Response to Spammers

I realized that I’ve been missing acknowledgement to an element of the blogging experience – spammers!  I take a look at some of the comments that Akismet blocks from public view every now and again and they always generate a smile.

Sometimes, it’s just too good to not share.  Of course, a good spammer will include a link to some site that will do things like add to an advertisement counter or give you a dose of malware or something.  I’d never knowingly repeat those links or include them here but some of the comments intended to entice people to click through are priceless.

It does beg the question – does it actually work and get some people to fall for it?

They do detract from the wonderful people who do give some good feedback on posts.

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Here are some of the latest of the most recent 514 that have been caught …

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Somehow, this is refreshing news for this blogger …

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I hate when that happens.

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I have this uncanny feeling that you’re just here to cause trouble.

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There are no discussion boards that go to the depths and the level of research that is done here.  Plus, the quality of the legitimate comments is second to none.  Don’t waste your time.  There’s only one doug — off the record.

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You obviously don’t know me.  My curling iron days are long behind me!

Even curling it with a straightener won’t work.  Does that even make sense?

and the list goes on and on.

I can’t imagine the work involved if I had to filter this stuff out manually.


OTR Links 07/25/2017

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


So, I’m sitting here scanning my timeline and I see a retweet from Matthew Oldridge.

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.

Thinking prime numbers here …

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, …

But 388879?

I checked back for the user account @_primes_.  It’s here.

The goal is to identify and post every prime number ever.  (Click through and read the bio)

There are some cool things about all this.

First, the bio includes a link to a github project so the Computer Scientist in you can look at code and the project itself.  It includes the rules of the game.

Secondly, it illustrates that it’s cool and OK to do Mathematics things just for fun and just because you can!

Thirdly, it’s interesting that Twitter will be the storage for all of the prime numbers.

Fourthly, they’re all there.  (at least the ones generated so far).  Need a prime number; just go there and grab one.

Fifthly, if you don’t follow Matthew Oldridge on Twitter with an eye towards neat Mathematics things, you need to do so now.

OTR Links 07/24/2017

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

Whatever happened to …

… the Palm Pilot?

In the middle of a very interesting reply last week, lies the inspiration for this post.  Thanks, Andy Forgrave!

Although I made use of the Palm computing handhelds when they first arrived — along with a separate mobile phone — the world changed when the iPhone arrived in Canada.

I was into the Palm when it came along.  The concept of a handheld Personal Digital Assistant really resonated with me.  Instead of taking a laptop computer along with me or, gasp, paper and pen, why not whip out this device for portable notes?  Unlike what we’ve become used to today, the Palm came with a stylus.  Every now and again, you’d have to orient the screen but it did a magnificent job of input.


This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 France license.

There were a few programs for the Palm but I enjoyed programming for it.  My first project was to put all the schools, addresses, and phone numbers into the device along with driving instructions to get to each school.  My superintendent at the time loved it.  It was great to instructions to get to any school (as long as you were leaving from the board office).  Programming the Palm made a great deal of sense for me.  I had a number of databases that I wanted on there.  The school database was but one.  Another one was my collection of Webquests.  I even put the entire collection of OSAPAC licensed software on there.

Then, I heard Elliot Soloway talk and I was absolutely, completely sold.  The concept of connecting science probes to the Palm opened up all kinds of opportunities to do science and mathematics differently.  In classrooms, rather than buying very expensive equipment, these affordable devices made experimenting portable and affordable.  And, going outside to do experiments was ground breaking.  I still have fond memories of a series of workshops that I did – “Palms and Probes”.

Do the experiment, snap the Palm into its cradle, synch, and everything was on your computer.  There really was a credible sense that we were looking at the future of computing in K12.

Then, as Andy notes, there was a shadow that came over this technology in the form of iPhones and Blackberrys.  Sure, you could do many of the same things but having a telephone and internet connectivity really upset the apple cart.  And, they had rechargeable batteries; no small feature.

But, there may be light ahead.  Is the Palm Pilot Ready for a Comeback?

For this Sunday, your thoughts?

  • Did you ever own a Palm?  Which one?
  • Have you ever written a program for a Palm?  How about any other handheld PDA or do you go with programs available from a company “store”?
  • Are you OK with the dropping of the term PDA and replacing it with “Smartphone”?  Or, do you see a difference in the two.

As always, please share your thoughts via comment below.  I do enjoy reading them

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

The complete collection of “Whatever happened to …” posts is available here.

OTR Links 07/23/2017

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

Common Voice – A Request from Lisa Noble

I got this request from Lisa Noble…

Well, of course, I had to check it out.

Not only is it a “lot of fun” as Lisa notes, it addresses a big bug-a-boo of mine.  There has to be a much more sophisticated and reliable approach to voice recognition.  You should hear me sometimes screaming at the voice recognition unit in my car as I try to get it to do things.

On the other hand, my Moto 360 watch and my Samsung phone don’t seem to have a problem.

So, in this project, you can help validate submissions and contribute your own voice.

Listening to the submissions and checking them off was actually a great deal of fun.  I thought here was a nice selection of various accents.

When you create your own, you’re asked to self-identify a number of things.

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The project is focused on English and you get to select your accent.

I have to smile.  Recently, I caught up with a number of friends from various locations world-wide at the CSTA Conference.  I think of listening to friends in discussions from New Hampshire, Arkansas, Iowa, and Ohio.  To my ear, they all have a different type of accent.  I wonder how they can be clumped together as “United States English”.

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I then turned to myself.  I don’t have an accent!  Or, at least I don’t think I do.  But, I supposed I’d qualify as “Canadian English”, whatever that ultimately means!  I do know that I have a very nasal voice.

So, I’ll contribute a couple of sentences.  If it makes my future voice recognition things work better, I’m all for it.

Project Common Voice can be accessed here.

Thanks for the lead, Lisa.  Hopefully, others can find a moment or two to chip in.

OTR Links 07/22/2017

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

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

Welcome to my weekly wander around the blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers.  As always, there’s some terrific reading.  For those of you who expected also to hear the Wednesday show on VoiceED Canada, Stephen is currently off the grid.  We’ll return when he gets back on the grid in August.

A Mathematics Blueprint: Designing a Comprehensive Mathematics Program

Rochelle Tkach offers a nice post that nicely summarizes so many things about the curriculum designing process.

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She ties it so well to Mathematics but certainly the principles apply in all areas.

Do we need to learn how to play?

There’s a great deal to think about in this post from Aviva Dunsiger.  She reflects on the experience of people leaving her workshop that was first a post of hers that I talked about last week.

I Packed. I Came. I Shared. And Now I’m Left Wondering.

Both generated some nice discussions.

The big message in all of this is about participants indicating that they were through by leaving a session.  I think that we need to respect people’s choices and decisions, even though they may not follow our expectations as to how things should end up.

I have to give Aviva credit for taking her thoughts online; it could have all kinds of different responses from people.

Even more important, in addition to her thoughts, there are a large collection of responses varying with all kinds of messages and support.  These thoughts are truly gold and should help Aviva and others design the very best professional experiences.

Map Out Your Online Course

Continuing on the theme of planning and learning, I offer this post from Tracy Sherriff.

Her context is about an online course …

So where do you start? Well, I always tell my clients to start with creating a mind map. A mind map is really just a visual brain dump of all the things that you could teach about. You can create your mind map on paper or use the digital tool of your choice. Use colour and imagery to enhance your map. It’s actually quite fun!

… and that’s certainly her intent and it makes reading the post worthwhile.

But, what if you opened the door to other things?

Wouldn’t the same principles apply to designing professional learning experiences?

Differentiated Instruction: comparing 2 subjects

There’s differentiation, and then there’s differentiation.  Are they different?

You may not have thought of it in those terms but Mark Chubb has and does in this post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to meet the various needs of students in our classrooms lately. If we think about it, we are REALLY good at differentiated instruction in subjects like writing, yet, we struggle to do differentiated instruction well in subjects like math. Why is this???

The rest of the post will hopefully have you thinking differently about differentiation.  Does one size truly fit all disciplines?

This is a very interesting post and there’s even more rich content in the replies.

Good Leaders Read…A Lot

Perhaps this is the litmus test to apply to those who would be leaders in your life and especially for yourself …

Sue Dunlop asserts that

Great leaders also always seek to improve. They want to learn and to get better. They’re never satisfied with good enough. Reading is part of that continuous improvement. How else can you explore new ideas and create new schema?

Here’s an idea.

For the first staff meeting at the end of August/first of September, instead of going around the room asking “How did you spend your summer holidays?” you ask the question “What did you read over the summer?”.

Don’t let your principal off the hook either.

What Does an Innovating Leader Look Like?

OK, so we’ve established that leaders read.

I challenged Paul McGuire to expand on his thoughts about leadership in education.  And, he delivers in this post.

His perspective is as principal and one of his suggestions surrounds professional learning.

Teachers should be in control of their own learning, just as students need to be in control. Educators need to know that their voice matters and that the running of the school is a collective endeavour.

We’re all familiar with the Annual Learning Plan and hopefully, it’s not become a piece of lip service.  Does the ALP allow for the type of growth that Paul describes?

It’s not an easy scenario to manage.  On the one hand, you have to respect the wishes for teachers and their personal learning.  On the other hand, you have the directives from the Board Office and the Ministry of Education.

How, indeed, does the Innovating Leader make it?

I’m going to continue to challenge Paul on this and have plans to write about my own thoughts.  I think that this is a discussion that can only improve things among leaders.

Nudging the OneNote Staff Notebook Permissions

Long time Evernote user here.  But, I’m giving OneNote another chance this summer.  For me to learn how a new program works, I have to use it exclusively for as many tasks as possible and sometimes struggle when I hit a bump in the road.  In addition, I try to read as much about it as possible.

Part of my morning reads include having a section on Flipboard devoted to OneNote and another very important part of my learning is reading Cal Armstrong’s blog when he shares his tips and trick about the software.

I see so many who use OneNote at such a cursory level.  That would include me, I guess.

In this post, Cal takes us on a tutorial with Staff OneNotes and sharing workspaces.

The post is a good tutorial for how to set this up.  If your school uses OneNote, you might want to take Cal’s post to heart and give it a shot.  If it makes everyone more productive, winners all around!

Please take the time to click through and read all of these posts in their entirety.  There’s great learning to be had.

Did you start or restart a blog this summer?  Please add it to the Livebinder of Ontario Edublogs.

OTR Links 07/21/2017

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