My Week Ending 2020-10-11

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.  Below are a selected few, with commentary, from the past week.


  • This was fascinating. I love music and was quite interested to find the source for these sound effects.
  • One month into the school year and 2 000 elementary school students in Toronto still don’t have a teacher.


  • A funny and enjoyable look at teaching via the genius humour of Schitt’s Creek.
  • I’ll admit; I hadn’t thought about this but certainly learned more about how mirrors work.


  • There’s a name change to a rest spot at Point Pelee National Park to honour the Caldwell First Nations.
  • A timely reminder to teachers and administrators that there is much going on in the background with respect to student privacy online with those apps you’re using.


  • This is a bit of wise advice about telling fact from fiction online.
  • Doug Ford turned off the US Presidential debate. Maybe all politicians have lessons to learn from that bad example.


  • This should not come as a surprise to anyone who looks at restaurants around secondary schools.
  • I’m not a fan of the term “New Math“; but that’s the message here. Math is Math; it’s the understanding of mathematics that is of importance and yet is missing when articles like this are written.


  • I would make the same comparison between Ford and Trump. Maybe our premier should learn from this.
  • Ford’s unbelievable response to the attempt on Governor Whitmer should be a wakeup call for every votes. Just because he does his job doesn’t mean that he’s doing a person a favour.


  • I’m curious to see what the inside of an opened Casino looks like. But, not curious enough to risk my health
  • As David Garlick responded, “the kids are alright”. I’m impressed that these boys take on a dress code by wearing skirts to school.

Blog Posts on
doug … off the record

My daily contributions to this blog are linked below. If you’re looking for a week in review for doug–off the record, you came to the right place.

#FollowFriday – October 9, 2020

voicEd Radio

On this week’s show, Stephen Hurley and I chatted about back to school, masks, Jamboard, control, and apple streudel.

The show is available here:

  • Will Gourley – @WillGourley
  • Sheila Stewart – @SheilaSpeaking
  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Debbie Donsky – @DebbieDonsky

Intro Song:

Dedicated to the month of October

All of the podcasts are archived here. The show is broadcast LIVE every Wednesday morning at 9:15 on voicEd Radio.

Technology Troubleshooting

I’m about to give up on this one.

I have an old Dell Mini netbooks that I used to dual boot two versions of Linux on. Granted, it’s over 10 years old but I hate to throw anything away if it still suits a purpose.

The purpose is really hindered right now. The computer won’t recognize the battery – proprietary Dell – and so won’t boot with the battery in place. It will boot and actually work without the battery in place but the design clearly was made with the battery working and balancing the machine.

So, I don’t really know. I’ve done a lot of searching and the best solution is to buy a new battery. It’s hard to justify for a machine of this age.

Video of the Week

A bit of a fascinating science lesson.

Photo of the Week

Part of the renovation around here meant getting rid of the green blinds so out onto the patio they went. But, Jaimie was a little hesitant to let them go.

Thanks for reading.

Please join me daily for something new and, hopefully, interesting for you. I honestly and truthfully appreciate your few moments reading my thoughts. Time willing, this summary appears every Sunday afternoon.

Be safe.


This blog post was originally posted at:

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


Whatever happened to …


When I bought my first computer (TRS-80) at home, I decided that I would write a program to create a marks book for myself. Looking back, it was pretty simplistic; it was basically a collection of two dimensional arrays that contained either names, marks, or a calculation.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

It did take away the drudgery of sitting with a calculator and manually doing all my marks. I had an electrostatic printer that would print the marks and calculations on this strip of metallic paper. From there, I would manually enter them into the mark entry sheeets provided by the school to complete the process. It probably made the process longer than normal but it was something that I wanted to write to keep my skills and my department was impressed. I had included all kinds of statistics to go along with it.

On the nerdy horizon was this thing called VisiCalc. It was a program that allowed you to enter text, numbers, and formulas and any formula that was based on a number or the result of another calculation was automatically recalculated. If I recall, it was priced at $129 at Radio Shack but I wanted it. It was far more flexible than my personal program and when a student wanted to know “what they needed” to get a particular result, we could do so immediately. I remember writing an article for 80-Micro about creating a markbook using the program. It actually became my answer to just about any question. Looking back at that article, it was all about the calculations and so far from the concepts of assessment and evaluation that we treasure today.

If you read the article in the link provided above, you’ll know that VisiCalc was purchased by Lotus of 1-2-3 fame who eventually retired it. But the concept really caught on and inspired greater and greater features. Today’s spreadsheet resembles the original VisiCalc only when it’s open. Could there be any other software that would be considered bloatware?

What brought all this to mind was this article.

35 Classic Excel Hacks, Tips and Tricks for Analytics Professionals on Excel’s 35th Birthday!

Seriously? Excel is 35. I remember life before this Microsoft Product and I’d used and workshopped so many spreadsheet programs. VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, ClarisWorks, AppleWorks, Quattro Pro, Microsoft Works, OpenOffice, Google Sheets, and eventually Microsoft Excel.

But, they all have evolved from the original VisiCalc premise “What if?”. And, for me, I’m always grounded by using a spreadsheet as a marks collection utility.

For a Sunday, your thoughts please…

  • what’s your poison? Microsoft Excel or something else?
  • did you ever use VisiCalc?
  • the current suite of options include paid proprietory, free proprietory, and open source options. Do you have a preference?
  • what would you consider your best spreadsheet creation?
  • have you ever written a spreadsheet that was so complex that you had one spreadsheet calling for values from another spreadsheet?
  • In the original article, VisiCalc was described as “VisiCalc is one of the most important programs ever created for microcomputers.” Agree or disagree?

As always, I’d be most interested in your take on this. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

This post originated at:

If you read it anywher else, it’s not the original.

OTR Links 10/11/2020

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