
  • This is my greatest fear of having an electric vehicle but Google has me covered apparently.
  • Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, it’s probably good to recognize that it’s not a free for all.  Do you know the laws?
  • Now it’s a race to see who identifies you being depressed faster – your significant other or your smartphone.  (or you, for that matter)
  • I like this concept.  I stumbled into this blog about Makerspaces and the idea is 26 blog posts from A-Z.  Here, we pick it up at D.  “Disobedient”
  • This was an interesting text of a presentation from Audrey Watters.  It will take you back to your university days and psychologists B.F. Skinner and Edward Thorndike.  I have a textbook with a graphic showing two boxes.  One is labelled “Empty Skinner Box” and the other “Skinner Box containing rat frantically pressing lever”.  It’s not a big leap to labelling the second box as person on the computer frantically clicking “like” for gratification.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

Blog Post on

BRING IT, TOGETHER 2018 – The complete schedule is now live.  Have you registered?  It’s also a reminder of the “Bring IT, Together” concept.  Why not bring a group from your school?

voicEd Radio

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

Technology Trouble Shooting 

If there are any developers reading this post, I’ve got an idea.

One of the things that I run hot and cold with is desktop notifications.

When I’m anxiously waiting a reply from someone, I really appreciate being given notice immediately.  When I’m working on something else, it is really distracting to get a notification that someone liked something I did.

Notifications seem to be an all-in situation.  We have priority inboxes; what would it take to have priority notifications and let us determine what sort of things that we want to be notified about?

Think about it, will you?

Video of the Week

This has to be one of my favourite songs of all time.  We know that when we hear the official release that musicians have spent hours, days, weeks in the studio.  It’s so good to see a live performance and the musicians don’t miss a beat.  The guitar and mandolin solos are just amazing.

My Favourite Photo of the Week

Poor ol’ Jaimie dog-shamed.  It was a dark morning so my wife made him wear this glow ring around his neck while we did our wakeup walk.  Me, on the other hand, she dressed in black.


Thanks for reading.


Whatever happened to …

… percolated coffee?

Well, it had a good run.  On our kitchen counter, there was a drip coffee maker that we paid $29.99 for a long time ago.  At the time, it was to replace a coffee maker that had all the bells and whistles.  For some reason, we decided to go very cheap with this one and it had certainly had a very long life that came to an end this week.

I’d noticed that there was water on the counter when I would clean up and just figured that was me missing the water well in the back while making my first cup of the day.  As my wife pointed out, no, it’s a leak in the machine itself.

So, off to Canadian Tire we went.

It’s been a long time since I’d been coffee maker shopping.  I remember a nice selection when last we purchased – I think at the Kmart in Waterloo.  I didn’t expect to see an entire aisle and a half devoted to coffee makers.  So many choices.

Except for the type that I remember from my parents’ house so many years ago!

The one I remember was made from steel or aluminum.  Inside there was a basket that sat on a hollow pole.  You’d put coffee in the basket; sometimes we’d put a paper towel in there to act as a filter and then fill it with water.  Then, you’d turn a burner on the stove to high and put the coffee maker in place.  Once the stove had warmed up and the element had turned that orange-y red colour, the water started to boil.  Up through the pole it went and spilled over the coffee in the basket, through the filter, and then back to meet the rest of the water, making an interesting bubbling sound.  You’d let it go for a while (I’m not sure that I ever knew how long) and then take it off the stove and it was ready.  The neat thing was that my parents would take it camping with us and the same process worked well over a campfire although it sure took a lot longer!  With modern technology, it’s now ready in a couple of minutes.

We didn’t have a great deal of choice in terms of coffee growing up.  There were two grocery stores in town (IGA and Red & White) and they both carried Maxwell House coffee. I don’t recall any other option other than take it or leave it.  As a kid, it didn’t really matter to me; I hated the stuff but it did fill the house with a nice aroma by the time it was done percolating.  I don’t ever remember when I first started to drink coffee; I suspect that it might have been in the student lounge in the Mathematics Building at the university using it to try and stay awake to solve problems.

Percolated coffee also added a piece of jargon to education – “Let that percolate in your mind for a while”.  “Let that drip in your mind for a while” just doesn’t cut it.

So, for a Sunday, your thoughts please …

  • Do you remember percolated coffee in your house?  How was it created?  I hear there were electric models …
  • Where would you find coffee percolating today?
  • Do you have a favourite brand of coffee?
  • What’s your favourite coffee shop?
  • Have your moved on from coffee to some of the more exotic drinks like Starbuck’s Venti Christmas Tree Frappuccino Blended Creme with Whole Milk?
  • Were you as surprised as I was when stores were compelled to tell you the calorie content of things only to learn that Tim Horton’s or McDonald’s coffee actually has 3-5 calories in them?  (A drop in the mug compared to the Starbuck’s offering above)
  • Whose motto was “Good to the last drop”?
  • Do you drink decaffeinated?
  • Or do you stay away from the stuff altogether?

If you’re reading this first thing on Sunday morning, make sure you’ve had your morning cuppa and then reply in the comments below.  I’d enjoy reading them.

This is part of a regular Sunday series.  You can check out all the posts here.

OTR Links 10/21/2018

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