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.

More productive

The announcement this week that Google Workspace is now available to everyone took me by surprise.

I actually rebooted my computer and reloaded what I thought to be Gmail to see a new name pop up in the middle of the screen. “Google Workpace”.

My original thought was that Gmail had just been renamed. I guess I was wrong and then I read this article.

I haven’t taken it all in yet but am plugging my way through it. It appears that Google Workspace is a new branding of GSuite.

I do have a number of collaborative projects on the go so I’m poking around to see what I can see. The challenge is that any of the new things I have access to are well integrated into the desktop so I’m not totally sure what is new and what isn’t. What’s a guy to do?

I suppose that clicking around and seeing what’s available is the best route to take. Since whatever is there is now there, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s a legacy feature or not.

What should I be looking for? Is the new Workspace making any significant changes in what you’re doing?

Please let me know.

Applying a fix

Recently, I ended up purchasing an Acer Chromebook for my wife. She had been plodding along with an old Macbook Pro. I didn’t realize how much of a plod it was until I ended up having to do something to fix it.

The fix involved rebooting and I swear that I could cook supper while waiting for it to reboot. It’s hard to think that there was a time when that was my best computer. I guess my standards were lower then or, more likely, technology has become so much better.

It’s not the actually computing ability but the speed with which you can transfer data to and from the hard drive. Remember physical hard drives with the platters and moving head readers? Buying an SSD might have been a solution but it made more sense financially and functionally to upgrade to a new machine.

Right out of the box, this Chromebook just screamed. Plus, I was able to install the Android applications that she uses frequently on her phone to make it address two of her computing needs. Upon first startup, I also checked to see if there was an update to the Chrome OS and it claimed that it was up to date. I knew that wasn’t true but guessed that it would just kick in automatically.

If you’re a Chromebook user, you know that one of the endearing things about Chrome OS is that it keeps itself up to date. I asked her to let me know when it wanted to update but that moment never came. Actually, since the Chrome OS is essentially running the Chrome browser, it wasn’t a big deal. There were no complains on her end; the new machine was light and just screamed, doing everything that she wanted in a computer.

Still, though, when my own Chromebook updated itself to version 90, it kind of bugged me that her machine was still at version 83. I tried everything that I could think of which is really not much in the Chrome OS world. It’s designed to do everything that it does without user intervention.

This past week, she had to go away for a day and I warned her that I would be spending some intimate time with her machine. I worked my way through all the suggested fixes with no success. I’d worked my way down to the nuclear option – Recovering your Chromebook.

It reads like a simple process and certainly, I’d run enough live Linux distributions from a memory key to know that miracles can happen. But, it’s one thing to nuke your own computer and quite another to do that to someone else’s.

The process seemed simple enough; just download the latest version to a memory key and start with the memory key in place and let the machine do its thing. The only thing was that the instructions called for an 8GB memory key. I actually have a bag full of memory keys from places that I’ve been at over the years. They were a combination of 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB keys. Not an 8GB key in my collection. But there were some memories brought back as I checked out each in my Windows computer since not all of them had the capacity printed on their surface.

Now, in a normal world, I have a couple of buddies that I could drive over and borrow a key if they had one. Or, I could drive into Windsor to BestBuy or into town here to The Source and buy one off the shelf. As you would suspect, those were not essential services. I could have ordered and picked up a couple of days later. But, before I did that, I figured that I’d try one of the 4GB jobbies. After all, if Google and Chrome OS were so smart, they wouldn’t let me hurt myself.

As it turns out, the download to the 4GB key went rather quickly and I was ready to go to the next step and do the Recover. It took maybe 10-15 minutes (I wished I’d timed it) and there was a reboot and I was back to the initial installation dialogues. A few quick clicks later and I was starting at the Chrome desktop and then noticed that all her bookmarks, extensions, and her designed theme were back in place. Oh no, did I do all that for nothing?

Nope. A check of the OS and it revealed I was now running version 90. I actually should have been able to tell the difference just by looking.

I was kind of pleased to hand her an upgraded machine when she got home. I was even more pleased when she said that it felt like it was running quicker than before. It might well be or it might just have been her making me feel good.

But, the bottom line was that I was able to report that all worked out well and it really was a seamless upgrade installation.

Everyone is happy!