My Week Ending December 16, 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.)

Are you looking for a way to follow up on the success that you had during the Hour of Code?  This might give you an idea or two.

I’ll bet that @nobleknits2 would get a kick out of this project.

Are Chromebooks last minute gifts on your part?  Here’s a suggestion about what to buy.

I never really understood the Dewey Decimal system so I can’t vouch for the truth in this story.  But it’s still a good read.

This is definitely one of my favourite television shows.  My favourite episode was when the guy from Texas who brought a gun just assumed that Canada was another state.  I hope that they do reboot the show.

It wasn’t just Google.  I tried searching for “idiot” on a number of search engines and the picture results were all the same.  It’s a testament to do good things so that you get found well and a lesson that you really shouldn’t just search for one word if you’re expecting decent results.

I suspect it won’t be too long before there are safety nets in place everywhere.  To date though, the most visible thing is a warning that the site you’re visiting uses cookies.  Has anyone ever left the site because of this?

This is a big collection of educational software with security/privacy ratings attached to each.  If I was a developer, I’d be sitting up and paying attention and doing my best to address the concerns.

A reminder to never let your guard down.  The bigger you are, the greater the chance that hackers are going to try to get you.  This time, it was WordPress.

Mississauga takes the lead, banning references to indigenous mascots.

This is something that every computer using educator should read.  We espouse the higher order thinking skills side of things.  How?  Here are some ideas.

The amount of water that’s pumped from under Guelph is just staggering.  What’s the cost?

Tips about how to make photos better.  It’s really not new news, but I know that I’ve become lazy over time.

Blog Posts on doug … off the record

voicEd Radio

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

Opening song …

Technology Trouble Shooting 

So, I switched to the new Gutenberg editor here on WordPress.  I had tried it before but switched back.  Either it was glitzy or I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out; it just wasn’t worth it.

Things really have changed.  It’s much smoother now and, hopefully when I schedule this post for later this afternoon, it will be good.

The only thing is my routine for this post.  Using the old editor, I got into the habit of overwriting a blank post with last weeks and then just editing over top.

I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the new editor so I went old school and copy/pasted from last week.  The weird thing is that the text that is normally black is now the sort of grey that appears as a result of the theme that I’m using.

I haven’t looked yet but I hope that it publishes well and doesn’t require a great deal of editing.

Video of the Week

What to expect if you visit Amherstburg during River Lights time.

My Favourite Photo of the Week

Marketing 101.  Make your product stand out from the rest.  As I was waiting for my wife to check out at the grocery store, I explored the beer aisle – looking for a buck-a-beer.  It looks like everyone uses colour to try and stand out from the rest.

The real key, though, is to price yourself a bit cheaper than the rest!

Thanks for reading.


This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.


Whatever happened to …

… Google’s URL Shortener?

Thanks go out to Peter Beens for this idea.  He sent me a Twitter message

.@dougpete, you’ll like this for your Whatever Happened To series…
The Google Cemetery— Peter Beens (@pbeens) December 6, 2018

How could I not want to check that out?  Peter is my personal (and should be yours) Google Guru.  After all, he wrote the book (or at least a pretty darn good web resource) Google A-Z.  I’ve referred to it a number of times on this blog like here.  It should be noted that Google has a love/hate relationship with the document!

The Google Cemetery is actually pretty big.  I had to make a choice of what to write about; Google Reader has already been done and I’ve used and miss many of the services. 

So,  What is it?  It’s one of a number of URL shorteners.  So, rather than having a long URL to share with someone, you use the shortener to make your long one a short one.  Here’s how it works.

There are a number of shorteners that are available in addition to Google’s.  In fact, this list shows 230 of them.  And no, I didn’t check them all.  Some should be familiar –, tinyurl,, …

And, for the programmers among us, it’s also possible to write your own shorteners.  There are plenty of resources available to help you out.

They’re arguably needed in these days of living in the cloud and the long, long, non-nonsensical URLs that are so common these days.  The negative part is that it’s not easily possible to know where clicking the short link will take you.  There are extensions to your browser that will reveal the original link for the cautiously paranoid.

I think that many of us used Google’s service.  I bounced between it and  Typically, I used Google’s when I was shortening something that was actually pointing somewhere in Google.  Plus, it was the default at times.  But, it’s going away … existing short URLs are supposed to continue but you can’t create any more.

For a Sunday, your thoughts please..

  • have you ever used Google’s URL shortener?
  • have you or do you use another service?
  • if you’re a Google user, what will you use now?
  • when someone sends you a link that has been shortened, are you wary?
  • please don’t confess to being old-school and that you type out those great big, long URLs
  • have you ever used Peter’s Google A-Z document?  (It’s Saturday morning as I type this and the love/hate relationship is currently set to hate!)
  • is a URL shortener more or less reliable to you than just clicking a work that contains a link like I’ve done in this post

Please take a few moments and share your thoughts in the comments below.  They can be as long as you want.

This is part of a regular Sunday series of memories.  You can check them all out here in case you missed one or two.  And, if you have an idea for a future post, be like Peter, and let me know.

This blog post was originally posted at:

If you find it anywhere else, it’s not original.

OTR Links 12/16/2018

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