There’s always more!


I’ll start with the moral of the story first.

It never hurts to click around; you never know what you’ll find.

That was my learning recently.  I was producing a Google Document and I wanted people to check off a particular day.

So, it kind of started like this.

__ Monday

__ Tuesday

__ Wednesday

__ Thursday

__ Friday

All that you had to do was choose one.  Now, being electronic, there were all kinds of ways that people responded.

  • they deleted everything except the day they wanted
  • they typed an X in the appropriate day and left it – that shifted that particular entry to the right because of the extra character.  That’s OK; it’s the intent that matters
  • type either typed the X and the deleted the extra underscore or they tapped the “Insert” key on their computer, changing it to overstrike, and then typed the X

Now, there are all kinds of ways that I could have composed that list.  Since it was in Docs, I could have used a bulleted list or a variation on that list.

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In particular, look at the one with the checkboxes (top right option)

It’s pretty elegant.  The user just had to select the right day with the left mouse button, and then the right mouse button for a popup of characters to use.  Note that the check mark is an option.

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I’ll be honest.  That’s about as far as I would expect anyone to go.  Perhaps it was the summer laziness but I noticed that there was another option…

“More bullets…”

This did get a click from me and there was every option under the sun!  (or at least on my keyboard)

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Which takes me back to the moral of this story…

Searching


There have been many stories recently about Google’s problems with its business, which we know is all about the advertising.  MSN reports about it here.

Google Hit a $2.7 Billion Fine in EU Antitrust Case

Is this the price that we pay for free?  Advertising does make the Google world go round.

I was curious and so thought I’d find out just how big it was.

I turned to eBiz.

Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines | July 2017

I expected to see Google at the top and with big results.  I didn’t expect this though.

  1. Google – 1,800,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors
  2. Bing – 500,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors

and then it goes downhill for the remaining 13 search engines.  Some of them, I’ll suspect you’ve never heard of.

Should the world be concerned?

Have you checked out any alternative search engines lately?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog


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Photo Credit: bookgirl425 Flickr via Compfight cc

How many times have you seen this image or any of the meme takeoffs?

It’s true though.

On the Internet, you can be:

  • a visible learner
  • a part of a community
  • a troll
  • a copy of someone else
  • a promotor
  • a phisher
  • a spammer
  • a self-promotor
  • a bully
  • an annoying retweeter
  • a hacker
  • a leader among leaders
  • a dog
  • darn near anything you want to be

Google would have you be “Internet Awesome“.

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Various school districts have struggled with the concepts of digital safety education for students.  Many have written resources; some have shared resources; some have purchased resources, …

Google has entered into the mix with this very comprehensive resource.  It includes:

  • a game
  • a curriculum
  • a poster
  • badges and certificates
  • off computer activity
  • a pledge
  • and links to other supportive resources.

If you’re addressing this very important concept for students, then you need to evaluate this to see if it fits into your plans.

As screen captured below, it is possible to get through the various levels of the game in an evening.  Your cursor keys will get a workout.

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I had to work my way through to get the badges and my certificate.

Who wouldn’t want their students to be internet awesome?

Bond, James Bond


As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we didn’t have a radio growing up.  But, we did go to the drive-in theatre quite a bit.  My mother really enjoyed spy and mystery stories.

With the recent passing of Roger Moore, this brought back memories.  It probably didn’t hurt that we just watched “For Your Eyes Only” on television either.

As it would have it, and as a continuation of yesterday’s theme of Google Earth’s Voyager, there is a tour of some of the fabulous sites that were included in the Bond movies.

The images are as spectacular on your computer as there were in the movies.  Here, from “Casino Royale”.

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You can access the Footsteps of 007 here.

As an extra treat, here is a link to some Roger Moore quotes.

Beatlemania


Growing up, we didn’t have a radio in our house.  Consequently, I wasn’t on the Beatles fan wagon as a child.  Later, at university, there were other things playing on the progressive rock stations so I pretty much missed their musical genius until they showed up on the oldie stations!

The closest thing that I came to meeting a fan who had gone overboard was a computer science student in Grade 11 who was deep into it.  When it came his time to control the music, there was always something Beatle to be played.

One of the things about the Beatles that still strikes me is that their history had a big list of “places”, whether it was a memorable event like the “Ed Sullivan Theatre” or something that they sang about like “Penny Lane”.

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Now, thanks to Google’s story telling features of Voyager and Google Earth, you can see these places where they appear today.

Enjoy Beatlemania.

Wonders of the Ontario world


Earlier this week, I had explored the new Google Earth and warned myself that This may take a while.   One of the things that I enjoyed exploring was the Wonders of the Ancient and Modern world.

That was my inspiration and I thought.  Ontario doesn’t need to take a back seat the the other parts of the world.  We have lots of natural and man-made things to enjoy.  So, I sought out to see what I could see via the 3D experience.

I learned that there are better quality mapped areas within the province.   I learned that it take a fine control to rotate, zoom in and out, to get the best possible picture.  And, I learned that sometimes the best images come from Street view and, quite frankly, just from people who know how to take and share a good picture.

I’m sure that my collection isn’t inclusive and would challenge you to explore and share on your own.  This could be fun.  Some of what I chose to include may be up for debate – so debate me – and come up with something better!

Oh, and for the record, I’ve been to all these.

CN Tower

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Niagara Falls

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The Big Nickel in Sudbury

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Jumbo Monument in St. Thomas

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The Tip at Point Pelee

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Casa Loma in Toronto

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Kakabeka Falls

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The Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay

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The Rideau Canal (was hoping for a winter shot)

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The North Entrance to the Welland Canal (Port Weller)

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The Beach at Grand Bend (Ontario’s best beach.  I might hear about this)

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Glen Abbey

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A Waterfall near Hamilton on the 403 (Looks dry here but not so earlier this week)

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Math and Computers Building  at the University of Waterloo

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Ontario Legislature 

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Canadian Parliament Buildings

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Do you agree with my choices?  What would you add?

This may take a while


The new Google Earth is here.

And I’m obsessed!

For a very long time, a tour of the world with Google Earth has been an interesting experience.  Now, it gets even better with an incredibly realistic 3D presentation on the screen.  Where better for a Canadian to start by taking a look at the CN Tower?

Or, Niagara Falls.

If you’re a regular Google user, and who isn’t, you’ll recognize that the hamburger menu flyout looks like everything else you’ll find in the Google suite of things.  But, for the most part, navigation can be accomplished by icons on the left side of the screen.

If you need to search, go for it.  Or, I’ll bet that you’ll want to roll the die and see where your luckiness takes you.  (more time spent)

Further refinement of your travels are handled in the bottom right corner.  You can switch to 2D (but what’s the point)!  Pegman is there to drop you into Streetview, click to go home, or just check out where in the world you are with the globe.  Or, spin it and click to head somewhere else.

You won’t want to miss out on the best of the world by using the Voyager feature.  The Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World are just spectacular.

Recently, my friend Peter McAsh was in town and I gave him the tour.  Peter, you can check out things with the new Google Earth.

Hey, Peter, check out the top left corner of this screen capture.  You’ll see what you couldn’t see from your car as we drove into town.

Enjoy!

There may be hope for me yet


The only thing that separates me from being an artist is the ability to draw or paint or …

Now with this experiment from Google, Autodraw, there may be hope.

As happens frequently in this blog, my subject is the furry guy looking at me and waiting to go for his morning walk.  Here’s my sketch.

That’s pretty bad.  I’m not a fan of Star Wars but isn’t that like one of the characters?

Or maybe even Nosferatu?

Well, the artificial intelligence behind the application does its work and makes suggestions about how close I came….

Should I be insulted that a dog isn’t in the top suggestions?

But there’s a zebra!  I’ll select that and this appears in my drawing’s place.

and a set of tools to edit the final image.

The artistry world has nothing to fear from me at this time, that’s for sure.  But it is a great deal of fun to dream of what might be.  Maybe if I’d drawn a side view of Jaimie, I would have had better luck!

Getting serious for a moment though, we often talk about students using images in their creations and that has spawned a whole good discussion about copyright.  This gives a better option.  I’ve always said that students should be encouraged to create their own original works.  Now, for the under skilled artist, we have this tool.

If worse comes to worst, you could always change a story with a dog at its centre to one with a zebra.  That’s not too big a deal!

Interactive Maps


Over the weekend, I ran into this story

How to make awesome interactive map using Google Sheets in under 1 minute?

Of course, I had to share it with my friends.  It was interesting to see it being favourited and shared.

And, of course (2), I had to try it myself.  Here’s my result as an image.  I was really impressed with the stats popping up as you would mouse over various countries.

map

Did it take more than the minute promised?  Probably; I’m a slow reader.

It was fun and would have been the sort of activity that would have been done at a computer contact meeting.  There’s a lot there like finding and copying data, moving to a spreadsheet, copying it and then using the magic Google pixie dust to turn the data into the map.

I was ready to bookmark and move on when I got a message.  “Hey, Doug, we’re an Office 365 board and can’t use Google.  Will it work with Office 365?”

I didn’t know the answer right off but it seems like it should be possible.  I don’t have an Office 365 account so I can’t be sure on that platform but I do have my regular Microsoft account.  I decided to give it a shot and go pure Microsoft.  That meant using Windows and the Edge browser.

I didn’t get far before I ran into challenges.

The first challenge came after I selected the data from the Wikipedia article.  It copied all right but wouldn’t paste into Excel Online properly.  Instead of honouring the various cells, everything from that country pasted into the same cell.  This would take a lot of fixing to get right.  I tried a few times to see if it was something that I was doing wrong.  No dice.  Then, I opened a new sheet in Google Sheets and it pasted properly.  I copied again and pasted back into Excel and it went well.  So spreadsheet to spreadsheet was OK.

The second challenge came when I wanted to draw the map.  The selection of charts in Excel Online didn’t include an appropriate map.  There was this…

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It wasn’t the same.  I poked around and looked for some add-ins that might do the trick but I couldn’t find something that looked like it would do the trick.

I’m now well over a minute.

I turned to OneNote.  Bringing the data in generated an error that only 100 items could be pasted.  I went with a smaller set of data but couldn’t find a way to generate the map.

So, for this example, it looks like there was only one choice.

In search of


For the well connected citizen, there isn’t a terrible need to remember everything.  Just search for it.

Or rather, “just Google it”.

Can there be no bigger commercial name that has become part of our language.  I can think of a few.  How about this…

“I’ll have a Coke”.

What kind?

It’s interesting to see something like that take over a whole class of things.  In this case, searching.

You never hear

“Just Bing it” or

“Just Duck Duck Go it”

But how many times are you told to “Just Google it”

Even if you use one of those search engines, the language hasn’t adopted it.

Today’s connected person uses search all the time rather than remembering facts or learning everything.  It drives you crazy at times but why rely on a memory that might or might not be 100% correct when your search engine can give you the facts that you’re looking for?

Who doesn’t use a search engine as a second opinion to a doctor, to get directions to a location, to fact check something that you’ve just seen on television, to dig up a new recipe for those leftovers, and so much more?

As we all know, search engines retain these things unless you find some way to turn it off or use a utility that does your search in an anonymous manner.

We all should know that you can check out your popular searches.  So, if you “Google” things and keep the history alive, you can always check your searches here after logging in to your Google account.

It should also not come as a surprise that you’re just one in a billion but when the results from those billions are accumulated, it’s interesting big data to read.

Google has pulled together some really interesting facts in what it calls “Google’s Year in Search”.  Check the link here – https://www.google.ca/trends/yis/2016/CA?autoplay=1

I found it fascinating.  No longer was a search history based upon the whim of this guy just looking up stuff, it’s a snapshot of an entire nation searching.

So, if you’re searching for Canadians, here are the top hits.

Isn’t that an interesting list?

Top ten lists are available for news stories, politicians, sports celebrities, and more.

There certainly is huge value in the results and brings back some memorable moments from 2016.

In the classroom though, I could see this being a very interesting provocation for some serious digging.  Why did these names make the list?  What did they do or what significance is the topic to Canadians.

It really would bring forward some excellent discussions, speculations, and research.