The Opera browser is one of the browsers on my computer that I cycle through in the course of doing things. I’d hate to miss something. My taskbar looks like this.

I also have each of the browsers tagged as a reading category in my Flipboard so that I don’t miss out on anything more than what I normally do. Recently, I ran across this:

Opera browser lets you use emojis to visit websites 👀

I thought it to be an interesting concept. As they note in the article, a great deal has changed for the connected user but the basic URL and then GO concept remains the same. So, what would happen if a collection of emojis could resolve to your website?

Now, I’ll be honest; I’m not a big emoji user. It needs to be up front and in my face when I’m on a website to actually use one. I’m more likely to use <grin> rather than 😊. For me, it’s also a lot faster to just type letters since I’m not really a big user of emoji. I do know that Windows key + Period brings up an emoji picker. I’ve also read a great deal about people complain that the emojis are not three dimensional! It seems that you can’t win.

If you look at the screen capture above, you’ll note that I have Edge open and I flipped open Opera. I followed one of the links in the article above. Edge did a regular internet search because it didn’t know what to do with things otherwise. The Opera browser took me right to the desired website.

It is an interesting concept and I kind of knew what to expect because of the context of the story. However, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think that there should be warning flags up. One of the things that we all worry about (or should worry about) when someone gives us a link is whether it’s going to take us somewhere safe or not. We do put in some thinking about how to interpret URLs as they’re presented to us.

I enjoyed reading the article and I agreed that so many things have changed and got better over the years. The basic concept of the URL really hasn’t changed. We’ve got an expanded range of internet domains and we can use shorteners all the time. When it’s all said and done, we get to https://dougpete.wordpress.com and that’s it. It’s the content on the page that’s got my attention and not necessarily how I got there.

I’m just a bit leary thinking that I could safely click one of these links composed of emoji and have no need for concern. Maybe I’m a bit paranoid but here I am. And, while Opera is an incredible and innovative browser, one of the premises of the web is that you should be able to use any browser with equal results. At present, that’s not what’s happening.

So, personally, I’m not jumping at it but I’m going to keep an eye on it.


OTR Links 02/28/2022

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

My Week Ending 2022-02-27

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. They’re posted to the blog daily under the title OTR Links.


  • As if the events in Ottawa weren’t bad enough on their own, there’s a Fox News contributor who made up and reported facts
  • Why is Windows called Windows? Microsoft Doors just doesn’t cut it.


  • Debugging Fox News reports about Ottawa – it makes you wonder about the whole concept and ethic of reporters and reporting organizations
  • I’ll admit – until I read this article, I didn’t know that this new airline was operating in Canada


  • The official accounting of the voting from the Canadian Parliament about the use of the Emergencies Act
  • A listing of the “best” 11 free Microsoft Windows applications; some oldies but some new ones and some available on other platforms


  • This was quite funny to watch and think about – it’s Japanese responses to people speaking English. It’ll make you think
  • They call them “tricks” and I’m sure that’s just to grab your attention but this is a collection of ways to speed up Windows 11


  • A warning about an expected price rise in gasoline because of the events in Ukraine. It’s Saturday as I write this and gas hasn’t risen in price yet – still 1.55.9 in town. But, I filled up just in case
  • If you’re hesitant to use Edge on Windows 11, you might be persuaded otherwise in this article. Based on Chromium, it’s more feature packed than Google Chrome


  • Formula 1’s statement on its decision to withdraw the Russian Grand Prix
  • A Macintosh utility that is pretty impressive and I just might check it out here


  • I’d never heard about Swift in the context of country finances but learned a great deal from this article. The news makes more sense now
  • For educators, a reminder that the effects of the incident in Ukraine may have effects on Russian students in classrooms

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 – February 25, 2022

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash


voicEd Radio

This Week in Ontario Edublogs is a blog post/show/podcast that features great writing from Ontario Edubloggers. Stephen Hurley and I use their writing as the basis for a conversation.

Featured Bloggers:

  • Lisa Cranston – @lisacran
  • Matthew Morris – @callmemrmorris
  • Shelly Vohra – @raspberryberet3
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Marc Hodgkinson – @Mr_H_Teacher
  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario – @staoapso

This week’s show:

There was no voicEd Radio show this past week. This is last week’s show.

Opening Song:

Closing Song:

All of the shows are archived here. The show is broadcast LIVE almost every Wednesday morning at 8:45 on voicEd Radio and is downloadable as a podcast later.

Technology Troubleshooting

Sometimes, it’s just the simplest of solutions to kill a maddening problem. I put in my Jabra earphones, grabbed my iPod, and headed out to shovel some snow this week. After about two swipes across the driveway, I heard a snap and then silence.

My earphones appeared to work well.

I took off my gloves (darn, it was cold) and grabbed the iPod and it appeared to be dead. Oh well, I’ll shovel in silence.

I got in the house later and plugged the iPod in and it started a hard boot. When it was booted, I looked and it still was with 41% battery. Why it turned off is just another Apple mystery to me.

Look what I made

With all the Wordle craze, I of course blogged about it earlier but also created a Wakelet of all the Wordle clones I could find. Once created, I’ve been adding to it daily, it seems. I guess it’s presumptuous to think I could do it all in one session. It certainly has taken the online world by storm

My collection is available here: https://wke.lt/w/s/BuvP40

There are 32 entries but the day is still young. Enjoy.

Update – February 27: Up to 33 entries; one added this week.

Video of the Week

How the media explains it to us

Photo of the Week

My best buddy, located between me and the television …

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:


Whatever happened to …

… road maps?

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

It’s a running joke around here. My wife knew that I was the one for her on our first date. Legend says that I arrived at her house to pick her up just as the shows were changing on the television. Apparently, the guy before me had trouble with time commitments. (And, he lived just around the corner from her)

Yesterday was a banner night for us. We were invited OUT (Whoohoo!) to someone’s house for dinner. I’d never been there before and I still stick with time commitments so I’d used the feature on Google Maps to show me how to get there, along with a couple of alternatives. If you are aware of the recent history of Windsor, you may know that Huron Church Road was blocked to South-North traffic and the preferred route might not be available. It estimated the trip to be 35 minutes. So, we left about 45 minutes ahead of time.

We got in the car and I asked the vehicle navigation system to route to our destination and it actually heard and understood me. I know that I have a nasal voice and it doesn’t always get it right the first time. The navigation system is based on Bing Maps and it had a different idea from Google. So, I started out but then saw a big backup at the lights and rerouted. It turned out to be a lineup for gas in advance of the expected price rise. Nicely, the mapping program adjusted. We got to our destination early but I’m also not one to show up early so we drove around a couple of blocks to kill some time and then arrived close to the predicted time, albeit a little early.

Growing up, of course, we didn’t have all these electronic gadgets. We had a roadmap which unfolded in the most awkward way in the glovebox. Southern Ontario on one side and Northern Ontario on the other side. Insets included city maps. These were in the days when you could fill up your car for $2.00 and pickup up a free road map as well. I stopped for gas today and the attached variety story actually had some on sale. They’re certainly more pricey than the “free” of my youth.

When we went places, my mother had hers and co-piloted. I had my own in the backseat so I could see where we were going. Whenever we would go somewhere, Dad would bring the map in the house and study it. We went to a lot of different places with our baseball teams. I think it was probably here that I learned that a route from one place to another could be measured in time instead of kilometres. I have no idea what the actual distance from here to Toronto is but I do know that it takes four hours.

One of the best gifts that we actually gave at Christmas wasn’t a roadmap (after all, they were free) but a road atlas. It’s actually like the one in the picture above with spiral binding and you could flip the pages for maps instead of having to navigate a maps and its folds.

For our honeymoon, we wanted to visit my aunt and uncle in Minneapolis. We went to a travel agent to see about a scenic drive and to get promotional materials. I remember her pulling out a map and taking us through Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and then Minnesota. No, we said, we want to take the Ontario route. She looked at us with disdain and I remember her directions – somehow get to Thunder Bay and then turn left. With her map, she had no touristy things to do in on Highway 11 or 17.

They’re also not exclusively used for road trips. I remember applying for jobs while I was at the Faculty of Education pre-Google and had a roadmap tacked on the wall over my desk so that I could blanket the province with resumes. Things were so much easier; school boards were organized by counties so I could write a letter to the “Essex County Board of Education” in Essex, ON and had good luck that it might be delivered. City boards were labelled “Board of Education for the City of London”. There was no freelancing allowed at the time.

The navigator on an airplane, I thought, always had a great job. Just staring at maps and weather and planning the route from A to B after checking in with the powers that be. I’ve generally had good fortune with airlines and I can only remember being delayed once leaving Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The captain came on the PA as we started our trip to San Francisco and a CSTA Conference and apologized for the delay taking off – apparently we were held back from transfers coming from New York – and indicated that the navigator was working on a plan to catch up for lost time. He did and we actually arrived ahead of the posted arrival time. That also brings up the question as to why that wasn’t the regular route anyway.

My favourite airplane / Dean Martin clip.

For a Sunday, what are your thoughts?

  • do you measure your trips in kilometres or hours? how far are you from Toronto?
  • do you remember road maps in your vehicle as a child? or maybe now?
  • can you get one today?
  • if you know me, have you ever known me to be late for a commitment?
  • what was the name of the movie above where Dean Martin was featured? Who was the famous flight attendant?
  • do you have a technique for folding the old fashioned paper maps?
  • everyone has a GPS or the ability to connect to one these days. How do you do it?
  • does your car have a GPS built-in or do you use a portable solution?
  • what does GPS stand for?
  • have you ever run into an error in mapping on a road map or digital mapping application?
  • I remember my first venture into digital mapping. It was with Mapquest which seemed to work like magic. Have you ever used Mapquest? Do you have a favourite tool for this sort of thing?

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about road maps and travel. Please do so in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday morning post for me. You can look back at them all here.

OTR Links 02/27/2022

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