When it’s on the other foot

I’ve been a fan and use two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. If you’re new to the concept, it’s a feature that, when you log in with a new computer or a new browser or something, you enter your login and password and then the service wants a second way to prove that you are who you say you are.

For me, I’ve always opted for the service to send me a text message containing a code which I then put into the browser and the service is then happy to let me in. Another technique that is handy is the Google and/or Microsoft Authenticator app. There probably are others.

I like the sense of privacy and security that it brings to my account.

Over the Christmas weekend, I got a little nervy and tried a Beta feature on one of the browsers on my phone. It seemed to be kind of neat and appeared to work well and do what it says it does. I also have my phone reboot itself first thing in the morning just to keep it fresh and as fast as it can be.

Only, this time when it rebooted, the phone went into an endless cycle of rebooting itself. It would only get so far in the booting process and then give up and reboot. Uh oh.

I grabbed my computer and sure enough, I wasn’t the only person who had ever had this problem so I followed the steps and managed to get it to boot into Safe Mode. That seemed like a good thing. After poking around, the phone suggested that I should reboot to get back to normal and the rebooting restarted. Another launch into Safe Mode and out returned me to the rebooting so I went back to the article and the suggestion was to restore the phone back to factory settings.

All in all, it’s not a bad idea. I don’t know about you but I tend to accumulate stuff on my devices and periodically go on a cleaning binge. This seems to do it all in one shot. And, it did. I couldn’t believe how quickly the restored device booted and was waiting to do stuff for me.

As I logged in, I knew that I was in trouble.

The first block came with Google. It wanted me to verify it with 2FA. If you own an Android phone, you know how it’s kind of important to be able to get to your Google account. I suspect it’s the same way with an Apple device. I’ve been trained for this moment. I just get a text message and then … Wait!

The text message would go to the phone which I was restoring. You’ve got to be able to log in to get it. I did have another old phone handy that I could maybe switch the phone card into but I was in enough trouble to begin with and didn’t want to make it worse.

Fortunately, Google anticipated actions like what I had done and there were “other” ways to prove that it was you. That’s good; the bad part was that a lot of them required a working phone. There was one option to use the Authenticator app. A quick download and I had it on the old phone and it started generating numbers, none of which would work on my mid-boot phone.

Now, I was starting to get a little worried and did some mental math and figured that I might be in line for a phone upgrade anyway. There was one more intriguing option.

It’s available in many sites that use 2FA and that was to use one of the backup codes that I got when I registered. Pfffft. Like I kept those. On a whim, I went to my PC and did some searching to find out how to find these codes. It was actually pretty quick, easy, and straight forward. It’s all described here.

It worked well for Google and then my next step was to reload the applications that I’d lost and reauthenticate. The process was actually fairly quick and simple, if not tedious.

My big takeaway here was to RTFM and not just enough of the manual to get through the first step! I definitely had used the 2FA for browsers but it never dawned on me that I’d end up going the other way on this.

3D and augmented reality

Today’s rabbit hole comes courtesy of the Greek Reporter and this article.

Google Search Adds 3D Monuments, Including the Parthenon

Of course, they’d be excited about being able to see and share such a version of the Parthenon with the rest of the world! More details about this feature can be found here.

The complete list of categories that can be played with and explored appears below.

And I was off.

I started first by following the instructions (my Android phone met the specs) and I started with Land Animals and sure enough, the opportunity to view things in 3D was there.

And that was how it started. It was a little small on my phone so I turned to my computer which is connected to my phone. Wow. I ended up spinning the objects on my phone and watching them move on my computer screen.

I actually couldn’t find the Google 3D treatment in my results but I did get the Brandenburg Gate. As you might expect, I had a whale of a time playing around with the images and worked my way at least partly through the list that Google included on their website.

I’m just sorry that I couldn’t find a 3D rabbit to show that I’d gone down the hole.

Stay tuned

I don’t know that I ever thought that an application like this would come, or be needed, but now that it’s here, I’m wondering why it took Google so long!

Google now has a guitar tuner!

All that you need to make this happen is:

  • Visit the site. D’uh!
  • Click on the microphone icon to turn on your microphone
  • If required, grant permission for your device to access your microphone
  • Play your string and watch the visual

It’s quick and appears to be pretty accurate. If you’re looking for a quick tuneup for your guitar, give it a shot.

When you’re not getting out much

It’s been a while since I wrote a post about maps. I have this bookmarked for those times when I want to take a look around – the country, the province, the country, the world … randomly.

I think that most people use Google Maps to plot out and discover many trips. There are others but this remains the best.

Especially when I’m headed to a new place, I kind of like to know what it looks like so that I can easily confirm that I’ve arrived at the right place. For that, I’m a big fan of the Streetview built into Maps. Just drag out that yellow peg person and drop it on a blue line on Maps to see imagery on demand.

Now, having an algorithm is good. But, there are times when Random is better. You just get to discover and learn more. To help that cause, check out MapCrunch.

Explore the world via Google Street View. MapCrunch teleports you to a random place in the world. Discover the vast array of imagery captured by Google in 50 countries, featuring spectacular scenery, magical moments and the utterly unexplainable.

The site lives up to its billing.

At its simplest, just visit the website and you’ll land at the View of the Day. As I write this post, I’ve landed in Mongolia. By clicking on the green Go button, you’ll be transported to a random Street View, as advertised.

If you’re not overly adventurous or more particular, check your country of choice.

For the more particular, display a particular area in the map area to get pictures from around that starting point.

If you’re a lover of maps or geography or just the unknown, make sure that you set aside a goodly amount of time to explore.

This Week in Ontario Edublogs

There’s nothing better than the summer time. On the voicEd Radio show, it’s a time to invite co-hosts who would actually be working during the school year. This past week, the EduGals (Rachel Johnson and Katie Attwell) were awesome on the show.


And, we led off the show talking about what I would have predicted would have been their latest post. As it turned out, they used the beginning of the summer to create lots of new content but we went with this.

Many educators are interested in getting Google Certification – there are so many different levels and topics that exist to make you a better use of Google software.

The topic for this one was simply, Gmail. For many people, email is just sort of this necessary evil that is thrust on them. But, once you start digging as Katie and Rachel have done, there is a great deal that can be done with Gmail to enhance your productivity. I don’t consider myself a novice when it comes to Gmail but I’m never afraid to learn even more. There were some things in here that I think most people would find helpful to read and practice.

  • How to use stars to get organized
  • Understanding the different inbox types (especially priority inbox)
  • Using the search tools in Gmail
  • Creating and using labels
  • How to create and use filters

It should come as no surprise that search in Gmail can be just as powerful on your content as it is on the web.

This is the first of a number of posts promised over the summer about Google Certification. So, if you’re interested read it. If you’re just interested in becoming more proficient with Gmail, certainly use that as your inspiration as well.

Summer 2021

From the ETFO Heart and Art blog, Melissa Turnbull shares with us ten things to think about for the summer – sans technology.

I love the whole list and I’m looking forward to doing most of these things. I’m not sure about yoga but my top three would be:

  • Donate gently used clothes to charity
  • Support local restaurants/markets and businesses
  • Go on a road trip

I’ve already done the first one and miss my favourite shorts. Check.

We took the dog to Belle River over the lunch hour and had lunch at a restaurant there. Check. (This will be ongoing since we have so many great restaurants in town)

I can’t wait for this to happen. Since COVID and lockdowns started, I think we’ve left Essex County twice.

Being Open-Minded to Mental Math

I love Alice Aspinall’s approach to Mathematics. She’s open and honest.

In this post, she talks about different way to do mental math calculations. There’s her way (which is my way) and then methods used from an eight year old and a six year old.

I know old timers reminisce about the good old days of mathematics. We absolutely were taught strategies that seem old school now. But, we got the answers and were damn proud of ourselves for doing so.

It’s easy to take cheap shots at the “new math”. After all, if the “old math” was good enough for us, it’s good enough for them. But look closer.

It seems to me that it was so important for us to get the right answer. We had algorithms and we knew how to use them. If you read the thinking Alice shares from the eight year old and the six year old, it’s clear that those two aren’t just going for the correct answer; they understand a great deal of mathematics concept to get there. Of course, we can look at these solutions and with a little algebra could deconstruct the thinking. The important thing though, is that they understand the algebra concepts without actually having to learn them as such.

To me, that’s a higher level of thinking and problem solving. As for mental mathematics, it’s a worth activity. My dad used to do it with us all the time. Driving along, how long will it take us to get to the next town at our current speed?

Alice is worth following on Instagram as “everyonecanlearnmath” as she shares images and puzzles about mathematics from her real life. Definitely the images and questions are classroom ready.

Friday Two Cents:  I’m Here For You

Maybe it’s the sign of the COVID times, but we need to start with a shoutout to Paul Gauchi – this was the first time as an occasional teacher that he worked every day. That’s pretty amazing in itself.

The life of an occasional teacher can be bizarre moving from staff room to staff room but there would be time where you might get called in for a long term appointment and actually get a chance to meet the other educators.

That was the thing that Paul notes as missing in the work from home reality. There was no staff room to drop in to to have those random supportive conversations. You were indeed in isolation. The consequences?

“Only an educator understands what another educator has gone through.”

I might add a qualifier – often an educator’s partner knows as well.

Paul just wants you to know that he’s there if you need someone to talk to…


Amanda Potts had put herself in a position that not everyone can and has a couple of individuals her “cooperating teachers” and her “supervisor” that had an opportunity to assess her strengths and areas of growth. That was a long time ago but she’s recently thought about it.

I like the fact that she wants to reflect on all that she’s been through. I think that everyone should be doing that just to keep their sanity and plan for next steps.

In the post, she discusses how difficult that she is finding that to be.

Is it too soon to reflect?

Is it too late to reflect?

I’ve got to believe that she’s not the only person wrestling with this question.

Poetry Invites July

Jessica Outram is editing a very interesting project. If you pride yourself a writer of poetry, then you might wish to consider contributing to this project.

Each month, she issues a topic and encourages all those who wish to write poetry to contribute. She’s putting all the submissions together into a collection which she shares online here.

To date, there are some very powerful contributions.


This month you are invited to write a poem about summer. Let’s show our gratitude for the beach, the lake, the trails for hiking, the marina, the farm fresh produce, the festivals, and the time with family and friends. We are lucky to live in a place that thrives in summertime.

Companions in Shipwreck

It’s Diana Maliszewski’s 24th anniversary! Congratulations to James and her.

Who would have thought of writing a blog post to celebrate? Diana maintains her streak of being unpredictable.

And, who else but a teacher-librarian would being in an article from Time and a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien to seal the deal with the post.

To celebrate this special 24th, she’s, well, you have to read the post to find out how things are celebrated in her world.

It kind of makes you wonder what will happen for her 25th.

Please take a few moments and click through to read all these wonderful posts.

Then, follow these bloggers on Twitter.

  • EduGals – @EduGals
  • Alice Aspinall – @aliceaspinall
  • Paul Gauchi – @PCMalteseFalcon
  • Amanda Potts – @Ahpotts
  • Jessica Outram – @jessicaoutram
  • Diana Maliszewski – @MzMollyTL

This week’s voicEd Radio show is available here.