Taking the challenge


I can’t ignore a good challenge.  Recently, Alfred Thompson challenged me to test out Microsoft’s new CaptionBot application.  He said that he had been having great success with it and challenged me to try it.  The premise is simple; you send it a photo and it describes what it sees.  It’s important to not send personal photos in times like this.

It’s learning so I’ll use my best teacher empathy.  We always try to find the best in our learners, right?

Don’t tell the rest of the Bring IT, Together Committee but I had it open in another window during our meeting last night and was playing around with it so see what I could do with it.

Here are my results…I just dug around some photos from some trips that were on the hard drive and decided to see how they worked.

The Famous Crab

A friend gave me this photo of a crab from a Scuba trip he’d been on.  It was a fond photo for sharing and editing in my Photoshop workshops.  If that was indeed a plate of food, arrangement needs to be revisited!

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls at night is one of the most spectacular things to witness (and capture with a camera).  I’m thinking the bot needs to go out more!

Philadelphia

Well, if you look past that big bell with the crack in it, there is a man walking with the person with the umbrella in the background.

St. Louis

I guess I was distracted by that large arch thing when I took the photo.  There is indeed a building off to the right. 

St. Louis (again)

This sports fan was fascinated with the chance to take a photo of classic Busch Stadium.  I completely missed the elevated freeway in the background.

San Antonio

I’ve been to San Antonio twice and never fail to be humbled by the Alamo Shrine which served as a mission.

Phoenix

Bingo!

Well, that was fun.  I don’t think I’m ready to start not tagging my own photos anytime soon though.

Have you tried out the Caption Bot with your own pictures?  What kind of success did you have? 

I’m sure that this student will get better over time and learns.  We just need a bit of patience.

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How Geeky Are You?


So, just how geeky are you?

I’m a regular user of the How to Geek website.  I don’t like anything “out of the box” and like to customize everything that I use to try and get the most from my experiences.  (I have locked myself out of things in the past but I’ll just glance over that…)

I do like the fact that most technology isn’t just a black box.  You can configure it to your liking, change colours, add/remove features, add extensions, and the whole bit.  This is a great place to look for resources and inspiration.

It’s also a place for some trivia to see just how geeky you are.

Being wrong can be embarrassing.

Being consistently wrong can send one back for some remediation.  Hmmm.  Even here, my spell check is telling me that’s not a word.  

So, sit back and try out your geekish trivia here.  I’m wallowing around 40% so I shouldn’t be too tough to beat.

Nerd Test


OK, you may need to take a break from the family and turkey.  (making an assumption here)

Or, maybe you just want to be the life of the party this Thanksgiving.

Or, maybe you always wanted to know your level of nerdiosity.

Self-help and analysis quizzes are pretty popular on Facebook these days.

But, they just scratch the surface.

Do you want to dig deeply into the inner you?  If so, then you need to take the Nerd Test, ver 2.0.

It will have you thinking…but you can have a badge when you’re done, if you want.  Here’s mine.


NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber-Dorky Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get nerdy images and jokes, and talk to others on the nerd forum!

And, I am classified….

If you have compulsive tendencies for things like this, don’t look at the menu on the left side of the screen.

Canadianize the Internet


So, yesterday was Canada Day.  It was a great day at the Ice Cream Festival at Toddy Jones Park and the events at Fort Malden.  Of course, there were the fireworks over the Detroit River to end the day.  The organizers always do it up nicely for our town.  Our Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, and Mayor were all there for the opening ceremonies.  Free flags for everyone and lots of red and white everywhere.

So, quite frankly, with the whole day devoted to festivities, I didn’t have much time to do much learning.

Except for one thing….

There were lots of uncharacteristic shows of nationalisms in blog posts and news articles.  Of course, where the posts allowed for replies, there were some bashing messages but it was too nice a day to spend much time on it.

At the bottom of a Canada.com message, there was a link to this post – “It’s time to Canadian the Internet“.  It was a lead to a Google Chrome extension that will “fix” web pages so that they generate Canadian spelling for words.  Imagine an internet without “color” that now properly spells it “colour”!

It’s cute and kept me interested for a while.

So, a quick before and after shows how it works…

BEFORE

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honor will become honour. Labor will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

AFTER

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honour will become honour. Labour will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

All in good fun, right?

There’s actually a lesson there. 

We’ve all read about the dangers of connecting to open internet access in public places.  Here’s a perfect example of communications being intercepted and replaced without fanfare.  Spelling is just a small example but if that can be done here, what else is possible?

OK, this is getting too deep for a holiday post.  Signing off….

Happy US Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends and readers.

For the date, I could do something emotional or something political but I decided to do something different.

As noted in the comments, this could be the greatest moment in sitcom history.

When Getting Connected was Difficult


(at least compared to today’s standards)

One of the skills that I learned as a teenager was to stretch the truth when it meets my needs.  Recently, my wife asked if I had cleaned the computer area / museum and, of course, my answer was yes.  If the truth be known, the centre of the room is well vacuumed.  The artifacts around the room did have a layer or two of dust though.  It’s generally not too bad; I keep a Swiffer handy to clean off the keyboard and monitor should breathing become laboured.  I actually blew my scheme when I went looking for a replacement for the Swiffer and couldn’t really answer why except to spill the beans.

It really was a job that needed to be done.  Cable management was truly a thing of the past.

To push me over the top, we had enjoyed this Pinterest page last night.  http://www.pinterest.com/sandybiven/do-you-remember/

Like most computer people (you, perhaps?)  I have kept every manual for every device of software that I’ve ever owned.  It really is an impressive collection.  That’s also a sign of datedness.  Nobody ships manuals anymore.  They’re available on external media or online or things are so intuitive that you really don’t need a manual.

Life wasn’t always that easy to be connected.  I’ve mentioned before but I used to run a Bulletin Board System as a hobby and turned a section of it into what we now call an LMS for those of my students who were connected at home.  Now, this was pre-internet times – I had purchased a second phone line just for computer use and students would have their computer call mine.

As I was cleaning the museum today, I did find a very dusty tool that was key to it.  I wondered out loud if I would even be able to remember how to connect it, how to program it, or even where to find a piece of software to run it.  As I was cleaning, I flipped it over and saw that I didn’t need the manual.

2013-09-16 10.17.29

and zooming in…

2013-09-16 10.17.47

I can’t believe that there was a time when I had all of this committed to memory!

So, here’s today’s test.  Did you study?

  • What is the device?
  • Who was the manufacturer?
  • How fast did it run?
  • Why can’t I connect it to this laptop computer?
  • Why on earth does Doug keep it around?

Actually, I’ll answer the last question…I use it as a bookend for the top shelf over top my workspace!

Obituary Inspiration


I must admit that I had to laugh this morning when I read the post “The Obituary of the Student Desk 1887-2013“.

In the classroom where I did the bulk of my teaching, it really didn’t apply.  I was fortunate enough to have tables and individual chairs which ensured that there was no two days in a row where the arrangement was the same.  It was actually interesting to predict who would be working with whom on a day to day basis.

One year, though, I did get assigned to teach a mathematics class.  For that class, I had to take another room and the chairs were the more traditional classroom chair with the basket under the seat and the desk attached to the seat.  There really was no real reason why the chairs had to stay in rows but, for the most part, they did.  When it came time to work with a partner, usually it was a matter of sidling the desk to the person beside you.  The problem with that was inevitably somebody got boxed in!  It was possible to turn around and work with the person behind you but it wasn’t an easy task.  Your typical secondary school student would try to stand up wearing the chair and spin.  In either case, the room was filled with the noise of scraping chair feet.

Since this was the first time that I had used these types of desks, I also learned that there was a design for right handed students and left handed students.  It did become an issue because I recall one token left handed desk in the classroom and, by chance, I had two left handed students.  No kidding!  I had to locate another desk for the other left handed student.

The obituary in the story just hit close to home, I guess!

I wonder … could this be the future of seating?  Area students try swapping chairs for fitness balls in the classroom

As the new school year looms on the horizon, I wonder if there are other traditional things that would be worthy of a similar obituary.  How about your classroom or your teaching practice.  Is there something that will be laid to rest?  Care to share?

Oh, and if you want to write your own formal obituary, here is a collection of templates to help you with the task!